Formerly known as the About.com Smoking Cessation support forum, this community is open to all who are recovering from nicotine addiction.
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My brave and witty friend. You're the kid that drives their mothers crazy.................. as they secretly admire your gumption with a hidden smile and chuckle behind their hand. Thanks for sharing this new journey with us.
Hi Rich. Your story shows all of us how matter of factly some of us find out we have cancer. It can sneak up on us quickly or very slowly. I am so sorry you are battling the big C. Asbestos and strong chemicals are to blame for many cancers and those companies are never accountable. As for Business, Money makes the world go round even if cancer is the inevitable outcome from business practices. Hearing those words must have been so difficult. I think by teaching us what you are experiencing will help new quitters and the rest of us stay quit by reading of your journey through the cancer treatments. Educating ourselves about what to expect after receiving news like this can help us fight bravely. Cancer sucks - but the human spirit can fill us with strength so we can take on anything. Good luck in your battle Rich. Take care.
Staying quit with you.
Sooooo, I've been a good boy, gave up everything that was dangerous, and that was any racing on any surface, cars, boats, motorcycles, quit drinking in 82', quit the fun sticks in 83', and as my last vice I quit smoking May 11'. I've wrote 5000 or so messages so all the old timers know me but I used to be witty, but now that I have cancer I just want to warn anyone that cannot seem to quit. Its of course of to you, and everyone, and I mean everyone has a different personal feeling about it. The real turning point for me was a story from another sweetheart of the forum, it's called 'my cig, my best friend' by Karen, shes like a 8yr or better quitter now. But search and read that story, its better than the whole book of Alan carr, which I should admit didn't affect me much as I had already quit 3 months prior. Karen's other work like "diary of a mad quitter" was a crackup, I remember her 6th anniversary she posted Sex Sex Sex to get everyone's attn, so read what we could save of her work from the old forum. So all this said, I and my group all 100% of us made it to the halfway house, bored our way through the 8-11 tricky months that Penny and I started as we noticed on our Facebook group so many of our friends were dropping out at 8 months like our dear Frank/Foster and we thought it would be a good topic. I asked Penny to post it cause everyone loved her and would read it. I was polarizing I thought in a good way. I was just a tad less sensitive to excuses for slips in those days although I've come a long way in 5 years ;D We all made the clubhouse and all was good, then we progressed 'as a group' to the 2nd through 5th years. I've been here so long I've seen 3 of my friends make mods, what great peeps they are. So that is my quit story, now for the new journey. Last month I needed a skin treatment, the meds called for an xray, bloodwork, and a biopsy. I got the xray at 5pm and the dermatologist called me next morning at 7am and told me to go get a CT scan, he had already scheduled me a time and made an appt with a thoracic surgeon. Now this was a total wack to the head half asleep with really just a slight cough for a couple of months. I mean if your a smoker you know a morning cough to clear your lungs is "normal". Funny that I had forgotten those went away 5 years ago! Humans are really creatures of habit, that's why its so easy for cig manufacturers to stuff so much garbage in a cigarette to keep you on their proverbial hook.
My angel (((((Rich)))))),
I have been silent for the last few weeks. The fact that I have not reached out to you directly is not indicative of my feelings about your diagnosis. It means two of my angels are battling the big "C" right now. You, my friend, have saved more lives in the last 5+ years than you even know. You float silently around the Forum and find us souls who need your brand of help. You reach out, grab a hold of the person, and you don't let go. If someone contacts you before they smoke you respond in minutes. I think the funniest memory I have is you telling me rather matter of factly to stick each and every cigarette in a snow bank and let the destruction begin! I digress.
Now it's my turn. I am grabbing a hold of you and won't let go. I have no doubts that FosterFrank would join me. Tell your story because you have a gift of expression and helping others. The forumily is here with you every step of the way. I'm sure you have gone through the entire spectrum of emotions in recent weeks. Just know that you are not alone. You never left a quit buddy behind. The same applies for you.
