Yes, I truly feel abandoned by my pre-cancer friends. Friends who used to proclaim their love for me, and stated that they would always be there for me have up and disappeared! I try not to judge them too harshly. It may be that they don't know how to handle this (my diagnosis), and so just ignore it. But it really, really hurts. My family has been terrific, but still I miss interacting with friends. The friends who have stood by me live too far away to make last minute, or spontaneous plans. But anyway, I'm sure we're not the only ones. Human nature is a funny thing.
Does anyone else feel abandoned by their pre-cancer friends?
Asked by shhwee on Monday, February 27, 2012
Does anyone else feel abandoned by their pre-cancer friends?
39 Answers from the Community
I'm sorry for you both that this happened to you! I am glad to say, that my friends were here for me, asked to help with things and were OK. We didn't need much help, my wife handled what I couldn't do. But I even had competitors in my business that called and offered to help with jobs if I thought I couldnt get them done.
I guess this is one for the "with friends like that, who needs enemies?"
good luck to you guy's.
This is such a great question, and I am so glad to see it addressed. As the friend of a person newly-diagnosed stage iv lung cancer, it is exhausting at times. I pray for patience as Art suffers through this. I am frustrated with him clinging to counting pills or organizing medical records rather than living each day as if it were his last. The pill counting is a way for him to deal with being overwhelmed. I know how this must sound - insensitive and impatient! He's the one with cancer - how can my feelings compare with his! Half the time, I don't know what to say - I dont know how to keep things positive without totally misleading him. He depends on me to be honest and to repeat what the doctors are telling him. The prognosis is so bleak that it is hard to let it sink in the first time we hear it, so we have to go through it over and over again until the painful words make sense. Maybe we just need time to accept the diagnosis. I love Art and I will never abandon him, but it is not easy being there for someone with cancer. Someone, please tell me this is ok.
I'm not sure if people just don't know what to do and how to help, or if it makes them uncomfortable. When my husband was first diagnosed, we had lots of help and tons of people offering help, support, love, etc. Now, it's been almost a year, and it's almost nothing. A few people still offer help once in a while, but even then most don't follow through. My best friend for the last 35 years never calls me any more. My former Bible study group, who were hubby's biggest cheerleaders when he was diagnosed, now never call or visit or email. It's disheartening.
Dear Marisa - you sound totally normal. And Art sounds like he's suffering so. I believe he is sooooo lucky to have you. Do you have someone who can listen to your frustrations? Your challenges? Do you have someone you can talk to about your own dark moments? You need that too.
As for me - I have had a few friends disappear.... And then I've had a few acquaintances suddenly try to act like they are my inside buddies (especially at work - really, some of them are just nosy). And then I've had friends step up big time and just be plain wonderful.
A lovely surprise has been the occasional friend I've made THROUGH cancer. Remember when we were kids and you spotted someone who might be a friend... and then, magically, you were friends? Well, that's happened to me a few times with other people living with cancer diagnoses... A new bike riding buddy... A new friend who is also parenting an elementary school kid. So, I have had a combination of losses, friends stepping up, and new friends appearing. Now that I'm starting to grow hair again... starting to look more and more like a regular person... I'm curious as to whether those pre-cancer friends might re-appear? And I'm curious as to how I might respond... if they do. Of course, life is strange, right? I mean, who knows what's going on in their lives...
And for all of us - I still don't know how to talk about cancer. I'm sort of grateful for having lost my hair - it's obvious... I don't have to worry about "what to say" etc... But, everyone else? Well, some people seem to have a knack, saying very little... just listening... sometimes doing... Others biff it big time... and everything in between. No one teaches us how to be compassionate and polite in the face of this kind of disease. So, I try to be patient... and I succeed ... cough cough... MOST of the time...
I hope everyone has a peaceful night.
Dear Marisa - I had another thought - is it possible that he could use pill organizers so that he'd only have to count the day's pills? Rather than them all? It can be hard to remember if a pill has been taken for regular people, much less someone dealing with the anxiety... potential side effects of treatment... etc... of lung cancer.
