Posted by: Ken Wheatley | August 16, 2010

Great Question – Have I ever smoked?

As a result of the article, someone asked a question that quite frankly hadn’t been asked before. We’re all searching for an answer about how someone who never smoked could come down with lung cancer. The same thing happened to Dana Reeves, Christopher Reeves’ (Superman) wife.

The answer is, we don’t know how it happened. And to answer the question someone posed – no, I’ve never smoked, so Sheila didn’t “catch” it from me.



  1. I truely share your grief Ken, and know that Sheila’s Spirit will always be with you and there will be countless times when you will know she has done something or let something happen, to communicate her Love to you.
    In 1998 My wife Maya and I met through Reader phone matches, and were married two weeks later. She was a firm believer in living life in the moment, and taking the time to spend together…NOW. She felt that too many couples put off doing special things together until retirement, only to have one or both be physically unable to do so when retirement actually arrived.
    Maya and I had nine years of incredible travel, camping, adventure, family, and most of all of course, Love and Partnership. It only lasted nine years because thats when the stage 4 brain tumor showed up. She was gone three months later…spending her last 11 days at San Diego Hospice…there are 6 picture tiles of her there, on one of the three columns in the Tribute Garden…but of course she is anywhere and everywhere.
    Only time…and the good memories, will ease the pain of our loss. A friend gave me a card at the ‘celebration’ of Maya’s life. It reads
    ‘All Things Beautiful Last Forever…Kept Within Sweet Memory’.
    Aren’t we fortunate to have had wonderful women grace our lives…even for the briefest of moments. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    John M. Tschogl

  2. Ken,
    I found your blog through the UT article. I’m 54, in treatment for lung cancer, diagnosed at the end of 2008, and married for a little over 2 years. I am also stage IV.

    I know some lung cancer patients get irritated at the “did/do you smoke” question. I wish I’d thought earlier to respond as I NOW do, with my own question: “Did you?” Because, generally (with folks our age), the answer is “yes, for a couple of years when I was in my 20s.” At that point, I let them know “Me, too.” And we ALL know someone who has been smoking for 30, 40, 50 years, who ISN’T battling lung cancer. Heck, back then, many of our Moms were drinking and smoking while pregnant with us…and NO ONE thought twice about it!

    I want folks to know that a genetic link HAS been found.

    I also want you to know I sent out an e-mail to a good number of my friends about your fund-raiser. One friend will be participating in the tournament, and several others are donating.

    I SOOOO want to get the word out, and ESPECIALLY to overcome the horrible stigma that interferes with positive movement and support for the fight against lung cancer.

    Best to you,
    Linda M

  3. Hi Ken

    This is the first time that I have visited your blog (I’m not sure what took me so long)! The reporter did contact me, but in the end decided to go another direction with the article. I was fine with it either way, but really liked the final product.

    I wanted to address the “smoking” topic for viewers out there. I have stage 4 non small cell lung cancer. I was diagnosed last Feb. It started with pain in my tailbone and then later other parts of my vertebrae.

    I have been pretty healthy my entire life, eating really “clean”, taking vitamins, exercising daily, and even running marathons. I also started smoking in college and then never kicked the habit.

    It is one of the first questions people ask me, “did you smoke?”. I’m not quite sure people ask. Are they trying to figure out how I got cancer? Are they trying to figure a prognosis? Either way, I get really annoyed and offended when people ask. I don’t care if I smoked 10 packs a day. I’m 32 yrs old and don’t deserve cancer, nobody does. I also feel like it’s very judgemental. We know that 20% of the people that have lung cancer now never smoked.

    I hate the fact that cancer took the love of your life. I only can be thankful that I don’t have a significant other that I have to leave behind (although the comfort and love would be nice). I have faith that you will find joy again and maybe someday reunite with Sheila.

    Thinking of you,
    Melissa from AZ

  4. Thanks for the message, Melissa. I follow your personal struggle and am amazed at your resolve.

  5. Thanks for writing, John. I’m always amazed when I read stories such as your’s and Maya’s. Getting married two weeks after meeting. WOW! Talk about magic! Yes, we were both very blessed to have women such as Maya and Sheila in our respective lives. I will never forget her. And we too were blessed to have all the wonderful experiences we crammed into a short period of time.

    Take care of yourself,

  6. Hi Linda,
    I visited your blog. Wow….you’re a very talented artist. I’ll be back to read and see more.

    Thank you for writing and connecting with me. I appreciate the shout-out you did with your friends about the tennis tournament. It worked because we had a great turnout. And it’ll be even better next year.

    I’m working on coming up with better ways to attack the problem, much like they had to with breast cancer 35 years ago.

    I hope your treatments go well.

    Take care,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: