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new friends - what to say?

12 REPLIES 12
msmcann
Member

Re: new friends - what to say?

Hi Jayney and Mara

I too am in South Devon. Feel free to get intouch if you want some support. All the best. Mariella
MaraUk
Member

Re: new friends - what to say?

Jayney
I have sent you a pm .I live in Devon so I might be able to help.
Please feel free to pm if mine has not arrived?
mara
jayney234
Member

Re: new friends - what to say?

This struck a big chord with me. I only moved down to Devon 4 weeks ago after 2 horrible years of trying to move. I found my lump 4 days after we moved in. I knew nobody and had no gp and all my friends were back in Sussex. I met a couple of neighbours who all seem to be really nice but I can't tell them of my diagnosis because it is too soon and I don't know them well enough. My husband is trying to be really supportive and thank God I have him but it is a lonely time and a sad time as we moved to have more of a social life and make a new start.
elinda45
Member

Re: new friends - what to say?

thanks so much everyone for the support. I kept thinking it was in some way my fault and that I should keep my big mouth shut! But you're right, I can't hide it and don't want to and people can't handle it then it's not a friendship worth developing. It's certainly true that I'm more sensitive than I ever was but yes, that is part of the new package. I look at it as though some parts are damaged and some parts are better than ever in my new package.

Thanks again, you've made me feel more normal (whatever that is!)
Elinda xx

lbx157
Member

Re: new friends - what to say?

If that was her reaction then she's a friend that you can do without! Good friends accept you for who you are, whatever your background, whatever you've been through/going through, they should support each other whatever the circumstances & be there for each other through thick & thin. Unfortunately our cancer journey is part of us now & we can't deny it's happened. Be honest with people and if they can't handle it then that is their problem not yours and remember by being honest and upfront about your experiences you may help someone else in the future face their own cancer battle.
Sheila

NAZ
Member

Re: new friends - what to say?

Hi again Elinda
I am kind of glad you started this thread as it is exactly where i am now.
In fact, i have just starting writing a journal about rebuilding my life and body, after this experience.
I do understand when you say that you feel that your confidence has been knocked as i think i would feel the same.
At this time, i think we need to surround ourself with people who understand what we have been through and are not going to fall at the first hurdle.

I think Emmy has hit the nail on the head - those worth knowing are out there somewhere, so we need to hold our heads high and take the courage to find them.
We may be different people to how we once were .We might take bits of the old us and add to the new , or we may choose to reinvent ourselves completely. But we are still who we are, with our experiences and people who are decent and unafraid, will undertstand this.

Very best of luck with your business.
Naz x

emmy
Member

Re: new friends - what to say?

I am smiling at the neighbour thing! one of mine works at my GP surgery and has been brilliant we live on a farm (we aren't the farm just converted buildings) but even the farmer came to say that if I had problems getting to hospital for my chemo during all that terrible snow he would take me in his tractor!! It's miles away!!! 🙂 I now just get on with things and if needs be say the 'C' word and if it makes someone uncomfortable then I am sorry I don't set out to offend or scare anyone but as you say it is part of my life now but it is NOT my life!!! Like sharing a bit of family history or talking about previous jobs I may have had, it is what makes me the person I am and for that I refuse to apologise!
I am sure people don't realise how easily they can hurt you but I think we are a sensitive to much more and that too is part of our new package! I even had a 'friend' who is a social worker say I do hope your prognosis is good? I did tell her it was better than hers because I know what I have so asked when she last had a check I don't get any pleasure from upsetting people I am quite a softy but strangely am learning to be a lot more assertive in my dealings with people though can come home and cry (often!) but it's that face we put on and that can be wearing! Have a look at the thread 'Where did I go??? It sort of explains the ups and downs and the change we are all going through! Suffice to say I am proud to be a flutterby which is what we call ourselves!
So head up girl realise that some can, some can't deal with it all but like the illness the are no right or wrong ways to react its how people are "Nowt as strange as!", you may also have changed but be proud of the fact you have got to this stage and don't let it get to you! Another hug for good measure! Emm xx

applestreet
Member

Re: new friends - what to say?

Hiya...what a horrible reaction to you..this person is the loser..I have a message for this person who did this to you..CANCER IS NOT CONTAGIOUS MISSUS!!!!...we have enough to put up with without shallow people being stupid...I have found out who is my friend and who isn't..some people I thought would be wonderful have been absolute a***s and some have surprised me so you never know..just keep your chin up honey...you are a brave person..we are all brave strong women facing this sh**e and the last thing we need is to feel like a leper..modern day leprocy..I really like that...wishing you all the best..apple

elinda45
Member

Re: new friends - what to say?

Thanks so much Emm. I hadn't thought about it in terms of needing courage but you're so right. I've got to be brave and keep going out and accept that some people won't be able to deal with it - even the knowledge of it - because I certainly didn't have any expectations beyond that.

