Friendships: Lovely Ladies, Friendships. I am... - My Ovacome

My Ovacome

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Friendships

Smileeveryday2021 profile image

Lovely Ladies,

Friendships. I am wondering if you feel your friendships have changed since your diagnosis? If so, how?

It is easier to be with “new” friends (friends made since cancer) than the friends you had before cancer?

Your thoughts, experiences, discussion welcomed

Thank you

32 Replies

I suppose it’s about which friends! Many old friends have been great, very supportive but new friends who ‘get’ what this journey is like are also very important. I have jettisoned some individuals both old and new because I think I am less tolerant of quirks like not getting back to you for ages, taking the p*ss, casual racism etc! But maybe that’s just me? x

Melnie profile image
Melnie in reply to Lyndy

Yes I've found some have dropped away as they 'don't know what to say' at least your true friends stick by you, and you make some new friends usually ones who have been through this dreadful disease but then sometimes it's not uplifting if we're all moaning about the same thing but at least understanding is there. It's quite difficult at times isn't it?

Yes… it is difficult… and I know with that statement you read the words that aren’t written… xx

organicinna profile image
organicinna in reply to Melnie

you sooo right )))) xx

Lyndy, you are definitely right about having less tolerance… I recognise in myself I have less tolerance for being “let down”. I also have less tolerance for assumptions rather than being asked and not having privacy respected. … you are also right about the new friends made on this journey… there is an understanding that doesn’t need words. Thank you for replying XX

Yes I would have to say some changed I have one close Friend more needy than I realized I just didn’t have the energy I was taking steroids a few days after chemo it made me a little off she didn’t get it when I completed treatment she was like all that’s behind you now . I also have some really great Friends sent me cards and flowers that truly understood. At times though I felt very isolated lately I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone attended my first survivors brunch yesterday 15 Gals it was great I felt so comfortable I think I also changed I see things differently. As mentioned above I’ve tried a couple different support groups via zoom one wasn’t a fit as a new survivor the other one so far so good.

I must be very lucky. All of my old friends have been amazingly supportive. Some may have been a little apprehensive about contacting me at first but I understood why. It's very difficult to watch someone you love going through this & for some, the initial response is to run away, hide, ignore. I suppose, because I have become stronger, I was able to confront those that I thought were worth fighting for and talked to them about it. True friends always come good & people who don't, well they weren't really friends to start with.

HiI have had the same experience I think its because your new friends can empathize with your current feelings. Old friends much as most of them want to dont understand what pain and mental upset you are going through. So dont lose your old long time friends they are very dear but the new ones you need to get you through this mindblowing journey.

Good luck

I picked up a brochure at the doctors’ office about a zoom radiation support group, as I wanted to hear about the experiences of others. On the day indicated, I got it all set up on the computer. At the time, the moderator appeared and told me I was the only person who signed on. She was a clerical intern, so she couldn’t answer questions. Disappointing.

As for friends, I tend to have a few close friends of many years, and they have been supportive and helpful. In my work situation, I work with different people all the time rather than an unchanging set of coworkers. I pick and choose who I tell about the cancer.

I realize that over the years I was less than interested when people I was acquainted with had serious illnesses, and I feel bad about that now.

Well ....with me - I dropped my regular old bunch of friends 8-9 years ago, when they didn't wanted to seat at the same table with one of our friends who been diagnosed with schizophrenia suddenly at the age of 43. She was still OK quiet and placid to have a coffee once a week with us ( just talking nonsense from time to time like " last night Putin was all night outside her flat spying on her" or she declaring herself surviving princess Anastasia Romanov etc ))) ) But for them she become like diseased and dangerous they have to stay away from . She wasn't welcome to out gatherings anymore. So I wrote them a "strong " letter, send by emails. And they cut me of their bunch as well )) So obviously now none of them even know I got OC last year and will only find out after I die. They might will want to invite me to their table now , but I do not wont their sympathy, pity etc. And I know for them I be " dead woman walking " and we don't need that at all do we? ))

I still got one very good friend who i see often and am still a patron for our schizophrenic friend ( who haven't got any relations in this country ) who I visit regularly in care home locally. Nevertheless reading all post about this interesting subject I agree with all post. And If I wasn't much tolerant to ignorance before - I obviously even less tolerant now. But saying that to some things am more tolerant now than before OC...... we all complex LOL

bamboo89 profile image
bamboo89 in reply to organicinna

'Dead woman walking' oh yea, I know that one really, really well, and not just from physically distant friends. My youngest sister apparently organised a family getaway for this year. It was booked late last year and quite a few family members are going, but I was never even told it was happening, never mind invited, I only found out by accident. And when I tackled her about it after I found out, she said she assumed I wouldn't be well enough to go... I'm afraid my response was extremely pithy and included the words 'what you mean is, when you booked it last year, you thought I'd be dead....' because I know she did (I'm stage 4b and have been since end of 2017). Regardless, she should have given me the option... that's like not sending a wedding invitation to someone because you know they probably won't come, when what you should do is send it anyway...

