Posted by mycrazyjourney on Jan 14, 2019 6:10 pm
Posted by Brighty on Jan 14, 2019 6:24 pm
Posted by mycrazyjourney on Jan 14, 2019 6:55 pm
Posted by thecatsmeow on Jan 15, 2019 10:37 am
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.
Posted by Runner Girl on Jan 15, 2019 12:41 pm
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.
Posted by mycrazyjourney on Jan 15, 2019 3:19 pm
Posted by WesT on Jan 15, 2019 3:57 pm
Posted by scaredysquirrel on Jan 16, 2019 12:05 am
Posted by Cynthia Mac on Jan 16, 2019 9:23 am
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.
Posted by Kims1961 on Jan 16, 2019 10:01 am
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
Posted by ashcon on Jan 16, 2019 10:01 am
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.
Posted by mycrazyjourney on Jan 16, 2019 10:56 am
Posted by thecatsmeow on Jan 16, 2019 10:59 am
Posted by LPPK on Jan 16, 2019 1:39 pm
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.
Posted by jimrfisher50 on Jan 17, 2019 10:08 am
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.
Posted by Essjay on Jan 17, 2019 11:09 am
Posted by Elizabeth06 on Jan 17, 2019 1:45 pm
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.
Posted by ChrisMelanomaSurvivor on Jan 24, 2019 2:24 pm
Posted by mycrazyjourney on Jan 30, 2019 1:34 pm
Posted by WesT on Jan 31, 2019 9:03 am
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!
Posted by SpeedyStill on Feb 13, 2019 8:37 pm
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
Posted by thecatsmeow on Feb 26, 2019 10:56 am
The support and love we are wanting we need to give ourshelves. Life is a process and I think managing expectations are important. Expectations about ourshelves and others. It is sometimes difficult looking into our souls and exploring our pain. Our painful thoughts and feelings can provide direction to heal. This realization/process can be difficult but I am finding that I am able to cope better with life situations/people.