Program Note: Watch Randi Kaye's full report tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
Randi Kaye | Bio
This is not an easy subject. Cancer. I hate to even write the word. The only comfort in it, strange as it is, is that practically everyone has been touched by it. Practically everyone knows someone who had it or maybe even has it.
Nearly 9 million people watch the documentary "Farrah's Story" Friday night on NBC. I was not one of them. Why?
My grandmother died of cancer just before I graduated college. She had colon cancer which then moved into her stomach and spread throughout her body. I can still remember visiting her in the nursing home. She was so small and frail in her bed. She passed away just days before my college graduation. She was such a no-nonsense tough woman. Hard to believe anything could beat her but cancer did.
A couple years before my grandmother got sick my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. She had been smoking since she was 12. I will never forget the message I got on the answering machine in my college apartment. It was my mom telling me "I'm dying."
After numerous operations, doctors managed to save my mom. Incredible! She spent five months in the hospital without a cigarette and made all kinds of promises that she'd never smoke again.
It didn't last. I'm not sure how long it took but my mother started puffing away again. I've never smoked myself, so I can only imagine how addictive nicotine can be. She tried hypnosis and the nicotine patch. No luck.
Sure enough, my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer again last year. This time it was her other lung. It had been twenty years since her original diagnosis and she'd been smoking all that time. Secretly mostly. She was so scared this time would be it. Death seemed to be on her doorstep like it seems it is for Farrah Fawcett now. She went through chemotherapy and radiation. She lost all her hair.
But mom got lucky - again. So incredibly lucky.
My mother learned not too long ago the lung cancer is gone! Poof! What a celebration that was. Though I'm sad to say she is still smoking here and there.
I don't usually share this type of story on our blog but as we watch Farrah Fawcett try to hold onto her dignity before our eyes I thought why not discuss this? I'm sure many of you reading this have similar stories. Maybe worse in some cases.
There is still so much to learn about this deadly disease. All we can do until a cure is found really is to show compassion for those suffering from it. Tell them you love them. Give them a hug. You may not be able to save them, but for those few seconds, or maybe a couple of minutes if you’re lucky, they may forget the pain they're in... and how scared they are.
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