Miriam

organicinna profile image
organicinna in reply to bamboo89

Miriam but may be she like all other friends was worried it will upset you to be there???

bamboo89 profile image
bamboo89 in reply to organicinna

Ha ha, well I suppose its one way of looking at it, but I know my sister well... she hates anything even vaguely uncomfortable or unpleasant, so she'd be the one who'd find it uncomfortable, certainly not me. That's also why she can't be open and honest, because honesty sometimes requires mentioning uncomfortable or unpleasant things, it's just the way she's made. She can't even talk about the health status of her own husband or sons if there's any problem.

organicinna profile image
organicinna in reply to bamboo89

I believe you , i was just trying to comfort you....yeah but hey you are my other model and inspiration - 4b like me and not a dead woman walking no way! I thought am 4C , but found my medical letter last year diagnoses recently and it said 4B. It made my day even that tiny change lol

Hi Miriam,

That is so hurtful and cruel I guess every family has one!

Oh, she doesn't mean to be cruel or hurtful - its just she cannot cope with anything she finds a bit difficult or uncomfortable to think about, so its not intended to be deliberately hurtful, its just avoidance to spare her own feelings. But I don't let her get away with it - I'm the oldest, she's 18 years younger than me, so that means I can tell her off if necessary😉 I know the difference, I've got another sister (have 4 of them) who's deliberately hurtful and with whom I (nor anyone else in the family) no longer have a relationship...

Very well said OC changes one's perspective its so sad people are intolerant in the case of your Friend with Schizophrenia you never know with karma ha! One of my closest Friends has dementia it is progressing but I pick her up every couple weeks for lunch yes she needs a little more navigating at times but she's a dear soul her Husband always thanks me for making the effort because many of her long time Friends some from High School don't call anymore she's 84 I'm 63 I don't understand how people can be so cruel but it happens.

hello yes definitely. I am finding out some friends I thought really cared . dont really. and that I was the one contacting and keeping friends. yes I can talk to one friend easier. and one friend broke my heart saying she couldn't deal with it .as my husband also has cancer the same time as myself.

how did she think we felt .

I find I withdraw and let them contact me if they want to .

I hope your friends are good to you .

sending love on this hard journey. xx

Saintgermain profile image
Saintgermain in reply to meaty

Hi Meaty,

I am so sorry to hear about your Friends and your Husband going thru cancer at the same time. You have to conserve all your energy for the both of you. I have Low Grade Endometroid like Low Grade Serous according to my Gyno Onc its rarer than the other sub-types. In my case as I'm sure other Teal Sisters on this site can attest my debulking hysterectomy went rather smoothly I think the fear of the unknown was harder than the actual surgery. This is a wonderful site glad you found us!

meaty profile image
meaty in reply to Saintgermain

thankyou yes its lovely to be able to chat on here. yes mine is low grade serious. I am 6 weeks post op xxx

Saintgermain profile image
Saintgermain in reply to meaty

I hope with every day your feeling stronger and you are healing well!

meaty profile image
meaty in reply to Saintgermain

thankyou. slowly. . and hope you are x

Personally l think its hard for someone else who hasnt been on the journey, we have really.My husbands had cancer and survived thank god so hes fantastic with me. Because although we all try to be very positive in our journey sometimes it difficult to get through it. I dont think its because they dont care they just don't understand what your actually going through.

Thats why l think this site a god send gives us hope when were feeling lost 🙏 and makes you realise your can live with ovarian cancer and actually lead a near normal life . Sending love ,& hugs SheilaFxxx

Having a cancer diagnosis is a bit like having your first baby when all your friends are still voluntarily childless or not even married - the world is divided between those who have and those who haven't to some extent. But having a friend who's had cancer is no guarantee of understanding or support either - I've an old friend who had breast cancer 20 years back - she's still got it, but its been kept at bay by a drug she's been on a for a long time. She 'doesn't know' what drug she is on, 'doesn't know' what chemo she had, 'doesn't know' what stage her cancer is, and generally avoids the whole subject of both my and her cancer, as if its not happened; essentially, she doesn't want to know about any of it. Which is a shame, because we could have swapped information and support, so it's also down to personality type as to how well people understand and cope. I find myself not ringing her and not arranging to meet up, because this sticking your head in the sand approach and not being able to say things like 'I'm on chemo again' and her response being to just change the subject drives me bonkers... talk about the elephant in the room ...🙄

Miriam

Bamboo,

Great analogy I agree completely I have a Friend hasn't been thru the same journey as yours but was diagnosed with 1A endometrial cancer and had a hysterectomy around the same time I did like I stated in my initial response she doesn't want to talk about it tells me its all behind us now. I don't even go there conserve me energy.

