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Family members/friends that just don't seem to care.

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

I haven't got alot of energy back yet but noticed that this topic seemed to be coming up a fair amount lately and since that is what I am dealing with, in spades right now, thought I would throw my 3 cents into the pool.

Abandonment. It sucks doesn't it? Well take heart, if you can in something like that, in that you are not alone with this aspect of cancer - at all. Some are lucky and have very supportive families and friends - they are the lucky ones but many of us aren't as fortunate and even the cancer surivors who do have support oftentimes still feel many of the same emotional issues of abandonment too from time to time. It goes with the survivor syndrome, and I don't know why I used that term but it seemed to fit.

The reasons people stay away are many and most of you have probably already realized: fear, not knowing what to say or do, feeling that the survivor is 'overdoing it' - that it's been a long time since treatment so 'get on with it', feels that we are just lazy and whiney and are hooked on our illness - you probably have thought of all of those things. They all apply to us at some point I think, I mean in how we are viewed, even those who have supportive people around them I am sure wonder if that is what they really think in their private moments. The reasons for this abandonment are as varied I guess as people themselves.

I know that for me my children's seeming loss of compassion, my ex who has refused to supply the medical income he promised and friends that just don't bother to call anymore - a 2 line email from them I guess they think will do - guilt setting in on them not calling me I feel sometimes - really hurts a survivor but few people truly understand what we go through on a daily basis with side effects and late effects from our treatments and illness.

I personally think that part of this phenomenon of abandonment is, in part, a bit of a boomerang effect from the whole 'rah rah rah I will beat this cancer thing' campaigns that you see all over. I am not saying that positivity and exposure to the fight and hope isn't important cause it is BUT BUT on the other hand I really think that in all of that hoopla over being the 'strong survivor' we ourselves feel that if we complain about the side effects and treatments and fear we have then we feel we are not being brave and you know what? WE DON'T HAVE TO HIDE THAT. We feel that we are weak compared to all of those survivors out there marching for the cure and again I say, that's needed - the marches, not saying that's a bad thing at all BUT those of us who can't do that kind of thing are then compared to those survivors who can, maybe not outright but to those around us, perhaps a little - just enough to invalidate our health situation.

We need to vent, we need to tell them it hurts when it does, we need to cry, we need to need those around us to show us they still care and mos timportantly understand and in so doing validate us. Nope, it's not an easy job, this cancer stuff, for the survivor or their families and friends but what are families and friends for if not to be there when one falls down? Everyone is different in how they handle stress and illness in their immediate circles and some just can't take the reality of the illness or what it means to a survivor on a daily basis. They just don't understand.

I really hope I made sense here because I am still recovering from surgery and this anaesthetic will not leave my bod. lol.

Simply put I think alot more needs to be done to help people in general understand the survivor, there is alot more than an initial diagnosis and treatment - it's the afterwards.

For the survivor themselves please don't underestimate the issue of stress on your health. Just last night on Larry King they did a whole show on the human brain and the issue of stress, as most of us have already figured out, can in itself cause disease and how much stress do we all have in a single day, with or without cancer? There are also studies being done on Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in the cancer survivor, something I have personally said 'duh' to for a long time but finally the medical profession has come crawling along and now they are investigating the possibility? WHAT POSSIBILITY - sheeesh, cancer can be trauma. So for those of you who have flashbacks of treatment days or related scenes that repeat over and over concerning your cancer experiences think about talking with your doctor about seeing a trauma and anxiety expert. YOU AREN'T ALONE.

I think knowing that even abandonment is a situation that isn't JUST YOU, that it can be part of our cancer journey and is for many goes far in helping, it does me at least, because on a site like this we then can feel free to explain our situations without fear of invalidation or shame and find some support in so doing. Validation is very important to the survivor, validation of self, health and love. It makes us better.

People just don't understand the survivors path. Take heart though, I am sure that way down inside most of the people close to you do care but they just don't know what to do with it all - it's alot. That's no excuse for abandonment but sometimes some just can't cope with the constant reminders through our symptoms that cancer came to visit their family/friend, one day.

Hoping you all find the support you need and deserve, Blessings, Bluerose.

HeartofSoul's picture
HeartofSoul
Posts: 732
Joined: Dec 2009

Its so sad that abandonment runs rampent for many cancer survivors. I often think the wall that continues to exist between one diagnosed with cancer and the people in their sphere would have been reduced to rubble in todays world. When I hear one in 4 of us will be diagnosed with cancer within our lifetimes, I would have gathered people would have been far more supportive of our challenges, sensitive to our feelings, and more educated about cancer. I know almost all of us at one time or another knows someone who was dx with cancer, either a family member, friend, or co-worker. Change comes slowly as the gears of existing perceptions of those with cancer needs to first slow, then move in a different direction. Whether you know it or not, we are graudally changing the world around us.

When you see how the internet has changed the way we access information and connect with others in an instance, I would have thought the level of ignorance and isolation between human beings diagnosed with cancer and society would have been brought closer together. You want to know what star shines the brightest for so many of the members here in CSN community is? Its the collective spirit, compassion and understanding of each and everyone one of us as we share our warmth and wisdom to both survivors and caregivers.

Below is a poem I wanted to share. I wrote it earlier in the year after a particular sad moment with one of the members in CSN. The poem is called:

"Cancer, the Ultimate Test of Friendship"

Being diagnosed with cancer
Separates our friends from pretenders
Cancer provides a litmus test
for those who we can trust
Because our quest is to survive
and do all that we can to thrive
No cancer patient should be left to ask why

Why a brother is now elusive as a butterfly
Or why a spouse has now misplaced their loyalty
You slowly see a difference in your friends
and while you try to justify their actions
its not something you can honestly defend
Sometimes it feels as if you’re just a distraction

When we return to our work environment
Our colleagues seem to have misplaced their sentiment
We spend many days reflecting on what we did wrong
But we do not find anything that suggests we do not belong

As we look for a kinder and more gentler world
We remember the songs that we grew up with
You remember those favorite places with those greener pastures
And the acorns that attracted nature’s playful squirrels

Some of us turn to reading and writing
Others discover the little things in life
We try and find a common bond
With others that we have come to be very fond

We walked many of the same rugged rock formations
And know in our hearts
that each of us had our moment of quiet celebrations
as our lives have taken a new path with a new start

We are hurt that those of us that we thought we could count upon
Gradually slipping away from us, eerily setting just below the sun
We have no answer when our friends appear in distant shadows
And find inside our soul an aching feeling which is ever so hollow

We have not changed nor do we intend to
We will always take the high ground as its our creed
and be there for others in need cause they are human too
Even for those who abandoned us in our time of greatest need

Steve Heart of Soul

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

Wow Steve, is all I can say. I have never read that poem you wrote before and I have to say it certainly encompasses what many of us go through on our cancer journies.

I agree wholeheartedly that we have come a long way, in fact I said that a few times in some of my recent postings, and thank goodness for those who have to endure the journey today - they now have the benefit of all of those trail blazers in survivors who have gone before and continue to survive all of the many complex issues surrounding this disease.

Thank you so much for sharing your talent Steve. It validates so many of us who truly think that in so many instances with all of our symptoms that come and go and some that stay - we are not alone in it all - and there is a deep feeling of companionship and undertanding and validation that we all need so much. Especially when all others drift away and leave us on our own.

Thank God for sites like this in this day of technology with the internet, I sure wish I had it back when I was first diagnosed over 20 years ago and I am so happy for those today who have this aid in their struggles with the big 'c'.

Keep up the writing Heart, you truly have a great gift to share.

