Lonely and Sick again

Right now I'm feeling really deprssed and lonely. None of my friends understand my situation, many think that since I'm done with chemo everything right as rain again. When I got cancer I found out what I meant to some people and how immature some were. I had a few friends rally to show their support. Others up and decided to never talk to me again. It was really nice getting some visitors when I was in the hospital for a few weeks.

But as the months dragged on people stopped being there for me, stopped being so understanding. And I just felt so lonely and like such a burden to everyone. I still live with my folks, and so one of them would bring me to chemo alternating who it was. Towards the middle and end of it it started getting really stressful for me because they would argue about who should bring me because they had to be at work. Like work was more important than me.

People stopped visiting me at all and I would just lay in bed feeling like I was dying, as I'm sure you all understand.

I was told, when I was diagnosed, that I had the good cancer because it's highly receptive to chemo. Because of this I feel like I can't complain to anyone about it because others have to deal with it worse then me? Because I can be 'cured'. And I have been, just a month ago... So I've always been afraid of talking with others who have cancer because maybe they have it worse then me.

I have one friend, a close friend, who would do stuff for me everytime I had chemo (well, every two weeks she would because that's when I had chemo, though I had two days of chemo in one week). But she stopped doing stuff for me, saying it was stressing her out too much. And I understand. She doesn't have to try and make me feel better like that... However she started getting upset because every chemo week I was too sick to go out and have fun. And so I would always have to say no to some friends. But they didn't really understand at all.

Some people (who don't really talk to me anymore) tried to get me to do too much when we did hang out and so the next day I would be bedridden because I exerted myself too much and they didn't understand how sick I was.

I don't have cancer again (just yet at least), but right now I have pneumonia for the second time since I stopped chemo. And it really sucks. It hurts to breath, to move, to exist. And I'm left feeling lonely again. Because no one can care that much about me, it seems.

Have you suffered similar things? Have you found out just how selfish everyone around you is because of this?

I tried to be a bit more selfish because I'm always trying to make everyone happy, and people got angry at me. It's just not fair.... I'm at risk for so many more health things now and I'm so lonely.

This whole experience has just sucked so bad. I could put up with feeling sick and I could put up with feeling like I was dying. But I just don't understand how people can be so selfish....

Comments

  • 7 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • You're going through things that almost every one of us goes through.

    We all find out who our friends truly are in this. And it seems the younger you are at diagnosis, the more people you learn are very selfish. You can't really blame the ones who try, but taper off later on in treatment. For those folks, it tends not to be about selfish feelings. I think in a lot of cases, they are scared out of their mind because they are confronted for the first time with the fragility of life and they don't know how to deal with those feelings.

    At this point, you have absolutely every right to be selfish. Your #1 job is to take care of yourself. You can concern yourself with other people later.

    One of the best things you can do, IMO, is to own what's happening to you. If anyone downplays what you're going through, or they think you're okay because you're not receiving chemo anymore, you need to set them straight immediately. I was an absolute mess after I finished chemo. Barely functional mentally. But I was motivated to get back to work on my degree. I was back to work just a couple months after my last dose of chemo (basically, as soon as my counts had recovered sufficiently). But I was practically useless. My adviser was understanding, thank goodness. Because I freaked out at the simplest of deadlines he set for me. It really took me a full year of part time work before I was able to do it full time again.

    And even now, my productivity is junk. My mind wanders easily. My sleep schedule is completely wrecked. I use two alarm clocks and today was the first day I've been able to get up before 9am in a LONG time.

    Yes, your experience is fairly common among survivors. I have a friend who doesn't even have cancer...she has other health problems, who is experiencing the same sort of thing. She traveled halfway across the country to see me when I was sick. Now she's sick and it's my turn to return the favor. I'll be paying her a visit in about 2 weeks.

    If you are having trouble coping, it might be a good idea to find a therapist who specializes in young adult cancer patients. Also look up Imerman's Angels and they can set you up with a mentor who has been through it, too.
  • I understand and sympathize with how you feel. Like mtbikernate said, the younger you are, the more selfish people are/seem and the more difficult it is for your friends to cope.

    My first cancer diagnosis was at 29 and none of my friends had been through a serious illness, at our age or with a close relative; I was the first. It was challenging for them to understand. They didn't know what to say or do, or how to act. Some did their best to be by my side and some chose to ignore me and my situation. I did a lot of educating to help people to understand what I was going through. That helped. Some people are just plain scared though and would rather ignore it (& you). Unfortunately, you have to deal with that too. I'll be honest, I ended up eliminating more than one friend from my life.

    I think friends are relieved when active cancer treatment is over, because then they don't have to deal with the unknown anymore. There is also no obvious treatment to which they can base your recovery on, therefore you are "normal" again. Personally, and many folks on this forum will agree, that life after treatment is the hardest. You are permanently changed mentally and physically. I would try explaining to a friend next time you are too tired to go out, why that is. Choose one person to explain this to, and perhaps suggest an alternate activity or date and time. This might help your friend to understand that you want to hang out with them, but in a different way.

    I think at this critical time it's important to seek out the people who are positive in your life and have tried to help you. You will also have to find other supports--like this bulletin board--to help you cope. I found it helpful to be active in support groups and activities with other survivors. Relating to other survivors helps to balance your new experiences, while hanging with friends helps to regain your old self.
  • Thanks a lot for your input guys. I had thought about it before, but I guess I really expected my friends to be more mature... Though you're completely right with what you say. I'll definitely follow the advice
  • piratecots;7016 said:
    I guess I really expected my friends to be more mature...

    you would hope so, right. but IME even long before my diagnosis, most people's maturity lags. a lot.

    I have never fit in well with other people my age. most of my best friends are much older. some are older than my own parents. over the years, I've run across and befriended other younger folks who tend to run on the more mature side. but it takes a long time to find them and you have to really make an effort to do so.
  • MercedesMercedes Community Member
    You gotta look up Brian Reagan, Emergency Room on Youtube. Go for one that's 7 or 8 minutes. I think you'll get a kick out of it.
  • MercedesMercedes Community Member
    mtbikernate;7017 said:
    you would hope so, right. but IME even long before my diagnosis, most people's maturity lags. a lot.

    I have never fit in well with other people my age. most of my best friends are much older. some are older than my own parents. over the years, I've run across and befriended other younger folks who tend to run on the more mature side. but it takes a long time to find them and you have to really make an effort to do so.

    Ooooo, pick me! Pick me!
  • Mercedes;7020 said:
    You gotta look up Brian Reagan, Emergency Room on Youtube. Go for one that's 7 or 8 minutes. I think you'll get a kick out of it.

    I love him! Here it is:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP4zgb9H3Cg&feature=related