F.I.T.T May 2010: For Mom
|Associate Director, Amy Rauworth|
Each year, 440,000 people die in the U.S. from tobacco use. 87% of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking. My Mom quit smoking in 2005 with the birth of my first child. She truly was the best Nana and would never think about putting her new granddaughter in danger from secondhand smoke or nicotine residue. She didn't like the shortness of breath that she experienced from her recent diagnosis of mild chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). She had tried many times before, but the tremendous addictive hold that nicotine had on her, as it does many other people, would not let her go. According to the American Cancer Society, 70% of smokers want to quit and 35% attempt to quit each year, but less than 5% succeed. With the help of her physician, a well monitored plan, and her immeasurable love for her first grandchild, she was able to finally beat the addiction. She managed her COPD and was able to run along with all the children in our family as she had always done. She was a child at heart herself and would never think of missing out on a chance to play.
Along with all of the wonderful memories, I can't help but hope that the memories of her last 9 months of life fade in my mind. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 small cell lung cancer in February 2009. The disease was devastatingly fast in its progression and the suffering was immense. She was a fighter to the end and her stubborn nature would not allow her to give-in to the disease. In fact, just the day before her death as she lay in the hospital bed in the living room of my childhood home, her eldest sister by 17 years asked the rhetorical question, "How could you leave me?" My Mom's response was so simple, "Oh, Helen, I am not gone yet." And she only called her by her name Helen and not her pet name of Sis, when she was mad!
I know that my Mom would have done anything if she could take back her years of smoking and gain the estimated 14.5 more years of life (the average number of years of life lost by female smokers). She would have happily watched her son get married in 2010. She would watch her grandchildren grow and graduate from high school. She would teach all her grandchildren countless things that only a Nana can teach you. By sharing my story, I hope that at least one person out there finds a reason to try and quit for the first time or last. It may take many attempts to be successful, but please try.
If my story has moved you to quit or to encourage someone you love to quit, please let me know at email@example.com.
This one is for you, Mom! In loving memory of the best Mom (and Nana) ever, Marilyn Jean Lowry, April 4, 1944 to September 13, 2009. Happy Mother's Day! I love you!
More reasons to quit, by the U.S. Surgeon General:
- Quitting smoking has major and immediate health benefits for men and women of all ages. These benefits apply to people who already have smoking-related disease and those who don't.
- Ex-smokers live longer than people who keep smoking.
- Quitting smoking lowers the risk of lung cancer, other cancers, heart attack, stroke, and chronic lung disease.
- Women who stop smoking before pregnancy or during the first 3 to 4 months of pregnancy reduce their risk of having a low birth-weight baby to that of women who never smoked.
- The health benefits of quitting smoking are far greater than any risks from the small weight gain (usually less than 10 pounds) or any emotional or psychological problems that may follow quitting.
- Smoke Free (free step-by-step quit guide, talk to an expert function, free resources)
- Smoking Cessation
- Tobacco Free Quit Links
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Quit Now
- American Association on Health and Disability (smoking Cessation Programs for People with Disabilities)
Did you know that people with disabilities are more likely to use tobacco, less likely to quit, and less likely to be screened for tobacco use?
References on Smoking and People with Disabilities
Armour, B. S. P., Campbell, V. A. P., Crews, J. E. D., Malarcher, A. P., Maurice, E., MS, & Richard, R. A. M. (2007). State-level prevalence of cigarette smoking and treatment advice, by disability status, United States, 2004. Preventing Chronic Disease Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy, 4(4), 1. Retrieved May 6, 2010, from http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2007/oct/06_0179.htm
Austin, D. M. D., MPH, & Lapiduc, J., PhD. (2005). Cancer incidence and detection project. Retrieved May 6, 2010, from http://www.ohsu.edu/oidd/rrtc/archive/research/study9.htm
Brawarsky, P., Brooks, D. R., & Wilber, N. (2002). Tobacco use among adults with disabilities in Massachusetts. Tobacco Control, 11(Suppl II), ii29.
Mitra, M., PhD, Chung, M., MPH, Wilber, N. E., & Walker Klein, D. E. (2004). Smoking status and quality of life A longitudinal study among adults with disabilities. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 27(3), 258.
State-specific prevalence and trends in adult cigarette smoking united states, 1998-2007.(2009). JAMA, 302(3), 250.
Tracy, J., & Hosken, R. (1997). The importance of smoking education and preventative health strategies for people with intellectual disability. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 41(5), 416.
For comments and feedback, please feel free to contact Amy Rauworth at firstname.lastname@example.org