Here we memorialize, remember and pay tribute to wonderful lives cut short by chemical dependency upon smoking nicotine. May remembrance of our friends and loved ones inspire youth to never start, smokers to quit, quitters to stay the course, and ex-smokers to relish life.
Share your memorial remembrance of a friend or loved one. Although not necessary, feel free to include a picture if so inclined. If you would like your e-mail address shared as a link beneath your name, so that smokers, quitters and journalists can contact you directly, please include the email address you want shared.
Our Memorial Remembrance
My parents were robbed of their Golden Years, my children were cheated out of having their Grandparents and I am orphaned NO thanks to smoking.
My Mom had a massive stroke March 8, 1996 the day before her 57th birthday NO thanks to smoking. She was so young, strong and determined that she actually began to recover and even began to drive again. She even started to smoke again. Sadly, just 9 months later, her miraculous recovery was interrupted by several more strokes and a COPD diagnosis. My Mom was a woman that was once so full strength that I only ever saw her cry once (a tear or two at my Grandfather's funeral). She was now suffering so deeply that she cried daily. She was living trapped in a body that would not work for her any longer – NO thanks to smoking.
My Dad tirelessly devoted himself to caring for her needs, but after 3 years he was emotionally, physically and financially exhausted. Concerned for my Dad, we moved them in with us. As you can imagine, this was quite an adjustment to add 2 adults to a family of 4 that included my husband, me and our 4 year old son and 7 year old daughter. I won't blow sunshine, there were some difficult times, but we concentrated our efforts on 'life as usual' and giving my parents back the 'normal'things that their lives were missing.
I remember my Dad once telling me that he didn't feel the loneliness that he had once felt and that he was grateful for all the noise the kids made because the previous silence was deafening. Together, we all lived as an extended family unit for 2 years until my Mom passed away from complications of advanced stages of COPD on September 21, 2004 – NO thanks to smoking. These 2 years were the hardest years of my life and yet I wouldn't trade some of the best laughs and the most precious moments. While both my Dad and I vowed to quit smoking, neither of us did.
My Dad said once that it took several years after losing my Mom before he felt that he had 'found his way' again. He stayed living with us. He found new joy in his Grandchildren, cooking meals, shopping, training the dog, poking around in the yard, and working on odd projects. One of his favorite projects was working on an old pick- up truck he bought. He would fix stuff on it, put pin stripes on it, wash it, buff it, you name it. He loved to just mess around with that truck. My husband and I would see him out the window and chuckle. He was so content and we loved that he was happy, again. He deserved it.
Then it happened, 6 years after losing my Mom, my Dad was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma (the dreaded lung cancer) at a routine physical in June, 2010. He had been cancer free for 15 years after being treated for cancer of the larynx (throat) when he was 55. The Doctors had told him back then that if he didn’t quit smoking that the odds were that cancer would find its way back in 5 years. He made it cancer free for 15 years.
We quit smoking together with this Stage 1 cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately, the Stage I diagnosis was short lived. Just several weeks after the upper lobe of his left lung was surgically removed in September, 2010, cancer was found spread to my Dad's feet, hands, legs, knees, ribs, back, neck, pelvis and skull in October, 2010. His diagnosis was escalated to Stage IV. My Dad and I 'quit quitting' smoking together feeling the devastation of his prognosis. He began radiation and chemo immediately with cautious hopes for slowing the dramatic cancer growth. One morning my Dad awoke and showed me that overnight a golf ball sized mound had grown on his collar bone. We showed this to his radiation oncologist that same day thinking that it had to be a reaction to a medication or the treatments, or something…..Their answer was an audible silence. This cancer was literally growing so fast that a tumor had appeared overnight - NO thanks to smoking.
On February 13th, 2011 (just 8 months after the routine physical found the shadows on the X-Ray), I became an orphan - NO thanks to smoking. Since then, I have a new addiction – not a single day goes by that I don’t think about how much I miss having them both in my life.
I took my final puff on 2/4/2013.
Your loving daughter always, Kelly
NOT ANOTHER PUFF, EVER!
My name is Michelle K. Smith. I'm 43 years old, and married with two kids, ages eight and five. Five years ago today, my father was killed in a house fire, started by careless cigarette smoking. I miss him every day of my life.
If you smoke, *stop* already, because it will kill you too. Maybe fast - like my Dad - or slowly - also like my Dad; he was in the agonizing end stages of emphysema, each breath an effort, rattling, wet, desperate. So maybe burning to death in a few minutes was a small mercy. Either way, it will kill you, and you may well take someone with you. Your wife, or your husband, or your baby will burn up or suffocate in the fire you started. Or they'll get lung cancer years down the road. Maybe it'll just be asthma, but your smoking will have hurt them as surely as if you'd placed a lit cigarette on their skin.
*Stop* already, because it will kill you, and the people who love you will miss you every day of their lives, and they will never get over it. They'll have gaping, raw, bleeding, jagged holes in their hearts and in their lives because you took yourself away too soon. Their heart will break over and over as they watch their kids grow up and know you aren't there to see. Worse, those kids won't get to know you - maybe not even meet you - and have to learn second-hand just how brilliant you were. Except when it came to smoking.
So just *stop* already.
Michelle K. Smith
I lost my dad James L. Miller on 3/6/2012 from heart failure caused by acute archelerosis of the arterys and veins. He passed so fast, he didnt even get to say goodbye. I know he would like to tell everyone who smokes "Please try to quit, or the smokes will make you quit." We tried day and night to make him quit, but he refused. After losing his left leg from circulation failure, he quit for 6 months, he started again. On his final journey, he finally died of circulation failure, blowing out his heart because of high blood pressure. I say to him now, safe journey.
Neil T. Curtis is survived by his nine-year-old daughter Kristen and his bride Debra. Neil died of lung cancer on July 10, 2011, just 37 days after diagnosis. He died a proud "recovering nicotine addict" who took comfort in the fact that his real killer - nicotine - was no longer circulating within, that he died a free man. A member of WhyQuit's support group Freedom, Neil's online stop smoking journal documents in detail his awakening and what was likely his most liberating journey ever.
Just four days after quitting, on January 14, as if prophesying the challenge to come, he wrote, "I now call myself a recovering nicotine addict rather than an ex-smoker, because it reminds me of the power of this addiction and disease." "I never know if, or when, that spot will show up on my chest x-ray, but I know if I have to face that type of situation, I want to face it as a non-smoking recovering nicotine addict, and I won't go down without a fight."
By January 17, day 8, Neal was feeling pride, enjoying deep breaths, no longer coughing and savoring a new found sense of smell. By day 11 he'd gained a few pounds but was already working on it and his optimism about continuing success was on the rise.
Neal's one month celebration evidences just how much his thinking had evolved. "I originally named my first post journal "4 Decades Of Lies" because I have been smoking for over 40 years. The lies I was talking about was aimed at the tobacco and pharmaceutical companies, and the government for letting them do all that lying to us. After working this program for the last month I came to realize that I was doing the lying to myself for all those years. I never "liked" or "loved" smoking, cigarettes were not my friend, it was not O.K. to substitute NRT for cigarettes and think I was doing myself a big favor (it always led me back to smoking anyway), I thought smoking was a bad habit, I told myself I wasn't addicted, it was alright to have just one while I was trying to quit. I thought I couldn't live without smoking, I would never be able to quit for the long haul, nicotine feedings were not my #1 priority, I could never go a whole day without wanting a cigarette, and one of my favorites - you have to die from something, why not smoking? Etc. Etc. Etc. They were all lies to keep me feeding myself nicotine."
On March 23 Neil wrote, Well, I'm on Day 73 today and all is going well. I'm loving my freedom and I feel very far away from the possibility of using nicotine. I haven't been quit so long that I forgot what it was like to have my life revolve aroung smoking, but I have been quit long enough to see how much better life is now that I'm finding the real me. I did gain about 10 pounds, as predicted, but I know that will soon come off. I'm finding I have a lot more time on my hands. I've already painted the whole outside of my house, and now I'm working on re-landscaping the entire back yard. (All with the money I've saved from not smoking!) It truly is getting better and better. YQB Neal - NTAP"
Neal celebrated three months of freedom by documenting his path in destroying his mind's use rationalizations. He entitled it "The Real Me Versus the Junky."
On May 2 he posted stating, "I noticed on my quit meter that I have saved $560 so far. I'm getting paid to feel good!!" And on May 9 he wrote, "I have really been enjoying all the extra time, money, and energy I have since getting rid of all the nicotine. I don't ever want to go back to where I was."
And then it happened. It was June 16, 2011 when Neal shared the shocking news of his stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis, that it had already spread to his lymph nodes, thyroid and stomach. "We have to always be vigilant and realize the deadlyness of this addiction we are fighting. I don't want any of you to experience the feeling I now get when my 9 year old daughter looks to me with all the Love in her eyes. I have no idea of what the future holds for me. I know because of the great people on this site that I will face my future as a non-smoker."
Some might be tempted to use Neal's journal as justification for that next fix, that he died of lung cancer anyway. But he clearly hoped others would learn from his shared awakening and end their self destruction while still time. Actually he went further. On February 9, 2011 he shared the dream that you "aspire to inspire before you expire." May Neal's wish come true. May there still be sufficient time for your own recovery to inspire others to follow.
