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Before I start ranting ,let me say to all of you smokers and former smokers that I know you didn't ask for lung cancer any more than I did.

I have always been irritated by the smell of cigarette smoke and especially by people who blow cigarette smoke in my face in public places. But until I found out I had lung cancer, the extent of my reaction was to glare at them and move away. Now I have an overwhelming desire, that so far I have suppressed, to launch into a violent diatribe when I see a smoker, especially a young one. This is a problem since I work on a college campus in East Texas and I see 18 and 19 year old smokers outside every building between classes.

Thursday night my husband and I went to the movies and walked trough the parking lot behind a couple fo young men smoking. I wanted to rip their cigarettes out of their hands and yell at them (bald head and all) that I had THEIR lung cancer. I am just so angry--I did everything I was supposed to do. I avoided smoking, I exercised, I tried to eat right, and yet here I am, finally through with grad school, in a great job with a charming child and WHAM I have lung cancer.

I hope those PET scan results come back soon and with good news--my mood swings are getting worse with this waiting!


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Lung cancer is no fun. I would never have picked this path . Should I be angry with my mother who smoked? My friends in High School who thought it was part of being grown up? The TV commercials, the Marlboro man? The doctors who smoked at the nurses station when I was in nursing school? the patients who were allowed to smoke at their bedside? What I don't understand is now that we know that tobacco manufacturers knew how addicting nicotine is, who added more chemical that are carcinogenic to the tobacco, and continue to do so, are allowed to continue to sell their product. Why do movie producers take money from tobacco companies in exchange for smoking "leading" heros? Why do characters on TV continue to be allowed to smoke on screen? Why did our X governor , Ventura, allow himself as a leader to always be photographed with a cigar in his mouth? I just saw on TV a study that was done recently that said young teens see their heros in the movies smoking and want to imitate them. They suggested we have another rating called No Smoking for movies. Once people are hooked on nicotine it is very difficult to quit smoking. We should spend some of our energy trying to prevent young kids from making ignorant decisions or being influenced by "commercials" for tobacco in the movies or TV shows. What can we do? :roll:

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I agreee that we need to make more effort to get people to never start smoking. I have sympathy for the difficulty people have trying to quit--I have watched my dad try to quit over and over again over the years. I have a hard time understanding why anybody starts--maybe I just don't have the need to be cool that so many teenagers blame it on. To me, cigarettes smell bad and are associated with so many health risks that they were never appealing. I guess what my frustration and anger is doing is making me want to let the world know what lung cancer really looks like--not pictures of lungs like they show in high school health classes, but people struggling to breathe and being told "If we can get you five years, that will be a real success." I am angry that no matter how much information comes out about how harmful smoking is and that cigarette companies have been lying about how addictive they are, young people keep starting. I don't blame smokers for my cancer--nobody knows why I have it, and I don't blame people who started long ago and got addicted not knowing what they were doing to their bodies. But know we know and we all know here that it's a lie to say, "I am not hurting anyone but myself when I smoke." Lung cancer hurts entire families, not just in losing someone but in watching this disease make them suffer. So I am angry at teenagers and twenty-somethings who light up, and they're the ones I want to scream at. Maybe if I did they would dismiss me as a crazy lady, or maybe the sight of my bald head and huge scars would scare them into trying to quit. Who knows.

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I understand the need to blaim. However, you said "that I had THEIR lung cancer." No, you have your Lung Cancer. We all bought into the media propaganda that only smokers get lung cancer. I know I did. To see people throwing away perfectly good lungs and health to cigarettes is depressing and can make me very angry. However, I totally believe in freedom and liberty and don't want to legislate morality.

Keeping the Faith,


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Becky lung cancer sucks whether anyone is a smoker or not i agree. BUT i hate to say sometimes NOTHING will scare people into quitting. Unless they themselves deal with it or maybe have a loved one and sometimes THAT may not even help. it does stink and trust me some people who smoke want to quit a lot of them but it is an addiction that is hard to break.

