Why I'm 'Happy to Be Here' – Regardless of My Health

“Hey! How are you?” is a casual greeting that I hear many times a day.

“Seriously, how are you doing?” is a more pointed question asked by those who know that I’m sick and want to show that they care.

I will be honest about my health with those nearest and dearest to me, but I choose to answer the casual, “How are you?” question with, “I’m happy to be here!” for many reasons.

How I am doing is very, very complicated. I endure a variety of medical treatments for my relapsing polychondritis and other illnesses. Sometimes I’m ill from my disease. Other times I’m ill from medication side-effects. Usually I’m upbeat about this, but not always. Often I just prefer not to talk about it and enjoy casual conversations like a normal person would.

Those asking how I’m doing might not be prepared for real answers and won’t know how to respond. If I told the truth about how I was doing at all times, I would be greeted with silence or pity. Either way, I would bring all casual conversations to a screeching halt. I avoid the social awkwardness and give my easy,”Happy to be here!”

Honestly, I am happy to be here. I’m happy to be alive, because I know well that life is a gift. The fact that I’m still alive and anywhere at all is a miracle to me and I don’t take a minute this life for granted. If I’m dressed and in public, able to have a conversation, I worked hard to get there. I may have spent days and days at home, turning down other outings and saving energy for this specific time. I possibly spread out the preparations over several days so I wouldn’t be completely worn out by the time I arrived. If I’m there, I promise that it is by design and not accident.

If you ask me, “How are you?” expect my, “Happy to be here!” answer.  Please know that I’m happy you asked, happy to answer, and truly happy to be here!

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