John R. Polito
My stepfather Macklin Wayne Riley-Miller was diagnosed with lung cancer and brain cancer after having an automobile accident on my 30th birthday, May 25, 2007. He fought his battle with cancer for almost 2 years, succombing to brain, lung, and adrenal gland cancer March 29, 2009. He had smoked cigarettes for years and nothing seemed to make him want to quit, that is, until he received the lung cancer diagnosis.
In Loving Memory of:
Macklin Wayne Riley-Miller
September 29, 1951 to March 29, 2009
Submitted by: Khristella Joseph, Port Arthur, Texas
My dad died at 51 years of age on July 9th, 2010. I have waited a while to write this because I thought it would be easier if I let more time passÃ¢ÂÂ¦It is still hard but I just have to let people know about his battle with addiction.
He was soooo addicted to cigarettes. When he was first diagnosed with lung cancer I remember watching him in the hospital room just tapping his fingers, chewing tons of gum, pacing and doing whatever he could to keep his mind off of smoking since he could not smoke in the hospital. He was also wearing a nicotine patch that was provided by the hospital. He was so visibly agitated and going through serious withdrawal the whole time he was there. He felt that if he could just have 1 cigarette everything would be so much better.
I don't think he had been without a cigarette in his hand in 20+ years. It made me so sad to watch my dad (who I always thought of as the strongest man on earth) go through such a hard time due to this addition. It was at this time that I realized that this addiction was truly going to defeat him. He never quit smoking. In fact, the minute he left the hospital after being diagnosed he lit up a cigarette. My dad's addiction to cigarettes was the most important thing in the world to him. He lived for cigarettes and he died for cigarettes. He would go without food, water, clothing, electricity or even shelter before he would go without nicotine. He lived for 2 and a half years after being diagnosed with lung cancer. By the time he died he was up to 5 or 6 packs of cigarettes a day. It was horrible watching him waste away for those last couple of years and the he was in a substantial amount of pain.
Just a few things I wanted to remember and say about my dad: Even up until the end of his life my dad was a kid at heart and loved playing video games, he loved his grandbabies and would always laugh and make jokes about everything, he was so witty and always had to be up to date on the latest news and events around the world. He loved to learn new things and reading science fiction books was his passion. He loved to listen to everyone elseÃ¢ÂÂs life stories and problems and even when he was facing such horrible problems of his own, he never complained. Family was so important to him and he really felt bad for letting us all down by getting lung cancer. Making other people happy was always so important to him and whenever a guest came to the house no matter how sick he was he always made sure to get them a drink or at least asked if they wanted anything and if they were comfortable.
A lot of smokers will say "well you have to die of something" in order to defend their addiction. I always wonder why on earth would you want to pick to die that way? Yes we all die of something, but why choose that? I bet that the people who have died from cigarettes, if given a chance to do it all over again, would not have picked that path. It also bothers me so much when people say smoking is just "a hard habit to break". Do they honestly think that people are dying because of a habit? Nobody dies because of a habit. These people are battling full-blown addictions to nicotine.
Watching my dad suffer and die from Lung Cancer was one of the saddest things I have ever experienced in my life. In writing about this I am hoping that my experience will help at least one other family to not have to go through this. Life is so short, it seems such a waste to pay a cigarette company to slowly kill you. That is what my dad did. He literally paid the cigarette company on a daily basis in exchange for toxic chemicals to be introduced into his body until it eventually killed him. It is so sad reallyÃ¢ÂÂ¦ Please try to stop smoking, and if you fail, try again and again and again, until you succeed. Think about how horrible it would be to have your family member writing about you on here.
My sister Cathi aged 50 died from smoking. She started when she was 11 and never could quit, not when pregnant. This past summer of 2010, she developed chest pains and a stent was used but that didn't do the trick. She needed a bypass on September 20, other than the damage done to her veins & arteries, she was a good candidate. Her prognosis was excellent. But after the open heart seemed to go really well, she developed collapsed artery. Then it was another open heart. Then they wanted to amputate her legs. She died within 36 hours. She only weighed 124 but left in a body bag at 205. She was really petite and cared so much about how she looked. She was divorced and ready to leave for a Hawaiian wedding. That was never to be.
Anybody out there that thinks smoking is cool should have seen what it did to my sister's young body. She died a very barbaric death. It is absolutely hell for those left behind. She'll never see her beautiful daughter marry nor her only son. She'll never see her grandchildren.
Most of us think it's cancer that gets smokers, I think heart is the real killer among women. Your risks double and the younger you are diagnosed the more fatal it is. I was shocked when I looked it up online. It seems like men have an advantage that women do not have.
Also because of smoking, I wasn't around my sister a whole lot because I would develop a migraine from second hand smoke. We would talk on the phone daily as I moved to another state 2 years before she died. She smoked until the ambulance pulled in the driveway. I know she took the pill as well. That is a lethal combo as well.
I never in a million years thought my Beloved sister would die at 50 (life begins at 50) but here I am writing to you. Weeks turn into months and before long , you are dying or losing your healthy heart. If I can talk one person out of smoking, I'll rest in peace.
I quit twice after smoking and haven't had one since 1989 and I am 55, it can be done if you learn to hate it. I have no desire to smoke and haven't in years. Your mind is stronger than you realize.
Please don't follow in Cathi's foot steps. Don't put yourself through it nor your family. Sometimes it gets you a lot younger than you plan on.
My beautiful mom passed away on 5 Jan 2010 at the age of 61. She had been smoking since she was about 18. She was diagnosed only 6 months beforehandÂ in July 2009. Hers was a brief fight, but oh so difficult! She went through severe chemotherapy, even though we knew that the cancer was incurable. It had already spread to her lymph nodes and it looked as though she had 2 soccer balls on either side of her neck. She started the battle so positively, but the chemo slowly takes it's toll. She had 6 sessions, but there was no change. In fact, new spots had appeared on her lungs. They stopped chemo and decided to try radiation to relieve the symptoms. She was ecstatic as she could now eat again :) But stopping the chemo meant that the cancer just ran rampant. She died 3 weeks later.
How do you get over something like this? I stopped smoking 5 years ago and have stupidly been smoking again for the last 4 months. This site has inspired me to NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF! Starting right now. I don't care how difficult it is!
Losing my mom has been the hardest thing. She was so vibrant and full of life, a keen golfer and a wonderful friend. I am an only-child and I feel the void each and every day. I have just bought a house, gotten a new dog, am starting a business and have the most wonderful man in my lifeÂ and yet I cannot share any of these joys with her. The memory of her last few months haunts me. She was in so much pain and couldn't breathe. Watching your loved one go through something like this is heartbreaking and if this email stops just one person from taking a puff, then I feel that it's worth it.
On June 16, 2010 I had to say goodbye to my best friend, my younger brother Ron who died of advanced lung cancer - adenocarcinoma. He was 59 years old. He smoked since he was a young teenager as did I and eight brothers and sisters. Only one sister never smoked but she died of breast cancer. So once there were ten of us and now we are five. Three other brothers also died of cancer and I'm sure it was all related to smoking. Our father smoked but not our Mom.
Ron was a kind and generous soul and we were best friends. He never married but he helped me through two marriages, both of them ending in my husbands' deaths. He helped me with my three children who are now grown with families of their own. I quit smoking in 2008, cold turkey, with the help of this website and I tried to get him to quit too. He would, for maybe a day or two, but then just went right back to a two and sometimes three- pack-a-day dependency.
Losing Ron has left a tremendous hole in my heart. We were very close since we were little. I wish everyone would quit and put the tobacco industry out of business.
I am now in the process of clearing out and cleaning out his house and disposing of his belongings. My heart aches for him and all he left behind. He was only in the hospital for three days and we only knew for ONE DAY that he had this cancer. ONE DAY! It was as if he decided to just give up but I know he wanted to live. We were planning a trip and making other plans when he started having trouble breathing and felt chest pain. We went to the hospital because of the chest pain and never suspected that it was what it was. My heart is broken and I will miss him for the rest of my days.
WhyQuit.com has my everlasting gratitude for helping me to quit. I recommend it to everyone. I will never take another puff, ever. Thank you.
I am writing this remembrance of my dad Andy who died at 55 in 1984 of adenocarcinoma of the lung. He was a lifelong smoker, just like everyone in my family. Both of my parents smoked. I was hooked on nicotine in the womb. I couldn't wait to light up my own cigarette at 12 years old. I had had to settle for second hand smoke from my parents. I used to stand by them and inhale deeply.
Thank Yah, my mom has been off cigarettes for 10 years now. She just turned 80, after smoking 55 years. My dad didn't grow up around smoking, as I don't believe his parents smoked. When I started putting the pieces together, I had still thought I was bullet proof. I thought my long term nutritional lifestyle made up for my smoking. I told myself that I wasn't the "type" to get cancer. Then I remembered ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ¦ I grew up with two smokers. They smoked non-stop in the house in the car, they never "stepped out for a smoke."
I have coughed since I was born. I had constant strep throat, bronchitis, and "allergies," which my mom treated with antibiotics and antihistamines. I had a runny nose since I was born. I had a mental illness: denial. I watched my father suffer. They gave him 6 months. But, Dad made a liar out of them; he lived 6 months and 11 days.
I have been clean of cigarettes for a year, but still am hooked on NRT. My latest is e-cigarettes. To be honest, they are getting me off the lozenges, and the vapor seems to help my lung function. I am going to be nicotine free soon. That is why I come to this website to set my mind straight with facts, and gets me out of my denial.
