Why we have to stop. For real.

Comments (10) Emo, Health

I had a most unexpected conversation with Baby over lunch today (that's her nickname).
She's a fairly new friend, whom i feel a lot of love for, and she suddenly shared with me how her dad passed away from cancer at age 66.

I just stared at her in the eyes and said, "I'm so sorry..."

Her: Yeah. He was in the hospital for three months before he passed away.
Me: What cancer was it?
Her: Lung cancer.
Me: Shit.
Her: Yeah...

Then we were quiet for awhile.

Me: That's like, my worst fear.
Her: I know right. It's the worst worst...

Baby's eyes went slightly glassy and i started choking up from the emotion that filled the air.

She told me how they only found out at stage 4 cos it's such a silent killer.
How he felt tired for weeks and didn't want to go to work.
How he lost his appetite.
How his back hurt and he would want to lie on the floor to sleep cos it felt better.
How he refused to go to the doctor.
How the family forced him to go in the end.

She said that he gradually became immobile, and couldn't talk for 2 months leading up to his death.
He vomited blood cos his lungs were failing and somewhat cracking inside.

Me: Oh my god... it must have been so painful... To have your organs fail in you while you're still alive...
Her: Yeah la. He was on morphine all the time. He couldn't even drink water.
Me: Then how?
Her: We had to drip it into his mouth...
Me: Oh man...

Her: On the day he died, he couldn't move or talk. He moved his finger a little bit like this *gestured her pointer finger moving up and down slightly* to show that he wanted to sit up, so we would all prop him up la. Then he moved his finger like this *moved her own finger slightly from side to side* and we knew he wanted to look out of the window. So we carried him with his morphine and everything to the window so he could look outside. He smiled a bit... then we carried him back to his bed. After that he just... got worse and passed away at 7:30pm.

Oh i couldn't take it. I was totally crying openly by then in the cafe.
Luckily we were sitting in a corner but i don't think i cared very much.

The reason this came up is because Baby and Vince convinced me to get a vape recently. I've been trying to stop smoking, and it's so hard. I figured this could be a stepping stone for me to wean myself off cigarettes till i get disgusted by its smell and taste, and then wean myself off the vape. (We got ours from Vapebrothers.) Baby said that her dad had been smoking since he was a teenager.

Me: Do you regret not telling him something to stop him from smoking..?
Her: ALL THE TIME. I would never wish what we went through on any of my friends... to watch someone you love suffer like that... If i know that my friend's parents are smoking, i have to tell them.

Me: Do you think about him?
Her: Every day. We still talk about him, like memories we have, "do you remember..?"

Then she told me happy memories of how her dad and her would have a lunch date every Friday since she was in primary school, and how her mum and him made a pact that they would only be separated by death. I was quite amazed by how she could tell me all this without crying. I guess she must have cried everything out.

Me: 2011... it's quite recent...
Her: YEAH. I knew i had to stop smoking after that happened but i didn't know how. Then Vince intro-ed the vape to me la.

Me: Have you told many people this story?
Her: Just close friends...
Me: You should write about it and tell people. It's not that we DON'T know all this... we somehow delude ourselves into thinking we won't get it, or it's a small percentage.
Her: No man. Lung cancer is real. It's REAL!

Then i thought about how i'm the one with the blog.
So maybe i'm the one who should be writing about it.
I asked Baby for permission to blog about what she told me today,
and she said yes, hence this post you just read.

Thanks for letting me share your painful experience with everyone today.
I already have a desire to quit smoking, and this further cements my resolution to stop.

If this post affects even one person enough to make them rethink their addiction to cigarettes, or even to talk to someone they love about their addiction, then it is not for nothing.

+ + + + +

I posted the link to this on my Facebook and decided to share some comments on similar stories:

"Sad. And unfortunately it could have been worse. I saw my Dad going through the same aged 67. My memory is normally rubbish, but what I saw 25 years ago was truly horrific and permanent. Fuck me - if (for whatever reason) your lungs end up in that state, please make sure you have your Geneva clinic booked in advance. No family should have to go through that kind of ending."
- Lui Zurawski

" 🙁 My granddad smoked from when he was 18. He finally quit when he turned 59/60, but by then the damage was done and a couple of years later, lung cancer struck. He was gone in 4 months or so when I was 12. My cousins and I don't smoke because we remember his last months where breathing was difficult, and chemo was harsh on his body, and how tough it was on the family. Today, we still miss him dearly and wish he were here to see us grow up 🙁 It's really not worth it, Joyce!"
- Xin-Ci

 

10 Responses to Why we have to stop. For real.

  1. Angellll says:

    Hey, thanks for sharing this. These stories need to be repeated from time to time to keep quitters motivated to stay smoke-free.
    Cancer runs in my family and yet I smoked for years. Until I woke up one day and realised I love life, and by smoking, I was making sure that I lived less of this life I loved. Still it took me a month, two months to really quit. Finally I set a goal – I wanted to say that by my next birthday, I had been smoke-free for six months… and I did it. It’s been almost two full years with not even a single slip and I feel amazing! I felt my lung capacity increase and more unexpectedly, my skin became clearer and brighter. It’s a tough road, but I’m totally behind you if and when you finally stop. Find a buddy and do it together, use a help forum, anything! It’ll be worth it. Life is too precious. Take care 🙂

  2. Michelle L. says:

    I don’t smoke, but this.. I’m showing this to my dad. He needs to stop and I think this post is what he needs. Thank you.

