Author Topic: Losing Friends  (Read 10641 times)

iluuvpups

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Losing Friends
« on: August 19, 2010, 09:21:42 pm »
I just had a girlfriend call me and tell me that she needs space in our friendship.  The gist of what she said is that she just doesn't know how to help me anymore and it's a strain on her to worry about me.  I've been very depressed for quite some time, even more so since waking up from my surgery and finding that I still had a tumor and that I had a facial neuroma.  All I do is think negative thoughts and worry about what might happen.  As someone else said on another thread on this forum, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I guess I've probably shared too much of how bad I'm feeling.  I don't have very many upbeat things to talk about with friends anymore.  This feels devastating to me because my friends are my family since I don't have parents, a spouse, or kids.  I can't afford to lose the few friends I have, particularly now.  I just feel so sad right now.  And of course, I'm worried if the same thing will happen with my other few friends, as they're a tight little group.

Have any of you experienced a loss of friends or relationships due to your tumor and all you've been through?
Original 1.75cm left-side AN diagnosed Feb 2010
Translab surgery May 27, 2010 with Drs. Kartush and Pieper of MEI
SSD on left side, some facial weakness, tear duct doesn't work
Found I actually had a facial neuroma during translab
Remaining 6mm facial neuroma - watch and wait

Syl

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Re: Losing Friends
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2010, 09:37:40 pm »
I'm so sorry that your friend isn't what you expect in a friend. My best suggestion is that you vent all you need to here with us. No one understands us like these folks on the forum. I'm 2 years out from my surgery and find myself dealing with AN issues on a daily basis, but have come to realize that regular folks don't want to hear about our issues all the time. We are here for you.

Syl
1.5cm AN rt side; Retrosig June 16, 2008; preserved facial and hearing nerves;
FINALLY FREE OF CHRONIC HEADACHES 4.5 years post-op!!!!!!!
Drs. Kato, Blumenfeld, and Cheung.

leapyrtwins

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Re: Losing Friends
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2010, 09:50:31 pm »
I've never had this happen to me during my AN Journey, but I did have it happen to me when I was going through fertility treatments (prior to having my twins).

My best friend from high school told me one day that she was just continuing to be friends with me because she "felt sorry for me"  :o

I told her if that was her only reason, I didn't need her type of friendship, thank you very much!  Almost 15 years later, I don't regret my decision.

I'm sorry about your friend not being able to handle your AN, unfortunately it happens.  All I can say is, IMO fair-weather friends aren't worth having.  If she can't be there for you now, it's doubtful she'll ever be there for you.

I've made a lot of friends and connections through this Forum and through my work as a Cochlear volunteer.  Perhaps finding a local ANA support group in your area would be helpful to you.  Lots of possible friendships there - and with others who know what you are going through.

Jan 

Retrosig 5/31/07 Drs. Battista & Kazan (Hinsdale, Illinois)
Left AN 3.0 cm (1.5 cm @ diagnosis 6 wks prior) SSD. BAHA implant 3/4/08 (Dr. Battista) Divino 6/4/08  BP100 4/2010 BAHA 5 8/2015

I don't actually "make" trouble..just kind of attract it, fine tune it, and apply it in new and exciting ways

Lizard

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Re: Losing Friends
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2010, 09:00:19 am »
I'm so sorry your sad, but I can relate as can many others here as well.  I didn't lose a friend immediately after surgery, it was more like a little over a year later.  We have been life long friends, and she's had a tough go of it and has leaned on me many times  I even paid for her to move back to CT from CA because she was so depressed I thought she might kill herself.

  She's now living in GA and has been home twice since my surgery and not once has she come to see me, pretty pathetic.  She also told one friend that she would have come to see me for the surgery, but I told her my Mom and my Mother-in-law were going to help and there was nothing she could do. When I needed her was after the surgery and when initial couple weeks of recovery was over.  I sat home on the couch everyday for three months and never did I once get a phone call to see how I was doing.  The conversations were one sided, her telling me how stupid she was last night when she was drunk and who her latest fling was. 

I've been there for her through thick and thin, but around April her destructive path took a turn.  She got into a drunk driving accident that put her in the hospital for a week, she actually injured herself and other people.  She had a really rotten attitude about it and I just couldn't deal.  The friendship was a one way street, so I finally told her that I had too much to going on in my life regarding my AN and my debilitating headaches that I couldn't have an infectious person like her in my life.  We haven't talked since, but the worst part is that she just thinks I'm being selfish....she is horribly selfish and has no idea.  I need to surround myself with positive people who hold me up, not bring me down. 

