Jealousy

I’m jealous of my healthy friends, while I battle breast cancer. I must admit, I feel bad for jealous people in general. It’s a terrible feeling and alienates you very quickly.
My sisters took over going to appointments with me. Every one in my family has been wonderful. It’s not that my friends wouldn’t come through for me-they didn’t have to. My sisters felt very strongly it was their place to see to things.
But I’m not jealous that my sisters are healthy. The feeling simply isn’t there. It’s my long time friends. They are going along on vacations, picking up double overtime, meeting other couples for dinner. Prior to cancer I felt glad for them. Now I am angry. I have cancelled many times on them. I’d rather be alone

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I didn’t have quite such strong feelings towards friends but I was pretty angry and it was 2021 and I was so afraid of getting COVID which might postpone my treatment that I was avoiding meeting people inside anyway. I have to say I went dark on my work colleagues I felt like I couldn’t deal with too many people and didn’t want to feel any more guilty about being off sick than I already did. They have never blamed me for it.

You say you have become alienated but I think that you’re feeling alienated -you are in a different place to them . It’s like being in a parallel universe sometimes you can’t relate to them and vice versa - no wonder you’re angry . Many of us here have found that our friendships have dissolved or changed because of our BC . You seem to be looking upon this as something that is your fault - it’s hard for me to judge as I don’t know how you have behaved toward your friends or they towards you . Many of us have found some of the comments people ( including friends ) make to be insensitive . Also sometimes people get nervous / don’t know what to say so keep on talking about their lives / what they are doing perhaps even more than usual without stopping to think that you might find this upsetting because you can’t do those things right now. They may not mean to throw it in your face , they probably just may not be able to help it.

Perhaps they don’t understand why you don’t have the emotional band width to deal with this at present but we all get it.

Anger and a fighting spirit can help you to get through but once you are through it would be good to still have some friends so sometimes you may have to bite your tongue , smile , say you’re ok when not . But maybe you could also find a way to say that too much normality has been affecting your ability to focus on your treatment and you decide how much contact you can cope with.

It’s great that your family has rallied around for you but I’m also wondering if that might have made some of your friends feel a bit pushed out . They may actually be feeling jealous of your sisters right now and it may be affecting their behaviour a bit .

With best wishes. Xx

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Hi loulou1, I really feel for you. You are honestly describing your feelings, and that is something which can be difficult for many people. Feeling your feelings is healthy, but not always easy or comfortable.

I have found it incredibly helpful to have counselling. It has helped me to navigate the changes and challenges in relationships which have occurred in the context of me having cancer.

It might be that your local cancer service/charity offers counselling. Or you might have the option to pay for counselling, or speak with someone skilled via a helpline.

This might not be right for you right now, but i thought it was worth a mention just in case.

Take care, Julie xx

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Hello @loulou1

I am so sorry you are struggling in this way and it is entirely understandable. The impact of receiving a breast cancer diagnosis is so much more than the actual treatments: it absolutely throws us into a washing machine and causes us to look at all aspects of our lives differently and sometimes we compound our emotions by feeling bad for feeling the way we do.

Every single emotion you have is legitimate, not wanting to spend time with friends or family who just don’t get it is fine: all you can do is be you and deal with how you are feeling. I read a quote by Tina Turner when asked how did she cope with the abuse she suffered and she said something along the lines of the only thing you can control is how you react to a situation and I’ve chosen not to allow what happened to me define who I am.

I promise you, you will feel better in time, whilst friends may go friends will also come: there’s a fair chance some of them just don’t know what to do or say to you at the moment, but things happen to other people too and maybe at that point in time you will be just the right person to talk to. Whilst comparing yourself to other people is not always a healthy thing to do, there will always be times when you think “well at least I’m not….”

I would suggest some counselling or a moving forward course would really help you, but in the meantime just know that it’s OK to feel this way and sharing your feelings with those of us “who know” is absolutely the right thing to do

Sending you lots of hugs

AM xxx

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I am going to begin counseling.

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I think I’ve done well with my reaction. I’m going into month four and this is my first gripe. I have not let it define me.

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I guess this forum isn’t for me

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I’m sorry you feel that way and I don’t think that anyone here was trying to suggest there’s anything wrong with how you are feeling and may be you just wanted to vent . Some of us are looking at this with the benefit of hindsight and you may regret it later if you lose a longstanding friendship now because you are feeling angry and jealous however natural it is to feel like that… If your friends can’t handle it then that’s on them but if you push them away then that’s on you - though if they are really good friends then they will probably come around even then.

