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Friends who really don’t visit.....

Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by mycrazyjourney on Jan 14, 2019 6:10 pm

I’m near the end of chemo and wonder where my friends went ??? In the last 7 months since my mastectomy my friends seem to have become less involved and busy with life. I have to sit back and wonder, were you a good friend to begin with ??  My husband can’t seem to understand the lack of support these ladies have given me throughout the last several months. Cancer changes people and families. I am not sure I can invest as much energy in these friendships as I once did. What do I say to friends who are NOT there when you need them the most....

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by Brighty on Jan 14, 2019 6:24 pm

mycrazyjourney‍  I'm sorry to hear that.  I read countless posts about the same thing.    I even experienced it as a caregiver and then again when I was grieving.        I had friends who just drifted away from me.    They were at a completely different phase in their lives.      They were doing the marriage and kid thing, and my life was cancer, hospitals and scans.    It was hard to even fathom  this whole cancer thing.     Even my fiancé's family bailed at the beginning of the ordeal.    I was very bitter and hurt for a very long time.     It took me a long time to realize that most people can't handle being around cancer, or talking about cancer, or anything to do with cancer because it scares them.   They don't know what to say, are scared to say the wrong thing, are scared of the "C" word completely.    So they back away and leave you feeling abandoned.       It was ACH2015‍  and my mom who told me that I might be the one who should call THEM and break the ice to them.       So I did it when I felt in the mood, just to let them know it's ok for them to still talk to me, that am still same old me.     We just talked about normal every day things and eventually they came around again.      Maybe you want to try that too and let me know if that works.        

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by mycrazyjourney on Jan 14, 2019 6:55 pm

Brighty, thanks for the kind words, I am that friend who calls them on a weekly basis just to see how they are doing. I guess I’m just hurt that they don’t even call to see how I am.... a text here and there to see how I am. It’s strange how others deal with Cancer, I’m still here, I’m not dead !!  Others have to realize that we want to be included, even if we can’t..... I don’t want to be bitter and most of all I don’t want to loose 2 friend in the process. 

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by thecatsmeow on Jan 15, 2019 10:37 am

Hi mycrazyjourney‍ 
When I went through cancer I had to deal with the same questions about friends/family. I was in my 40's when I had cancer treatment and I asked myself .....if our friends don't know how to support me now ...will they ever?! or can't they get past their life issues for a moment to be with me or to call?!  It's cancer- not a flu!!!!  I have children and they needed support as well but that didn't seem to make a difference either. Really support could mean...I am buying pizza and coming over to see everyone....
We -my husband and I, struggled with this as well. 
So, I asked myself why is it so difficult to "be" there for me ( a cancer patient- who is dealing with a life threatening situation. Who is sick in the true sense of the word!) Here are some thoughts...they are selfish people that only capable (at this time) of only thinking of themselves, they are in shock and they don't know what to do, they think they can't do anything worthwhile....the questions to help understand their perspective...
I really don't have a clue. I search for answers and I am too afraid to ask them directly....I am too sick to reach out...so here is what I decided to do. Let Go! I convenience myself to let things turn out they way they need to. I didn't have the energy to deal with it and maybe someday I can discuss with them my thoughts and feelings. So that I can heal from another impact from cancer. 
At this point, it has been 5 years. People are the same but I have changed for the better. I didn't say anything to friends and family b/c it would make my life more difficult. I can imagine them defending their point of view. It's ok. I still have my friendships (in their own way fill a need for me) and accept the outcome.  It was not easy but I feel that I am better off managing my expectations of people. I accept their limitations to have an open heart - it is their issues not mine. 
I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you want to discuss further. It was a process to get to this point and if I can help you please let me know.
 

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by Runner Girl on Jan 15, 2019 12:41 pm

mycrazyjourney‍ ,
I have found the same thing as you.  Friends have disappeared off the radar.

My fiance took a huge step back from me and continues to be distant to the point where now that my treatment is coming to an end I'm asking myself if I really need him in my life.  That when the chips were down and my life was on the line he couldn't step up and support me.  How do I trust him to be there for me going forward in any capacity when he failed now.

My best girlfriend has bailed.  We used to go for lunch every couple of weeks.  I've not seen her since my diagnosis.  She drops me a text every now and again telling me how busy she is.  I stood by her when she was contemplating ending her life after a relationship breakup and now I get nothing.  I am extremely disappointed.

Several of the men I've worked with in the past and have maintained friendships with have stood by me and have checked in regularly.  I truly appreciate their support.  As well as the men in my office - they've all been super supportive.

I'm sorry that any of us have to experience this, we're going thru enough hardship without the stress of friends and/or family not being their to support us.  I guess that's why we come here, people care, people get what we're going thru.  Thank you to all of you for your support and kind words.