Blessings, Bluerose

zinniemay's picture
zinniemay
Posts: 534
Joined: Mar 2009

My husband has cancer, I think we both feel that we were . Desent people, few really good friends, but now we are on our own. I see on here where people say they are sick of people asking "How you feel" "You look good" and so on. So even with a husband who has cancer I am not sure what to say to someone else who is in the same shoes.
I love my husband and I would not ever leave him , nor do I want people to stop talking to us for fear of saying something wrong.
With him taking Chemo I know his immune system is not good, So I said to a brother who was plannng on coming here next month (bringing a grandchild one yearold) I said "I do not do babies" Was not what I was trying to say but that is how it can out, so now he is mad and not speaking to me. So it is like We are darn if we do and darn if we don't.
So I have come to the feeling that only people who are walking this nasty road know what we are going thru. I have decided that if they cared they would come ,if not oh well. Does not ease our broken hearts. But enough is enough. My husband is number 1 in my book. So We will take it as it comes!

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

I am so sorry that you are both struggling with this disease but you sound like you are strong in each other and the relationship and that will take you far on this difficult journey.

Caregivers are angels in my book and no one connected even remotely to a person with cancer comes out of it quite the same as before - it changes everyone in one way or another.

It is hard to know what to say, that's for sure, even I as a 20 plus year cancer survivor who has been through just about everything emotionally and physically over the years still get stiffled myself when someone needs support who has just learned of cancer touching their family, it's never an easy thing to face whether it's you or someone close.

I wish you and your husband all the best but let me say that I see you both as truly blessed in the close relationship and bond you have with each other. Lovely to see.

I will hold you in my prayers. Blessings, Bluerose

zinniemay's picture
zinniemay
Posts: 534
Joined: Mar 2009

Bluerose what a beautiful name. Cancer touches everyones life one way or another. I am sure it does. and we never truely know what to say to someone. I am reminded of this each day. My parents both died from Cancer, I have two cousins who are fighting this too . My husband had been fighting since Jan 2009. I think of all the poeple in my life who have gone and wonder did I do enough or did I do anything to help them, I am not sure the answer, but always think I could have dome more.
We are so not alone but the feelings are still the way they are we feel alone . I thinkmy mind bounces around to keep from having to realy stop and think about it. I am not sure about anything except my love for my husband even in the bads times! So each day we will take it as it comes.
Thank you

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

Just making people close to you know that you are there for them if they need you is the greatest gift and if they know that in their hearts then you have done enough.

One day at a time, as you said, is the only way to go, it's all very complicated and there aren't any wrong ways to care.

All the best to you and yours, Blessings, Bluerose

forest_green
Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2011

I'm sorry to hear your brother doesn't understand. People who are ill, or caring for a loved one who is ill, are stressed beyond belief. Yet it seems we are the ones who have to be careful what we say and do, because others easily take offense. You were right to not want a baby at your house right now. Your husband is in a tenuous position, and he could easily become overwhelmed just from some little cold the baby has. I'm sure your brother hasn't thought of that, or that by having the baby there it could lead to hospitalization for your husband. Why would someone think it's o.k. to do something against our best interest? Because they aren't thinking.

Hopefully your brother will come around and realize how important it is to guard your husband against potential illnesses. Children's immune systems are immature, not capable of mounting the response they need to easily brush off something as simple as a cold. They don't know the best way of preventing the spread of illness (WASHING HANDS!) because they are children. You have the right, in fact, the responsibility, to help protect your husband. You did the right thing.

Barbara53's picture
Barbara53
Posts: 659
Joined: Aug 2009

Bluerose, you are a wonder and your courage and resilience are matched only by your eloquently expressed compassion. It's good to see you back here. Best of luck with your recovery.

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

Hey Barb, Long time no yap eh? lol. Thank you for the nice compliment but I'm no different than any other survivor on these boards - we all just do what we have to to make it through another day, you included.

This board is just so amazing in the support and validation that it gives and you are an intregal part of all of that. So happy to have met you on this site.

Hope this reply catches you on a good day.

Hugs, Bluerose

Evoling_butterfly's picture
Evoling_butterfly
Posts: 57
Joined: Sep 2010

Blue Rose I know this reply comes a year late ...but I'm new to this site and today I was feeling some kind of way.. Then I ran upon this discussion and you said evrtything I was feeling but didn't know how to say..Thanks

Evoling_butterfly's picture
Evoling_butterfly
Posts: 57
Joined: Sep 2010

Ha not that late I mistake your joined date for your comment date :) duh

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

You will find, as you read postings on this site, that many will speak the words you too feel on your journey with cancer. We all have a great deal in common in all of the stages we go through and that's why things people are writing resonate with us too. I'm glad you found this site, it will be a great help to you I'm sure. Don't be shy in creating your own topics you might want to discuss, people will no doubt answer you and share their experiences in your topics as well.

