feel left out

im in college and going through treatment is very hard especially on the social life. i can never go out because im so sick but would like too. i wish my friends would stay in with me once and awhile but dont want them to be brought down in my depression. i get emotional when they are getting all dressed up to go out and want to take pictures and they ask me to take the photos. they asked me to be in the photos but i feel so ugly with bald spots and all the uglyness of treatment. i just hate feeling left out and want my life. i just want to be normal!

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  • there are only a couple of photos of me from my treatment days. I, too, felt pretty awful and didn't really want pictures taken.

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    this is one of the few. Nowadays, I wish for some photo documentation of how things were for me. I suggest getting in those pictures. You might wish you had them later.

    As for feeling left out, you're not alone. I went through that, too. I was only free to have guests for only a couple of days per 3-6wk chemo cycle. At first I tried letting people know when that would happen so they could plan to visit, but when it didn't happen, I just stopped bothering.

    I have a friend who is chronically ill. It isn't cancer, but IMO it's just as bad, if not worse in some respects, and she is dealing with this, too. She's about my age and people our age just don't know what to make of people who are seriously and/or chronically ill. I make it a point to call or visit when I can.

    What to do about it? Let your friends know how it frustrates you that you'd like to go out with them but cannot. Ask them if they might have a dress-down "in" night to hang out with you and watch movies, play games, or whatever on occasion. Don't be surprised if some of them don't want to...people's emotional immaturity really seems to bubble to the surface at times like this. Don't fret them, but enjoy the ones who do come.
  • first, i am sorry you are receiving this kind of response from friends. my son was also 20 upon diagnosis (a year ago). i am a parent and not a patient but having done this w/ a young adult for a year now, and having availed myself of other young adult patients to understand how they cope well, to try and be as empathetic as possible, I have picked up some things. I agree with everything said by nate (he's wise so take what he says as good advice). most young adults do not want to reach out for support in groups etc, but i have notices a huge trend between those who do/don't and how they do emotionally. those isolated do not do as well in any way. in person is best but there is a sad void for these services for this age group. I just heard that there are 450 patients on a waiting list at a major children's hosital for receivng outside emotional support (when not inpatient and looking for a therapist w/ experience in major illness with young ones!). one day our country will value this more.one step at a time. and on that note, you can take one step at a time towards better emotional health but it does take some effort. perhaps you have a family member or friend who can help you with this if not feeling up to it but some of it they can do online next to you filling in blanks for you. for instance, imerman angels has a simple online form. once done, they find another young patient with a similar cancer who is a survivor to be your angel you can call/write/etc when you need a shoulder of someone who "gets it". cancer lifeline is also free 24/7 phone support. it might feel "big" to think about letting your friends know how you are feeling. a couple of thoughts on ways to go about that are this: 1) have a family member or very close friend write a blanket email from themselves informing the friends what's up. they could word it in a way that is from the perspective of saying things like "we know that not everyone knows what's going on, what's up for near future and how to help but have had so many ask what they can do to help. so here's some basics on how mermer4 is doing both physically and emotionally, limitations and how you can help.......thank you all for your love, prayers, understanding and help as we navigate this new journey...." or (2) you can write it yourself and add things from a 20 yr old cancer patient's perspective like " i know i wouldn't have known how to handle this if it happened to one of my friends/you all. it *&(^(^ sucks. we shouldn't have to deal with this at our age. but it is what it is and if I want to beat this I have to figure out how to take care of myself both physically and emotionally. you guys are my social support. it's cool if i's too hard. if so, odds are you aren't even receiving this. but if you are it's because you have stayed in my life, want to help, want to be here for me as best you can and it's sort of my job to tell you what works/doesn't for me right now. that will hopefully change for the better soon and i will let you know when it does but for now these are things that can be done to help me feel normal or bring me joy........and these are things that bum me out. again for now but i plan on one day participating again. i don't want you to worry about saying the wrong thing or whatever. just remember as long as you hang in with me and we think of ways to interact that work for the time being i won't feel alone and i will be forever grateful for you sticking with me" something like that. you get the gist. all human beings value honesty as gold. we all want to just know what to do/not do. it alleviates alot of anxiety as it takes away the question/unknown which causes the anxiety. good luck with this and your treatment. my best advice is to amass a large pool of support emotionally so at any given time you have people to call on for venting/crying/etc since no single person(s) can be avail to another person all the time. there are tons of people who want to help we just have to work it to find them sometimes. those on this forum are here for you. as a mom i am heartbroken to hear you feeling ugly because of how you look. reality is no human is every ugly based on external anything. true ugly is an internal thing - just like beauty. the prettiest people (externally by some standards) are the ugliest. what matters when we look back on our lives is not what we achieved, owned, etc but one thing and one thing only: the character of our person and the relationships we had based on how we treated people. no cancer patient is ugly because of their looks. NONE. but they can be ugly if they refuse emotional support and mistreat people daily/long term. even then, we forgive them because it can be overwhelming getting the help, it can be treatment related, it can be so many things and cancer magnifies everything. God bless you. There is HOPE.
  • I know exactly how you feel. I often feel fat, gross, and bald from cancer treatment. When i'm explaining it to my friends I call it 'cancery'- they think it's a joke but it's not. You are not alone. I'm 25 and I always loved going out. Here are a few of the things I do to help with the process for when you are up for a night on the town. 1) I channel my old inner-high self esteem (it's in there somewhere). I do this by playing music that I use to bump when i was younger when I get ready (spice girls, britney spears) sad but true- this music pumps me up. 2) I put some effort into doing my makeup. I even watch youtube videos on other girls with cancer doing there makeup and making this shit look good! I never was that into makeup so this def takes effort. I even try fake eyelashes since i have none- they can be fun! 3) I put on a hot ass blonde wig (i'm naturally a brunette). It's kind of fun and people love it! 4) I buy 1 new, CHEAP outfit from Ross or TJ Maxx that looks great and fits my new, larger, body type. It can be hard sometimes for me, but it's out there and it looks fabulous. 5) I say eff it! I go out, have a great time, take pictures if i'm feelin' it- they are great to reflect back on- hell maybe even scrapbook one day.

