When I reminisce on all of the friendships I have had I am blessed with happy, smiling memories bouncing around in my brain. I remember best friends' charms and bracelets, sleepovers, birthday parties, running across the street to play with the neighborhood kids, playing hide and seek outside at night. Many would say ‘those were the days.’ And boy were they ever. Some of my dearest friends from those days are still in the friendship bank today.
I have also said many times that ‘cancer draws a crowd.’ When I was diagnosed with breast cancer everyone wanted to see me. It was always comforting to know there was someone there if I needed a ride to the doctors, someone to talk to, someone to cook for me. You name it my tribe would cover it. But what I didn't realize was how exhausting it was to see everyone when I was going through treatments. I only had a few days between treatments where I felt good enough for visitors. And I felt like I had to see all of the people that were there for me.
I know this can sound like a ‘problem’ other cancer patients would like to have. I know there are those on the opposite side of the cancer coin. There are a lot of patients out there looking for rides, someone to talk to, cook them a meal, someone to listen.
And when we think of friendship and cancer I think we find ourselves another group of friends that bring happy, smiling moments to our brains. Cancer, and life in general, force us to rotate through friendships. We have probably all heard the quote
‘Friends for a reason,
friends for a season and
friends for a lifetime.’
As a cancer patient I often refer to fellow cancer patients as ‘my cancer friend.’
Cancer may also be a reason we lose some friendships. Some may not be able to handle our diagnosis. While others may not agree with our medical decisions and some may have just run out their season.
Life, as we know it, is short and precious. Many of us live by our values, our faith, the knowledge of our doctors, researchers and scientists. Our reasons may change as our illness and treatments change and when our friendships also change, they were always friends to begin with.
(I think I could write 100 posts on friends. If you have a friendship story to share please feel free to send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org)