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AIBU I have cancer and feel let down by two best friends

(240 Posts)
myboysmum Fri 14-Feb-20 21:34:47

Last September I was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery for a strangulated hernia. As it turned out when they opened me up it was actually 2 very enlarged lymph nodes which they removed and sent to lab for testing. 2 weeks later I was told I had hodgkin's lymphoma which is a blood cancer.
Two of my best friends who I have known for around 20 years (I actually knew them both first and introduced them to each other around 10 years ago) have really let me down.
After my surgery in September they both came round to visit me separately, I started chemotherapy 3 weeks later on Oct 23rd and they came together to visit me the day before. I have suffered with quite a few side effects from the chemo, the main one being neuropathy which is nerve damage that is effecting the muscles in my legs which leaves me in constant pain and unable to walk very much, I hardly get out the house now due to this.
I met for lunch with both of them two weeks after my first treatment (which I have every other week) but since then one of them has visited me twice, once in December and once at the very beginning of January and sent about 6 texts during that time asking how I am - roughly once every 3 weeks. The other one has visited once at the beginning of December and sent just 2 texts, both times saying sorry for neglecting me but she was so tired after work each day she had no energy to do anything else.
They both said at the beginning they would go through this journey with me but I feel that they have totally neglected me and i feel so hurt and angry. I have to take pain killers every day just to get through the day, I only really leave the house for hospital appointments but occasionally i make it into work If I'm having a good day but that's not very often. I do work from home for a couple of hours each day though. I have become very depressed and now on anti depressants and feeling hurt by my friends has not helped that as it's constantly on my mind that another day/week had passed with out them bothering.
Anyway last night I decided enough was enough and I was going to say something to them. I sent a text on our group what'sapp chat and told them both how hurt I was that they had hardly bothered and that I felt they had been really crap friends and visiting me once or twice in the last 4 months is shit. I also said that I would rather end our friendship now because that way I would not be stressing each time another day goes by without them bothering. The text wasn't nasty or rude but it was blunt and to the point. I hate the fact that I have just thrown away 20 years of friendship but in my opinion they have not very good friends and I have had more help and support from my work colleagues who I've known for only 2 years and also other friends have been great
Do you think I am being unreasonable ?

Crunchymum Fri 14-Feb-20 21:38:50

Sorry you have been poorly.

Did either of them reply?

MyNewBearTotoro Fri 14-Feb-20 21:43:04

How often did you see them and were you in contact with them before your diagnosis? If contact was sporadic and only every few weeks before diagnosis then I think whilst you are reasonable to be disappointed they haven’t made more effort I also think you should respect that it may be hard for them to fit a significant increase in contact into their lives if usually they don’t see you that much. If their contact has really dropped since the diagnosis and you feel they’re avoiding you then you are definitely not being unreasonable to be upset and to have messaged them.

PriscillaTheHun Fri 14-Feb-20 21:43:17

Hi OP. So sorry to hear what you've been through and get well soon thanks

No I don't think YABU at all. That sounds really shit. I think a lot of people struggle with illnesses like cancer and feel awkward so instead of sucking it up, they withdraw.

How did they take your message?

It's a long time to be friends so I hope they take a good long look at themselves and apologise and step up to the plate.

HalfBiscuit Fri 14-Feb-20 21:43:38

Do they have things going on in their own lives?

I must admit something similar happened to us when we had an awful bereavement a couple years ago, and a very good friend of mine was very distant, which upset me, but I then found out later that her husband was having an affair and she'd had a miscarriage in the same month.

Sorry you're not well, and of course t must be hard right now.

myboysmum Fri 14-Feb-20 21:45:05

No neither replied so I guess that weren't impressed. They both live about 3 miles from me so not a million miles away.

amijustparanoidorjuststoned Fri 14-Feb-20 21:46:52

Sorry OP but I think YAB a bit U.

I'm sorry that you've been really poorly, but from what you've said they've made reasonable amounts of effort. If you need more support from them, you should tell them.

I only speak to my best friends once a week probably - we all have very busy lives. It sounds like your friends are willing to be there for you - but don't want to overload support on you. They may not have handled things brilliantly - but I don't think anyone has a manual on how to deal with friends/family who have cancer.

How often would you like to see your friends:? Did you see them as much before the diagnosis? I think we need more information here! That said, I am sending you all the support in the world during this difficult time flowers

Littlefiendsusan Fri 14-Feb-20 21:47:17

Sadly this is a time when you find out who your friends truly are.
I'm so sorry to hear of your diagnosis, tough times and sending you much strength ❤️

The fact your friends are being shit, is unspeakably poor form. I hope you've roused them into action with your blunt message.

New people will come your way on your journey, who you may connect more profoundly with, but that doesn't make your immediate situation any better, I know.

quirrels Fri 14-Feb-20 21:49:09

I have breast cancer. This seems to be a common theme that some friends melt away. Others have surprised by stepping up.
One very old friend promised to be there for me and then ...nothing. She doesn't work and was travelling on holidays etc. I messaged her to say I was disappointed not to hear from her. I got an honest reply, so sorry I'm ashamed for being a rubbish friend, please forgive me. I was so glad I had spoken up instead of festering on it.

nicky7654 Fri 14-Feb-20 21:50:39

Wishing you well with your recovery x You really get to know who your friends are in times like these! They have been very selfish so I think you have done the right thing. Xx

BeenThereDone Fri 14-Feb-20 21:55:06

As hard as it is try and put them from your mind. You need All you energy to look after yourself..... Just know this, you would never treat them like this if they needed you and you will be the stronger when you kick this cancer in its ass.

