Why did friends disappear after they heard I have Ovarian cancer?

It seems like quite a few of my so called "friends" have disappeared since hearing I have ovarian cancer. Is it normal? Are people still that afraid of the "cancer" word?

Comments

  • Lisa13Q
    Lisa13Q Member Posts: 677
    Dear HrsyGirl
    I am sooo sorry to hear that you have been diagnosed with OVCA and on top of that, so many of your friends have distanced themselves from you.....Yes, cancer is a terrifying word and people do not know what to say or do.....I will NEVER EVER forget the day my mother was diagnosed and the different responses I received from friends.....Please be assured that this board/discussion blog is one of the most supportive and kindest placest ever...you are welcome here.....how long have you been diagnosed and where are you on your journey to healing? Also, one thing to keep in mind, cancer is a tough thing to deal with....I don't know how long your friends have known, but maybe they are just trying to absorb the news themselves and figure out how to deal with this as well....idk....just a thought......Take care and hope to hear from you soon...
  • Tethys41
    Tethys41 Member Posts: 1,376 Member
    This time is yours
    A cancer diagnosis has many facets. One of them is this: this time it really IS all about you. This is your experience, this is your fight, this is your opportunity to change your life for the better. All those things that kept you "in line" in the past, don't count anymore. Some people can't face that. Some people just don't know what to when it is all about you and not them. A few of my "friends" disappeared once I was diagnosed. But other "friends" came out from hiding, and I learned what real friends are all about. If some people disappeared from your life, don't look back. People worth having as friends will be there for you now.
  • kikz
    kikz Member Posts: 1,345 Member
    Tethys41 said:

    This time is yours
    A cancer diagnosis has many facets. One of them is this: this time it really IS all about you. This is your experience, this is your fight, this is your opportunity to change your life for the better. All those things that kept you "in line" in the past, don't count anymore. Some people can't face that. Some people just don't know what to when it is all about you and not them. A few of my "friends" disappeared once I was diagnosed. But other "friends" came out from hiding, and I learned what real friends are all about. If some people disappeared from your life, don't look back. People worth having as friends will be there for you now.

    First of all I'm glad you found this message board
    where you can expect to always have someone to listen to you. When I was first diagnosed, my house was full of people but that didn't last long. We even came up with a plan for people to help me and my family with meals, trip to doctors, buying groceries, etc. It was called "Team Karen." That also fizzled out quickly. I had a few friends and family who were there through the whole thing. Many family members and friends have never come to see me. It is hard for some people to face cancer and I quickly came to understand that. I don't understand why they continue to stay away when I am now in remission and doing so well. I have a friend who was by my side a few years ago when I went through a very painful time. She would stop by and see me or call me frequently on the phone. We have been friends for over 40 years. Now with the cancer she came over at first but I haven't heard from her in a while. I text her on holidays and she responds but that's it. So I guess the moral of all this is what others have told you. You will have people who stick by you and some that for whatever reason cannot. They are not able to. I found that in the grand scheme of things, this was not something I was going to get upset about. Good luck with your treatment. Oh and don't be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes people want to help but don't want to interfere.

    Karen
  • poopergirl14052
    poopergirl14052 Member Posts: 1,183 Member
    kikz said:

    First of all I'm glad you found this message board
    where you can expect to always have someone to listen to you. When I was first diagnosed, my house was full of people but that didn't last long. We even came up with a plan for people to help me and my family with meals, trip to doctors, buying groceries, etc. It was called "Team Karen." That also fizzled out quickly. I had a few friends and family who were there through the whole thing. Many family members and friends have never come to see me. It is hard for some people to face cancer and I quickly came to understand that. I don't understand why they continue to stay away when I am now in remission and doing so well. I have a friend who was by my side a few years ago when I went through a very painful time. She would stop by and see me or call me frequently on the phone. We have been friends for over 40 years. Now with the cancer she came over at first but I haven't heard from her in a while. I text her on holidays and she responds but that's it. So I guess the moral of all this is what others have told you. You will have people who stick by you and some that for whatever reason cannot. They are not able to. I found that in the grand scheme of things, this was not something I was going to get upset about. Good luck with your treatment. Oh and don't be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes people want to help but don't want to interfere.

    Karen

    dear 55
    No it is not normal for your friends not to bother with you. They are probably giving you your space and getting used to the notion you do have cancer. Did you have surgery or chemo yet?? I am positive your friends will be back. You need them as much as they need you. Give them a call and see what happens....val
  • LaundryQueen
    LaundryQueen Member Posts: 676

    dear 55
    No it is not normal for your friends not to bother with you. They are probably giving you your space and getting used to the notion you do have cancer. Did you have surgery or chemo yet?? I am positive your friends will be back. You need them as much as they need you. Give them a call and see what happens....val

    Too scared
    I think it happens to the best of friendships when the friend is too scared to deal with the diagnosis. You may not know their history with losing loved ones to cancer or how they may fear their own possibility of having cancer. I had one friend apologize for their absence by saying "I just didn't know what to say." She's a nurse and I can imagine she could only think of all the bad possible outcomes--so it's probably a good thing she stayed away---hahahaha!

    LQ
  • Cafewoman53
    Cafewoman53 Member Posts: 735 Member
    Yes
    Reach out to them ,they think cancer patient and imagine terrible things.You have to let them see that you are still you . Is it fair ? No but nothing about cancer is fair.
    I made a point of visiting friends and family to show them I was doing well. Some people will still distance themselves and just can't deal with it ,don't dwell on it.
    Colleen
  • msfanciful
    msfanciful Member Posts: 559
    Hello,
    I just had to respond

    Hello,

    I just had to respond to you about the friends disappearing?

    I believe (and after having discussed the same concern with them), that many of them are at a loss as to what to say. Many are afraid to say anything in fear that they may say the wrong thing and to some they haven't overcome that old "C" word fear.

    As it takes time for you to process this journey with your illness, it will also take time for them to process (in all their different facets), this as well.

    One big ice-breaker for me about my illness has been to just talk about it...that's it; it let many know that it's okay to discuss it and that they don't have to take on the "hush-hush" approach. Many have told me how relieved they are that I am so open about my condition.

    I tell them..."I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me" and that I believe talking about something so paralyzing as cancer actually takes away the power of fear that it tends to hold over people.

    This way we can all move forward and focus on healing together.

    Stay strong and always true to you.

    Sharon :-)
  • jbeans888
    jbeans888 Member Posts: 313
    Thank you
    Thank you Lghorsygirl55 for posting that question and thanks everyone who responded. I also have a friend of 20 years who just sort of disappeared. He grew up with me and lived on my street. We always said we are like family. After my diagnosis a few months ago he hasn't even called. I will text him to say hi and he says he will call but never does. It's upsetting because i never thought somebody so close could do that. I am taking it with a grain of salt and chalking it up to the fact that he is scared and doesn't know what to say. Especially since it's a "women" cancer.
    Many people are afraid of the word cancer and talking about it and seeing someone you care about with cancer is a reality check.