Monday, September 13, 2010

Don't Smoke!

Unfortunately, another former smoker in the family has developed lung cancer. My cousin, (her dad is my mom's brother) had her right middle lobe removed today. She quit about ten years ago. However, her 2-3 pack-a-day habit caught up with her. The surgeon has said they got it all and she shouldn't have to have either chemo or radiation. I hope that is the case and I wish her the best.

There is, unfortunately, a long line of lung cancer on your grandpa's side of the family. Your great grandfather had small cell carcinoma, and died in early 1992. His sister had part of a lung removed years ago. She is gone now, but not from the lung cancer. His other sister also had lung cancer, and her daughter had throat cancer. My grandfather had bladder cancer (he was a life-long tobacco user, and died at age 92). My mother had a malignant growth removed from her larynx in 2009. As of today, when she visited her ENT doc, nothing has reappeared. All of these relatives smoked.

Cigarettes are NOT cool and they are NOT healthy. I hope neither of my grandsons smoke, and I am very thankful my daughter or my husband no longer do so.

Apparently, when I was four years old, I was curious about my parents' cigarettes. Back in the 1950's, most adults smoked, having gotten addicted during World War II, when the government gave the soldiers cigarettes in their rations. I guess she let me take a puff. I sucked in so hard I got tobacco in my mouth and throat. That did it for me. It was NOT cool. I don't remember the specific incident but I do remember thinking, at an early age, that it seemed stupid to just burn up money on them. I remember telling my mother that I would never go and buy her cigarettes nor would I ever loan her money for cigarettes. She was fine with that. Back then, you could send your kids to the drug store to buy them for you. It seems pretty incredible nowadays. The drug store also ran a tab for my parents and they paid them by the month. I can't imagine that happening nowadays either.

So, let's review: smoking is a dumb thing to do! The smokers in the family seem to develop problems that unfortunately can become fatal.

Addendum: Turns out my cousin's tumor is a carcinoid tumor. That means it was NOT caused by smoking, which is good news for her. Carcinoids are a different type of tumor altogether. Surgical removal is the treatment of choice. Chemotherapy does nothing for carcinoids. I am very happy for my cousin!


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