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View Diary: Menthol Cigarettes and African-American Smokers (28 comments)

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  •  Trigger! She was not black, but... (3+ / 0-)
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    Dburn, timewarp, Statusquomustgo

    My sister, who smoked menthol cigarettes most of her life, died at age fifty.

    First, she found a suspicious mass on the roof of her mouth at the dentist.  Over time, during a nightmare of chemo and radiation, they offered her palliative care.  She refused, and demanded aggressive treatment, so they removed the lower jaw and half of the neck, leaving her with a trach tube and a stomach port.  They reconstructed her jaw with her leg bone.   She lost the ability to taste and to smell, as well as being reduced to breathing through the tube, which means there's no backup  like the nose and mouth, when the tube gets clogged.

    After the surgery, the cancer came back in the lungs, and in the oral area, and her face just sorted of started to melt.

    The stomach port changed the course of her illness.  A person in her condition without a stomach port would have naturally lost the ability to take in calories, especially as the cancer returned in the oral area, and she would have passed away more rapidly.   I watched this process with my father, who died in just a few months, at age sixty-two, from cigarettes that were not menthol, after one round of chemo.  Before he died, formerly a fit and healthy man, he complained at the weight of his teaspoon.   With my sister, the stomach port extended her life, week after week, month after month, round of chemo after round of chemo.   It was no benefit.  If I have to go that way, please let me go quick!

    I work near the campus of a college, and when I see those kids standing outside smoking, I want to run up and beg them, plead with them, to put the cigarette out.  I want to download these experiences to them, and somehow make a twenty year old understand that fifty is not old, that there is so much more life left to live.

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