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Lung Cancer - my childrens legacy


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Just some thoughts.........................is this the legacy I leave my children with.......worries of lung cancer. Deep thought for the week.

I'm sure that the medical profession cannot come right out and say that YES because I have lung cancer that my children will develop it......but we all know that cancers seem to run in families.

I can't imagine my children going through this! Although I do (now) blame myself for smoking around them up until last year....I always use to say that my parents smoked around us and we turned out fine, yeah OK right I got LC at age 36.

Could it be from the years of second hand smoke and my own smoking? Could be, in fact I believe it is. I know that non-smokers get LC but I blame myself (and I'm OK with that...when you play with fire you get burned - boy did I get burned!). I sit here and pray that my children and grandchildren will not be affected by this crappy disease...except in dealing with it with me.

It does seem to me that if it's not LC then they may develop some other kind of cancer, they probably have that weak link like I do. Still can't believe I get to be the first person in my family (as far back as anyone can remember) that has developed cancer. Is this sone kind of honor?! Yeah right!

Just wonder if anyone else has thought about this.

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Sweetie I have to ask you this question. Would you feel this way if your children got breast cancer, or prostate cancer or stomach cancer, or colon cancer? Do you know there risk of getting ANY kind of cancer is right up there with lung cancer?

Don't be so hard on yourself. That appears to be what your doing. What if they got some other kind of disease, who's fault would that be?

No one wants to leave any kind of cancer or disease as a legacy, but some things are honetly out of our control.

As long as you have educated your children in what is good for them and what isn't, what is right from wrong what is nice or not, how to love and give love, how to respect others and get respect from others, then you have done a wonderful job as a mother. We guide them and we educate them and love them we let them go once they are grown, and then we let them learn the rest on there own. And during all that, we still love them.

Just some food for thought.




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I hear you. I leave my only child with not only my cancers, but with his paternal grandfather's lung cancer as well. But I have had lots of time on this, and with the help of a very good therapist, am now accepting the fact that maybe I didn't cause it. I do feel deep in my soul that I was to change my life, and my thinking, immediately. I definitely had a pre lung cancer life and and post lung cancer life. And I like this one a lot better.

I smoked from 1974-1984, one pack a day, and quit because I wanted to get pregnant. Was a non-smoker for 17 years, but the 10 years put me right on the edge of smoking causing it.


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I'm sure if it was another form of cancer I wouldn't blame myself because there would have been NO WAY that I MAY have caused it.

I'm not sitting here riddled with guilt though (it's too late now), just thinking out load. Been through so much counseling in my life (bad childhood, bad father) that I know. Just one of those high maintenance people that over analysis everything.

I can honestly say that my children will probably never inhale anything including hair spray or deodorant now! I hope!

Kinda glad that all businesses, restaraunts, etc are non smoking....I use to hate it, but now I've become obsessed with not breathing ANY smoke. I've been saying that my surgeon implanted something so that I would be repulsed my cigarettes and everything that has to do with them. :D

You can even smell it on people and it's over powering, I can't believe that I did it for 22yrs and smelled like that!

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Hi Beth,

You ditto many things I feel. My only difference is I tolerated chemo

fairly well and my father died of cancer. Hopeflully it won't be in vein if

our children and grandchildren learn from our misguided behavior. Take

care and hope your rash clears up soon. Hang tough girl and stay strong.

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Pull the bus over and get off - now. Were you overweight with heart disease and diabetes, it would not be your "fault" if your children had the same issues. Genetics is genetics, period.

NO ONE in my family has ever had lung cancer. None of the smokers, none of the other non-smokers, JUST ME. Is it anyone's fault? Well, I guess it would be my parents, for had I been a SON, I would have received the prostate cancer that runs in my father's family. I had to be different...

I do not think I am here due to my father's smoking. My father was in the Navy and worked shift work, I didn't see a whole lot of him (cigarette in hand) when I was growing up. When I was older, I had the odd shifts and he lived in the 9-5 world...and I was around other sources of secondhand smoke - at work, at play. My father may have smoked in the house, but unlike the "crew room" at work, I was not seated a foot from him when he lit up.