When I had chemo I had a couple of neighbours who couldn't even look me in the eye. Modern day leprosy is a good way of looking at it! But then other neighbours were extraordinary and did so much for me - it takes all sorts as they say.

The cancer and treatment has been such a major thing that I can't deny its existence or pretend it didn't happen. I would hope taht some people might take strength from seeing that life goes on. But, I think the word cancer can make the most eloquent of people dumb struck.

It really helps to know that I'm not alone in experiencing this. That sense of isolation is one of the worst things. And your right Emm, our empathy levels are higher than ever before. xx

emmy
Member

Re: new friends - what to say?

Hi just wanted to say I know exactly how you feel! How much information is too much? My OH put it beautifully he called it the modern day leprosy after having a similar reaction so now I just say it and you now what? People will lose out on a very empathic person who will listen to things and be much more sympathetic than most after the journey we have had, we also know much more than we did before I know I wouldn't have known the right things to say but didn't make an issue of it when a colleague was diagnosed with a different cancer and lost her hair I found myself admiring her wonderful collection of hats and just being normal, whatever that is she was the only person who has had the nerve to ask me things and listened. I have found wonderful friends on here and though I now have a very limited social life it is with people who I feel comfortable with and aren't afraid of the word cancer! I have found those who don't run are the ones worth knowing so no you didn't do anything wrong but maybe she was scared either from ignorance or experience it is hard to know so don't feel guilty just don't doubt yourself I know how, hard that is but even family have difficulties coping so we are all just doing our best. We didn't ask for this and I certainly think it is definitely her loss 🙂 sad to say some people aren't good with any kind of illness my poor mother was one of those it was never intentional she was so,scared of the word itself! Strangely she passed away the Christmas before and I am sure she would have run a mile from me and that would have been quite sad so things do happen for a reason though some I still struggle with! Just get yourself out there we are still here and not going anywhere to make people feel comfortable so I guess they will have to get used to it! Good luck with your business and don't forget those worth knowing will be out there and if you don't try you will never know, sending a hug for courage!! Emm xx

elinda45
Member

Re: new friends - what to say?

Hi Naz

we do sound like we're in similar situations. Sorry to hear about all your treatment problems and what you've still got to face. I'm just over 4 years post diagnosis but had lots of complications during treatment and had also had major surgery for something unrelated to the cancer shortly before my diagnosis. My recovery has been very slow and I'm struggling now with hormone therapy and lymphodema.

I don't feel like I'm the person I was before. I used to be more confident with a really good sense of humour but, most of the time, I'm serious now. I don't like that but don't have the energy to be funny these days! I also used to be very busy with work which I loved and my social life did revolve around my colleagues - which I don't have now.

I don't really want to broach the subject with her as raising it again makes it seem like a big deal. I find it hard to understand what the issue is as she seemed the sort of person who'd take it in her stride. I think if I was feeling more confident that I wouldn't worry but right now this feels like the kind of knock back I don't need.

NAZ
Member

Re: new friends - what to say?

Hi Elinda
I kind of in a similar situation as you right now.
It will be 4 years this September since my DX and it has been one hell of a nightmare, mainly due to reconstruction problems and multiple surgeries (which i am stil facing now).
I had been in the area where i am now, for 2 years before i was DX. I was at home with my 18 mth old son and my daughter had just started school at the time, so did not know many people.
I work from home, on my own and now feel ready to start to rebuild my life after 4 long years, either being in treatment or having surgery. My confidence has been knocked big time, but i need to meet new people and build relationships again.
The difficulty is, that this whole experience has impacted my life so much, without even realising, that i don't know where to begin!

No, i don't think you are expecting too much too soon Elinda. People's reactions can be very odd at times, particularly when the word 'cancer' is mentioned.
Your revelation, may have made your friend feel uncomfortable, but equally, she should be have been able to recognise the courage it takes to reveal to someone new, that you have had a life changing/threatening illness.
My advice would be to take things nice and slowly Elinda. TRUE friends won't back off, they will want to get to know you for the person you are.
I can understand you are feeling confused and hurt- i would be too.
Would it be worth chatting to her about how she has made you feel - or is the relationship too new?
Best of luck
Naz xx

elinda45
Member

new friends - what to say?

Hi all

Before I was diagnosed i had just moved to a new area and gone freelance for work. I'm trying to build up my social life now I've finished most of my treatment (except hormone therapy) and have a couple of groups. I made friends with someone and didn't tell her immediately that I'd had cancer - it only came up because we were talking about menopause. Now she has backed right off and I'm kicking myself for saying anything about it.

Was I wrong to mention it? I didn't go on about it or anything like that. It's hard if you're getting to know someone not to mention it particularly as I've had several years where I haven't been able to work. I feel confused and hurt by this as it would not have bothered me in the slightest the other way around. I'm usually a good judge of character but I think this cancer business has affected that too.

Am i expecting too much of others or just a poor judge of character? Or is this just because it was too much too soon?

Elinda xx