If he could organize his pills on a shorter term basis, then he'd only have to count a smaller number... Possibly even able to just see - oh yes -that one has been taken.
I know that some pharmacists and doc offices have medication management assistants or something similar. Those folks go through all the medications and help people come up with a lower stress management system as well as address timing so as to minimize potential interactions etc...
I don't know if that helps...
HUGS. I'm sorry for your friend's illness.
Wow! I didn't expect to have so many responses so quickly! I was feeling very lonely, so a relative suggested this site...so glad she did!
Marisa: I agree with Lee. I use two pill organizers a day, and each little compartment on both is stuffed with pills, but I no longer spend hours counting pills and I never miss my important ones!
Lee: I proudly stumbled across the stage at graduation last year in front of hundreds of friends, family, and my Senior class of 300! [only a month after my invasive brain surgery]. And thank you! I try very hard to keep myself bald, beautiful, and always smiling for the kiddos in my pediatric oncology clinic. I'm striving to show these little girls that being bald does NOT need to effect your self confidence. We are all beautiful.
I dont think friends intentionally abandon you or if it is more of a matter of not knowing what you need or how are you feeling. I know my wife sometimes gets mad when i dont go visit friends in the hospital. I feel that hospitals are a usually a place of rest or you wouldn't be there. I know when my wife isn't feeling good from chemo or treatments, even though she enjoys the company when friends stop by, she would rather rest. I know most of the people that we have met in this journey feel the same way. When we do want to see people we call them so that they know it is ok.
I thought it was just me that felt that way!
I hosted a party the other week. My neighbors (I will not call them friends!), would not eat the food that I had prepared. They usually eat like hungry wolves. They simply picked at everything. You would not believe all the leftovers.
I am mad, hurt and appalled by their behavior. Did they think they could catch cancer by eating my food? I am a pretty decent cook!
I have noticed a big change in behavior towards me by this group since my diagnosis and operations. I think that some people are scared to face up to the possibility of death, and seeing cancer in someone, brings this fact too close for comfort.
PPaseka - you're right - I don't think our friends purposefully abandon us either...
But, I would argue that if you're thinking about a visit to someone - just ask if that person would like a visitor. Everyone is so different. I loved that a few of my friends came to the hospital. Perked me up. They didn't stay long... and they were calm... and it was good for me. Everyone's different... So, I just ask. And I try to keep visits to 10-15 minutes, unless I am asked to stay longer. Two of my friends asked me to stay longer (in one case, more than an hour). Another of my friends was happy to see me... quick hug... sit down for a few minutes... Chat about the crappy commute by bike over to the hospital... And I left... My better half liked silent company... So, people visited with books or work....
Also, it gets hard to be in charge of initiating every contact. It's really nice when friends send quick emails - hey - can I call you? or cards - hey - I'm thinking of you! or quick phone calls with voice mail left if no one picks up. I really appreciate my friends who specifically say - hey, can I stop by at X time on Y day?
Well - that's my two cents. I'm an extrovert... But even my introverted better half really loved to be thought off - appreciated emails and cards and occasional and brief visits....
Hope everyone has a peaceful day. This is a great topic Shhwee! I'm glad you asked the question!
I was surprised that some people didn't step up to the plate as much as I thought that they would or could - or maybe in the ways that I thought that they would. On the other hand, people that I would never have expected (i.e. former coworker I hadn't seen in over a year) brought me food and gave me company.
It's truly a difficult thing. I remember when my mom was diagnosed with Stage IV Kidney Cancer and was in hospice, and my best friend wasn't around much for me. To this day, she feels horrible for not being there. She didn't know how, what to do, etc. I think when we haven't been through certain things, we don't really realize what a person goes through.