    I love showing others that i'm kicking some cancer ass (even when i feel like i'm not), i'm doing my thing, and hell i'm an inspiration. It's truly amazing how much people really look up to cancer fighters because we are doing something they knoooow they could not handle. I don't go out often. sometimes a girls night or a dinner date with the boyfriend... maybe once every 2 weeks or twice a month.

    Cancer is a lot to handle, it's very draining, and it completely effs up the way you think about yourself and life. Do your best and find some normalcy and if that means going out then do it. If you not feeling up to because you're sick then don't. true friends will come to you and if they don't- eff em! BUT if you want to and you're feeling up for it- give it a try- even if it's only for an hour or two. I hope my advice helps. You are not alone with the feeling left out thing- but you will learn who your real friends are.
  • billjrbilljr Community Member
    Prior to diagnosis a 205lb bodybuilder with a new job and a $20000 bump in salary with a private practice. By the time Dana Farber finished me off I was down to 130lbs of flaccid skin. I looked like an extra on the X-Files. It has taken me 4 years too look like a normal person.
  • I feel the same

    I feel exactly the same as you do. I've just finished with my treatment but I'm still too tired and sick feeling to really do much. And no one understands. I'm glad to know I'm not alone, but really sad for you too. Because that's been one of the hardest things on me, the people around me.

    I do hope that your friends become more understanding and supportive... I really do... Then at least someone can have friends who aren't so selfish. Someone else posted about people's emotional immaturity bubbling to the surface when things like this happen, and they're not wrong. I tried to reach out to friends and found out exactly how lonely I really am.

    But you really might want to try asking them for a night in. I doubt they'll understand completely. But at least it's worth the chance.
  • trinnatrinna Community Member
    I am not finding myself fitting in for sometime.
  • Lucky for me- I looked good bald. Not so great without the eyelashes and eyebrows...

    Hang in there. Find some people who can be there with you. Be sure and ask for help- and I know how hard this is- but don't give up.
    I think we all want to belong...I'm not so sure that fitting in is the answer to that. But I get it...
    Take care.