I should have caught onto this sooner. Being somewhat dense is my best excuse.
When you have an issue you live with, such as leukemia, you come to think of it as just part of your life. The rest of what you are is still there. Your dreams, your laughs, your hobbies, your life still remains intact.
But your friends who don’t live with you start thinking of you as their friend who has leukemia. It sometimes puts an odd sort of wall between you. It’s not a solid wall. It allows passage but there is always some resistance that tends to keep people away.
I don’t say this as an indictment of my friends. If matters were reversed, I’d probably allow that wall to exist too.
There’s an easy solution. You must make the first move. Invite your friends over. If they want to talk about your disease then talk about it. But as soon as you can, make their visit a fun one. Talk about regular life stuff. Do the activities you used to do with them; a bonfire, a dinner out, a movie, or just get together for a lot of laughs.
Show them that your normal side is still intact. Show them you are still you. Help them, teach them, to see you are not consumed with your disease. If they see you as their friend again – the one they use to visit a lot – then perhaps the wall will disappear and you can enjoy the relationships you’ve missed.
In other words, be a regular guy.