My daughter smokes. She smokes in her car with her kids, in her house with her kids, she is me 20 years ago. Selfish and in denial. I told her I have COPD, and even that is not getting her off those death sticks. Mine isn't too bad, though. My cough is almost gone, and I am improving my endurance with regular work outs and keeping A SMOKE FREE ENVIRONMENT.
I read the memorials, and I see my dad all over the place. I was his birthday baby, and I lost him when I was 33. My brother died two years ago at 58. He had hepato cellular carcinoma (liver cancer). He, too, was a lifelong cigarette smoker . He otherwise qualified for a liver transplant, but the doctors called it off because he had blood clots in his lungs and could not be safely put under for the surgery. My brother died because he smoked. I am just a year and a half younger than he was, and he was dead!
My daughter is doing a powerpoint presentation on Quitting Smoking for a college class, and I knew exactly where to come get the data for the project. I am helping her do this so that I can get her to quit, as she tries to get an "A" in the class. She spent many years doing meth, and Yah only knows how much she smoked then. My grandkids will never see me smoke. I have it written in my will, that cigarette smokers are exempt from my cash, hahahaha!
In the end, I don't want to go the way my dad did, and I think I stopped in time. Now I have to pay it forward, and get my kid to quit, so that this vicious cycle of familial addiction STOPS HERE ... IT STOPS NOW. My dad would be so happy to know that no one in his immediate family smokes any longer. It is now our job to make sure our kids and grandkids don't or won't ever smoke.
Postscript; (One year later...) My mom just got out of the hospital. They found her bladder full of cancer. We are waiting on the pathology reports to find out what the staging is. Bladder cancer like hers keeps coming back 85% of the time. When she was telling the doctors about her symptoms, the first thing he asked her was, "Are you a smoker or former smoker?" He immediately called for CT Scan. My mom also has Albuteral for her emphysema now too. My mom did not escape. Watching my dad die of lung cancer didn't get any of us to quit then. Every day you smoke, is one day closer to not escaping the trap of horrible death and pain. If you smoke now, QUIT ! I pray for all of you, I pray for my mom, and I pray for myself... I am off the NRT now! I am free...
In Messiah of Care,
|66||06/22/10||My loving Brother in law Jack Oram lost his battle with lung cancer which had spread to his brain by the time of his diagnosis in Jan of 09. He was my husbands best friend, big brother, a husband father and one of the great loves of my life in the way one is when not lovers but deep and dear friends. He was a renowned scientist, a musician a gatherer of people of lover of life and all that it held. Three part harmonies will forever be silent without him beside us.
He had quit smoking in his early 30's just decided one day enough was enough, and then some years later( about 13) just started up again. When I asked him why( I was still a smoker) but could not fathom a near 13 year quit just gone( see me snap my fingers) just like that, up in smoke.
His reply was we each have a pack life, and now that I have quit so long I can smoke until my golden years.
Imagine my look of dumbfounded you are a crazy arse and they pay you 100's of thousands of dollars to come up with that crap.. I mean did you get a grant to research something so asinine? Truly this brilliant and I do mean brilliant man. This radiant heart this friend of my married lifetime SAID that.
And you know what, it would be years before I GOT IT, he may have been brilliant but he was a addict/ junkie and the junkie brain spoke smooth and whispered and he forgot there isn't any such thing as 'just one"
And so given 4 mo to live but lasting 14 mo, we tried to believe in a miracle, we prayed each of us in our own way, we spoke of days gone by and he, his brother my Bob and our grandson the only male heir to the name even had some great beach and a great day long train trip. But in the end it was care, and sharing care giving( we were so lucky to live so close and it was his losing his ability to think, recall words( this man who traveled the world and gave scientific talks on lipids and peptides) he could not get thru a local paper cross word although years he had spent Sundays doing the New York Times in pen.
And we cried, and I buried him monthly, and I hoped beyond hope but after a time watching his suffering his dignity gone, his joy, his lust for life, although he WANTED to live was enough to break the most warrior of spirits.
So on March 31,2010 exactly 14 mo from the day he was told he had lung cancer we sat at the dark of morning with his body as he had left this life. And his brother my husband cannot grieve, but his loss is palpable, and our entire family asks what, now as he represented the elder statesman. Who was a young 64 when he died.
One of the things he said to me shortly after his diagnosis, was ' a week ago I was still making fun at your expense, because you chose to make some pretty big life changes". "Now I realize you truly are the smart one" . I cried because I knew his brother , my husband who smoked and had survived cancer and other life threatening ills was still going to smoke, and I knew Jack was so sorry for his inability to stay the path.
BUT I also knew I had less then 8 yrs in my smobriety bag and he had quit for 13, so it was imperative that although I believed nothing would ever make me smoke, I needed to make certain nothing did. And so every day, I still read, I still express gratitude and I still walk with the caution one might give to a strange new neighborhood on a dark unlit street. By that I mean I pay close attention.
Of course I also have this magnificent love of family, that I will hold as a beacon thru I believe many lifetimes and I shall shine for all those who lost the battle and for all those beautiful children who I will model a smoke free existence for.
In memory of John Fisher Oram Jr. Please if you smoke stop, and please think of all those who will never be the same if you choose to let this be the cause of your lifes end.
With Love in Sadness
Last month I lost my mother. Looking at her death certificate, I was shocked, but not surprised, that she had emphysema. She had been a smoker for 50 years. When I was 9 or 10, I saw the Surgeon General's warning on one of her packs. For the next 25 years, my pleas for her to quit always feel on deaf ears. She comes from a family of smokers; on top of that, my dad died of heart problems and arteriosclerosis, brought on by smoking. Her brother was a longtime smoker who is, as of now, still alive, but in bad shape. Three of his four children, the oldest born in 1955, smoke.
I now have rhinitis and other allergy problems. I am told that it may be related to second-hand smoke as a child. My mother and her family had a sneerful attitude towards anti-smoking efforts. When I first warned her, she gave me excuses, the most notable being. "People have a right to smoke". Seeing what we see now as opposed to the 1970s, I was prophetic as a child. I have so many horror stories regarding smoking I don't know where to start. I would like to lend my mother's image and story to some anti-smoking campaign that would like it.
I don't know how to send pictures over the Internet; as I don't have my own computer. I have uncovered scores of old photographs, including dozens from my mother's and father's wedding. A couple of photos have my mother holding the then 1-year-old aforementioned niece, putting a pack of Winstons in her mouth. When last I saw her, she picked up the habit.
I just discovered your memorial and I'll try to read it further when I can. I hope that you can help provide some solace over the way tobacco killed both my parents, and now that that has passed, may be looking for further victims, including some of my other relatives.
My father Ron Thomasson passed away 1/20/2009 due to complications from lung cancer at the age of 72. The last time I saw him was Christmas 2008 when I took this picture. The chemo had made his hair fall out and he was still smoking! I had not spoken to him in 5 years when my grandmother called and told me he was dying. My father had other addictions too.
Thankfully, I had already quit my 32 year nicotine addiction. He smoked 2 packs a day his whole life. When I was a kid I would watch him go to his room and smoke one after another while laying in bed reading. By the time he was done the ash tray would be spilling into the floor. There were nicotine stains all over the house, even the light switches and plug outlets were coated with brown.
I am glad when he passed he knew I was no longer smoking. But the sad thing is even though I had been smoke free at the time of his death for 8 months I thought about using his death as an excuse to light up! Anybody would understand right? I am so glad I didn't do that! This is a horrible life robbing addiction and as Ronnie would say...never let your guard down.
Rest in piece pops.
This memorial memory is for 2 very close friends, both were very heavy smokers for over 40 years and both died from small cell lung cancer within a week of each other. These 2 ladies had never met but both were close to me. One was my boss' wife, our Vice President of our small company and the other was my next door neighbor for 10 years. They were diagnosed with cancer about 6 weeks of each other, the same kind of cancer, and died soon after.
This was my wake up call. I smoked for 35 years. I remember when I took my first cigarette at age 14, it was with my best friend. Her mother died from emphysema from smoking. I remember how I smoked in the restroom at school, never got caught but my friends did. 5 day suspension. I remember that I met my the man of my dreams and I tried to quit then. He wasn't the man of my dreams but I did find someone. I remember looking at my mom lying in her casket at age 50. She died from smoking related heart disease. I remember how I railed at God for taking her from me. But even that didn't stop me.
I remember sneaking out of the hospital after delivering my 3rd child, to have a smoke. Couldn't go even 6 hours without smoking. My doctor was to have written notes to let me go out and smoke. I remember when I interviewed for my current job. The Vice President said I would fit right in, I smoked. I also remember seeing her after she was diagnosed with the cancer. She looked like a little old lady. I saw my neighbor lady after she was diagnosed, stooped over and could barely walk. She was using a walker. I remember both of them at their funerals. I remember the wasted look of both. The disease had eaten them up. This not how I want to be remembered. This is not how I want to go out of this life.
If you smoke, quit now before it is too late. If you don't smoke, don't ever start. This could be your wake up call, like I had. Yes, it has only been 6 days but I will never take one more puff.
As we have weathered the protracted crisis of my 23-year-old son's diagnosis and battle with renal cell (kidney) cancer, our friends, family, co-workers, and even casual acquaintances have kindly and generously offered to help. They have brought food and drink and comfort. Tragically, real help has been out of their reach and ours, out of the reach even of the experts in cancer treatment. Quentin's disease progresses inexorably, and we expect that it will overtake him soon. But nevertheless, there is one thing that every one of the people touched by Quentin's illness can do to help. Here is my request.
