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So I have a couple stories here that both kind of ticked me off a little contradicotry to each other but want some input.

At work the other day I met a co-worker (I float to different clinics so I meet lots of 'new' coworkers) who is a medical assistant as well and a breast cancer survivor I told her about my mom being a LC survivor and I had the cancer book by Richard Bloch and was telling her about him having lung cancer this was about an hour to an hour and a half later and she had the nerve to say "did he smoke" I was so damn flabergasted by the question and to respect my coworker I sighed and paused for about 15 seconds and said "NO". Truth I am not sure if he did I know I have read it in the book but to me that was so irrelevant and such an ignorant question. The night before she had gone to the 24 hour Race for a Cure and wouldn't you think she would be more educated or sympathetic? So I was mad at that question and yes maybe avoided her the rest of the day.

On to the second story....

I was driving home from school the other day about a week and a half ago and there was a homeless man holding a sign that read "I am a Military dad, down on my luck anything helps" He truley looked like he needed it so I kicked him down $2. Today on my way home from school same corner there he stands holding the same sign smoking a cigarette. I was stunned, pi**** off, and mad that I probably had contributed to his addiction.

So I was mad when she asked that question but yet I got mad when the "military dad" was smoking. Does this seem like hypocritical thinking? I just don't get it1

Thanks for reading.

Much love and prayers

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"Calintay"] Today on my way home from school same corner there he stands holding the same sign smoking a cigarette. I was stunned, pi**** off, and mad that I probably had contributed to his addiction.

whenever I see something like that an I have the urge to help... I go out of my way and get a value meal or some type of food... I try not to give out money cause it tends to go to things I would rather not see wether its drugs or smokes or liquor... yea its easier to hand out the money I have done it too but shoot at least gettin something I value for the person it means more to me...

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Helped out a young couple we know by buying a car seat for a toddler - the baby seat was just too small. Listened to a tale of just how long this seat has been way to small, how the parents were "saving up" to buy one, yet noticed their tobacco products on the kitchen table. Uhhhh, the seat only cost $45, maybe you could sacrifice YOUR habit for the child's safety??

If it weren't for the safety issue, I wouldn't have left the car seat. (Not to mention, "mom" was pregnant at the time and puffing away...)

I'm sure it was totally inappropriate for me to feel pissed about the safety of the toddler AND the safety of the unborn infant with parents who were ignorant enough to put tobacco before children - but hey, pissed I was! (and as I type this, I realize I still am!)

Yeah...being broke and not able to afford it isn't a reason to give up a bad habit. Whatever.

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As to the co-worker who asked about the smoking even as a breast cancer survivor...I've run into the same question from families of other types of cancer patients when I openly say that Mom had lung cancer and yes...it irritates the living pi** out of me because it's NOT the issue.

I like the idea of giving a meal or food product to someone over money...if you can do it. However, there are times it's easier just to plunk down a couple bucks. I know it's annoying to you to see him standing there the next day smoking a cigarette but remember that 1) He's an adult who makes his own decisions and 2) Last I checked smoking was still legal. No one has to like it...but until a law passes that says it's a no-no...it's going to be there.

Much love and many prayers...

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I guess I may be the manority on this one but I find it completly natural for people to ask if a person who has lung cancer smoked. Because of the effort to educate on the risks of getting cancer to those who chose to smoke, it seems only logical one would ask if they took the known risk. Smokers choose to take that risk when they smoke others just get LC. I always wonder why it is such a explosive question. If there was a known cause for breast cancer and it was something that a person could choose to do voluterrely, that could possibly contribute to cancer I'm sure people would ask them the simular question. Honestly I think alot of people who smoke did or are contributing to lung cancer, its a proven fact/risk. And yes I smoked for 16 years, have been smoke free for 10 years.

On the second question. If we give to others for any reason, with out restrictions for its use, then really it is only ourselves we can be angry at for the donation if we feel it was misused. The person whom recieved the money did nothing wrong in taking it.

Just my 2 cents, proably not the manority I realize that.

Beat it!!

