Although there seems to be a lot of people around at times like this, it is easy to feel isolated as very few people will know how you are really feeling.
Relatives & friends will inevitably worry about you. Because you’re not looking like your usual self, they may not believe you when you say you’re actually feeling okay. It can be frustrating but it’s understandable that they will be concerned.
Also if you’re on chemo, you’re unlikely to be able to go to any crowded places as you’re more susceptible to infection. Sometimes this can be a good thing as you can get pretty drained & you don’t wanna go anywhere anyway! On the other hand, it can be so difficult as you’re limited in terms of where you can go.
- Make sure you’re not focused on cancer all the time – keep old friends close & talk about things that you normally talk about – not cancer.
- You may lose friends who don’t know how to handle your illness which can be quite sad. You can try & reach out to them but don’t push it too far – moments like these are true tests of friendship & if they want to be there, they will.
- But some people will surprise you – you’ll hear from people you have fallen out of touch with or have never been particularly close to which is lovely.
- Make new friends who you can talk to about what is going on in your life concerning cancer – talk to others on the wards, join support groups or online forums – people who understand your situation can give great advice.
- Read books – lose yourself in another world entirely! Or write – build your own world that you can indulge in 🙂
Building your team
This isn’t a journey that anyone should go through alone so surround yourself with positive, motivational and understanding people.
When you’re going through cancer, the most important thing to have is a team behind you. These are the people who will keep your head above water and your hopes high.
Whether it’s family, friends or professional support workers, having the right people around can make a huge difference.
- It’s times like these that can make or break a relationship or friendship – some people will take you completely by surprise.
- There will be some who don’t quite know how to deal with the news & they may turn out to disappoint you – someone you thought you could always rely on might suddenly be completely absent.
- Don’t hold this against them – you won’t have the energy to hold grudges and unfortunately, people will never react in quite the ‘right’ way – your friendship with them will probably never be the same but for now, you have to concentrate on the strong relationships that you have around you.
- Surround yourself with positive people – anyone who sits next to you & moans about everything in their life is really not needed at times like this! Also avoid those who visit you merely to gain sympathy & attention from their own friends!
- Make time to catch up with people but don’t feel obliged to see them all the time – they only want to make sure you’re doing okay & if you say you’re feeling rubbish, they’ll understand.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help & accept the support of others if you’re in need of it.
- Those around you may not always know how you’re feeling – people who are in the same situation will always be very understanding & sympathetic if you strike up a conversation with them.
- Call 0808 808 0000 for the Macmillan Cancer Helpline if you’re in need of a friend.
There will be some unexpected surprises along the way – you might hear from people that you lost contact with & receive gifts from acquaintances or even complete strangers. It’s a big learning curve & I still feel that I haven’t thanked everyone properly for all their support when I had cancer – there were just so many kind people around! Appreciate the people you do have & let go of those who let go of you,