friends/family reacting strangely to news of bc?

Hi all

Hadn’t expected reaction from friends and family to news of my bc. Most only communicate with my OH and some not at all which leaves me feeling a bit stunned and isolated. DO they think bc is contagious?

A few have been really brill.

In general I’m feeling that my life has changed fundamentally and in a strange way am looking forward to new things and a new life anyway.

Maybe people don’t know what to say and avoidance seems easiest?

C x

Hi Chicci,
I was out and about a lot through my treatment so people could mostly see how I was coping. I am living in another country so didnt see long term friends, but got a pile of letters and get well cards which was lovely.My family organised that all my friends, workmates, children Id looked after etc, knew and wrote. Some people (like a neighbour)assumed Id got a lot on my plate and stayed away. One lovely friend stuck like glue and supported me by taking me to appointments, and bringing me tasty sandwiches for lunch.
I was spoilt really!
The best thing was that when I wanted to hide from the world, my sons friends would drop round (to see him, of course) so I just had to accept that but theyd see me with or without dodgy wig. It made me see life goes on.
So, a range of reactions, and probably different to what Id have got if Id been at home in the UK.
My long time friend had BC and I now realise that I was utterly clueless and probably not as supportive as I should have been.I was acting partly out of ignorance and partly out of fear that my turn might come.Little did I know!
I`m so sorry some of your friends have isolated you and hope they come round when they see how positive you are being,


Hi Mimsy

That’s great for you you;ve obviously got a better organised family. It certainly helps to get cards etc. Just wonder if I’ve been too positive? I go into planning mode in a crisis and then crumple afterwards.

Do get the feeling tho that people don’t want to to think about it too much out of fear that their turn might come - 1 in 8 women apparently get bc - i also thought I cd beat those odds.

Have realised people are all flawed and react how they react.

C x

I think people may be nervous about contacting you in case you’re not feeling well enough to deal with them, so the onus is often on us to make the contact. Might not be the case with everyone, but that’s what I found generally with friends who I don’t see regularly. Once that contact’s been made it can still happen that people don’t keep up the contact, but if you think about it, you might not have a lot of contact with them normally. I haven’t spoken to my sister since March, but that’s not far off normal for her.

It does get a bit wearing when people try to the oneupmanship thing about symptoms - “I’m really tired too, don’t know how I got up out of bed this morning” kind of thing if you’ve commented about feeling completely shattered after chemo.

And I also find it really BORING being asked about cancer all the time, so I tend to give brief answers and then change the subject.

Hi Chicci,
Sorry, my post was about what happened over a long period of time, and when I was not at home in the UK, so is not representative, and Id probably have had a similar experience to you if I had been at home. There are threads on here about insensitive things people say. Ive had it myself, and it leaves you gobsmacked, especially when people shut you down and (in my case) want you to be quiet and not talk about it.
What reactions have you had that have been insensitive and strange?

Thanks all - have now had a couple of people phone and say they didn’t want to intrude and so initially contacted OH instead - it’s starting to make sense.

This is a strange old journey we’re on.

C x

Hi Chicci,
Im glad people have started to contact you again. Ive remembered something! I avoided, like the plague, anyone who had a wacky theory about what caused/would cure cancer, you know, the wheatgrass and positive thinking brigade who`d want to drag you into the middle of the Mojave desert for a good chanting session!

Hi Chicci,

I found some of my friends and family reacted very stangely to the news that I had BC unfortunately with secondaries, some of my closest friends just cried (wierdly enough I did’nt) although I have too say this did not make me feel any better! My brother is the one that has really got to me, initially he was very strong and dealing with it ok, doing research etc and now it feels like he does not want to see me anymore, this hurts so much as we were always so close, maybe its because they are scared for us and dont know what too say, but avoiding me is not going to make it go away, and yes do they think BC is contagious well actually I think some of them do think that unbelievable as it seems but one of my friends their dog was very ill at the same time I was dx the dog had a cough, then I was dx with mets to my lungs and they kinda look a bit oddly at me as if me and the dog had the same thing!!! Flippin crazy!! I even had to say to them “you cant catch cancer its not like flu or a cold”.

You are right things have changed forever and I’m already embracing the changes, like radically changing my diet and lifestyle, my outlook on life has totally changed and I no longer care about career, money etc there are more important things to life than material things, I’ve gained a spiritual perspective on life its just such a shame that its taken this terrible disease to make me realise this.

Sending you love and light
sarahlousie xxx

I think a lot of people see bc as a long term stressful thing with an uncertain outcome and just can’t cope whereas if it’s happening to you you have to flippin cope.

Hi Sarahl - please ignore if this is way off the mark - I think men especially feel like failures if they can’t fix something (right now if poss) and maybe that’s what your brother was trying to do by researching? Maybe you can explain female psychology to him a bit ie talking about something makes it easier for women(whereas for men it often makes it worse) Maybe tell him that he can actually fix this problem for you by just listening to you - that listening *is* a solution to your problem.

I’m sure your brother loves you but he’s trying to do what another guy would expect.

One of my intial reactions when I was first dx was whether i cd borrow a dog off a friend for a while - I’ve always felt more comforted by having animals around. They’re a whole lot easier to talk to and a darn sight more cheerful than most people…

C x

hi just been reading this thread. i haven’t yet spoke to people yet about my dx even though its been a couple of weeks now. only my 2 bosses know other than husband and mum and dad.

i think i haven’t told people yet because i just need to deal with whats happening to me and the treatments ahead of me, and can’t cope with reactions of other people yet and what they will be like. its seems all too daunting.

chicci - thats interesting about the animal thing. i have 2 cats, we adopted them as kittens last september from rspca. i have already loved cats and have always had them around from being a child.
and they do cheer you up - because they are still young they are very active zooming round the house like maniacs playing and wresting with each other. they follow me around demanding attention which is nice and very therapeutic when they are sat on your lap like a little hot water bottle.

they do say that animals are good for lowering stress levels.


Hi Chicci and tommyticklemouse,

Thanks for the advice regarding my brother I’m hoping he will get better with time, I think your right initially he was juicing everyday himself!!! I just think its so scary not just for us but for everyone around us.

tommyticklemouse - I have 2 cats and they are both quite young they do lift my spirits and like you say they are so much more uplifting than the people, we were thinking about getting a dog as well not only are they great companions and give unconditional love but it would do me good to get me out walking everyday.

Sending you both love and light
sarahlousie xxx

hi sarahlouise - i thought about a dog as well before now, but have never pursued it with working full time. after this though i may look into it for the same reasons to go out walking with it. early days yet concerning work, but at moment dont want to go back full time definately not straight away, think it would be too much. even if you think i will take it steady in never happens, especially ay my i will running round like blue arsed fly within a week - might be being a harsh there ha ha.

i would love a springer spaniel ( had one when i was a kid) - but there are a bit manic and need a lot of exercise - not sure how they get on with cats either. might have to be something a bit calmer - a greyhound maybe!

love and hugs to you and your kittys xx