Hey Pete (and all)
It's good to know you're not alone.
The thing about cancer invisibility is that it comes in tandem with all the other stuff - you're fatigued, displaced, dealing with mortality - you feel stretched thin, vulnerable. So when people start tiptoeing around you in their little survivor's-guilt-avoidance-strategy ... it can make you feel almost like you're partway there to being a ghost. A kind of preview of the grave - it can feel a little like you're a ghost at your own funeral, people who once saw you clearly are gone or don't acknowledge you !
So it's good to know you're not alone, and it's a phenomenon that is more about THEM (the folks around you) than it is about you.
One thing that's also good to know: it's temporary, you're in charge of it.
I've spent the last 4 years waiting to die. I've been slowly allowing myself to become more invisible .. I guess our part of the deal is to unplug and withdraw, almost as a defense mechanism when we see/feel people pulling back. I was getting more isolated and bereft of hope.
Today. I'm great. Really great.
I'm exercising daily (20km every day), I've mastered the thyroid damage .. the radiation wrecked my thyroid and I put on 50kg post treatment, I've already (since December) gotten rid of almost 40k of that. And I'm finding productive things to do. (Captain Australia will take a BIG WALK at the end of the year, for The Kids Cancer Project ... more on that soon .. but basically I'm going to walk from Brisbane to Melbourne, sleeping rough, to raise money for TKCP - a charity focussed on research, prevention and treatment of paediatric cancers ---- I hated seeing kids waiting for treatment, it was the worst thing)
So even if you fade to almost completely invisible, I go back to my original comment - you can CHOOSE to step forward and start singing.
Even if it's out of tune and funny and you get odd looks, I think that's kinda cool. Sing, folks 🙂
(er, for those dim of wit, Sing is a metaphor for .. you know .. stepping forward and being alive, doing things that matter, investing in life and yourself, reconnecting with friends even if they have withdrawn from you, all that positive stuff, heh)
HI all... I haven't experienced the invisibility thing yet... have experienced the very uncomfortable, don't know what to say response thing though... one person actaully expressed their discomfort to me not knowing what to say. I used to be the same way. Even though I had lost my husband to cancer 5-6 years ago, I still didn't quite know what to say to people who had it. Now I have it, I believe the best response for me and this is what I told the guy at work who expressed his discomfort at his failure to know the right response was just to say something like this - succinct and truthful:
"insert swearword of choice here", that sux!
🙂 Might not work for everyone... but it works for me.
Be part of this supportive community