It sounds like you developed a lot of bitterness about your friends and family. I'm not sure if this is you, but did you withold your cancer diagnosis from others; not wanting to talk about it with them? Did anyone offer to help you and you didn't want their help? When I tried to help a friend of mine who got cancer, she didn't want my help or to talk about it with me and she didn't tell me she had cancer even though I knew and tried to be there for her. SHE pushed me away whether she realized it or not, perhaps because she didn't want me to see her in that condition.
I would say, instead of giving up on these friends and family, try to see things from their point of view. Some people don't have courage or experience to be able to handle the thought of their friend having cancer. It is scary and there are a lot of emotions involved. Someone who is emotionally weak can't handle it. I believe in God and the resurrection, so I don't fear death, but a lot of people don't believe in that, so there isn't really a hope there that they'll see their loved one again. So they get scared and run, not wanting to deal with the emotions involved. It's good you realized that material things and superficial relationships aren't important. Material things have no value and if there are friends focused on that, perhaps they haven't learned that love and thoughfulness are the most important. Perhaps you can set the example for them now that you've come to that realization yourself.
l read your comment and it prompted me to register so that I could comment and hopefully help somebody going through a tough time.
I am a lung cancer survivor. It was not caused by cigarettes or cigars, but by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Cancer is a very lonely path to walk and in my case (like many) many “friends” fled the scene as soon as I was diagnosed.
Not only are you having to deal with a life threatening disease, but your judgement (when it comes to the “friends” you had chosen) is also questioned by yourself. How could you be so wrong?Couple that with the feeling of rejection (as if I were a defective part) and being let down by so many “friends” (some I had known since childhood) truly amplified the shock of my new reality.
As I went through surgery and chemo, things did get better and I learnt that even in a extremely difficult situation, there is always positive things that you can sieze upon and build a future with.
Yes cancer sucks and most people do not understand what we are going through or have been through.
Most people do not understand the concerns one has when a mysterious pain appears or when you are not feeling well, but it is part of the new normal as is keeping a cool head.
I decided that even though cancer sucks, it does also give you a blueprint of who your true friends are.
Most people go through their entire life with no clue.
By seeing the friends that I had that stuck around and also the new friends I made, I have true friends and so do you. It is better to have quality than quantity and that also applies to friends.
Once my imminent death was not to be, some old “friends” attempted to make a come back, but unfortunately the cracks in those relationships are now so deep that it is not worth the effort and work of a full restoration.
Now you can remain angry and bitter towards those people that dropped you and disappeared in your time of need, but that only impacts your life and your future.
The best way forward is to forgive, but not forget.
The best way forward is not to blame yourself.
The best way forward is to realize that the friends you now have around you are the only ones worth keeping.
I thought I would provide a slightly different perspective. About a year ago I received
an email from a longtime friend and former colleague who lived overseas, whom I only saw
every 2-3 years at large international meetings. He had received a stage 4 cancer diagnosis
and had been given 1-1.5 years to live. I was shattered by this news, and decided right then
and there to be the best possible friend that I could be, albeit a long distance one. I had no
idea what to expect, or how to go about this. My early communications were very awkward,
but he was very forgiving, saying that he was happy to have the contact. Over time, we
evolved into a daily texting schedule, and he would often say how good our chats made
him feel. I took my messaging cues from him: when he texted about his chemotherapy I
would follow that lead; when he dropped the subject, I swerved to other topics of interest. I
did not talk much about work, since his cancer had short-circuited his own brilliant scientific
career. I was fortunate that he was very articulate, had an optimistic nature, and a fantastic
sense of humor. It was amazing that even with the gravity of his critical situation, he
could make me laugh. I guess what I am saying is that some things have to come together
in order for a friend to feel comfortable with a cancer patient, especially a terminal one. Each side
has to be willing to take a risk, and allow for a growth process. The electronic medium probably
made it easier for me, thoigh we did manage 2 brief face to face meetings. My friend died
about 6 weeks ago, and I am still shattered. I desperately miss him, cry every day, but I
don't have a single regret, I know that choosing love was right.
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