Yes, I Smoked
This article is not written to seek support like, "hang in there" or "I'm sorry you are going through this." It is not my goal to make you uncomfortable about the blame game that coincides with lung cancer.
This article is, however, written to maybe have you finally put those cigarettes down. Why you might finally stop vaping. Why you might nag a person you love to stop smoking or vaping.
Times have changed, and so have I
Remember when we would go to a restaurant and be asked "smoking or non-smoking?" The dividing line in many instances was just the other side of the restaurant. In several small mom and pop restaurants, the dividing line was simply the next table over.
You would walk into the restaurant and be blasted with not only the clouds of smoke but the smell of it too. You would have to walk through the smoke-filled diner to go to the bathroom.
Sounds like I'm a non (or never) smoker, doesn't it? I used to get angry when people would give me "the look". Ok, maybe not angry, but definitely offended. I was the offended person. Wow. I could, and did, get downright hateful with a person if they actually said something to me. I'm definitely not proud of that behavior.
Deciding to no longer seek curative treatment
About 3 months ago I researched palliative care versus hospice care. I learned that with a palliative care team I could continue with curative treatment like chemo while also having things done that I knew would not make the cancer go away but would help with all of the side effects. Higher doses of pain relief, radiation zap to stop progression, but not necessarily remove what was there.
A few weeks ago, all of that changed. I decided to no longer seek curative treatment.
It's been a full three weeks now that I have gone from being a lung cancer survivor patient to a hospice patient.
The conversation change
The biggest challenge so far? The conversation change.
Now? Discussions with my medical team have gone from the approach of how the treatment will hopefully improve the length of my life to making my remaining months, weeks, or just days as comfortable as possible.
The biggest surprise? I am having fun! Food! Oh my God. Food tastes good again! I did a three-day in-patient assessment at my local hospice facility. That three-day stay was spent figuring out pain treatment. We did other things too, but when I came home? I am confident I've made the right decision.
Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on May 7, 2021, Ronda Beaty passed away. Ronda’s advocacy efforts and writings continue to reach many. She will be deeply missed.
Are you satisfied with your care team?