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Why ignore?

Goldie1's picture
Goldie1
Posts: 264
Joined: Sep 2011

My husband was finally able to spend some time outdoors yesterday in the warmer weather. We saw neighbors outside and walked down to say hello. While talking to them, another neighbor came over and completely ignored my husband, wouldn't even look at him. No hello, no how are you, no nothing. Why are some people like this? Do they think Cancer is contagious??

Ellen

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 3346
Joined: Jan 2010

While I am sure that most people don't now consider Cancer contagious, knowing someone with it does have a way of putting it out there...you could get cancer too.

Many people have no idea how to approach someone with cancer, even somone they knew before the diagnosis. "How are you" seems too common place, and then there is the chance the paitent may actually tell you all the horrors of how he/she feels.

Some people feel guilty to be in good health while another is so sick.

In the future, I suggest you or hubby take the iniative and start the conversation. That will let them know that while everything in your life has changed, you are still that nice couple down the street and it can still be nice to be around you.

Hugs,

Marie who loves kitties

Goldie1's picture
Goldie1
Posts: 264
Joined: Sep 2011

I think I have to get some thicker skin. I was more offended by the neighbors cold shoulder than my husband was, he basically shrugged it off. Luckily, we have some wonderful neighbors and they have supplied a great deal hugs, shoulders to cry on, and comfort food!

Hugs back,

Ellen who loves golden retrievers

janie1
Posts: 753
Joined: Apr 2011

Cancer does cause "others" to fall into a stupor. That's why I love dogs.....they "get it".
Even my first onc looked at my husband when he talked as if I weren't even there. Did I mention the onc was the first onc... as in.... I found a new onc. Sorry about your neighbor. He shouldn't have come to where you all were gathered if he's going to be like that. Oh well, I guess just enjoy being around those that are good to be around.
Glad the weather is getting better and you both can be outside more!

Goldie1's picture
Goldie1
Posts: 264
Joined: Sep 2011

When we are feeling blue...there is nothing better then a furry friend to cuddle with. They always love us and just send out positive vibes!

Good move on your part with the oncologist!

Lesson learned here on the reaction of some people and cancer. I am still naive on so many levels.

Ellen

Sundanceh's picture
Sundanceh
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Call them out on it, Ellen, next time.

I have a "beautiful" piece on neighbors, that I wrote in the book...wish I had my memory stick with me and I'd attach the excerpt...it was a scathing indictment of what they are - and what they are doing to us.

Of course, I naturally "called it the way I see it", but this group has come to expect no less from me. Gosh, I just wish I had that with me today - believe me, it's right in line with what you are saying.

But, you gotta' call 'em on it - flat out embarass 'em and make them feel like a worm for the way they treat you. You've got nothing to lose, especially if they don't "see you" right now.

I loved Marie's response, but my entry would be the antithesis of that. I'm tired of making excuses for everybody else's behavior. They f'd up and I'm no longer cutting anyone that does stuff like that any breaks....no excuses for bad behavior, plain and simple. People like that need an education and I use every opportunity to enlighten them and expose the bad sides of their nature when I see atrocities like that.

My neighbors never checked on me this whole past year when I was sick, not once. Nada, zip, zero...they are feeble minded...just walk with your head proud and when you get the chance, just let them know about it.

I tell you what would raise the hair on the back of that neighbor's scalp...next time, tell them that his cancer is contaigous and he should go get checked. Or even better, tell them that it will be all over soon and that a for sale will be going up in the yard - and that you are going to sell it to some unsavory folks, who are sure to drag the property values of the 'hood down.

It won't make a difference, but the reaction on their faces will be priceless.

In the end, just be dignified and show them what it means to have cancer - live with cancer - and conduct your lives as you always have....the guy sounds like a dolt and not worth your time. If I saw him coming again, I'd just walk away - our time is in shorter abundance and we have little time to waste on social misfits like these folks.

-Craig

P.S. I'll look for that part of the book and post it if I can. You'll connect with it.

Goldie1's picture
Goldie1
Posts: 264
Joined: Sep 2011

If I was a bit braver, I would have said something. But, I am peaceful by nature and not confrontational. Like I told Marie, my husband just shrugged off the snub and didn't let it get to him. It bothered me more! The thing is, my husband doesn't want to talk to people about cancer. He leaves that to me to discuss with whomever asks. He would rather hear the everyday mundane things that are going on with friends and family. That's what makes him feel better.

