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Feeling Isolated and Breast Cancer

Posted on October 17, 2018

Breast cancer can change relationships. Many members of MyBCTeam say they feel isolated and lonely when family, friends, and co-workers have backed away - or become unresponsive to their needs. “My husband hasn't been supportive at all. It's extremely disappointing 😶😑😐,” one member wrote. Another, whose boyfriend initially vowed support reported, “Found out this past week that he’d been cheating this whole year, with the same girl, and got her pregnant!”

Some members say understanding the social paralysis triggered by a cancer diagnosis has helped soothe feelings of betrayal. “It seems like family and friends don't know what to say or how to ask questions,” a MyBCTeam member wrote. “I think my sister is frightened by the prospect of cancer,” another wrote about her sibling’s “disappearing act.”

Many members, however, have had the opposite experience. “People with whom I wasn’t even remotely close to before stepped up and really helped out. I’ve been lucky and blessed in that regard,” a member commented. One woman who set up a Facebook page received an “amazing outpouring of support.”

In-person and online support groups like MyBCTeam have been helpful for many members. “They were helpful for me and I’ve made some great friends who know what it's like to have a life-changing diagnosis and treatment, not to mention after-treatment issues. It does get better when we surround ourselves with supportive people.”

On MyBCTeam, the social network and online support group for women facing breast cancer, members talk about a range of personal experiences and struggles. Feeling isolated is one of the top topics most discussed.

Here are some question-and-answer threads about feeling isolated:

Has anyone in your personal life that you thought would be there for you, completely let you down?

How public are you about your cancer diagnosis? On the one hand, I hate the pity I see when I tell people. But on the other hand, I want to shout it out on facebook for all women to check themselves because it can happen to anyone. Thoughts?

How do you deal with pressures from others to have you be back to normal, back to your old self?

Here are some conversations about feeling isolated:

"All of my friends and even some family members have long-since disappeared, some just coming right out and saying to my husband, 'It's too hard to watch what she's going through.' Compassion fatigue.. good riddance I suppose. But it still hurts. Has anyone else had any similar experiences?"

"[All this] leaves me with a state of isolation although I know there's plenty of us going through this, some worse off. I still allow an hours worth of crying a day, I think I've earned it."

"Believe me we all find a way to get through each phase. Along the way, there are feelings of sadness, isolation, confusion, and even anger as you face each day because it's a grieving process for what was and an adaptation to what is no matter how the pendulum swings."

Can you relate?

Have another topic you'd like to discuss or explore? Go to MyBCTeam today and start the conversation. You'll be surprised just how many others may share similar stories.

Feel free to ask a question here.

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