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Dana Reed

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Had my last cigarette 12/03/06--Part One
by Dana Reed   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Posted: Tuesday, December 19, 2006

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I might gain back five or ten of those lost 50 pounds, but what's more important? My heart, my lungs, my life, or a few extra pounds?

I think like most smokers I've been through it all. Patches, gum, no lozenges, cold turkey. I've even attended a support group and discovered that one of the ingredients in cigarettes is embalming fluid. I thought, wow, what a deal. Here the cigarette companies are saving us money when we die from the cigs that are killing us. No need to be embalmed.

All jokes aside, in 2005 I stopped smoking for five months because my husband was dying from that addiction. Three years before his docs found a mass of small cell cancer in his left lung--a deadly condition that nearly always kills. He also had been diagnosed with emphysema.

The cancerous mass had been hard to find at first because it was stationed behind his heart. Once found however, an oncologist and radiologist working together decided they'd cure him. And they did. After 50 radiation therapies and four-ten hour chemo treatments the cancer was gone.

The reason for the massive radiation therapies was that after 35 to his lungs, 15 were administered to his brain to eliminate the possibility of his cancer returning and metastasizing to the brain.

When radiation seeds are implanted in the body they focus on cancer in one area. When outer radiation therapy is used the entire body is protected should the cancer return, except for the brain. There's a blood block below the brain that kept the radiation therapy from entering the brain. So 15 treatments to the brain were necessary.

I stopped smoking for five months to show him it could be done. However, it was soon discovered that his esophagus had been burnt from the radiation and he was unable to swallow. So a feeding tube had to be inserted into his stomach in order to feed him six cans of liquid nutrition a day to keep him alive. His medicine also had to be crushed and mixed with water to be forced through the tube.

I buckled from the pressure of being his caregiver 24/7 and started smoking again on the porch outside. The reason I smoked outside was because I was afraid that the constant oxygen he was on would blow up. He was also confined to a wheelchair and sponge baths. He developed bed sores that threatened to eat through his skin to the bone. He lost 50% of his body weight.

Soon I had company on the porch. He insisted on smoking so I wheeled him out for a few cigarettes at a time. His doctors didnt object since they were of the opinion that if he stopped smoking it wouldnt help. The cancer was gone, but due to the emphysema, his lungs resembled lattice work. There were holes everywhere and his lungs were loosing the ability to expand and contract.

The day he died, the bed sores were gone, but he could no longer breathe even with his oxygen on full. He choked to death. I had the choice of putting him in hospice but I didnt. He died at home.

Why am I telling you this? Because even bearing witness to this much suffering was not enough to stop me from smoking again. And besides, Im not into painting a pretty picture because this is what happens from smoking. Im continuing this tomorrow to show what finally helped me stop killing myself with cigarettes.

If Im offending those of you who want to continue smoking, Im sorry. This article is more for those who want to stop but cant.

Web Site: Denlinger's Publishers, Ltd.


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Reviewed by Loretta Scott 12/19/2006
Great article, congratulation!
Reviewed by Elizabeth Taylor (Reader) 12/19/2006
An excellent article that is sure to help many stick with trying to quit.Sad story too, about your hubby. I remember when you were going through this. Caretakers are true heroes.

Ironically, the nicotine addiction can be overcome in a week to ten days. It is the habit that is more difficult to break, the need to have something in the mouth. It has to do with the primitive brain stem. I am glad you are trying again. There are all sorts of ways to outsmart that primitive brain.

Love,
Bette

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