In totally different place than non-cancer friends

Hi all sorry need to vent. Just got back from a meet up with 4 close friends. Left feeling so low and cried all the way home. Every topic I felt so separate, in such a different place from them. I have secondaries and pn third line of treatment, who knows how things will go.

We’re in our 40s and they were complaining about aging, I wish I could look forward to aging. Talking about their big holiday plans and general plans for the future. Even talking about these really cute bras they’ve found which obvs won’t work for me. I feel like a moaning Myrtle but I feel so alone and that my closest friends just don’t get how hard my life is. Don’t want them to tiptoe round me but found tonight really hard. Maybe some of you get what I mean?


So sorry that things are so hard for you - I’m not in your situation but I have an inkling of what you’re talking about . I hate having to listen to people I know going on about HRT and how they feel so much better now they’re on it when I’m not allowed to take it - and yes , bras as well. You can’t help but be sensitive to all these things knowing that things are uncertain for you and you can’t just decide to go on holiday when you feel like It. It has at times in the past felt to me like I was living in a parallel universe - it can be a lonely place. Maybe that’s what you’re experiencing now and you’re grieving for the life you had , the same kind of life they are living now and maybe thinking that they don’t appreciate it .

Sometimes it just comes down to a bad day - and maybe you needed to have a cry but have you thought about some counselling - perhaps via Mac Millan , there isn’t a Maggie’s centre near me but I have heard they are really good . Perhaps they could help you to explain to your friends how you feel and what you feel you need from them. .

It does sound as though your friends are trying - perhaps they aren’t sure what to say and though that carrying on as normal would be best without stopping to think that it might be a bit insensitive .

Sending a hug xx


I’m so sorry to hear this @ButtonBop it completely sucks. Perhaps they just don’t understand where you are in your cancer treatment? I had several friends who had cancer before I had my own diagnosis, all actually had bowel cancer, but I had no understanding of metastasis at that time and most likely was guilty of underestimating the significance of what they were going through. It took a meeting with the BC nurse after my surgery to understand what it was and that the risk applied to me too, for me to fully understand it so it is no surprise that your friends just don’t get it. It may well be a superficial response to you looking well and being well enough to socialise, that they just assume you’re doing fine. They might be a little insensitive but I bet they’d feel awful if they knew the true impact on you of their tactless conversation.

I agree with @JoanneN you need some help to allow yourself to still enjoy the company of your friends but with a few tricks and tools to help you do so without the overwhelming sense of loss and isolation that you are feeling now. Definitely try the BUPA/MacMillan counselling programme if you haven’t already, yes also to Maggies if you have one near you (they’re brilliant), there is also the Someone Like Me programme that Breast Cancer Now offer (details on the home page of the website or speak to the Nurse hotline) which I know to be a great help and, if it’s your kind of thing, CBT and mindfulness courses or even apps (Headspace, Calm, MindDoc, Wysa) can help.

Bottom line is you’ve been dealt a rotten hand and I applaud you for the spirit you’re showing by going out and engaging with life. I do hope you can find a way of reconciling the two as you move forward.


What part of the country are you. We have several meet ups in and near Exeter X

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Hi ButtonBob,
Totally with you on this. No one who hasn’t experience like we have can comprehend what it’s like for us - I guess we couldn’t before it hit us. That’s why forums like this are so good, we all do get it. There are also fab, relevant, private groups on Facebook too.

As for friends, my take is that they don’t want to upset me by talking about C, but it would be nice to spend some of the time we are together talking about me. I also think that they don’t know what to say if we do say what is going on with us.

Wait until,your friends hit menopause ! My primary was when I was 38 and is Er/Pr++ so I take hormone blocker, and had my ovaries out when I was 41. I had chemical then surgical induced menopause, but never hear the end of their natural ones (we are all in our early/mid 50s) niw. I’ e been living with secondaries for 4 1/2 years now.

All the best to you.



I just wanted to say I hear you, I know exactly how you feel, it hurts even more because you think, these people might be more careful with their words. But they height life moving on.

My own family do it to me, it’s hard very hard… but what I try to think is……tomorrows another day……I refuse to let others drag me down, I can do the quite easily myself …
Plan a day to do something you want to do, for YOU…and just do it.
I wish you well



Hi All,

I found this post resonated with me. I have one group of friends who have “experienced” cancer via their parents or jobs and they do ask how i’m getting on and feeling. That’s not to say they want to hear everything… they struggle with me when i talk about the stress.

Others ignore the subject or make comments i find insensitive. One medical friend told me to plan on 10 years after my secondaries diagnosis thinking it would make me feel better. I pointed out that meant i’d be dead by 67 and not get to claim my pension. She has just turned 64 so i think my retort was a reality check for her, I’ve had no further comments like it.

I had private counselling post diagnosis as the wait list for McMillan was so long, and it helped me. I also tried the “someone like me” but thats for primary diagnosis.

15 months in and still waiting for the BCN to put me in touch with someone locally. They have no “groups” via Hospital. BCN advised i go on Facebook.