One thing I have realized is that with some people you have to actually speak up. For example, my older sister is a great person. When I told her I had cancer, she went silent. I'm sure it was shock. She was very helpful for the first couple of weeks and took me to dr. appointments. Then I didn't hear from her for a couple of weeks and felt abandoned. I just needed to call her and say "what are you doing on Wed, I need someone to take me to Chemo"... and she rearranged her schedule.
It's so hard to ask for help when you feel a little helpless... but I suggest that if you feel people aren't there for you, you pose the question "Can you help me" and see if they come to your rescue. Maybe they just don't know what to do.
This is such a great question, and that is why many people responded in a short time.
You are young, and I believe most of your pre-cancer friends are of your age. These young people know less about lives and they are busy in enjoying their lives so I feel natural that they do not put you first. There are so many fun stuff for "healthy" people. However support from family and good friends are essential part of cancer battle and we do not want to miss this important elements.
The following is my suggestions:
1) Initiate the contact to your pre-cancer friends from your side. Most people do not know how to deal with cancer patients, and they have no idea of how the cancer patients' lives look like. I believe it is cancer patients job to initiate contacts and reach out for people. If some people do not respond, they are NOT your friends.
2) I believe you should find cancer patients of your age and ideally with similar cancer experience. I do not know how but if you ask medical stuff or social worker in your hospital, they may help you hook up with local support group.
Again we should do our best not to be isolated. Feeling lonely might emotionally kill you. We should not expect non-cancer friends to fully understand how the cancer patients lives look like. People I can count on now are either former cancer patients or people who have some medical knowledge.
Do you like computer games? Then you can try on-line game with your friends. Is your immune system OK? If so, you can plan movie night or so. You have to initiate contact, really, since people of your age do not fully understand cancer and death and they are so busy in enjoying their lives.
See, I try to initiate contact with all of my pre-cancer 'friends'. I ask if they'd like to come visit me in the hospital, and tell them what times are good. I try to organize in-home pizza movie nights. Invite them to dinner. My grandmomma even offers to drive out to pick them up and I always hear some sort of obviously rehearsed excuse...
I totally understand your situation. I was 17 when i was diagnosed with leukemia many years ago. In the beginning, I received many cards, phone calls, visits from family, friends, acquaintances. I loved the attention even though I hated the diagnoses. I had over a year of treatments and procedures and as time went by, the cards, calls, and visits started to get less and less. I felt the worst at 2 times: The first was when I called one of my girlfriends from the hospital. She was getting ready for the prom and didn't really have time to talk to me. I was totally crushed because I soo wanted to be there with all my friends getting ready for this big dance during my senior year in high school. The second was when I was in Boston after being released from Children's Hospital there. I was staying for a short time at the Ronald McDonald House which was right next to a fraternity house. At that time, I was 18. One day, I was taking a walk with my sister and walked by the fraternity house with lots of boys outside. I was truly crushed when not even one stopped to acknowledge us go by. I tell you these things not to make you feel bad, but to let you know that you are not alone!! You may be surprised at the friend or friends who will stick by you - but you may find that you may need to find new friends. When I did get together with my friends from high school, I always felt like they treated me differently. My relationship with many of them ended because they could never get past seeing me as a cancer patient - and I just wanted to be treated like ME. Of all my friends from high school, now, so many years later, I only keep in touch with one of them...but I have a whole lot of new friends who love me just the way I am - now TWICE a cancer survivor. You may feel alone for some time, but know that there ARE people out there who you will meet and treat you for the person - not the cancer diagnosis - that you are!!!!!
Molly72 - Man - that sucks! I wonder if our posts went up at the same time... Anyway - THAT SUCKS!!!!! I can't imagine what that felt like. I wonder if people were afraid to eat your food because they WANTED you to have left overs? Is that me being too optimistic? I don't know....
Shhwee - that sucks!!!!! But yeah - I have had a few friends disappear - one in particular that really surprised me. But then I was delightfully surprised by others. Alas... it's sucky!!!! Sucky - suctacular suckiness!
