Family and friends can be your most vital supporters when you’re diagnosed with cancer and going through treatment, but your relationships with loved ones can also be strained by this stressful experience. Just when you most need their unstinting support, your loved ones are also dealing with the extreme uncertainty created by a cancer diagnoses, and this may make it hard to provide the support that is needed. The fear experienced by everybody affected by a cancer diagnoses can strengthen some bonds and fray others.
What happens when treatment undertaken in an attempt to extend your life ends up making you feel alienated from your community? How do you deal with the loss of pleasure and connection to the feeling of well-being that makes life worth living?
In today’s episode, I talk with Liz Ganem, writer and middle school teacher. Liz was treated twice—in 2006, when she was pregnant with her son, and again in 2013—for two different for breast cancers. Together we explore our experiences with support from family and friends, as well as the challenges of being in social situations during this time. We conclude with a discussion of some of the strategies that helped us to navigate this tricky time.