Knowing that other survivors care and understand you will go a long way in helping you get through this journey.

Good to have you on the site. Take good care. Blessings, Bluerose

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1560
Joined: Nov 2009

Hello Bluerose!
So nice to see you posting again. I am sorry you have been constantly going through such difficult times in your journey with cancer. But, like you said....you are a survivor! Praise the Lord! You are an inspiration to all of us here. Keep in touch.
Tina

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

I had no idea I was gone that long, time goes fast when you are fending off side effects eh? lol.

We all have our difficult patches with cancer, we are all survivors though and with a little help and support we will get through.

Blessings, Bluerose

nemom4
Posts: 15
Joined: Mar 2010

I just want to say thanks for putting into words what I couldn't describe. I know alot of cancer patients and survivors are going through the some of the same things I am. Reading your post made me feel a little better.

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

You will find that as you read more posts that more and more sound familiar as to symptoms and challenges we as survivors share, caregivers too.

There is a validation that comes from knowing that we are not alone in our struggles and this site does that very very well. Glad you found the site and that the posts made you feel a little better.

Take care,
Bluerose

nemom4
Posts: 15
Joined: Mar 2010

I just want to say thanks for putting into words what I couldn't describe. I know alot of cancer patients and survivors are going through the some of the same things I am. Reading your post made me feel a little better.

spoonchek's picture
spoonchek
Posts: 30
Joined: Nov 2009

I will add my thanks to the others Bluerose for so eloquently expressing how lonely this journey can be! I can totally relate to your comments. I have no family left, am unmarried, no children. Although a 30+ year friend recently decided she was "done with" me, I do have other friends for support. Many are out of town, a couple of them in town. Although I know they mean well and that they love me but they really don't understand what my life and focus is about....

I have Stage IV breast cancer which recently progressed and so the realities of my situation are in my daily thoughts. I've had a double mastectomy (08), chemo, radiation and of course will be in treatment as long as I live. My side effects from treatment are constant and my fears are never far away. I was diagnosed with severe depression right before I was diagnosed with cancer. I am on anti-depressants.

I have withdrawn at times, not answering the phone because I so often feel that I have nothing very positive to say and I know my friends are at a loss as to how to respond. It's difficult to live with a terminal illness when those around you have no conception of your situation. I know that its not their fault (thank God they don't have my situation!!) but it doesn't change the fact that I feel alone and isolated from normal day-to-day life.

I am trying to figure out how to live with a terminal illness as I have constant and daily fatigue and joint and body aches that vary in their intensity. These are side effects of my treatments. My energy level is about 50%-65% of what it used to be before cancer. The black cloud of cancer seems to hang over my head and currently I feel a bit paralyzed not knowing how long I have, but knowing the statistics for someone in my situation are very grim. I want to be able to enjoy each day and learn not to be so fearful of the future.

My dog Truman is my joy as I know he depends on me and I so depend on him for his presence and his love. My goal is for him to have a normal lifespan and for me to outlive him and be healthy enough to always take care of him.

I know I'm rambling now so I'll stop. I haven't been on this site in a while but I'm so glad to have read your post.

Best to all,
Teri

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

I did not read one word of rambling in your posting, you expressed familiar issues to us all and so don't feel as if you rambled at all because you didn't. I think you are showing signs of feeling that way around others who don't understand your situation but we do on this board so no need for apologized for a freakin thing. K? K.

I have a couple of cats who I adore, and to tell you the truth I think they are better for me than most of my medications put together, pet therapy is very powerful.

I know your health situation is dark to you but miracles and healings happen all the time on these boards so I would strongly suggest you keep praying and have prayer chains at your churches pray for you regularly as well. I actually had a real healing I totally did not expect while in isolation during my bone marrow transplant and later I was told that prayer chains were praying for me around that time. I totally believe in the power of prayer, group prayer especially. I hope you are a spiritual person.

