Yes I suppose you are right in that I should focus on the people who do care. The ones who dont and have been "scared off" may be going through the same treatment one day and then the shoe will be on the other foot, then they will know what it is like (not that I wish anything on them). It seems the only people who really understand are the friends we have made who are also going through the same treatment, which is understandable. Please,, please anyone out there who has relatives, friends etc. with cancer, do not be afraid, they need you to be there, as it can be a very lonely place. xx
Wow I have just read this thread. It is nice in a weired sort of way to hear that I am not the only one who has lost a few friends on our path of this horrid C I did start to ask myself is it me and then questioned myself what would I do and my answer is I would be there for them I would go down and visit I would phone ect so how I look at it is it's their loss!! I hold the friends I have now close and enjoy the friendships much more. Hugs to all Silver xx
You put a really important word in there Joanne, Terrifying. Remember when you used to wake up from a nightmare and it took ages to calm down, I think the recovery from cancer treatment inevitably includes an element of post-traumatic shock, getting over the fear. It takes time and gentleness. People who haven't been through it themselves, they can see bald heads or sunburnt skin or even scars but they often can't see just how scared we have been.
In principle we are now "better" (fingers crossed!) but life won't go back to being the same as before, we are moving towards a new normal and we carry those scars and experiences with us into that future. What we decide to do with them, becomes our opportunity to be constructive - even if it's just coming here to share and support those who come behind - and not let it stay negative dragging us down forever. Mine has meant a change of career, and at 50 that wasn't in the plan, so currently waiting to see what I can and would like to do next. Some of the old friends are still with me, but precious few.
i'm not sure that people 'forget' as such. i'm sure had one of my friends told me they had cancer i would never forget she had been poorly. i think one of my problems is that now i have finished active treatment, i am assumed to be 'better'. Those old friends of mine who have simply not been around for me during treatment or after have let me down. i haven't just had a cold, i've had a terrifying life threatening illness which has resulted in my body being mutilated and my physical appearance being stripped back to it's most bare. i have felt vulnerable, lonely and exposed and it has been the hardest and most awful year of my life.
Those that have stuck by me (and they really are a small few), and the new ones i have met over the last few months, are very precious to me now but i'm certainly not wasting any time or energy on those that haven't been there to support me.
I can totally sympathise and agree with everyone's comments. I was diagnosed 2.5 years ago, aged 38, with an eight month old baby. The three friends I considered at that time to be my 'best' friends have hardly been there for me. 'New' friends I'd met since having my little boy have been the ones that have been there for me ever since, along with the most amazing bunch of girlies I've met through BCC.
Sadly, my husband decided that he couldn't cope with my illness, and left me three times over the past 18 months (each time he left I had just got out of hospital following surgery). He last walked out at the beginning of November - I had been home from hospital just two days. This time I have told him not to come back. It's hard, I'm a single mum, working full-time, and trying to deal with the evil b*****d that is cancer, but I can do it with the support of my 'real' friends.
Love and hugs to everyone xxx
I have the same problem. I have a friend who I have known for many years now and we always send each other xmas cards and birthday cards. This christmas (2011) I sent her as usual a card but with it I also sent a note telling her that I have breast cancer etc. I was diagnosed in feb of last year (2011) had operation, lumpectomy and then radiotherapy. All of this was not nice and I struggled a bit like many of us. As time went on I thought I should tell my friend, which I did. BUT, she has not replied with anything, no note no contact and I am wondering what to do. Maybe the card was lost in the post, I do not know, but I am now feeling that she maybe does not want to keep in touch with me now. I really dont know what to do. Any ideas? As to other "friends", they all seem to be very distant with me, even some relatives and I am feeling very alone with all of this. My immediate family are good, keep in touch, and ask how I am doing etc. but I am sure people forget. What do you think?
See Joanne, you just showed you can reach out and appreciate people! We can and do move onto new friends as life experience changes us, often gathering with those who share those experiences and can help us make sense of them. If we didn't do that, we would all still be writing tiny notes to our friends from infant schoool, and in all probability behaving like mixed infants when we met up with them. Personally I have had to leave a few people by the wayside I simply can't keep up with each time I move, some lovely people I could catch up where we left off, and some I am happy to never see again. I can't handle a growing mountain of loose acquaintances, I need a core of good friends. Sorry if that sounds selfish but a new smaller address book can be a great blessing. You need to conserve your energies fighting both those cancers and raising your children, fanclub is a luxury you can't afford. So long as you are finding new circles to replace what doesn't function any more I think it's fine, wish you luck.
I think you're so right to focus on those who you can totally depend upon and leave your energy for planning lovely events for yourself, little ones and your OH in this coming year.....
