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The Smoker's Memorial - WhyQuit's Wall of Remembrance - Page 4

Page Four


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.

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Our Remembrances

#40 - 07/24/07

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.

Christine

 

#39 - 06/30/07

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 bondingfa7070 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.

Jill

 

#38 - 03/07/07

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 alleviate 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 and 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.

Nikki

 

#37 - 03/05/07

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!!!

Dawn

 

#36 - 02/28/07

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 grandmother 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! She'd tell you how much she loved you and how much she wished you'd go to hell all in the same breath! She had the whitest hair that I've 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 didn't 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 she'd 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!!!

Heather

 

#35 - 01/17/07

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 initially 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.

Sincerely,

Michele Tingling

 

#34 - 01/08/07

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.

NHNURSE52@aol.com

 

#33 - 01/06/07

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.

My Daddy's life mattered

 

#32 - 12/28/06

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 succumbing 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,

Mel

 

#31 - 12/20/06

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 they'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 deteriorate 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.

Jason Moon

 

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