If you smoke, quit. Do it today. If you know someone who smokes, ask him/her to quit. Today. Pledge to not give one more penny to the tobacco companies who have profited from the addiction and suffering and deaths of millions. Acknowledge that every time you smoke, you model the behavior of smoking for children, youth, and young adults around you; with every cigarette, you are culpable in some measure for their addiction as well as your own. Pledge to never again be part of the culture of smoking.
The statistics offered by the University Hospital hereditary cancer clinic say that one in three people is stricken with cancer. There are many risk factors and much is yet unknown, but the clearest evidence links cancer to tobacco use. Of everything in Quentin's background and family history, the one and only factor they determined that increased his cancer risk was tobacco use.
losojos01 at aol.com
September 10, 2009 Update
"My son Quentin died this morning"
After a 14-month battle with renal cell (kidney) cancer, Quentin passed away this morning at 7:08am. His final hours as an inpatient at Collier Hospice Care Center were relatively peaceful, pain-free, and dignified.
I will publish an obituary in the Denver Post and in the Toronto Star newspapers. We will hold a memorial celebration of Quentin's life late next week, time and place to be determined.
I was only 19 when we found out what it was that was making my father so sick and not able to breath. And yes he had smoked until he was around 40. That is what I am now. He had Alpha-1 Antitrypsin. It's a genetic disorder that affects the lungs on the liver. Since my Dad smoked, it affected his lungs, he had advanced emphysema.
My father was always a "unique" individual, one-of-a-kind. At the start, he was getting these plasma injections, which at that time they were not able to test for aids. I remember meeting him at the doctors to be with him for his 1st Plasma treatment, since I worked at the Clinic/Hospital anyways. He was scared, I was scrared and I cried with him. He was put on the list for a lung transplant in 1993. Usually it only takes about 2 to 6 months to find a donor. BUT NNNOOO....NOT MY DAD! Again, he played his unique card. It took them until October 1995 to find a donor due to the "unique and rare" tissue in my fathers lungs.
My sister got married on Sept 30, 1995 and my brother had to dance with my sister because my father couldn't. He had to take her down the aisle in his battery operated scooter. I cried. It tore my heart out. But he was proud to be there. On that day, we did not expect my father to make it to Christmas. He stood 6'3" and weighed about 75 lbs by this time. And he only had a breathing capacity of about 10%. The week my sister got back from her honeymoon, we got the call. Dad was on his way to Shands in Gainesville, FL to get his lung. (We live in Clearwater, FL which is about a 3-4 hour drive.)
I met my sister and her new husband and we rode up together. It's a good thing too because I could not stop crying. I was always Daddy's Little Girl. And I was a wreck!!! We all met at the hospital, by that time they were just prepping my dad for surgery. So at least we all got to see him and tell him that we loved him before surgery. It was a 19 hour long ordeal, and we all waited around the hospital until we got the news. He was out of surgery, but we could not see him until the next day. Everything was looking up from there. They told us that with the new lung and my Dad's disease, that we can expect him to be around for another 5 to 7 years. Okay, I can deal with that. I still had my Daddy!!
In time we all forgot about things because all was pretty much back to normal...at least what normal is for my family..(LOL). Here is was December 2007, just over 12 years later, Dad was still here. And we knew that his breathing capacity was already down to about 15% again, and ready to go back on oxygen 24/7. He waited. March 6, 2008, they rushed him to the hospital. And we were told that this was it, Daddy was dying. We were all called to the hospital to have a one-on-one with Dad. He asked each one of us want it was that we wanted of his. I told him..."All I want is you Daddy."
They did surgery on him the morning on March 9, 2008 to put a feeding tube into his stomach, so that way he could as least get some nutrition and at least make it comfortable. I went and saw him on my lunch from work, and it was horrible. He was in so much pain from the air in his stomack cavity, that I don't even think he knew I was there. I had to go back to work, but I waited until my Mom and sister got there. I couldn't leave him alone, not like that. Well I got out of work about 5pm and went straight to the hospital where I met my Mom and sister coming out. They told me that it was senseless for me to go in because he would not even know I was there, he was still in the same shape as when I was there at lunch. He was still screaming about the pain.
Later that night, about 10pm, I was at Mom's, and the phone rang. She picked it up. I stood there and watched her close her eyes and sigh....I knew it was the hospital....Dad died. So we got in her car, I drove, we started calling all the siblings (brother and 2 sisters), to get to the hospital Daddy's dead. I was driving like a bat out of hell to get there, Mom's telling me to slow down. I couldn't...this was Daddy!!! Plus, by this time, I was angry!!!!! Angry at my Mother and sister for making me leave earlier that evening. I could have been there with Daddy when he died! At least he wouldn't have been alone!
We laid my father to rest on March 17th, St. Patricks Day, 2008. He broke the records for the length of time he lived with a donated organ. Doctors told us that he would get another 5-7 years and a donated organ. HE LASTED 12 1/2..... They papers and news stations did a special story on him because of it. I miss my father so much it still hurts.If you "GOOGLE" his name, Allan R. Wilton, you can read the article from the paper.
Daddy, your Little Girl" misses you terribly, but I am at peace knowing you are were you can breath again.
I miss you, I love you and I am Sorry. (only you know why.)
We lost my father in-law to lung cancer at 52. He was one of the greatest men I have ever known. He was the kind of man that would do anything for anyone. The one thing he couldn't do was quit smoking. He loved life and always told us that nothing material matter only people and I now understand what he meant.
He was diagnosed in January of 2005. He fought hard and did really well until October of that year. Then everything went down hill. We spent Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in the hospital with him. We all watched him go through the most agonizing process of dying. They were giving him liquid pain medication because he could no longer swallow and he accidently overdosed on it. Then his kidneys started shutting down. They told him there was nothing else they could do. We lost him 3 days later on December 24th, 2005. We had to watch the fluid from his lungs bubbling up into his mouth and having to be suctioned out until the very end. I would do it again in a heart beat but I don't wish it upon anyone.
His granddaughter/my daughter was his "baby doll" and was 4 at the time. She now tells classmates and teachers about why you shouldn't smoke. I just hope it sticks with her and she never tries it. All I can do is keep telling her about it.
If anything, all I can say is please try to quit now. It's never too late to try. Give yourself that second chance to spend as much time with your family as you can.
We still miss him every day. It never gets easier you just get better at dealing with it. Good luck to all who are trying to quit. I have never smoked but I started reading the whyquit.com website because of a friend of mine who quit almost 11 months ago. It really helps you understand how hard it is for them to quit. My parents have been trying for years. It is, in reality, an addiction just like any other and it needs to be treated that way. You don't just wake up one day and stop. It is an every day struggle.
I received a call on Saturday March 15th 2008 looking for "next of kin" because my dad was gravely ill and in intensive care. Even though I had not seen him in almost 20 years when this call came, I knew in my heart that whatever was going on with him was directly related to smoking. My dad was a lifelong smoker. Every memory of him, he's holding a cigarette in his hand. I have childhood photos depicting the same. My sisters and I went right up to New Hampshire where he was living at the time. The doctors believed initially that he had suffered a stroke, and a seizure, however, his biggest problem seemed to be his lungs. The doctors described his lungs as "mush". He just couldn't breathe on his own anymore.
We stayed by his side until his death a week later. Chronic lung disease/COPD was what they decided to have his death certificate read. It could have been a list of things, because "smoking" was really behind all of the "conditions" that he experienced. I myself was nicotine free two years at the time of his illness. Over the years I have quit a million times, but always somehow "justified" going back to it. Through my father's death from smoking I have been given a gift. This heart wrenching "gift" came at the expense of my father's life. The "gift" of seeing first hand what smoking does to a person, someone I loved ... to my dad ... I believe it's sealed the deal that I won't go back to it, I pray, EVER.
I celebrated three years nicotine free this past March.
In memory of my dad, I celebrate the "gift" of life.
Love you Dad.
My dad passed away April 2, 2009. He smoked 2 1/2 packs a day most of his life. He quit after he was found on the floor passed out barely breathing from severe emphysema. He quit smoking when he went into the hospital.
My dad lived for five years with severe emphysema. He was on oxygen almost 24/7, he took lots of medications and could not hardly walk across the room. He did manage to live on his own the whole time until two weeks before his death.
He will be remembered by most people as having a sunny disposition and not complaining much. His goal in his last years was to make someone smile every day, he was a constant joke teller right up until he couldn't talk anymore. You see it took all the energy he had just to breath, his struggle the last days was the most horrible thing I have ever had to witness. Hospice made him a comfortable as they could with medication, and the dignified manner in which they took care of him.
I quit cold turkey almost four years ago. I will contribute my quit to my dad. I knew after seeing him gasp for every breath that I did not want to die from a smoking related illness. I wish I could have taken all the smokers I love in to see my dad in his last hours, maybe that would give them the strength the need to quit cold turkey.
To all of you out there thinking of quitting, please do it before it's too late.
Kayla S. Bush
My mom and dad smoked most of their lives and both died young as a result. My mother had a stroke and ended up on a ventilator and in a coma until she died. My father died shortly afterwards due to emphysema and brain cancer. He made the ambulance driver wait for him to finish his smoke before he went to the hospital!
I watched them both waste away and endure unbelievable pain and suffering. However.. I kept on smoking. Until I found why quit. It's been almost 2 months for me and I will never smoke again. I wanted to quit for a long time but never thought I could after 35 years. Well here I am living proof it can be done. I have 3 children and I never want my kids to go through watching that happen to me. There is no guarantee that all those years of smoking won't have an effect on my life, but from now on I will make it better. To all of you reading this, please stop now before it's too late.
