Sue’s mom, Peggy, died of cancer at age 59. Peggy smoked. She started when she was 17 and developed a two-pack-a-day habit. Filter less – Chesterfields, I think. I have no doubt the cigarettes killed Peggy. I also have no doubt that Peggy’s smoking is a contributing cause of Sue’s cancer.
After Sue and I got married we used to visit her parents. We stayed with them at their house in San Diego. Peggy smoked inside and it always made Sue and me both sick. We’d have headaches and allergies for days after a visit there.
The literature on multiple myeloma that Doc gave us says its cause isn’t yet known, but there are certain groups of people more at risk of getting this type of cancer: Farmers and field workers who’ve been exposed to chemicals; People who’ve been exposed to excessive amounts of radiation; and smokers.
What effect would years of suffering her mother’s toxic second hand smoke have had on Sue as a growing child and young adult? I can’t prove it, but I know this cancer has its roots in Peggy’s smoke. And I’m really mad at her.