Cancer has taken my hair, my independence, my strength, at times my positive outlook, sushi, and my appetite – what I didn’t expect to lose were my friends.
Sure, cancer is a scary thing to talk about – and when it happens to someone you know it’s nerve wrecking on how to react, what to say, etc. I was prepared for the awkwardness from my friends, the tip-toeing around topics and such, but so many seemed to disappear when I needed them most.
When I was in the hospital the only thing I wanted to do was forget something traumatic was happening. I wanted to have normal conversations, to talk about how much work sucked that day, or who was dating who, or the latest episode of Parks and Rec. I didn’t want people to cautiously ask how I was doing, or have fake sounding conversations with me just to “keep in touch.”
The friends who stuck around knew exactly that. We talked daily and never once was it about how sorry they were, or how awful this situation was. There were days I needed to vent or cry and they understood that – but they also knew there were days I needed to forget, even if for a second.
I was told by my social worker early on that I would find a new group of friends emerges from this, that while cancer might take some friends out of my life for a bit it also would bring others a lot closer. She was completely right.
When I was first diagnosed it seemed like I had more friends than I could count, but slowly as the newness wore off and the rough day today became a new reality I felt like many forgot about me. While I had four shining stars that visited me when they could, I still felt alone. I was sad that many people I had considered close friends had left my side.
I don’t blame them, life happens and we carry on the best we know how. I guess I was just surprised that it was true, that people drop out of your life for awhile when this sort of thing happens. And that’s okay because other people will come in and help you up when you need it most.