When People Ask Me, 'Are You Better?'

“Are you better?”

It seems like such a simple question, and for most people it is. Asking if someone is doing better is common to see if they are improving from what was affecting them. For me, it is not that easy. For anyone with a chronic illness it is not an easy question to answer.

A chronic illness is something that is defined simply by lasting for a longer period of time and cannot be fixed with medication, and it does not go away. That is hard for a lot of people to understand or imagine. Most illnesses improve with medication, or go away in about a week. So when a person struggling with a chronic illness explains to people what they are going through and what it is, it’s not as easy concept to conceive.

I have lupus. One I have been affected by since I was 17. I was officially diagnosed in September of 2016, and I am now 22. That is five years. Five years of being in pain. Five years of becoming worse and worse over time, because no one knew what was wrong with me. Doctor after doctor, test after test. Nothing. During this time period I’m lucky to have had my parents there every step of the way. My other family and friends were there too, but unless you’re going through it or living with someone who is, it doesn’t seem possible.

Over time I’ve been asked many questions or told many things:

“What medicine can fix it?”

“You can’t feel this bad every day.”

“You’re still tired?”

“You must be exaggerating?”

“My cousin’s brother was fixed by this medication.”

And the most asked question, “Are you better?”

But I don’t feel better. I won’t wake up one day magically fixed, I wish I could be. Every day I wish there was a cure or someway to go back to my old self, how I used to be. It won’t happen though. At least until there is a cure for this disease. I pray every day one will be found, and someday there might be. But not right now.

So, to answer the question, “Are you better?” No, not right now. But one day I hope to answer that question with a resounding, “Yes,” and have my life back to “normal,” or be able to do at least half of what I used to. Until then, I’ll be the best me I can.

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