I didn't change. My priorities did.
After my diagnosis, I could no longer afford to focus all my time and energy giving to others and little to none on myself. Needing to take care of my health, I had to step back from other things. Doctor appointments, new medications, side effects, radical changes in diet, declining health, increasing pain, limited mobility, and just plain wrapping my head around multiple potentially devastating diagnoses took most of my time and energy.
And for this some called me selfish.
Others, though, stood by my side, supporting me, cheering me on. Finally I was doing what they had been urging me to do for so long - what I always urged others to do for themselves - I was taking care of myself. In getting myself on the track back to health, or my new definition of health, anyway, I could then better care for my children, my family, my friends. I could be a better friend, when energy levels and illness allowed.
My first priority has to be to my health, because without that, I can't take care of anyone else. Without that, I don't have my life.
But there's no way your health can be that bad, Some say.
Because when Some see me it's on good days. It's on those days that I'm out and about. Or Some see me on days when I decided to take enough medication to get through the day with more ease. They are not the Others who call or drop by to see if I need anything on the days or weeks or months that I'm doing poorly. Some are not the angels who arrive on my doorstep, not minding if I'm still in my pj's, just to offer a hug, or to chat, or to see if they can pick me up anything while they're at the store. Others come by with coffee or dessert or music or conversation to share, and sit with me and talk to me about important things and funny things and stressful things and silliness. Even if only for a few minutes, it makes such a big difference.
Some are never going to get it, and will fade from my life. Others will stay with me through thick and thin, even if they don't know what to say or how to act or what might be helpful or necessary. That's life - the comings and goings of some friends, and the enduring company of others, whose caring feels more like family.
There is value to me in both those friends who pass through my life for a short while and those who are rooted firmly in my life. They all have lessons to teach and love to share, each in their own way. Some aren't able to understand what it is to be a friend to someone who is chronically ill, and others don't need to understand, they understand that all that is needed is to be a friend.