Post-Treatment > Cognitive/Emotional Issues

when others disappear in life after a tough medical diagnosis

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Hi all,

I'm not going to rebump the thread in "Archives" but will put the link here:

I started a discussion a while back about how when tough medical diagnosis are given (ie: AN's, cancer, etc) and those around us just don't know how to deal with it or just disappear in our lives. 

I note this again here, in a proper discussion forum, as this has arisen again (to me, behind the scenes) and many still continue to endure this.

This is not to bring anyone down, but.... I note it here as this is a real situation that many endure... and my hope by posting this is to help newbies understand that this can happen... and to share remedies on counteracting it.

For me, after this thread occurred, I learned that I cannot spent enormous time and energy trying to figure out why some folks react the way they do... whether in nasty words... or in actions (or lack thereof).  I learned that anyone wants to try to knock me down... well, heck go for it, as I am a much stronger person now that will not allow anyone to knock me down.... and I can withstand any crap that anyone wants to dish my way.

So, this is posted for all those that have endured this... and to share with you that we can certainly rise above anyone that tries to knock us down.....


Amen, Phyl.

I totally agree with your assessment of not spending "enormous time and energy trying to figure out why some folks react the way they do".

Been there, done that - and found it totally pointless.

Life is what it is and try as you might, you just can't change other people.

In situations like that I've found it best to just move on and not look back  :)



I'm sure i speak for many newbies when i say thanks for putting this thread up there. I've had a few friends being insenstive and laughing at me, or not getting in touch at all. Io its nice to know that i'm not the only one to experience this (although not so nice for everyone else in the discussion thread who have been hurt by their friends too!).  I think having an AN shows you who is really important to you and who you can really count on.

Jan - I think i'll follow your advice and (as hard as it is) just move on and not look back.  :)


Jim Scott:

I can't honestly say that I had any friends, family or acquaintances abandon me or keep their distance after my AN diagnosis.  Frankly, the symptoms, diagnosis and surgery all happened with in a fairly short period of time.  Within a few months I was pretty much back to normal.  I had a lot of folks I knew inquire about my health ("how are you?") but no one noticeably withdrew from me.  If they did, they weren't very close anyway, because I never noticed their absence. 

I know it's true that some people, be it family, friends or co-workers, will withdraw somewhat when you have an illness.  Cancer tends to scare off a lot of people.  I've seen that happen more than once.  It's sad but not too hard to understand.  Most people are very frightened of just the word 'cancer' as it affects just about everyone on some level.  It seems everyone knows someone who died of cancer. As you stated, in these situations, some people just don't know what to say.  They are a bit ashamed at being nervous around the ill person and sometimes will (unwittingly) say stupid and/or hurtful things.  I think some folks just want to avoid doing that, don't have a clue as to what to say (especially to an obviously terminally-ill person) and so, pretend this isn't happening.  I think guys have an especially hard time dealing with this as we are not usually comfortable expressing our emotions to another guy and so, just don't know what to say or do.  Pretending nothing is wrong is ridiculous (but some do this) and yet talking about a friend's facial paralysis or, worse yet, imminent death is hardly the way most guys wish to spend the afternoon.   

I've been around long enough to have learned that I can't (and don't) allow other people's opinions or actions to control my life or my actions.  I do what I do the way I think is best.  If friends or family choose to abandon me, ignore me or even say hurtful things to me  I can't stop them but I don't have to let their words or actions have much effect on me.  I like approval as much as the next person but I won't pretend to be something I'm not in order to get it.  If an illness drives some people away, that is their choice. However, I don't have to allow their withdrawal to depress me, and I never have.   Actually, I figured that out while I was still fairly young.  I think most sensible people do.  :)


Hi Phyl,

I think at least some people don't know how to handle someone else's bad news/diagnosis.  I felt almost  totally, emotionally abandoned by my husband after my diagnosis.  When I tried to talk to him about it he would tell me I was thiinking about it too much.  How could I NOT think about it.  I had a brain tumor.  Things remained chilly and distant between us during the entire time I was reseraching this thing and going for consultations -- my sister is the one who came with me and supported me the most.  Rob only came to my first consultation.  Once I had my surgery, I was relieved to find that he was freaking out the whole time and didn't want to freak me out too.  He is such a control freak and this is something he couldn't control.  His refusal to talk to me almost cost us or marriage though.  Sometimes when people don't know how to handle things, they just don't, which is a really bad thing.

 I also have a friend who would constantly say she never heard of anything like an acoustic neuroma or the symptoms I was having.  It was very upsetting and annoying to me as she tells me about all of her problems and expect me to be sympathetic.  She iis certainly no medical expert and I finally told her so.  She didn't talk to me for a while but I really didn't care.  The next time we got together, which was very recent and a couple of months later,she apologized  for her behavior but the damage is done in my mind.

Like you, I've decided that if the people in my life who I think I can count on let me down or treat me in a hurtful manner when I need them most, I no longer need them in my life.  I made my husband the one exception to that rule.  I also made it clear that his behavior had not been acceptable and had better not be repeated.



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