Generally, people take stock of friendships when they are confronted with hardship; the understanding is that this is when you find your true friends. This however is not the case with cancer; the word comes with so much baggage that people are at a loss on how to approach it. My friend and gym buddy J admitted that I didn't hear from her for a week or so after my initial email message informing her of the diagnosis simply because she needed time to process the news; and also, she didn't know what to say. I know where she's coming from as I most probably would've done the same in her case.
However, there are friends who have disappeared; and much as I have tried my very best not to take it against them, I cannot help but feel hurt. I'm certainly not expecting daily telephone calls nor email messages, but a little message of support is always uplifting, especially from someone who has been considered close to the heart.
I hope that these disappearances are temporary and once I've received the all-clear they will come back into my life again. However, if for whatever reason they decide that our friendship was not worth it then I will move on. Although cancer should not be a test for friendship, it has strengthened a lot of my relationships: friends who were close before are even closer now, and some acquaintances have developed into firm and beautiful friendships.