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Smoking's Innocent Victim, my reason to quit smoking

Discussion in 'General Vaping Discussion' started by HippieHermit, Jan 21, 2013.

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  1. HippieHermit

    HippieHermit Senior Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 9, 2013
    A little background before I get to the main point... This is a little long, but the lesson learned here rocked my world...and maybe someone else can benefit from the info before they learn this lesson the hard way like I did.

    When I lived in a normal house in a normal city, before becoming a hermit, there was a cool indoor/outdoor lounge room where my mom and I smoked. After coming home from the desert, I had a lot of recovering to do and spent a lot of time in this room, and did a lot of smoking and thinking in there. I probably spent more time in this room than in the main part of the house, I was too lazy to deal with crutches, so I pretty much hibernated in the lounge. I can only remember 2 reasons I left that and bathroom! There was a doggie door that led from the main door to the lounge, the previous tenant had a dog. My cat learned how to operate the doggie door and followed me everywhere.

    Oreo was more of a dog than a cat in behavior. He walked on a leash around the block, in the winter he wore sweaters and booties. If I picked up a bootie or his leash, he was ready to go! Since I was on crutches for months, his walks became lap-sitting sessions. Loyal and faithful, he sensed I wasn't quite right and never left my side, even following me to the kitchen and bathroom. He got good at playing fetch since I wasn't getting up to play. Even before my deployment, his place at night was stretched out alongside my body with his head on my pillow (whiskers tickling my nose). After coming home, he was more attached than ever. He loved me unconditionally, even if I stunk up the lounge with cigarette smoke. The other cats ignored the lounge, I assumed because they didn't like the smell. I never blew smoke directly at him, but enough lingered in the air...

    I was predicted to be on my feet again in 4 months, but it was 8 months before I could walk without that was countless cartons of Marlboros smoked in the lounge. Always in my lap was my faithful friend. He sensed my moods and when I was down, he was right there. When I could finally manage half of our usual walk, he pulled the leash faster than I could keep up with until he figured out my pace was s-l-o-w for a while. It was good therapy for me to get out and walk. People in their cars would nearly run into parked cars staring at the cat walking on a leash, it was kind of funny.

    I knew after awhile, my body would never be what it once was and I was given the option to get out of the service on medical, I took it. That gave me plenty of time to sit at home and think/absorb my experiences...and smoke more. Pity, maybe, but not so much for myself. I don't handle loss very well, they labeled me PTSD (Poor Turd Still Delusional). Images still wake me up at night. My loyal Oreo licked my tears and purred in my face, did "happy feet" on my chest and made me laugh when I didn't feel like laughing. Its amazing how in-tune animals are to human emotions. I wish I'd been more aware of his, as he was to mine.

    His personality started changing. He wanted to play fetch, ran for the toy but stopped and stared at it instead of bringing it back. He always got a nose-kiss for bringing it back, he came back for his nose-kiss, but without the toy. Next I noticed his loss of interest in meals, always first to be fed (at his request), sat and stared at his food...he was losing weight. Always playful, silly and mischevious....he slept more and became grumpy. I thought, perhaps he was having issues with the cat that came home from Iraq with me, but they got along fine from Day 1. (It was a total shock when the injured cat I was caring for was given to me back in the States weeks later!) I tempted him with his favorite wet food, he licked the juice but left the solid food. At least he had some interest in eating so I switched him to the wet food every meal. One evening while eating, he left his bowl and ran screaming through the house, bumping into things and making sounds I'd never heard before, it was heartbreaking.

    He went to the vet the next day. X-rays were taken that showed several lumps in his jawbone. A biopsy was done and the result was squamous cell carcinoma, an aggressive tumor. The treatment wasn't affordable and there were no guarantees since it had spread so much. The vet said as long as he's having more good days than bad, take him home, love him and enjoy him for as long as I could. He was given a prescription for anti-inflammatory, which seemed to help for a little while.

    I looked this disease up on the internet and read several articles, some showed photos that looked exactly like his x-rays. They all said the same thing- this type of cancer was caused by cigarette smoke settling on the fur, then the cat licks their fur and ingests the carcinogens. My heart sank. I knew I caused it, it was my fault. It could've been prevented. I couldn't un-do it. I had to live with that...and he had to die from it.

