One of the Cancer-palooza books I bought - "I am not my Breast Cancer," is a compilation of stories from other women who have had breast cancer. I am now at the part of the book where women talk about breast cancer and anger. One woman in particular, said she was really angry at her so-called friends. How they were there for her at the beginning and now, months or years later, are nowhere to be found.
My first reaction to reading that was, "Huh." That was the first little snippet from a woman in that book that made go, "Well, that's not rational. Emotionally stunted Lara cannot relate." Then I felt bad for this woman for being so angry at her friends and hoped she sought counseling.
I get angry about certain things involving my cancer, but I will never ever ever begrudge any of my friends or families for living their own lives. That's ridiculous. Of course people are there for you in the beginning. It's shocking and traumatizing. I have had a handful of people text or email me offering their well wishes and haven't heard from them since. I'm not surprised or offended by this. Everyone has their own lives and struggles to deal with. I actually take great comfort in knowing my old drinking buddies are out there and having a great time. Pour one out for me and the fallen Righty.
I have a small group of friends who I know will be there for me during the bad times. I firmly believe in friends and acquaintances. I have a lot of acquaintances and know a bunch of folks around here. I know I can count on just a small handful of people in Pittsburgh that will help me, and another group in Kansas City that will try and fly out to here if I just said the word. They saw me in the beginning, just like everyone else, but they will be the ones who will see me in the middle and the end of my "journey." (I've heard of cancer as a journey... where exactly am I going?)
The only person's life who has been put on hold from all this cancer stuff is mine. Well, my sweetie's, too. Everyone else - life goes on, as it should! I'm sure now and then, my cancer has crossed people's minds and they go, "Man, that sucks what happened to her." I don't want anyone to feel guilty for not helping me more or being there for me or whatever. I have a great support system and am doing okay. If you want to help me when I get really sick, awesome! If you occasionally text or shoot me a "how ya doin' champ?" email, then you're aces in my book.
Just know and understand that I am not "cured" and won't be considered cancer free for five years. I'm looking at six or nine months of hard treatment because I'm dealing with a long-term illness. So messages like, "I'm hoping for a speedy recovery!" or anything similar, please don't. Haha. I promise all of you, too. In three or four years, I'm not going to be throwing a tantrum screaming, "YOU WEREN'T THERE FOR ME."
To that woman who is/was so angry at her friends for not being there for her years after her cancer diagnosis, I pray she finds peace.