There ARE health effects with secondhand smoke for children. If the mother smokes, babies can be born with low birthrate...if they are exposed to secondhand smoke, they can be more susceptible to ear infections, respiratory ailments, asthma, emphysema, seizures...but nothing has been proven conclusively that lung cancer has been caused by secondhand smoke....so get off the bus.

Pull over, step off.

You can't ride the "genetics is my fault" bus. You stopped smoking, the kids are no longer around it. GREAT! There may have been some harm caused by their exposure, there may not have been...but you'll never know for sure, truly, you never will. Don't open that door, you don't need to.

Take care, and be kind to yourself.



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No one in Lucie's family had lung cancer, and she didn't smoke. No one in my family had prostate cancer but me. Now, there was plenty of heart disease in my family, including myself. Everyone has flaws that can be passed on. It's the nature of things.

I agree -- stop beating up on yourself. Between Lucie and myself, our three kids could get all sorts of things. I believe that is why children of people with cancer suffer twice -- the thought of losing a parent and the thought of being vulnerable themselves. But that is the way things are. You could be clear of all disease and be hit by a bus or a tsunami. I hope you can let go of the guilt and concentrate on the positive. Don

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I think there are many many factors that make up a destiny, that is just one little part - how could we ever really know? Anyway, you are not in charge of the world, none of us are. We do the best we can and we have to cope with the rest.

One thing I am truly, truly hoping, for my children as well - can a cure really be far off? There have been huge advances in just the last 5 years and things are going faster all the time. Let us hope for a cure in OUR lifetime but our children have a hundredfold increased chance of better treatments and/or a cure in their lifetime.

I do understand looking back and wishing to change so many things. I suppose it is human nature. Maybe a phase. But I say what you already know, we let the past go, do the best we can with the present, and trust God and the children themselves to do the best they can with whatever comes.

Thinking of you, Margaret

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Hi Beth,

Knowing from first hand experience what a hot button the subject of smoking can be around here, I will only say this.

I am a non-smoker with lung cancer. No one in my family ever smoked. Where did my cancer come from? I don't know. But I too worry that I have passed along the "lung cancer gene" to my son. This fear is not smoker or non-smoker related. It's a fear that we all have......I don't know how to alleviate that fear. The only thing that has eased my fears SLIGHTLY is that all the research I have done seems to point towards the fact that a healthy diet can have prevent over half of all cancer cases that occur. I completely changed my diet after diagnoses, and changed the rest of my family's diet along with me. Will this change prevent my son's possible lung cancer gene from "triggering" into action? I don't know....but I have to believe it's worth a shot.

As a side note......you mentioned that if you had any other type of cancer, you wouldn't feel that you "caused" it, and therefore would not blame yourself. I read recently that white flour/"bad" carbs increase your risk of breast cancer. I've read that alcohol increases your risk of breast cancer. I've read that red meat increases your risk of colon cancer. Chronic acid reflux increases your chances of esophogial cancer. It seems that every cancer has a "blame" of it's own these days...... PLEASE don't beat yourself up!

Thinking of you,


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Ok this is the third time I have commented on this subject. This is only to you, Just a Kid, none of my response has been stirred up from another comment or is directed at another.

I see nothing but good coming from your worry, worry often helps guide us, obviously, even if, if, if, the smoking caused, or triggered the lung cancer you can not accept blame, in a negative way. I applauded you for thinking. about it. I accepted the responsibility that maybe my lack of healthy habits could, could, could have contributed. And I never once beat myself up over it. I did make changes based on those possibilities, one change was I stopped using chewing tobacco, like your change of stopping smoking. I have all those feelings about my son. He called matches “cigarette starters” as a young boy. He now smokes? And my thought is the mood about cigarettes helped him develop his habit or the fact that he watch his mother and I. He now watches a different person, he sees the change that will and hopefully settle in steer him in a positive direction.

The legacy will leave your children. is of you walking in the hospital and trying to make a positive action. They will see your worry about past mistakes, Those things override mistakes.

Anyhoo, I have to go I have some more mistake to make.


