“How are you doing?”

“How are you doing?” is a question that can be tricky to answer! Obviously the answer depends on a lot of things, including the context: the grocery store clerk will get a very different answer than my oncologist will! Close friends will likely get a much deeper answer than I would post publicly, but sometimes I just don’t feel like talking about it – even with the best of friends. I’m so thankful for all those who understand and encourage, who pray for us (if they’re the praying sort of people) and support us in many ways.

A lot of people are asking how I’m doing on these new meds. So far, this one seems better than the last one (which was much better than the IV chemo). I’m still puffy, but not ballooned-up like before! I’m hardly coughing, and can sing a bit most days! I love to sing, so this is both exciting and bittersweet because I can’t sing anywhere near the way I could before. The joint pain (from going off the previous drug) is diminishing. Nausea slows me down, but doesn’t usually stop me! My digestive track seems to be getting used to the meds, and tummy upsets are decreasing. I continue to experience painful intermittent stomach cramps from around 3:00pm until bedtime. It may be my imagination, but I think it’s better than it was a couple of weeks ago.

One thing that’s hard to figure out is the fatigue. I’ve always loved to push myself to the limits: to do as much as I can without overdoing it, endeavour to reach that line without crossing it! Now I know the line is in a completely different place than it used to be, and I feel grief about my significantly diminished capacity, but what’s tricky is that it feels like someone keeps sliding that line around with no discernible pattern! It’s impossible to know how much I can manage because it varies dramatically from day to day.

I pray and I pay attention, trying to find the sweet spot: the best rhythms of activity and rest. I wear a pedometer most days in case the measuring of my steps will help me find that balance. I know it’s not a precise science, but I often feel like it’s completely random and I have no wisdom at all about the abilities of my body.

Often I’m exhausted by dinner time, and if I can pull together the energy to cook dinner, then sometimes I need to rest before I can eat. Right now, that’s probably the hardest thing. If I get a second wind after eating, that is bliss – largely because it helps me interact better with my kids and supervise their music practices, homework and chores.

Then there are activities which energize me on some levels, but tire me on others. It’s hard to weigh out the cost-benefit ratios sometimes, but I tend to err on the “going for it” side of things!

I went for a little hike with friends, and that nourished me deeply … but if I recall correctly, the kids had “fend for yourself dinner” that night! I’m glad they’re old enough for this, and (generally) wise enough to (mostly) make nutritious choices!

Below are some pictures from my little morning hike. It’s amazing what there is to see and hear if we pause and open our eyes and ears. There is so much life, goodness and beauty to appreciate!

What about you? How are you doing? What are you thankful for? What are you grieving? Who encourages you? How are you doing with your various boundary lines? Do you have good, trusted friends with whom you can open your heart? With whom could you take appropriate steps to trust more deeply and grow closer? What nourishes you? How might you open your eyes and ears? Who will you bless today?

I pray a blessing on you, dear reader!

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Group selfie, strategically cropped for this public post! (I’m the one in the hat.) 

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Spot the owl! I love my little blue camera: it’s so easy to carry and takes great pictures, but – like all of us – it has limitations!

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Two ducklings with their mama

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Wood duck reflection

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beaver? muskrat? otter?

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“Night Heron”, is what some friendly strangers called this.

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Night Heron

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Too quick for my camera, but there’s beauty in the blurriness!

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I don’t have to go hiking to see beauty: this is my neighbour’s lovely garden:

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8 thoughts on ““How are you doing?”

  1. Thanks for your honesty, your questions, your beautiful photos, your example of how to live life fully, gratefully, and faithfully through the trials and joys. Grace and shalom.

  2. Dear Jill,

    Thank you for sharing with all of us who wonder, worry & pray. I took “Cancer holidays” when I was in treatment. Sometimes you just want to chuck the big C and talk about anything and everything else. I found it was a healthy tactic for me. And your description of your fatigue and variable energy levels describes perfectly my life with CFS, lo these any years. It’s tough not be be mired in the frustration and in trying to ‘manage’ what is completely unpredictable. But I’ve come to see that process as a waste of energy . . . save the energy for the soul-nourishing stuff: Fun, love, your ‘peeps,’ creativity and snippets of singing! xoxo

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