    I enjoyed him for 5 more months until he stopped eating, it was too painful to eat, or wash his fur or do things happy cats do. He let me know when the time was right to visit the vet for the last say goodbye. I held him in my arms as his spirit left this world. He got the IV, the injection, then he got sleepy...and was gone. :cry:
    I imagined if I didn't give up the cigs, I woud be next. I fixed the doggie door so no cat could go through it again. I went cold-turkey for about a week, unsuccessfully. Then I made an appointment to get the patch, to which I was allergic. They gave me the gum (also allergic)...the pills (made me feel like I had 1,000 bees buzzing inside me)...and back to the sticks again. Many more cold-turkey tries, all failed, some lasting longer than others, but always failing. The guilt of killing my best friend was my determination to quit smoking, especially when I saw his memorial box on the shelf, knowing we could have had many more happy years together, but because of my thoughtlessness, our time was shortened...and it was MY fault. I had to put the box away where I couldn't see it. His photo of happy times is in a glass window on the lid, inside is his collar and tag and one bootie and a favorite fetch toy.

    The power of addiction is strong beyond words. I promised to quit cigs so many times. I meant those promises with all my heart, but the nico-demon kept winning.

    I've now kicked the cigarette habit out of my life, thanks to a friend who turned me on to vaping. Oreo's ordeal was my #1 reason for wanting to quit. Too late for him now, but not too late for others who read this and learn from my mistake. Secondhand smoke is worse than inhaled smoke.

    Now I go to bed and lay on an empty pillow every night, missing my special furry friend. Knowing I caused it makes it so much harder to take. My empty (and sometimes soggy) pillow is a reminder that I'm sorry for not being able to quit, but also reminds me how grateful I am for vaping and getting rid of cigarettes.

    And on the lighter side, they say people look like their pets. My cat from Iraq is missing an eye, limps a little, has inner ear damage and balance issues...she was injured in an explosion also, and, yep...we look alike. No one will ever replace my sweet Oreo...RIP old friend, until we meet again.
  2. Jarski44

    Jarski44 Senior Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Dec 12, 2012
    Houston, TX
    Oh man, I am so sorry for your loss.

    Thank you for your service and best of luck in getting of the analogs.
  3. MMarie

    MMarie Senior Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Dec 9, 2012
    It's remarkable how pets can teach us to be better humans, isn't it?

    It sounds like Oreo wouldn't be the type to want you to feel guilty. To be able to share a bond like that between species is an amazing gift, and it looks like Oreo is still giving: helping to give you a reason to quit smoking.

    Thank you for sharing your story... it brought back some wonderful memories of a pet of my own.
  4. buzzzlove

    buzzzlove Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Im sorry for your loss My little Chiwawa Is my little buddy it is amazing the company joy a silent animal can bring to your life. Youve at least found vaping if I can do it you can I have 0 zip willpower. I wish you the best of luck and hope time will hurry to heal your wounds!
  5. jeapa

    jeapa Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 4, 2013
    Your story brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for your service. My dh served in Iraq and I have some idea of the difficulties in adjusting to life when coming home. I am sure Oreo would be proud of your accomplishment in quitting smoking. Pets love us unconditionally with all of our faults and all we can do is love them back the best way we know how. It is clear that you did that for Oreo.
  6. Iffy

    Iffy Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Feb 3, 2011
    Florida Suncoast

    Thank you for your service. And, sorry you lost your buddy!
  7. Dana A

    Dana A Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 25, 2012
    Thank you for your service and I just want to say Oreo sounds like one heck of a guy. I think he would want you to forgive yourself and vape on. I know just how that guilt can eat a person alive. Last year I put canine advantage on our 3 dogs and one cat just like I did every month for years. This time was different. By the next day I had our 9 yr old yellow lab Sunshine at the vet. She was very sick. Seems she licked the meds off our cat and maybe herself too. Over 3 more days the vet did everything he could but on the 4th day she let us know the fight was over. We had to end her suffering. She was our 10 yr old son's dog. More like his woobie. He rubbed her nose to go to sleep from the time he was 2. He was even a late bloomer concerning staying overnight with friends because he couldn't sleep without her. They always did everything together. He depended on her for so much every day. I will never forget the lump in my throat when I had to tell him we were putting her down. The fact is we do the best we can by those we love and sometimes bad things still happen. We have to go on to love another day after they are gone. Your story touched my heart. I wish you well in the future. RIP Oreo
  8. Puremess

    Puremess Full Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    This story brought many tears into my eyes!! I am sorry you lost your beloved Oreo. :cry:
    My cat coughed a lot before when I smoked, but as I didn´t smoke much (about 4-5 a day) and was sitting in kitchen under a big fan that sucked all smoke out. So I thought my cat had astma (not sure about the correct word in english, I am sweedish :p). But after 2 month as vaper I noticed my cat dont´t cough anymore so I can be sure it was my smoking habbit that made it! I am glad she didn´t get any permanent damage on her lungs or anything (had her checked), but it got me thinking that just a litle secondhand smoke can make such impact even with a lot of venting scared me BIG time!
  9. jubal81

    jubal81 Senior Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 24, 2012
    Incredible story. Thanks for sharing it.
    I don't think you should blame yourself so much. You didn't know that could happen. Good luck with your recovery. We're rooting for you.
  10. Cursive

