Cancer and Quitter Stories

The Story of Randy and His Cancer

KillTheCan LogoThis is the story of Randy as told by forum member Kylos. It is being retold / archived here to once again prove that tobacco and nicotine are playing for keeps…

June 29,2011

So as I sit here two weeks past my second floor I am studying the irony of the faithful day in November that I quit…..I was driving my car and had just finished my last dip of Copenhagen. I looked over at my buddy Randy who was smoking away at his hand rolled Drum cigs like he always was….I told him I was not going to buy another can of dip. He looked at me like I was some sort of crazy lunatic ready to punch his mother. After he wiped that look off his face he chuckled and asked me why…I looked over and mumbled that I was sick of the shit and I knew deep down it would kill me, and I was ready to quit and if he wanted to live a full life he should too. He smirked and remarked on how long this would last, and he had never seen me without a dip in my face. He rolled another smoke and said “good luck with that”.

Now over seven months later I am still quit and enjoying my freedom. Randy has not quit….he developed pain in his mouth about five months ago and had a tooth extracted. The pain did not stop with the pulling of the tooth…it increased. He visited the dentist several times and was finally referred to an oral surgeon. That oral surgeon told him that he may have cancer. That “may” have cancer has turned into stage four cancer of the tongue, jaw and throat…including a silver dollar sized tumor on his jaw and it has spread to several lymph nodes. On Friday he will have three inches of his jaw removed and most of his tongue….then radiation and chemo.

I quit, he did not. I gained freedom and he was given a 26% chance of living five years. I was given a new lease on life and he was given disfigurement and a possible death sentence. Stay quit… is life or death and that is the undeniable truth.

July 2, 2011

Just a quick update….Randy’s surgery was delayed for a week because he is battling a fever of unknown origin…..his wife told me that his weight has dropped to 126lbs and eating solid food is almost impossible…..sad shit…

July 4, 2011

I spoke with Randy and his wife and they are in the process of setting up a fund for Randy at his wife’s credit union…I will let you know as soon as I have information..thanks for your kindness…just to let you know Randy is a painter by trade with little money and no insurance as he has been unable to work. What is most unsettling is the amount of pain this guy is in….he is taking heavy duty narcotics and he is still in unbearable pain, and the worse part is that the pain is only going to get worse with all the surgery. A painful drawn out torture is what tobacco induced cancer gives you, before it takes your life. Stay quit.

August 18, 2011

Well I wanted to give an update on Randy….after many delays he finally had a 12 hour surgery today to remove as much cancer from his jaw, tongue and throat as they could…they then dissected the lymph nodes on the left side of his neck that were found to be cancerous. Then to cover the defect left from the removal of the soft pallet and jaw they used a portion of his pectoris (chest) muscle. He will now spend the next week in ICU as he is on a vent to breath and has a feeding tube inserted for at least a month. As soon as he is able they will start radiation and chemo to try and kill this aggressive form of squamous cell carcinoma. That’s a lot of suffering for being an addict to a poison plant. Stay quit.

September 1, 2011

So I am updating…Randy has been discharged to home care and I just got back from visiting him at home…..looking at him he could have been Rick Bender or Gruen von Behrens or Sean Marsee His face and neck were a swollen mess and where his peck should be one side is now flat and mangled. One thing I noticed that was truly different about him was his attitude…..receiving all your nourishment through a tube directly into your stomach has a way of changing you I suppose. I asked him if he was quit from tobacco….he told me that tobacco is a loaded gun and he had pulled the trigger one to many times and his will to live had overcome his desire to kill himself with Nicotiana tabacum. He now wants to go on a one man anti-tobacco crusade to anyone who wants to listen (especially children) about what tobacco will do for and to you. But first he must endure 31 days of radiation treatment and pack some weight on his 115lbs body. Stay quit, it is life or death.

September 22, 2011

Quick update on Randy……his post surgery progress is improving…..he is able to eat small amounts of soft foods orally and drink some liquids. Most of his nutrition is still done by feeding tube directly to his stomach. One of the harder things is living without a pectoral muscle on his left side and having to hold his head straight and upright with mangled neck muscles so his trach hole will heal properly. His weight has climbed to 135lbs so he will ready to do radiation treatments next week, but first he must have several of his teeth pulled before they BBQ where his jaw was. He will lose the ability to taste and make saliva…possibly permanently. Even after all he has gone through he still craves tobacco……think about that…. Stay quit….it is life or death.