Wishing you all the best with the rest of your treatment and good health and happiness for the future xx

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Dear Loulou, so sorry to read you post, but most of all feeling the forum it’s not for you, take one day at a time at the moment,

We have some lovely people offering help and support, please let us know how you’re getting on.

Wishing you, health and happiness going forward

With the biggest hugs Tili :rainbow::pray::rainbow::pray:

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Dear @loulou1 , I was drawn to your post when I saw the word jealousy. Boy to I relate to that feeling! It’s not nice as you say but I just can’t help it. I’m jealous of anyone I see with long shining hair…mine used to be like that. Now its short, fine, dry, sticks out at the side and I hate it. If one more person says ‘it suits you short’ i’m liable to give them a slap. I am also jealous of women with two breasts proudly displaying a lovely cleavage. I only have one breast now and a rubbery substitute stuffed in my bra on the left side. I also feel jealous when I am surrounded by schoolgirls at bus stops with their whole lives ahead of them, seemingly without a care in the world. I hope I wont have these feelings forever but it certainly feels liberating to speak them out loud!
With love from Tulip xxx

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I felt the same specially when I was having chemo. My friends sent me photos on whatsapp from their vacation in Greece, Italy,… telling me that they were thinking of me. It was really nice from them but I was alone at home, miserable and I envied them. Since my cancer diagnosis I stopped drinking alcoohol and some “friends” stopped calling me to go out with them. I’m boring now! I sometimes too prefer to be alone. I don’t want to be a burden for my friends. Someone reminded me lately that these emotions are all normal and we should forgive ourselves. Be kind to yourself!

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I’m going away with my partner and another couple next week and I will have a few drinks but it won’t be many and although I’m looking forward to going away I’m a bit apprehensive . I don’t want to be seen as a stick in the mud and I hope there won’t be any conflict but I’m not going to be stuck indoors in a pub drinking and risking what’s left of my health the whole time either . After having cancer I sometimes feel like I should be done with trying to please others and compromising or always being cast in the role of school mistress there to keep the others in line . I hope it won’t be like that and it probably won’t but I too sometimes feel jealous of the young and carefree who just do what they want . I don’t actually feel jealous of most of my friends because they have all recently had or are going through very traumatic events in their lives as well. @loulou1 I know you said the forum isn’t for you but if you’re still reading you have started a valid conversation . Xx

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Hi everyone, this topic really resonates with me, I’m so glad it was started. I’ve been seeing a counsellor and jealousy has come up a lot, and anger.

I did write a long post on what and who is making me jealous but couldn’t bring myself to post it as I didn’t want to offend anyone (plus it made me sound like a terrible person!) Writing it helped though as it did make me think that this is just a process I need to go through while I come to terms with diagnosis, treatment, and grieve for the life I thought I was going to have.

I have totally lost my original point after the massive paragraph I wrote and deleted but I think it’s more than ok to be jealous or angry, I’m probably always going to be a little bit of both, I just hope I figure out how to deal with the feelings better.
Xxx

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Hi @loulou1

Your feelings are valid. We all process things differently when we get diagnosed with cancer. There is no right or wrong way to feel.

I had a good friend of 20 years who sent 5/6 texts over a 6 month period, when I had had bilateral lumpectomy, chemo with Herceptin (continues til Sep 2024) and radiotherapy. I cold capped with chemo so kept most of my hair, it shed but had two patches above my ears.

I felt very let down with the little contact, I didn’t reply to many people as I was concentrating on getting through my treatment especially chemo. I started counselling and the relationship and lack of contact was discussed. She encouraged me to reach out and say I how I felt with no blame and explain that during my treatment I wasn’t able to think of others and keep in touch.

I was hesitant to reach out but I did send a text( read and re-read). The response was to blame for as she thought I didn’t want to deal with people and that her meagre texts were sufficient contact. Suffice to say I haven’t responded.

Thinking back I was jealous of lots of friends and family living their lives without a worry in the world. What had I done to get cancer?

If it had been my friend I would have sent a card, flowers cooked food, offered to clean or take yo appointments. I had helped her with her divorce and moving out of the family home, taken her to hospitals appointments when nobody else could. I had expected her to return the favour.

I hope you reconsider the forum, it is a supportive and friendly place. Some times comments are not always what you want to hear but people want to share their experiences to give a wider perspective. I have had a very fractious family relationship over a few years and when my mother died I was left to deal with her estate but she didn’t leave me anything. I did all the work for no return just the hassle. So many people will tell you family is all that matters, always try to repair the relationship but it’s doesn’t fit everyone’s situation. There are so many things people do not know. …think about the Royal family… we just hear what ‘some’ people want us to hear others keep quiet so we do t get the ‘whole’ story.

So sorry for the long post but I hope you stay with us.

