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On the horns of a dilemma


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Journal Excerpt

Saturday and Sunday, April 9th & 10th Hanging around waiting for the nausea gods to strike. Paul, the pharmacist, told me that it could hit over the weekend. Nothing, so far. I feel like a phony. A friend said that his first days, after the first cycle, were “nothingâ€

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First, do you know that this site sells the wrist bands and that some of the profits help to keep this site running.

Secondly, you are not alone in continuing to smoke. I totally understand how much you need a cigarette at this time to help with the stress. Do not beat yourself up about it.

Your diary is such a help to others here, thank you.

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No recriminations about the smoking Uncle Dougie....but what did it for me was reading that treatment works better if you quit!! My onc supported this too. Worth thinking about. Why go thru all the chemo, etc., if continuing to smoke offsets the good it does?

I quit, virtually cold turkey, the day of my biopsy. From 2.5 packs a day....to two cigs that day....and none since. It will be a year on May 6th. No pills, no patches, no gum. Fear was a great motivator for me...and remember, I didn't yet have a diagnosis. That came four days later and confirmed my decision to quit. (Mind you...this was only the second time I'd quit in 40 yrs!! First time, it only lasted 10 days and I was a raving b%$ch who put on 7 lbs. in that 10 days. Even my hubby told me to just forget it and light up! :? )

Keep trying to give it up. Don't beat up on yourself about it....but just keep trying.

I used to say...."If I knew I was terminal....I'd start smoking again, because I always loved to smoke". But you know what? Lately, due to low blood pressure and low RBCs....if I go up and down stairs, I find myself huffing and puffing a bit. I've never HAD any shortness of breath before...and it's NOT fun. So.....I've decided terminal or not...WHY would I add SOB (shortness of breath) to what ails me if I didn't have to!?

Point being: I don't think I'll ever smoke again. Maybe I'll substitute M & M's or Kandy Korn for smokes... :wink:

As for you....keep trying to quit, ok? But I don't think you'll find many (if any) here who will give you a hard time about continuing to smoke. I think we all just accept that we'd ALL be better off if we didn't....and NEVER HAD smoked!

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Sounda like you got "da fevah" with the wristbands, as they would say down here in the south! You got all righteous about fighting cancer, and look what happened ... Good for you!

I'll just say to you what my wonderful pulmonologist said to me about the smoking:

1) There are little hair-like thingies (highly technical term, dontchano) up and down your windpipe that act as little vacuum cleaners to keep it cleaned out. Smoking destroys them, and over time, most smokers develop the "smokers cough" in order to keep the windpipe cleaned out. Radiation will also zap them, but they do recover unless you continue to smoke. It's important that you keep your windpipe cleaned out as much as possible, so if you smoke, it makes it more difficult to heal.

2) Continuing to smoke probably won't have a thing to do with what you have now, but you'll be working on another one. Want to go through all this again? (That's about verbatim what the pulmonologist told me when I was first diagnosed.)

Truthfully, I didn't need to hear all that, because I already knew it. I bet all smokers know that. It's when we get whammed upside the head and it actually DOES happen to us that the message takes on new meaning.

No guilt, no blame, no looking back. Just one foot in front of the other and going forward from here on out. I figured I could do that best by leaving the cigarettes behind.

Much luck to you.


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I agree with your Doc and i also agree with all who commented on your Cig's.I too smoked for 40 year's and whamo the big as promised Heart Attack from smoking so stated by my cardiologist as my cholestrol was at a very acceptable level but after 8 day's in the Hospital with no smoking i decided i would just keep it up and came home and got rid of over $200.00 worth of beautiful Cigar's. Then darn it a year later they find Bladder cancer and once again i am told that more than likely my year's of smoking was more than likely the blame.

Then the biggest blow of all my wonderful wife of going on 44 year's is diagnosed with SCLC extensive and it look's like all her year's of smoking may well be the culprit and she quit back in 2000 when i did but like the info i've read state's the damage had already been done. So keep up your great outlook and keep writing your very interesting messages....