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by mycrazyjourney on Jan 15, 2019 3:19 pm

thecatsmeow‍  and Runner Girl‍ l... Ladies you have helped me more than you know. I am struggling with the fact that friends who I have know for many years, our kids grew up together and we have gone through so much together have basically turned their back on us. Well that’s how I feel. I know some people can’t deal with cancer and don’t know what to say.... I have a great positive attitude and talk freely about my cancer when people ask. Others have to remember that I am more than a cancer patient, I am not always sick, tired, weak..... I have great days and bad ones. I can go for a coffee, sure I wear a mask when in large crowds.... ( recent bought of pneumonia) I can go shopping and you can visit, I’m not always sleeping..... there is more to me than the cancer inside of me, I am still the same person you have know for 35 years. Illness changes everyone and if one day I have to support a friend who has become sick, I would not hesitate to bend over backwards to lend a hand. This too will pass and I will get over the feeling of hurt and disappointment. My husband on the other hand is bitter and upset that my friends have done this, he will have a hard time forgiving them. Runnergirl, no one deserves to be pushed aside especially when they are needed the most. You deserve someone who loves you unconditionally and jumps in with both feet to help you through good times and bad. Take care

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by WesT on Jan 15, 2019 3:57 pm

mycrazyjourney I can relate.  My social circle decreased substantially as well (not that it was big to begin with).  That being said, those that remained in my circle or resurfaced into it I am closer to than before so all is good in the end.  I had a few "good friends" that haven't called or visited and always seem to be busy when suggested we get together making me question the friendship as well.  Oh well too bad for them I say!

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by scaredysquirrel on Jan 16, 2019 12:05 am

mycrazyjourney‍ I hear you.  My support team seemed to vanish after my radiation.  I still had work friends and still do.  My family gave me grief when I was going to return to work.  Very strange how they acted.  Particularly one family member who works where I did.  Anyway, needless to say I'm not speaking to her anymore.  I ended up retiring, but wish I had gone back one more year for my full pension.  Silly me.  I hope your support members are better than my family.  At least you have us here to support you.

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Jan 16, 2019 9:23 am

mycrazyjourney‍  And everyone else who have taken the time to post:

I’ve been following this thread with interest. I have always had a very small group of “core” friends — as far back as I remember. I only ever had one or two friends and wasn’t one of the “popular” girls. I think that part of that was that by the time I got to pre-teen age, I was used to doing things on my own, and didn’t have time or patience for the chatter about teen magazines and makeup!

As an adult, as  relationships started and failed, and I moved around to different jobs, people came and went, but there was usually one or two “core” friends made at each place. Sometimes, as they went through relationships and moved to different jobs we lost touch, which I think, too, is quite normal. I still have a core friend from high school, one from my second job, one from my second last place of work, and two from my last place. I also have a friend who will also be special to me because she helped me get out of a relationship-gone-bad, and an aunt who is close enough in age to be more friend than relative.

Out of all these people, there are only two who initiate contact with me. For all the others, it’s on me to contact them. 

As thecatsmeow‍ pointed out, sometimes we just have to let go. Now, if I reach out to a friend who’s always busy, and that’s all I ever hear, I actually say to her, “I’ll let you go.” Over time, I do. If she’s truly that busy, she won’t notice I’ve gone, and this frees me up to stay in touch with people who wish to spend the time with me.

Years ago I read that saying, “People are either with you for a reason or a season,” When I did The Artist’s Way, it talked about people who are in your life who hold you back from your personal growth. It also talked about having to let go of people who you are “supposed to love” (like siblings) because they do not or cannot meet your needs or they bring toxicity to your life. Louise Hay advocates that we should surround ourselves with people who love and support us, and release all others who don’t or can’t love and support US back to the Universe. Understanding all of this has made it much easier for me to let people go. But, it can still hurt when it becomes necessary to do so.



 

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by Kims1961 on Jan 16, 2019 10:01 am

Hello...such a great thread!

Cynthia Mac‍ - I really enjoyed your response and perspective.

I've been on this friend / family/ colleague cycle as well but in my "old" age, I've come to terms with it by shifting my thoughts.  Much like Cynthia Mac‍ put it, people come in and out of our lives.  Rather than have expectations that they will "be there" for me - I try to enjoy their connection while i have it.  Toxic people certainly are ones we need to let go or avoid. I often reflect that toxic people have their own tough road to travel but depending on where i am, it's not my road to travel .

A close colleague shares a story of her brother who didn't call, never sent cards/gifts  etc. but she really enjoyed his company when they got together. She was told that she should ignore him as he didn't vest the same amount of time as she did to connect.  She told me - she could do that with a free conscious as he didn't seem to vest any energy into their relationship OR....she could enjoy the time she had with him and come to terms that his follow through was never going to be the same as hers.  The key is that it's how we think of the relationship- rather than people "failing" us - maybe it's our expectations - or maybe it's up to us to connect with those who bring us joy/laughter/ connection with no expectation of what they need to do in return.  It can seem "one-sided" or empowerment - that we are connecting with those who mean something to us and that's good enough.