If you're interested... the support group thing is actually a good idea - especially if you can find one that's focused on young adults, such as yourself. I went to two different support groups - one was general cancer, and I was the youngest person in the room by far. Overall, that was a ... cough cough ... poor match for me. However, I then went to a young breast cancer survivor group and viola!!!!! Athletes, people with young kids, people EXCITED about living.... and a good match was had. I LOVE IT!!!! We don't meet that often, but when we do meet... I just ... I just feel better. On a few points, I have gotten REAL advice on REAL issues.... Anyway, the support group thing is a good idea, if you're interested. Oh - and just a note - I AM NOT A SUPPORT GROUP TYPE.... In other words... I dreaded going the first time... convinced it would be awful... Then it WAS awful... but my better half convinced me to go to the young breast cancer one... and it was amazing. So, in the end... a big plus.
Dunno if that helps. I think we can all agree that disappearing friends = sucky suckiness.... And I think we can all agree that the friends that don't biff are truly awesome and wonderful...
Molly72 (Best Answer!)
Many of the answers here seem to follow the same theme, some non-cancer people/friends/relatives tend to avoid us. They feel uncomfortable in our presence, and that makes them look really bad. It does not reflect badly on US!
I only wish this type of negative person would take the time to read some of our posts, but this type of person is much too self-centered to even think of doing such a thing.Or they are scared, or they don't want to get involved.... What ever.
Support groups are great if you can find one that fits you, the group here is super, it doesn't matter how old we are, or what kind of cancer we have, we all respect & have empathy for all here.
Thank you for your support as those sucky politicians say! LOL
If one of my friends had been diagnosed with cancer before I was I would like to think that I would have been there for them but I don't know... I wouldn't have known what someone needed because I hadn't known any friends who were sick, only family when I was much younger.
It's so true that people will surprise you. I also had people step up and people move away. I think people worry that if it can happen to you it can happen to them. I think they don't know what to do but might care very much for you. I think they are afraid they will say the wrong thing.
I know even some of my family and friends would apologize for complaining about regular stuff (like traffic or a crappy day at work). I wanted everyone to be normal. Even though I had cancer I didn't feel sick and I found the normal connections and complaints OK. Everyone might feel differently. Imagine if your friends apologized every time they said something? People get nervous, even the people who love and care about you and sometimes that nervous, anxiety and fear get in the way of people being helpful.
You will continue to meet new people on your journey and have connections that are meaningful with old and new people.
I agree that if you are reaching out and people aren't responding it's time to move on and find people who can support you now and hang out. I would connect with your treatment center to find a support group or start up conversations while your in the waiting room. I met some great people and we talked about so much stuff! Stuff my family and friends didn't even know about.
My husband was just recently diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer and for me it was devistating as it was him and all our friends, however the humor remains high from his friends and projected to us in order to help maintain our "sanity", or whats left of it.
One week after being diagnosed, my husband went in for his 1st chemo treatment. Now I have to add, my husband is pretty vein, almost as bad as some women I know (lol), anyways the night came and he went in to take a shower but when he returned, his mustache was gone. The laughter came out with such shock and I said to him, honey where did your lip go...He grinned and said " I figure I am going to loose it anyways so I thought I would get use to it now".
Needless to say the next morning my husband met up with some buddies of his for breakfast and they all noticied his mustache gone. Some chuckled, some pondered over the thought of is this really happening to XXX, and others werent quite sure what was going on. Now that breakfast is done, all the guys go their seperate ways with nothing more to be said regarding mustaches, that is until that night. One of his buddies calls and asked if we would like to meet him at the RV/ Home show saturday morning, that is if my husband feels up to it. I asked my husband, he answered sure as long as I am up to it. So tenative plans made, meet at the RV show .
Its now saturday morning and we arrive at the RV show waiting to meet up with the one buddy. None the less, about five buddies show up, who all had mustaches on Friday, but now are all slick baby faces.