My Father's Footsteps: My father started smoking when he was 22. So did I. He later developed hypertension and elevated cholesterol levels. So did I. I'm 42 now. The rest of the story I would like to be able to leave off the "so did I."
If I recall correctly, he quit smoking when he was in his upper 50's. He started having mini-strokes and heart problems, and had to retire early for health reasons at age 63 or so. At age 75, he was in and out of the hospital several times with emphysema, congestive heart failure, pacemaker/defibrillator placement, and a hip fracture.
My parents planned a big party/family reunion to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversaryÃÂÃÂ planning began about a year in advance. The party was set for June 26, 2005. My father fractured his hip in March 2005 and was in and out of hospitals and nursing homes from that point on, until about two weeks before the party. Amazingly, he was well enough to be discharged home from the nursing home, and did attend the party with my mother and many family and friends on June 26. That's where the photo of him was taken that I put on my page.
Not long after the anniversary celebration, he was back in the hospital, treated for emphysema and congestive heart failure. He had a c-pap machine assisting him with his breathing, IV medication to help regulate his heart and reduce the fluid build-up in his lungs.
On July 21, 2005 it was clear that the end was coming quickly. With my mother, brother and sister, we decided to stop trying to hang on to him. We made the decision to stop the IV medication and the C-pap. We had the defibrillator function of his pacemaker turned off so that when he passed it would not try to shock his heart back to life. We continued the oxygen he was receiving as well as the morphine to keep him comfortable. The most difficult thing I have ever done in my life was to stand at his bedside with my family and watch as he gasped his last breath at 8:10 on that evening.
I don't expect to live forever in this world, but I don't want to go like that ... desperately gasping for air. I don't want to follow that closely in my father's footsteps.
We lost our mother, Louise, December 8, 2002 to lung cancer. She smoked two packs-a-day and could not quit. She started getting sick around Thanksgiving that year and finally on December 3 my dad had to call 911 because she couldn't breath. After being tested in the hospital she was diagnosed with lung cancer and renal failure and died FIVE days later. She would be alive today if she did not smoke. She was only 69 years old.
I wish she would have gotten a second chance. I miss her very much.
My first husband died of lung cancer. He continued to smoke for as long as he could until he died. He even lied to me and snuck smokes for as long as he could after being diagnosed until finally one of his friends let it slip. Every time he lit up was like a knife in my heart because I felt like he didn't love me enough to even try to live while i was killing myself trying to find a way to get him medical care with no insurance, then attend his appointments with him while holding down a full time job and a part time job. I just couldn't understand.
I still remember the first time my stepdaughter lit up in front of me -- all these years later I still feel sick when I remember that. That is the only time in my life I regret NOT hitting someone. I still can't believe she started smoking after watching her father die so horribly.
As the only non-smoker in my circle of friends & co-workers (back when smoking was allowed in workplaces routinely) I would endlessly hear about non-smoking sections and other "infringements" of their smoking rights. Meanwhile I was constantly having colds, sinusitis and bronchitis. After years of illness I was finally diagnosed with asthma. Think anybody quit smoking? Nope! At one point I was living with 3 smoking roomates and hacking my lungs out constantly and they kept insisting I had allergies!!!
Well, lo and behold, my present husband quit smoking, we moved several states away from all our smoking friends, and I haven't had a single episode of bronchitis since. Meanwhile two of my smoking circle of friends have died -- one in his 40's of circulatory-related problems and one in her early 60's of a stroke precipitated by a big ol' heart attack. His widow and her daughter still puffing away!!! Whenever I go to visit them I come home sick and stinky. I still love them but spending time with them really costs me and can really be a drag. Every time I turn around I have to wait for my friend to have or finish or roll a cigarette. I counted one day. I spent 45 minutes in one day just waiting for her to finish her cigarette before we went into the house or store or restaurant or whatever. She was SO considerate about not smoking in my car...but every drive of more than a half hour included ten minutes on each end so she could stand outside the car and smoke a cigarette while I waited. UGH! To think of all the years I sacrificed breathing clean air in order to spend time with the people I loved. Except for my 2nd husband, they sure haven't sacrificed smoking to spend time with me!
I've resigned myself to watching them sicken and die too. I've also realized the need to cultivate some healthier friends that I can hope to enjoy growing old with. Smoking weakens relationships as well as bodies. When you watch someone live in denial about doing something so self destructive for so long it definitely affects your feelings for that person and relationship.
As a non-smoker I have washed more nicotine off my walls, out of my car and hair and clothes than you'd believe. I have had cigarette holes in handmade quilts (first hubby burnt both smoking in bed, one didn't even make it 24 hours after I finished it before it had a burn hole.) My (new!) car upholstery, and burn marks on the bathroom countertops. I found a piece of my tupperware with a cigarette burn in it that no smoker in the house would own up to. And butts all over the driveway and lawn -- after providing a can for disposing of them -- and how hard is it to field strip a cigarette anyway? I lost a year's worth of decent sleep because my first husband smoked in his sleep and wouldn't stop!!! Eventually I'd snap wide awake at the click of a lighter and watch him SMOKE in his SLEEP in the bed! (don't ask what I had to do to make him stop -- I was afraid of dying in a house fire and it wasn't pretty but I HAD to get him to stop. Asking didn't work.) literally and figuratively, I've been dealing with other people's smoking and it's consequences my whole adult life. Every time I see someone smoking, looking all old and haggard and prematurely aged, I thank GOD I never started. that could so easily have been me.
My dad died of pancreatic cancer with metastasis when he was 42. It was a long time ago and I still miss him. He was a 3-pack a day smoker and he used big ashtrays which were always stuffed with cigarette butts. Larks was the brand he smoked and it had a charcoal filter that was supposed to make them safer to smoke. The charcoal filter was his only concession that cigarettes might be bad for you.
We could always spot him in a crowd because he towered over most people. He went from being a smiling and handsome 6'3" man to a skeletal ghost in four months. He smoked up until the third day before he died, when he went into a coma. He never once tried quitting. He had a full head of wavy black hair which he kept until the end. His hair still looked young even though he looked about 80 years old. We didn't know how the funeral home was ever going to make him look like himself since he only weighed about 100 lbs, but they came through and he looked good at his funeral.
I was 19 when he died and I couldn't get over it for several years. I used to sneak his cigarettes and was hooked by age 13. I once quit for 9 months and picked it up again the day my dad died. Now I feel ashamed for having used his death as an excuse to continue smoking. In fact, I smoked for 44 years, more years than my dad even lived. For some unbidden but welcome reason, I have been able to quit smoking for 93 days. For the first time I think I can actually keep a quit now that I have educated myself about nicotine addition. My dad was a big reader. I wish WhyQuit was around when he was a smoker -- he might have saved his own life. I think there's still time to save mine.
I am Amanda Johnson. I lost my grandfather in January of 2008. I do not have a tragic story of a man's life cut short by smoking. In fact, despite smoking for 50 years he lived to the age of 78. However smoking had a huge effect on his quality of life. The last 4 or 5 years of his life COPD made many things impossible for this active man. He rarely left the house due to the embrassment of getting out of breath. He would wear out just walking from his room to the living room at family functions. This is a man who adored his family. He would have done anything for any of us. Yet many times his health simply would not allow it.
I have been blessed to be at the side of a few loved ones as they passed. I can assure you the only thing I have seen that is more horrifying then dying with COPD and lung cancer is AIDS. Your lung function becomes so labored talking can make you run short of breath. It broke my heart to see the strong man I had always admired be reduced to a shell in a bed and struggling for each breath. I promised him I would quit and I intend to make good on that promise. The sad thing is someone my age has no excuses. I knew the first time I lit up it was dangerous and deadly. My grandfather did not get that warning until it was far too late. I hope he is the last in our family to meet such a fate.
My name is Kaye Lynn and one week ago today, we buried my 54 year old mother because she smoked from the age of 16. Her lungs were not healthy enough to survive another bout of pnemonia. Her smoking gave rise to emphysema by the age of 28 yet she still did not stop smoking. Her allergies were exacerbated severely by smoking and her immune system was compromised by smoking as well. Although my precious and beautiful mother had a string of chronic illnesses, I believe most, if not all were caused by smoking.
Mother never really tried to quit smoking. She knew her nicotine addiction would be her most difficult battle. Then a little over a year ago after another hospitalization due to respiratory issues- she finally gave up the cigarettes. This was short lived I am sad to say. Maybe 6 to 8 months but most assuredly she felt better in that time than she had felt in decades!
I do wish that she had been able to kick smoking for good. There is no guarantee it would have saved her life but it certainly would have made the quality of the life she had left a great deal better.
What I think many people miss about smoking is that sometimes smokers don't die directly of a smoking related illness like Lung Cancer or emphysema which is what people typically think. Sometimes they die because they have damaged their lungs (and other areas/systems and organs) in such a way from smoking that their bodies cannot support the healing process any longer.
I am in about my 26th hour of nicotine withdrawal now. I have quit several times. A few of those times have been for 9 months and a year but I've always picked them back up thinking one cigarette would not cause a relapse. Sometimes it didn't right away but it definately ALWAYS did!