October 22, 2011

So I stopped by and saw Randy today. He is halfway through his daily radiation treatments. His face is still a swollen mess and now you can see the telltale signs of radiation burns on the side of his face and neck where the beam of radiation is concentrated on the spot where his jaw and tongue used to be. He can no longer make saliva because of the radiation and his taste buds are quickly being destroyed. He describes the treatment as being BBQ-ed over the course of weeks with the discomfort building slowly into an all out pain fest that 30mg of morphine hardly touches. Compound that with still being fed through a tube to his stomach until late December and I can see that this guy is being tortured to his limit. I thank God every day I am quit. Stay quit it is life and death.

November 27, 2011

I wanted to use today(my one year quit anniversary)to update on Randy. He is done with radiation and has come through the experience pretty well. He is still rather weak from the treatments but his weight is holding and he is in good spirits. Now comes the hard part…the waiting….the constant vigilance for signs that the cancer will return….the patience to see if he will be in the 26% that survive for the five years plus after stage four oral cancer. The most important part of that wait is that he is QUIT….for as the doctors have told him any return to tobacco is certain death and he has heeded their warning. I am so thankful to be quit….it is life or death.

February 22, 2012

It has been a long time since I gave an update on Randy. I talked with him tonight for the first time in a few weeks and I was given the news that his cancer is back. Was I shocked…no…surprised?….no…I would say saddened would describe my feelings. His cancer has returned on the side of his jaw that was not removed. I think he knows his time is limited now. He is going back for more surgery, radiation and chemo. I want to give him hope but he knows all to well that odds are that he is a dead man. Tobacco does not care….it wants your life. It can’t have mine….I’m quit. Stay quit it’s life or death.

March 6, 2012

So an update….Randy had 23 cancerous lymph nodes removed and what’s left of his jaw shaved down in one of the areas where a cancerous node was touching the jaw bone… 30 days of radiation and several rounds of chemo It’s looking pretty bad……stay quit it’s life or death.

April 17, 2012

Imagine having so much of your face cut out that you have only chemotherapy to kill the cancer that is eating your flesh and bone. You are unable to lie supine because neck muscles have been dissected and your nerves cut so badly that your airway becomes compromised. Unable to be fitted for a radiation blocking mask until healing allows. Only to have the other side of your face irradiated this time in hopes of buring enough of you to kill the malignancy. As the cancer rages rampant. This is what tobacco leaves as it’s legacy. Stay quit it’s life or death.

June 22, 2012

Been awhile since I gave an update on Randy. He finished his 28 radiation treatments two weeks ago, and this is four less treatments than the first round, but the radiation was increased for the second round. He also finished his 2 months of chemo to help increase the effectiveness of the radiation. One side effect of the radiation is that he can only open his mouth about 1 inch and must stack tongue depressors and stretch his mouth so that one day he can eat solid food again. He is optimistic that he is cured and in good spirits considering the circumstances and he is tobacco free. Stay quit….it’s life of death.

July 21, 2012

I just got word that Randy is in the hospital. He started hemorrhaging out of his mouth and lungs yesterday. This tobacco induced cancer has metastasized and seems immune to radiation and chemo. I played 9 holes of golf with Randy just two weeks ago. Tobacco is poison of the highest degree…….stay quit it’s life or death.

July 24, 2012

Quick update. Randy had surgery to stem bleeding from problem areas of his lung….they stopped the bleeding and he has stabilized for now….he’s tough as shit. Stay quit it’s life or death.

August 18, 2012

: transformation into cancer or from a normal to a cancerous state. Tobacco causes this…….many times this is irreversible……this is sadly the case with Randy. His cancer has returned and it is inoperable. Hospice is an invaluable gift at times like this, facing a finite time with dignity and comfort is their goal. I hope he will be up for some golf along his journey. Stay quit it’s life or death.

January 2, 2013

Randy died last night. His suffering has passed and he is at peace with God. I hope and I know Randy hoped, that people would take this story as motivation to remain tobacco free and strengthen their quit. I would like to thank anyone who has posted thoughts or prayers for Randy, I know they meant a lot to him during his fight against cancer.

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  1. I guess it was no accident that I came across this website. I’ve been dipping since my first tour overseas in the Army as a coping mechanism. I quit today. I’m strong so I know I can do it with my faith in God. Thanks for all of the amazing stories that each of you provided to inspire me to do what I knew I needed to do. God bless. James

  2. I have a similar story with my grandpa and grandma. Grandma is going through it right now. Today is day 3 for me. Tried to talk my cousin into quitin and he said. He wanted to finish his pack. He caved after 3 days his last attempt. He caved WITH the use of patches and gum, and he still smoked. I told him if he cant even not smoke without any withdraws i dont know what he can do.