Needless to say "love thy neighbor" with that certain neighbor is not going to happen.

If you find that excerpt...please post...I would love to read it!

Thanks!

Ellen

Sundanceh's picture
Sundanceh
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

And I think that’s how ‘Cancer Loneliness’ really operates. It makes you invisible to other people and you become oblivious to their being. They know you’re out there; they just don’t want to know you’re out there. You know what I mean?

It’s the old “Out of Sight – Out of Mind” theory that is on human display here. With your family and friends, it can be as simple as they start ignoring you, or should I say pretending that you’re not there.

If we don’t call or stop by, then he must not be sick, right? Whew, glad we got through that one. That will buy us some more time where we don’t have to deal with them for awhile, right?

Or as co-workers, when you see one of us coming down the hall and you seem very intent on shuffling papers at the copier, until we pass harmlessly out of sight. Or, perhaps you duck down the stairwell or into someone’s cubicle to avoid an uncomfortable or awkward greeting when you see any of us coming.

Or maybe it’s as simple as just avoiding eye contact or looking the other way at just that right moment, huh? Or it could be the ultimate indignity, to pretend you’re having such a serious conversation with someone in the hallway that you can’t acknowledge our presence with a simple glance or a wave?

Or, maybe it’s that awkward silence in the break room as we both heat up our lunches and you shift around shuffling your feet nervously, trying to literally will your food to be done in the microwave so you can beat a hasty retreat back to your workstation and avoid what you feel would be an uncomfortable exchange of pleasantries?

Or as neighbors, where you see us in our driveways but you barrel down the street in your car, pretending you don’t see any of us out there and then very quickly getting your garage door shut to avoid another uncomfortable scenario that you’ve manifested inside your head.

Or perhaps you see some of us coming home from work in the evening and you continue to back your car back and forth in your driveway trying to line your vehicle up just so perfect. You wait just long enough for us to go inside and then voila, your car suddenly found the perfect position in which to park and then you scurry into your house. Coincidence?

“What, do you think we’re that stupid and don’t know what you’re doing?”

What are you doing? Well, you’re avoiding all of us is what, and I have to tell you that’s it very painful and hurtful to every single one of us. You’ve cut each of us to the quick, only we’re not going to tell you that, because we have to forgive you, because “You Know Not What You Do.”

Life is just too short to fret with this one as I’ve come to learn about human nature. We just have to learn to write it off and move forward, because all the involved parties are just too ‘emotionally vacant’ to comprehend the magnitude of their actions.

Don’t you understand that just a wave to us as you’re driving up to your house is just acknowledgment of you as a person – to know that you exist and are a member of the block?

Don’t you realize that a simple phone call for just a few minutes that day might be the thing that gets us over the hump and on to the next day?

Don’t you know that even an email can be a lifesaver to a drowning person? Even a coward can send an email. Did you suddenly forget how to type?

You’re supposed to be our friends and family – we’re all strung out with a cancer at its various stages and literally fighting for our very lives. Is this what decades of an invested relationship yields? Is this what it’s really all about? Has it really come down to this?

“What are the reasons for these gross shortcomings?”

Why, the oldest excuse since this ball of dust was created – “We didn’t want to bother you.”

You’re kidding me, right? That’s the most pitiful excuse in the book, if I’m being brutally honest with you. What an injustice you’re doing for both parties, but you don’t realize it. All you are succeeding at doing is laying another brick in the wall around this isolation chamber that we find ourselves entombed in.

The truth of the matter is not that ‘you did not want to bother us.’ It’s that you “Did Not Want to Be Bothered With Us.”

Now, go ahead and say it, because you know it’s true. It’s going to be okay, go ahead and clear your conscience and unburden yourself; you will feel so much better. It no longer matters to me anymore, because I ‘see how you really are.’

It’s not right by a long shot and I don’t condone, nor forgive your actions. And if you ever find yourself in our position, you might understand then how your transgressions affected the people you claimed you cared about.

Maybe you did have good intentions at the beginning, but then things started slipping away and it became much too easy to avoid the situation and in time to ignore it completely.
Unfortunately, this is the ‘ugly side’ of human nature. You can see now why I try and steer towards our brighter attributes as people. I only want to see the good sides of our nature, but I have to recognize and understand the bad side as well.

Then, I have to muster up the courage to be able to tell you about it and lay it all out there for the world to see and think about.

