What Do I Do Now? - 97

97
RELATIONSHIPS /// CHAPTER 62
Friends
Your friends are very important - you
probably spend as much time with them
(or more) as you do with your family.
Sometimes friends are amazing and say the
right things and are there for you to lean
on. But other times when you are living
with cancer, friendships get a bit messed up
and confused.
There are all sorts of things happening to you that can mess
with friendships, like:
» Feeling crappy and irritable while you are being treated.
» Being in hospital a lot or needing to stay isolated to
minimize risk for infection when you're home.
» Not being able to do the same things as you used to.
» Acting differently because of your cancer.
» Looking different because of treatment.
Sometimes friends can find all of this difficult to deal with. It
might seem like your friends are avoiding you and not calling
you or inviting you out anymore. They might not visit you
much. They might make insensitive jokes or say unhelpful
things. They might not want to talk about the " C-Word " at all
and just pretend that nothing is wrong.
The support of your close friends is really important to
you and you might feel hurt or disappointed that they are
not better at being there for you when you really need their
support.
But this is new territory and your friends probably don't
have much experience dealing with someone with a serious
illness. If you think about it, before you had this experience
you might have acted the same way. It can help to think of
things from their perspective.
Your friends might be thinking:
» What am I supposed to say or do?
» What if I say the wrong thing?
» What can I do to make it better?
» How can I be a friend to someone who has cancer?
» Should I talk about the cancer or will that just make them
upset?
» They are always sick and that scares me.
» Should I still talk about myself or share things that are
bothering me? They seem unimportant compared to
what my friend is going through.
» Maybe they don't want visitors so I won't impose and put
them in an awkward situation.
» I don't want to rub it in or make them feel jealous that I
am still living a normal life, going out and having fun, so I
just won't mention it.
As unfair as it may seem, you may have to take the lead and
help your friends handle what is happening to you.
Tips to help you stay in touch with your friends.
» Call them, email, or invite them over.
» Ask them to keep calling, texting, and messaging you
and if you don't feel like talking, you just won't respond
straight away.
» Ask them to keep inviting you to things and you'll go
when you can.
» Let them know if you want to talk about your cancer.
» Remind your friends that you are still the same person,
despite changes in your appearance.
» Tell your friends specific ways they can help; they'll be
happy to do whatever they can.
» Still talk about normal things. It might really help you
stay connected to your normal life.
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What Do I Do Now?

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What Do I Do Now? - 1
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