For those of you who think
smoking only gives old people diseases……THINK AGAIN!
For those of you who are still using nicotine...... GET OVER IT!
The Bad News
An early and unexpected Christmas 'gift' for Randy was discovered in November 2008. Although a number of benign polyps were removed during a colonoscopy at that time, there was more to discover. The doctor looked at us from across his desk littered with reports and photos of evidence. And in four words that would be life-changing, he gravely stated; [Randy], "You have rectal cancer." (adenocarcinoma)
If Randy was an old man, you may think he had a good long full life and disease is anticipated. But he is only 41 years old. This cancer was already years in preparation. No one can say with absolute certainty that smoking was the sole cause, but let it be known that nicotine addiction played its destructive part, whether as lead actor or supporting cast. Diet, of course can play a part too, and lets face it, as a former smoker, I know that
many smokers lack proper self-care and nutrition. Be sure to read, watch and apply what you learn in >>> Weight Control
Randy has been receiving other 'gifts' since diagnosis day. He is almost finished:
Radiation- 28 treatments (5 times a week)
Chemotherapy- five pills twice a day for 40 days.
Five additional months of daily oral chemo and IV chemotherapy every three weeks after recovery from surgery.
Thank God for our medical plan. (every day!)
A host of other unpleasant, yet unavoidable side-effects have and will continue to manifest beyond the surgery. Frequent inspection and application of medication creams by various nurses have dissolved any lingering modesty to the exposing of one's private parts. As for the pain and blistering on his backside from the radiation, Randy's description would be far too graphic here. (However, I make no apologies for any vivid words I may use. Sometimes we need to really grasp the picture and envision that we are not immune to harm from nicotine addiction.) By the time Randy heals up, feels more comfortable and builds up his weakened immune system, the day of surgery will arrive. There are always risks of serious bleeding and infection with any major surgery.
For the rest of Randy's life, there is always the possibility of cancer arising from the radiation treatments, risk of sterility (courtesy of both chemo & radiation) (one of many things to consider for those of you who plan to have children some day), inconvenience of taking care of a colostomy and expense of some of the supplies, risk of recurring primary cancer, periodic colonoscopies, preceded by two days preparation of liquid diet and bowel cleansing , and other tests such as blood, CT scans and MRIs for the purpose of on-going cancer screening, a good probability of the 'little blue pill' for intimacy (courtesy of chemo, radiation and the surgery) (no guarantees I might add), uncontrollable passing of gas through the stoma and goodness knows what else will be required or experienced. I already mentioned the surgery above and what a stoma is. No bionic sphincters available yet. Far too late for 20/20 hindsight. Welcome to your new and permanent anatomy!
The Good News:
They say the cancer was caught early.
Localized cancer considered stage two, which is far preferable to stage 4 where cancer has spread to other organs in the body, such as the liver or lungs. Randy quit smoking 27 months ago. Good job Sweetie! Among the obvious benefits, he will heal far better after surgery. Know why?
- Wound healing; Nicotine raises blood pressure by making the blood vessels smaller. This causes problems with blood flow to the new surgical incision, which needs oxygen-rich blood to heal normally. An incision will not heal as well or as quickly as someone without nicotine in their blood.
- Prevention of pneumonia; After a general anesthetic it is very important to cough and deep breathe. This clears the lungs and helps to
prevent pneumonia. Smokers have to cough much more often than non-smokers because they produce more sputum due to the lung irritation of the smoke. Smokers
are much more prone to post-operative pneumonia than non-smokers. By stopping cigarettes the chances of pneumonia are less. It may even cause you less pain!
- Prevent blood clots after surgery; Nicotine thickens the blood. This can lead to blood clots forming and causing serious problems after
surgery, such as a blood clot that travels to the lung. With this in mind, the recent practice to give patients Nicotine Replacement Therapies, such as the
patch, before surgery can be downright dangerous!
- Even if a person quits smoking when they are diagnosed with cancer, they will tend to have a better response to chemotherapy and radiation therapy, live longer and have fewer side effects from their treatments.
- People with cancer who quit smoking reduce their risk of having their cancer come back and of getting another smoking related cancer.
- The chances of getting emphysema, chronic bronchitis and coronary artery disease are lessened once smoking has ceased.
You may think the damage is already done in your body and that it is too late for you to quit smoking. Perish that junkie thinking! Within 20 minutes of smoking that last cigarette, the body begins a series of changes that continue for years. In the following link is a health recovery chart. Stop smoking recovery timetable.
The Rest of the
We live close to a new cancer treatment centre. This is such a blessing! Otherwise, a 2+ hour commute would be necessary to access the nearest cancer clinic in another city. Considering we need to be there 5 times a week, we are grateful for having one within a five minute drive!!!