I have a site online that has a saint as the founder Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and her order is called The Sisters of Providence in the states. Go to that site and there is a place for prayer requests and the Sisters will pray for you. I am not a church goer but I am a believer and I have never really thought about saints but this one came into my life through a tv show and since I have had her in my life amazing things have happened to me, kind of a shift in my psyche that was very positive. The Sisters will also send you relic cards and prayer cards if you ask them to, I would suggest that too.

Never give up. I am a 22 plus year survivor of non hodgkins lymphoma and from what I have heard there aren't many of us left but here I am still kicking. Never give up.

You were speaking about taking care of your little dog, I made arrangements in my Will to have my daughter take my 2 cats in the event of my passing and she has agreed. Makes me feel good to know that they will be okay. I have a pet sitter too for when I have to go into the hospital for surgeries etc. and if something happens to me she will take the cats directly to our Vet to keep til my daughter can get here and pick them up. It just makes me feel good knowing they will be taken care of in the event of me not being able to any longer myself.

Anywho, feel free to write anytime. YOU ARE NOT ALONE AND YOU ARE UNDERSTOOD finally on this site. Write whenever you like.

Hugs and many blessings, Bluerose

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

Having another tough visit with my daughter who came for Xmas after 5 years of not having Xmas with me or her father as she was living in another province and going to university and had a fiance she wanted to spend holidays with - understandable for the young.

Was so excited when she told me she was coming and staying with me for Xmas Eve and a few days before but after the first night of polite conversation and 'caring' in little things she was doing for me it all turned. I worked so hard to make it all a nice, fun Xmas for her and spent way more than I have but as she is getting married next year I thought - what the heck - have a fun big Xmas like when she was a child. It was fun and good for me too to shop and just let loose, I love to buy gifts for other people especially my children.

Anywho the polite talk, no doubt from distance playing a part of making us feel a little like strangers for the first few hours I guess, turned to criticism on her part of this and that, picky little things - but so many of them. It became too much. We had a bit of an out for an hour or so last night but I awoke this morning and was determined to turn the other cheek and turn it around and I did. Long story but the day out today was full of reminders by her of things gone wrong instead of focusing on the bright side of the season and the relationship. I think she was trying not to do that but things she inferred, her tone, and certain things she was referring to led to constant disagreeing with me on a host of things, invalidating my suggestions blah blah blah.

I think the worst part for me was when she told me, with such a worried and concerned look on her face, that her fiance's grandfather had just been diagnosed with cancer himself and was going through such a hard time. I totally understand her concern but the difference in how she treats me with the same illness for so long is just like night and day. It's like she totally doesn't see the difficulty of living with it all for me who lives and handles all on my own daily with no help and the way she sees the grandfather. It is just so hard to understand and experience. She has such empathy and caring for the grandfather and has only criticism and harsh tones for her own Mother. We have had other disagreements in the past and I know Mother/Daughter relationships are tough at the best of times but still it's just hard to take sometimes when you try so hard and still it seems to fall on blind eyes and hearts, or so it seems. It's a puzzle to me.

Disappointing for sure. I know that many of you have difficult family situations as well so will understand. She is only in her early 20ties and so she has alot of maturing to do yet but is more mature than the average young adult I think. She has so many misconceptions though of how things really were for me with cancer late effects and treatments all through her life and the eventual divorce from her father. I see favouring the easier side of her family, her father, in many ways and it's a painful process for me seeing that I was a hands on Mom no matter what stage of recovery I was going through after the bone marrow transplant. I know it's hard on kids too, no doubt, but I guess depending on the personality and other issues kids cope different ways. It's always hard though. I think there is an element of denial in her way of treating me, seems quite harsh very often - uncaring - truly hurts me to see her act this way but there is probably more denial to my condition that I even realize.

For so many of us dealing with the cancer itself, all the tests and waiting for results over and over is hard but equally as hard is the way those around us relate to us as well. It seems that our illnesses magnify relationship issues I suppose and that makes it doubly hard to deal with.