People who hurt us - physically / emotionally are a different category. We also have to set limits and boundaries around protecting ourselves.

ashcon‍ recommended an excellent book that i am reading.  "Picking Up the Pieces" by Magee and Scalzo.  There is an insightful chapter called " Who Showed Up" and the end of the chapter is a Self Scan...and it's more of a reflection on my own expectations of those in my life.

Thank you for those who have been posting and adding to this conversation !  Kim

 

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by ashcon on Jan 16, 2019 10:01 am

Wise words, Cynthia Mac‍ 

I can relate - my identical twin sister has yet to even acknowledge my cancer.  You'd think she'd be interested, or contact me, if for no other reason than the obvious close family history and the increased risk of breast cancer for her. 
But nope - not a word to this day. So I 'let her go'.

I like the reference about releasing those who don't, or can't, love and support us 'back to the universe'.  Just because they are not in our lives anymore, that does not mean they are not living (hopefully) happy and fulfilled lives out there on our own.  Knowing this has helped alleviate some of the guilt I feel for not being touch with her anymore.

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Jan 16, 2019 10:06 am

PS to Runner Girl‍ re your fiancé - you ask yourself very valid questions. Cancer not only tests the patients, it tests the caregivers as well. It’s disappointing when some don’t pass “the test.” 

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by mycrazyjourney on Jan 16, 2019 10:56 am

Its great to see different views on Friends who really don’t visit.... I love the quote “ people are either with you for a reason or a season”. So true... Last week at the cancer clinic waiting for treatment, a volunteer recommended “ picking up the pieces” I have just started reading it, what a great book. Thank you to everyone who has opened up the conversation with personal stories and truly made a difference in my way of thinking.

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by thecatsmeow on Jan 16, 2019 10:59 am

I love the posts. The letting go of people (friends/family) is not easy. Our conversations and support makes the process easier. I think it is natural to have expectations of people. We want to have people around us that love us unconditionally. I want to hug all of you!!!! ((HUGS)) My heart hurts for our pain that we have endured. Cancer messes with our physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual well being. Coming to terms with all of these aspects of our lives is a challenge. Sometimes I think I have dealt with things like the loss of trust with a friend and/ or family member...yet I cry. I am sad. I feel safe here to open up. It's like a wound...I can quickly find a "silver lining" . It feels like i am grieving a loss.

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by LPPK on Jan 16, 2019 1:39 pm

I feel that most people believe in the saying "no news is good news" and tend to step back when someone is ill.  During my cancer journey I found that members of my family either drew closer to me or they drew away and waited for news to come to them.
As for friends, since I was on sick leave from my teaching job I would get occasional emails from our office admin asking how my treatment was going and how I was feeling during my7 months of sick leave before I retired.  After my diagnosis and surgery but before treatment started I found customers at our orchard who knew about my cancer either didn't acknowledge my cancer or would tell me good news stories about their relatives. In our farming community people would check with my daughter as to how things were going but not take the time to talk to me. The curling ladies kept me updated through email on all the activities of the club.
I now truly see the two groups in my life;  the YIn or shady side of relationships with non supportive/distancing relatives/friends and the Yang or sunny side of relationships with supportive, helpful relatives/friends.  I do feel blessed having the Yang group in my life. 

 

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by princessmaura on Jan 17, 2019 6:55 am

Kims1961‍, I recommend that book, Picking up the Pieces...I could identify with how a lot of those other cancer patients felt and all the phases and stages they went through with their cancer journey...

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by jimrfisher50 on Jan 17, 2019 10:08 am

Dear mycrazyjourney‍ 
I feel your pain. I have had similar experiences and I agree with you people don't know how to act around  cancer. I ask myself why my friends don't visit and after thinking about it I wouldn't want to visit me either. I have nothing interesting to talk about. The only thing in my life of note is the process of my illness. That gets boring after 30 seconds of conversation. We all know where this ends and why would they want to invest time and energy into a short term relationship? I am grateful for this group who understands this situation.

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by Essjay on Jan 17, 2019 11:09 am

I’m finding it’s easier to do things with people. Make a date for coffee, eat lunch with work colleagues and catch up on their lives. They want to know how I’m doing, but I try and talk about things I’ve read, or things I’m planning more than m treatment. I went for a short snowshoe hike at the weekend with friends and we made a fire to make lunch, we  hadn’t been together for a while so we all had stuff to catch up on. I’m going to a film night in a couple of weeks - again doing stuff. I’m finding people don’t want to intrude, but I can be the one to initiate and then they are fine. My sister sent me a long message about how she doesn’t know what to say, but she loves me. She has MS and I feel the same about her condition - I want to know when she’s having a bad time, even if I can’t help, because I want her to know that I care, but I don’t always know what to say. We try and talk about other stuff. My aunt sent me a note to tell me she is wearing earrings I gave her as gifts to feel closer to me ❤️. I’m also posting stuff on Facebook - a picture of me at chemo, or our snowshoe hike, just to say ‘I’m doing ok, I’m still here’. I get lots of responses - people want to know. I have a neighbour dropping by later with some soup which is awesome, another friend dropped by for a visit with some homemade chilli for the freezer. Little ways friends show they care, even if they don’t want all the details.