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You are fighting a very difficult battle. I have limited SCLC - also caused by smoking. And yeah, I still have trouble with smoking. You're not alone. I'm sure there are MANY, MANY people on this board who do smoke. I try very hard, some days are easy, some are very hard. Please, don't beat yourself up about it. Nobody deserves disease. Try your best to stop, like we all do. Concentrate on trying to feel better. Stop with the guilt. Does you NO GOOD.

Keep posting, we care about you.

Joanie :)

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Uncle Doug! Please stop waiting for nausea! It may never come! I had 6 rounds of three days of the same drugs, (every 21 days),you are on and never got sick. I felt slight nauseaous once; a pill took care of that! Meds used with my chemo stop the nausea! Isn't that great! Love, Marge

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I too am still playing w/ the cigs. I don't want to say I am "trying to quit" or I would have quit. I am smoking. It doesnt matter if I am smoking 1 or 100 a day.

I see it as an emotional/psychiatric thing w/ me. I don't have an answer yet for this bizare behavior. But, its my thing. I hate myself (sometimes) for it.

Thanks for your honesty. We need more of this. Thanks for those who replied and told the truth. Thanks for the non smokers that replied, were kind and understanding and didn't leave a 2 page thread on why we should quit. I spoke on the phone w/ numerous people from the board w/ I first got dx and asked them if they were still smoking, most said yes. We don't however, share it on the board, because were too exhausted to hear the preaching. People who preach just have to know: we already know all of it, they can't possibly tell us something we don't already know and they will not be the one facilitating the great changing moment that makes the sun and moon align and we suddenly quit. They preach because it makes them feel better in some way to say the obvious.

I say this because we have many secret smokers on the board and we need a place to talk about it. Katie, is there anyway we could have a section for current smokers, so we can talk and discuss. This is a disease significantly caused by smoking and the one, most important piece of our tx we are not comfortable openly discussing,getting help for, talking about our shame, disgust. remorse or total satisfaction.

Because.....we will be judged. We have been judged. We look dumb as crap for still doing it, but we are doing it and we need help.

Thanks again for your honesty and my God, I hope your a writer for a living. If not start the great american novel, you are gifted.

Hang in there w/ the chemo. You may be great through the whole thing. One of my classmates was Addie from the board. Our tx ran pretty neck and neck and she flew through it w/ hardly a scratch. She inspired me to keep my head up. Mine was worse than hers, but not as bad as some others. So, we are all different.


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I think your idea of a forum for people talking about smoking is a GREAT IDEA. Somewhere where they can talk about it without judgement, maybe it would help everyone. What a Great Idea. Katie, how about it? Let us know. It would be alot of help to alot of people. They can all crawl out of the closet with NO GUILT.


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My family says that, at this point, quitting would be a lesson in futility.


I do not like this sentence - I don't like it as a sentence because that's exactly what it seems like, a "sentence". In one sentence, your family is summed up as thinking you are fighting a losing battle. I just don't think you are. If you want to quit smoking, quit smoking. It's no one else's business if you want to quit and do, want to quit and don't or don't want to quit - no one's business at all, except yours. Don't limit yourself in your thoughts.

Never assume you wouldn't be here if you didn't smoke. I'm a lifelong non-smoker and here I am.

Take care,


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I too was a 40 year smoker (one of the ones that the world feels free to blame for my cancer)and I had stopped two and a half months before I got sick! Go figure. As soon as I stopped smoking I stopped coughing, which my never smoked in his life husband jokingly said may have caused the pneumonia that showed up my tumor.....I had stopped clearing all that crap out of my lungs every morning with my first drag and here it was, all backed up!!

I had stopped smoking once before for 5 years and again when I stopped this time I vowed never to become one of the sanctimonious, self righteous non smokers who preach to us "sinners".

To this day you will find ash trays in my home and anyone is welcome to use them.

