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More about Disappointing Relationships

Posted 8/4/2013

Posted in

  We have all been disappointed by "friends" at some point during our cancer experiences. We have all been hurt by seemingly close friends who vanished and comforted by others who became steady and supportive. Once cancer treatment is done, and we are trying to pick up the pieces of our lives (I loved a description from a woman whom I knew years ago. She said her life felt like a bombed out city, and she had to slowly clear and then rebuild it, brick by brick, block by block.), there may be decisions to be made about some of these friendships. Is it worth trying to reconnect with someone who disappeared? Will some of the newer cancer friends remain close relationships?

  I am musing about this topic because of this excellent essay from the Huff Post  by Erika Lade. It is called No One Shaved their Head for Me, and we all immediately know what she meant. I have known women whose son or husband or someone did shave his head. I am not sure I have heard a story about a close woman relation or friend doing so, but, perhaps, I am just not remembering.

  Here is the start and a link:

I battled cancer for a year, did chemo, surgery, radiation, the whole lot -- and nobody shaved their head for me. You know all those stories of people who get diagnosed with cancer and ordered to do chemo and their best friend jumps in and immediately says they'll shave their head with you? Stuff like that?
Well, that doesn't happen as often as you think. The one thing that has held true about cancer, during and after, is that it will  leave you disappointed at some point by every single person you know. And I had no idea that it would change every  relationship in my life the way that it did.
At first, there is the rally. Everyone comes to your aid, everyone cares. Everyone is sending stuff. Loads of packages arrive to your house and flowers cover your living room. Then you start treatment and things slowly wane. The texts and presents become less consistent, people go back to their normal lives and you trudge, seemingly unendingly through treatment.
An inverted figurative graph is formed: While the shock and awe of your diagnosis has worn off to those around you and they slowly return to normalcy thinking that you are ok, things for you as cancer patient have only gotten more difficult. And for you they crescendo and build up. Yes, treatment might be working, but you feel more and more miserable while everyone else gets comfortable with your status as cancer patient.


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