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  • On Friday the results of all of the tests, biopsies and scan were in and Mum had a diagnosis- lung cancer. Lung cancer that has metastasized and sent out satellites to many parts of her beautiful body.

    Mum was so upset. She repeated over and over how much she was sorry to have done this to herself and to all of us. How could we be angry or disappointed in mum because of this? She is a woman of her time. When she started smoking some time back in the late fifties, she was a vibrant, gorgeous teenager. She spent her days working or out with her friends and each week sewed herself a new dress to wear to a dance on Saturday night. Her father nicknamed her “The Pin-Up Girl” because she never quite got around to hemming her new dresses and would go out with safety pins holding her skirts up. I have seen photos of her in her Saturday night best and she looked spectacular. No wonder Dad was smitten!

    Back then most people smoked, smoking WAS cool, and glamourous, and sexy…. all of those things the clever advertising companies created. No one was talking about health risks and dangers then. Once nicotine gets its hooks into your brain it is so very hard to stop.

    Mum did quit smoking though, a few years ago she gave them up. It was hard and she was so strong and brave to let go of a powerful addiction that had her under its spell for so long.

    There is no point wasting energy feeling guilty or angry because the doctors now think the primary cancer is in the lung. We talked to mum about this. It really doesn’t matter where the cancer started. It could have started anywhere. It could have started in a big toe! Whatever, that does not matter. It is what it is.

    So, no Mummy, we are not angry or disappointed in you. In the same way that we would not be judgmental of a person who renovated their house, was exposed to asbestos and developed mesothelioma. As a health educator I am angry at the tobacco companies who continue to peddle their poisonous products long after the evidence about their dangers has been known. How the board of directors in those companies can lie straight in bed at night is beyond me. And yes, I may have punched the inside of the hospital elevator once (or twice) but that was not because I an angry with Mum. I am just sometimes angry that this is happening to someone I love so much and I can’t stop it or make it all go away.

    No, my Mum can hold her head high. She is the most loving, generous, kind and lively person anyone can hope to meet. The fact that she has so many friends and family who adore her is testament to that. She is still our “Pin-Up Girl” too
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