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Why Do People "Bin" You when you have cancer???

tasha_111's picture
tasha_111
Posts: 2063
Joined: Oct 2008

I Have had AMAZING support from friends and Family , Like I never expected. BUT Other friends (and Yes family too) Dropped me like a Hot Potato just after Dx. They were all "Oh I'm Sooooooooo Sorry, keep in touch, let me know if we can do anything.... etc, etc" Then..
NOWT! Even some of the Brogue Brigade (God Squad) have labelled me persona non Grata. Hmpph!
Some of my best and longest term friends (I thought) are now a far distant memory, and before ANYONE says it...NO I didn't email them with my complaints, gripes, worries and symptoms on a daily basis. Just tried to keep up the same old relationships. Oh well. I guess everything is always changing. Thanks for listening. Luv Julia XXX

Dreamdove's picture
Dreamdove
Posts: 175
Joined: Sep 2008

I believe that is a common experience. I still have hurt feelings from the slights from some friends and relatives (some not all, I should make that clear.) Some people can't deal with cancer; it could happen to them, too. They are afraid. I try to be compassionate but it still hurts. The main thing is to make sure you never, never treat anyone with cancer like that because you know how it feels. I don't think you will.

blueroses's picture
blueroses
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi Tasha, Like Dream said it does seem to be a common experience for most of us who have had the big diagnosis and I agree with all she said as to why that seems to happen. A lot of people really just simply don't know what the heck to say or do so they disappear, probably not expecting to stay away forever but never quite know how to react with us so just keep putting off contact til alot of time has passed. Others I guess see their own mortality in our diagnosis and can't face that, who knows. For me I know that I used to be known as the life of the party, had a pretty normal life and was without alot of baggage and so it was 'easier' to be with me but once I was diagnosed all of a sudden some people saw me as 'different' now with a serious situation on my hands and that was all they needed to just simply stay away - again though I think it was that they just simply didn't know how to deal with me anymore, like it wasn't me now or something. It's odd. However, I have to say that I do understand that way of thinking to some extent because even now after I have talked to alot of survivors it is still hard for me to know what to say and I know so much more about it from both angles, that of the survivor myself and from others who are dealing with it now. It's always hard to know what to say because you never know where the person is in it all. Try and not take it personally if you can, I know it hurts, but be assured that those who stand by you are the ones you want to keep anywho. My best support then actually turned out to be a stranger who reached out to help when she heard of my diagnosis and we have been fast friends ever since, over 20 years. Like the saying goes 'when God closes a door he opens a window'. I hope some of that made sense. Blessings Tasha and remember you always have friends on this site, please feel free to call me one of them if you choose too. Hugs. Blueroses.

terato's picture
terato
Posts: 384
Joined: Apr 2002

tasha,

"We" remind them of their own vulnerability. People go through life never thinking that something like cancer could ever happen to them, then someone like them whom they know gets cancer and they begin to realize, "If it could happen to him/her, it could happen to me!" "We" are the cold hard slap of reality reminding them that no one in immune from serious illness or other life "challenges". The same thing often happens to newly divorced people when their "happily" married couple-friends stop calling.

Love and Courage!

Rick

tasha_111's picture
tasha_111
Posts: 2063
Joined: Oct 2008

Blueroses you said it right, heck you'd think it was contageous by email! I can't believe these so called friends...............RICK.....I was divorced and got the same, My so called "Happily married couple friends" suddenly wanted nothing to do with me, especially those who were insecure in their marriage........Those who really were happily married, well they were great.. I was friends with a few of the husbands and a couple of the wives, I was a church bell-ringer...But once I was alone..........hey different story here. I soon learned who had a good marriage and who was scared of a 42 year old blond with NO interest in men at all!..I would rather have had friends. Luv J XXXXX

Dreamdove's picture
Dreamdove
Posts: 175
Joined: Sep 2008

I'd rather have people in my life who truely care about me anyway. Even if that means I have to be alone. I recently read the book "Gilda's Disease." It was about ovarian cancer (which I had) and Gilda Radner. Gene Wilder was married to her when she went thru it and stuck by her even though it must have been very difficult at times. He even mentioned in a book he wrote that it had been a struggle being with her at times. Thank God she had someone like him in her life!

terato's picture
terato
Posts: 384
Joined: Apr 2002

tasha,

People stopped calling when they learned I had cancer, then I got divorced and the couples we occasionally spent time with, ignored both of us. Finally, after my brother committed suicide, those who should have been supportive, became too "busy" to get together anymore.
I count my remaining friends on the fingers of one hand!

If any of the above could have happened in "their" lives, maybe they should have gotten a could physical and psychological check-up and consult a good marriage counselor? I was not the fault, I was the result of life's many challenges.

Love and Courage!

Rick

blueroses's picture
blueroses
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

Hey Rick, I wonder what the stats are on divorce after cancer? I had the double whammy of cancer twice and then the eventual divorce. I guess it would be hard to count exactly how many offshoot whammies there were after both the cancer and the divorce with side effects, loss of mutual friends yada yada. For some, challenges like cancer only strengthen their relationships but I guess those relationships were much stronger to begin with or the cancer forced the two to wake up and see what was truly important. For the others, not so much I guess. For me it was a weak relationship to begin with I later realized. Just when we need support the most it is lost along with our health but in many ways I find it easier without all the hastles and stresses of a marriage gone wrong. Everything for a reason, eh?