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The person who frosted me the most with her incessant questioning about Mom's smoking was, herself, a breast cancer survivor. I thought it was a little outrageous too. She was the one who went on and on about "What would your Mom have done if she knew five years ago she would die of lung cancer? Would she have quit smoking?" I wanted to ask her if she'd smoke as, (correct me if I'm wrong someone) smoking *has* been shown to increase risk for breast cancer. I wanted to ask if she'd chosen not to breastfeed her babies, since that's been cited as a risk, or if the extra few pounds she carries around caused her to get the cancer (as I know there are studies about that risk factor). What I really wanted to ask was how she would feel if people were constantly questioning her about whether or not her cancer was her fault. But... I didn't. Because I know better.

So I definitely empathize with you on the first situation.

As for the second--I can totally understand you're being ticked off about it. Just remember how the guy chose to spend the money he gave him was HIS choice. You did the loving thing by giving him the money and THAT'S what is good about your giving. That was the part you could control and YOUR choice was noble and caring. Regardless of the outcome of the gift.

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Beat it - Iunderstand what you are saying but this is the way I feel -

There are many other risks that people take weather it is being exposed to certain chemicals at work or asbestos but I do not hear people ask that question. The link between HPV and cervical cancer I never hear people asking if the person has HPV why is that? It just inferiates me to think that people believe lung cancer is only from smoking. Why with people with skin cancer why don't people ask about tanning and sun exposure? I just don't get it and I feel that such a personal question like that is ignorant. People believe that if someone smoked it is their own fault.

As for the second part of your response you are right on. I did not think about where my money would have been going when I gave it to him and I probably should not of assumed it would be to get food or shelter. So maybe next time I think I will just have to pass up giving and maybe just say a prayer for the poor soul standing on the corner holding a sign. Maybe kick him down a value meal (I like that suggestion)!

Beat it I am not trying to start a controversial discussion I understand where everybody is coming from I think I am just still to mad at cancer and the lives it has ruined to think from another perspective. Best of luck to you!

Much love and prayers...

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Beat It presents an interesting aspect of the "Did he/she smoke?" issue. I hadn't thought about the fact that the only money that seems to be doled out for lung cancer awareness is in the area of smoking. It really has become imprinted on the public psyche that smoking kills. (Which is a good thing -- but not the only thing.) Thank you for showing us that aspect. I guess that all of us are so close to this issue that we do get touchy on that question. I know I do. I don't think people ask AIDS patients "Did you...?" or "Are you...?" (I'll let you fill in the blanks.) Just another area where lung cancer awareness hasn't risen to the heights of AIDS, breast cancer, or prostate cancer. (For me, the latter two are all about the boobs and the boys.) Too bad people don't see lungs as equally important as what most consider the definition of femininity or manhood when it comes to cancer. I try to use the "Did he smoke?" question as an educational tool for those who ask. They think they are safe because a.) they never smoked or b.) they quit years ago. I quickly dispel these myths.

As far as giving money out -- I never do it. I worked at a church for over 9 years and quickly learned that most money given out goes to whatever addiction the requester has. We had food/sundries, food coupons, and a gas station across the street from the church to help fill up their car. No money ever exchanged hands. I also never had any money on me, so I didn't feel like I was lying when I told people "I have no money." They were given coupons or bags of food/sundries if they had that need.

Welthy

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Its like a verbal tic the non-lung cancer world has when they hear "lung cancer"---I find it irritating, but checking my own gut, I have the sense that I might "instinctively" have asked the same, so I don't begrudge people when they do it.

It's not worth being defensive about. I've learned that many people with good, even great intentions ask the wrong questions, say the wrong things or otherwise hit the wrong notes in dealing with my dad, my sister and my mom. For instance, I don't particularly like when people say to my dad that they are praying for him. And dont get me started on people saying "lets pray for a miracle." I'm like, "no, let's hope that his cancer responds to the chemo and avastin." That said, my girlfriend's mom who lives in Poland and is a devout Catholic travelled many hours to visit a famous church to pray for my dad, and I was deeply touched by the gesture.

