got a friend (co-worker) with cancer. to date they've gone through radiation therapy (both external and radioactive seeds placed internally), but w/out much luck. though they haven't told me, i suspect the next step is chemo, which is something they've expressed no interest in. this is the deal though. there are times i get the feeling that they want to talk about this, but they only beat around the topic. i don't know if i should bring it up or pursue the topic further when they bring it up. i've told them that it's ok to vent; doing so is not a weakness and is understandable. this has been going on for quite a while now, but i'm confused about my role. of course they must feel confusion, anger, emptiness, and i suspect the list goes on and on. in any case, do you have any suggestions?
It sounds as though you've made it clear that they can talk to you, but they aren't choosing to do so. It may be that they don't want the information disseminated at work. Could be fears of being let go, or even fears of people treating them different.
Perhaps you can just say, "Is there anything I can do for you? Including, but not limited to, doing internet research for treatment options, helping around the house, helping with shopping, etc." The best way to be a friend to someone undergoing a devastating illness is to offer to do what THEY need you to, not just what you THINK they need. (although you haven't given any indication that's what you're doing...just thought I'd point it out anyway.)
thanks for the suggestions. as for what i'm doing right now, i'm listening to what they have to say. moreover, if they want to go out and do something, i do it. in some cases this has meant that i've had to cancel other plans, but i think if they're on the tail end of life, it's the least i can do. hmmm...that doesn't sound too good now that i see it in writing. my intentions are well though.