Many hugs and much love, Jenn
So I get a message on my patient account xray shows a 4x2.5cm mass. To a carpenter that meant nothing I deal in fractions, inches and feet! Although I'm chitting myself about it I didn't tell family. Mind boggling how long 4 days is to see a surgeon that you don't even know what he does. Now I know, thoracic is a chest surgeon, not just a cancer doctor. He sat me down, asked where my wife was and I said at work, "bring her next time" . Then for the next two hours he told me what I had, and how he wanted to treat it, all on a whiteboard, he drew pictures, erased them drew other pictures, and broke it down into stages. My chest xrays were 14 months apart and then he showed me the CT scan on his computer, that sucker is the size of a chicken egg and growing. Then he got serious and said you need a MRI asap, then a full body scan, every blood test in the book, breathing test before I even know how to get in there and get a biopsy. On top of that its at the top of my lung and said he'd have to cut holes beside my sound box and there was a chance he could hit an artery or I'd have trouble talking again. He said it was advanced stage 3 after he explained stages 1-4. I'm a blue collar worker, some of this didn't sit in for a few days, but I'll get to those. I'm also not a phone person, someone that will get on a phone and make appts, he said don't worry, his assistant would do all that for me, but she dropped the ball on getting my oncologist. Basically my treatment has been as follows, bloodwork, then I had to drive to the next city and get an MRI. Seems the first place lung cancer spreads is to your brain, then he wanted a breathing test, that was pure hell, and if I didn't pass that then he would have to consider other options, then I had to get a full body scan called a PET-CT, radioactive shot in the arm and you gotta drink about 20oz of the worse tasting yuck liquid and lay in a room with no book, phone, person, so you body can absorb all the chemicls to you internal organs and work its way into all your blood, then 1.5hrs in another tubular machine with your arms above your head, with aging arthritis from carpentry that was probably the worse part of it. Then he called me that night, this busy assed tireless doctor and told me I had a clear mind and body, just the chest lumps, yes another lump in 5 or 6 days. I'm guessing by now I have the quick aggressive one, not the one that's 90% curable, but 10%, but hey, I'm a pain in the ass and my May quit buddie dubbed me Ninja Giraffe when I told her ;D After another 4 days of his schedule I finally went into surgery to get the biopsy part done and to install a chemo port in my juggler vein so the treatment can flush right into the lungs. Tech has come so far since my mother in law died of cancer in the 70's. But anyways, he couldn't get a sample of the original mass because another new tumor was totally blocking of the bronk tube to my left lung. That's strange cause I can still breath ok, just can't run up two flights of steps anymore, used to take 6 smoking without getting winded. So that was a huge disappointment, wife was sitting in the waiting room from 9am to 8pm, its harder on your loved ones than you, so your lifestyle affects them almost as bad. I made her suffer greatly when I wrecked racing in my 30's, heh I don't know what she sees in me. That was when I found out I wasn't immortal anymore ;(
Anyway, my mind is wandering, and I'm rambling, I promise to piffy it up once I get past this surgery pain. My chest is sore, don't think I redlined but LInda told me two code reds went off while I was on the table, further scaring the hell out of her but I have black and blue marks on my chest. Got to go home at 9.30 and sheesh, it took4 hrs before I could go to the bathroom again and there is no end of being thirsty, I can't sleep well with the incisions but tongue still feels swelled ;p Ok from this point out I'll add content as I think of it, and take questions, answers, and ADVICE from anyone that's been through this. New smokers on the left panel, hang in there and just quit, quit making excuses, we all have been there, we all have been tempted to buy a pack while getting gas, and I'd bed a good number of us (ME) said oh I'm too young to die of smoking! Your never too young or too old to quit.
DEE! You always fill my day with light. I seem to of lost my piffy, hope this doesn't bore anyone, its hard to write too, but for me, and you know me better than anyone, I need the gift of gab to be able to deal with this. It's such a shock to go for a med and be told 2 days later go see a cancer surgeon! I must later post a pic of my mother and me at 12, she has that look you saw in me the first week I was here, I think thats why your so endearing to me and I call you my modmother even though I think you don't like it ;D Thank you friend, you've made my journey so much better and I really appreciated the emails while I was waiting on tests and decisions.
