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The Smoker's Memorial - WhyQuit's Wall of Remembrance - Page 7

Page Seven


"Will smoking kill me?" "Will my name end up on a smoker memorial page such as this one?" It doesn't have to be. But unless you awaken to the fact that nicotine addiction is real chemical dependency you'll lack a foundation for a lasting recovery.

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Have you already lost a friend or loved one to smoking? Memoralize their life by sharing it here. Although not necessary, feel free to attach a photo.

Our Remembrances

#70 - 10/18/10

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.

Vicki

 

#69 - 08/10/10

Jennifer Hern's momMy 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 beforehand, 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 life 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.

Jennifer Hern

 

#68 - 07/06/10

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.

Mary Anne Kennedy

 

#67 - 06/28/10

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, 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

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pink rosebud - imagine taken by John R. Polito - public domain - clipart
This Smoker's Memorial Page is Dedicated
to the Memory of Deborah C. Scott
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,

Pamela G.

 

#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 months to live but lasting 14 months, 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 months 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

JoAnn Oram

 

#65 - 04/18/10

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.

Thank you,

Paul Kovacik

 

#64 - 04/12/10

Ron ThomassonMy 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.

JRT

 

#63 - 09/08/09

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.

Cindy Ralph

 

#62 - 08/17/09

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.

Isobel McGowan

 

#61 - 08/14/09

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 scared 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 stomach 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).

Sharon Britten
Clearwater, FL

 

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