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I may be a complete idiot!

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Hi everybody,

Well, I have been posting here for a few weeks now, and some of you have gotten to know me a little bit. You are about to get to know me a little better! As you know, Hank, my guy, has been diagnosed with lung cancer. I live here in N.J. I have no siblings or any family left for that matter. I do have several very good friends, but none of them live here in NJ. I lost both of my parents in 2006, nine months apart, my Dad, to neck cancer, and my Mom, to Parkinson's Disease. So, I am basically all alone here. Hank and I have no children, except for a couple of hairy four legged ones. When I first heard Hank's diagnosis, I totally freaked! How can I lose the one person left in this world that I love so dearly? The diagnosis drove me straight to a psychologists office. I had to talk to someone. Now that a few weeks have passed, I'm starting to do better, and I now believe that we have a chance at keeping this disease at bay for hopefully a good long time to come.

Here's the thing though, like Hank, I have been a smoker for many years, as any smoker knows it is an emotional crutch and a physical addiction. My cigarettes have been my companion through the very hard, and emotional times that I have been through recently. When I first visited the psychologist a few weeks ago I told her that Hank had been diagnosed and I'm still smoking. In such stress, I feel unable to give it up. I don't know what's wrong with me, you would think that I would just run away from them now, but it just is'nt the case. Of course, I'm not that much of an idiot that I am smoking around Hank, but I am still smoking, not as much as usual, but still smoking just the same. If I'm not ready to quit now, THEN WHEN?

Just wanted to let this out, and looking forward to your thoughts and input.

All the best,


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First off, stop beating yourself up. :) I'm a never smoker, and most of my life was an obnoxious one as I had 2 parents and 5 siblings that smoked. But I've grown up a lot, and studied a lot about addictive compounds. The one thing that you need to keep in mind is how horribly addictive smoking is, both physiologically and behaviorally. So your still smoking now, on one hand may make you say "what is wrong with me", on the other hand, you have to look at all the components. Breaking an addiction is beyond difficult. I may not smoke, but trust me, I could put down the fork (or the donught) now and again. ;) And yet, most times I don't. And my food issues don't compare with the true physiological addiction that smoking leads to. As you pointed out, it relieves your stress, so there is also a huge behavioral aspect to smoking. One part is hard enough, but both physiological and behavioral, man that makes it a tough thing to break.

That is a long way to say, it just isn't that easy as "i should" "i know better" "what am i doing". It is very very complicated. The last thing you need right now is to feel down on yourself about all of this. Be kind to yourself. You need that, you deserve that.

As a medical scientist I will of course encourage anyone to stop smoking. It can only benefit you. But I would never judge or admonish, I understand too much about the power of addiction.

Now, time for me to put down the donught and go for a walk. :)

Please, take care of yourself. I'm sure it is hard with no family around you to help be your support system. Luckily, there are a lot of great folks here who will help with that.

I applaud you for going to see someone and talk to them, I've found that very helpful myself in a number of stressful periods in my life.

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Hey Gail,

I had been a 35+ year smoker. I have, what one would call, an 'addictive' personality. I have many examples, but will TRY to make this short. When I was dx, I smoked (even in the parking lot of the hospital) and got a 'hit' whenever I could. I NEVER did NOT smoke. You know how some people say they quit for 'x' amount of time? Well, I NEVER could quit ~ not for even one day ~ I was SO addicted.

When I came home from the hospital after my bronchoscopy, I continued to smoke, as always, in our garage. I would look at the face of my wonderful husband as I walked to the garage. His first wife died of cancer so many years ago ~ at the age of 35. I just love him so much, I couln't stand to see the sadness in his eyes. I was told I was going to die, and soon, and I couldn't stand the thought that he was watching me do it. I stopped ~ just like that.

I must explain, that I did NOT thnk I would be cured, just couldn't stand the thought that he was WATCHING me do it. I havwe not smoked since. Now I could EASILY make track marks over your fae (still) to get to a cigarette, but I guess my love supercedes the addiction. It is over 3-1/2 years now. It is difficult still, but now at least, not EVERY day.

Don't know if this helps or not. Probably not so much. It is a horrible adiction and so HARD to overcome. I don't know if one ever does overcome it. I could smoke in a heartbeat, but know tht just one puff would have me back on that wheel again.

Sorry, Gail. I'm wishing you the best in whatever you do. Good luck and don't beat yourself up.


