Kerry L

Kerry L., NY

I am a trained medical professional (RN/Respiratory Therapist) who has lost both parents to lung cancer. Professionally I have taken care of patients who have/had lung cancer. I have also taken care of both my parents on hospice as they died from lung cancer. It is an awful thing to live with and ultimately die from. My mom smoked 2 packs/day for many years and quit 9 years before she passed away from lung cancer. The doctors found the spot, March 1999, behind her aorta and she went through chemo and radiation before she passed away in April 2001. My dad smoked about 1 pack/day for many years but also worked in a factory which could have added to the problem also. He quit smoking in 1980 (21 years) while I was in college studying Respiratory Therapy. The doctors found the lung cancer in dad in Feb 2001 and he passed away May 2001, 4 1/2 weeks after my mom. They both lived their last weeks on earth tethered to an Oxygen concentrator, weak, and in extreme pain controlled only by narcotics. I do not smoke, although I did for a short period of time as a teenager and young adult. But I finally got "smart" and gave it up so I could become a mom. I suffer from bronchitis whenever I get a cold or sinus infection due to having been exposed to many years of second-hand smoke as a child. I literally become ill smelling smoke or smelling smoke on people's clothes. I cringe whenever I see people smoke with young kids around and know what damage they are doing to their children's health (frequent ear infections, asthma and down the road maybe even getting cancer from second-hand smoke!) When I drive around and see attractive men and women only to become disgusted when I see them lighting up a cigarette! I have seen people so addicted to smoking that they light up a cigarette while on Oxygen and burn their face so severely they have to be fed by tubes instead of eating normally. I have taken care of a 32 year old man after surgery to remove part of his tongue and having a tracheostomy to breathe with! Smelly ashtrays, littered sidewalks and parking lots, burn holes in clothes, homes burned down with the body of the smoker still inside. This is so tragic and PREVENTABLE!!! Sad to think that people are paying $7 a pack for cigarettes and many of these people are not in the best of health to begin with. I have read research that many smokers are self-treating themselves for mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. So very sad.....

First Published: October 23, 2013

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