Dealing with unsupportive friends and family during cancer
When you have cancer, the strength of a support network can make all the difference. Dealing with unsupportive friends and family during cancer is a painful reality, but remember, it's your journey to reclaim. | Photo Credit: ©alfa27 / Adobe Stock
"Facing cancer is daunting enough, but enduring it with an unsupportive family during cancer adds an extra layer of hardship."
Official guide: dealing with unsupportive friends and family during cancer
When battling cancer, it becomes essential to address the challenges of dealing with unsupportive friends and family. In this guide, I aim to share my experiences and offer advice based on personal encounters. By understanding the dynamics at play, both within your own mind and in the minds of those around you, you can navigate this complex situation more effectively.
Throughout my journey, I have encountered a diverse range of experiences. While some friends and family rushed to my side and provided unwavering support upon hearing my diagnosis, others distanced themselves completely. Cancer is a revealing litmus test, demonstrating who your true friends are and which family members you can rely on. It is crucial not to dismiss these revelations; instead, leverage them to construct the most robust possible support network.
A somewhat public persona made me an easy target for petty individuals on social media and other platforms. I've seen posts suggesting I was faking my illness for attention or claiming that my condition wasn't as severe as I portrayed it. However, these people, upon being confronted, cowardly shunned the truth and blocked any attempts at meaningful dialogue.
When you have cancer, the strength of a support network can make all the difference. Dealing with unsupportive friends and family during cancer is a painful reality, but remember, it's your journey to reclaim.
Accept the help offered by caring individuals
Avoid seeking encouragement or opinions from outside sources when establishing your support network. Unfortunately, the world, and even your local community, harbors individuals who thrive on spreading petty rumors and exploiting others' misfortunes for personal gain. Over time, I've learned to ignore such individuals and, in some cases, even feel pity for them.
Acknowledging that battling cancer can result in significant time and financial losses is essential. Personally, when I finally completed my tax returns, I realized the extent of my financial setbacks surpassed my initial estimations. During this challenging period, it is essential to set aside pride and accept the help offered by caring individuals. Your family will depend on this support, and you will also require it. Battling cancer is already stressful enough; worrying about the potential loss of a home or vehicle only exacerbates the strain.
Upon receiving your diagnosis, vocalizing the word "cancer" is crucial until you can say it without breaking down. Why is this important? Because during the initial stages of treatment, you will engage in lucid conversations about cancer and explore various treatment options with healthcare professionals. Although some people will want to keep their cancer a secret, for practical reasons, you will at some point need to inform your employer about your condition, and your spouse will also need to adapt. Personally, it took me a week before I could utter the word cancer without succumbing to overwhelming emotions. However, once I confronted it head-on, I felt a newfound strength to face the challenges.
Embrace that you have cancer and refuse to be intimidated by the disease. Cancer is no longer the death sentence it once was in contemporary times. You and your doctors can explore numerous treatment options before considering surrender. Listen to your doctors, adhere to their guidance, and avoid substituting their expertise with unverified information on diet supplements found online. Be transparent with your doctors and heed their advice diligently.
Undoubtedly, cancer changes you and becomes a significant part of your identity. However, it should not dictate the entirety of your life. Continue pursuing your passions and aspirations. Although you may proceed slower and require occasional breaks, keep living your life to the fullest.
Once you are diagnosed with cancer, other health issues tend to amplify. In my case, I faced the risk of losing sight due to cancer, a consequence I hadn't foreseen. Furthermore, my excess weight hindered my battle against the disease. While it took some time for this realization to sink in, approximately a month ago, I committed myself to improving my overall health. I have shed weight, embarked on an exercise regimen, and strived for better well-being. When you feel better physically, your fighting spirit strengthens.
"Amidst cancer's battle, dealing with unsupportive friends and family during cancer requires strength beyond measure. Rise above negativity, build a resilient support network, and prove that love conquers all. Discover how to navigate this challenging journey with grace and determination."
How not to be an unsupportive friend or family member
For those who do not have cancer, please understand that individuals with cancer generally do not fit the stereotypical image of a bald, terminally ill patient perpetually hooked up to an IV. At Roswell, the cancer center I frequent, most patients look healthy like anyone else. Only when the fight reaches its most challenging stages can someone resemble the typical portrayal of a cancer patient.
Therefore, refrain from attempting to reassure yourself by insinuating that a person with cancer is merely pretending due to their outward appearance. Countless cancer patients have shared stories of families disbelieving their illness and even abandoning them during this critical time. Cancer cannot be fought alone. Suppose you judge someone based on appearances rather than standing by their side and fighting alongside them. In that case, it reveals a regrettable lack of empathy.
Since December 27, 2015, I have witnessed and experienced a great deal. I have undergone profound transformations and encountered both the callousness and the compassion that people are capable of. While I remain committed to winning my personal battle, I aspire to assist others in their journeys. Never allow anyone to instill guilt within you for having cancer, as it is an all-too-common occurrence. Confide in your doctor if you reach out to family and friends and find yourself devoid of support. At Roswell, an exceptional program exists to provide cancer patients with the emotional support they need.
Remember: You don't have to fight cancer alone.
Do not succumb to the trivialities of idle gossip or fake friendships.
Do not succumb to the negativity of unsupportive friends and family during cancer
Never stop fighting.
No one can truly comprehend your struggles, but believe me when I say that those closest to you are enduring alongside you. In my case, my wife has been an incredible pillar of strength. Find your rock, your unwavering source of support, and hold onto it tightly.
Facing cancer is daunting, but enduring it with an unsupportive family during cancer adds an extra layer of hardship.
Victory is within your grasp. Never doubt your ability to overcome. Just keep fighting.
"When you have cancer, dealing with unsupportive friends and family during cancer is a painful reality, but remember, it's your journey to reclaim. Surround yourself with those who uplift you and understand the power of empathy."
Dealing with unsupportive friends and family during cancer was originally published by URevolution in 2018. It was updated and republished on 21 June 2023.
George Root III, the author of "Dealing with unsupportive friends and family during cancer," was an accomplished author, including The Caleb Devin Chronicles. He called the wilds of Western New York home, where he actually enjoyed Western New York winters. He dabbled in non-fiction, but his passion was science fantasy, science fiction, and Godzilla. George died on March 7th, 2019.