Many people try to lay so much guilt about this type of cancer,I find it insulting to those of us here who have never smoked and very rude to those of us who do or did smoke.

I tried for many years to quit, my husband nagged like a professional but until I was ready I couldn't do it.

Previous posts here stated what all smokers know, it's bad for you. Nobody can tell a smoker anything new on this front and I for one wish that the do-gooders would knock it off.

Please Dougie, Jen and everyone else don't beat yourselves up - this is nobody's business but yours and the idea of of forum for smokers is an excellent one.

That my two cent's worth, now I will put my soapbox away.

Stay strong


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I really enjoy your perspectives on treatments, etc. When I was diagnosed and went through surgery and chemo I was so down--it would have been a help to know someone like you then.

On the smoking issue, I was a smoker for 27 years, a pack a day. Like you, they were my buddies, loved me when no one else did, or at least that's what I thought at the time, and helped me through all the stressful times in my life. I know a lot of people on the board still smoke, and it's not for me to judge, but here's what happened with me.

I quit cold turkey when I got the news about my CT scan and a referral to a surgeon. It was tough, there's no question about it, and although almost two years have gone by, I still have my moments nearly every day where I could go for a smoke, but every night when I go to bed I am thankful that I don't smoke anymore.

Truthfully, I feel so much better now that I don't smoke, and I can do the kinds of things to protect my health that I might not be able to do if I kept smoking, like exercise, sleep well (I had that smoker's cough), and eat healthy.

I'm not trying to preach here, but just the feeling better part is important. I think those of us who are in this game really need to work on feeling good. On my first visit to my surgeon, he said the best possible thing I can do to protect my health is to continue to not smoke. That statement still rings in my ears when I'm having a bad day.

I'm happy that your financial worries seem to be lessening. I don't think stress is good for us either.

Good luck to you.


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Doug,Jen and others dealing with smoking,

My mom tried to quit smoking after dx. but gave in ...it was her way to cope and she did not want to try anymore.....she smoked til her death.I was not mad at her, did not try to get her to stop, she had enough problems without me harping at her.

I was able to quit once for three years but started again when family problems hit too hard.

And I was able to quit after dx........how,I don`t know, it just happened. I would never put any one down for smoking......no one should judge you! For those who have never smoked....(I wish I had never started) you can`t imagine how hard it can be to try to stop and for those who do stop, to stay stopped. I don`t want to smoke and I am not having trouble w/it at this time but,I can`t say it will never ever happen. For those who have quit and judge others.... SHAME ON YOU! You never know what might happen in your life to make you go back to that old friend to help you get by!


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There are scores of things that we humans do to our bodies that can have dire consequences down the road. Scores of them. Most of them we know to be harmful at some level, yet we take the risk and partake anyway. It's human behavior. Quite typical. Not always the smartest thing, but human.

IMO, it isn't about blame or fault, it's about actions and consequences. We don't set out with the intention of harming ourselves or others, but the consequences creep up when it's usually too late to do much about it.

We can justify and excuse anything and everything to ourselves, and others, but we alone bear the responsibility of our actions. When all is said and done, we made a choice somewhere down the line, and all choices have a cost attached to them in some form or fashion.

No, it isn't worth beating yourself up over. Not now. Not when there are other battles to be fought. We can't go back and undo our lives, but we can go forward and hope that those we love learn something from our ordeal.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't encounter dozens upon dozens of people walking around smoking. I'd love to just stand in one spot and grab them all by the scruff of the neck and say "STOP THAT - NOW!" But, I don't do that. I won't do that. It isn't up to me. They will make their own choices and decisions, just as I did.

And so life goes on as it inevitably does. I've sure had a good one, even considering all the bumpy roads I've had, and all the mistakes I've made. Maybe I'd do things differently if I could go back and change, but then again, maybe I wouldn't.

I wish everyone would stop smoking. Yes, I do. I also wish I could win the Powerball. If wishes were nickels ...


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