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diplomatic response

sissylu1
Posts: 66
Joined: Jan 2011

You know some days are better than others when trying not to get offended..but don't some others get a little tired of people's first response when you tell them you have had lung cancer is "did you smoke"..you answer "yes" and the look on thier faces sometimes says "well what did you expect". Now I would know the majority of the time they really don't mean to be insensitive but I think lung cancer is the "loser cancer" in the way it's percieved by society...just needed to vent a little..and by the way, the second question is "do you still smoke"????? For me the answer is no but I also don't think anyone should be made to feel guilty if they haven't.

grannylove
Posts: 183
Joined: Apr 2011

I get the same thing. Wish I could think of a good response without hurting THEIR feelings. I went back to work this week and have been approached by quite a few people who stated.."I didn't know you smoke". DUH! I quit 12 years ago but don't know why people always assume that the only way you get lung cancer is from smoking. Forget that I have always worked in steel mills all my adult life, NOOOOOO, they feel it had to come from smoking. Wonder how I got breast cancer??:-) Maybe I should ask them since they seem to know how I got lung cancer. Don't get me wrong, they are really caring people, I just believe that they don't think before they say something. I have to blame society for part of their ignorance. By the way Sissylu, haven't seen you post for awhile. Hope all is well with you and don't let 'em get to ya. We are bigger than that. If I come up with a good response, I'll let ya know. We all have our demons. Keep up the fight. God bless
Cheryl

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I am a survivor of head/neck cancer, caused in a great many instances by smoking and/or drinking, although some folks are elated now that theirs may be caused by an HPV virus instead, for some reason, and, yes, I am also a survivor of lung cancer, a principal cause which is known to be smoking, whether we like to acknowledge that or not.

As a man, however, and I assume that is the reason, I don't get questions about how it happened. Everyone either knows how I've lived or are afraid to ask :). Or maybe the real reason is that I am totally up front about it, and, in fact, bother people by showing them my scars (and for four years my PEG tube) to illustrate why they should quit smoking.

In any event, I don't care what people think. They should care what I think.

It is what it is, and it is for whatever reason. There should be no guilt, as you both suggest in your replies. It is NOT your fault, regardless of your behavior. Many people drink and smoke into their 90s and attribute their longevity TO their smoking and drinking. It may be behavioral, for sure, and it may be environmental, as one of you mentions, and it may be genetic, and it may be a cominbation of any of the above.

It is what it is. Lose the guilt and spread the news: of the three legs of that tripod, genetic, environmental, behavioral, you can control two.

Rather than feeling guilt or anger, spread the news.

Best wishes, ladies.

Take care,

Joe

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1576
Joined: May 2009

Everyone who knows me knows that I have smoked since I was 15 and didn't quit til being diagnosed with cancer so I don't get that question very often, except when I go to a new doctor. Sadly, most of my family and friends smoke, I've tried to get many of them to quit but I know that's not an easy thing to do. It took me many, many tries before I stopped and I still miss them.

Maybe I've just toughened up or else it's been long enough since my diagnosis that I don't worry about what others think or say. Many who criticize are probably ex smokers themselves!!

Stay strong,
Glenna

stayingcalm's picture
stayingcalm
Posts: 656
Joined: Feb 2007

I think if anyone asked me point blank like that I would have some trouble hiding a desire to rearrange their features! So either nobody has, or I've forgotten it, or possibly have thought better of it, being 4'11 and 70 lbs :) Its true, society does view us (as smokers/ex-smokers) in a rancid light, but one of my pet peeves comes right from some of the people who are fighting against the stigma. I keep reading that the percentage of new lung cancers from non-smokers is 60, when it reality it's closer to 16%. Unless you include among non-smokers all the people who "used to smoke", whether it be 6 months, a year, 2, 3, 4 or 50 years ago. I'm angry that the stigma even exists, but when people change the number to suit their agenda, that's just wrong.
Sorry to rant :/
stayingcalm, mostly

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