“How are you feeling?”
“Is the new treatment working?”
“When do you think you’ll feel better?”
My guess is we’ve all heard at least one of these, or something like them. I’ve been hearing them more and more, and I’m getting increasingly frustrated at having to answer these questions. I appreciate that people care. And there’s nothing wrong with the questions. When I tell friends and family that I’m starting a new treatment, I think it’s great that they’re thinking of me and wanting to know how it’s going. The problem is the expectations behind the questions.
Let’s face it, “Is the new treatment working?” is really asking if I’m feeling better yet, because they want me to be better. I’m glad they want me to be better, but it’s not that simple. And how do I say that I feel 10% better but not 100% better? It’s so hard to explain that. “Health” people are used to getting sick, taking an antibiotic, and being well. They don’t understand decades of illness followed by medications that do nothing or very little. They don’t understand that when a treatment “works” it may not be a cure. It may not get rid of the problem. It may just improve things a bit.
Every time I get those questions I want to be able to tell the asker that I’m doing great, I’m feeling better, the treatment is working, I’ll be healthy any day now. But that’s just not how it works. That’s not how my life works. So I disappoint them with the truth. What else can I do?