What Is A.W.A.P. (As Well As Possible)?

Jenni Prokopy is one of the foremost bloggers for women with chronic illnesses. We asked Jenni to speak about her concept of AWAP – “as well as possible”–because it speaks to the hallmark of palliative care, being well even if you’re chronically ill.

As someone with multiple chronic illnesses, it gets old hearing “hope you’re well!”

While I appreciate the sentiment of such a greeting, on days when I’m experiencing intense symptoms, my internal response is something close to “get lost, creep!” On my best days, my external response is just to smile and say “thank you.”

As someone who knows a lot of folks with chronic illness and disability, it can feel disingenuous to greet them with “how are you?” when I can see from their faces that they’re not well at all, but still doing their best. It feels thoughtless to start an email with “hope you’re well,” a phrase that part of me loves and part of me finds truly aggravating.

I created the idea of AWAP, meaning “As Well As Possible” as an alternative that’s warm and welcoming and open to all kinds of interpretation. It can mean myriad things to an individual with or without chronic illness.

When I open or sign off an email with “hope you’re AWAP!” I feel like I’m giving the recipient space to feel at once lousy and cheerful. Simultaneously defeated and hopeful. A combo platter of pained, positive, persnickety and peaceful.

Just like the other ChronicBabes in my life, nearly every day I experience that same sort of blended experience. I may have pain and fatigue from fibromyalgia, and I may also experience the pleasure of a warm bath or a massage from my boyfriend. I may feel frustrated at the depth of my discomfort, and I may feel cheered up by my favorite song.

What does AWAP look like for me? As a self-employed sick chick, it means that some days, I work in my PJs. Or even from my bed. It means that if my calendar shows two parties on one night, I may not party-hop but instead choose one over the other to conserve my energy, even if the trade-off is missing fun times with friends. AWAP means that on a day like today—when I’m in a lot of pain and feeling overwhelmed—I’m pacing myself, postponing some of my to-do’s, and using the energy I have to complete this blog post. I’m doing the best I can.

How about you? What does AWAP look like in your life? Leave a comment below and join the conversation! And until we meet again: Be AWAP!