• Is it common to hear from none of your friends and family after learning of your cancer diagnosis?

    Asked by Susan254 on Monday, November 24, 2014

    Is it common to hear from none of your friends and family after learning of your cancer diagnosis?

    15 Answers from the Community

    15 answers
    • victoria14's Avatar
      victoria14

      Susan, This is "victoria 14" writing from Fukuoka, Japan (I'm American though). Yes, I know what you are talking about. I heard from family and friends for a while, but after a while, they don't really want to know, don't really want to listen any more.(Well, some of them don't anyway.) So, perhaps some family/friends don't want to deal with this type of "heavy problem" from the beginning. But, first of all, I want you to know that you are my family. You have all my love. Sister Susan, hang in there! I had/have ovarian cancer (finished chemo rounds this March), and my mother, and maternal grandmother did too. I don't know about my grandmother, but when mom had cancer, she also told me how some friends could not deal with her after she got cancer, but those who hung around turned out to be true friends. (When she died too, some of my "friends" never said anything to me.) I have discovered the same thing. I am sure your true friends/family will eventually come forth too. Also, I strongly believe that those who cannot help people who really need help, will not receive help when they really need it. It is sad for them, but I think many people "don't know what to say" to the sick. I wasn't very good at it either. . .before.
      Maybe that is why I got sick. I am better at it now. Or, at least I try. That is what is important isn't it? We can only ask that people try. But sometimes even that is too hard for people. And you know, in Japanese society rules, it is not advisable to bring up hard/sad subjects that might cause people to cry, so people sometimes don't say anything. Even though I know this custom, I refuse to follow it because I cannot not say anything to people going through sickness or a death in the family just because expressing sympathy might make them cry. Well, once again, I want to stress--we are all your family. All my best. Stay hopeful!

      almost 5 years ago
    • ld_105's Avatar
      ld_105

      All too common. Although two friends helped after surgery. See if there is a support group near you.

      almost 5 years ago
    • cam32505's Avatar
      cam32505

      Yes, yes, yes. It might be because they don't know what to say or do. Sometimes, they act like we're contagious. Also, we tend to get a little self-centered, as our whole lives revolve around our cancer. Try talking with them about their lives, and they might come around.

      almost 5 years ago
    • IronMom45's Avatar
      IronMom45

      Yes this seems to be a common phenomenon and hurts to the very soul. Been 4.5 months since my diagnosis and I've been appalled shocked and hurt by the behavior of people for whom I was there during their darkest hours who have fled from me. That being said others least expected have stepped up and been there some just for awhile but been there none the less. And finally there are those family or friends who just don't leave no matter what. An article that helped me is listed below. Wishing you peace.
      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/17/health/views/17essa.html?_r=2&ref=health&pagewanted=all

      almost 5 years ago
    • IbelieveinGod's Avatar
      IbelieveinGod

      Yes it is sad and hard at first but for me God i with me all the time.

      almost 5 years ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      It is awfully sad, but I guess most of us have experienced exactly that. It is a really weird and very sad phenomenon to a cancer diagnosis. It still hurts my feelings when I let it even though it forced me to reach out and make new friends who are truer friends. The others, I call them acquaintances.

      almost 5 years ago
    • barryboomer's Avatar
      barryboomer

      It's true BUT what do we expect THEM to do?
      They NEED to get on with their lives and maybe being part of ours
      will depress them and get in the way of their Journey. Maybe we are being too hard on them.
      There time WILL come......

      almost 5 years ago
    • Lynne-I-Am's Avatar
      Lynne-I-Am

      My experience very different from the others posted here. I found out just how much closer the family ties were. My brother-in law and sister-in law really stepped up including letting my husband and I stay with them when I had to have my Cancer treatments near where they lived. I will never forget their generosity. Before this event we saw them infrequently, now visit them every month. All my side of the family extremely supportive.I have read and have heard from other WhatNexters that the strain of illness has broken up relationships. Illness seems to be the great equalizer , you find out who you can and cannot count on. Perhaps everyone was taken aback by your diagnosis but I would think it is unusual for none of your friends or family to reach out to you. Perhaps you have to make the first move and start interacting with them, break the awkwardness and hopefully receive the love and support you deserve and need. Wishing you better days.