I am almost 23 months since mx and am living a far more spontaneous sort of joyful existence without relying on my 'friends' who didn't keep up with my rather painfully sad recovery. It is a relief to be more spontaneous and enjoy the moment without constantly worrying about how I should integrate the 'old friends/acquaintances' back.....
I'm doing ok and I'm pleased with my emotional recovery because I did it all on my own! Never thought I had it in me!
But, I am sad that it took cancer to show me this new path of living!
Good luck with your journey through this mire. It sure ain't easy but you'll get there......
I loved reading that statement about how it's our own strength that pulled us through.... I'm beginning to feel like Superwoman!
With a swish of my cape now I'm going to bed....
Welsh girl x
'At the end of the day, it's your own strength that will pull you through'
How right you are! The only person that can get me through this is me. The sad thing is i no longer want to share my life with those that i feel haven't been there for me. i have recently been diagnosed with skin cancer too which means in the last 18 months, i've had a baby, had breastcancer and now skincancer, but this time i haven't 'shared' my news with my 'close' circle because i don't want to feel let down all over again.
Strangely enough, the skincancer hasn't had the same emotional effect as the breastcancer and has brought out a strength and positivity in me that i thought i had lost. must be my fighting spirit. i'm now concentrating on living in the here and now with my husband and children, as well as planning things for the future (something i lost back there for a while)
Sarah louise thank you for your comments and your honesty. i hope you don't mind but i have checked out your blog and would like to follow. it's very close to how i feel and i find your writing moving and inspiring.
Feel the same way as you joanne, some you win some you loose well kind of, my close family and friends have been very supportive but at the same time I have experienced some distancing with certain people, more like they want to try and avoid me so they can avoid the conversation maybe cause they just cannot handle it or maybe cause it scares the crap out of them, well ditto BC with secondaries scares the crap out of me, I come on this site for the very much needed support I get from you ladies who are all going through the same s*** as me, unfortunately we understand each other like no one else can, even my BF can be a bit off the mark sometimes but generally my BF and my OH and my family are great, they sort of don't want to know too much cause it frightens them. I have been getting extremely upset but think this has something to do with xmas as well and will be glad when its over.
A new years resolution is to stop talking about my treatment and try and put BC on a back burner (once my rads are finished) this is hard tho cause i'm engaged in a fight for my life and they just cannot see it, I mean they tell me how well I look and I think cause they cannot see whats wrong with me they just cannot accept it. Oh how I wish I could just live in denial and pretend none of this has happened.
sending you all
love and light
I made it easy for my friends bt setting up a CaringBridge website where I left daily updates and folk could drop in and out when they wanted to, and leave messages for me. It became a source of support and encouragement and I could log on when I wanted to. Through it I used to say - rough week this week, no energy to see anyone. Or - this is my good week - anyone up for coffee? Friends and family a long way away kept in touch that way and some people I hardly knew were fab. There are a few I expected to be there who weren't. One found it too hard, cause her husband died of cancer. Another was having a really difficult time with family death, and the third? No idea, and it's hard to get back to where I thougt we were. I am sure now, that at times I've been equally useless and tied up with my own preoccupations, and I'm equally sure that I'm not emotionally robust yet.... Things I would once have shrugged off, I don't seem able to, so be gentle with yourselves.... Jane
Wish i could be there to help you - cant imagine how difficult it is with such young children.
Strange how people react. read somewhere that somtimes friends dont want anything more to do with you and thats happened to me with a 'best' friend i've had for 20 years ! This is my 2nd brush with BC in 18 months and its spread - different reaction again this time. One hadnt been in touch coz she didnt know what to say ! Dont know whether the ' novelty ' has worn off this time - all my sons friends mothers offered to have him in the holidays last time - this time nothing !
Then again have 'new' friends - one a work colleague who i've only known a couple of months but is being a tower of strength and my daughters friends grandma who phoned me and offered support out of the blue.
i am very lucky as i have two sisters who have always been the for me.
At the end of the day its your own strength that will pull you through.