I suppose what I most dislike about the tic is that it reminds me that the reason that lung cancer research is so underfunded when compared to breast cancer is that it is entrenched in the collective (mis)understanding that lung cancer is a disease that smokers by their actions chose to get.

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In the 2 1/2 years since my Dad has been dealing with his battle, I have never been asked if he smoked. But I do like the response, "why do you ask?".

And Val, I remember when you first wrote of this:

"Treebywater"] "What would your Mom have done if she knew five years ago she would die of lung cancer? Would she have quit smoking?"

I know we all have been stunned stupid by what someone has said only to think of a good retort after the fact, but my best response to that woman would have been: "No, she would have smoked more knowing she only had five more years to live!"

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"Sheri"]In the 2 1/2 years since my Dad has been dealing with his battle, I have never been asked if he smoked. But I do like the response, "why do you ask?".

And Val, I remember when you first wrote of this:

"Treebywater"] "What would your Mom have done if she knew five years ago she would die of lung cancer? Would she have quit smoking?"

I know we all have been stunned stupid by what someone has said only to think of a good retort after the fact, but my best response to that woman would have been: "No, she would have smoked more knowing she only had five more years to live!"

Yep... That's the one I thought of too late too. I wish I had said, "She woulda smoked more, eaten more chocolate, and spent every weekend at the River Boat, because those were things she loved to do." ;) I think that's how *SHE* would have answered too.

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I am not sure if it's the question that inferiates me or the response. If the answer is yes it is like that it was that persons fault. That because of a choice they made (Many time they had quit 10-15 years ago) cancer was a known consequence.

I just don't believe anyone needs to question why a person has cancer because there are way to many reasons out there. Lets just keep our focus on where it should be, finding a cure. Support and funding should never be based on a reason it should be equal to all.

Thats my 2 cents, I also like to read other views.

Dana

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Everyone who knows about my Mom has asked if she smoked. "Yes" I say - for 40 years and had quit 10 years ago. I never thought to be offended or had any feelings about the question because I was just too caught up in the emotions of dealing with this EVIL disease. Since her diagnosis My Mom has stated "I did this to myself". I told her that back when she started smoking NOBODY knew the risks. Her response to that was "I kept smoking even after knowing the risks later in life". I want to encourage my Mom to realize the full and wonderful life she has had.

Living in Las Vegas, seeing people standing on street corners asking for money is all too common. A few years back one of the local news stations did a report about people who do this. They actually caught a couple who each had their different intersections to work - then at the end of the day they walked a short distance and got into a shiny brand new truck and drove away. This report also showed a few people who were holding signs that said "will work for food" turning down work - they just wanted the money!! Since that news report I've NEVER given money. I will provide food, water & prayer.

Be Blessed,

Donna

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Yes, we all do things we know we shouldn't and that's usually what I tell people when they ask if Mom smoked. Is it OK to ask if someone was fat when we hear that they've had a heart attack? And I like the HPV comment. "Oh, you have cervical cancer? Did you sleep around?"

Our new neighbor has an awful sounding cough and she smokes. Just yesterday I told Mom that and she said "should I go talk to her?" (joking) and I asked her if she would have listened and she said no.

What got to me was my supervisor mentioning Hospice the first day that I told her about Mom's diagnosis!

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As far as "giving the dad money" part, you gave it with a good heart and good intentions, so you'll get the blessing for it, regardless of what the silly guy did, (or didn't do) with the money.

That's the way I try to look at it anyway.

No matter what, I wouldn't trade lives with someone who is standing on a street corner begging for money, no matter what or why they're doing it ! Sad life for them. Mine's very blessed in comparison!

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I feel your pain about the ridiculousness and hypocrisy. The only time I have ever mentioned that my mom was a non smoker is in the context of discussing and understanding her former treatment protocol (Tarceva alone - because the clinical trials indicate there is a better response among non-smokers, women and Asians).

My colleague's mother, in what can only be an awful coincidence, was diagnosed with Stage IIIA (could be IV, not sure about a couple of spots) lung cancer three months ago. We're a small team in my department so, 20% of the team has mother's with LC. Freaky.

