Thursday, September 2, 2010

Smoking is not good for you...

Genie shared a post with us the other day about the passion of her father. When I read Genie’s post many parts of her text resonated with me. First I was amazed at the drive this man embodied to try to get to DC for that rally. I could feel her father’s desire to be independent, follow his passions and have autonomy even as he labored for every breath. Laboring for every breath, but still doing something that he found passionate. WOW!

But there is something more I could feel in her post: I could feel the concern for his well being from Genie’s mom and herself. Sick with worry comes to mind. With my father, his passing was miserable. Esophageal cancer is no picnic and I quite frankly would not wish it on anyone. I doubt that Genie’s father, and I know my father, ever felt they would get these serious and chronic diseases that for my father would take his life. He was in denial. I cannot speak for Genie’s father, but my father ignored the health risks and lived in denial for years. Years.

Smoking is not good for your health. Yes, that is true, you say. You don’t need a wake up call about the dangers of smoking. I sure don’t. My father smoked for 60 years and developed esophageal cancer that killed him. I know Genie has a father who smoked for 50 years, plus was exposed to asbestos in his job, and now has emphysema. These two blogger family friends are just two examples of how smoking impacts and puts health at risk. But there are many, thousands, hundreds of thousands and undoubtedly millions more such stories linking smoking with cancer and other health issues, like heart disease. To top it off smokers are addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes. Bad. Bad. Bad.

My father kicked the habit when he was 86 (if kicking the habit at the age means something). Sounds like Genie’s father did kicked the habit, too. But the fact of the matter is that even with all the evidence over years, decades, of research that smoking is down right bad for you these two people, our fathers, continued to smoke and for many years. Mine for over 65; Genie’s for 50. All of those years of smoking finally caught up to them (and Genie’s father also had the asbestos issue). When the catch up comes, who pays? Right. We all do. The smoker, the smoker’s family, and of course all of us (regular citizens) by increased health care costs, lost wages, etc. etc.

As I read Genie’s post, I realized that there are many parallels between smoking and obesity. There are known health risks with obesity just like smoking. Diabetes and high blood pressure for sure and other chronic and serious diseases are linked with obesity (see my tipping point post). I started on this journey on June 26 because I finally emerged from my denial. I chose to ignore the risks for far too long. You also know that I finally realized that it is my family, my sweet grandbabies that will pay the price of my denial and of the years of putting off taking care of myself. The health risks that I put myself into will make them sick with worry, and that is simply not fair nor acceptable to me. My time has simply come to take care of me. You all know that I am out of denial and moving forward and taking steps to regain my health.

But what about you? Has you wake up call come? Have you reached your tipping point? Can you put that cigarette of obesity down and rub out its impact, its hold on you?? I ask these questions because I think you all know I read many blogs. I KNOW that some of you, including my dear readers and followers, have not reached the point where you are firmly resolved to do something positive and lasting to regain your health. You are in wishy-washy land, to be direct. As I read your posts I am not confident that you have the clarity, the resolve and the determination to move forward. But my questions are: Well, when are you? What will it take to get you to kick your obesity in the ass? What will it take for you to take back your life? Because if you don’t, I know that there are people in your life who will be sick with worry when the impact of years of obesity catch up with you. I know. People will weep at your suffering. Is that the future you want for yourself and your loved ones??

I know that I took way too long to get to where I am today in reclaiming my health and publicly through this blog. Many of you are well on your weigh (way) with me and for those of you who are moving forward I say BRAVO!!!. As I have said before: my hope for those of you who are not 100% determined and resolved is that you will come to your senses; you will get your wake up call well before I did at 56.

And for all of you that are solidly on your way to regaining your health: stay strong. In strength we can overcome.


  1. powerful words and so very well said.

    for me there was indeed a wakeup call and each morning as I gaze into my daughter's face Im so grateful I heeded it.


  2. That Michele, is a brilliant post! Oh man that is great. I will tell you right now, the ONLY thing I was thinking when I started all this was that my family, Kathy and Lauren, need me. I had had a vision or fear or whatever you want to call it, of me, dead at an early age before I was able to get them set up financially. I almost cried at the thought of Kathy having to start over and what if she met a guy that didn't love her like I do and was not treated well. All these things weighed so heavy on my heart that I started praying that God would touch my heart and move me in such a way that I could get this thing going and that he would give me the resolve to keep it going. I am there. God gave me the drive to get started, the tools to be successful, and most of all, he gave me you and all the other bloggers to share this with, to support me, to encourage me, to keep me honest! Great post, Michele. Top notch!

  3. A great analogy. I was reading the smoking section and how blind and deaf they were not to see and hear what everybody knows. And the BAM, you got me. I started way late in the game. I feel confident that this is the last time I'll go down this road. Life is too short. Thanks for posting.

  4. It's sad that it takes us as humans so long to actually grasp the truth of what we're doing to ourselves. I wish I would've stopped myself 15 years ago and got serious about health then, but I guess age 40 is better than 86 . . .if I would've ever made it that far!

  5. Great post, Michele. I'm glad I woke up. But I have someone close to me who is still sleeping and I need to work on that person a bit.

  6. Well said Michele. I think all of us who have stalled or who 'diet' reluctantly, as I used to, are coasting along hoping that one day there'll be a Road to Damascus enlightenment, even though we know the hard facts about eating well and exercising. Having said that, I have to remind myself every single day that there is no end, no finishing point to eating well and exercising. Not only am I having to discard old ways, I am having to learn new ones too, and that can be hard. We really have to WANT good health, don't we, and that involves changing the habits of a lifetime.

  7. wow, I needed to read a post like this tonight. THANKS! : )

  8. Michele,
    I am reading your post and tears are streaming down my face. My own mother died from lung cancer at the age of 67. I was only 30 years old, a single mom with 2 young children. I will never forget the look in her eyes as she told me her diagnosis. It was one of fear and guilt. Guilt that she had done this to herself.
    Your post makes me think of that moment and then I realize I too have been in denial. I always told myself that I was glad I didn't smoke and so would not have that same guilt my mom did when she told me she was dying. I was wrong. My obesity is going to kill me just as fast if not faster if I don't stop it now. Thank you for your post tonight. It is another reminder that I need to be here for my kids and grandkids.

  9. Dear All,
    Thank-you all for your comments. I know I pushed the blogging world with this post; but, it really just hit me how our obesity is a matter of life and death. On behalf of your spouses and partners, your children (or future children) and your granchildren (or future grandchildren), I thank-you for making the decision to move forward and regain your health. It is not TOO late. Take good care of yourselves and be kind to yourself. Michele

  10. Hey Michelle,

    Got over here to read about my dad and your dad. So sorry to hear about your dad's illness, and eventual death, from smoking. It's a terrible thing, and my family is facing it, too.

    My dad would not have stopped smoking after 50 years if he wouldn't have had that lung operation for which he was basically cut in half, and part of one of his lungs was removed. The doctors thought it was cancerous for sure, but it wasn't, although that doesn't mean it's not going to be in the future.

    BTW, that surgery is supposed to be one of the most painful ever. He suffered terribly during the recovery. That was finally the end of the cigarettes. Like not a moment too soon, Pop.

    There is a difference between cigs and food, of course, and it's that we can't do without food. So, there's our big challenge. I totally agree with you on the toll that obesity (smoking, drinking, drugging) takes on a family and on our citizenship in general.

    Thanks for stating it loudly and clearly!! Good job!!! I salute you!!!