So what I'm getting at with this story is that you don't want someone around you who doesn't truly love and care about you, its a "fake" friendship and you should not waste your time on people like that.
I'm sorry you're going through this, but when we are in need or going through tough times we find out who our real friends are.
Take care,
Liz
Left AN 2.5CM,retrosigmoid 11/2008, second surgery to repair CSF leak. 
Headaches began immediately.  Dr. Ducic occipital nerve resection, December 2011!!!!!

"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on"
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

Funnydream

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Re: Losing Friends
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2010, 10:11:59 am »
I don't think your going to like what I have to say.

My mother had a stroke in 1994 and has been in a nursing home since. Its a 300 bed nursing home and has allot of rotation from people expiring. So I have been seeing the nursing home seen for 16 years now. And they have a book that you sign to take people out and bring them back. Its mostly pages and pages of just me signing in and out from taking my mother out. People just take thier OWN parents to a nursing home and leave them there to die. There are a few good people that go up and see family, etc. But my mother is in really bad shape. Half her body is paralysed and I have to lift her in my truck and carry around her wheelchair. It makes me think I'm too good to my mother. That maybe the norm is just forget about her like everyone else. I even asked the nurses what they thought about people dumping thier parents off and not coming back. They just roll thier eyes about it.

The silver line to that cloud is back in 1994+ the old people in that nursing home were REAL Americans. Its amazing how special that generation was and I feel blessed that I got to hang out with a bunch of them in thier last days and hear the stories.

If people will do that to thier OWN flesh and blood. You better believe they will do that to anyone.

In my case I'm getting more calls and friends stopping by. So far. I have not seen anyone pull back yet that I know. And I'm watching like you to see if it happens.
Age 42, AN left, 2.8cm
left hearing gone, balance getting better.
16 hour Surgery 9-27-10 CSF leak fix 10-4-10 3 hours
Miracle I feel my left face and tongue again.
If we evolved from monkeys into humans? When do we stop being human and become something else? What would that something else be?

epc1970

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Re: Losing Friends
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2010, 11:42:45 am »
I completely understand what you are going thru. Shortly after my surgery, my two very best friends both began to pull away when it became apparent that I was not going to bounce back to the "old" Erin. Like Liz, months went by without so much as a phone call or a visit even though I was struggling.  It was devastating to me that when I needed my friends the most, they were not there. I can't offer a reason why some people do things like this but I can tell you that 2 years later, I am just fine without their friendship. Slowly, I have begun to make friends that are supportive and caring. It has not always been easy and at times I was very lonely but I wouldn't change not having these fair weather friends in my life. I more than understand how traumatic and disheartening the loss is but remember that it is not about you but rather their inability to be the kind of friend that you deserve.

Erin

nanramone

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Re: Losing Friends
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2010, 01:19:27 pm »
I recall that soon after I was diagnosed, the man I was dating seemed unsupportive and seemed to not take this seriously. That relationship has since ended.

All other friends, even my casual friends seemed supportive to a degree that seems appropriate - in other words, if we weren't that close to begin with, I didn't expect much.

My closest friends were and continue to be very supportive.

However, it is also true that I am fiercely independent and not a leaner by nature. I had a few very very dark weeks, and saw a psychologist, and talked to my GP  - he suggested an anti-depressant, which I chose not to take...I think the worst of this is over, as long as no new problems develop.

I do not and will not expect my dearest friends to be too involved. I do not want them to worry about me. My friendships with them developed for a reason - I am an optimistic upbeat person, which drew them to me. I don't think of them as "fair weather friends"; rather, I am lifted when I remember why they like me in the first place - and this helps me return to my previous mental state of well being.

Actually, I learned years ago that if I burdened a relationship with too much worry and negativity, the relationship suffered. This is what was confusing about the man I was seeing...I do not think I laid too much on him, but he did react in an unsympathetic way that may just be a natural reaction for him to anything stressful. It's his problem, not mine - so I agree with the people who are telling you that if there is someone in your life who you are very very close to, and have let them lean in their time of need, and they will not return the kindness, that probably isn't a relationship worth keeping anyway.

On another note, I'll add that when close friends of mine have problems, I can only listen to those problems for a certain period of time before I shut them off. One close friend of mine repeatedly does things that cause problems for her, and then wants to dump her anxiety about it all over me. I have learned to tell her right up front that when she gets herself into hot water, she is asking for it, so leave me out of it when things go south. She doesn't get it, and continues to bombard me with problem filled emails. I have most recently just decided to delete without reading, because she doesn't even listen to me, nor try to help herself, and I'm tired of it.

In the case of illness, we don't ask for our problems, and it's very hard to deal with alone. If things get hard for me again, I'll be back in the psychologist's chair, or here, among people who understand, or at least try to.

