Bug Soup

A Broth of Rambling Thoughts ( with some morsels of 'silly' thrown in for flavor)

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Killing me Slowly

I think I've seen my future.
It's bald and sick and gasping for every breath.
I want to talk a little bit about Cancer.
I've never had it myself, but have lived with it.
For awhile Cancer lived in my house.
It pretty much took over even before Mom had her seizure and was dignosed with terminal Brain Cancer.
In spring of 2003, my Uncle ( Mom's oldest brother) was dignosed, by July he was gone. My Mom had her seizure early January 2004. It was the worst kind, and had metastized from her lungs, just like her brothers bone cancer had the year before.
She never quit smoking. She even told everyone that her Doctor told her she could keep smoking, " Because it doesn't matter anymore." That was a lie, of course. Anyone ever tells you that their Doc said to just go ahead and smoke, they're lying.
No Doctor ever says that. EVER.

So while Mom was moving in with us and , " getting all the ducks in a row" her younger brother was dignosed with Colon Cancer, and her oldest sister was hospitalized for pnuemonia and acute emphysema.
Weird. Cancer doesn't run in their family, or hadn't til then. Both of their parents lived to be very old, as did all their many aunts and uncles. Oh, bad joints and arthritis runs with us for sure ( I got that one early) but not the Big C . ( though my Dad's family was ful of it)

Nope , no cancer in this family, they all lived well into their 90's, til about 2 years ago.
And the common factor, the thing they shared ( besides a childhood) was cigarettes. Lots of them.
* as I light one*
Out of 5 kids, 2 died of Cancer and one is still taking treatment, one has emphysema and the only one with no lung ailments at all, was the one who never smoked.

I'm ashamed to say, I smoked under the tree outside the Cancer Center that I took my Mom to for treatments. The county funded Clinic, for people with no insurance. Where sick people waited for 6 hours to see the Doctor, and an appointment for a simple blood test could mean a 3 hour wait. More than once we spent 10 hours there.

I once visted, under the tree, with a 47 yr old woman who was on her third time with breast cancer. She told me her hair had finally grown back after 2 years, that until the week before she'd thought it was finally gone for good. She lit a Marlboro, and told me she hated smoking, told me she couldn't believe that after surviving breast cancer twice, after losing her breasts and her hair and her job and her life, that she still couldn't quit smoking. She gently touched her head and told me, " I know it's only hair, but I hate to lose it again." Just before they called her in for the first treatment of her newest round of chemo.
She wasn't the only one.

It was no mistake that the Cancer Center had a Smoking Area under that tree. A bench and an ashtray, and rain or shine there were patients out there.

That tree was special though. I wish I knew what kind of tree it was ,( I 'm so bad at that garden type stuff). I can tell you that it's beautiful, and magical; and that no matter what the day brought, the weather was always perfect under that tree. I know many a time I went out there just to cry, but no one could cry under that tree. You felt better there. It's perfect, like it absorbs all the humanity of those sitting under it, and gives back only the best of it. On the stillest day, it's leaves rustle in a breeze that seem to come from within it. It never rained under that tree, it was never too hot or too cold. It was always Spring , and gentle breezes.
That tree , in that parking lot of the crappiest place ever, gives comfort.

But they smoke, the Cancer People. They smoke right before their treatments, right before they lie to the Doctor about not smoking, they smoke. They beg for a cig while gasping for breath on oxygen. I know.
*click - puff*
I've seen my future if I don't quit smoking these cancer sticks.
There is no excuse, I know what it feels like , I know what it looks like.
It's sick and bald and gasping for every tortured breath, it's hours of horrible treatments and leaving everything undone, leaving everyone too soon.
Who says that suicide is fast.


Blogger Supes said...

I'm with you.

I still remember how happy my mom was that her hair wasn't falling out after her first treatment and how she was ripping it out in handfuls and crying after her second. Yet, here I am with a pack a day habit. I need a tree like that.


1:03 PM  
Anonymous badger said...

i hate cancer. gawd, i hate it so bad. it seems to have affected everyone i know -- directly or indirectly -- a parent, a grandparent, a friend, a loved one.

i worry all the time about the genes i was handed (my matriarchal line is riddled with one-breasted women).

i worry all the time about the genes we've handed my son.

i'm watching my best friend in the whole wide world -- my soulmate -- struggle with immense pain and suffering. he never smoked, and there's no explanation the doctors can give us as to why he got liver cancer. "Unlucky," was the wisdom of oncologist (Gee and i paid $300 for THAT office visit?!?).

i'm not sure blaming oneself helps fight cancer. it seems to thrive on negative thoughts. i mean, that's what cancer is in a way, little self-destructive cells, right? (ok, i'm a literature person, obviously not a doctor)

but quit smoking, dammit, buggy!

6:50 PM  
Blogger Wheeze said...


12:49 AM  
Anonymous Swami said...

I freely admit that I don't understand smoking addiction. I just don't get it. I've seen cancer patients, scarred & haggard, sitting in their wheelchairs--smoking. Without magical trees. I don't get it.

Quit, Buggy. Find a way.

8:56 AM  
Blogger jenbeauty said...

{{HUGS}} Your story is oh so familiar.

Quit I will support you, quit and your children will support you, quit and the whole of the people who love you and adore you will support you!!

Hate to lose good people to those smokes!!

10:57 AM  
Blogger Buggy said...

You'd think that would be enough, right?
Seeing loved ones die?
Watching the bald people smoke while waiting for their Chemo.
I don't get the addiction thing either.
I can tell you , it's bigger than fear.
I need to find out what kind of tree that is. It isn't an Oak or a Pine, those I know.

Thanks to you all

12:48 AM  
Blogger TechNoir said...

I can help. Just a little though. Because I did it. I didn't think I could, but I did. July 4, 2001. And I miss it every day. The hardest thing I ever did, and I've done some damn hard things, including burying more folks than I care to think about.

First you have to decide. Not that you're going to quit. Because you won't believe that. Just that you're going to try.

Then find all the help you can in the world. Write it all down on a piece of paper. Gum. Friends. Suggestions. Web sites. Find it. It's a research project.

Then pick a date. Some ways away. Like a month or two. Think about it every day, what your world would be like without it. This was hard for me. I started smoking when I was 13. I didn't know how to do anything without smoking.

Then. When you've done that stuff. Write me. I'll tell you more :) I promise.

9:20 PM  
Blogger TechNoir said...

Oh, and no. That isn't enough. It's too far away. You have to find your own really really selfish reasons. Like that ice cream will taste better. And your clothes won't stink. Little things that you can believe.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Buggy said...

I know part of the problem with me is that I think of myself as a Smoker.
Like it's a fucking part of my identity. I have to change that.
I also have to do those other things, because I have to start to be something else, for my kid.
As soon as I have insurance again, I'm going to a Doctor.

10:21 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

I'll quit if you quit, and I mean that, truly. I figure third time's a charm, right? *hugs*

6:21 PM  

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