When your friends shave their face to show their support, man oh man what a treat that was for my husband. He always knew he had a group of real good friends, but shaing their faces was over the top. Note: some of these guys have not shaved their face in 40 years or so- some of them, their wives have never seen them without a mustache.
How great is it to have friends like that...
My husband is truly Blessed to have the friends and the support they all offer him and I am sure it will never subside.
Hats off to friends!!
I have truly learned a lot from this experience. I have learned about myself, my family, my friends and others (those who we no longer consider friends!). I, too, am surprised by the in-action of many of my family and friends, but let me give you some personal insight.
My brother was handicapped who spent a good majority of his childhood either in the hospital or going for treatments. Being the younger sister, I had no choice and had to go along. To this day, I cannot walk into a hospital without being reminded of these ghosts from the past. You can ask me to cook, clean, or drive you somewhere, but do not ask me to go to a hospital. I get physically ill. Just like many of our side effects from cancer are transparent to other, ghosts of people's past are also transparent.
Now this doesn't excuse people from not doing things that they should do. But I learned to accept that people just don't know how to deal with either being uncomfortable or unfamiliar with a difficult diagnosis like cancer. Before you were diagnosed, how many times did you tear up when you heard of someone who had cancer. Honestly, we all thought it was a death sentence.
Like I said, I have learned so much from this experience and while friends of mine have written books about their cancer experience, treatment, etc., I'm contemplating writing a book on how to take care of a person with cancer.
When I was in the hospital, pretty drugged up after surgery, my dear work colleagues came to visit and I kind of heard their conversation. One dear friend was talking about her experience with breast cancer and how her friends were doing all these things for her, and in my fog, I thought to myself, "Why didn't I do more for her?"
Before I had cancer, I was scared to pick up the phone and call. I was afraid I'd be bothering them. That's what answering machines are for. There is no excuse for not sending a $2 get-well card, but people don't know what to write. So I have set out to talk about these things to my friends so they know how to better act when in this position. Some people just don't know and it's easier to shut it out to protect their feeling. Now we all know, being in this position, that this isn't a good excuse, but I truly think that is the reason.
I hate to say it, but I am a better person today than I was before I had cancer.
I had a couple surprise with their lack of friendship and its not the same but I was the event person, getting everyone together for this or that and since i am not doing it, no one is. They dont get together either. I met a great 2 friends through the cancer journies its great to have someone that totally knows where you are coming from. My son and wife totally abandoned me. Unbelievable, have not seen my grandchildren in months. Some old disagreement was more important to them than reconcilng and being a supportivr family. They were were not here for me during my first round of cancer either and they call themselves Christians...so I rejoice in my daughter, my husbands (who also has been a jerk sometimes) my ex. who is a wonderful support and a few friends wih their cards calls prayers and emails. I am fighting for m life...i dont want to waste it on their inconsiderate ways.
My husband was diagnosed 2 1/2 years ago and is now in treatment for stage 4 colon cancer. He is 68 and i am 52. I feel the same way often, but decided that I need to find people who have more in common with myself...we found this at the hospital where we go once a week for chemo...they are our 2nd family. We also met some extraordinary people at the Relay for Life (which is now in full swing with planning now). In the beginning when things were very difficult because of surgeries, so much information, etc...people were there. Now, many who were there are not. But there are a small bunch who were and always have been. At the Relay 3 years ago, I put on my facebook page that we were looking for a canopy..an old friend responded and I invited her to Relay. She showed up at midnight and we walked and talked. Although we see less people, and I can be sad sometimes, I do not make excuses for them...just have to accept that the journey we are on, noone can understand unless you have been there...
Please know that although it feels this way often, you are not alone.
I also want to add...we have a 17 year old daughter, who is the captain of the Relay Team...and a lot of kids do it, many who are survivors or love someone who has this disease and it is a place of joy and hope.
shhwee, first, I'm sorry you've had to experience something that most of us who've been punched by cancer encounter. I eschew the euphemism "touched" because the disease is anything but gentle and goes way beyond skin deep.
