I started smoking when I was about 15 or so. I don't even really know why I started. It wasn't peer pressure. None of my friends cared if I smoked or didn't. My mother did smoke, which made cigarettes accessible. I don't know. I guess it doesn't really matter, the when or why. Only that I did somehow start.
And I knew that they weren't good for me. I knew more than that - I knew they were bad for me. I couldn't plead ignorance. My generation was very well informed of all smoking risks.
I've quit here and there. During each of my pregnancies. A week here, several months there. Currently I'm running on 7 months. That's how far I made it last time before I started again. This time, we thought we would cheat those cravings - those temptations, and smoke cigars or cloves socially. But we've been finding ourselves more and more dependent on those. I've heard they're worse too. They probably are. It's not so much the physical addiction, it's the damn habit.
Sometimes I still miss it. The smell, the inhale, the feel of the cigarette in my fingers. It's seductive, that's for sure.
But mostly, I don't. I've been running again - for the first time since about the time I started smoking to begin with. It's not easy (post on that to come later) but it feels good. I don't miss smelling like smoke (I like the smell of smoking, but not the stale smell on people and things).
And more than that, I'm scared. K's grandmother died about 2 years ago from pneumonia and emphysema. She quit 30 years prior to that. 30 years. And it still killed her.
In NY we have anti-smoking commercials - and for me they are actually effective (or at least they make me think), one in particular stands out. Home videos of a woman in her early 30's. Her two very young children. She has lung cancer. Is hooked up to machines. She died. Of lung cancer. I don't think she was even 35. That scares me, it does.
I have young kids. I want more. I don't want to die from something I could have prevented. Something that I brought upon myself. Something that I chose.
Even more recently, my choice to quit has been reaffirmed. With the nice weather and barbecues and friends smoking (and lets not forget the weight gain!), my resolve has been wavering.
But on June 4th, a woman I know online, passed away from lung cancer. She was 39 and left behind two children. A daughter in her early 20's and a 12 year old daughter.
It's amazing how you get to know people online. Know their lives. How someone you only know through the Internet can make such an impact in your life.
I was not very close to Deborah Scott. We were in several forums together. But I wasn't nearly as close to her as a couple of people in the same forums were.
Her story still touched me though, and affected my life. When I quit the last time, this past November - her story did help me through. This was a woman that I talked with, saw glimpses of her life. Heard about her treatments, when the cancer spread. And she was so young. It's not just something I would have to worry about when I was 50, or 60, or 70. She was only in her mid-30's and dealing with it. I'm not that far from 30. This could be me.
She was almost always upbeat, at least in her posts. I remember before I quit, her telling me about her story on whyquit.com (read it here). I had forgotten about the site until today, when someone in one of the forums mentioned it. So I read it again, and I read all the stuff I had missed. It's touching, and it's scary, and it's real. If you read it, and read to the end - you'll see that she left behind a lot of medical bills and lost her life insurance. I find that horrible too - that she was fighting for medical insurance, losing her life insurance - instead of being able to focus on just getting treated.
One thing I always noticed about her - was how hard she fought. I’ve always wondered, if I ever got cancer, would I fight so hard? Would I do all those treatments and the ins and outs of hospitals? Or would I just let it take it’s course (if I knew it would eventually be terminal)? I don’t know.
But Deb fought every step of the way. She really wanted to live.
I don't know if I ever told her, that her story did make a difference. To me, at least.