Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I Love Quitters!

Today I'm thankful my mom quit smoking three years ago, after being told she was "a cigarette away" from cancer.  I'm thankful that she noticed early signs and went to the doctor for a checkup. I'm proud that she had the courage to get the scope done on her throat. And, I am thankful to God that the doctor was able to remove all the pre-cancerous cells. This scare was enough to make her quit for good and I'm grateful every day for more precious time with her.  Who knows how many years this added to her life?

Amazing things happen to your body when you quit smoking, as early as 20 minutes after. 
Here's just a few.....
20 minutes after quitting:  Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
12 hours after quitting:  The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
2 weeks to 3 months after quitting:  Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
1 to 9 months after quitting:  Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.
1 year after quitting:  The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker's.
5 years after quitting:  Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2-5 years.
10 years after quitting: The risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx and pancreas decreases.  *

Sadly, many people aren't this lucky to have a wake-up call.  I hate cigarettes, have since I was a child, but even more now that I've watched it attack and kill those I love.  Cigarettes stole time from me with my Grandpa Wavie, who was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in 2002, and passed away 18 months later.  I witnessed it slowly torment my Grandma McGuffin, who suffered for years with emphysema and COPD.  She struggled for a breath for over a decade, cigarettes confining her to her home in the end.  Those last few days with her, watching in her in pain just to inhale - something we do without thinking - will forever be etched in my memory.  She was the first loved one I actually prayed for her death, so that she would finally be at peace.  And then, most recently the passing of Tim's mom, June.  Although she had quit smoking a couple years prior, the damage had already been done.  By the time it was discovered, her lung cancer had spread throughout her body, making it impossible to swallow even a sip of water.  Her passing was painful as well, as we watched cancer torture her to the very end. 
For these loved ones, and so many others who've died painful and needless deaths, I fight.  I educate, hoping that just one more person will choose life and quit.  I advocate, urging for smoke free laws that protect.  I pray, for those I love who still smoke, and for the innocent children who don't have a choice of the air they breath in.  I hope...that someday everyone will have the right and privilege of breathing clean air.
This post may seem heavy, especially on a happy little blog about joy; however, if one person is inspired to quit by reading this, or one is educated to never start, and a life is saved, then this lady would be filled head to toe with amazing JOY!
Need help or tools to quit?  It's just a click away at or by calling your
American Cancer Society 1.800.227.2345


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