You could write a book about the relationship dynamics of cancer (and I did...), but the wonderful group of co-combatants here who truly get it have done a stellar job of explaining why some friends seem to disappear. The reason I continue to write and speak publicly about this issue is because, as one WhatNext-er said, most people who disappear wouldn't likely show up here or on other support sites.
Know that some of your relationships may deepen, and new ones may form, and that although that may be little consolation for the friends you lose or choose to lose, your heart will heal.
With a big hug and always hope,
P.S. WhatNext's Karen Glowacki recently interviewed me for her blog- maybe you could send a link to friends who have disappeared. Some people really are just clueless, but recognize clues and are willing and able to change! http://blog.whatnext.com/blog/peer-perspectives/interview-with-lori-hope-author-of-help-me-live
Our experience was like yours, some friends did go away, but new ones came into our lives. I was the caregiver for our daughter, diagnosed at 9 months with a rare form of infant leukemia, mixed-lineage leukemia. My daughter had no real friends, less than 1, but our family did have some. The majority of our friends stop calling, visiting, etc. I think that the majority of them were so scared for their own kids that they just did not know what to say or do. Not scared that they would catch cancer, just scared that they knew a child with cancer who could very easily die. As a parent the most shocking news is to hear of a child's death, it is just unthinkable. At least that is what I hope was their excuse. What was amazing to me was the friends that did stay around, the ones I would have never thought would be our support system. Also, because of the length of her treatment, over four years, the friends did dwindle down to a point I did not need all my fingers to count them. While our lives were suspended upon diagnosis, the rest of the world does continue with life. Once treatment sort of ended, it never really does for childhood cancer, I contacted some friends again to let them know that I was still their friend. Some did renew the friendship, but most did not. But what I realized was that the few that I still have, count for so much more than the many I lost. And the ones I made during our journey, each with a journey themselves, are the best. My daughter is now in her teens, so much time has passed. I have since heard from some of those friends who were lost and they now have a mother, father or other relative dealing with cancer. Like all of us, they are sometimes overwhelmed and looking for support. For those friends, who I once swore I would never talk to again, I now know we must help. We can not become what we don't like. Cancer taught me that yesterday does not matter as much as tomorrow. You are very young, and hopefully with your experience and understanding, a better future awaits those who will cross your path and seek your wisdom. You are better than they, after all you are a survivor.
I know this is an old post, but I have to say it's nice to know I'm not the only one. I've lost 2 friends since my diagnosis. One of which was my best friend. My best friend at first fed off of me needing help. I had a broken elbow at the same time as my diagnosis and needed help even buckling my seat belt, I couldn't drive, and found it very hard to take care of my 2 kids. She would go as far as being a little bummed when I started being able to do more on my own again. But when I decided to start a Relay for Life team and asked her to walk I was all of a sudden too needy! lol. After that our friendship sort of just ended. The other friend told me that I was selfish for wanting to have support from my friends at the Relay for Life. Now, I wasn't at all demanding... in fact, I was the only person there who had to do the survivor walk alone without anyone cheering me on. My diagnosis is fairly new, so yes, I was pretty bummed. And in no way did I think it was selfish of me to ask my team to be there to help me get through it. (the rest of my team was either in line trying to get in or watching my kids for me) But I was so thrown by those 2 people saying that needing support made me selfish and needy that I just don't ask for help anymore. I will say though, that I have had several friends step up... ones that I never would have thought! Friends from elementary school when my dad was in the Army that moved away in 6th grade, an aunt I've only met once when I was 5, old co-workers and bosses I haven't seen in 4 years... I'd have to say that this whole journey has been very enlightening.
Wow! What a great question! ... Of all the 'scare', 'frustration', 'fear' and every other emotion that cancer patients feel, for me, losing my 2 best friends was by far the hardest. As I was home from the hospital slightly over 6 months ago and just beginning the healing, literally only a few days, ... ...both of my friends, a few days apart from each other 'left me' alone with my thoughts, wants, needs, ...gosh, it was so lonely. I had a moment to speak with the 'cancer therapist' at the hospital via the telephone and mentioned that the 'friends' j just upped and left, and he said 'wow, that's unusual' ...and that made me feel even more 'alone'. Seeing all these answers here to this question truly helps me to not feel alone at all. Thank you for the question, and thank you for all the answers. God Bless All of You!!! It takes away some of the sting to know that I am not alone with this abandonment from my friends. My friends 'blamed' me too, or 'blamed' my doctor, either way the outcome was the same. They were no longer there. It felt like a death. I couldn't put my finger on it. (Still can't) - ...I am so grateful I found this thread. It is a life save to read your answers. Thank you.
My experience has been the opposite, my friends were the ones I could count on, my family were the missing factor! Not my immediate family mind you, my hubs cooked, cleaned& drove me back & forth as did my 2 sons who live nearby, my daughter flew in 3 times from MD as money allowed. My 5 sisters however.. 1 did send a card every week , her husband died of sclc so I think my diagnosis shook her up pretty bad. The others never came .... When I was done with treatment they were around more telling me how great I looked.. Yeah because you weren't here for the bad part! I try not to hold it against them everyone reacts differently..... Now my problem is they all smoke! I'm like the family leper that nobody wants to be around, can't stop at anyone's house because you can't ask them not to smoke in their own house! Can't go anywhere in their car ......
My significant other left me in the middle of chemo.
Devestated does not say enough. I tried my best to be 'happy' and low maintenance. Didn't make a difference. A crisis brings out the best and worst. In the end I learned that my 'abandonment' was worse than the cancer but even that will not break me. I have wonderful people who stand by me and who love me and one good friend is worth more than a pile of 'good time only' friends. I have the good fortune of knowing who is true and I am at peace. Hugs. And be good to you -
Yes, I feel abandoned by our pre-cancer friends. It's like their afraid that they might get cancer if they visit or call. My kids think I'm being silly but my husband's best friend for over 40 years is nowhere to be seen. In the month that my husband has been in the hospital and now rehab he visited once. I just want to call and scream at him but the kids remind me that he may not be able to deal with it. There have been friends who have stepped up by visiting several times a week even on their lunch hour. We are truly grateful for these people. It really helps my husbands spirits out. Thanks to them we get through each day.
That's a loaded question for me. My roommate at the time was a friend of seven years, and she proved to be the one who completely abandoned me. She gave me notice 3 weeks after I came home from the hospital for my first brain surgery that she was moving out. Her words to me were, "I (Laura) don't know how you're going to react to chemo, YOU don't know how you'll react to chemo, and I can't deal with it." She put me in an extremely awkward position of having to get a new housemate while I had staples in my head and was in radiation therapy. I wore floppy hats so no one knew I had brain surgery, and I had to carefully screen people to be sure they wouldn't freak out on me. She moved into a place where she could not have her cat, so she pleaded with me to take her, which I gladly did because the cat was more attached to me anyway. It would be a few years before I spoke to Laura again, and even then it was intermittent. I've since lost touch with her and I don't miss her. I know who my true friends are and I'm incredibly blessed to have them. It's a hard lesson to learn, but it was definitely a "weeding out" of sorts.
Laura even said to me several times before she moved out, "Don't you say I'm abandoning you because I'm not!"
At the same time that I was diagnosed with breast cancer my marriage broke up (not because of cancer) I was abandoned by my family. My daughter in law recently told me that there was so much drama going on in my life that it was hard to listen to. It was bloody hard going through it too I can tell you that. I used to see photos of my son and her on Facebook having fabulous times in holiday resorts, while at one holiday resort they were at, I was just three hours drive away having radiation treatment five days a week. To justify their lack of support for me, she now seems to be trying to convince herself that somehow it was my fault.
