On Monday, I found out that my ex-friend does, in fact, have cancer. I have been too upset to blog. My therapist couldn’t fit me in until this morning. I am counting down the hours to talk all of this through with him.
It’s fine to post your thoughts or advice, but I won’t be reading any of the comments until after my therapy appointment. I’ll blog about that for tomorrow if I am feeling up to it. I am too emotionally raw for advice yet, especially since different people will have different thoughts.
One advantage of having dissociative identity disorder was that I rarely dealt with conflict. As an example, I had one part that was pro-abortion and one part that was anti-abortion, and I actually signed two opposing petitions on the topic without feeling any conflict about it. Living as an integrated person means living with conflict, and I am quite conflicted over what (if anything) to do.
My specific information is (obviously) limited. The information I do have sounds consistent with symptoms I observed in her when we were still hanging out, and she has been wearing bandages from the biopsy over the body part involved.
It is a slow-growing cancer that is rarely fatal because it is typically caught before it spreads due to its slow-growing nature and physical location. I hear she will have surgery, which is consistent with the information I read about this form of cancer online. Assuming it has not spread, the information I read online is that she probably won’t need either radiation or chemo. There is a different treatment for this form of cancer that is less invasive. So, it sounds like if you have to have cancer, this is the form to have.
I want to send her a card of support. I very much care that she is facing cancer, and it breaks my heart that she has such a small support system (unless she dramatically changed since August). She rarely lets anyone in and then drives them off before they can “abandon” her. Unless everything is on her terms, she has no place for you in her life, and I (and the limited others) could no longer live that way.
I don’t want resume the friendship because it was toxic for me. Sick or not, she needs me to stay emotionally unhealthy for our friendship to work, and I am unwilling to do this. I don’t want a gesture of caring to be received as an invitation back into my life.
The help she mostly would need (if I were to re-enter her life) would be childcare (as a single mother), and that was the catalyst to the friendship ending – my son breaking away from the relationship with her daughter. That relationship was very bad for him, and he resents that she now attends his school where he cannot get away from her. Logistically, I am not in a position to help in the area in which she would need the most help.
And, finally, I have no idea how contact from me (no matter how well-intentioned) might be received. The few times our paths have crossed, she has ignored my existence. The last thing I want to do is open an emotional wound for her while she is facing cancer.
These are the issues I will be talking through in therapy this morning. I do think I need to stay out of her life, but it’s so hard to do because I do care.
Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt