Laurianne's Hope

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Mom's Cancer (The Book, Not My Mom)

Since Laurianne died of non-smoking related lung cancer, I think sometimes it is easy to forget there is the other side as well. Smoking is still the number one cause of cancer. It is still the #1 best preventative you can take in getting the disease. That is why I have smoking cessation links on the sidebar.

On that note, I was visiting Dr. Phil Berman's blog on He hasn't been posting much lately, because he said he doesn't have much news to report. However, he did post about Mom's Cancer. Somehow I had found a link to this book shortly after Laurianne died, but it brought up to many emotions. At this time, I still am not sure I can read the book. The title character, Mom, was a heavy smoker and her situation was a little different from Laurianne. When I commented on Brian Fies's blog, he said (and I hope he doesn't mind I publish it here):
Our situations are a little different in that my Mom did contract lung cancer after smoking for 40+ years. I know she felt some responsibility and guilt because of that, and at least I (I can't speak for anyone else) had to deal with it as well. No one *deserves* lung cancer, but at the same time there's a natural reaction of, "well, what did you expect?" that I tried to address honestly. After getting a sense of who you are from reading your blog, I'm not sure how you'll feel about that.
I think my whole family's feeling on this is that no one deserves lung cancer, even if they did smoke. I know that is my feelings on it. I will admit that before Laurianne's diagnosis, I thought only smokers got lung cancer. In a way, they brought it on themselves by feeding this habit. However, seeing what Laurianne has gone through has changed my perspective.

However, my dad is a former smoker. Lung cancer could have easily happened to him. My uncle, Hans Kennedy, died of cancer that metastazied to his brain in September 2001. And I think in a sense, even at that time, maybe we had the "What did you expect?" mentality. My dad even said to me at one point, "Yeah, but Hans was different than Laurianne because he smoked those huge cigars." He caught himself afterwards, but none of us are so infallable that we don't occasionally lapse back into an old way of thinking. And we don't do this to people who have other types of cancers. Smoking increases your risk of having those cancers as well. And I don't think we should have the non-smokers lung cancer boat and the smokers lung cancer boat. We need a fight lung cancer yacht. We need to all come together and fight this disease and the stigma associated with it. No one deserves lung cancer. It doesn't matter if you smoke a pack a day, sing in smoky nightclubs or are a non-smoker who gets lung cancer. You have lung cancer. And we need research done to stop the disease.

Lung cancer is not a punishment. If it is, it doesn't fit the crime. Even if Laurianne was a smoker, I would still feel the intense pain of her loss. I am sure the Fies family misses Mom incredibly. In January, I posted Jamie Young's article No Room for Blame. She said:
In my opinion, it's extremely unfair and unkind for anyone to say they brought it on themselves. I haven't met a lung cancer patient yet that had any idea what they would go through if they got lung cancer from smoking.

Believe me if you knew what it felt like to have chemotherapy, radiation or surgery, you would definitely re-evaluate the smoking issue. If you truly understood what it was like to not be able to walk through a big store because you were totally exhausted and out of breath? Or, if you had to get a feeding tube because the radiation burned your esophagus and nerves at the base of your brain so badly that you couldn't eat for about two and a half to three months, you would definitely want to quit smoking.
All that being said, if you are struggling with lung cancer or if you are a smoker who has thought about quitting, or even if you are just interested in finding out more about the disease, check out Mom's Cancer. At some point, I plan to read it myself.

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda :: 6:47 PM :: 0 people are more aware