You know it is difficult too cause people say i eat right i never smoked.... some people change their lifestyle 20 years after from drinking and smoking heavily to not and then at the ripe ole age of 58 get it. What did they do wrong??? Studies claim if you quite smoking in like 3 weeks, this will be better in your lungs and in one year new tissue will grow and so on in 5 years this will be so much better??? If that is true, then why does it happen to people who quit eons ago??? Then if someone quits smoking now are they destine to get it no matter what????

I actually had a good friend after she heard about my dad say....it is tough cause i want to quit smoking then i look at your dad who quit years and years ago and he still gets it, sooo do i quit deprive myself of something i enjoy to save myself just to deal with it regardless??? she is taking her chances and you know what....i understand her philosophy and can validate what she is saying, cause that is her choice and i have to respect that. I do not get offended when people smoke around me, usually they go outside and that is obviously the best thing, no one wants to smell like smoke, but unless i am in a smokers house and i choose to go there so, so be it to me, they have that right. I grew up around smoking, so i guess the fact of the matter the way i look at it too, i maybe destined for it myself and not sure if making the universe smoke free will NOW help my chances any.

I do however think, that smoking hopefully is going to be on a decline. It is such a taboo now...people are banished to ally ways to smoke; it is not a dignified thing anymore. So I hope for the futures sake, lung cancer (smoking related) declines...but lung cancer IS a cancer, cancer does NOT discriminate so it is not all about smoking. Maybe after studies show the amount of people who smoke is down significantly then lung cancer will get more research funding cause people will not be so blind to other contributors to it.

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sorry I have to agree with Mary---we are human and allowed to make choices in life---whether they be bad or good---many bad choices are legal

yes, I still smoke, yes I know the consequences---I cannot blame tobacco companies as I quit and went back---- any more than I can blame entemanns if I were fat and ate too much cake---or the liquor companies if I drink too much or a car company that built a car that allows me to speed---it is about taking responsibilty for your own choices in life---

I agree it is a shame that young people smoke---but many people get cancer whether they eat right or do not smoke or do not drink---that does not mean that they get someone elses cancer

while I understand your anger, I hope you put that anger into fighting this horrible disease

regards eileen

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Guest canuckwebgrrl


All of us are angry. Sure, my step-dad smoked. He started long before the health issues were well-known. But SCLC is not his first major life-threatening health issue. My step-dad is a recovering alcoholic who hasn't had a drink since before I met him over 20 years ago. AA helped my step-dad off his path of self-desctruction, and when staying away from alcohol (and drugs), many people really begin to rely on their one remaining vice: smoking. My step-dad would have died if he hadn't quit drinking. The fact that he stopped is remarkable, most alcoholics find it too difficult, for various reasons. He's spent the last 20 years as a drug & alcohol rehab. counsellor. Please don't direct your anger at smokers, we cannot judge anyone else, nor should we. I quit smoking immediately when my step-dad was diagnosed. I had smoked for 14 years. No one else in my family of smokers has even cut down. I have learned that anger doesn't help anyone until it's turned into positive action.

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I just needed to but my 2 cents in. Becky I can understand your anger, however directing it at smokers is probably not going to help you deal with it. Cancer happens to people everywhere, it does not matter it they smoked, still smoke or never smoked in their life. It does not discriminate. I pray for all of us who are struggling with this terrible disease. My life was going pretty good also when it struck, and I ask why me? I know cigarettes are probably partly to blame, but there has to other reasons also. I know people who smoked 60 and more years, who are in their 80's now and still going strong, I was 51 when diagnosed, am I even going to make it to see my 60th birthday? Well onlly God can answer that one. I'm alive today and no sign of cancer today and that's all I can ask for today. I'm so sorry that you have lung cancer, it's a really hard thing to live with, no matter where you are with treatment, but prayers are heading your way and keep posting.

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I too wonder why teenagers smoke today! For at least the last 10 years maybe more! The children have been educated in schools about what smoking does to them!

I too get quite anger! & can't understand why teenagers start smoking!

I have two teenager grandchildren that have started smoking. I had a FIT about it when I found out, CAUSE them same 2 kids used to hallor at me and made it really hard for me to smoke.

I asked them right out why they smoke when they been educated against it & hated when growning up. I said is it because tabbaco co. advertizements. They said no! They have seen more advertizements against smoking! than they have for smoking!

They said it was mostly cause they were told not too!!! They were showing people that they could if they wanted to. Also it helped them with stress! My Grand daughter about 4 years ago was put on pills to help with stress & anxiousty. She didn't like the way the pills made her feel! So took up smoking whitch helped her better so she says.

Even with me getting lung cancer hasn't made her quit!! Though people are yelling at her to Quit! I don't yell at her, cause it has to be her decesion in order to quit! I have quit whitch was very hard!!! even with getting cancer!

What really makes me mad!!! is A few years back Several States went after the tobacco co. & got millons of dollars to put toward not smoking education, help people to quit smoking medical expenses & research for smoke related deseases!!! I know OUR STATE Of WIS. DID NOT DO THAT!!!!! They sat on the money for awhile! Now deceided to use it to reduce the STATE deficent Whitch I feel the politicions made in the first place! I feel that is very wrong to do when they went after the tobacco companies for what they did to people that smoked!

Smoking has dropped considerable in the last few years & will in the future with all the smoke banning going on witch is good!


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I appreciate everyone's input. I love that this board is so positive and that it's okay to express unpopular opinions here and get polite disagreement. I am trying hard not to fly off the handle in some strange smoker's face. I am so angry at this tumor sometimes I can't see straight. I am angry at the perception that lung cancer is a smoker's disease and smokers deserve what they get. Nobody deserves this. It's almost like the perception in the 80's that everyone who had AIDS was either gay or a drug user, so they deserved what they got. I focus my anger in some small way in spreading the news locally that this can affect anyone. People stare at my head when I go out. I am not ashamed or shy about telling them I have lung cancer and that I don't smoke and never have. A friend who is a free lance writer told me that my story would be of interest to national women's magazines and I am working on writing something up.

Believe me, I know all about the randomness of cancer. I know about people who smoke 50 years or more and die of something totally unrelated to breathing. I also know how scared I am that my chemotherapy might not have worked. I want to shake and scream at my students who smoke, not because I think they are bad people or stupid people, but because they are bright, talented young people who have made a choice with so many bad implications and I don't want them to go through this. Shaking and screaming probably won't convince anyone, but I will continue to display my bald head and scars and tell everyone who stares.


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I too hate the smell of cigarettes and would like to pull everyone aside that smokes and tell them of the possible horrific disease that they are moving towards, however it is the right given to everyone and if it is completely banned to smoke in every place and not made 100% illeagal that would be taxation without representation and we would be right back to where our country started.

The anger should not be directed completely at the individuals that smoke but the governments allowance of them when all the facts are known. The Government regulates poisons, seatbelts, and so on, however cigarettes are big money for the government on taxes and they wont do anything about it. Early as the 40's the government had details on how Cancer causes disease and ill effects, however they continued to let the tobacco companies campaign their cool ads and push these killers on everyone. It wasnt until the 80's that anything was really done to educate and stop the promoting of the tobacco.

I am sorry that you have lung cancer and never smoked and if venting your anger this way helps, then I say go for it. It is completely understandable and hopefully you will be ok.