One other thing, keep in mind that as cancer patients we are sick most of the time. We may not be able to respond right away if you call, or we may have to schedule a visit when we’re feeling better or something. We might have to cancel a visit that we setup because circumstances suddenly changed and our world came unglued with sickness.

We’re terribly sorry, but do not give up on us. That is the worst thing that you can do to us. You must understand that you are well and we are sick. So, if we don’t answer the first phone call, then try again. If we have to cancel a get-together, okay we’ll do it another time then.

You have to be the bigger person in this case and not hold a grudge, because many times we can’t help how we are feeling or what pains, sickness or side effects we are dealing with at any given moment of our days, evenings, or night. Just be patient with us. Just be our friends. Just be our family. That’s not asking too much, is it?

Or is it?

-Craig

Goldie1's picture
Goldie1
Posts: 264
Joined: Sep 2011

just got a chance to read (been so busy) and this excerpt really hit home. I appreciate you tracking this down and re-posting it for me. I am going to read it to my husband tonight. I got to say, as a caregiver, I can relate to this too.

Thanks again!

Ellen

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4907
Joined: May 2005

I'm guessing they didn't used to act that way. We DO have neighbors who are often mad at the world and will drive/walk right by people staring blankly ahead. I think that probably everyone on this site with cancer has a similar story. We can be treated like lepers (not to pick on lepers). Cancer's not contagious but certainly ignorance can be.

I got soooo much closer to many people while others dropped me. I figure that cancer hits too close to home for some people. There's nothing wrong with that, many are uncomfortable thinking about their mortality but there's really no excuse for rudeness at all...They could have spared a "Howdy"

Goldie1's picture
Goldie1
Posts: 264
Joined: Sep 2011

I have a lot to learn. Not everyone is going to welcome you with open arms. But, there are those who will do what ever they can to be supportive. Human nature I guess. But, you are right, just a hi woulda been nice!

Ellen

donnare
Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2009

We've had the same thing happen - with members of my own family that choose to "pretend" my husband isn't sick. They make all kinds of excuses not to see us or call, but I think it all comes down to fear, ignorance, rudeness and stupidity. Cancer is scary in soooo many ways, I totally get that, but to ignore someone who is ill and fighting to live his life, speaks volumes about a persons character. Bye bye -- watch out for that karma!

For me, I've felt that it just hits too close to home for some people - something like "wow, this could happen to me too, not just other people". I also feel that for some, it just interferes with their outlook of positivity at all costs, and cancer can be a "downer".

Very weird, very ucomfortable, very rude, but, like the song says, I just choose to say "there but for the grace of God go I" and worry about those that want to be part of our lives.

All the best,
Donna

Goldie1's picture
Goldie1
Posts: 264
Joined: Sep 2011

is the hardest! Since friends and family have been there for us...I wasn't expecting this at all. But, now I see how some people may react to someone with cancer. I'm sure it won't be the last time either and now I won't take it so personally. As I said in other posts, it was harder for me than my husband. He always lets things roll off while I take them to heart. I agree...bye-bye, it's not worth it!

Thanks Donna!

Ellen

Buckwirth's picture
Buckwirth
Posts: 1272
Joined: Jun 2010

Apparently, when I was in the hospital (mid-December to mid-February) word I was a goner got out, and one neighbor asked Kathy if she wanted to sell my car, and another asked her for my computer. For whatever reason Kathy won't tell me who they were...

Funny thing, the neighbor that has been the most help is one I tended to avoid due to his proselytizing. Now he does none of that, and has been a huge help (he was the one who came over to try and get me up after I fell, and he was the only one who visited me in the hospital). Kathy even walks with him on occasion.

The ones we thought of as friends never check in, whether out of fear or because they don't want to bother us is the unknown thing.

lauragb
Posts: 370
Joined: Aug 2011

I will have to say that this post actually made me crack up, the vultures part. That's the sort of inappropriate behavior you see in a movie. It is hard to understand why some people put their focus on the material rather than emotional importance in life.

Well, anyway, I can say that I'm happy that you are the one using your computer right now.

Back to original topic, it seems many of us have experienced how uncomfortable our conditions make people. I always know when someone wants to avoid me in the grocery store, the no eye contact thing. I don't let it bother me at all. It's their issue, not mine, not personal.

We can appreciate the folks who are here for us.
Laura

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4907
Joined: May 2005

I already have an iPad... Wow! Talk about no class. You're still warm for cryin out loud!
It's nice the one neighbor is walking the walk and not just talking the talk. That's what it's about.
You often find out who your friends really are when you're down on your luck, sick, etc...

