These are random musings of my life journey, the people, animals, places, and events which have woven, and continue to weave, a tapestry that is me. We all know there is no real destination, only the ongoing experiences which blend together, creating the trail. Each step gives a glimpse of what is to come, without allowing me to see the end result. It is exciting. I have a home base that is mine, that gives me a place to rest. This is it. This is where my heart is, no matter where I journey...................

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I'm On A Soap Box, So . . .

. . . continue at your own risk. I'm on a rampage. I'm angry. I'm hurt. Lots of old feelings are stirred up in me, and it ain't pretty. As you read on, you will be pissed off or be cheering me. Either one, I don't care. It's gonna be said.

First of all, a good note. My sister is considerably better yesterday and today. Yesterday, they began to wean her off the ventilation tube. She did well, and by evening she was breathing nearly on her own. Last night that tube and the feeding tube were removed. This morning the lung doctor saw her and was pleased. He said to her, "You've beat the odds." What amazing words to hear!!

Her color is rosy and healthy now, instead of the washed out grey we had become used to. You don't realize how a person has faded until you see the "new, improved" person after positive changes in their lives. It is good to see that, however, it also occurs to me that it would be so nice if we could recognize earlier the subtle changes as signs that a person needs help.

She is not well, however, and will not be again. She will have weeks (or months) of rehabilitation, and will have to have treatments and oxygen for the rest of her life. She avoided it for a long time; but when the Dark Prince of long-term-body-damage comes to visit, it is usually too late to make changes to sustain a full and healthy life.

I know that I promised I would not do this, but I'm breaking my promise. You see, I watched my husband die from lung cancer and the effects of emphysema. I've watched my ex-husband, who is still a dear friend, struggle with the long term health issues of emphysema. I saw my father grow weak and old because of COPD. I've just come closer than I care to in losing my sister to emphysema. Friends, all these dear people were smokers. I was, too. My dad stopped smoking at 44 and lived to 90; however, he had already smoked for some 30 years when he stopped, and the damage was done. So here goes . . . IF YOU SMOKE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE . . . STOP . . . NOW. Thinking that YOU will escape is an insane gamble. If you love your family, do it for them. If you don't love your family, get one worth not smoking around! Sorry, that slipped out, but if humor gets you to listen, then good.

Do I sound angry? I hope so because I am madder than you can imagine. I'm angry and hurt that people I love(d) have stolen away from me years of our lives together. I'm furious with them for gambling something as precious as that and for not realizing what an insane decision they made when they chose cigarettes over me. I'm livid with the tobacco companies that smooth it over, and with the government for being bought by lobbyists. And I'm angry with anyone who continues to make those decisions. It is not a laughing matter; it shouldn't be treated lightly. And if you are in the process of stealing from people you love . . . well, ask yourself which you love more, the cigarette or the person? If you can't stop by yourself, GET HELP. Please put the people in your life ahead of the addiction. Isn't that what we expect of meth users? of cocaine addicts? of alcohol abusers? All these are addictions. Treat them all the same. The end result is you hurt people when you continue to use any of those substances, but with tobacco, it just takes a longer time. Are you hoping that the people in your life now won't be around when it happens to you? What form of illogic is your excuse?

Please hear me when I say that it is not fair to put your family through this kind of trauma. Smoking is a selfish addiction, just as is the use of any other chemical. We have fooled ourselves for decades with the help of the tobacco companies (well, duh!) into believing that smoking is not a bad thing. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. It is at least as addictive, if not more so, than the drugs that we all fear or look at with disgust. It just takes longer to get you, but trust me, it gets you.

My sis, at 75, is now facing her remaining life connected to tubes. My husband is dead. No, he didn't "pass away." He died a very ugly and painful death, aged 68. My ex is on tubes and his ability to do many things he loved to do is gone. He's 66 and has been restricted for about 3 years now. My dad . . . yeah, he lived a long time. But the last 10-15 years were restricted because his lungs didn't work well enough to let him continue with what had been a very active life. He basically slept away a lot of those years because he couldn't process enough oxygen to fuel his body. Three of the four above continued to smoke after they knew they had lung problems.

Every day you don't smoke is one day of possibility. Stop. Now.


PS - If you're thinking about those ages above, think again. Remember that they were all 28 or 35 or 41 once in their lives. The damage only gets worse if you continue. Please live to 90 with lungs that still work.

PS on 12/15
For the record - The comment deleted was my own. I misspelled a word that changed the context of the comment. I AM NOT CENSORING these comments, unless I get something really obscene or hateful that I wouldn't want my grandchildren to read. Otherwise, everyone can express his/her point of view.

PS @ 2:00 CST, 12/15
Sis just had an angiogram and placement of stent to relieve a 90% blockage .... that's right 9-0-% .... of one side of her heart. Again, an effect of smoking. She's doing very well at this time. Folks, the side-effects of smoking just go on and on. It is likely that she is also in the very early stages of Alzheimer's. Yeah, there's a probable link with smoking in that, too. How much more can she take? I don't know. And how much more do you need to hear before you stop? I don't know that either.


  1. YOU SAID IT, LADY! I CAN say that to my aunt, can't I :) I agree with every word you wrote.
    Even 10 years of active smoking, even though it was over 20 years ago has left its toll on me, and I'm under 50 (OK, just barely, but it counts). Thanks for being there for Mom.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Uhmmm, I guess I came on pretty strong, but damn it is hard to see the damage in someone I love. Thanks for loving me, dear li'l nefu! I love ya back. And I wouldn't be anywhere else at this time, 'cause I love your mom, too.

  4. I heard you loud and clear. Maybe that should be my goal now that I am off work. Working with others that smoke was always hard. Now I will have Laura with me 24/7 to help me through the first few weeks.