I wonder sometimes, where is all this strength coming from for the cancer patient/survivor? Such strength in the face of extreme ongoing stressors - physical and emotional - it never ceases to amaze me. For me the strength definitely comes from The Big Guy as I call Him, lol, but for everyone it's different perhaps - hey whatever gets you through the day.

I continually want to fix the relationship with my daughter especially now that she is getting married next year - to do all the Mother/Daughter things when the child's wedding is coming up, but we are at a distance in location and the distance that has occured even when we were together (long story) seems to have taken it's toll on us. Sad. I feel a sense of 'making the best of it here with this Xmas' for her at this point and that makes me sadder. I went to so much detail to make this a great Xmas for her and me too but slowly it feels unnoticed by her and certainly not appreciated. She just doesn't seem to want to recognize how much pain I am in physically to have accomplished all I did for her this Xmas. I am not asking for a medal but I don't think I deserve the gift of sarcasim and criticism at every little thing.

What my biggest worry is as far as she is concerned is that if this is a bad case of denial as to my condition there is going to be a huge shock if I pass away and of course at some point I will. At that point, with so many things left unresolved with her and I (not that I haven't attempted to talk things out on so many occasions) she might go into a deep regret stage and she might be left in that state for a long time. I don't want that for her. Regret is a terrible thing as you all probably realize for sure. I had a great relationship with my Mom, for the most part, but at the end there was a misunderstanding and she passed away suddenly and unexpectedly with that misunderstanding on her heart. The regret nearly ended my days I can tell you, just so sad that a good relationship ended like that. I don't want that for my daughter but what to do?

Anywho my plan is to ignore all her criticism and nit picking and try to enjoy Xmas Eve today and Xmas Day tomorrow. She leaves at 11am, opening our gifts tonight after church as no time in the morning, and I pray that there is strength enough to get through the few hours left together with no big problems I can't handle. Going to try to get some sleep now as I have been up all night worrying and it's affecting my heart quite literally. Don't need to spend Xmas Eve/day in the ER that's for sure. lol

I write all of this right now as I know many of you are going through similar difficult times with family not understanding how cancer has taken it's toll on our strength both emotionally and physically. Know that I understand and so do many on this board and we all support you. I find great comfort from those on this board too. Thank you for all of your support and understanding in this past year.

All the best, better health and much peace for all of you in the New Year ahead. I hope you are all handling your special situations well and have moments of joy with your family and loved ones around you.

Blessings,
Bluerose

hopeyheartbear's picture
hopeyheartbear
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2011

I'm not in a really good place right now.

Dealing with feeling rejected-abandoned. That is a root issue for me in my life. That is a trigger for me of major pain.

I was diagnosed with vulvar cancer on July 14th. I go in for surgery on the 11th of August.

How do I deal with the fact that the ladies from my Women's Bible Study group that I've know for a few years now have not done anything to keep in touch with me or follow-up with me about how I'm doing, anything. Shoot some of them haven't even so much as acknowledged what is going on with me. I know that on FB it's easy to miss a post sometimes and so I'm trying not to think the worst but I will confess to you that I feel very hurt and rejected and disappointed.

Aren't the Christian women I'm friends with who know me FACE TO FACE supposed to care and show it? I mean I feel more love and support from people I know online that I've never met than from most of them.

One woman - her daughter is one of my youngest's best friends - and since the day of my diagnosis 2 weeks ago when she extended her sympathies and "prayers" she hasn't said anything. Not even a comment on my FB - which is weird because she usually always "likes" or posts on my FB all the time.

Another woman, a girlfriend I have lunch with frequently, since I told her on the phone the day after my diagnosis, I haven't heard a peep.

Shoot I sent emails when I was diagnosed to 2 of the leaders of my women's bible study - one a pastor's wife - and they haven't even responded.

I have to confess, my non-christian women friends are being more supportive and thoughtful. It - throws me for a loop and I am fighting against a resentment building inside me.

