Tuesday, September 02, 2008

An important message

My thanks to those who have been praying for my sister's niece, Jan, who died last Saturday. This morning I received an e-mail from her sister and I am sharing it with all of you. If it helps just one person make a decision for health and life the angels will rejoice.

To All Smokers and Family/Friends of Smokers,

This past Saturday, August 30, 2008, I sat with my sister (57 yrs old), and watched her pass away from small cell lung cancer. That type cancer is caused from smoking or second hand smoke 98% of the time. She was a long-time heavy smoker. It was a painful, lingering death...almost a year from diagnosis. It was agonizing to see her pain and sadness at leaving us. Her daughter, son and I lived in her room in the Hospice unit at Presbyterian Kaseman Hospital for a week while she went through her final hell of suffering. It isn't something I recommend you either do yourself or have to witness.

Some of you young smokers may think 57 yrs old IS old, but believe me, when you get there, you will feel like it's a great time of life....not so old!

My sister, Jan, was enjoying life...her children, grandchildren, and friends. She had a 9 yr old grandson, Anthony, with whom she was extremely close. Anthony had to watch his grandmother slip away, often too sick or tired to respond to him as he knew her. He was kept informed by her as to what was going on, and that she would leave him soon. It was totally heartbreaking. She and her children were very close. They have lost their best friend and support. It changes their lives forever.

I know what a tough habit it is to break, but I urge you..for your sake and your family's, to do whatever it takes to quit smoking. And don't tolerate others around you polluting your air. Make rules about smoking in your home...protect your kids and yourself.

I met a caregiver at Hospice whose young daughter (14) has the habit already. I would advise her not to marry and have children, because starting that young, she will probably leave them before they are old enough to fend for themselves. The caregiver asked me to try to get through to her daughter, and this email is especially for her.

Find your path and follow it, and if you think this message should be passed on, please feel free to do so.

In loving memory of my sister.

--the BB

8 comments:

FranIAm said...

God have mercy. Please know that I am praying for the living and the dead and I had been praying about this since your initial post.

I am so sorry.

My husband smokes and this is something I will quietly print and put on his desk.

Jane R said...

Prayers for your sister's niece and for her sister who wrote the letter and for all those who will read it and for your whole family, and for you.

May grace enfold them.

susankay said...

Paul & Everyone -- My husband, Fred died in 1996 at the age of 56 -- 2 1/2 years after diagnosis of small cell lung cancer -- also at Pres Hospice which at that time was still downtown in Albuquerque rather than at Kaseman. I spent many nights sleeping there. He never got to see his only grandchild who was born five months later. He loved life -- was a stalwart of local music theatre and left a lot of grieving people.
He smoked from age 14 until he was diagnosed with cancer. He was a recovering alcoholic but couldn't kick cigarettes -- they are that powerful.

If you smoke and can stop to save those who love you this pain, not only the angels will rejoice, so will I and all who have been left by smoking-caused death of a loved one.

Paul said...

Susankay, thank you for adding your voice. I sorrow for all the pain surrounding this entry, these staggering losses, and this issue.

Padre Mickey said...

The family is in my prayers.

The hardest thing I ever did was to quit smoking, and I didn't want to do it. I had no problem giving up pot and acid and cocaine ages ago; but smoking, that was tough! We were preparing to move to Berkeley for seminary and the Lovely Mona said "you said you would quit smoking when we went to seminary." I said, "Was I drunk?" I used acupuncture. It's been twelve years and I still dream about smoking, but I'm glad I did it.

Paul said...

Tales seem to converge here today. I was reading at Hoffmania about the death of Don LaFontaine, a great voiceover artist we have all heard many times (and seen on the Geico ad where they use the awesome announcer voice guy). He recently wrote the following:

...the real point of all this is the Genesis of the condition. I was a smoker, on and off, for thirty years. I quit nearly twenty years ago, but that crap has a tendency to lie doggo in your system. It finally caught up with me, and as you've just read - it ain't pretty. For those of you who are in the Voice Over business, and you think that smoking is adding some wonderful quality to your instrument - WAKE UP! Quit! Today! Whoever you are - if you smoke - Stop! All you are adding is garbage to your vocal cords, and a nice deep layer of tar and poison on the linings of your lungs.

I tell you all this, because I need to clear the air, because there has been a lot of speculation out there, and because it should serve as a cautionary tale.

Even though the growth on my lungs has been erased, there are still a few miles to go before I'm back to 100%.


Peace to the dead, comfort to the living.

susan s. said...

Lord have mercy on all addicted to tobacco. Help them to give this deadly substance up now.

My stepfather smoked from the time he was 5 until about 25 years ago, when he was told he was developing emphysema. He is a farmer. It is all he knows. He can't walk to the barn any more to feed his animals. It is less than 100 yards between the house and barn. He has to take what he calls 'breathing treatments' 3 times a day which give some relief, but not much. He made his living raising tobacco.

If you don't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, stop now.

Earthbound Spirit said...

Amen - my father & brother both smoked. Dad quit in his late 50's just prior to his first round of heart bypass surgery, after the doc told him "quit or die." He quit - that and the surgery bought him another 15 years of life.

I quit 24 years ago, myself. I have no desire to smoke anymore - being violently ill when exposed to cigarette smoke while pregnant cured me for good!

Unfortunately, my 22yo son smokes... I can't convince him that he's setting himself up for problems later in his life.