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by Elizabeth06 on Jan 17, 2019 1:45 pm

Hi jimrfisher50‍ 
who wants to invest in a short term relationship?  I do.  
Like you, my cancer is not the curative kind.  I will be in some form of treatment for as long as my body can tolerate and there are options available.
i have been fortunate, in that I have had chunks of time when I am stable, so,I am grateful for the time I have.  
As many have noted on this thread, people, friends, family, neighbours don’t always know how to address the elephant in the room, and the relationship changes or fades.  
There is always someone who is better at or more comfortable with continuing the relationship and I cherish those individuals.  I don’t want to spend all my time talking about my cancer, it’s progression, etc. So, when they visit,I am always looking for Netflix recommendations, books to read, able to talk about current events, what is going on in their lives.  We can talk about what is going on with my health, I am open to talking about any aspect of it, but I don’t bring it up, unless they do.  And I gage how to respond based on the individual.
but, I am more than this cancer diagnosis.  I am a daughter, sister, mother, wife, grandmother and friend.  
i have reached out to others with a similar diagnosis to mine and those relationships will all be short term, but they have tremendous value to me.
I also value this site, and the individuals we exchange info and ideas with.  I don’t ever feel so alone.
 

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by ChrisMelanomaSurvivor on Jan 24, 2019 2:24 pm

Hi, I am 33years young, and have had melanoma 3 times now since 2012. I know exactly what you mean by having friends not visiting, or even talking to you. I have experienced just that. and makes me wonder who really are my friends? nobody came to visit me in the hospital when i lived there for half of 2018 (except my mom and wife). I literally felt like i had no friends all of a sudden. its been since nov/dec. i believe I have beat this yet again. but i dont particularily hear from any freidns now. i even went out and gave a few friends christmas gifts. if i feel inside they arent really my friend, then is that really the case? i dont know. maybe it is as others mentioned they dont like to hear about it or talk about it?? i felt alot more support from my co-workers than my own "good" friends, even people i havent even met that now work where i was show their condolences. like some days i honestly feel i just need to make all new friends. and thats not easy thing to do these days it seems. anyways thats my 2 cents on this topic. 

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by ChrisMelanomaSurvivor on Jan 24, 2019 2:41 pm

even my little buddy dog Picasso came to hospital to visit me :)66528d33a8829ff8f082d6912e2664ed-huge-20

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by mycrazyjourney on Jan 30, 2019 1:34 pm

Chris, first off Picasso is adorable... who knew dogs were allowed at the hospital. My dog is too big and would eat all the patients food...  it's really sad that none of your “so called friends” did not even visit you in the hospital, sad..... I’ve told myself that its time to distance myself from those who just don’t care, take care of myself and family and look ahead to what comes next. Chris you are strong for going through melanoma 3 times, you have the support of your wife and mother and adorable dog Picasso. All the best to you, Therese

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by WesT on Jan 31, 2019 9:03 am

ChrisMelanomaSurvivor

I agree with mycrazyjourney‍ and your dog is adorable.  My dogs where part of my recovery process as well.  I was only hospitalized for two days and the dogs did not visit me they were there with me during my six weeks of home recovery and were part of the recovery process.  Running down the street 10 days post surgery chasing one that wanted to be home with "mom" instead of out walking with me.  Not good (he ran into traffic....) but he didn't do it again and walked many days with me after.

Glad to hear your on the road to recovery and hopefully will stay cancer free!

Re: Friends who really don’t visit.....

Posted by SpeedyStill on Feb 13, 2019 8:37 pm

This is an extremely important discussion to have . I  am 71 years old and have experienced several setbacks in my life and during each one I have had to adjust to a new reality.  I have been hurt by people each time however I have never given up on myself. Our job is to control our action not the actions of others.
Who should your best friend be? Of course yourself. Yes we should socialize with others, this is important but don't put pressure on yourself expecting anyone to continue on the same course as you forever. Life changes people change it is the rythem of life.
We can be alone but not necessarily lonely.
I have more to say however this is the time I take my night time medications and go to sleep 
I challange everyone to continue this discussion.  It is important because I am a firm believer that stress and Cancer are linked.If we can reduce the amount of stress people feel in this community we can emprove the medical  outcomes.
Never give up SpeedyStill 

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