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My oncologist said there was no reason to stop having alcohol in moderation in fact red wine has anti-cancer properties. Many soft drinks loaded with sugar are worse … I did stop smoking immediately was only v light smoker but still - that was 5 years 5 months ago not had one cigarette since . I enjoy wine with good healthy food and intend to enjoy it the rest of my life . Having had cancer is bad enough no reason to entirely stop doing things we enjoy . Whatever we choose to give up we’re all mortal !!

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I made a decision to stop drinking alcohol, it’s my decision and it should also be respected. I notice there is a social pressure to drink alcohol and that’s was I was saying. I don’t advocate for anything and I’m happy you enjoy your glass of red wine. yes everbody should do the things they enjoy.

(the anti cancer properties of red wine didn’t protect me in the first place and I doubt it will protect me against recurrence. I might try brocoli instead lol.)

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Hi @marie911

I’m with you. I drank red wine before bc and it didn’t protect me either. I had chemo and tried a glass of wine and hated the taste. That was October 2023, I haven’t had a drop since, my choice. Alcohol is also full of sugar.

Luckily there are many non alcoholic alternatives. I have tried a couple of 0% wines and gin. I drink them in a wine/gin glass and it feels like I’m ‘joining’. I agree there is a lot of social pressure, even at Christmas, I was asked several times did I want a drink. I politely declined.

I believe the limit for alcohol for cancer patients is only 7 units a week, half the amount of standard recommendations. That’s half a bottle of red wine.

Take care :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Yes there is a lot of social pressure around drinking alcohol and I don’t believe in the so called anti - Cancer properties of red wine . Red wine was something I used to like but now because I drink so little I’ve found that I have lost my taste for it and that I don’t like the smell of it either when others are drinking it - not something I used to notice before . I will be sticking to real ale with a low alcohol content and water whenever possible as I really don’t like sweet drinks of any kind. If I’m going to have sugar ( which I’m trying to cut down on ) I prefer to have it in chocolate rather than alcohol. Xx

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I’m really sorry you’re having a bad time.

I didn’t actually join in with the forum until recently. This wasn’t because it’s not a good place, it’s because I wasn’t ready.
Like you I was angry and in many ways I wanted to actually ignore that I had cancer, and not be happy or positive about it….whilst being very angry that I had it and felt my life was on hold. I felt trapped…

I was diagnosed in autumn 21, but got Covid whilst in my 2-week wait, so had to wait 4 weeks! Then because I’d had Covid, I couldn’t have surgery as quickly as I had to have 8 weeks from recovery to surgery. Then I got told the pathology said it was HER2 and I needed chemo. My treatment plan went from a “sprint” to a “marathon”. I am now in my last months cycle of adjuvant treatment… it’s 2024 and 2.5 years :woman_facepalming:t2::face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

I totally get your feelings of anger and jealousy. Covid stopped me going away to new countries and adventures with my kids in 2020 and I still haven’t been abroad with them. They were 12 and 16 when lockdown happened and now 20 and 16… no longer like children, but young adults. I feel I have lost that time of fun when my friends have had that with theirs. My kids have missed out bringing lots of friends round to the house too and being carefree…

Every year, friends and family have been away on adventures and I’ve had to stay in striking distance of hospital, away from crowds indoors (immunocompromised) or paid x4 to be in a box at a theatre to avoid being crowded, but not miss out… though we sure have, or not far from toilets (current neratinib treatment🤦🏻‍♀️).

Anyway, I had CBT rather than pure counselling and it helped me lots.

I made sure that I did take as long as I could afford to take off work, because as I started to get over the fatigue of chemo and radio, I then started to feel resentful about going back to work, just as I was feeling a little better. I hadn’t had that “time for myself” that people kept telling me I should find or make time for. So I did. I went to GP and told them how I was feeling.

I put myself first and friends who had offered to go walks with me, do shopping etc I contacted them. I asked them to help me. They rallied around, they walked slow walks, they went for an outdoor coffee, they did film nights and takeaways.
In January one said “let’s go away with the “kids” somewhere warm and sunny after your treatment finishes! So I’m going! I have been looking forward to this and it’s happening end of June (after GCSEs and my treatment ends)

It’s been a slog, I still have years of hormone blockers and bone protection. I’ve been in a similar place to you. As have others. You’ll work through it…in your own way, we anll recognise that … and if you need to go and shout from the top of a hill…I highly recommend it!!

I have found a couple of new friends through this process too… we’re in the club no one wants to be in, but once you’re ready, you’ll find some lovely supportive and new friends who can be there in a way that you need.

Wishing you all the best x

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I wish only the best for you

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