Why you should always have cancer friends!
Life is crazy and unpredictable. One minute you’re standing and the next, you’re face down on the ground. Your friends and family can try to help you as much as they can, but unfortunately like everything else in life, you never know how it truly is until it happens to you.
When I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last year, I couldn’t find any info. I couldn’t find any guides. I couldn’t find any blogs. I didn’t want to find a “cancer support group” in my area, because I didn’t want to be looked at as “sick”, and I definitely didn’t want to interact with others that were “sick”, because I was only 28. This wasn’t supposed to be happening to me. I still hadn’t come to terms with my illness. I only saw older people at my cancer center. I didn’t know that younger people were dealing with the same thing.
I went through the beginning with support from non-cancery people. After creating my blog, I became friends with other “cancery” people my age, through social media. There are so many negative groups on Facebook that I didn’t want to be a part of. So, I made friends through Instagram. They were going through the same exact thing as me. And as a recent cancer survivor, I can tell you that this is the most important thing ever–to become friends and talk to others who are going through the same thing as you. Not everyone though, there are a lot of negative, cliquey bully type, angry people that you definitely don’t want energy from–but for every crappy person, there’s a bunch of awesome ones!
Cancer sucks. And other people who are non-cancery just don’t get it. And despite contrary belief, we don’t EXPECT you to get it. We don’t EXPECT you to feel “sorry for us”. We feel sorry for you because cancer makes you such a better, stronger version of yourself. so go get cancer! Jk, don’t do that. We don’t expect you to get it and we don’t wish what we have gone through on anyone, because it’s horrible. So, if you’re like I was, and hesitant to reach out to other fighters and survivors, here are some good reasons why you actually should
- They’ve been there and they get you. Completely. No one will ever understand what it feels like to run their hands through their hair and have it fall out in clumps. No one will get what it feels like for your life to be put on hold, while everyone else’s continues theirs. No one will get what it feels like to live your day to day life attached to a pole administering chemotherapy and trying to stay alive. No one will understand the feeling of red devil running through your body. No one will get that feeling of being so sick and sleeping on your couch for months, with a bucket next to you. No one will get what it feels like to have a doctor tell you that your treatment is no longer working. No one will get the feeling of not knowing whether or not you’re going to wake up the next morning. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t meant to be sad. If you can do cancer you have a permanent IDGAF attitude because you know that you can do anything.
- They get the whole “scanxiety” thing–and it’s real. Not even scanxiety, but relapse scares. When you’re already exhausted from getting back to life and a symptom comes back that you were originally diagnosed with–you freak out. You freak the f out. You will be haunted by it. Others won’t understand it. Your cancer friends understand it. I had about 3 serious relapse scares my first year in remission, one forced me to book a last minute flight home while I was away. When you’re crying because you’re having flash backs, your friends won’t understand this feeling. Ever. Your cancer friends can talk you through it, because they have been there. And believe me, you will get through it.
- Remission is difficult. Sometimes it becomes more difficult than the actual cancer. Survivors guilt sets in. You become part of a cancer family, and you see your friends relapse and even pass away, and you just don’t understand why. The first year is the most difficult and others think that just because you’re in remission means it’s over. It’s never over. My friend Meg and I went into remission around the same time. We still would text each other and be like we’re in remission, why are we crying every single day!? I can tell you now that if you’re going through this–I completely get it.
- Your views change on life, work, friendships, relationships, the world. Your non cancery friends may think that you are too quick to cut people off. Fight me all you want on this one, but you’re wrong. We no longer take anything for granted. Ever. Because we know what it’s like to have everything taken away from us in a heart beat. Life during and especially after cancer teaches you a lot, especially about other people. You realize how many people actually suck, and are toxic. You learn to pick these people out immediately. You learn your real friends from your party friends. I had friends who wanted to be a part of my journey, that disappeared when I was sick, then wanted to hang out again when I was healthy and good to party again. I’ve had people who were there during my journey, including my own nurses and friends, that suddenly disappeared after remission. A lot of people will stay in your life during that period, mainly out of selfishness, and/or because they have nothing better to do at the time. They want to say that they were there for you during treatment. In reality, they were there for the wrong reasons. See, remission doesn’t mean it’s over. And you, as a cancer fighter/survivor are 100% dealing with this, or will deal with it in the future. People are shady. Many people want to help the sick girl/guy, but when remission comes around and you’re no longer sick, you no longer benefit their need to feel more “human”. In my case, I’ve been lucky enough to cut out the party friends real quick. Partying, being seen, instagraming and snap chatting are far more important to some of these people. They don’t get that you can pick them out instantly, and be done with them immediately. I just sit there and laugh because they literally know nothing about life. You need your cancer friends who get this. Because it’s a sad reality of life after cancer, and people in general. However, I do have the most amazing, genuine friends in my life that have been, and are still there through my never ending journey. Shout out to the friends who still check in on me–you are the ones who have my heart! You are my people and I love you all to death!
- They can read your scans. I mean, we’ve all been dealing with this for how long? And we all know that our docs take forever to give us results. True story, my doctor is on vacation and my friend read my scan two weeks ago.
- They have the same twisted sense of humor as you, because like they say, what doesn’t kill you gives you a messed up sense of humor and unhealthy coping mechanisms.
- They get your crazy ass side effects of chemo, and have probably experienced them too. Seriously. Neuropathy, foot drop, radiation induced asthma. Right now I’m almost positive that my uterus has relocated near my spleen? Idk, Meg n Carlo take the wheel on this one, cause I still can’t read that scan.
- They have the same mentality as you! We just laugh when something stupid happens, because we know that things can always get worse! However, if you’re going through a divorce, break up, job loss, dealing with a sick family member or friend–hit us up because even if we haven’t been in that exact situation, we can sympathize with you! However, if your skin is peeling (throws shade..because I can) because you used too much retinol, GTFO with that. We can help you, but we can’t fix stupid.
- They know everything about wigs. Everything. Because we wore them for so long. We know all of the tricks of the trade. we got you.
- They also know the hidden tricks for dealing with chemo side effects, because for some reason your doctors hide that shit from you! Jk, but seriously.
- They literally don’t GAF and it’s the funniest thing in the world. Seriously, zero f’s given. Life is short baby, we know it, and so we live it!