Sending you all the best wishes love. Look after yourself flowers

Lougle Fri 14-Feb-20 21:55:44

Yanbu to be disappointed by the lack of visits, because you are restricted, but there shouldn't be anything stopping you from sending them messages, surely? Why are you waiting for them to send you messages?

MrsPelligrinoPetrichor Fri 14-Feb-20 21:58:32

I think this is the sort of thing that separates the wheat from the chaff.

myboysmum Fri 14-Feb-20 22:00:33

Mynewbeartotoro - We saw each other about once every 2/3 weeks, it used to be every week but I had been feeling unwell for the last year with bad fatigue, anemia and back ache so had cancelled a few times. At that point I didn't know I had cancer.

Priscilla thehun- neither of them replied

Halfbiscuit- they have both been through things. One had an abusive marriage and he also physically abused their son who then had a mental breakdown. This was years ago and she it's now in a new relationship, I was there for her through all that. The other was also in a bad relationship where he stole money from her and took loans out in her name without her consent as he was a gambling addict. Again I was there for her through all of that. She is now happily single. So neither of them have any problems in their own lives at the moment.

MyuMe Fri 14-Feb-20 22:02:13

but since then one of them has visited me twice, once in December and once at the very beginning of January and sent about 6 texts during that time asking how I am - roughly once every 3 weeks. The other one has visited once at the beginning of December and sent just 2 texts, both times saying sorry for neglecting me but she was so tired after work each day she had no energy

Sorry OP but that is more than I see many of my friends

Once a month and a text every 3 weeks is not that bad.

DuckyMcDuck Fri 14-Feb-20 22:05:00

Wishing you well.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer some years ago and had the same experience. Friends who I thought would have been there for me, just weren't and others stepped up and were fantastic.
I was really hurt at the time and I never felt the same about certain people.

The cliche is so true, it is only in times of adversity that you find out who your real friends are.

It sounds like the feelings of being let down that you're feeling is right but only you can decide if you're actually being unreasonable and whether you want to lose the long-standing friendships over this. I did, and 6 years on I'm not 100% sure I did the right thing.

Wishing you the best.

Loli2 Fri 14-Feb-20 22:14:13

I've learned in life that how people respond to these things is down to their nature.

They probably think they are making enough contact.

The other people contacting you more are more considerate by nature.

Can't change people unfortunately.

Still extremely dissappointing all the same but I guess what I'm saying is maybe lower your expectations as we don't always get what we give out to people

Aridane Fri 14-Feb-20 22:16:39

Wishing you well but YABU and I suspect you are taking out your ill health on your friends

Unsureconfused46 Fri 14-Feb-20 22:16:41

I'm not sure if you are being Yabu or Yanbu but I just wanted to say that I'm sorry you're poorly and I wish you all the best and please come on here to chat we we will all be here to listen to you x

Wineiscooling Fri 14-Feb-20 22:22:24

I work in oncology. It's not uncommon for "friends" to drop off the radar. I think no one understands how hard it is until you are going through it yourself. Your friends probably don't mean to be shit but they don't understand the fatigue and pain and side effects of your chemotherapy. They probably think a "supportive" text every few weeks is enough and that if you need anything you will ask. I don't think you're being unreasonable in expecting more but also I see in my job numerous times that family and friends don't understand what you're going through and don't know what you need. Perhaps an honest conversation is what is needed. I hope they step up now after your text, if not then as often is the case now is when you learn who your real friends are.
I hope you are ok.

StripeyDeckchair Fri 14-Feb-20 22:22:45

Oh myboysmum I am so sorry you are going through this.
Sadly it is not uncommon for people who you thought were (very good, close) friends to fall off the edge of the earth when confronted with something like cancer.
I had someone who i thought was a good friend & would be supportive send me a fuck off postcard. She wasnt going to talk to me while i had cancer.
What made it even worse was a couple of years later a close family member of hers had cancer and every 5 mins she was posting on Facebook about all the stuff she was doing for her etc. So f**info 2 faced.

You are strong, you'll get through this. Hang on in there.
Best wishes

justasking111 Fri 14-Feb-20 22:29:02

My friend got cancer, her OH could not cope she said. They had bought an old place in France, she sent him off there to deal with builders etc. not because it needed doing but because he was so helpless in the face of her cancer. I suspect my OH would fall apart so knew where she was coming from.

myboysmum Fri 14-Feb-20 22:31:55

Myume - I have had 2 visits from one and 1 visit from the other in the last 4 months since I started my treatment in October. I still have another 2 months of treatment to go.

Aridane- yes you're right, I am very angry with what my life has been dealt with but they promised me support and haven't given it.

We have all been extremely close over the years and we used to meet up weekly/fortnightly for a coffee. I have cancelled a few times over the last year but that has been due to suffering with fatigue, anemia and Back ache so never felt great, that was before I realised I had cancer.

Thank you for all your kind words

EvaHarknessRose Fri 14-Feb-20 22:33:13

You can't really be unreasonable in your situation. But remember they probably do really care about you.

Unsureconfused46 Fri 14-Feb-20 22:37:06

You have every right to be angry OP, cancer is a terrible thing. It's very unfair. You will experience a range of emotions. I think your friends care for you very much but people can be forgetful and unintentionally thoughtless at times so try not to take it to heart

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