Now the other day two people from my church stopped by my house - an older woman and one of the older pastors - both who I never met personally - to check on our family after my mother in laws death on May 27th - which was really nice and I told them at that time about my diagnoses and they prayed with me and it was really nice.

YET, of those women who I see every Thursday morning all through the school year, and those among them who I thought I was closer with ... nothing.

I certainly don't judge God on the actions of people - I know He isn't rejecting me or anything like that - at least I know better than that now.

I am really fighting against feeling rejected, devastated and like most the "Christian" friendships I have are a sham.

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

I am sorry to hear you are in that abandoned state that I know so well. I am here though to tell you that there are valuable lessons to learn from even this crumby part of the whole cancer journey.

I actually had the same thing happen, not only during my early cancer days but over time as well. I am a 24 year cancer survivor now and over time I have noticed that many of my church going friends have drifted off and strangers are in fact much more compassionate. In the beginning when I first heard of my diagnosis there was an immediate withdrawal of lots of friends for who knows what reasons and out of the blue came a stranger I had only talked to a few times who helped me and my family with little gestures like a flan delivered at suppertime to my home as she knew that in treatments I wasn't exactly into baking. lol. She became a very good friend over time. However even she has drifted over the years and often I feel as you do, abandoned and rejected and sometimes even judged. I often wonder why Christians so often tend to be the worst at judging others when isn't there something in the bible that says judging is not a good thing? I have no idea what it all means.

I am spiritual rather than religious, I don't go to church on Sundays but do watch a Sunday service on tv - just found one that works for me. I couldn't quote a passage from the bible if you paid me but I don't think that's what it's all about. It's about how you live your life. I'm no saint, I have made mistakes and will continue to but I try to be a good person as I am sure you are too.

I still feel abandoned from time to time but I have also learned a great deal about myself and people through the journey and I know I have a long way to go still. One thing I have learned is that there are many reasons why people turn away from those with cancer - everything from not being able to deal with their own mortalities by rubbing shoulders with someone with a life threatening illness to just not wanting to discuss the issue with the person with cancer for fear they will say something wrong. There are many many reasons. I think that all we can do is not to judge those who abandon us but rather wish them well and go on our way - hoping they will return to our relationship at some point in our lives. I try to apply that way of thinking to my daughter and now my son is acting the same way but it's not easy when it's your own children. There is a ton of misunderstanding going on there as I'm sure there is with your friends and acquaintances as well as alot of misinformation as well. We do the best we can do and fighting cancer and it's side effects is all we can handle sometimes. Take care of yourself first and heal.

I have also learned that I have alot more courage and strength than I have ever thought possible through handling alot on my own since there are few around to help me now that I am divorced. I have used my time to try and help others with what I have learned, people who are just starting to go through the cancer journey and in doing this have found a purpose in it all. You might think about that kind of thing yourself - turning to help others who are struggling with things that you have realized so far in your journey. You may not think you have alot to share til you start trying to help someone - you will be surprised. Using your energy to help others is a great way to regain happiness and not feel so alone, sites like this help too in allowing you to feel validated in how you are thinking and feeling and often you will find great inspiration in reading many of the posts. I have.

I could go on and on wrting of all I have learned from the rejection and abandonment that seems to accompany the cancer experience, for some more than others, and I guess it boils down to the fact that I truly do feel that there is always a reason for everything. A reason for that abandoned feeling even, maybe it's to teach us non judgemental ways and to help us to realize how valuable we can be to someone else who is going through what we have been through.

I believe that we live on this 'earth school' that I have heard it called by some to nurture our soul and when our lessons are learned for this period of time we move on to learn somewhere else.

Try to look at even the most hurtful and negative aspects of this cancer journey as an opportunity to learn about yourself and others and try not to take things too personally because sometimes the reasons people pull back are totally about them and not about you. There is a certain amount of cancer paranoia I call it that comes with the disease, some experience it more than others who knows why, but we can become very tangled in that and that only serves to hurt us. I believe in the basic good of people and over the years have realized that with this journey with cancer that belief is often tested. Turn the other cheek, wish them well and hope they return one day when they have settled their demons or resolved issues they had to in order to return to your friendship.