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Hello, dear.

I just want to offer a hug.

My Bri died of LC on Jan 1 2006.

I am still miserable missing him.

My dear sister died at age 50 of sclc.

I am still miserable missing her.

When Bri was dx I had not had a smoke in 14 years.

Last summer I picked them up again.

I can't explain it.

I can't believe it.

I can't stand it.

I am miserably guilty and my children are worried.

I hate it and sometimes I hate myself.

No explanation for you, no guilt trip, no answers, just complete and total empathy.

I have your Hank in prayer (and you) every single day.

More hugs,


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are your dogs Petit Bassett Grifons?

I wondered as they are called PBGVs and that reminds me of your screen name.

(I don't think the avatar looks like what I picture them to be, though. But your 4 legged hairy friend is darling.)

I got a little Shih Tzu after Bri died and he is a great friend.

Still more hugs


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Well Gail I think you need to give yourself a break. Many of us here know all to well about smoking. I have quit myself many times over the years (and haven't been smoking for some time now recently...duh!!). I had quite for over five years a few years back...and like a real dummy, took it up again when my husband was very ill. It seems "stress" can definitely bring on the desire to smoke. I am not smoking now for sure and will never start again....but it is a very hard addiction to get over...hey I even still chew nicotine gum. How's that for brilliant!!!

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I am REALLY struggling with this right now, too!

It's horrific.

My Mom was diagnosed on Tuesday, and all of those same thoughts are going through my head too.

I KNOW we have to quit. I feel like there's no WAY we can tell out kids about Mom (6 and 10) if WE are still smoking! It will scare them to death!

It makes me extremely disgusted with myself!



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Please don't beat yourself up about smoking. When the time is right for you, you will quit. I was dx in June 07, went straight to my car and lit up. This is an awfully stressful time and it is very difficult to stop. When I was told I had lung cancer I had already been trying to quit. I knew something was wrong with my lungs but wasn't thinking cancer. Had been taking Chantix for about a month or so, was stil smoking but down to about 5 or 6 a day. the day they told me i smoked at least a pack. Things went on like that pretty much until Oct 3, my 45th birthday, when I had my surgery. Stil on chantix but at least i had 6 days in the hospital where i couldn't smoke. I havent smoked since. give yourself a break, it is very hard to quit. I smoked for 35 years and never even tried to quit before. Just thinking about it would make me very "not very nice" ha ha ,by the way, i never could have done it without the medicene. they say some people have problems with depression while taking chantix but i had no probems. it really helped with the need part. i didn't really crave ciggarettes so much as had to deal with the habit part of "pick up the phone, pick up a cig". that kind of thing. maybe it could help you too. good luck to you and your man.

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Dear Gail,

I agree,stop beating yourself up. I see your Hank and my fil have both been dx recently, and I know my family is still trying to deal with the dx alone.

I have smoked for 30yrs and ask myself everyday why I let something have such a hold on me! After all, I consider myself a strong person!! I could quit if I really wanted to!

I watch people everyday suffer from the effects of smoking. My parents both have copd, my husband had a

heart attack at age 34 (dr said it was from smoking the way it was loosly packed in his arteries), I am a nurse and see people admitted with respiratory problems, and now my fil has lung ca. And yet I give someone a breathing treatment and go on break to smoke. I sit here at the computer searching about chemo and treatments and smoke. On our out of town trips to the onc., my sil and I stop frequently to get out and smoke!!

My husband quit 5 yrs ago now (he smoked 3-4 packs a day), and I know if he can quit anyone can. But yes it is my crutch. I feel that it is the one thing that keeps me going so I can support the people in my life.

Even though I can not compare myself to you, because you are going thru this with the love of your life and without family,I do understand the guilt. But I do beleave we both will find the courage and strength to quit one day.

Take care of yourself.

Sincerely, Bonnie

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I don't have much to add. I watched my smoking "buddy" and best friend die of SCLC while my husband was battling NSCLC Stage IV. I lost him too. He quit smoking 23 years before he was diagnosed. I didn't and still haven't, but haven't smoked in the house in over 17 years and never smoked around him after he was diagnosed. I can make all the rationalizations in the world, but the bottom line is I'm an addict and an idiot. :roll:

Be gentle on yourself -- sadly, there are lots of us idiots out here. Thank you RJ Reynolds.


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