Wait for it... Wait... It’s coming... Four little words strung together forming an innocent question, “How are you doing?” I really don’t mind being asked – I’m just sometimes at a loss for the best answer. So I gauge my response by the individual inquiring. Was it asked to elicit the rhetorical, “Fine, and you?” Or can I answer honestly, “I’m f**king exhausted!”

The worse symptom I face

How I am doing often depends on my level of fatigue when the question is asked. Truth be told, sometimes it is the worst symptom I face with this illness. Can’t plan for it, or predict it's coming. Can’t determine the reason for when it will strike. Can’t do a blessed thing when it arrives. Fatigue relentlessly comes knocking, trying its best to break down my front door. And so, I push back with a mighty force I didn’t know I had.

The professionals say, “Use it or lose it,” as if a worn out cliché is really going to help. The one thing I have to do is also the one thing I cannot do easily – move. Many days I want only to sit on my couch, feet up in a fully reclined position. Resting my limbs in a corpse-like fashion. But I am overwhelmed with the thought that someday I may not have the privilege to “use it.” I’m left to push through with every ounce of energy from my weary soul.

Can you hear me now?

My body’s weakened muscles are due to the signals in my brain being interrupted. It is like that, “Can you hear me now?” problem we’ve all experienced. Static and intermittent sounds come through the line – making communication impossible. This is what I deal with every moment of every day – but I push against the frustration and try to make sense of my bodies muffled messages.

Fatigue, a word I once reserved for an athletes’ exhaustion after finishing an event.nIt was the reward for their efforts and showed strength & fortitude. Now, fatigue means I’m competing in life at the highest level of endurance. Every moment lived pushing means I’m in the game. And on the sidelines cheering me on is humor and faith – giving me a new set of rules to play by. With every exhausted push, I get to trust in something greater than myself.

I'm ready

I’m now ready for the question when it comes…

“How are you doing?”

I respond in truth saying,

“I’m pushing back, pushing through & pushing against losing it.”

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