Had cancer, got no friends.

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Re: Had cancer, got no friends.

I had difficulty understanding why some friends did not ask me about my cancer and my progress through treatment. In the beginning I answered any questions asked of me and was open about the treatment and how it affected my body. Some friends and family seemed to understand, others were uncomfortable with the subject. My ex-husband was the only one who asked me directly about chemo and how it felt. It was a relief that I could be open with my answer. I have come to believe that many don’t know how to approach a person with an illness, e.g. what questions to ask and how to respond to the information they receive. It is a minefield for the person with the illness and for the person enquiring. I learnt over time, who could handle what information and I adjusted my replies to the individual. It deeply hurts me, that some of my family have “swept my cancer under the carpet”, so to speak. My attitude has changed towards them; I cannot and probably never will, feel the same connection with them. In times of need we see the true personalities of people around us and it can be surprising who are the ones that offer support at a critical time. Can I offer some advice; if you don’t find the support you need from those around you, seek out a support group. I did and have found much understanding and help from within the group. There will always be someone who understands your feelings and can offer support. Sometimes the best advice comes from outside your circle of family and friends. Take care. Reindeer
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Super Contributor

Re: Had cancer, got no friends.

Dear Reindeer,I use support groups on line,can't find any off-line ones applicable ,but have used Cancer Council and probably will in the future ,Even on the phone you can say anything you need to and get an understanding person at the other end . Thanks for your advice.
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Super Contributor

Re: Had cancer, got no friends.

Dear Reindeer,I use support groups on line,can't find any off-line ones applicable ,but have used Cancer Council and probably will in the future ,Even on the phone you can say anything you need to and get an understanding person at the other end . Thanks for your advice.
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New Contributor

Re: Had cancer, got no friends.

I think the main thing I discovered is that having cancer has changed me. I am so grateful for the support of my partner, family and close friends but am determined not to be hurt by the lack of communication/interest from others I would normally have expected more from. Life's too short so I focus on those that are genuinely interested in how I'm doing and who really want to hear whether I've had a good or a bad day, but, equally I sometimes find myself having to force them to tell me about their day or what's going on with them. I was so upset when my lovely step-daughter called, in tears, to say she'd been having a bad time at home with her husband but felt she couldn't tell me as "I had enough on my plate". This is when it hits me most, that the dynamic of my relationships has changed. I may have changed in some respects but I still want to be there for others too. My life is not just about cancer and I can't allow it to take over. Basically, what I'm saying is that it's a 2 way street. My partner, family and close friends are there for me but in order for our relationships to survive, I aim to be there for them when I can too.
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Contributor

Re: Had cancer, got no friends.

Heya, just wanted to bump this topic and see how everyone was going. sarah
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Occasional Contributor

Re: Had cancer, got no friends.

Perfectly put Loraleeb, I have always said that I wouldn't change a thing from my experience although I don't want to do it a second time but yet if I have to I would. My neighbour passed away last week and when she went into palliative I held her hand and spent a great deal of time with her. I didn't want her to be alone and it happened so fast for her that her family which isn't huge didn't have a lot of time to rally around her. Also there were those that chose not to go up and see her. I understand that as they were so scared. I felt like through my experience God has now armed me with resources to be there for people too and let them know they are not alone. The time I spent with her was an amazing privilege and I am deeply touched and affected by her passing. She has such strength right up until the end and was a mentor to me even in her time of pain and suffering. Many people are afraid of cancer and the effects I agree with you that if we can surround ourselves with other cancer survivors and help them through treatments etc we will create a circle of friends that has a connection deeper than any superficial 'hey there friend' connection. Unfortunately we don't have an official support group in my home town but there are a few of us survivors and sadly more and more all the time that are planning on making this a reality. Take care, Survivorsays
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Re: Had cancer, got no friends.

Hi raindeer, hi everyone.. Raindeer, I just re-read your comment and wanted to say it touched a chored with me - especially this paragraph: "It deeply hurts me, that some of my family have “swept my cancer under the carpet”, so to speak. My attitude has changed towards them; I cannot and probably never will, feel the same connection with them." I cannot begin to go into how "inappropriately" my family, and many friends also, have responded to my cancer. Deep grief is the way I would describe the feelings I carry consequently, and of course, additionally to everything else. The pain and grief runs deep yes, there is also deep confusion that I have stemming from the gap of understanding; they have no idea, and never will ever appreciate the complexities, as they don't/wont stop a minute to consider. I understand what you are saying, and feel that you have the same kind of "omg, I can't believe this" sort of thing going on. We need care and support too, why does it happen the opposite way?
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Occasional Contributor

Re: Had cancer, got no friends.

Hi Smiler, It is a 2 way street isn't it. I have been off from work for almost 2 years now and haven't heard from anyone in the last little while. To be honest I haven't contacted too many either. I have been in such a world of care and cushy lovey love, take care, world that to be back in the harsh world of reality is at times overwhelming. I've gotta get back in the game though as watching from the sidelines only makes my family worry. My daughter also had a melt down a few weeks ago and said she felt so bad because she didn't feel she could complain about anything because of what I've been through. Oh it's so not about just me is it? Trying to get out and about a little at a time but find that tires me and I have to recoup just like I would from exercise. A little at a time. I think the trick is to turn the harsh world of reality into a cushy love world of reality. Gotta keep on trying.
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Re: Had cancer, got no friends.

“There comes a point in your life when you realize who matters, who never did, who won’t any more, and who always will. So don’t worry about people from your past, there’s a reason why they didn’t make it to your future.” I lost a few people, but reconciled with some estranged family members, so am very blessed. "Many people will walk in and out of you life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart."
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Occasional Contributor

Re: Had cancer, got no friends.

So well said. I am a 2 year plus cancer survivor and at first i fought so hard to keep friends with those that had slipped away. I've realized that is wasted energy and there are many other wonderful people who have been brought into my life that I'd sooner spend time focusing on them and their positive energy and fellow survivorship with some. When you do what you're suppose to do instead of fighting for something or someone that doesn't fit into your life there are many rewards. Life is good, share it with those that matter!
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