Will be praying for you


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Becky, I can understand your anger. Unfortunately, not smoking doesn't completely save you from lung cancer. There are other irritations in the air as well. Yes, most lung cancer patients were smokers, but there is a smaller percentage that never touched a cigarette. My wife was never a smoker, not raised with smoking, there was no smoking in our house -- yet here she is with NSCLC. It is a hard pill to swallow, but that is the way it is and that is what we have to work with. How we work with it is the name of the game. Don

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My husband smoked 30 years ago before we knew how dangerous it really was. I smoked also and quit 22 years ago. I never really cared much about people smoking near or around me. Like you I would move. Since Hugh's diagnosis I (who would NEVER say a thing to a stranger before this) have a tendancy to say something once in a while to people I don't even know. I went to pay my car insurance last week and the receptionist was outside the door trying to quickly get a few puffs in. I just looked at her and said: "My husband and I just came from his chemotherapy treatment for lung cancer, its extremely unpleasant, you really should try to give that up". She agreed. I have found myself saying that to people on a couple of different occasions. I get MAD when I have to walk through the employee smoking area to get into the grocery store, hospital or other public places. WHY don't they put their smoking areas away from the entrances????

The worst is that 2 of our 3 sons are still smoking. Our house has been a no-smoke zone for many years. But since Hugh's diagnosis our house and all of our property is a no-smoke zone. I guess I can't stop them but I will not make it easy for them to smoke. I nag them about it constantly.

Cigarettes should be as illegal as pot!

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Dear Becky,

I read your post this morning and thought about what I wanted to say to you all day. I am sorry that you have lung cancer. Like you, I was diagnosed with stage IIIA and it's scary and frustrating. People will always tell you that when you have cancer it's vital to focus on the positives not negatives, but of course it's difficult to know just how to do that.

Here is what I would tell you if you were my close friend (who I knew was being troubled by deep anger). I would say--if you focus on empathy, compassion, understanding and forgiveness there would be very little room left in your life for anger. You just wouldn't have time to have angry feelings towards others if you focused all of your energy on getting well.

You said something very interesting in your post. You said that you have their (smokers) lung cancer. That's really a curious way of putting this.

Yesterday, my husband was diagnosed with melanoma of the eye--Eye Cancer--which is extremely rare. Who's cancer does he have??? Like me and all others with cancer, he has his very own disease and his very own battle.

We just can't afford to be brought down by negative feelings. I have stopped asking why, I just want to know how.


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Calling my cancer "their cancer" was just overwhelming anger and frustration coming out as I stood looking at people who have no real possiblity of not knowing how harmful smoking is and who choose to do so anyway. Anyone in this country under 30 has been bombarded with information since early childhood about the connection between smoking and multiple kinds of cancer, emphysema, etc. Most of the time I know that there is no purpose to asking why I have this wretched cancer--I'll never know. Maybe it was some random pollutant I inhaled one day which just happened to trigger tumor growth. I imagine that everyone on the board feels as angry as I do sometimes that this cancer has touched their lives. I knew my reaction to those young men was irrational, so I didn't do it, but I don't know how it's possible to be a nonsmoker with lung cancer and not have an emotional reaction to people deliberately increasing their chances to be here. It certainly isn't possible for me.

During the course of this day and reading everyone's posts, I guess my first statement, written in the middle of a very bad night, has crystallized to this. I am a lung cancer patient just like everyone else, and I don't think I am better or more deserving of treatment than anyone else because I am a nonsmoker. But if there is going to be any good salvaged out of this for me, maybe it will be in the form of making a big public deal about the fact that this disease is horrible and it is not just about smoking. I remember that public perception about AIDS did not change until folks started coming forward who weren't gay and weren't drug addicts. Maybe the same thing needs to happen here. But I don't think I should gloss over the fact that if people didn't smoke, there would be a lot fewer of us suffering and dying.