I hope that I am able to maintain this time because I'm beginning to have many respiratory related illnesses, asthma, bronchitis, pluerisy and they have gotten especially bad in this last year or so. In fact I am suffering from the most severe case of acute bronchitis and pleurisy that I can recall ever having as I write this. I quit once a couple of months ago but I just didn't commit. Seeing my mother pass away the way in which she did has made me acutely aware of how short my life may indeed be if I do not stop smoking now! If I only lived as long as she did, that means I only have 16 years left here with my family, friends, husband and children.
That is not acceptable so smoking must not be either.
Kaye Lynn Peddy
I just wanted to say thanks for putting up this website. Until I learned what more about the actual physical addiction on whyquit.com, I was unable to quit. I am now nine months nicotine free after a 20 years of smoking (17 to 37). One thing I had to do was make it the number one priority in my life above everything else. For example, if my job was too stressful and caused me to smoke, I guess I was going to quit my job. Fortunately, I didn't need to do that, but I figured if I didn't have my health, I had nothing. Everything else would and did fall into place once I quit. It was evident that I did love myself after all, but it took will power and KNOWLEDGE to succeed.
I lost my dad at 62. He smoked his whole life. Not only did it cut his life short, his quality of life wasn't as good either. He was a SMART and SUCESSFUL man, but he never learned the truth to empower him. More need to know the truth. More need to understand nicotine. I refer people to WhyQuit so they can.
Thanks again for saving my life.
My mom and dad both died young. They both smoked. Mom need to have a heart transplant at the age of 51. She was directed by her doctor some 6 years before her death to stop smoking. She didn't stop. She continued to smoke ... her heart was barely able to pump blood. Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1996 and continued to smoke and eventually developed bone cancer at age 56 and died at 57. Smoking leads to other cancers. That's well documented.
It's 2008, would mom and dad still be here if they had not smoked? Most likely. Mom would be 58 and dad would be 60. I still miss them both so much. Sometimes I try to forget all of that pain they suffered through and not being able to help them. It was a huge loss to the family and I still feel like I have a big whole in my heart...but I don't want to die early like they did. I'm 34 years-old, I don't want to turn 35 in September and still be a smoker.
Just last night (7/28) I was having an intense craving to start smoking again, but was able to get through it. When I went to bed, I had a dream that I was looking for a sickerette. I wanted it so bad. I was standing with one in my hand (not lit) and my mom walked around the corner quickly and smiled at me. It felt so real, that she was there with me. I immediately jumped up from my sleep. I was so scared.
I think the reason for the fear was that I prayed a long time ago for my mom to be removed from my dreams (since her appearance in my dreams was very frequent and was causing a little sadness) and that the only time I wanted to see her again was when it was time for me to die. That the Lord would send her to me to ease my fears. I think I thought I was about to actually die last night when I jump up from my bed.?? If I start smoking again, most likely I will die..early, like my mom and dad. I believe her entrance into my dream last night was blessing,a reminder to NTAP (Never Take Another Puff) and live long.
RIP Karen & James McSpadden
16 days, 10 hours of Freedom : )
|48||07/29/08||I lost my grandfather about two years ago to stage IV lung cancer that had spread throughout his body. Less than two years earlier he was diagnosed with lung cancer and had 3/4ths of his lung removed. They couldn't remove all his lung because he was already 75 and would have to be on a ventilator, which he didn't want. We knew the chances of missing some cancer, but he had surgery anyway. He started chemo and radiation therapy right after the surgery, which made it take longer to heal. A few times he fell down the stairs at my aunt's and if my uncle hadn't been there, no one would have been able to pick him up [my cousin passed out - it happened right in front of him].
After his first round of chemo, tests came back saying the cancer had spread. He decided not to continue chemo - he didn't want to die sick, weak, and in pain. So we watched him deteriorate, age even more, walk slower, eventually he couldn't even get to the bathroom and we had to bring in a portable toilet. he had two nurses come every day, one during daylight, one at night - to administer his pain medication. He died in his sleep around my cousin's 14th birthday, in June. He was creamated, and we held a memorial service at my aunt's house.
What makes this story more tragic [at least to me] is that despite my resent loss, my best friend [who is only 14] continues to smoke daily, and often. I'm posting on this site not just for my grandfather, but so maybe she'll see not just his story, but others. stories of successful quitting don't work on her - she needs to feel the pain the rest of us have felt in losing someone to smoking.
My grandfather, Chet Parkman died after many, many years of smoking. When I was little, I would visit him at his home. He would be sitting in the kitchen smoking a cigarette and then we would move into the living room with him while he hooked up his oxygen tank so he could breathe. My family watched him slowly deteriorate and suffer daily.
I saw all of this before I started smoking. I have now smoked for 28 years.
44 hours and 11 minutes smokefree
4 years 7 months and 5 days ago I chose to stop smoking. (I still have my "quit counter" running on my computer which is now just a reminder!)
I gave up at age 39 after watching my elderly mother successfully quit and deciding some years later that I could finally do it too. At 70, she had walked out of the doctor's office, thrown her cigarette pack in the rubbish bin and never smoked again.
She didn't find it easy for the first week or so but had made up her mind and never went back on that choice. This was after more than 50 years of smoking. That I have also managed the task is a tribute to her, my own resolve and this web site.
We lost mum last year. If she had not stopped smoking when she did, the years between would have been far, far fewer. In one year, our family fiction of having "good genes" and thus no ill effects from smoking, ended suddenly.
We lost our mum young. In my family, non smokers die in their 90's . In 2006 - a year before my mother's death from emphysema - she and dad had their 50th wedding anniversary. Attending that party was mum's 93 year old aunt and 91 year old uncle. My mum died at 77 soon after her uncle. Mum's aunt is still with us at 95.
Mum died on the 9th April 2007 with her husband and children there until the end. (My brother - who we never thought would quit - gave up the next day and a year later has not had a cigarette). Seven months after mum's death we were again seeing a parent die from smoking. Dad developed lung cancer which spread rapidly through his body. He was lost without his wife and never really recovered from watching her die. Despite this and his own illness, he was insistent about wanting to smoke (his "gaspers") until only weeks before his death when he was too ill to move from his bed.
I look at the cigarettes in the shops and wonder how many more mothers and fathers the makers of these drugs will kill in the coming years. However, the sad truth is that while they sell the stuff, we choose every day whether to buy it or see it for what it is. Smoking is not a treat, is not a reward and brings no true comfort to you.
Everyone dies. This is a truth I can understand and accept with much more peace now. However we should not die before it is our true time. My mum and dad never saw their grandson finish school, become an adult nor see him now go into the world on his adventures.
Please don't smoke anymore.
My grandmother, Janet Sumner, died of cancer in her 50's. It was 1990 and I was 4 years old. I am 21 today and I have not forgotten her. She smoked for many years and it caught up to her. It is one of the saddest to remember. It must have been close to her death and I was visiting her in the hospital she had orange slices and I wanted one! She said to me you can have one but you must come up here and give your memaw a kiss.
I wouldn't do it...not because I didn't love her but because I was too afraid of all of the medical equipment around her. I remember feeling awful even at that age that I didn't hug her. I wish that I had.
Unfortunately, later in life I also started smoking but I did not forget her. Recently I quit smoking. It has been 10 days. I will never touch another one of those life takers. I pray that I quit soon enough. Even though she is no longer here with me, she gave me one of the greatest gifts. She helped save my life. I couldn't continue to smoke knowing what happened to her. It finally got to me. I love her dearly and hope that she knows that in heaven :)
Katherine Louise Parker
It's been since Jan. 1st, 2007 since I smoked my last cigarette. I quit cold turkey, the best way if you ask me. I had some help from this website and through its information and all, that helped the most.
On Friday, Nov. 16th, 2007 we buried my grandpa. He passed away after a long hard fight with emphysema. He was 81 years old and smoked for over 65 years of life. He once told us that when he started he was around 11-12 and back then smoking was glorified as the new thing to do. It was embedded in is mind, his entire life, and he was never able to break free for more then a few days before starting back at his 2 packs-a-day.
Watching grandpa die a slow painful death for more than 2 years has put a new vision of smoking in my mind, and the vision is not pretty. Now when I think I want a cigarette all I have to do is think about my grandpa and what he went through the last 2 years of his life. By comparison, I have a great-uncle that is now 84 years old and for as long as I can remember never smoked a day in his life, is strong as an ox and healthy as a horse - big difference!!
I am 35 years old, I have smoked since I was fourteen and I am NOW on quit day number 9 and never taking another puff!! Our family's silent killer is smoking related cancers. My aunt passed away this spring after she was diagnosed with a tumor in her brain that developed as a result of lung cancer. She didn't even know she had lung cancer when she was complaining of headaches. There was no bronchitis or nothing. She was in her early 50's and smoked her whole life.
My uncle passed over a year ago with liver, cancer complications. He was in his early 60's and was a lifetime smoker and a recovered alcoholic. My step brother was diagnosed with COPD from smoking at the age of 27, and although slowly killing him he continues to smoke. My paternal grandfather died with a quarter of a lung. He was in his 70's and he smoked a pipe like frosty the snowman. My paternal grandmother followed a year later. Although she didn't smoke, she lived in a house that was always filled with smoke. She was in her early 70's and died from cancer that was in her bones. They don't know where it originated.
Prior to that, my other grandma moved in with us while she was being treated with lung cancer. I was 14 years old. It was a horrible ordeal to go through. She passed away in her fifty's and smoked up until her death day. Prior to that my paternal aunt passed away from secondary bone cancer. They have no idea where it originated. She was a lifetime smoker and died at age 34. A year prior to that my beloved father was killed in a car accident with a drunk driver. It was my tenth birthday. He was a smoker and a drinker. Through all this I smoked thinking I was immortal because I was young.