- Swiftness of tests and procedures has been phenomenal.
- Salary/disability benefits provided during treatment.(albeit a good deal less than normal pay)
- Hard to imagine being able to afford living on short term disability should we still have been smokers. Hooray for freedom!!!
- Time off work to recuperate with no known job jeopardy.
- Big savings on toilet paper.
Randy admits that he 'thought' of a cigarette when he was told the news, but that is all it was. A fleeting thought- Surely he wishes these past three months were but a dream. Reality has a stinging slap and no amount of denial, ignoring or laughing it off is going to make it vanish. Yet, we will turn the other cheek to face the next few months with comfort in our faith, prayers to strengthen us and laying trust in the abilities of the surgeons and nursing staff. We confront this time with the expectation of some dandy pain medications for Randy and a wealth of choices of latent and external humour from which to benefit. Gump? I will always remember how you sequestered yourself with a number of Seinfeld videos in your time of healing. I am confident that Randy's most anticipated outing after recovery, will be returning to his much enjoyed game of golf. According to his radiation oncologist, this surgery will neither improve nor worsen his golf swing! Kudos to doctors with a great sense of humour. Randy sees much wisdom in applying to his life the concepts found in the following quote about the game of golf:
"You are meant to play the ball as it lies; a fact that may help to touch on your own objective
approach to life."
~ Grantland Rice; known as the "Dean of American Sports Writers" ~
Over eight months ago,
Randy's golf buddy also quit smoking cold turkey, after many years of heavy cigarette use. Way to go B.T.!!! There is yet hope you can beat Randy
on the course this year. (But don't bet on it!) We are so proud of you!
Think about it; is your next cigarette, chew, dip, or nicotine fix from whatever source really worth the consequences? Is feeding your addiction worth sparking that one singular cell in your body to mutate and spawn a cancer or insidiously instigate a host of other harmful conditions in virtually ANY part of your anatomy? Is your junkie thinking whispering lies that you are indestructible and disease-proof? Is your junkie thinking saying that if you get cancer, you might as well keep smoking? Is your junkie thinking telling you that you can always quit when you get older. "Nicodemon's" Lies? snuffed out the lives of Bryan Lee Curtis - age 34 and Noni Glykos - age 33. Fear of death and disease may be initial motivators to quit but fear lessens over time and thoughts easily turn to wooing us with 'one puff won't hurt".
So, PLEASE find your reasons to quit and to stay committed to be free of this destructive addiction. Apply the truths found at WhyQuit.com and consider the support and encouragement so freely given in the FreedomFromNicotine forums. It won't be long until you are experiencing the comfort and simplicity of not having to plan your life around getting your next drug fix, or being free of the anxiety of sitting on the fence, knowing you should quit. Comfort is also 'forgetting to remember' you are no longer a smoker. The peace in knowing in your heart that you are giving yourself the very best chance at a healthier and longer life is priceless. People will be cautious of the foods they eat, avoid pollution, spend money on looking good, go 'Green' or exercise and train with passion, yet they continue to poison their bodies with an insecticide. Nicotine and those who promote its use do not care about your health and welfare. It is you who NEEDS to.
When I started smoking, I didn't intend to strangle my health, throw away thousands of dollars nor give license to this addiction to steal from my life for 39 years. I flippantly used to say that I could only quit if 'they' developed some sort of brain surgery to take away the craves and memories of smoking, and I would surely be first in line. (That sounds so ridiculous to me now! Oh, the ignorant we things we think and say to defend this addiction and our own selfishness.) When Randy started smoking as a teenager, he didn't do so with the intent to get cancer 26 years later. Yes, it could have been worse news. And yet it could have been news that quitting smoking may have prevented. I will keep you informed as to his surgery and recovery.
How would you react to a shocking diagnosis? Diseases don't always happen to other people. Sometimes, that other person IS you and to others, you are the 'other people' who is the unfortunate one.
I never thought I would have to be writing such a post as this. I hope and pray you will never have to. QUIT TODAY for the sake of ALL your TOMORROWS!
If we can quit after decades of smoking, then we know you can too! The education at WhyQuit and FreedomFromNicotine is second to none. Thank you Joel, John, Joanne, managers and members of this community. We are forever grateful.
time to quit is NOW. Never Take Another Puff are four little life-changing words you will be relieved and thankful to
experience in a big way!
Seriously, what are you waiting for? Do you really want to become ill in order to answer that?
- Smoking Ups Colorectal Polyp Risk
- Smoking & Reproductive Life (BMA 2004)
- Nicotine: "a" culprit in lung cancer?
Wendy and Randy Free Hopeful and Healing for 31 months. And 27 months.