Thanks everyone for your comments.
i'm not unsympathetic to how difficult this has all been for my friends (and some family as well) and yes, i'm sure that some of them are thinking i need some space, or i am very independant, or am coping so well that their help is not needed, but i do feel hurt and i do feel angry, so much so that i don't actually want to return back to our old friendships.
i wonder how many of them actually looked into breastcancer when i was diagnosed, or looked at ways of offering support?
i agree with previous comments that you certainly find out your true friends, and i do intend to concentrate now on those around me that have made the effort and make me happy
We can find out who our true friends are at times like these and its quite understandable to feel hurt and angry if we feel unsupported. By your own admission you shut yourself away during chemo and now feel ready to emerge, do your friends know that? As others have said they probably were giving you the space you wanted, they are not mind readers and unless you communicate with them they are not going to know they are 'invited' back into your life. Please don't think I'm being harsh, I'm in a similar position to your friends at the moment so I can understand how they might feel. At the beginning they offered help, did you take them up on it? If not they may feel they are not needed and as a result of your self imposed retreat may be unsure how to deal with you. Please go out for lunch with your friend, organise a get together or throw a party. Let your friends know you want them!
Best wishes x
Yep! Been there and been so hurt but can now reflect a year on that my darkest nights showed up the shining stars I did't know were there! Even some family let me down but I now don't sweat the small stuff 'cos anger is such a negative influence, just concentrate on getting well and on those who make you feel better, Big hugs xxx
I think I've been lucky with my friends so far - but am now mid chemo and warning them to stay away if they have a cold etc and this week cos my neuts were so low I cancelled some visits even though they were apparently well...so I'll see later what happens!
But I wonder if your friends are almost waiting to be invited back into your life? Certainly if one of them suggests lunch etc don't take it out on them - go out and have a good natter as it will be the start of returning to a normal friendship.
Are you well enough now to actually organise a party or some sort of group event (whatever you might have done in the past???) to announce your return to real life? Failing that, why don't you make the first step, one at a time with all those old friends? I'm sure they don't realise you are hurting - they probably think they are giving you space!
I think your experiences are shared by a lot of us. I found surprises both ways - friends who vanished, and others who I didn't think of as particularly close friends being absolutely brilliant.
I am in no way defending your friends and only you will know who your real friends are but it can be difficult being on the outside and treading the fine line between but being supportive and being stiffling.
I say this because my OH diagnosed with TNBC in Jan this year and immediately I became over protective. Wanted to check on her by phone 2-3 times a day and go to appointments with her etc. Looking at it now I got the wrong side of the line and her reaction was to push me away as I was stifling her.
BC brings all sorts of emotions out in all people that are effected. I am in no way comparing what friends/partners go through to all of your brave ladies but it can be very difficult to get right what people that are diagnosed want from people is so personal to them.
If they are you true friends they will always be there for you but perhaps they thought you needed some space?
I would recommend anyone effected by BC to get on this forum and learn a lot about it rather than stumble about blindly trying to get it right. I know I wish I had come on here 6 months earlier.
Perhaps this forum should be advertised more in public so people can access the information?
Hope all goes well x
Joanne, I totally hear you! I've also felt hurt by my friends lack f support through this nghtmare 😞 I'm stage 4, aged 32 at dx with a baby. The initial influx of support soon wears off- I know every1 has their own lives + worries but I've lost touch with so many 'friends' who just stopped contacting me (!?!) + those I'm still in touch with are very hit and miss (aside from 2 friends, who've been pretty good throughout).
Sometimes it really brings me down, which is the last thing u need when fighting for your life + trying to say positive+ upbeat 😞
I just thank godness for my wonderful hubby, mum + a few family members who have been great, and obviusly my little boy who keeps me going+ gets me out of bed in the morning...
Sorry you are feeling like this at the moment.
Some friends don't know how to deal with illness and you have admitted that you hid yourself away. It will take time, and a little effort from you to repair the bridges that connected you to the outside world.
I can count my true friends on one hand - I need both and my feet to count the rest.
Sorry if this seems a bit harsh 😕
Just wondering if anyone out there is having the same experience with their 'friends'. i was diagnosed last November, aged 43, with a small baby, and it was a big shock. i contacted my friends to 'share' my bad news and most of them seemed supportive, 'if there's anything i can do' and all that. Cards, flowers, text messages, all very nice.
Chemo was quite difficult and i lost a lot of confidence, hiding myself away in the 'safety' of my own home with my immediate family but i now feel like i'm coming through the other side. But reflecting back, where were my friends throughout this nightmare? Where are they now? I can count on one hand those that were 'with me' sort of, during my treatment, but even they seem to be lying low now it's over.
i know i am the first of us to become seriously ill, and i know everyone was shocked because presumably i was very healthy but i'm sure if one of them had been diagnosed with this crappy illness i would be there with practical and emotional support, not just a get well card and a 'how are you?' text.
A 'friend' recently text me and said 'sorry i havent been in touch but i'm rubbish, do you fancy lunch sometime'. No, no no i don't fancy f****ng lunch, where have you been!
i guess i just feel really really let down and want to let off a bit of steam. Rant over .....