Remember not all relationships are meant to last a lifetime. People come in and out of your life and I believe they do so, even for a short time, to teach us something. It's our job to figure out what that is and if the lesson is learned it just might be there time to move on.

Well I could write on this subject forever but I will spare you. lol.

I hope some of this hits home and helps you at this time when you are feeling so low. Look to keeping yourself occupied if not by volunteering to help someone else with doing something you take pleasure in/love to do and in time you will come out of this funk. We all have these periods too, so you aren't alone.

If you find that you are still having very low sad times often then I would suggest seeing a good counsellor who deals in grief and loss of health. I check in now and again with one, I think it's the smart thing to do, and remember cancer isn't easy and sometime we need to seek professional help to get us out of ruts. It happens to most of us so again, you are not alone.

Please feel free to post whenever you feel like it. Remember, you aren't alone any more. We are here for you and truly understand because we have been there.

Blessings,

Bluerose

palmyrafan's picture
palmyrafan
Posts: 398
Joined: Mar 2011

My family is in denial and I ain't talking about the river that runs through Egypt. My dad is the head ostrich and has always stuck his head in the sand when he doesn't want to confront things or deal with real problems. My siblings are barely there as well. All surface talk, if they even contact me. My older brother doesn't even contact me, my sister is so consumed by her own life that I'm an afterthought, and my youngest brother at least calls and/or emails my husband or I about what is going on. He also says that we are always in his prayers. My other sister is a gem, she understands and is quick to offer advice and my middle brother is so caught up in his own life, I sometimes think he forgets other people are on this planet with him.When they DO call and say, "how's Teresa?" my husband says, "you should call her yourself" to which they reply, "oh I don't want to bother her, I'd rather talk to you". What? Now all of a sudden I'm contagious (brain cancer) over the phone? Hello?!!!!

But our friends (close friends) and neighbors are great. When my husband has to travel on business, he is quick to line people up if I need to go somewhere (I'm not currently driving), if I have a problem with the house, or just simply to check up on me. These people are awesome and I know that they would be there for me in my time of need if I needed them, just like we are for them if and when they need us.

Or to put it more simply, "each day is a gift to be shared" and I choose who I share it with.

Peace,
Teresa

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

Sorry to hear about your family's response to your illness but alas it's all too common for all the reasons I went over in previous posts on this subject. The good news for you and I is that friends and neighbours rallied and it sounds like your husband is very supportive so it could be worse - there could be no one helping you - so for that you are indeed blessed.

That happened to me too in that it was neighbours who came out of nowhere, some I didn't even know well, and actually today one of those people is now one of my best friends. It's funny how strangers sometimes show up right at the right moment and pitch in.

Hope all is going well with you.

Blessings,

Bluerose

palmyrafan's picture
palmyrafan
Posts: 398
Joined: Mar 2011

Fortunately, I am used to my family and I am not surprised by any of their actions.

As for my husband? He is the love of my life and I, his. I am so Blessed to have him in my life; I don't know what I would do without him.

I treasure each day because that means that is another day that I am winning, not the cancer.

My husband manages about 120 people at the corporate office and whenever there are meetings, they always ask about me first, before the meetings start. We've even had quite a few give me their cell # for when Neil is out of town on business and have told me to call them, day or night, if I need anything. Well, twice I did need help. I ended up in the E.R. 2 different times and our good friend and Neil's colleague, Daniel, came to my rescue and got me the medical attention I needed. Wouldn't take money for gas and even stayed in the guest room after he brought me home to make sure I would be okay through the night. Now that is a hell of a friend! That's why I only surround myself with people that matter, because life is too short to do otherwise.

Peace,
Teresa

ms.sunshine
Posts: 710
Joined: Mar 2010

I have felt all the emotions that all have described from family and friends. My help has come from folks that I thought were most unlikely to step up. The loudest ones took a step back while the quiet ones emerged.

I've realized there are strong, and weak individuals. People can not give what isn't in them to give. As a strong person (yeah you know if this is you) you are called to do things the weak could never do. One of the things we, the strong, have been called to do is to forgive those that are weak.

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