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Guest DaveG


Last December, on one of the very coldest days, I was walking into the bank. I spotted a man standing out side the bank, well dressed, in a top coat, freezing his buns off, and you got it, puffing on his precious cigarette. I couldn't resist. I said, "If you were to see the 16 inch scar running down my back, with four smaller scars, where the chest tubes were, you would probably quit right now". Well, I pissed him off. He wanted my name and address so I would get an invitation to his funeral to give the toast over his casket. Yeah, exactly. I wish I would see him again, as I would doff my cap and ask him if he remembers me. He probably wouldn't recognize me without hair. :lol::lol::lol:

I get angry whenever I see kids smoking. I do that because I remember when I first started smoking in the late 1950's, when it was the thing to do. I never had anyone lecture me about smoking, as teens we looked forward to acting like adults. It was socially accepted, and socially encouraged. When I went into the Army, during the Berlin Crisis in 1961, we got "smoke breaks" every hour. If you didn't smoke you didn't get a break, so guess what......you smoked. You could get free cigarettes from the Red Cross, Service Club, and USO. We had to display cigarettes in our footlocker. We learned to stuff the cigarette packs in our socks, so we would not have "bumps" in our uniforms. We all had the proverbial Zippo lighters, with the familar "clink" every time you popped the lid to light one up. Then, when on a road march, we played the roll of tough GI, marching with a cigarette dangling from our lips.

Yes, I played the roll for many years, then smoking got to be unpopular and I finally quit in 1997, 4-1/2 years before I was diagnosed. When I finally quit I didn't miss it. I didn't, however, become vocal about smoking until after I was diagnosed. Now, whenever the opportunity presents itself, I approach smokers and ask them to quit. I have been diligently working on several friends, but I am not going to give up. One is ready to, he just has to make the decision to quit and I am trying help him with that decision.

If you are a non smoker with lung cancer, remember this: NO ONE DESERVES LUNG CANCER

Its not our fault. For some, such as myself, we are victims of the times we grew up in. Who do we blame: our parents? Society? Ourselves? Just who do we blame? Certainly none of the above. We did not seek lung cancer. We did not ask for lung cancer. We did not deserve lung cancer. But yet the stigma remains, although head way is being made and we will see the results within 2-3 years (hopefully most of us will live that long to see Lung Cancer without the stigma).

I have found that my openness with others has broken down many barriers, and I am not ashamed that I smoked. I am also not ashamed that I have lung cancer and have spoken publically about my disease and my venture with lung cancer. Many of my friends respect me because of my openness and my positive attitude about lung cancer. It can be beat and we will beat it :!::!::!:

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Becky -

Oh how I can relate, and I'm not the cancer warrior, I'm the care giver.

I believe if the FDA knew of a drug that did the damage that cigarettes do, they would pull it off the market. Or it would never have been a legal drug in the first place!

However, you have to remember this. America is nothing if it isn't greedy. Tobacco plantations were the backbone of the South and the tobacco industry has some of the most powerful lobbiests in the country.

If we could do away with lobbying in this country, maybe big money couldn't talk!

It was cool at one time to smoke...and we children of the 50's and 60's were NOT told of the dangers. But what I don't get is young people starting up now - with all we know!

It really is silly isn't it? We will move around a bonfire to avoid having the wind blow smoke into our face, if we burn a piece of toast we open the windows immediately...but we (I'm speaking hypothetically) will light a match to a cigarette while it dangles from our lips. Crazy !

I have to surpress the urge to say something to every smoker I encounter. But then I realize, I would have to say something to every over eater, every drunk, and every drug user. You can't save the addicted, they have to want it for themselves.

Save your engery and your strength to get angry at your cancer cells - Will them to leave your body alone....will them to die! Channel all that strong energy into keeping yourself going!

Fight the good fight! And know the "blind" will continue to be "blind".

My son-in-law chews tobacco. My daughter just told me she read him the riot act the other night about it. His response? "I won't know if I get cancer because I won't go to the doctor."

Well - isn't that just burying your head in the sand? Not the brightest turnip to fall off the truck! It's like talking to a turnip.

Hang in there Becky - We all go through anger at some point!


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  • 4 weeks later...