I did have another friend of 30 years standing who got breast cancer about 15 years back - she recovered completely, but she couldn't cope with my terminal diagnosis, and started criticising me, saying I 'wasn't grateful enough' if she gave me a lift to hospital or something, all a bit bonkers. I realised it was because she simply couldn't cope, and I ended the relationship, its bad enough having OC without being castigated all the time... sometimes its necessary to prune people out. She was always a bit of a bully anyway, I can't honestly say I missed her, which I know seems awful...

Not awful at all it seems your Friend didn't learn from her journey. The last thing one needs is a toxic friend I commend you!

I am lucky that I have a nucleus of friends who are very supportive and have helped me get through tough , lonely times and my new friends enable me to share thoughts and fears with which I don’t want to frighten or burden my good friends and family.

I’m glad I have found Ovacome this year(my third year of chemo) as it’s given me more hope and a better perspective on my “predicament “.

I’m glad you’re smiling every day. Long may it continue!😊

Thank you for your replies everyone. I find I am withdrawing a bit from some friends. Ones that either say tactless things or want to “talk about how you are” …when you just want to have a normal chatty conversation…I do wonder if being vulnerable during covid changes things too…less likely to socialise unless it’s outside,,I have also had the experience more than once..,when people look horrified and you get the pity/dead woman walking look..or they burst into tears and you end up saying things to comfort/support them…

I also have felt extremely let down by friends who passed on what I consider very private information to others I didn’t wish to tell..or people I don’t really know anymore.

I told a handful of people as I went through diagnosis and treatment; going through my first reoccurrence I told just a couple of people. I have questioned whether my I am protecting myself from their pain and with drawing to make it easier on all (and me) when it comes to the end of this journey… I was also very cross when people didn’t keep my info confidential but passed it on..somehow thinking saying “I only told x and y “ thinking they made it ok as they have fessed up…

So I debate with myself if it’s ok to be different to how you were…I have a couple of friends who have clearly debated how I am and I suspect concluded it’s all down to anxiety and Covid..,which it’s not..I simply don’t want to have them what feels like discussing me behind my back…I am sure they think they are doing it for the best and to be supportive..

maybe I have a control thing going on..,I can’t control the disease but I can control who I tell..I don’t know…I suspect I don’t chat enough about these things themselves..hence the post.

I should add I am happy mostly and out every day…I am not an isolated hermit 😁 just sharing thoughts I don’t share with my old friends..

So thank you all for being there and taking the time to read my reply..your comments helped and I learnt a new phrase which sums things up “the dead woman walking” look you get 🤣🤣

Interesting that some health professionals also give this look….difficult to describe how the look is though..and the pity look…rather than someone who just gives a supportive, open face to you…now there is another debate…

Hi this has been an interesting chat and one close to my heart. Most of my friends have been supportive and kind but I cut off one long term friend who had no understanding whatsoever but who still off loaded onto me about petty everyday worries. I have found this a lot though, with my family too, everyone expects you to be brave and strong and get on with it whilst off loading onto me about petty stuff themselves?! I wear my heart on my sleeve normally and talking everything out which helps me to deal with stuff but through my oc journey I’ve learnt to put up a barrier and plaster on a brave face whilst crying out underneath it. Thank goodness my husband who has also just been through cancer is so understanding and my daughters too. You learn who you can lean on?!

Thank goodness too for this site with all you lovely ladies who are understanding and supportive

Big hugs

Claire xx

Thank you Claire.. what you say is very true of my situation too..I agree whole heartedly and have experienced much the same as you describe. Sorry to hear your husband has also had to experience his own cancer journey. My husband is fit and well.. and in denial I think that I am not as I seem well.. xx

This may sound a little controversial but this experience has not just made me incredibly grateful for the friends I have but it has also made me reflect on the kind of friend I am. My friends have been really nice and supportive, which made me think of the kind of friend I am it’s safe to say that I am now more attentive, and thoughtful. I haven’t made any friends yet that have had cancer or been on a similar journey so I can’t really compare. One thing I haven’t got time for is pessimism I feel incredibly lucky to be getting better so it’s made me less tolerable for general moaning from my friends about mundane issues which could easily be resolved or general negativity. I wish you all a lovely spring everyone xx

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