Friday, 4 September 2015

Battling cancer and my friendships

In reality, cancer did two things to my friendships; strengthen the bond or caused the friendships to sadly deteriorate.

From my personal experience, cancer affected my friendships in both ways. I bonded more strongly with the friends that stuck by my side… and I lost the friends that turned a blind eye to my suffering. You would think an illness as severe as cancer would instantly strengthen the friendships I had prior to my diagnosis, but for some of my friends, it pushed them away from me. To this day, I have never had any explanations as to why the friends I once had stopped speaking to me. It didn’t take long for me to put two and two together, once I was diagnosed, the texts and calls started to stop and the visits were non existent. Maybe they didn’t know how to deal with my diagnosis? But if the tables were turned, I would have never left them in their darkest days. I didn’t even have time to be sad, angry or stress about the loss of these friendships, I had more important things to focus on at the time, like beating cancer. But that was only the beginning of my lost friendships; some friends were there in the beginning, and then slowly disappeared. This hurt me the most. I understand that it was an important year at sixth form /college for everyone. Studying hard and working was they personal priorities, but all I needed was a little text or a phone call to know that they were still there. But I wont let these deteriorated friendships consume me.

It’s surprising seeing the response you get from people knowing your diagnosis. Every cancer patient is different in regards to how they publicise their battle. Some may even keep it quiet. I personally decided to publicise my diagnosis via Twitter. The response was over-whelming. People I knew only briefly instantly sent their love and best wishes and then continued to check up on me the weeks and months that followed. To me, this showed that if people I hardly knew could give me the time of day and ‘friends’ couldn’t even drop me a text to see how I was getting on, then those ‘friends’ wasn’t worth it.

Here is the tweet I posted on Twitter to let people I knew aware of my diagnosis. I sent a private and more personal text message to most of my closest friends before I sent the tweet and some close to my heart, such as my boyfriend, was told in person by a member of my family. I admire my boyfriends strength, as through everything, he has not once let me see him get upset.

Not everyone you loose is a lost. I will always look back and remember who I had by my side and who supported me throughout my lowest and darkest days during my battle with cancer. Those people will forever be my friends. I don’t see the loss of friends due to cancer as a negative, but a learning lesson. A lesson I will always remember and value as I grow older. It has also taught me that showing the slightest bit of support to someone that is suffering can differentiate between being a true friend or an acquaintance.

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