Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Being invisible and Drawing in

These are two challenges I think that many of us may struggle with...at least I know I do.  I remember when I was first diagnosed with stage IV cancer, people started pulling back.  They figured I was just going to die anyway and they didn't want to be there when I did it.  Too bad that was in 1998 and I'm still here.  Their loss.

Sometimes when you are diagnosed, you don't have the energy to put into relationships, quite frankly, you are just trying to stay alive.  Sometimes the side effects make it so you draw in.  I am a little bothered sometimes...I used to walk with my neighbor.  Now, the pain in my feet and pelvis often make it difficult to walk across the street.  So I don't....but she rarely comes over.  I'm reading this as perhaps she doesn't want to continue the relationship...but then, it may just mean that since I don't LOOK like I am on chemo (I mean, I have my hair.....at least some of it) that people forget that I am actually having trouble.  So...sometimes I am not included in things.  I could solve this by making telephone calls and forcing myself to be back in the picture...but sometimes, it just seems way too hard and the world continues without me.

I was really surprised to get a Christmas card from an old friend....I write her every year at Christmas and tell her what is going on.  Of course for the last three years, it has included my fight against the recurrence in multiple bones.  She wrote that she was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer and went through surgery and radiation, but no chemo.  She wrote on a personal note to me  "I occasionally glance at Face-Book, and it seems you're dealing with a recurrence of your cancer? I hope it has faded into oblivion."

Uh....hasn't she read any of the Christmas notes I have made over the last three years?  I have been on chemo with a few off months since November 2010.  I have made mention of it....I am not really sure what to make of this....except that perhaps advanced stage cancer makes us invisible.


  1. Your blog is so great Lisa! Since I was diagnosed with bone mets a few months ago, I've been reading through all your posts and following your latest messages and it is such a comfort to realize that "sisters" like you understand exactly what this journey is like. I've experienced becoming invisible to some people also, and I sure understand how for some reason at times it is so difficult to keep reaching out. I laughed at the story of the clueless friend--I've also been amazed just how hard it is for some people to tune in to what we go through. But for whatever it's worth, please know that you will NEVER become invisible to me and you're in my prayers each day.

  2. Oh Lisa... and Cathy, too...
    You are not invisible to me, either.... I'm here.. trying my best to be Fearless...

    Hugs and love,

  3. Thanks AnneMarie! I had to laugh when I read your comment that you're "trying my best to be Fearless." I can so relate to that! It's a tough roller coaster ride, some days you feel you're on top of it all and then without warning you plummet down again. But as I said in my previous comment, it sure helps to have "sisters" like you and Lisa who understand what the ride is like. :-)

  4. Hi Lisa, I hate it every time I read someone living with stage IV also has to deal with this sense of isolation. Thanks for writing about it. And Cathy, your comment makes me think - #fearless sure beats #clueless.

  5. Love the fearless beats clueless..and if I could figure out twitter, I'd tweet it....but when it comes to twitter, I AM clueless.

    Nancy, it bugs me that so many people in our society are invisible...the obese, elderly, the homeless just to name a few. But, I think that the isolation which occurs with the diagnosis of a life threatening disease (take your pick, I'm sure that this isn't just the case with cancer, but also ALS and many other diseases) is especially cruel. Or maybe it is just the same. I need to think on that one.

  6. I am 33 and 1.5 yrs since dx of BC/MBC (9 days apart) i have felt this at times and assume of the next 15 yrs i may experience it again. Since i do plan on making it to 4040 and beyond. You are able to put feelings to words well. I appreciate your sharing and plan on reading more of your blog (thanks Nancy's Point for a fb share of this blog post). I hope you get some relief w/the current bone pain you're experiencing and that the people that matter in your life will not assume and will just "tune in" and help supplement the effort that you must be feeling due to tx side effects & given so many challenges

  7. Lisa, I wouldn't take your friend's note with the Christmas card personally. What I mean is that from the little I read here, it seems this "friend" is someone who didn't become interested in your cancer until she herself was diagnosed. Even then, she didn't take the time to read all you've written in order to respond appropriately and with sensitivity. There are better friends than that and cancer seems to weed out the bad ones so you know who the good ones are.

  8. And, the ones who 'see' you through are GOOD friends. The ones who come and clean house before your Christmas guests arrive and even shop for you. The one who knows when I have labs drawn and always asks for the results. The one who sends her children's drawings by phone message and they make me smile. My sister-in-law who sends greetings, small presents, and phones regularly. If I am invisible to some I am so blessed to have these others.