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Boy can I relate to the fear of my kids possibly getting lung cancer from being around my smoking. I remember the doctor telling me that he was sure the spot on my lung was cancer and the first thought that ran through my mind was will my kids get it because of my stupidity? I told my doctor I can deal with anything that comes along in my life except for one of my children getting this nasty stuff. I have one son who smokes and 2 who think it's disgusting. Like you, I'm disgusted at the very thought of a cigarette now but until my diagnosis I was a fairly heavy smoker.

Now they have that commercial on TV about 2nd hand smoke and sick babies. Every time it's on I get a sick feeling in my stomach that I may have caused some of my babies illnesses. I hope someday I feel a little less guilt, but right now I think about it all the time. Like most mothers, my kids are my life and the thought that I may have caused something this horrible to happen to them makes me ill and will they blame me if they do get it?

You are so young, your kids haven't been around the 2nd hand smoke long enough to be affected permanently. I hope you can let go of these fears your kids will be just fine. They are still little and they're lungs are healthy.


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I have to echo the thought of Snowflake, Don Wood, and Heebie here. Please don't beat yourself up.

You do not simply leave your children with the “legacy” of lung cancer. You leave them (if you leave them) with memories, mores, and love, as well. That’s the real “legacy”.

I do not wish to belittle the fear that we all have when it comes to cancer, however. It is real and we have to learn how to manage it, lest it rule our lives.

Geoff's mother never smoked--nor was around it. She also lived in non-urban areas with "clean" air. Her death in October made her two siblings start lobbying for CTs. Her younger brother managed to get one and last month we learned that he, indeed, has a "nodule" on his lung that is being "watched"--even though we want it OUT!!! (He has always been an athlete and never smoked). Her younger sister has yet to get a scan, but, as you can imagine, is quite worried. Geoff is beside himself about his uncle.

In addition to being worried about Geoff's aunt and uncle--I am worried about Geoff, himself. Towards the end of his mother's illness, we discovered that his paternal grandmother (whom we had known had died of cancer while his father was in the army) had died of LUNG cancer. She, too, was a non-smoker.

So--Geoff has immediate family on BOTH sides that have been non-smokers and have died of LC. My fear? That genetically he is at greater risk. Is my fear based on truly hard data--no. My fear is real, nonetheless. I flip out when people encourage him to smoke a cigar (or even when he is in a smoke-filled room).

As many of you know, my mother has had two rounds with cancer (breast)--and I thought was doing okay (if not beautifully). However, just the other day, when I saw a doctor that treats both of us, he referred to her as "terminally ill". My heart stopped--and when I asked him what made him use that phrase he started back-peddling saying, "maybe I shouldn't have used those words". What am I left with? No knowledge--only fear.

My mother, like you, seems to think that she is the "weak link" in her family (on both sides of her family people seem to live long--90 through 105 years--and healthy lives). She views herself as “defective”. How absurd is that?!?

You are worried about the “legacy” that you leave your children. Well, I can only speak from my perspective--but if Geoff and I do have a genetic pre-disposition to cancer (of either sort)--at least we have a "head's up" on it (albeit, purchased at a price that neither one of us would have wished to pay). And we can use that "head's up" to our benefit--we hope.

I will see a breast specialist on a regular basis--and Geoff will make sure that his lungs are checked as frequently as makes sense (given the damage x-ray radiation may cause, etc.). We will watch our diets -- and if we ever have children -- watch theirs. I have switched to all-natural household cleaners wherever possible. We use high-quality air purifiers (we live in the city).

I avoid all dairy and chicken products with hormones and anti-biotics (extra estrogen being my main fear). We try to stay on a low sugar and non-“processed" foods diet. After my mom's surgery last year, her surgeon pulled me aside and said that--although there was no "hard evidence" (she only had anecdotal from her practice)--to please avoid using anti-persperants with aluminum in them. I hated to give that up--but did. I am also wary of all the photo-estrogens that leach into food from plastics.

Maybe we are not at greater risk because of our family histories. Genetics, when it comes to cancer, is certainly not cut and dry. Maybe the steps we are taking will not prove to be of any use. However, maybe they will turn out to have helped us in some way or another--if not with the particular cancers we fear, with some other aspect of our health and lives.

All of those things are minutiae, however. We do not know what the next hour—or day—has in store for any of us. We can try our best to minimize risk without letting fear consume us. For what we really have is simply each other—and the time we spend together.

Sending you a big hug.


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