  5. Caroline, you know that nothing would make me happier. And the thing that would make me happiest is that you will be even healthier that you are. You're doing a superb job of returning your body to a better state, and this would be like putting the cherry on top of the sundae. You're the best.

  6. Yes you came on strong, but not too strong--especially considering how smoking has affected your life. Besides, this is your blog. You're allowed to get up on the soap box occasionally. Anyway, you warned everyone.
    Every time I cough or wheeze I wonder how much of it was from smoking and wish I'd never taken up the habit. I'm just glad I quit before I had kids. Hopefully, I broke the chain.

  7. I would feel just as passionate about this subject if I lost my Allan (or anyone else) to cigarettes. Thank God he quit.

    I'm so sorry for what you've been put through. Your totally justified for feeling so strongly about this.

    Hugs to you, Sweetie.

  8. More Hugs & Prayers from the Shoe! I have often followed the Tabacco Litigation and am sadded by the fact that enough people smoke that these companies can survive the punative damages which have been levied upon them.

  9. s3 - Indeed you did break the chain. I strongly doubt that your children will ever touch a smoke. And I understand the thing about coughing and wheezing. I have the same thoughts. Even though you and I were short term and/or light smokers, we raised the risk on ourselves. All I can say is "Think good thoughts."

    Catherine - I understand the feeling, obviously. And as I tell myself about my own smoking history, at least I've racked up more days as a non-smoker that I did as a smoker. That becomes a bigger plus with every day that goes by. It is not in my nature to knowingly offend anyone, but this is something that tears families apart in the most vile & insidious way. Thanks for the hugs. Obviously, I need them now.

    Shoe Gang - I thank you for the warm thoughts here and in earlier posts. I agree with you on that Tobacco Litigation stuff. It saddens me, but it also infuriates me that there is that much power (i.e., money) behind the tobacco industry. And, as I said, there is enough there to influence congressional actions. Sickening, literally and figuratively.

  10. Lyn,
    Hi, I heard concern for others in your post, and for their health.. even as it is too late for some of them. Your experience and feelings are totally understandable. Have a great weekend!

  11. I am copying an email send by Pendullum when she was unable to comment directly on the blog. She adds information that makes a good point:

    As with most addictions they are selfish and self indulgent.

    My sisters both smoke. They are in there 30's and in their minds eye
    they will live forever. They are foolish women, who make foolish
    choices. Selfish choices.

    I do not smoke. I do not like the smell of it and I find that I am
    claustraphobic in a smokey room.
    I am grateful that all buildings are non smoking including bars...
    Would have loved that ruling in my youth, when I worked in the bar

    But I want to talk about those that don't smoke that deal with second
    hand smoke issues...
    Did you know, that they did a study in Europe with smoking mothers and
    The smoking parents did it outside of their house. The did not smoke in
    their home
    ... and yet, the children still had the effects of nicotine in their
    systems... as the parents brought it in on their clothes...
    Scary but true...

  12. Ilius - Thank you for just hearing. As you know, that is all that is needed, sometimes. My weekend might be better than we planned, as my sis is continuing to improve. More on that later.

    Pendullum - Thank you.

  13. You know, every time I see my dad smoke, it makes me sad, I feel as if that's one less day I will have with him.

    In other news, I am glad to hear your sister is improving.

    I tried to post earlier in the week, but wasn't able, you all are still in my thoughts and prayers.

  14. Ragged - Where you are concerned, I know you keep my concerns in your prayers, even when I don't hear it. Thank you for being persistent.

  15. Smoking is a nasty, pointless habit. I agree with you!

  16. I'm all for sharing feelings out loud! ... and happy that your sister is doing better.

  17. rhea - Yep. That it is.

    Sassy - Thanks. As if you couldn't tell, every word was heart-felt.

    Eileen - If we don't, we "gum up" our insides! Too much being held back causes terrible internal problems, doesn't it?

  18. I'm not even reading the other comments before writing my own... I am so with you on this one Lyn. My mother smoked 3 packs a day for 40+ years and then had the audacity to look me in the eye and tell me her cancer had nothing to do with smoking. Reading your post, I realized how incredibly angry with her I still am about this. My mommy could have lived to be 90+ given our family history, if only she had stopped smoking or not started in the first place. *sigh* On a side note, today would have been my parents 35th wedding anniversary.

  19. Wow, Traci, you are right in that same path as I am on this. I remember the days when our children were begging my husband & me to quit, and how I shrugged it off and how angry it made me. I understand the smoker's side of it, the way of thinking (or not thinking) about it. But the bottom line is that the REAL reason for stopping is for THE PEOPLE WE LOVE, rather than for oneself. It hurts deeply when someone doesn't realize that smoking takes away from us (those who love him/her), from our time together, and it seems that WE are loved less than the habit. Hearts are broken over and over, then the ultimate heartbreak is the permanent loss of that person.

    I'm sorry for your loss. Hugs to you. Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad, wherever you are.

  20. Well said!

    sorry to hear of all the pain you have had to endure over other's choices.

    I have quit smoking now for 14 years! My Husband has quit for 5 years.

    I know my children will never smoke. They can't stand the smell of it... or the fact of how badly you smell. They are both teenagers... and can pick out imediately someone that smokes.

  21. Silent - I'm glad your household is smake-free. I've had off-blog conversations with several who grew up in homes when one or both parents smoke, and the are at risk, whether or not the smoked themselves. So, good for you and yours!!


If you have something to say about it, just stick out your thumb, and I'll slow down so you can hop aboard! But hang on, 'cause I'm movin' on down the road!!! No time to waste!!!