The few friends we have remain our friends no matter what! I guess what I'm trying to say is, although we don't have very many these days, the ones we have understand that I'm no longer the person I once was physically -- confusing isn't it?
Before succumbing to this awful condition, we socialised with a huge circle of so-called friends. I became ill and, well, quite frankly we were dropped like a stone.
I couldn't believe how people we considered close buddies closed the door! I'm not saying we had the plague or anything but it sure felt like it. I often felt like painting an X on my front door and wander round moaning, "Unclean, Unclean."
Of course I held on to my dearest friends (without them I would have found life very difficult indeed) but they were my personal friends, not family friends. The days we went out in couples, dare I say got drunk in each other's company, and spent many weekends away from home are well and truly in the past. We found ourselves looking for new friends who would accept my predicament.
3 years ago we went to Kefalonia, just before the surgery that was to start the longest road I've ever climbed. There we met a circle of friends with whom we have stayed in contact to this present day. Last weekend we visited the ones we kept in touch with most, Terry and Tracey, who have become our closest friends. A short trip over the Pennines into Yorkshire and we had a wonderful day. Just before we set off on our journey, they rang to see what I could eat. Armed with recent information there really wasn't a lot I could eat so I said, "Ice cream." We arrived just after 2 pm with welcoming arms and a quip from Tracey " Oooh lass, you're a bag of bones." In we went and out came the ice cream. There was every flavour you could think of and ones that you could never have contemplated, even strawberry cheesecake! We all sat round scooping ice cream on our spoons and joking that this was the strangest dinner we'd ever had!
With sclero you have to find friends that accept you for the way it is, not sympathising. Maybe it's hard to accept that I'm no longer Good old Barbs, the one who could make a fool out of herself, the one who was first up for a laugh, the one who could stand the longest on a night out with the girls, and perhaps the most important one of all, the one who was a soft touch when it came to paying. I don't know, but the more I think of those days the more I realise that they were'nt our friends at all.
Life moves in mysterious ways. We have genuine friends now who see me as Good old Barbs for different reasons. My condition doesn't spoil our friendship and although we ate ice cream (and I have to say that I felt a little guilty) we get along without any mention of my illness and life is like it always was. I guess socialising with sclero is different but it's not the end. I like to think it's a new beginning -- new life, new friends!