This year I have quit and restarted 4 times. This is my last time! I was diagnosed with cervical cancer over a year ago. The prime link for cervical cancer is SMOKING! It was my 34th birthday. You'd think my past would have dummied me up a long time ago, but the addiction was too powerful. I was lucky it didn't travel too far into my lymphnodes. I had a radical hysterectomy and had my surrounding nodes removed. I spent a week in the hospital after my third and final surgery, while my 5 and 16 year old daughters were frantic and scared. I will NEVER put my family through this again.
I have a 4% chance of it returning. I think I was lucky. I love WhyQuit. It has helped me like you wouldn't believe. I can not join as a member because I am taking Zyban full course, but the reading materials are like none I've read before. THANK YOU! Its making me determined and strong! I hope my story can help other young people out there that are addicted like I was but are poisoned to believe that a smoking related nightmare cannot happen to them! It can and eventually will! Believe it!
My Aunt Died February 2006 from lung cancer. She had smoked almost her entire life as did my mother (my Mother died in a car accident when I was 21). My Aunt had no insurance, no money and ended up having to leave her home and move into a nursing facility. Each night my other aunts would take turns going to visit her. She did not want anyone else to see her! She suffered a lot of pain, and had a really hard time breathing. She was on oxygen, and that did not help much. She was given 6 to 8 months to live. She made it 6. Hospice had to come in, in the end at my Aunt's nursing home(paid for by her sister). She knew smoking did it to her and still wanted to smoke! The addiction is just so terrible.
I also was a smoker, on and off for the last 20 years. I would quit, only to start again at the slightest excuse. Until my Aunt died, I never saw anyone who had died before from smoking, so I was thinking "Hey that wont happen to me." But that's the addiction talking! I finally quit for good in March 2007. I had one relapse and quit immediately again. It is a struggle but one that I will win! I love this site, Whyquit.com! It is helping me so much. I hope one person will read these stories as I have, and know in their hearts that it is not a matter of "IF" smoking will kill you, it's only a matter of "WHEN". You can't smoke and live, you just can't. It's one or the other. Do you want to die? No, me either. Not that way, being a burden to family, and all because I chose to smoke! No way! I choose to live. Won't you do the same?
I am and always was a non smoker. Family members and friends give me a hard time when I complain about smoke and do not want to be around it. They feel that it is none of my business and that they are not hurting me. They have no idea how wrong they are.
I just turned 32. I have already taken care of and watched two family members, die with lung cancer. My grandfather was only 69 and my mother was 51. In both cases, I stopped work and spent everyday with them to help take care of them. I had to clean them, feed them, medicate them, and watch them both slowly die, day by day.
They both denied that the lung cancer was from smoking. They were convinced that it was a secondary cancer spread from somewhere else. That may or may not have been the case, we will never know. All I know is that I would have to turn the oxygen machine off so my mother could smoke one more cigarette.
None of the smokers have quit in my family. They have many reasons for not doing so. They thank me for what I have done and the time I have taken out of my life to take care of our family. All I can think of is how long do I have to get my life back together before I am taking care of another person with lung cancer.
Smoking does hurt the people around you. I may not die from lung cancer, but I have hurt my career and finances by continuously taking off for ailing family members. I've destroyed relationships for not being able to be there for months at a time because the ill need 24 hour care. I've hurt my own physical and mental health because I didn't have the time to take care of myself during those times. It will take a long time, if not a life time to recover. Finally and hardest, I no longer have a mother.
My Dad passed on June 15, 2007 as a result of lung cancer which had spread to his spine, his hip, and his brain. He was only 72 years old, still pretty young in the grand scheme of things and just starting to enjoy his retirement.
His whole battle lasted 6 weeks to the day. No more, no less. He went from a vibrant, self sufficient man to an invalid who was unable to walk, barely able to talk, unable to feed himself or do even the most basic of natural functions without assistance within a mere 4 weeks. And the pain. The pain was literally out of this world, oh it was so hard to watch how he struggled with the intense pain. The man was on enough painkillers to kill an elephant yet he still couldn't find relief. But his mind was still sharp, the tumor affected his motor skills and his speech but it did not affect his memory or his understanding... he knew what was happening to the end, he just couldn't talk about it.
My Dad was a happy man, he was larger than life and just had one of those personalities that drew people to him. Everyone loved him, it was almost annoying. He always had a smile and a good story to tell. In fact that was the joke about him, you don't talk to Dad unless you have a good 45 minutes to spare! He always told the best stories. During his last 6 weeks I saw him become extremely depressed and sad, I never saw him cry so much and that breaks my heart.
When the hospital got his seizure status under control we had to put Dad into a nursing and rehabilitation home. He spent about 3 weeks there, after the nurses and staff learned about Dad's story and how fast this took over his life they all spent extra time with him. Dad was still working his magic even though he couldn't tell his stories! I'm telling you, he just had that presence about him.
On the day he was released from the nursing home all the staff lined up to say goodbye personally as they wheeled him out, he was now coming home on hospice care. Dad came home on 6/14, my brother flew in that evening to help me with the transition, and Dad passed on the morning of 6/15. I wish I could say his last night was at least peaceful and somewhat happier, it wasn't. But he was reunited with my brother and I was able to get him to eat a decent dinner in his own home.
I was with Dad for all but 4 days of those 6 weeks, we had a lot of father-daughter bonding moments that I won't forget but the truth remains that this preventable disease stole my father's life. So this year I spent Father's Day shopping for funeral clothes. No one should have to do that. I will never stop missing my Dad.
Dad, a life-long smoker hadn't been feeling well for a while so I guess it really wasn't much of a surprise when he had his 3rd heart attack last March. He miraculously survived yet again. Only weeks later he was hospitalized once again, this time with what the doctors said were mini strokes or TIA's. It was quite a shock when Mom took a bad fall at home, and had to be sent to another city. I got Dad out of the hospital and our family went to be with Mom. She passed away on June 10 2006.
Dad continued having problems, and many more strokes and seizures had started. The doctor ordered more CT scans. They admitted Dad into the hospital again. On July 10 2006, one month to the day after Mom passed away, Dad was diagnosed with an adenocarcinoma (non small cell lung cancer) with mets to the brain. He had two very large areas in the brain that were causing seizures, and loss of mobility. They told us that all they could do would be to help alleiviate his symptoms and possibly extend his life by a few months.
I took Dad to another city for his radiation treatments, then back home for his chemotherapy. He seemed to be doing worse again, and suddenly developed severe swelling in his leg. He was diagnosed on Friday October 13 2006 with a cancer related blood clot in his leg. He started treatment for that, but continued getting worse. The cancer had spread to his cerebral spinal fluid and he had only weeks to live. He celebrated his 65th birthday with t-bone steak (his last meal) and passed away 7 days later at home with his children by his side.
Only 4 months. They had estimated about five without treatment. We only had 4 with treatment. I lost both my Mom annd Dad last year. This year the only thing I am losing are the cigarettes. I quit on March 3, 2007 at one minute to midnight. I plan to live a long life and be around for my children for a very long time. God, I miss them so much I ache. Darn those cigarettes.
My name is Dawn. I am 36 years old. I hate cigarettes, smoke and smokeless tobacco! My mother smoked during her pregnancies and until I was 17. I was born with a benign tumor on my right eye and began having asthma attacks as an infant (as did my older sister). After 2 major eye surgeries (at ages 3 and 6), hundreds of doctor visits, regular allergy shots and asthma meds, I continue to suffer from these ailments.
I do not blame my mom. She was pregnant in the 60's and 70's and everyone smoked while they were pregnant, even Jackie O.! (I once saw a photo of the former first lady smoking with an unmistakably pregnant tummy.) I blame the cigarettes and their makers who add the nicotine that is so addictive!
My maternal grandfather died, when my mom was only 17, from complications after having his second heart attack. He was a smoker. My paternal grandfather died when he was in his early 70's. He had suffered his third heart attack. He was a lifetime smoker. My aunt died when she was in her early 50's. In her last days, she weighed about 78 lbs. and she was 5'6"! She had endured 10 years of lung cancer and chemo treatments. She was a smoker. My uncle died in Dec. of 2002. He had lung cancer that spread to his brain. It was a miserable and long dying process. A few years before his passing, he and his wife had to have open heart surgeries. They were both heavy smokers.
My aunt quit smoking after her heart surgery. She is still alive and is now physically well! All 3 of their [adult] children smoke. The addiction often gets handed down like a plagued heirloom. My mother-in-law had her second heart attack in 2003 and had to have triple bypass surgery. She was in the hospital for a grueling 3 weeks. She started smoking, again, 8 weeks after her surgery. She is constantly bothered by sinus headaches, serious digestive problems and pain in her hip from osteoarthritis. The culprit of all of these aches and pains is none other than cigarettes.
My mom quit smoking when I was 17. Thank the Lord! However, she continued to be addicted to the nicotine and used Nicorette gum to keep her from smoking. She had experienced serious stomach problems since she was a young adult and never knew why. She smoked cigarettes for 30 years and then ingested nicotine straight into her digestive system, from the gum, for about six more years. In July of 2001, my mom suffered an acute attack of hemorrhagic pancreatitis (bleeding pancreas) after a biopsy of a mass on the organ.