I found though, as I said earlier in another posting here, that strangers started to come into my life to help - right out of the blue, and one in fact after finding out of my diagnosis (we were strangers til then)is still my friend 20 years later. Blessings to all.

tasha_111's picture
tasha_111
Posts: 2063
Joined: Oct 2008

Thank you all, maybe I understand a little better now. It still Hoses me off but I guess I've learned who my REAL friends are. J x

blueroses's picture
blueroses
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

You sure do learn some different names for certain things, depending on where in the world you live. Never heard the phrase 'hoses me off' before, lol, but I like it. I was looking for a new way to say 'ticks me off' so there you go, you learn something new everyday online, lol. On a more serious note Tasha, hope we have been able to shed some light on your problem with friends bugging off after they knew of your cancer but really in the end like you said you have learned who your real friends truly are. Hugs.

terato's picture
terato
Posts: 384
Joined: Apr 2002

I read that the divorce rate was as high as 76% among families where cancer has occurred. This was when the divorce rate for the general population was at 50%. The majority of people in my circle of friends and acquaintances are those whom I met since my divorce and most of them have been divorced. In a lot of ways, my "journey" has helped me deal realistically with lowered expectations and fewer demands of myself or others.

Love and Courage!

Rick

Dreamdove's picture
Dreamdove
Posts: 175
Joined: Sep 2008

When I look back at the relationship I had while going thru cancer, I think I should have ended it right away when I first found out instead of ending it a couple of months after chemo was finished. It would have saved me alot of pain and anxiety. His behavior towards me had changed and he no longer spoke of our future together. As a matter of fact, the first time I came over to his house when I was well enough after the surgery, he told me that he had told his daughter (she was 8) that the reason I was at his house was because I was sick and he felt sorry for me! That it was similiar to her mother when she took someone into her house that was going thru a hard time after her divorce. Another time a single neighbor lady of his came over and flirted with him right in front of me. I was standing there wearing my cancer scarf. I guess she must have thought I was "just" a friend of his. But all in all, that relationship very likely would not have worked out anyway. He had too many issues and I was having alot of trouble dealing with them as much as I tried. I wasn't loved and I knew it!

blueroses's picture
blueroses
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

So sorry Dream that you had to go through all of that on top of the cancer. I too had my marriage break down, not the same way you did but the ending was the same - it ended. And with it went any support of course that I had which has been quite hard. I didn't see the end coming til it was right in my face, long story, so it was a real shock that I don't really think I am quite over. Actually I think I had a form of PTSD over it all in the end from how it all evolved after a couple of incidents that woke me up to what my ex was truly up to. I do remember a similar scene though, in it all, when I too realized that I wasn't love and I knew it but the trauma was that he lied right up til the end which made it so much harder for me. Gee it seems unfair that we have to deal with the cancer and all that brings and then another slam with a broken relationship, it's unreal how strong the human body and spirit truly is to cope with all of that and still come out on the other side - walking a bit slower perhaps, but surviving.

blueroses's picture
blueroses
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

Isn't that interesting. Thanks for the data. I do think you have a point about the 'journey' waking one up to dealing more realistically with lowered expectations and with making fewer demands on oneself and others. Makes alot of sense.

tasha_111's picture
tasha_111
Posts: 2063
Joined: Oct 2008

Trying to brighten up the day...

As One of our well known (several times divorced) English comedians said... "I'll not bother with marriage or divorce again, Just find someone you don't like and buy them a house"

Hugs Julia

blueroses's picture
blueroses
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

Thanks Tasha, needed that little chuckle. Hugs back.

tasha_111's picture
tasha_111
Posts: 2063
Joined: Oct 2008

Blue, You have a great sense of humour!~ Luv J XXXXXXXXXXX

nsquirrely
Posts: 50
Joined: May 2007

I, also, have had occasions when things in my life separated the real friends from the not so real friends in my life. I have to admit the ones I lost due to a dx of cancer hurt the most though.
I don't understand why but it's just seems easier to deal with for them if they can stick their heads in the sand and ignore it. One of my friends actually used the fact that she lost her Mother to cancer as a excuse for it. I would have thought that would have made her more understanding and supportive of me. Perhaps it is just God's way of filtering out the riff raff in our lifes. It certainly gave me some perspective on what I wanted from the people in my life. I don't have many in my life now but at least I know I can count on the ones I have to be there for me.
Hugs and prayers
Shirley

blueroses's picture
blueroses
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

I personally think that the friend who drifted away when she found out you had cancer and whose Mother had succumbed to it might have had a hard time of going through it all again with you. It might have been a constant reminder to her of what her Mum went through so I am sure it wasn't personal. Probably couldn't bear seeing it all again. Interesting about what you said about it being God's way of filtering out the riff raff in our lives, in some cases that might well be true. Hope the holiday season finds you and yours feeling well and happy. Blessings, Blueroses.

Folks24
Posts: 107
Joined: Feb 2007

Terato, you sure hit the nail on the head! It upsets people to know others with an illness or disability. Basically they don't want to deal with it in their head or physically with interacting with that person.

You really learn about a person's maturity and for lack of a better word "guts" when this comes up. I wonder if it has anything to do with after WWII parent's attitude toward their children? Shielding them from stuff and overcompensating? Course I work with others "younguns" who have no clue about life and mommy & daddy are always there to bail them out. The roses have not grown thorns for them yet. One gal on this website had a question about telling "dates" she had cancer. Course there is a time and place for that but heck I'd tell em and weed out the "not guts" right from the start. :)

Course life socked me when I was 13 when my dad became disabled so my attitude is different than a lot of folks I know. Maybe I just matured early. Sad to say, it seems like some people never mature and you'all's comments seem to agree with that.

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