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.