  3. Elaine says:

    I sincerely wish you luck on quitting and understand how difficult it can be, despite being a non-smoker. Perhaps the strongest motivation I can give you is that you’re not just quitting to reduce YOUR cancer risks. Many non-smokers (like my aunt who passed away from lung cancer leaving behind a heartbroken husband and two young children) suffer the worst consequences of their friends and loved ones’ second-hand smoke.

    The carcinogens are present even when the smoke has cleared – I read somewhere that they stay on your clothes, hair and breath for days, and babies and young children are most susceptible. So taking a smoking break a little distance away doesn’t neutralize the harm.

    I helped friends quit smoking, or stand up to peers who tried to pressure, goad and tease them into it, when we were between 13-15 years old. I was mocked for doing this, and so were the kids trying to reject it. Deep down they knew it was wrong but they were stressed from the pressure. It turns out all they needed to avoid giving in was a fellow peer believing in their conviction to reject it.

    This is true even in adulthood.

    Now when people ask if I smoke (usually looking to bum a cigarette or lighter), I ask in turn why they do it, and have heard a lot of weird excuses, but it always – ALWAYS – boils down to: someone told them to. Worse still, some of them make the decision to quit, but resume because their friends goaded them back into it – JUST SO THEY CAN HAVE A SMOKING BUDDY.

    Friends who want you to smoke are not real friends, and friends who urge you to quit would be fully justified to keep our distance and stop breathing your cancer air, but if instead we reach out asking you to quite, it’s because we care. The solution is not for more people to smoke with you so you all share the guilt, although many smokers cite this as the reason they resume the habit.

    Quitting isn’t easy, so if social pressure does come and tempt you to go back, don’t let it negate all your hard work and cheapen one of the best decisions you have ever made for yourself. All the best!

  4. Vivian says:

    My hubby helped me a lot in quitting process. He’s not a smoker and I have been smoking since 14 years old (Stupid girl, I know). I’m currently 28. I have been trying to quit by myself but never succeed and finally, I asked for his motivation and yeah, I have been smoke free for 4 months. The best feeling ever.

    1. Limit yourself to a certain amount of cigarettes per day. Eg: For instance, if now you are taking 10 sticks per day, just go with it but NOT MORE than 10 sticks in a day. The following week, reduce to 9 sticks a day and eventually to one and none.

    2. I know it’s hard not to have ciggie around you knowing its your last stick. Instead, buy a different brand with different flavor. If you really have the urge, smoke it but I think you might dislike the unfamiliar taste.

    That’s how I finally quit. Give it a try, don’t rush yourself to the ending, enjoy the process. You can do it Joyce.

  5. Vy says:

    My dad stopped smoking once he saw his dear friend going through the same with lung cancer and later passed on. We were very young then (toddlers maybe) and my dad decided to quit there and then for us. (My mom said he just quit smoking, just like that.) He had not picked it up since but was very vocal when one of my brothers picked it up (he eventually stopped too).
    So, go for it Joyce! I’m sure it will be very tough but you can do it!

  6. phoonteckman says:

    how about just thinking how many ppl you WON’T be be killing by stopping smoking?

  7. Charlene says:

    As a teacher, I have seen it affect the children. The father of five children, oldest at 12 yo and youngest at only one, suffered lung cancer. I saw how his wife quit her job to take care of him, fetching him on his endless hospital visits. I saw how his children suffered, coming to class, agitated to have left their father’s side for school, crying because they worry their father might leave any time soon, saddened that they might never see or touch him again. It made me so helpless when all I could do was comfort them but nothing seems to alleviate the pain they felt. Finally, they stopped coming to school, their father had left to be with God, but the agony does not stop there. What happened to those five fatherless children and widow? I do not know but I know everyday they are are thinking of him and how life would be better if he were still around.

  8. Mamapumpkin says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Right timing. Causing an impact. Thank you.

  9. kreazi says:

    More than 20 years ago, I lost my grandfather who was a chain smoker, to lung cancer. Seeing him go through his last 3-4 months was heartbreaking. Last stage, no chemo would even help. My family and I saw him from not being able to walk properly, to not being able to talk, and then he became totally immobile and when he could not even eat, his days were numbered. My father used to be a heavy smoker too but he stopped just like that when he vomited blood one day. He has not pick it up since then, probably about 20 years ago too. My ex was also a chain smoker and early in our relationship when he found out that I do not like smokers, he too managed to stop just like that, even without me asking him to. It goes to show that, if you put your heart and soul into it, I am sure you can do it. Being a strong girl that you are, I am sure you can do it too, Joyce!

  10. shannen says:

    unable to stop my husband from smoking no matter how. I would just think he love us (me and son) lesser than his ciggy. But pls stop since you are determined.
    My uncle passed away from lunch cancer at 49. The whole time after we found out he was sick was hell to us. He was my favourite uncle, always asking my mum to give me to him as a kid. Good thing he became a dad pretty early, youngest kid already in college by the time he passed away. But due to his stubbornness, he did not have any insurance. My aunt and his pair of son spent years to clear his last week of hospital fee (plus the previous ones). On top of that, his funeral as well. My aunt need to move from the semi-d to a much smaller terrace house (the memories in that house too), sell the Honda City and get a Kenari. So pls, do not let the ones you love go thru the same. This story unfortunately is not enough to wake my husband. Or my uncle’s two sons who is smoking too. All with the same lame reason “cannot stop”.
    Giving you moral support! I’m sure you can do it. 1 stick at a time 🙂

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