I certainly hope it wasn't KATHY who was eyeing up your computer!
:-)
I can understand her not telling you. I think if I found out something like that I'd bust those people's chops like there was no tomorrow. I'd pretend I didn't know about it, then I'd say how I was going to donate the computer to a group (who I knew that person didn't like).

This (cancer) is quite an eye opener in many ways...
Hope you're feeling better Blake.
-p

Goldie1's picture
Goldie1
Posts: 264
Joined: Sep 2011

brought a smile to my face too. Excellent way to express it in words.

Guess it just goes that you find out who your friends are. I learned a lot today.

Thanks so much to all!

Ellen

Goldie1's picture
Goldie1
Posts: 264
Joined: Sep 2011

brought a smile to my face too. Excellent way to express it in words.

Guess it just goes that you find out who your friends are. I learned a lot today.

Thanks so much to all!

Ellen

tootsie1's picture
tootsie1
Posts: 5056
Joined: Feb 2008

Dear Ellen,

I'm so sorry your husband was treated that way. No excuse for that! People are so strange in their reactions to a serious ailment.

Praying you and your hubby will have plenty of good people to hang out with.

*hugs*
Gail

Goldie1's picture
Goldie1
Posts: 264
Joined: Sep 2011

It takes all kinds I guess. And while I felt to need to explore why this person reacted this way...my husband had already moved on. I think that is what I need to do too. Family and friends that are there for us trumps all!

Hugs back,

Ellen

geotina's picture
geotina
Posts: 2118
Joined: Oct 2009

Can I say been there, done that, so we can relate. People will ask "how are you doing" but in reality, they just say it to be kind. You will learn those that really care and those that don't. So, I have a stock answer when asked How is George doing? I just say fine and change the subject rather than subject us to hurt feelings.

Take care - Tina

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

We all come from different walks of life and are brought up differently. Someone's Shun, is sometimes their coping mechanism.

I don't stand up for rudeness, just another insight. Don't get your feelings hurt, it's not that important, we have bigger fish to fry.

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4907
Joined: May 2005

I think the fish should be steamed, not fried!
You make a good point, what may seem like a shun may just be their being uncomfortable with illness.
I've rarely wasted too much of anything on that, people are either OK with it or not. It's their issue, not mine.

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

Grilled Phil!!! Grilled! :)

wolfen's picture
wolfen
Posts: 1325
Joined: Apr 2009

May Those That Love Us, Love Us

And Those That Don't Love Us,

May God Turn Their Hearts;

And If He Doesn't Turn Their Hearts,

May He Turn Their Ankles,

So We'll Know Them By Their Limping.

Take Care,
Luv,
Wolfen

tommycat's picture
tommycat
Posts: 790
Joined: Aug 2011

I like that...thanks for sharing :)

Goldie1's picture
Goldie1
Posts: 264
Joined: Sep 2011

it is going up on my Facebook page!!

Thanks for the smile,

Ellen

Buckwirth's picture
Buckwirth
Posts: 1272
Joined: Jun 2010

Plank, with little potatoes and asparagus! Not just any fish, but a beautiful salmon filet!

:-)

coloCan
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2009

Would you also like that grill PHIL-AID?

Goldie1's picture
Goldie1
Posts: 264
Joined: Sep 2011

Think I'll fry some fish for dinner tomorrow!

Thanks!

Ellen

Goldie1's picture
Goldie1
Posts: 264
Joined: Sep 2011

I understand. Sometimes when people ask how Pat is doing, I give a whole big explanation of what is going on...but is that really necessary? Do people want to hear all the details or should I just keep it short and sweet? I guess it depends on who asks...and just use my best judgement. Boy, this learning curve is tough...lol!

Ellen

eightpawz
Posts: 28
Joined: Sep 2010

I have one of those too, it's my sister. She can walk into a room and act completely like I'm not there. Even if she and I are the only 2 in the room. Doesn't bother me, but it upsets my other sister dearly. It has caused havoc in my family. It bothers me that it bothers others. I just told her, "one day I really won't be there, then what?"

Goldie1's picture
Goldie1
Posts: 264
Joined: Sep 2011

it must be harder when it is family. My husband sounds like you, doesn't upset him either. I'm like your sister, it bothers me! But, as these other posts have let me know...it just isn't worth it at this point and I have to let go.

Take care!

Ellen

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