Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Not Another "Stop Smoking" Speech!

Yes. But not exactly.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and the WHO (World Health Organization), COPD is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States in 2016. The American Lung Association's current statement is that the disease is now in the number 3 spot.



The World Health Organization says Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease claimed 120,000 lives in the U.S. and 3 million lives worldwide in 2016. That's too many. One is to many! Currently, 12 million people have a COPD Diagnosis in the U.S. alone. There are 64 million worldwide affected by this disease. Those are a lot of numbers, but what do they mean? To sum it all up, it means smoking kills.

Of course, not all COPD cases are caused by smoking, but a majority of them are. The COPD Foundation states that 90% of COPD cases are a result of smoking cigarettes.

Perhaps one day, there will be a cure. For now, that is not the reality. COPD is incurable and irreversible. Period.

COPD is a progressive disease, which means that even if you quit smoking, it will still continue to progress. So why quit smoking if you've been diagnosed with COPD?

There are things a person can do to lessen and manage the effects of this dibilitaing disease. Quitting smoking is one of them. I know this for a fact, and not from a statistic. I am speaking from my own experience, and I know that I would not be here right now, had I continued to smoke after my diagnosis.

Quitting smoking has given me more time on this planet to do my work. I am just now coming to terms with exactly what my work is. It's reaching out to you. Not as some big company that wants to sell you something. I sell nothing. I'm coming to you as a fellow human being that knows that your life matters as much as anyone's. Aren't we all connected?

Had I not stopped ingesting the poisons of cigarettes when I did, these words would not be on this page. My voice would not be heard. My thoughts on the subject would have been lost to the world.

I often wonder if I would have still gotten this illnesses, had I stopped smoking sooner. It could have gone either way. I stopped smoking many times in my life. Until this diagnosis, I hadn't stayed off of cigarettes. Not until my LIFE literally depended on it.

So why am I trying to change people's minds about smoking? Think of how hard it is to change yourself and imagine how much harder it must be to change someone else. I'm not able to change anyone. But I can still share my experience so they have another tool to decide.

I am reminded of a letter my youngest daughter wrote me when she was younger. She must have been around 10. She pleaded with me to stop smoking, back then. In the letter, one of the things that wrenched my heart more than anything was when she wrote, "One day, you're going to be laying in a hospital bed with tubes and wires keeping you alive and we are all going to be around you asking you, 'Mommy, if you knew smoking could do this to you, why didn't you stop?"

The letter broke my heart, but I continued to smoke. Now, my 4 grown children are having to deal with the fact that this disease is going to take me out. I cannot change that fact, now. My daughter's letter is coming true.

If you're a smoker, whether you have COPD yet, or not, QUIT!!!  If you need help quitting, I have placed several links on the sidebar of this blog that can help you! There is still time to do your 'work' in this world. I'm not taking about your job. I am talking about your WORK... your purpose... your voice... that thing you came to this planet to do.

If you have COPD, like me, you matter. Your life matters. Your thoughts, wants, desires and feelings matter. You still have purpose.
It isn't over.
It isn't finished yet.
Find your voice.
Begin your journey.

(Artwork by me. See more of my art on Instagram @vleeart1)


2 comments:

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