I hope you can feel better somehow - it's not good to feel depressed...

Nancy

Mickey

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Re: Losing Friends
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2010, 02:23:25 pm »
A friend in need is a friend indeed! Please stay positive as you can doing what you can to feel better. Things do manage to work out over time and everything falls into place escpecially good friends and family. Best wishes, Mickey

Jim Scott

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Re: Losing Friends
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2010, 03:27:55 pm »
Carol Ann ~

As the previous 7 posts indicate, many AN patients have had to deal with this issue of friends pulling back from us, post-op/treatment because they're unable or unwilling to give their support. Of course, I'm sorry to learn this has happened to you and, as you noted, without a spouse or family, you do need and count on your friends.  Unfortunately, this is not the first thread I've seen on this subject because it it is all too common with AN patients.  I think it's even worse when a spouse and/or your immediate family refuse to support you and act as if you're somehow burdening them with your AN-related problems, when all you want is some understanding.  I've come to the conclusion that most folks we consider friends are, like most of us, basically self-centered and simply unable and/or unwilling to offer us more than a certain amount of sympathy and, more importantly, understanding.  Fortunately for me, much like Nancy ('nanramone'), I've always been inner-directed and never had a wide circle of friends that I counted on for support in difficult times.  However, I've also been married a long time (40 years) to a woman who has the biblical 'servant's heart,' is totally giving and loves me very much so she is all that I really need.  However, in your case, it's obvious that your friends are disappointing you, which, in my opinion, reflects more on their character than yours and also shows you that the friendship was, basically, superficial, even if it lasted a long time. 

The harsh reality is that most people are self-centered, have their own set of problems that may seem insignificant to you but are important to them .  Few friends will really want to hear how bad anyone is feeling on a regular basis.  Those who care about you and want to help and support you are like gold and should be especially valued. Still, the withdrawal and rejection of your friends is, clearly, hurtful.  My only suggestion is to try to adopt a positive attitude, realizing that no one wants to hear how bad you feel every time they see or talk to you.  In effect, fake it.  I do this on a regular basis and so does my wife, who suffers with myriad pains and minor disabilities, yet always tells anyone inquiring about her health that she is "taking it one day at a time". She does this with a smile, no matter how she actually feels.   However, she has a wide circle of friends and they are quick to 'unload' their problems on her but she is relentlessly sympathetic and tries to help where she can.  I admire her.  I simply internalize whatever may be bothering me, which, luckily, isn't much.  Anyone asking me how I feel will always get a 'Fine! Thanks for asking" response, no matter the reality.  I do this because I know the questioners eyes would glaze over if I started telling him or her about my SSD, tinnitus, lack of stamina, etc.  I know they don't really want to hear about it so I keep these things to myself.  Although my wife tells me about her pain, she almost never shares that with others.  Of course, I sympathize and help her as much as possible.

So, Carol Ann, many AN patients have been through the unpleasant experience of losing erstwhile friends due to their AN and related issues.  You're certainly not alone in this experience.  As Syl pointed out, these AN discussion forums exist to help and support AN patients.  We've 'been there' and can understand your emotions. Use these forums to vent and receive the kind of understanding only those who've been in your shoes can offer.  Our members are eager to help and support you.  We consider you our friend...and we won't abandon you.

Jim
4.5 cm AN diagnosed 5/06.  Retrosigmoid surgery 6/06.  Follow-up FSR completed 10/06.  Tumor shrinkage & necrosis noted on last MRI.  Life is good. 

Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is.  The way we cope with it is what makes the difference.

iluuvpups

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Re: Losing Friends
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2010, 05:11:36 pm »
I want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement.  I really don't know what I'd do without this association and forum.  It has been so helpful to me in so many ways.  I'm feeling a bit better about what happened, between your replies and talking to some other friends.  I still have people in my life that will be there for me.  But no one really understands and I suppose I shouldn't expect them to except for maybe you guys.  I will continue to post and interact here as you people are the bomb!
Original 1.75cm left-side AN diagnosed Feb 2010
Translab surgery May 27, 2010 with Drs. Kartush and Pieper of MEI
SSD on left side, some facial weakness, tear duct doesn't work
Found I actually had a facial neuroma during translab
Remaining 6mm facial neuroma - watch and wait

moe

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Re: Losing Friends
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2010, 12:35:01 am »
Carol Ann,
Glad to see that you are feeling a bit better, and that the nice posts here helped you. That is what is so great here, isn't it?
Instant empathizing!
I had to move from TX a year after my surgery, and my friends there were pretty supportive of the "new" me. Plus with my facial paralysis and my eye stitched half shut to protect the cornea, I got lots of TLC> :o

Then we moved here, close to Tacoma, WA and I honestly have not made any real close friends. We've lived here 3 years!  I work part time as a home health RN and have hubby and one teen at home (another daughter home from college)

I personally don't have the emotional energy to  invest in friendships because of the deafness/tinnitus, and not really wanting to go out to noisy places.

