Saturday, August 13, 2005

She quit smoking — give her a hand!

Current Music: Music One
RenaRF, one of my C&J pals, has put down the cigarettes and is sharing the experience with the rest of us. Good on ya, Rena!

Peter Jennings's losing battle with lung cancer is only the most visible example of the toll that smoking takes on our friends, loved ones, and even our icons. My uncle is very much on my mind as I type tonight; he quit a couple of years ago (almost to this day) after being diagnosed with an arterial embolism. Years of hard living, heavy smoking and drinking, came with a price: his body can't even take the stress of surgery needed to repair the embolism, and he quit too late — the lung cancer was already lurking and came up earlier this year.

Being a true adult, he has accepted the situation (yep, he's still hanging on). He knows he's (his words) a “walking time bomb” and when the embolism goes, he won't last more than a few minutes. He's enjoying whatever time God has chosen to give him, and frankly he has lasted a lot longer than I expected. This is a good thing for all of us, especially him.

Losing him is going to be hard on him and my family. He's my mom's brother, and one of my dad's best buddies (my parents are long divorced but get along better now than they did when they were married). He got my brother & me summer jobs one year when he was working as a cook on offshore drilling platforms. The worst part is, if he had quit long ago (or better yet, never started), the embolism would have either never formed or at worst would have been operable.

I hope, when she is ready to write about it, that Rena will be able to tell us what motivated her to suck that first butt at age 18. The Boy has also picked up this habit, and hasn't ever really been able to describe his own motivations besides a “peer pressure” cop-out — he's always had plenty of friends and co-workers who never smoked, and has seen what it's done to his great-uncle even if he wouldn't know Peter Jennings if the man rose from the dead and smacked him upside the head with a TelePrompTer™. Teenagers often have self-destructive tendencies; Lord knows I took more chances than I should have even if I was fairly average in that respect. Maybe it's one of those “won't happen to me” things.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for linking.

    I'm ready now - I smoked my first cigarette, as best as I can remember, because I was and had always been an overweight teenager and I misguidedly thought it would be a dietary aid. "I'd just smoke until my weight was under control". Right. Well, I wound up actually putting ON weight up to 20 years old AND was addicted.

    Aside: I did get my weight under control the only way people get their weight under control: diet and exercise. I have a great figure and continue to work hard at it. Moreover, I planned around the ONE THING that could derail my quitting, and that was weight gain. I've made adjustments in my diet and stepped up my exercise schedule. THAT won't be an excuse if I fail, and I don't think I'm going to.

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