Thursday, April 5, 2007

No Smoking Allowed

The Same, Yet Not, 2007, Oil on Panel, 8x10

As some of you regular lurkers readers may recall, my mother, who has often been quite involved in my comment section, suffered a heart attack last September. I wrote about it here. At the time, she had a variety of tests and a spot on her lung was visible on one of the chest x-rays. After several months of tests, delays, and finally a surgical biopsy, she was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer.

She is currently having chemotherapy and she is handling it very well, without self-pity, not to mention subjecting the doctors and nurses to her stupid jokes and morbid sense of humor about it all. But the bad days still suck. Her hair is beginning to fall out just a bit and she feels icky for several days after the treatment. When she begins to feel better, it's just in time for the next treatment. And unfortunately, she has a small tumor in her brain as well and will be having Gamma Knife Radiation therapy today. She is telling her friends that afterwards, she will back to being "empty-headed" after the procedure. My mom, the comedienne.

She has been insistent that I not let this interfere with my work. As if! While I don't have to deal with this on a daily basis (she and her husband live on the other side on the country) of course all of this has been very difficult, especially around the holidays when she was having so many tests and procedures. I plan on visiting for a few weeks in May and to appease her at least a little bit, I am scheduling that trip around the work I have to do.

This is the type of cancer closely associated with smoking and yes, my mother has been a long time smoker. I always hated the smoking and I bugged her endlessly to quit. She tried many times, but never could stop for good (nasty, addictive things).

So I hope that if you (or someone you know) smokes cigarettes, please do what you can to stop. Or better yet, don't start. You do not want to go through what my mother is going through.

And while we are not religious, some good wishes and hopeful feelings sent telepathically towards the mother of some virtual person that you have never even met, would be accepted with much gratitude. And try to humor her next time she leaves a comment even if she is doing her best to embarrass her middle aged daughter. Heh.


Anonymous said...

If you've smoked as many as 100 cigarettes in your lifetime, you're a smoker and if you get cancer, heart disease or flat feet, smoking caused it. If you've never smoked,secondhand smoke caused it.

These preposterous notions are generally accepted
by a gullible public and prevent honest research as to the true causes.

Anonymous said...

All the new opportunities for life brought on by the magnificent spring here in Virginia are being channeled. All the best for all involved.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Anonymous, I almost know what you are saying here. I have struggled with my weight for years and nearly every health issue (major and minor) I have had has been attributed to extra weight. I felt resentful of that attitude, until I did lose weight and guess what? Those health issues disappeared. So turns out that it was a good defensive attitude that helped me justify why my weight wasn't the problem. Nice defense to hang on to, when I didn't want to make a tough change in lifestyle!

And where exactly did I say that smoking caused her cancer? I am well aware that many nonsmokers get lung cancer, as anyone can see if they read the stats.

But the fact is that my mother has smoked a pack a day, every day for almost 50 years. You want to tell me that has nothing to do with lung cancer and the various breathing related problems she has had over the years?

Sorry for the rant. I have given your anonymous, defensive comment more than enough time and energy.

Lou, Thanks so much for the channeled thoughts.

Annie said...

Dear Tracy - I read your blog everyday and am always inspired. I have never commented but feel today is the day to post. Thank you for sharing all of your thoughts and artwork. I will keep your mother in my prayers. I can't imagine what you are all going through, but remember there are a lot of people out here sending you and your mom positive energy.

All the best,

Tracy Helgeson said...

Thanks so much Annie, for your words. And I am so glad you have commented today. Now don't be stranger:)

James Wolanin said...

Tracy - I wish your Mom a speedy and complete recovery.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Thanks Jim. I appreciate it.

gary rith said...

Whoo, I am with James here, best wishes there. I guess anonymous is one of those lurkers who comes out of hiding just long enough to annoy, then back they go, under the rock.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Thanks Gary.

jcitybone said...

Well that was a really helpful comment Mr./Ms. Anonymous.

Right before I read about your mom, I found out that a sister of a close friend of mine just had a malignant tumor removed. So your post really really resonates.
Good thoughts from me to you and your mom.

Lynnea said...

Sending good mojo your mother's way. Its awesome how she keeps a great attitude. I'm quite impressed.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Thanks for the kind words Brian and I hope your friends sister is ok.

Thanks Maggie. Yep, besides being funny (not!) she's real trooper!

Bridgette Guerzon Mills said...

hi tracy- so sorry to hear that your mother has been battling cancer. But it sounds like she's a fighter with a lot of spirit and I hear that that is the best medicine. Sending your family good healthy thoughts.

meno said...

Tracy, i am very sorry that your mother is going through this, but i salute her positive attitude. I send positive thoughts her way, and yours.

Ester Wilson said...

sorry to hear about your mum. I wish you and her all the best! Sounds like she knows how to look up, instead of down, which is a really important part of getting well. Mental strength.

(I recently found your blog, and I love your artwork. I'd thought I'd link you in my own blog, if you don't object.)

Tracy Helgeson said...

Hi Bridgette, Thanks so much and it's nice to hear from you! How's that little baby?

Thanks, Meno.

Ester, thanks for the link, I did notice yesterday that I had a few hits coming from you and I meant to say hi and thanks, but got sidetracked. Anyway, hi and thanks!

June Parrish Cookson said...

Hi Tracy,
Sorry to hear about your Mother's plight with Cancer.

I recently lost a cousin named Marilyn who died of lung cancer. Er, to anonymous...she was not a smoker but her Mother and sister are. I will never forget the day my Mother called to tell me the terrible news of her passing. And no exaggeration here, but this once vibrant, fun-loving person died in her bed while watching her beloved horses prancing about just outside her bedroom window. They were a big part of her life and she wanted to see them one last time. We all called her Barbara Streisand because she looked just like her and loved to sing too. We will miss her forever. I feel deeply that she could still be alive today if it weren't for the years of being subjected to second-hand smoke. Again,'s carcinogens for crying out!

I'm fortunate that I never took up the habit. But my youngest sister and brother are habitual smokers and it's worrisome to know that they will without a doubt should nothing else get them, die of lung cancer. I rarely see them and fortunate that the times I do, they don't smoke around me.

Well, Tracy sorry for the long comment and terrible writing today due to lack of sleep.

Anyway, best wishes for your Mother's health.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Thanks June, for your kind words. I think it is lovely that Barbra/Marilyn was able to die while watching her horses. We should all be so lucky!

What I didn't mention in my post is that even if a smoker is lucky enough to NOT develop lung cancer, if they smoke enough and for long enough there are a host of other smoking related illnesses, like emphysema, that are horrible to go through as well.

No upside to smoking if you ask me.

Susan Constanse said...

Oh Tracy --
e-hugs and I'll ask my mum to light a candle for you.

tlwest said...

prayers for your mom and your family. I love your Mom's attitude she sounds like a live wire!
Blessings! I don't lurk ! I just get around after I actually have something to blog about myself snicker! Which is not often because I only get to go on vacation once a year--- still posting vacation photos LOL!

Tracy Helgeson said...

Thanks so much Susan and Terri for the good wishes.

Oh and I wasn't referring to you specifically, Terri, when I said lurker:) I have a lot of lurkers, at least if you compare the number of comments to my return visitor stats. But I don't mind that at all. In fact I tend to be a lurker as well.