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Thank-you For Not Smoking

This is a blog I’ve been wanting to write for a while, I just don’t think it will be that popular. I might insult some of you and some of you may rejoice in what I’m saying.. Such is the power of the beast, you can’t please everyone and this is my blog, so I’m going to say what’s on my mind.

Ever since I was little I have hated smoking, back then I was less tolerant of it than I am now. I used to yell and belittle people who were smoking. I would tell them that they were gross and that they were going to die. Imagine a tiny seven-year-old spit fire yelling at you and telling you, you look stupid with a cigarette between your lips. I remember one specific time being at Disney and yelling at a group of teenagers in line that they were smoking. I think I told them they were going to kill me because I had Cystic Fibrosis and I couldn’t be around cigarette smoke. I probably also told them they looked dumb and were going to kill themselves and that they weren’t supposed to smoke there. Back then smoking was allowed in a lot more places than it is now, but I’m not sure it was allowed at Disney. The teenagers were mad and I think my gram told me to be quiet, I would probably tell Jobe to be quiet as well. However, maybe I wouldn't. I think people need to be called out more in life. No one is held accountable for anything anymore and our society is breaking down since no one dares to speak up. The only ones who dare to tell the truth are the little kids and the parents shush them from day one.

As I got older I remember a few people I yelled at who were smoking, I didn’t yell at random strangers as much because I got chastised when I was younger. I caught my mom smoking once, I don’t remember how old I was but I was pissed. I yelled and screamed and ran off and hid. I’m pretty sure I went and cried and I never cried, I was just so angry. I felt betrayed by her. She knew everything I dealt with when I went into the hospital first hand. She dealt with it with me. She had good lungs and she was ruining them. I didn’t understand why she would smoke. As I got older I began to realize no matter how close someone is to me, they are not me. They don't feel the exact same things. I obviously didn’t understand much as a kid, I guess some things never change, I don't understand much as an adult. They say being mean to someone doesn't make them stop, but apparently the belittling worked because my mom hasn’t smoked since that day. And she remembers it well.

I’ve dated many people who have smoked and I always thought it was so nasty. I’m not sure how I even dated them - I wouldn’t do it now. They smell, they taste like an ashtray, it makes my lungs burn. Gross. Over it. On top of all of those things, I hate hearing about how broke people are and then seeing them light up a cigarette. Puh-lease. You’re broke? No, you have your damn priorities wrong. I can’t even stand when someone smokes outside and then comes inside. Yes, I can still smell cigarette smoke on you. No, it’s not good for anyone to be around. Even your kids - if you have them. I know many smokers don’t believe third-hand smoke is a thing, but it definitely is. I know how my lungs felt when someone came back from smoking. I know what many doctors have told me - pulmonologists. Smart people who know their stuff. The consensus is in, it’s not good for anyone to be around someone else after they have just smoked. I ask people to walk around and air off for a while and to take a bunch of deep breaths and blow out all the smoke from their lungs before they come back inside. I’m not risking my health anymore for someone else’s bad habit.

I realize this is just kind of more of a rant than anything so I'm going to try to get back on track. Do you one major reason why it bothers me that people I know smoke? Ready for it? This will blow your mind! I love you guys. I wouldn’t wish a lung transplant on my worst enemy and I certainly wouldn’t wish one on you. It was the single-handedly hardest thing I have ever been through. And I’m not talking about the almost dying part. I’m not talking about the life support for weeks part. I’m not talking about the having no air in my lungs to breathe before part. I’m talking about after. It almost broke me and I haven’t ever been that close to breaking before. I’ve been through countless things, many I haven’t even touched on in this blog yet.. but I’m telling you, I almost lost it. I was questioning life and why I even bothered getting a lung transplant. I was miserable for a solid two weeks. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I was in pain, I was always nauseous, I was throwing up, I couldn’t walk. I felt like my whole world was stuck in one bed just listening to my stomach growl, feeling like crap. I became depressed and miserable. I didn’t want to see anyone or talk to anyone. I just wanted to crawl in a dark hole and die. I haven’t talked much about my short bout with depression yet because I’m mostly saving it for my book, but I will tell you now that I don’t want anyone who doesn’t have to, to go through what I went through.

At some point, I realized one kid against the world wasn’t going to make everyone quit smoking. It was me against the cigarette companies and no one cared about one sick little girl. Now I’m not really a fan of making people feel bad, so it’s a bit harder to tell people what I think about them smoking. Well, today I want to talk about it anyway. I can’t help but talk about how frustrated I am with smokers. Especially smokers who know what I just went through. I’m a little fed up with it, I’m not mad at anyone.. I don’t hold it against any one person really, but I don’t get it. It frustrates me as a whole. My father hasn’t smoked for like 10-15 years and after I had my lung transplant, he started smoking. That was a hard pill to swallow, that I am still choking on a little bit. My father and I have a weird relationship anyway, I hardly know him.. but still. That’s mostly a story for another time. My dad (yeah, I have a father and a dad) has smoked for as long as I’ve known him and has told me he’s never going to quit. Thumbs up, dad! Alright! Many of my aunts and uncles smoke, cousins, friends. I’m trying to think of a good way to explain how it makes me feel. I suppose the best way for me to explain someone smoking that knows - and I mean really knows - what I’ve dealt with, is like a slap in the face. It’s just insulting. I was born with these crappy lungs and did everything I could to take care of them and stay alive and people just ruin their perfectly good lungs. Not only are they ruining them for themselves but they’re ruining the chance to donate those lungs to someone else someday. Organ donation is so important, all you have to do is check one little box, but that doesn’t mean they can use your organs. I know many people that have died waiting for an organ. I almost died waiting for lungs, I was a day away from dying (so they say, but I bet I had a little rally left in me. Like two days?). I fought as hard as I could to stay alive with lungs that didn’t work, lungs that I was a born with, lungs that I didn’t do anything to damage. Then I watch people I love smoke. It's like them turning around and giving me the finger. "I know what you went through, but I really don't care." That's how it makes me feel. I don’t know why anyone would want to put their family through what my family went through. They sat by my bedside every day for weeks wondering if I would make it through the next day. I hate that I put my family through that, it’s one of the worst parts for me.

If nothing I’ve said has really convinced you that you should quit smoking… think of your family. Think of the person who would be there worried sick over you. Your mom or dad, your sister or brother, your wife, your son, your best friend, whoever it may be. How can you put them through something like that? When I would wake up between sleeping for days I would look over and my mom or gram or best friend (aka sister) would be sitting beside me. Sometimes they would be awake, sometimes they would be bent over the edge of my bed sleeping. Yet even in slumber, they looked worried and scared. I knew it was my fault they felt those things and it felt horrible to hurt them even though I didn’t mean to. The only way I got through that was knowing I was going to do everything in my power to stay alive. I was going to fight like crazy. I wanted to make it home to them. I wanted to make it home to my son. Think of those that you love. Think of those people in your life that love you and need you. Like me, I love you and need you. You can call me and cuss me out when the cravings kick in, I don’t care. We can do it together. If you quit now, your lungs will start to heal. Your chance of lung cancer will be greatly diminished. After a while, you actually may even be able to be a lung transplant donor again. Not anytime soon, but being a donor is so important. You can save up to eight lives! What better way to celebrate your life than to be an organ donor and save others in death? Not much if you ask me. I just think there are a million reasons to quit smoking, I think you are able as soon as you're willing. What will it take to convince you to quit? If you used to quit and don't anymore, what was your reason for quitting?

#smoking #lungcancer #lungtransplant #cysticfibrosis #organdonor

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