Anyway, when she told me and was asking about treatments I asked, "did she smoke?" and I could tell she was taken aback (in a how-dare-you way) and I quickly said, Patty, that was NOT a judgment of any kind. I was only asking because my mom has had some success with Tarceva and since you indicate your mom may not be able to tolerate IV chemo, this could be a great option for her.

My response to ignorant, judgmental questions is this: My mom didn't smoke but she was overweight, which put her at increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke and many cancers. In fact, I could lose 30 lbs. myself and I don't know many people who couldn't shed some excess weight - so I guess we all deserve what we get. Shuts them right up! :twisted:

It's important that you nicely hold a mirror to those people so they face their own fallibility as humans and realize we all do many many many things that are ill-advised which can affect our health later on - which certainly doesn't mean we do them intentionally to hurt ourselves.

As for the homeless guy. I read an article once (believe it or not, in the Times or the WSJ) about the "income" of homeless people who stand on corners with their cups out. I recall the matrix was set up by geography and in NYC, they "earn" about 60K/year (tax free money, mind you!!!) I was aghast!

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"janehill"]

As for the homeless guy. I read an article once (believe it or not, in the Times or the WSJ) about the "income" of homeless people who stand on corners with their cups out. I recall the matrix was set up by geography and in NYC, they "earn" about 60K/year (tax free money, mind you!!!) I was aghast!

Oh yes, it has become quite a "cottage industry" in urban areas.

Welthy

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I like to think that, when most people asked me, "did your mom smoke", that they are asking out of curiosity because it's becoming more commonly known (after people like Dana Reeves) that plenty of peple get it who never smoked. But for those who asked out of a "did she deserve it" attitude, even being a non-smoker, it really pi**ed me off.

That would mean people who take ANY type of risk are deserving if they die from it?

Examples: Next time there are missing hikers in the mountains, lets not look for them; they took the chance of doing a dangerous sport, let them die. If someone drowns, it's their fault for going swimming or having a pool at their home. If someone's loved one dies in a car accident, ask them, "well, were they a safe driver at all times". It's ridiculous.

As for the homeless man, I agree with offering to go and buy him a meal, not handing him money.

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Here is my view on the "did he/she smoke?" question...

Sometimes, I think people ask this because they are looking for a way to justify why this won't happen to them (a safety net)...

meaning... if they don't smoke... maybe they are safe from LC. If they continue to hear "oh yes, she/he smoked" and they are a non-smoker, it kind of builds a false "safety zone" in their heads. Am I making any sense???

I have a habit of asking people who were diagnosed with breast cancer if they had yearly mammograms.... NOT because if they didn't I am judging them, but in my own head If they say "NO" I missed two years or whatever... I can say to myself "oh, well I go EVERY year, so I guess I am "safer" .... Maybe I am rambling but I am just trying to make you understand that no everyone who asks the dreaded question.... did he/she smoke is judging the patient, sometimes I feel we are too sensitive on this subject.

Just my thoughts...

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I have to say that I would have asked the same question, just because I would be curious to know the answer. A lot of people still don't know or understand that people who never smoked in their life still get lung cancer. Dana Reeves is an excellent example. I have been chatting with people recently who have lung cancer and never smoked. They did however work in bars before the smoking ban was put in place. Now a lot of those workers are paying a hefty price.

As for as the military dad, I would have been p..... too. I see people all of the time hoding up cardboard signs while smoking. I understand it is a hard habit to break. I read that is essier to quit herorin than it is to quit smoking.

People will ask about about my dad and I will say that he died of cancer. The question that always follows is "what kind?" When I respond with Pancreatic cancer. The question that follows is "was he a drinker?" I respond with "He was an alcholic."

I don't think it is so much as the person trying to place blame on the person with cancer. I think it is more of them showing what they know or have heard about cancer. It is also a way to keep the conversation moving and they are showing interest. I don't think that lady was passing judjment, she was only showing interest in you.

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