  3. Glad to find this story a few months ago. I did not post at that time, because I have “quit” (read… stopped) for a few days at a time, many times over and never stuck with it. A cave always came along… Well, this past May I found a spot on the roof of my mouth that was suspicious and growing; suspicious enough for my dentist to say “hmmm… I don’t like that.” I had an excisional biopsy a couple days later, then got my results. Luckily, it was benign. However, 20+ years with this habit was enough. I am quit. This story, along with my own experience, has solidified my quit effort this time and I won’t go back. 128 days and counting… Now, I just hope that the damage already done never quite turns into what Randy experienced.

    No one can be told to quit… you need to want it for your own reasons. That said, it’s hard to think of a reason not to want to quit after really thinking through the consequences.

  4. i have been dipping for 20 years plus and recently had a sore come up on my gum in the area of a wisdom tooth extraction 2 years ago. This “sore” i believe came from dorito chip i bit into that caused severe pain.

    however, that pain opened my eyes enough to say ..”this could easily be cancer”.

    reading randys story and updates made me cry…seriously cry and im never affected emotionally by anything.

    it has in one instant given me the inspiration and desire to stop IMMEDIATELY.


    Thank you for sharing this and I am terribly sorry about your friend.

    May God be with him and have granted him into the Kingdom

  5. I quit after 20 years. It was hard but not as hard as I expected it to be. im on day 10. Atomic Fireballs, gum and fake dip are necessities. If I can do it so can anyone.

  6. I just read all of these stories and they all have inspired me to quit so much. I am 23 years old and have 2 kids and one on the way. I have been dipping since I was 10 years old. I wish I would have never tried it. Please pray that I can quit and stay quit. Thanks!

  7. After reading this story I am even more glad and more determined to rid myself of this silent killer. After you’ve been off it for a few days you realize how much of a part of life it was. You almost have to relearn everything. I’m up for the challenge though. God bless Randy and his family. I can’t imagine the pain and suffering he went through and then lose in the end anyway.
    Day 12 today then 13 then 14 ect.

  8. i quit smoking in 1995 and got lung cancer in 2010. at this time I started to dip. I dipped till august 10, 2015. jan. 10 2016 will be 5 months dip free.. my husband and I both quit cold turkey. it was pretty bad but we have made it so far. we both still want a dip at times and have to fight off the urge to stop and buy a can of dip. the first thing I did was throw out all the cans of dip we had and made a pack not to buy any more. it was hard and still is but god willing we will not return to dipping. if we can do this you can also as we were heavy users for a very long time. very hard but not impossible.

  9. I deeply hope and pray for all the people who are suffering or have lost their lives to this crap. After quitting the long miserable habit of smoking I started to dip one can every few days since July 2015. After reading Randy’s story I quit right now. Washed my mouth with soap! and threw away the can. I do not know Randy or his family, but I can imagine the pain and suffering they must have endured. So in his honor and struggle to live I QUIT nicotine in all its forms. I just happened to land on this posting. My condolences and well wishes for Randy’s family. Thank you for this post.

    1. My last chew was August 10, 2015. I chewed a can to two cans a day for 30 years. My mouth feels good, my fingers aren’t yellow, my wallet has more money. With all this being said, the best thing about not chewing is the sense of accomplishment. I never imagined I would be able to do this. I wish everyone good luck with their battle with tobacco. It’s not easy but it is definitely worth it.

  10. I am 19. I have been dipping since I was 11. I quit one time but it only lasted a month. I have tried everything I can think of to quit. It is hard as hell and i don’t know how to quit and stay away from it. All my friends and family either smoke or dip. But after this story it has really showed me tobacco will kill you. I have a sore on the side of my mouth right now but am scared to go have it looked at. And guess what I have a dip in right now. It’s just so hard to quit when your around it 24/7.

    1. Blake nicotine is a very addictive substance, more addictive than heroin. Please talk to your doctor and find a tobacco cessation counselor near you. Using medications to quit and getting counseling with double your chances of quitting. You just need to keep trying. If you keep trying you will quit. And please see your dentist about your mouth. Learning what it is or isn’t will be better than avoiding it. You are so young. Quitting now would mean so much to your health.

      1. I know it’s hard to put down espically when you work in a place that is so face past and never stop 12hrs a day. Then you have to deal with asshole managers.

  11. I quit 16 days ago after chewing for 36 years. I have read Randy’s story and will stay QUIT for good. I can say that the cravings are extremely bad and I tend to lash out at my loved ones. I only hope that I haven’t damaged my relationship with my wife over chewing tabacco. I just hope my support system is there in the end!!!