I think your friends mean well, its just ignorance of the subject. You could explain some basics, but run the risk of being left out of the next get together because they find it too much…


Wouldn’t it be nice if those diagnosed with breast cancer in the same hospital or clinic be invited as part of a fellow survivor’s group? I would suggest that as part of @BreastCancerNow advocacy ideas.

Here in the hospital I was diagnosed and treated you had the option to participate in an onco-rehabilitation group of 12 fellow survivors. This included information sessions as well as physical exercises. It helped us creat a nice bond among us women and we have kept in contact ever since in our own private WhatsApp group. We try to meet in person every 3 months to enjoy a meal together as well. We know we understand each other, even if our treatments might have been a bit different. Last time one of them said, “ It gets more fun and enjoyable every time, I think the bond just gets stronger. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts::heart_eyes:

Is something like this offered in the UK? :uk:


Hi Smiley,

Unfortunately no, nothing like this is offered in my area for people with secondaries. It wasn’t on offer when i had my primary diagnosis either.

Sadly my hospital are very behind the times when it comes to providing any emotional support network, its very much a case of you’ll have to find something yourself via a forum.

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That’s a shame - mine run a 4 times yearly support group though it’s kind of a knee size fits all . I’m joining a group that’s an offshoot from that who meets for coffee every few weeks or so . There are also some local groups I’ve heard of via Facebook - actually the BCNs sent the details of those but I’m not on FB or intending to join. I’m in North Yorkshire though - you are South Yorkshire ? Xx


One size fits all


I’m North Yorkshire. Live in Harrogate.

Like you not keen on joining Facebook as i’ve had friends who have had bad experiences with their accounts and data bring targeted.

Just to say, I know exactly how you feel. Could have written the post myself. I used to get quite upset about it. After a few years, I’m now realising that friends are like clothes, I have ones for different days/activities. I went on a cancer surfing retreat and someone recommended a book called Friendaholic by Elizabeth Day. I have not read it all yet, but definitely found some ideas that are helpful.
I travel to Future Dreams House in London and have made a group of friends there who get it. We don’t see each other often, but we do message if we need a rant or a laugh and we all just get it.
I also went on a retreat with BCN and have a whatsapp group of ladies that are very supportive.
It is nice to find people that get it as it is a hard journey and none of us can do it alone. Sending lots of love.


Same here! So sorry about that :disappointed_relieved:
I just think about living as more tranquil and longer I can, with taking joy in day to day things…(mets to liver and bones, double mastectomywith no reconstruction), and have to ear my friends bitching about the most silly things…
But I kind of get used to it now, and use it as a distraction, rather than a bother.
But some days are harder than other, so I just go out for a walk, run, and read a book, and don’t answer the telephone…


So sorry you’re in this position. I really hope we all become grey haired old ladies with thousands of wrinkles. We deserve it. Can you maybe talk to one of your friends about how you feel? Sending a hug. X


Sorry you feeling this way and its normal to feel sad,alone and even a little depress. Have you joined any cancer support groups in your area? Or maybe you can start one. In the beginning I was keeping my treatment to my spouse, my child and my immediate family. Then things started to show such as my hair thinning out. Lost my eyebrows along with all the weight and friends started asking what’s going on. When i finally told them, i started to notice just a handful of friends would call and check on me, some will totally avoided me. I’m much better now that i have joined a support in my area. Hope this helps you.


@ButtonBop omg…this!!! Yes! Most of my non cancer friends have dusappeared! Sadly, and only just recently i decided to remove 4 from my life as they just did not understand my current life! Too long to type here but basically told me i was “consumed” by secondary breast cancer and my charity work!!! I felt completely attacked on our night out from all 4 of them and so paid my bill and exited! Then broke down in my car… some of the thongs they said were very hurtful… but that was a couple of weeks ago and i have thought about it since and decided, sadly they are not real friends…which is a real shame…
So i do empathise with you on this…x


@tibblek Future Dreams house is fantastic isnt it? They need more around the country! I have travelled to London several times to visit there. Its such a welcoming place, where everyone there just “gets it”.
Luckily there is also a group in Liverpool that i attend, which is specifically for secondaries, and we ger pampered, ran by Marina Dalglish Foundation, which is just lovely. So welcoming and understanding. If it wasnt for these places i am not sure where i would be right now… but i know i would be extremely lonely!
Cancer may have taken alot from me, but if it wasnt for Cancer, i would’nt have met some of the most amazing friends xx


Hi ,just reading through this post as it came up in my emails. I did a double take when i saw you are in Harrogate,I live in Knaresborough. I have had an invite to a teams meeting organised through the Leeds cancer support team. The session was mid morning on a workday so impossible for me to join in. Also no idea how to do a teams thing anyway. I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer last August ,had two surgeries, no chemo or radiotherapy and now adjusting to Anastrozole. Everything was very quick ,im self employed so only really took 4 weeks off and it all feels really surreal like it happened to someone else even though i now only have one boob, so can’t exactly say im not reminded all the time. I keep waiting for the breakdown,or the anger or the tears ,instead i feel bemused :woman_shrugging:t2:. Then i wonder if im not programmed right to feel so unaffected like some sort of fraud. Anyway after that weird ramble im here to chat to if needed X