Am I the only one who found while I was being treated for breast cancer and since that some of my best friends just couldn’t cope with what I was going thru, whereas some who I’d thought of more as acquaintances were really supportive and have become much closer friends now?

2 specific examples. I have - had? - a gay friend whom I’ve been really close to for 15 years or so - he was 1 of 6 friends we took to Egypt to celebrate our 25th anniversary, that’s how I felt about him. Since I was dx back in March 09 I sent out an email ‘blog’ thing of how I was progressing at more or less weekly intervals - it kept me grounded and let people know how I was doing so they didn’t have to ask. A lot of people responded with just a ‘thinking of you’ ‘keep up the good work’ type response which was fine. Some people said nothing. Unfortunately Craig was one of those. My birthday last year went unmarked by Craig, and it’s coming up to the year anniversary of the last time we spoke - he rang me to see if I’d been paid cos he hadn’t, so hardly a caring call. I know maybe I should have rung him (we’re 150 miles apart these days so seeing isn’t so easy) but I suffer from - and he knows this - bad clinical depression (on some heavy drugs for this and see trick cyclist regularly so not the best of things to go with Big C!). This gives me difficulty with the phone - face to face I’m fine, and if I answer the phone I’m fine, but making calls? A No No! I’m smarting a bit and feel upset by this loss of friendship, and wondered if anyone else had had the same.

In contrast to Craig, an ‘acquaintance’, John, was really good about email cheering me up when I was low, nagging me when I needed it and generally being supportive. We got quite close - then the bombshell. He was diagnosed with lymphoma last summer, and to cut a long story short, lost his battle a couple of weeks ago. He was only 45, his wife had died on the operating table while he was undergoing chemo (she’d been identified as having a genital heart problem when she collapsed on hearing his cancer diagnosis) - the man went thru hell, yet I’d send him an email encouraging him, and I’d get one just as encouraging to me back.

I spose it’s John’s death thats got me thinking along these lines - anyone else lost / gained friends?

I found that too, I have 3 sisters and of my sisters has still not contacted me. I was dx in August last year. had mx, chemo, rads and I am now on Herceptin. I got a christmas card which had hope you are better written on it. Not the best thing for her to have said at the time as this was the same week as my 1st docetaxel and I had all the side effects possible. Not a word since!!

A neighbour that I hardly knew saw me getting out of the car on my way home from the hospital post mx and came straight over to see if I was ok. She and her OH have kept in touch and have even taken me out to lunch. Always rings me up to check I am ok.

I think some people don’t know how to cope with the news. I am too busy dealing my treatment to help them to cope, so must admit I haven’t done anything to get in touch with my sister.


Ah don’t get me onto family! I have 3 sisters, 1 of whom I’ve not seen since my father’s funeral back in 1981, and I don’t know if she’s dead or alive. Sister #2 had double bc, double mx, and last I heard bone mets, but she decided she didn’t want to keep in touch with any of her family including my mother - her way of telling us was our box of Xmas pressies was Returned Refused by PO a few years back, and my 3rd sister I told last March when I was dx and not heard from her since - not even a Xmas card!!

Decided a long time ago some of my friends were closer to me than family - another reason I’m hurt by non supportive ones when I need it I spose.

Wow ladies, l am glad l have a brother and no sisters!

I don’t think you can put the friends and family in the same category, sometimes with family there is more to it than meets the eye. So l am not going to comment on the family relationships.

Also with friends, obviously everyone is different, I did find a couple of friends that never contacted me after l had my mastectomy, but at the same time, l know these ‘friends’ find coping in situations very difficult. In fact one has since contacted me, she found it easier once l had started my chemo! Not sure why, l wasn’t interested enough to ask. I am the most important person at the moment, so their little wobbles are the least of my worries.

Broomstick, do you think the weekly emails were a bit too much for your friends, l notice you say some never replied and some were ‘thinking of you and keep up the good work!! Perhaps they found it difficult to cope with?

I suppose it depends at what stage you are at, my stage now is having chemo, l probably speak to most of my friends weekly, but not about my breast cancer, because at the moment there is not a lot to talk about, and l find it emotionally tiring.
Even going for my chemo, probably only my family know the days l go, obviously friends know l go every 3 weeks, but for the actual day, l never make a point of saying.

I also find l am not the same person l was, so perhaps it is the same with you? And your friends find it difficult to speak to you, l was once very carefree and easy going, now l am much more stressed, find it harder to laugh! Perhaps our friends pick up on this?

It is their and our choice as to whether we continue the friendship, and l think we must look at each person as an individual, and decide what we think the reason they never contacted us is, and go from there.

Saying that, there is still one friend who has still not contacted me, and l have decided l will leave it at that, seems she always asks about me, just finds it difficult, but not as difficult as l find it!!!
But if she phoned to say she had a problem, l would be there like a shot! But that is how l am, no matter how badly l thought they had treated me in my hour of need.

We are in a very difficult situation, so there is no easy answer.
Lots of Love and Hugs
Sandra xxx

I’ve been pretty impressed by my friends - none have avoided me, and all my good friends have kept in regular contact without being intrusive - I’ve been very lucky. It is very noticeable though that those that have been the easiest to be with and the least tactless are those with either a medical background, or some personal experience of cancer. They are the ones that understand the seriousness of my dx, and don’t say things like “it’ll all be behind you soon” and suchlike. Also all my friends are in their late 40’s or 50’s, so are mature people and most most of them have experienced losing parents or other loved ones. I think it is much tougher for younger people to know how to act around friends with cancer - I know my younger self would have been very awkward, as my natural response is not to intrude.

The thing I have found hardest is dealing with my parents, who constantly ring and ask how I am. I completely understand their concern, but feel it drags me down on days when I have managed to forget for a few hours. Hey ho.

Its really sad how some folks react to our dx/on-going treatment.
I had a friend who was a few years older than me and had her 1st mamogram several years before I was DX. She came to me in a real state-she’d had a recall and was terrified. I did my best to reassure her, and thankfully, she got the all clear.
A mutual friend told her about me-and I havnt heard from her since.I met her in town, and she completly blanked me. I was so hurt, as she knew what that awful fear was like.
Still, I suppose its ‘weeded out’ those who arnt truly friends.
Take care all.
Cathie xx