Cancer showed me who my real friends are
There are gifts along the way -- this is what I’ve learned during my breast cancer journey.
Every negative situation that occurred, bought positivity to light. In my journey, the greatest gift I received was the revealing of friendships. As soon as I was diagnosed, I immediately lost friends. For most people the thought of losing life long friendships while you are sick, just doesn’t make sense, but on the breast cancer journey, it is way too common.
That college friend who you spoke to every day, that friend who you always had their back, the first cousin who you helped get into college, or that cousin who you supported through every endeavor or event, may all abandon you in your time of need.
They will claim “you didn’t look sick” or “I didn’t know how to help” or “ you were secretive.” There will be a million excuses for not simply calling to say “hello”or “how are you doing?” No matter what their excuses are, graciously let them go. Let them go without wonder, without resentment, or without anger. Because the reality is more than likely that relationship was one sided, draining, time consuming, financially consuming and just an additional stress you don’t need.
These relationships themselves, may have been a cancer you needed to cut out.
In my opinion, you lost who you needed to lose and you gained those you needed to win. While I lost some friendships I thought were valuable, I gain some friendships that were magical! I gained truly unexpected friendships. People who simply became my friend out of concern. People who devoted their time to help with my errands, sat with my husband through my surgeries, took my kids out for ice cream just so they could get away, bought me protein shakes and smoothies, planned a brunch to get me ready for chemo, hosted a fundraiser to help me with expenses, made me soup and brownies,and those who just texted funny memes or words of encouragement-these were my true friends. Everyday people I considered to be an ex-classmate, colleague, or associate came through and was there for me during the scariest moments of my life.
In the past two years, I have created bonds with classmates from grade school to women in other countries going through my same journey. I learned the true meaning of friendship during this journey.
It’s not who could afford to buy stuff or show up, it’s who carved out time in their life to think of me. Whether it was a card or a text, just the fact they thought of me, meant the most to me. However, I do understand that breast cancer is scary to close relatives or friends, but a hello or wellness check is easy to do. There is no excuse.
The beauty of breast cancer is that it gave me insight. I was doing too much for the wrong people. I was too invested in their lives and they didn’t return the favor. So I let them go without anger, but what I learned through it all is perspective. Breast cancer gave me the beauty of revealing friendships.
Although I lost some friends and close family members, I embrace that our season together has ended and that’s ok. With the help of my new and improved support system, I am more prepared and motivated to fight. Because of them, I have never felt alone and I am forever grateful.