Sunday, 6 January 2013

A post to my Friends and to my "Friends"

I find one of the biggest changes in a sick persons life, be it cancer or some other disease is it really shows who cares about you. This is sometimes good and sometimes bad, or maybe more appropriately, unexpected. This is where I am getting my title of this post.

To all of my Friends, and all of my "Friends":

As far as I know, cancer is not contagious.If you are a friend of mine, when I get sick, or have a time of need, you will stand by me. If you are  saying you are a "Friend" but leave me in my time of need, I would prefer you left before I got sick or needed you. If you leave beforehand, it leaves a lot more space for the people who will stand by me. It also saves me the stress of having people abandon me when I feel like the world is ending, like it did when I was diagnosed with cancer.

Don't get me wrong, I know not everyone feels they can deal with tremendous stress or pressure like cancer puts on a person. But at least tell me that, I would never have been so mad had I of known. Almost everyone who stopped talking to me, never did. Some people may decide they cannot deal with that stress. Some of us do not have that choice. I didn't want to deal with cancer, nor does anyone. I know I still hold a  a grudge to most of these people and I am having a hard time letting it go. You made me feel like I was a blight on the world, like I did something wrong, and I didn't. And please, please, please, stop talking to me now like nothing happened. You might be able to go back, but I can't. Don't send me birthday wishes, don't email me asking me how things are going, I have people that actually care about me. You may call yourself my "friend" but I don't.

I get the fact that I didn't tell everyone what I was going through. Some people just didn't know it was that bad. But when I finally could tell them (I didn't want everyone to know I was sick) many of them showed they cared. I don't mean these people, I never gave them the chance to be my friend during this time. And for that I apologize.

My real friends are amazing. They let me talk to them when I was sick, they acted like nothing was wrong when I needed that (even when things were clearly wrong). They let me talk about what happened still to this day. They do not begrudge me for it, and if anything, I should ask them more how they feel about it. It cannot be easy to watch someone you care about go through something like that. This is an experience I never had. We still hang out, I appreciate them more, it feels like we never missed a beat. To see them all when I got better made it that much more fun and special. One of my favorite events since I got better was CSC 2012 (a chemistry conference, boring I think not!) and we could hang out, and relax, and have a beer or two.

I hope people see these actions, both the people who care and the people who don't. I hope some people realize they did a "bad job". I know I wasn't perfect either, I am still far far from it. I make mistakes daily, I am not perfect with the relationships with the people I have in my life now. But I treasure the people who are understanding to the stress I have been under. I hope to become more like them.

Cancer has brought me new friends too. Not a way I would recommend to meet people but sometimes it happens like this. I have been fortunate enough to meet some really great people through the "Ride to Conquer Cancer", "Fuck Cancer", Twitter, and now this blog. You can tell these people care, they work hard with great drive, energy and enthusiasm. Even while the end goal is obvious (stopping cancer) but the path not so clear, they move ahead unfazed. I want to be more like them. I hope I can be better  to them. They deserve it.

To sum up, I guess we all have friends and have people who say they are. People who will be there, and people who will not. We never really know what we are made of until we have a truly life altering situation, be it health, career, family or something you would never think of. I am just glad to know that there are people out there who do care about me, who miss me when I am not there, and will be there. 

And I will be a friend and be there for them when they need them.

1 comment:

  1. The reactions can be startling – I honestly never expected the range or responses that followed my diagnosis. Some good friends when blank. Others I hadn’t spoken to since high school reached out. It was a bizarre mixture of expectation and reality. But you’re right – the ones really, really good ones who I will never in my life stop feeling gratitude toward keep on being a real, constant friend.

    Cancer has a way of highlight who you can rely on, and introduced allies I think we may have never expected (e.g. the online community). As for the others, well, I do my best not to be disappointed and just leave them behind.