Becky, i can understand your anger, everyone has to vent their anger somehow and we tend to want to blame others when something bad hits us!! My s/o was diagnosed with nsclc this past May and at first he went around saying I guess if anyone deserves it I do afterall I smoked for 28 years! This really upset me because I don't believe anyone deserves any illness or disease. Keep in mind he quit smoking 4 years ago! But now for the guilt part on me. I think to myself everyday yea he quit, but I continued to smoke. I am or was a very heavy smoker, and I tell myself yea he quit but he breathed in my smoke everyday, not to mention all of his friends that would come over and smoke too!! Well when this first happened to him, I continued to smoke (this was before we knew it was lung cancer) The doctors called it a large mass! Well I felt so guilty smoking around him, I couldn't even smoke one without sooo much guilt! So I started smoking outside and I wouldn't let anyone else smoke in our house or in any building on our farm!! After his surgery and coming home, I promised him I would quit and I did quit June 10 was the last day I smoked. It was really alot easier than I thought it would be. I smoked for 20 years 3 packs a day! I'm scared for my own health now. I just hope I quit in time. We won't go anywhere that we have to be around a bunch of smoke. They say this can increase his odds of reoccurrences. But I have soo much guilt myself, but I also know it can happen to anyone. My own 3 boys don't smoke they hated mine so bad growing up, they won't even date girls that smoke. My boys age 24, 22, 21. If my smoking made them hate it, I'm glad something good came out of it!! My boyfriends kids age 19, 18 we know smoke but not here at home. This just kills him. He wonders how anyone can smoke knowing what hes been going through.. The fact is I believe people always think its not gonna happen to them. I felt that way. My grandma smoked for 60 years and never got lung cancer. So I always told myself I wouldn't get it either. But I think it has to hit close to home before you really face the reality to what a horrible thing lung cancer is. I know I love my boyfriend so much, hes my life and I don't want to lose him!! When we were young we weren't taught all the bad things of smoking. My boyfriend is 50 and I am 44. But young kids all do it and will continue to smoke because their friends do and they think its cool.. I wish they would become illegal!!

I don't blame you for your anger!! I'm glad you chose this site to let off your steam, rather than some of your students. I know the more people bitched at me the more I smoked. That wouldn't help them at all....

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Don't yell at those young people. They're going to tune you out if you do that...talk with them the same way you would speak to the son or daughter of a close family friend. Talk with them as if they are adults (that will be a novel experience for the average 18-19-20 something year old who is away from home and going to school.) Speak as if you give a damn about what happens to them. That may very well be a novel experience for them, too.

You know what I do? I'm standing in line at the convenience store and the person ahead of me buys that pack of cigarettes. I say something along the lines of "I was 44 when I was diagnosed with lung cancer, that was 4 years ago, but the tumor was first seen when I was 32." Sometimes that get's their attention. Sometimes they tell me to blow it out my ear.

When folks stand outside building entrances/exits to smoke and I have to walk through them to enter or exit I tell them I have lung cancer and it is difficult for me to breath. Would you please step away from the door, or extinguish your cigarette. I've run into a few jerks, but most people comply, and some people actually ask questions. I tell people I have lung cancer because I want them to see my FACE...my "I'm not so much older than you, I'm a heck of a nice person, I don't have horns, I'm not a demon even though society would like to paint me out as one cause I'm a former light smoker (9 pack year history, kids) and I have lung cancer face".

I have a mixed tumor type of lung cancer that affects young women and non smokers more frequently than other forms of lung cancer. It's called Adenocarcinoma with Bronchioloalveolar features (BAC for short, but in my case I also have areas of poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma, which is aggressive). I have what they call muti focal and mucinous disease (worse prognosis) and it seems to run in my family in smokers and non smokers alike. Which makes me worry for me children. So for me I'm certain that genetics played a far greater role than my 3 to 6 cigarettes, though the smokes didn't help matters any.

You're little one is beautiful. I had three of those...they're in they're 20s now. But when I first started telling my doctors that I thought I might have lung cancer my children were 8, 5, and 3. I was right... the lesion in my lung was cancerous, but it wasn't diagnosed until 1999.

I'm really tired tonight.

Wishing you peace and sleep tonight. And less anger in the morning.

Fay A.

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