Had cancer, got no friends.

Contributor

Had cancer, got no friends.

Hey everyone, I know this is an issue for a lot of cancer survivors and it sure is for me, so I thought I'd open up a discussion on it. Basically, I feel like most of my family and friends dumped me through the cancer process and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I haven't spoken to half of them since I was in treatment 18 months ago, or before then, and I'm sure that some of them don't even know if I came through ok or not. Obviously my family know, but I still haven't spoken to a lot of them about it. I now feel really uncomfortable around the people that distanced themselves when I was sick. There's a massive white elephant in the room when they're around and I feel like I didn't put it there (and that I shouldn't have to deal with it). When I first got through treatment and got the all clear I was so excited to be healthy again that it didn't affect me. After a few months I got angry about it and recently I realised that I don't think I could stand to be around most of those people now anyway. My life is moving on and they all seem to be stuck in a world that revolves around material things and superficial relationships. Its sad though, to realise that I was part of all that once too and that it all means nothing at the end of the day. But I'd still rather have that realisation than not!
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Not applicable

Re: Had cancer, got no friends.

Hi Steve, wow, you have hit the nail right on the head with this, I really believe no one knows what you go through and especially when your sick all the time,I know ive lost all but 3 friends cause i cant go to pubs and am too tired to spend the whole day out, id rather sleep to try and keep my levels up, My family{not my husband or kids} have no idea as they treat me like some poor little sick kid and they sympathy is pathetic, I have told them a million times, i dont need or want sympathy, i would like some help, but that for them is too hard so we try the best we can ourselves at times. I am also finding out lately that i am starting to not want to be near people who are self absorbed, when i got diaganosed my sister told everyone i was doing this to hurt her, i didnt realise people actually wanted cancer???? i surely didnt, and when i had my first operation she called me an idiot and that god would take care of me, i no longer speak or see her and im much happier. I do get angry sometimes at what i feel like ive lost but relationship with my husband and kids is stronger than ever as they see first hand how sick i get,I appreciate their support more than anything else..... Take care, Sham
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Contributor

Re: Had cancer, got no friends.

Wierd replying to you Steve seeing as you know my circumstances, but I really think you hit the nail on the head. Given for us your cancer was our 2nd round of going through the loss of family not caring and firends being to self absorbed. I am glad you have written about it to open up the lines for others to speak about their disappointments. Sham we to had no support I was barely able to stay awake and had to look after a 4 month old, I tell you now my 2nd son is the same age and I can't believe I made it through that period without help. It makes me so mad that people treat us as if we have been bad and thats why we have had cancer...my mum apparently cried to everyone about how awful it was but didn't even see me or my son. Just thinking baout it makes me mad all over again... Anyway, I am sure we have all experienced this to some degree.
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Frequent Contributor

Re: Had cancer, got no friends.

Steve and Sham It's amazing how things work on this site. Only yesterday I wrote and posted an item in the Survivors Group section. It's called The Strangest Thing and it is about the change in family relationships that I observed during my treatment. As I only wrote it yesterday I am pleased the discussion has started today. I can relate closely to what each of you has to say, but I do feel I have been a bit more fortunate. It's amazing how some people choose to hide their fear, isn't it.
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Contributor

Re: Had cancer, got no friends.

I had similar issues. Actually some people ACTUALLY came and 'paid their last respects' ( nothing actually said )and few did distance them selves and apologized later explaining it was too close to them. I spent a lot of time using humor with all my friends. I started up a email list to keep everybody in the loop as well. What was worse was the effect it had on my direct family, worry etc etc but as much as I would love to, there was no escape You are right though, you do get see friends in a different way with their reactions, although I have actually made friends through cancer ! Dunedigger
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Occasional Contributor

Re: Had cancer, got no friends.

