Losing Friends

When I was younger I was told “When you leave school, you’ll lose touch with people you thought you’d be friends with forever”. No one told me the same thing would happen with a cancer diagnosis.

Before cancer I used to go out all the time, but when I got diagnosed almost everyone backed off. Eventually I stopped getting invited to places because my response was always “I have an appointment that day”. It’s not that I didn’t want to go out, I feel like I’ve missed so many things because I’ve been too sick or tired or both. My friends just didn’t understand that I wanted to take part, I just literally couldn’t, so they took it personally and moved on.

At first I was torn between “it’s not their fault, I should make more of an effort” and “No one understands, they don’t think I’m worth it so why should I bother trying?” I had such a hard time trying to second guess who my real friends were until someone I know said “let me know when you’re feeling a bit better and we’ll meet up”. That one comment changed everything for me. I realised that there was a middle ground; I did need to make more of an effort but only for the people who are willing to make the same effort and wait for me.

I lost a lot of friends because of that attitude but I know that in the long run, I would have lost them anyway. Looking back I realise that I should never have expected them to understand, we were all around 14 years old and we had no idea what to expect. I don’t imagine for one second that the people who are still around now understand what it’s like (and I hope they never do) but they accept it and I am so grateful for that.

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One response to “Losing Friends”

  1. Cynthia Vissers (@RunFromKids) says :

    That is one of the more challenging realities of having cancer. People who haven’t been through it just don’t get it. And sometimes they have no idea what to say, so they say nothing at all. Which is worse because it feels as though they don’t care. But you are right, you want to be surrounded by friends who are supportive and ask you how they can support you.

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