Newly diagnosed
posted by Fairyandbutterfly
05 June 2022

Close friend has barely contacted me since my diagnosis.

Last reply: 5 months ago

Hi was diagnosed with invasive ductal breast cancer in April 2022 and due to other ongoing yet to be diagnosed issues going on, I had extra tests, scans done before I had surgery last week.
A close friend has barely been in touch since my diagnosis. I had sent a few msgs without a reply until I passed her while driving and I waved at her. I got a msg to meet the next day with
our young kids for a playdate. We met up and had a chat. It was mostly me answering questions about my cancer and plan and tests etc as she hadn't been in contact prior(bar a few texts about generic kids stuff) to know what was going on. My surgery was booked for her birthday. When leaving the playdate, there was no good luck or hug or any mention of my surgery etc.
There was nice normal messages for the next 2 days about normal everyday things, kids, summer etc then nothing for 3 days.
On the day of the surgery, I was in hospital a few hours and people were messaging me with nice messages before surgery so I was replying while waiting. I sent her a little birthday gif to acknowledge her day. It was only then that she replied asking if I was in hospital already and thinking of you. I replied a short message (as nurses drs etc were in and out to me for tests and talks) saying I felt positive and calm and i told her the time I had to be in at.
I was supposed to be home that evening but due to an "episode" (reason for my extra tests etc) post surgery i was kept over night until all had settled the next day. I was sent home with 72hr holter and started on beta blockers until I'm reviewed by cardiologist in a few weeks to try figure out whats causing these spontaneous attacks.
Obviously I was in a bit of pain post op too and with extra issues I felt a bit off plus I arrived home to our 3yr old with a vomiting bug.
I got no msg from my friend until 3 days post op asking how I am, how was op, and that she didn't want to be annoying me asking how I am etc.
I replied with a shortened version of how all went including episode post surgery and result of that being that I've to be followed up by cardiologist too.
I didnt get a reply to this. I got a short msg 2 days later about a kid birthday party venue question and that's it.

Is it normal for a close friend to distant herself and avoid the whole cancer situation? Do you have advice on how I can approach this with her without causing insult or upset? I definitely dont want sympathy, I never want to be looked at with the "aw poor you" look. But I want to be able to chat about our lives, mine and hers good and bad like we used to. I feel if I leave it, that our friendship may end and I don't want that but I also don't want to put her on the stop with a straight out awkward question. I don't know if she cares, or if she doesn't know what to say or she doesn't want to know. I'm not sure what is going on to be honest. Sorry for the long post.
Thank you for listening. 💛

9 comments

Comments

commented by lotusflower
05 June 2022

6 months ago

Hi Fairyandbutterfly, sorry to hear about your friend, I had the same experience with my two ‘best friends’ - it is very hurtful and I cannot find any reason or excuse for it. On the plus side the support from other friends and colleagues has been tremendous. Focus on your family and the friends who are supporting you, most importantly focus on yourself and getting better. Wishing you well x

commented by Fairyandbutterfly
06 June 2022

6 months ago

Hi lotusflower
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I really appreciate it.
I'm lucky that my other friends have been so supportive and normal with me. A great friends dropped me to the hospital for my surgery as my husband stayed with our young girls and ut was a great fun trip to the hospital with normal girly chat and laughs. It was exactly what I needed. My family are great too. I'm very lucky.
Did you end up repairing your friendships or did you leave things?