  12. I’ve been chewing for almost 20 years. I just quit, on day 2. I quit for 5 days in May and caved into the temptation. This time i NEED to stay done. I feel sometimes like the damage is done….and it may already be. it’s dumb to just give up the fight. I have to quit now and hope it buys me 40 to 50 years of life. I’m 39 now…..I feel like if i don’t quit now, i’m dead in 15 years or less. If i had a crystal ball I’d know for sure….but since i don’t, I have two kids I’d like to see grow up. It’s MY TIME TO QUIT.

    1. I’m in the same boat as you, 42, with a 3 yrs old and 21 year old. I quit on the 8th of this month. I’m done, been chewing the shit out of this mentos gum. Good luck to you!!

    2. Dear Craig, I was 13 when my dad died of cancer, caused by smoking. I can’t even describe how that affected my life without crying and it’s been 55 yrs. ago. He was 39 years old and left 5 children under the age of 14. My youngest siblings don’t even remember him . Please quit for all the people that love you and would be devastated by your loss, but mostly quit for you. Love k

  13. Smokey Mountain Chew. Tobacco and nicotine free. It is helping me tremendously. It is just herbs.

  14. Hey all, I’m Evan and I’ve been dipping for the better part of 5 years. My dentist told me that if I don’t quit, I’m more than likely to develop mouth cancer within 6 months. That was 2 years ago and unfortunately I’m still dipping. Im genuinely a nice person, but if I go more than a few hours without a dip I get very angry. Can anyone out there provide some support as I try to kick this disgusting habit??

    1. Evan, quitting isn’t the easiest thing, but it helps to know what you are up against. You have a habit and an addiction. Using the mint chew, or some other substitute helps with the habit. The angry part — well that comes from the addiction to nicotine, and all of the other garbage they put in the snuff. I used nicotine losinges to help me taper down the nicotine addiction until I was ready to stop using the nicotine all together. If you dip a lot the nicotine levels in your body are pretty high, so you may want to try to taper. Once you quit the nicotine all together, they say you will be past the chemical addiction in about 3 days. It also helps to drink a LOT of water to help flush it out. That was my experience and I am now over 430 days past my 35 year dip-all-day-long habit. Good luck.

    2. Your Cravings only last about 3 to 5 min. Chew lots of gum maybe even eat more. I drank a lot of water as well. It’s mind over matter,,, all I did is think death or nail in casket. Good luck man, you can do it!!

  15. My name is Andrew i have been dipping for 9 almost 10 years i have tried to quit a few times i really want to throw it away i look at my kids and tell myself that i have to quit they are my life Randys story has got me thinking that this shit is not worth it what is the best way to go about quitting dipping

    1. Andrew,

      Just put it down COLD TURKEY. A good friend of mine is in surgery as I type this removing tongue and lymph node cancer. I found out he was diagnosed 5 days ago, and I sat down a pack of cigarettes a day, and two cans of snuff a day, 19 year addiction cold turkey. I’m 32, my buddy is 33. If I can quit so can you. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.

  16. After reading randy’s story I have made the decision to tonight. I just dumped five cans down the drain and it’s feels great, well at least now. So good luck to everyone, and I hope more people make the choice to quit.

  17. Prayers to the quitters to have the strength to stay quit! Thank you for sharing your stories. I almost bought a can tonight after 39 days tobacco free. These stories sent me the message, thank you.

  18. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Please pray for my husband. He dips and was told yesterday if the spot in his mouth gets worse, the doctor is going to send him to an oral surgeon to biopsy it. I was hoping for a scared straight effect, but it doesn’t look to be the case. Please pray he stops before its too late.

  19. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your dear friend Randy. I am new to this sight and am fighting my own battle with dip. I have stayed quit for 3 days now and it’s going to be one hell of a battle, but there is too much at stake. I’m truly blessed to have found this site.

  20. I have been battling quitting for the past year. I quit for 4 months and started again. My wife is greatly concerned about my risk for cancer and really wants me to quit for good. Reading this story flipped a switch in my brain, it made cancer a reality. It is not just a label on a can stating a warning, this is a promise, it WILL cause cancer. Randy’s story has inspired me to throw away the remainder of the last can of tobacco I will ever have. I just hope that I have not already done too much damage.

  21. My husband has stage four cancer it started from dipping Skoal tobacco year 2007 he took 35 rounds of raditions and was cancer free for 5 years and in 2007 he stopped cold turcky no more skoal for him 2012the cancer came back on his gums and had sugery they cut all the lower gums out one year later September2013 we find out he has stage four face neck lung and possibale kidney cancer now hes doing chemo please pray for him

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