      almost 5 years ago
    • lilymadeline's Avatar
      lilymadeline

      Yes! This is one side effect from a cancer diagnosis that isn’t talked about often enough! Cancer can make friends and family disappear completely from our lives, due to fear, who knows but they are best gone and as far gone as possible. Because this is the time when we find out who our friends and family really are and who truly cares about us! And believe me the angels are there, and they have shown up in my live over and over since my diagnosis. I have better friends and closer friendships now than I ever did before. Hugs!!!! Hang in there!!!!

      almost 5 years ago
    • angelajoyce's Avatar
      angelajoyce

      This has also happened to me. We had been friends and in a casual relationship. 100s of texts a day and calls until I told him of my diagnosis. At first he tried and said he would be there for me, but by the second treatment, he was gone. I was shocked that this could happen and so fast, but, it did. It was a good thing it did happen, so I could see his real colors. Doesn't mean it didn't hurt, but it is what it is. Life goes on and I don't have time to worry about it. Good people have been really supportive and treat me good and are there for me. That's what matters. Yes, there should be more written about this, cause it is a shock when it does happen. Good luck everyone!

      almost 5 years ago
    • Hoping4ever's Avatar
      Hoping4ever

      Some times, friends think that w've might been bothered because they think cancer is a private disease and they were embarrassed of how to approach it , but others ignore it because we've mistaken them of being our friends for a long time and the time came so as to reassess our friendship. Class mates whom i've never seen for ages kept calling and checking up on me and my father and brother in low insisted on helping us financially ,which we appreciated but not excepted . So, if they are true friends they will always be there to share both happy and rough times with you. Best wishes of beautiful life ahead.

      almost 5 years ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      It can be a blessing- you learn who your friends are. You can get rid of some people that you are polite to, but you wished that you saw them less.

      I dated this guy- he showed up late, etc. I'd tell him that I needed to be home by a certain time- like a Sunday date to Santa Fe and the pueblos- but I had to be at school about 6:30, so I could meet the buses that started coming in before 7. One time we we were running so late, that I got out, while he was getting gas to go further into the mountains. I went to the hiway and stuck my thumb out to get home. He took me home.

      He called after my face was rearranged, and wanted me to doll up and go to Santa Fe for some artsy-politico thing. I told him -thanks, but I didn't feel up to it. He asked me why- I have cancer- Oh, that's too bad. We'll just make it short-where is it? My face- he hung up. I thought- this has its advantages!!

      I'm sort of a private person used to living in remote areas. So it doesn't make that much difference. A person just doesn't want to be rejected. I usually don't say anything positive, but this is a chance to find out who your real friends are and to develop yourself as a stronger person inside, to philosophize- study something that you've put off- a language, art, knitting, I like to make model airplanes and decorate cakes. As soon as I got on my feet, I put up new blinds in the whole house. It's easy to do now. I know with your kidneys affected that physical activity probably hurts your back something horrible. I'm sorry. This disease is horrible to us and our families. I wish you well.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Suzieq2u's Avatar
      Suzieq2u

      Unfortunately yes. Only the ones that can't handle it emotionally. I believe in karma. They will be given a life lesson at some point in their life and have to deal with it whether they like it or not. I pray for you to be surrounded by positive and loving people during this difficult time. We are all your family here and you can reach out to us anytime! ((Hugs)) and prayers my dear.

      almost 5 years ago
    • MikeAnne's Avatar
      MikeAnne

      Yes, my husband was diagnosed in January 2012 and has had his kidney removed and multiple treatments. Recently after CT Scan we were notified that cancer had doubled in size in his lungs and the space where his kidney was removed had a spot. His best friend since high school was very supportive up until recently and he has just stopped calling. My husband, an only child, thought of him as his brother so Mike is very hurt by this turn of events. Other friends comment--"what now" like we are bothering them. This is difficult, but we have found people that we never thought of as terribly close who, like other have said, always call and check on us and have really helped us through this tough time. Now that Mike is going to UCSF on a "Clinical Trial" they have really been there. We have learned who are true friends and family and it is great to know who they are especially now. God Bless. This site has helped me a lot too!

      almost 5 years ago
    • cllinda's Avatar
      cllinda

      I agree with the others. Unfortunately, it is YES. Sometimes, people don't know what to say, so they just back off. And it's bad because that is when you truly need your friends and family. I have a neighbor who hasn't even waved to me since the diagnosis. Like I am contagious or something. But I did find people did care about me and my situation and brought us dinners, gifts, and other things during this time. It's just so weird when people back away from you because you have cancer. But remember, it's their problem, not yours. You have enough to deal with. So ignore them and embrace the people who are there for you.

      almost 5 years ago

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