It saddens me and frustrates me at times, because people here don't know all the dirty details of my health issues that started in TX, they don't understand and like Jim said, they have their own problems to deal with.

You are right that you have to hang out with people who bring you up, not take you down, so your real friends will just like you for who you are.

 So it is one day at a time, try to have some sort of enjoyment and veer away from those who bring you down.
Maureen

06/06-Translab 3x2.5 vascular L AN- MAMC,Tacoma WA
Facial nerve cut,reanastomosed.Tarsorrhaphy
11/06. Gold weight,tarsorrhaphy reversed
01/08- nerve transposition-(12/7) UW Hospital, Seattle
5/13/10 Gracilis flap surgery UW for smile restoration :)
11/10/10 BAHA 2/23/11 brow lift/canthoplasty

Brewers7

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Re: Losing Friends
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2010, 01:47:59 pm »
Carol Ann,
     Although I did not have a friend who was so blatant, I did have a few family members to bail out pretty early.  By contrast, I had a few friends pitch in whom I either did not know well or had not seen in 20+ years.  Whenever I think about those who have been such disappointments, I try to focus on those who have been such inspirations.  You have friends here.  Love, Susan
Translab surgery 12/15/2008 followed by CSF leakage repair and 3 additional surgeries for MRSA of the brain (NOT typical) SSD,  facial and vocal cord paralysis, numerous reconstructive surgeries, Transear 12/2010

iluuvpups

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Re: Losing Friends
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2010, 02:49:23 pm »
You're right, Susan.  I too had some people to whom I wasn't so close prior to my surgery, step up and do incredible things for me.  They've since become close friends.  As to family members bailing out, I've had that happen too.  Some are just disinterested.  No phone calls even to see how I was doing.  I guess this is one of those times you learn who you can count on in your life.

Maureen, I think it's very difficult to make new friends as we get older, let alone to have to start over from scratch due to a move.  I hope sometime you do find the emotional energy to search for new friends, as I think they're very important to everyone.  You don't necessarily have to go to noisy places.  A few things I've found are to find interest groups through http://www.meetup.com/ and to join my local or nearby city's "newcomer's" club.  The newcomer's club near me has a variety of 'clubs'.. like a card-playing group, an eating out group, a kid's playgroup, etc.  Most of their gatherings are small and more intimate.

Donnalynn, I'm so grateful for your friendship and help.  Thank you!

--Carol Ann
Original 1.75cm left-side AN diagnosed Feb 2010
Translab surgery May 27, 2010 with Drs. Kartush and Pieper of MEI
SSD on left side, some facial weakness, tear duct doesn't work
Found I actually had a facial neuroma during translab
Remaining 6mm facial neuroma - watch and wait

moe

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Re: Losing Friends
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2010, 11:44:30 pm »
Carol Ann,
Thanks for the tip, I'll keep that in mind. I'm getting there! I'm going to try the BAHA in the fall which may help dull the tinnitus, and  still working on facial and eye issues, so I guess that keeps me pretty busy along with the part time work.

Half the time, I'm at the doctor it seems ::) Everything takes longer to do here in WA than it did in the small city in TX near Corpus Christi (Portland, TX actually!) Plus we have acreage here, so don't have the close neighbors like in TX.

It'll work out. I love to volunteer, and hope to get back into that after all the little procedures are over and  done with.

Maureen

06/06-Translab 3x2.5 vascular L AN- MAMC,Tacoma WA
Facial nerve cut,reanastomosed.Tarsorrhaphy
11/06. Gold weight,tarsorrhaphy reversed
01/08- nerve transposition-(12/7) UW Hospital, Seattle
5/13/10 Gracilis flap surgery UW for smile restoration :)
11/10/10 BAHA 2/23/11 brow lift/canthoplasty

rayden1

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Re: Losing Friends
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2011, 08:17:22 am »
Hi also had one such friend. Afew weeks after surgery was in no state to leave the house.. Suddenly she became very busy.        This was a daily caller to my home. when I did see her she related a story about a lady down the street, how well she was doing and she has cancer and sure there was nothing wrong with me not in so many words. shortly after that i just withdrew and when she eventually texted me I replied that there was no need to try and fit me in thankyou. I have no regrets as i feel the friendship was all about her.
 
I am extremely lucky to have had superb support from my husband and  three angel friends who could never do enough to help me. You certainly get to know who and what is important in life Hope you are doing very well now.take care Annx