I know your message was some time ago. I am not sure if you are still on here. I have gone through the same thing. It is hard, and I am not sure why people disappear when you need them most.
I found most of my friends all, but two, were just lip service. People who lived less than an hour from me, could not be bothered to come and see me. It was hard and very sad to realize that those closest to me, did not have my back when I needed it most.
I am sorry, if I am the only one to say this. There is just NO EXCUSE for people to exit stage right at a time someone you love needs you the most. I do not think that most of us expect much. So any little effort from those we speak of, would have been greatly appreciated.
I am thankful to know now who I can count on and who I can not. I will continue my journey with those God brought into my life at the time I needed them most. Even an old boy friend and his wife. Now that is a true friend and a great wife if you ask me :) Blessings in those that took the time to step outside their comfort zone to make a difference in a friends life.
To those that were not there, or could not even make a call to say, how are you feeling? I make no excuses for them. I wish them well, and release them in love. I choose to surround myself with those that have my back.
Just my humble opinion
All of your answers over the years have broken my heart. They have also helped me realize that the people who cut off our friendship when cancer knocked on the door were never worth my effort.
These experiences have helped me mature in more ways than I sometimes realize. Through this I am strong willed, determined, resilient, and quite frankly hard headed. However, I find myself caught up in an overwhelming wave of compassion, and a need to help all who are affected by (PLEASE EXCUSE MY FOUL LANGUAGE) the bitc* known as cancer. I want desperately to help and befriend anyone and everyone who has known this disease's acidic touch.
Thank you so much for responding with such honesty everyone
A person I had been supposedly best friends with for over twenty years, literally sent me an email to say that she thought I'd be better off going through the process without her. This was when I was still in the diagnosing stage so didn't know how much in trouble I was or what was in store for me. I think she'd seen breast cancer in characters on tv shows so regarded it as a time for a woman to shave her head and act strong. I had children ages 2 and 5 at the time.
Under no circumstances would I ever allow this person into my life. It's weird as we share a large common past so via Facebook, we sometimes "bump" into one another. Out of respect and love for myself and children, I would never entertain any attempted communication with her. I'm a seven year survivor.
Three years into my time away from cancer, my husband dropped dead suddenly. This same person posted a remembrance on a wall online with the appearance of being a part of his life although that hadn't been the case for years.
Anyone who can abandon during your darkest days when you might in fact face a horrible death, are not people you want with you in your good days. As I did, I'm sure you will recall that your "friendship" was always dysfunctional and you were actually never comfortable or happy in it. It just took an atrocious and unthinkable act to finally end it. It was an added blow at the time to say the least, but I am so glad for the people I do have.
Ironically, I never asked for attendance at anything. Not to appointments, not to anything as I still hadn't had my diagnosis refined so didn't know what I was facing. But, I did have my chemo people, I had people help with my family, I had people just call and check and all of those were fine. Some did more than others but nobody except this person truly just bailed.
I've worked too hard to stay alive, worked to hard to hang onto being happy and worked too hard to love and laugh with good people to give it away. My joy, my strength, my family and my friends define me.
It's my 20-year-old son that is diagnosed with brain cancer, and I'm the primary caregiver. Most of his friends have stopped seeing him, and rarely call him, but those that do I try to let them know I appreciate their efforts to see him and spend time with him.
Unfortunately, many of my own friends have also stopped calling or talking to me. When I do run into them, I treat them like I would if I hadn't seen a dear friend in a while, and as if it doesn't hurt my feelings, and if they tell me they just don't know what to do or say, I let them know that I understand. I also let them know they CAN talk to me about safe topics like what our school-kids are doing, sports, the weather, a funny thing that happened the other day.... I invite them to join me for a cup of coffee, or lunch if I really want to unwind and enjoy their company.
Since I started being more pro-active, my social life is much improved. I wish you the best, and hope you find the words and courage to let your friends know what you need. Sometimes just reaching out and inviting them to coffee is enough to get your calendar filled back up with friend time!