Hi there, I can relate to everything that's been said already. I had bladder cancer and now have a urostomy instead of a bladder. I know it's not polite to talk about toileting habits but most ostomates need to talk to someone as it's so different, at least at the start. Our families with the exception of my parents and one sister, barely visited me during the two weeks that I was in hospital. And some certainly have not checked on me since. We saw them at Christmas and a couple of family dos and they really seem to want life for me to go on as it was before. Well as you all know that's never going to happen. My friends have been more supportive than family, with the exceptiion of my parents who ring me every day. I participate in online chatrooms for ostomates, which are wonderful. This website is also excellent in helping me in many ways. Julie
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Deceased

Re: Had cancer, got no friends.

Hi Steve Here is something I wrote last year on this theme: When you listen to the stories of those affected by cancer this is a very common theme. Yes along the way you meet some amazing people, you interact with wounded storytellers and wounded healers and you make new friends, but that still does remove the sense of abandonment that you feel. But why is it that companions shun us, that we feel abandoned by friends and family? The Sydney Cancer Surgeon, Myles Little, who several years ago did a huge amount of work with long term survivors of cancer suggests that it is because we are confronting mortality and others find this uncomfortable. It could also be the reaction that a friend suggested to me when she felt that one of her best friends was shunning her because if “it happened me it could happened to her”. And sometimes we are uncomfortable to be with - if you are not feeling well or you have had a hell of a week, it is hard to engage in the normal social chit-chat. To have the ritual greeting “How are you” and the response “I’m fine” seems a bit hollow. And of course we often look well - as one chemotherapy nurse said to me “we are awfully good at making patients look well”. And then there is the effect on our families and loved ones and we worry about them. But sometimes the discomfort is with our friends - the honest ones will say - ‘look I find it uncomfortable being with you, I do not know what to say’. Well we are uncomfortable being with ourselves sometimes, and you don’t actually have to say anything. Sometime ago there was one person who I have known for a long time - whenever they saw me they always grabbed my hand and held it - sometimes they didn’t say anything, sometimes they just asked how the last week had been. There is a wonderful quote that I found in the novel “The Sixth Lamenation” by William Brodrick - He has the Abbott of a monastery talking to a younger monk “We have to be candles, burning between hope and despair, faith and doubt, life and death, all the opposites. That is the disquieting place where people must always find us” Sailor But the sea is a mighty soul, forever moaning of some great, unshareable sorrow, which shuts it up into itself for all eternity. Lucy Laud Montgomery
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Frequent Contributor

Re: Had cancer, got no friends.

hi everyone i'm 3yrs past a 6wk death sentence. why is everyone stressing about the minority of amazing people you wil now meet???We are legends,we have done what a lot of people can't imagine.Don't let negative people take away what you have achieved
Not applicable

Re: Had cancer, got no friends.

Hi This is my first time writing on the site. Steve sometimes I found that people just didn't and still don't know what to say..I normally hear comments like How can you keep on smiling and be happy..people just don't understand how we feel most of the time and that everyday can be a challenge. I have some friends that will always be there for me and some friends that keep the distance too...I go on trying to do the best in living my life after cancer and take nothing for granted...
Not applicable

Re: Had cancer, got no friends.

I just joined this site after googling about losing friends once you have had cancer. I think that my best friend no longer wants to be friends since I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2009. I have successfully gone through surgery and radiation and am now on Tamoxifen and monthly injections to stop the estrogen from being produced. I have sailed through this whole thing really well, only missing one week from work after my surgery. My friend was there with the initial appointment with the surgeon but then fell off the radar map. I have tried to maintain the friendship but she has not responded very much to my e-mails or phone calls and I can't believe that this is happening. I never thought she was someone who would react this way and we have been through so much over the years. We are not kids. I just turned 50 last week and she is 45. I did not even get a "Happy Birthday" on my birthday and she e-mailed me a few days before to "reschedule" plans to go out and celebrate. I am sad and disappointed in her all at the same time. This hurts even more than the cancer treatments. I know I am a strong person and I will go on, but it's hard to lose your best friend at this stage in the game. I'd love to hear from others who have been through a similar experience and hear how you coped with it. Thanks so much!
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