This is an interesting story from a man I’ll call John.
“I have stage 4 lung cancer diagnosed at a local hospital. They gave me 3 to 6 months to live, and would only provide palliative care because I was a life-long smoker. The staff had this attitude of not treating people who brought it on themselves and demonizing them for their situation.
“A week later I went to another hospital in the same area for a different condition and told my story as I didn’t want to bother with treatment if I was going to die anyway. The doctor I saw referred me to one of their oncologists.
“This oncologist took the time to review my tests, and while not discounting my smoking history, implied that he saw my form of cancer more often in radon induced cancers. The EPA guidelines for Radon has an action point of 4.0 ppm, and after my home was inspected it tested at 32.0 ppm. My son had a Radon mitigation system installed to protect me and my family from further harm. Had the oncologist not given me a heads-up on radon I would not have had my home tested and my non-smoking family members would have been exposed to this insidious disease.
“The oncologist didn’t put me on palliative care only, but actively treated my condition and refused to put an expiration date on me. Did my oncologist blame me? No. Did he want me to quit smoking? Yes. But he didn’t give up on me, demonize me, or deny me treatment or hope. That was FIVE years ago.”
When I read this story, there were positive and negative responses. The following is one that reflects the majority of views.
“If you have lung cancer and never smoked, or smoked for a couple of years as a kid and quit, you have my deepest sympathy. If you smoked for 30 years and have lung cancer, you knew exactly what you were doing the whole time. You may have been addicted, that’s difficult, but it’s possible to quit. If you continue smoking you’re saying this is worth more to me than living. That’s it, period.”
Quite a difference in opinion, but this story about John is why I keep pushing the “never, ever, quit” and “never, ever, give up” attitude. It has given him at least five extra years with his family, something he most likely cherishes after being told he had only three to six months to live. And as we grow older, time with our loved ones is very precious. And by the way, John did quit smoking.