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Well-meaning Friends... Well-meaning Friends...

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Unread 11-05-2009, 07:34 AM
Well-meaning Friends...

I have stage 1b2 cervical cancer with, as I was told yesterday by my gyn onc, some marginal involvement. Radiation is being recommended and I'm struggling with the decision about doing it or not.

This is day eight post-op (radical hysterectomy). Except for my doc's appt, I haven't been out of the house. I have a suprapelvic catheter that is driving me insane. I have a 2-yr old I can't pick up who doesn't understand why mommy won't hold him. And now, after thinking my path report looked really good, I'm facing the huge decision of whether to undergo further treatment. So basically with all this, I'm feeling whiny, b*tchy, angry, and sad all at the same time.

But whenever I mention any of these feelings to my friends, I am met with the "Oh, you should be thankful, so-and-so had breast cancer and she had to undergo...blah blah blah." Or "It's not so bad. You just need to keep smiling and this is all going to be over soon." Or some variation on a theme.

I understand that they mean well. That they're trying to help me feel better about things with their responses. But dammit, I think I should be allowed to feel what I am feeling and it's making me even more angry and upset when people say these things. But I don't know how to even express this without coming across as a complete b*tch/ingrate.

Anyone else feel this way/go through this??
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Unread 11-05-2009, 07:55 AM
Re: Well-meaning Friends...

You should be allowed to feel what you are feeling. And EVERY singe one of your feelings is what I would consider normal. I know how you feel. I am still in the process of getting a diagnosis and have had many of the same emotions that you are feeling now just with all the doctors appointments and tests. I was first told my initial ultrasound was good "no masses noted" just to be told two weeks later that another radiologist had looked at my scan and found a 4.8 cm mass. Who misses a mass twice the size of the ovary? Anyway, point being, I think the feelings intensify when you "think" a report looks good.

When I told some friends what was found their first response to me was "Just let them take all that junk.... you don't want to deal with the hassle of having a period anymore." Or they minimize what I am going through. I get from people "oh, my mom or so and so had cancer and this is how much she suffered." or "well so and so died from ovarian cancer, but I am sure your mass will just be a regular old cyst." I know they are all trying to make me feel better. But I want to scream at them that they can stop at anytime. One... I don't want to let them take all me "junk". While yes I am sure that my husband and I are done having babies at 33 I am not ready for menopause and for that right to have another baby to be taken away from me. I don't want to know how others have suffered or died. Right now I want my friends to sit and cry with me, not minimize what I am dealing with. I am not sure if there is a "nice" way to tell them that without sounding b*tchy. But if I was your 3D friend. I would give you a b*tchy pass right now. If you told me "you know I just need you to cry with me and let me process MY feelings around what I am going through" I would understand.

I am sorry you are feeling this way.
Unread 11-05-2009, 08:16 AM
Re: Well-meaning Friends...

Thank you so much for that response! It feels so very nice to hear someone say "I know what you mean" instead of "It's not healthy for you to be negative" (which was just said to me in an email from yet another friend).

And oh man, about the "just take that junk out" and "you don't need it." I thought I would SCREAM if someone else said that to me. Granted I have three kids. And I am 37 and had zero plans for having any more. Still, that was, until now, MY decision. And to have that decision irrevocably made for me was hard to handle. I might not have had plans for using that womb, but by golly it was my womb and it was there if I wanted to use it!!!

I hope that I stop feeling so raw soon, but until I do, thank you so much for the b*tch pass that I can't seem to get from my "real" friends.
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Unread 11-05-2009, 08:20 AM
Re: Well-meaning Friends...

Yes, you have a lot to process and that processing includes feeling sad, angry, etc. I understand completely.

Our friends don't always understand that we need to vent. But I've found that often when I explain it to them, they completely understand the need.

One thing I do at times when I need to talk about these feelings is start the conversation with something like this "I appreciate you being here. It means a lot. Right now I need to vent my feelings. I don't want you to feel that you have to lighten my mood or make me feel better. That fact that you just listen to me will help me feel better."

Wishing you the very best on your journey.
Unread 11-05-2009, 09:45 AM
Re: Well-meaning Friends...

Ask them to please listen while you get some things out of your head. You aren't looking for advice or input, just an ear to listen.

Or come here cause we've all been there!
Unread 11-05-2009, 11:49 AM
Re: Well-meaning Friends...

I have to agree... no one understands like other HS. Even my mom who has had breast cancer twice, doesn't understand the way I feel.
She thinks I should be long over this... but with an appt. every 3-6 months to remind me I have/had cancer... well I know the girls here understand. So I just come here to vent...
I have been told many times, there are a lot of people that can't deal with mortality issues, and having cancer throws it right in your face... We have to deal with those thoughts.
Unread 11-05-2009, 01:53 PM
Re: Well-meaning Friends...

I can't speak to rads, but if you are having chemo (cisplatin) it isn't as bad as you might think. I lost no hair, just had killer constapation.

Wow I am shocked your friends are being such dweebs! Going through this with little kids (and all the mortality issues ) is challenging to say the least. Throw in the sex issues, hormonal issues (not sure if you kept your ovaries)-they should be way MORE understanding.

I used to joke with my husband that it seemed every kids film had the Mom dying-WTH!!!!! (My daughter was 6-so Disney movies were big).

Vent here and ignore your friends if they don't have anything useful to add.
Unread 11-05-2009, 02:21 PM
Re: Well-meaning Friends...

I remember a convo with my best friend about a year out of treatment/surgery. Mind you, I was 29, no kids, not even a boyfriend. She is a year or so younger than I am, married, with 3 kids. She went off on a rant about how they could take all of her parts, she has no use for them, she's done with them, etc. By the time she was finished I was pretty much in tears, and cut our convo short. I could not believe how callous her remarks were and how deeply they hurt me.

In her eyes she was just being "matter of fact", in my eyes it was cruel. Our rs really hasn't been the same since dx.

P.S. after I hung up the phone and came here seeking comfort I was assured that my feeling were valid. Nobody understands quite like our HS
Unread 11-05-2009, 02:21 PM
Re: Well-meaning Friends...

I know exactly how you feel as well. No one can be positive 100% of the time and any time anyone took what I said as negative and said as much I wanted to rip them a new *******. Reality is reality and having cervical cancer sucks. Treatment affects vital bodily functions, your sex life, and your overall post-treatment health and its not temporary. The loss of control of our reproductive futures is so hard to deal with. It's all hard, and unless someone has been there they just can't fully understand. We're here for ya.
Unread 11-05-2009, 03:42 PM
Re: Well-meaning Friends...

I had a similar conversation with my sister who kept saying I should think positive thoughts. A lot of people said that to me actually. Is it the new age cure for cancer? Yes, I know that things could have been a lot worse and yes I know that a lot of women fortunately survive. However, they are not me and I am the one that has to deal with this cancer in my body.

At the time my sister said it, I was a bit annoyed and told her that although I could understand what she said and why she said it, the positive thinking alone wouldn't do. I am positive, by nature an incurable optimist. However, that doesn't mean I wasn't frightened or sad and that I needed and still need time to accept these feelings as well. I think that our friends and family tell us to keep thinking positive thoughts because of their own fears of losing us and they are actually telling themselves to look on the bright side. The dark scenarios we imagine sometimes for ourselves are the same they imagine for us. And losing a loved one hurts!
Just as much as we ourselves need to deal with our cancer, our beloved ones do too. Once I realised that, I didn't mind these remarks as much. Sometimes I even talk about the thoughts behind the comments - it cleared the air between my sis and me.

And yes, for venting, compassing, understanding this is absolutely the most wonderful place you can come to!

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