The stomach aches that had put her in the hospital for so many years paled in comparison to the level of pain and distress at that time. We almost lost her. She fell into a 5% survival rate. People all over the nation and internationally were praying for her while WE lived in the hospital for a month. She had to have an IV feeding tube, in her arm, for five months after that. No food for 6 months! She is no longer able to work. She is better, but she has days when she can hardly get out of bed. She has a very restricted diet and if she strays, she pays. We ALL pay!
These types of illnesses affect entire families, not just the smokers! I could tell you countless more true stories, but I think that you get the point. The point is that cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are dangerous and lethal! Do you know why mosquitos do not bother you when you are smoking? It is because nicotine is a deadly pesticide and frankly, mosquitos must be wiser than smokers! You are not to blame unless you do nothing to stop this nasty addiction! If you never choose to quit, please, please, please do not smoke inside or around others (especially children) and please do not smoke while you are pregnant!!! Thank you and best of luck to you!!!
My friend Bette Kebelbeck died from lung cancer caused from smoking on Sunday, September 25, 2005. Bette was 75 years old when she passed, but brighter and spunkier than most people half that age.
I was introduced to Bette upon being hired at my current job, where she became the loving and giving ÃÂÃÂgrandmotherÃÂÃÂ that I never had. I enjoyed listening to her talk about the fun they used to have here, where she had just about mastered every position from manager to administrator during her 35 years of employment. She was smart and she was feisty! SheÃÂÃÂd tell you how much she loved you and how much she wished youÃÂÃÂd go to hell all in the same breath! She had the whitest hair that IÃÂÃÂve ever seen and always had yellow nicotine stains on her very long, manicured fingernails. She was a dynamic woman, a strong, independent, intelligent fighter.
During the month of April or May in 2005, Bette finally decided to tell me that the doctor had discovered cancer on her lung during a routine effort to cure her chronic bronchitis. She didnÃÂÃÂt seem any different or look any different, but I must admit, I was less than surprised. I vowed to quit smoking with her in an effort to show my support, which I did while she was still working here. During the month of June Bette left work for surgery where she believed the doctors would just remove the one lung with the cancerous growth, give her a few chemo treatments, and sheÃÂÃÂd be back to work in a couple of weeks or so.
Upon that attempt it was discovered that the cancer had spread to her brain and naturally she was quickly sewn up and sent home to die. When I visited her in the hospital after the surgery, she admitted that she had never once thought that she was going to die from smoking, and that her realization came when they sent the pastor in from the chapel to pray with her. I believe that it was during that moment when she realized that her death sentence was in fact caused from smoking.
I have yet to meet someone that was so addicted and also in complete and utter denial that cigarettes were causing any of her bronchial problems, coughing, or the like! I continued to smoke after Bette died, even smoking at her celebration of life service! However, I am so proud to admit that tomorrow is my 2 month mark free from cigarettes. During my quit I have had many dreams where Bette has come to me. I believe very strongly that she walks beside me every day to see that I remain free from smoking, preventing the horrible death that she endured. The world lost a great lady on that day, a victim of nicotine addiction. I miss you Bette!!!
My mother, a smoker for over 45 years died age 63 from breast cancer. I was still ignorant to the dangers of smoking and I continued to smoke. My partner's sister, a social smoker, died suddenly at the age of 56 leaving behind a husband, two children, brothers and sisters and many others who loved her. My fiance's sister, diagnosed in the fall of 2002 with lung cancer, died August, 2003 and on her death bed said that she regretted that she had smoked all these years.
I am a 44 year old female who has been smoking for 25 years, quitting periodically. As of today, January 15, 2007, I have gone 85 days smoke free! I quit cold turkey on October 22, 2006 after having what I thought was a heart attack. My blood pressure was 202/122 and my pulse was well over 100 bpm. The doctor told me I was very lucky I didn't have a stroke. Hypertension does run in my family, but lifestyle plays a huge factor. After being released from the hospital, I lit up my last cigarette and decided not to buy anymore.
To make it easier on myself, I also gave up all caffeine and alcoholic beverages. The first 72 hours were a little tough, nothing like what I expected however, and after that, it was pretty tolerable. My cravings initally lasted less than one minute, and there are days now where I do not even get a craving. My blood pressure has come right down to normal readings, and I am finally able to run up a flight of stairs without being winded. My sense of taste and smell has returned and I feel better than I have in years.
I also convinced my partner, a smoker of almost 40 years to quit smoking as well, which is something I never ever thought I could do. I have encouraged three people at work to quit and they tell me everyday that I am their inspiration. I have directed them to this website so they themselves can become educated about the dangers of smoking.
I started smoking when I was 47, the same year my brother and sister died from lung cancer. I quit smoking on Jan 1st, 2007 at 6:10pm. It's been 6 days. I am a happy non smoker. I know my brother and sister are both happy that I quit. I wish I never started, and I wish they didn't either. I miss you both very much. I will take one minute, one hour and one day at a time.
My Daddy, Billy J. Piper died on May 24, 1985 from lung cancer, he was only 48 years old. My Daddy had quit smoking for years, and when we moved to Texas he began smoking again, this was in 1982. We moved back to Ohio after he had a stroke at 47. My Daddy never missed a day of work from being sick until the stroke, it was downhill from there. At the time of his stroke the Doctors told him he had a tumor on his lung, and if he quit smoking he might live 10 more years, Daddy told us they said emphysema, we found out the truth after he died.
He kept that horrible secret for 4 months, that's when he woke up one morning and was paralyzed from the waist down, the cancer had spread to his bones and liver. When the Doctor came out of the operating room and told my family what is was I collapsed, weeping. My Daddy couldn't die, I was only 22 years old, I still needed him. But he did die, only 3 months after we found out, he suffered like no one should ever suffer.
Before he died I quit smoking, I started again 2 years later, was diagnosed with kidney cancer August 23 2003, I beat the cancer so far, but even having cancer didn't make me quit. It took WhyQuit.com to make me realize what I was doing to my family. I have been smoke-free for 10 days, and I can honestly say I will never pick up another cigarette.
Denial is ugly and deadly. At the age of 24, I was blessed to have all four of my grandparents living, something I took for granted until July 20, 2005.
My grandfather, a boisterous southern reverend with a deep booming voice, went to meet God that day after succombing to a second abdominal aortic aneurysm. It was really hard for me and my sisters, but especially my mom. I always thought I would have a chance to see him again.
The denial comes in as four of his seven children, and until that August, at least one of his grandchildren (me) were all cigarette smokers and no one, not even my mother who is a registered nurse (and smoker) acknowledged smoking as his ultimate cause of death. My grandfather had smoked since he was 13 years old.
I did my own research and you cannot deny the truth, my grandfather died from smoking. It really makes me mad. My father (who has lost his teeth, but doesn't think it has anything to do with smoking) and my paternal grandfather (who has emphysema) and grandmother (who recently had a stroke) smoke too, I feel like I may lose them all a lot sooner than I want too, but I am 1 year and 4 months into my quit and I am not in denial. Smoking cigarettes will kill you and break you family's hearts.
In Grandpa's memory,
My grandfather succumbed to COPD on March 13, 2006. I remember speaking with him for the final time on Friday March 10, 2006 at around 5:00pm. He asked me how my favorite college basketball team had done that day in their conference tournament. I think he knew he was slipping away and was trying to keep things as normal as possible. I always enjoyed talking sports with him. Heck, I loved just talking with him.
He had lots of stories, as all old men do! But, for the last 5 years of his life, it was very difficult for him to converse for any length of time. When you have COPD, even speaking runs you short of breath. And, to make matters worse, he was SO hooked on smoking, that he was still sneaking cigarettes even after being diagnosed with COPD. He could not control himself. He would slide his O2 mask off and step outside and have a "quick smoke". He could no longer smoke it all the way. He just had to settle for a few "hits". That's the messed up thing about that dangerous drug! Even when you're dying, it's hard to stop!
I had found WhyQuit.com a good while earlier and had read the memorials on here and the stories such as the one about Bryan Lee Curtis. It was just the motivation I needed to be "scared straight'. I quit smoking shortly thereafter. Then, as an added reason to never take another puff, I saw my grandfather in his final days. COPD is an ugly thing. And what really makes it hard is that my grandfather lived to be 82 with COPD. Had he just put down the smokes sooner, who knows how long he could have lived. Maybe today I wouldn't be grandfather-less. I lost my other grandfather in 1999, so now thery're both gone. My grandmother just goes through the motions every day. This loss has taken a tremendous toll on her. She will certainly never be the same again. See, that's what smoking does. First, there is the smoker who finds out that they have a smoking related illness. Then, their friends and family rally around them to try and help them beat it. Then, when that does not work, they detriorate so badly that it is too much to bear. Then, they die. Then, there is the aftermath. Then, the friends and family are forever affected by such a horrible loss. And it just goes on and on.
When they die, that is only the beginning of the dark times. So, the effects of smoking stay with you long after your friend/relative is deceased. Even long after the cigarettes are gone! Is it worth it? I know someone who is 35 years old who just STARTED smoking! Never did it before. Just decided to try and "be cool" at 35! And she has kids! What a stupid thing to do! In the end, my grandfather just ended up following in the footsteps of his family. His father, two sisters, aunt, and brother all died from smoking related illnesses. And he knew the percentages and still joined them. Too addicted to nicotine to stop.
So, please, if you are a smoker, read these memorials and decide if you want to still puff away and "be cool". Just think about how it will still be affecting your family even after you're long gone. I miss my grandfather so much. The effects of smoking are still here.
WhyQuit's basic "how to quit smoking" video