Thanks Deb, its something I wanted to share because this cancer is what made us quit, and its so hard to catch early. In future visits I'm going to ask the doctors for the best ways to catch lung, brain, and liver cancers, the 3 worse ones not to minimize pancreas or breast, etc but stage 4 in those 3 are 3-6months of suffering. Many of the other cancers do show up in blood screens but not brain and lung! I'm not even certain a yearly xray can spot this, my doc said mine was either with me for a full year already or was agressive, and by the fact that I had another one 2 weeks later blocking the air passage I'm thinking I've had this since 4 months as I go to my doctor every 4 months like clockwork for high blood pressure and he always listens to me breathe as an xsmoker and an angina patient, yah I've had an irregular heartbeat since I was 30, so I've always been there. This is educational so I'll keep this post going until I'm healed and hopefully cured. I've met several that have been cured going on 6 years, but there are too many diff kinds of cancers to have that kind of wishful thinking just yet. He told me its really bad luck, and my history with everything from asbestos to painting motorcycles to smoking put me in pretty high risk, more than an office worker for ex. Love ya babe, thanks for stopping by!
Jenn, I know you have had a lot on your plate, I browse here often but don't post much cause I've gotten so far from the quit there comes a disconnect, hard to explain, but I'd be useless to someone trying to quit drinking since I quit almost after my batchlor party, or pretty soon after all the social gathering that took place with my wedding that was 34 years ago.
For the record, I said " stick each cig in a snow bank and take a .22 rifle and shoot them into total destruction", be more imaginative then just running the pack under water. I had a full pack in the freezer for one year and I BBQ'ed them on the grill on my 2nd anniversary and when I found another pack behind my computer monitor (don't clean there often ;p) I opened it and put a couple of firecrackers in the center and lit and tossed it. Wish I'd had video of that cause it was funny as hell.
You were a tough bird but I saw your determination from day one, your were just pleading just one without saying it. I wasn't your only, your other Mic angle kept us informed when you had health problems, or your fire problems, or your son problems, and you never gave up, even with nic demon sitting on your shoulder you had me and everyone else in sitting the other shoulder saying don't you give into that Jenn, we are here with you. You went from a scared little wren to a soaring goose in the span of 2 years and I was tickled pink when you were offered mod, which at the time I had no idea how many could still take my humor or maybe less than stellar patience for those that clearly were too young to quit or didn't know where they belonged or how to communicate their fears correctly. I can understand all that better, but I'll stick with the graphics and you and the other mods can keep giving out all those great (((hugs))) . I think that is 3rd time in 6 years I've used that hug symbol ;p
Nikki from my group found out first reading between the lines on facebook and sent me a private IM stating whats up partner, your not feeling good, spill the beans. I was waiting for the tests to start and she was one of few that still visited during my politcal leanings for the last 14 months ;p Anyway after the shock and awe, she renamed me Ninja Giraffe, told me I'd better fight like hell, and everyone would be with me. My wall is packed and the only problem is I have to hid this from my elderly mother in WV which I drive down and do errands for every other weekend or more, but she insisted on following me on Facebook and if she gets wind of this it will devastate her. She has been upset since I started at 16 and everyday until I quit she nagged me about it. I blocked her so I can at least breathe without her knowing and told her I had pneumonia which bought me a few weeks since she didn't want to catch it off of me. I know, white lie, but God may forgive me ;p
Your a great loving friend Jenn. Glad our paths crossed and I'll keep you up to date in this thread. WHO KNEW I'd ever need a journal??
Mates for life, Rich
As one who also had a forum journal I can tell you that it really helped me in the moment and later to see how far I had come. Hopefully we will be able to read about how far into recovery from cancer you've come.
To your health,
I sent an IM to Michele Saffari asking what was up with you. Within the same half hour you posted a more detailed account of what was going on and my heart sank. When things like this happen to good people, I completely lose whatever handle I have on life. I know you are a fighter and your outcome with be positive, but I hate the pain that you will have to endure to get there. I do not only mean physical, but also emotional. I can not help you with the physical but I have my arms open to you when it comes to the emotional.
This was such a smart move on your part to come here and post. I know it will be comforting to new quitters knowing the discomfort they are experiencing currently is well work the quit. I also hope that your journey posts will be comforting to you.
Love you buddy!