Tuesday, May 03, 2005


If you have been a lifetime smoker and in your late 50s/early 60s you are diagnosed with lung cancer, how do you react?

Do you accept it "graciously"? After all, you've been smoking for 30 some years. Or do you get angry and wonder, why me? Nevermind the fact that people have been warning you about this for years.

It has been years since I had a cigarette, and I was never a hardcore smoker. I smoked around a pack a week through my early twenties, and gave it up fairly easily. For me, the addiction was the ritual of smoking (the lighting of the match, the tapping of the ashes, etc), not the nicotine.

Last night Lance received an email from our realtor, who sold us this house four years ago. In it she relayed the fact that her surgeon had confirmed lung cancer. Obviously, she did not mean to cc Lance; we haven't spoken to her in years. I feel horrible for her--what a devastating diagnosis. But on the other hand, she was a hardcore smoker--also a heavy drinker--so shouldn't she have "seen it coming?"

One of the reasons this is giving me pause is that in many ways--especially about health--I am pretty blase. I tend to take the attitude: "Oh, that won't happen to me." I wear barefeet all summer. If I drop food on my floors, I am apt to eat it anyway, despite the fact that I am not a good housecleaner. I use sponges, even though people keep telling me I'm just wiping the germs around. I don't wash my hands before every meal. I don't always rinse all my vegetables. I don't worry about infections when I get a pedicure. When I smelled mold under the family room rug after all the rains this winter, I just figured it would dry out soon enough (it did).

So I'm thinking, when I get e. coli from the green onions that I didn't wash well enough, will that serve me right? Am I just tempting fate by being so lazy?

Because don't you think that's what smokers tell themselves? "Yeah, yeah I know you can get cancer, but I won't."

What do you think?

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