I hope you are keeping well now.
Thanks again for taking the time to reply.

commented by lotusflower
08 June 2022

5 months ago

Hi Fairyandbutterfly, I’m glad to hear you are surrounded by family & real friends. I didn’t repair the friendships, I have just recently finished radiotherapy and back at work so I’m pretty exhausted. I don’t really have any interest in resuming those ‘friendships’ as really what is the point. I just feel that any energy I have is best spent on my family and the friends who have been there for me. I see you are going to join a support group, I am hoping to do that also as I haven’t spoken to anyone in person who has gone through this and especially at tge end of the treatment I think it would be really helpful to have that support as everyone thinks we are fine once the treatment is over. The friend(s) that took you to the hospital sound like great fun and it takes a great character to make that journey a fun time. Hope all is going smoothly for you & hi to all the others who have replied 😊

commented by pamy
05 June 2022

6 months ago

Heya I was diagnosed with breast cancer April last year & had the same thing happen to me with a close friend I knew all my life. Didn't hear from hem much & when I called to see him he asked nothing about my condition. People kept telling me that he is scared for me & doesn't know what to say. And other lady I worked with before I got sick bumped into her & she said hello & that's it. It's common for family & close friends to do this as I've been learning. But this does not help us at all. My head was so wrecked going through chemo & my poor brain. I just thought people were scared of me because I was sick. Unless you have had cancer u really don't know how messed up our brains get & it's so so hard. You need to think about yourself now, keep active & be around positive people. I'm good with my friend now, just through treatment when I called to him, I didn't talk much about been sick. Which of course you want to do but I had a great family I could talk too. And met some amazing women in my treatment. I find it easier to talk to people that have gone through it themselves. And counciling helped me loads & loads.

commented by Fairyandbutterfly
06 June 2022

6 months ago

Hi Pamy,

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I really appreciate it.

I'm so sorry that your friend didn't support you through your treatment. It is a bit heartbreaking to feel that in your time of need, they're not there for you.
I'm glad you got to meet some wonderful ladies on your journey. I intend to make contact with the local cancer support group soon. I just couldn't face it before the surgery as I had a few infections one after another and felt pretty awful.
Did you have to make extra effort to keep the friendship alive or did you just have to pretend that all was well and normal with you and avoid the big elephant in the room?
My family and other friends have been a great support.
Its like everything in life, unless you have been through you it yourself you will never fully understand or know what the other person is going through.

Thank you so much for replying. I hope you are keeping well and recovered from your cancer and harsh treatment.

commented by pamy
06 June 2022

6 months ago

I have to say I did just avoid the big elephant in the room. I didn't call to him as much then but when I did, it ended up been probably the only place I didn't talk about cancer. And that was fine too for me, it probably gave my brain a brake & be normal for a little bit. Unfortunately some people just don't know what to say to us. I can see that now but couldn't at the start & nearly drove myself mad. Its easier to concentrate on the people closest to you that make you happy.

commented by LeaB
08 June 2022

5 months ago

Hi.

So sorry you are going through this and then to feel your friend isn't there for you. I wish I could say something to make it right but I can't, but maybe she's scared? Maybe feeling guilty for it not being her going through it, or maybe she just doesn't know what to say to you.
Of course I could be totally wrong on all points. Whatever happens you will get the support you need from the places you least expect it. Don't think to much about it, focus on you. Lots of love x

commented by Beechfield34
12 June 2022

5 months ago

Sorry to hear you are going through the same thing as me. My best friend hasn’t messaged me since before Christmas. I’m in a WhatsApp group with 5 girls I know a long time and every time I mention what’s going on with me, they change the subject. I finished all treatment for breast cancer in Feb. Most people think I’m better now . It’s hurtful and disappointing. I never needed anyone during my treatment. I travelled to all treatments myself and didn’t put anyone out . I think a bit of compassion , an odd text and support is all we need when dealing with this. My circle is smaller now. Having a critical illness really shows who our real friends are. I’ve made new friends during the last year. Thoughtful, lovely people who understand . Just know it’s not you it’s them. Xxx

commented by lotusflower
14 June 2022

5 months ago

Hi Beechfield, you are so strong going to your treatments on your own those ‘friends’ have lost out on having someone as strong as you in their lives. One thing I didn’t expect was how lonely this journey is even with family & friends. Wishing you well - I have recently completed my treatments too and like you said everyone thinks you are better now & it’s all over, so far from the truth! It is so helpful to have this online support & know we are not alone. All the best x

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