    Cursive Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 12, 2013
    Stroudsburg, PA
    I am so incredibly glad you posted this although I do now have tears in my eyes. This hits home for me because my number one reason for wanting to quit was my dog. My dog is my absolute world. My boyfriend and I both smoke in the house and all I could ever think is "What is this doing to him?" The thought that I was subjecting his small body to those chemicals that were going to eventually kill me, made me sick. I am so sorry that your wonderful cat had to pass away, but this also makes me even more thankful that I decided to quit and have been successful thus far.
  11. NanW

    NanW Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 6, 2012
    Thank you so much for sharing your difficult and heartbreaking story. I do believe that it will make a difference.
    There are no true words to tell you how sorry I am for your loss and all that you have been through, please accept my deepest sympathies and warmest hugs.
  12. Kopfstimmen

    Kopfstimmen Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    May 12, 2012
    Personally, I think you'd have to have a heart of stone not to shed a tear or two at this. Good on you for posting it. It must have been very VERY hard writing it.
    Congrats on quitting, thanks for your service, and thanks on behalf of anyone that happens to be able to quit because of your story.
    PS. So sorry for your loss.
  13. Absintheur

    Absintheur Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 7, 2012
    north central Indiana
    I lost both of my cats to cancer this past year, they were the best boys in the world. Both missing an eye and Bucky still have several piece of 4 buck under his skin. They saw me though a divorce and a real ugliness with a family member. I really can understand your loss.

    And as I fellow Vet I thank you for what you did for me and all the other who enjoy life in the country.
  14. mattiem

    mattiem ECF Guru Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Thank you for writing and sharing what had to be a very difficult story. I know all of us that love our pets have regrets over what we did to them with our habit/addiction and wish we could take it back.

    Thank you most of all for your service. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
  15. KillTheNoise

    KillTheNoise Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    Richmond, VA
    I just shed some tears, wow.

    Powerful story man, I'm sorry that happened. :(

    Of course if you would have known what you were doing you wouldn't have kept doing it. You will meet again whatever happens at the end of this life, but it taught you a lesson and you have great memories of one of the best friends a human can have. Stay strong! Keep vaping and spread your story, it's a very strong one.

    Again, sorry to hear about your little buddy, this hit some emotion in me hard...thank you for sharing.
  16. onry

    onry Senior Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 13, 2012
    hippie 1st let me say thank you for your story.
    2nd let me say thanks for your service.

    i finally quit after a 35 year 2 pack a day habit and im only 45. i promised my children
    i would quit smoking when my oldest was about 6 he is almost 22 now.
    fortunately i never smoked in my house around them.
    it took me 15 years at least to keep a promise i made my children and only
    after between him and my daughter they gave me 4 wonderful grand kids.
    I finally realized that not only did they maybe need me to be there i needed to be there.
    So keep on vapin it gets easier. congrats on quitting your best friend is happy for you
  17. Yokymo

    Yokymo Senior Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Dec 14, 2012
    Harrisburg, PA
    Awww... I'm sorry for your loss. People that don't have pets or never had pets always think I'm crazy when I tell them to treat them like they are human, cause you build such a close relationship with your pets.

    Pets teach us alot about ourselves, anything from eating habbits, lack of excersizing or just daily life.
  18. HippieHermit

    HippieHermit Senior Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 9, 2013
    Thank you all for your kindness. It's been over 6 months but feels like yesterday. My hope is that no one else has to learn the way I did.
  19. Uno mas

    Uno mas Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Jan 5, 2013
    San Antonio, TX
    Wow, I'm at a loss for words...

    Thanks for your service and also for sharing...
  20. xanderxman

    xanderxman Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Aug 10, 2012
    Ptown, VA
    I am truly sorry to read that your friend has left you. It sounds like you two had some great times together and I hope it is those times you remember. We, as addicts, rarely tended to think of those around us when we smoked cigarettes. It was more about our own "pleasure". It is very unfortunate that you had to learn the hard way that it was not really a pleasure. I hope I never have to find out that I caused a loved one's death, be it a human or a pet. As a dog lover myself, I also have pets that I love and hope that I have not caused harm to them with my smoking habit. Your story really struck home with me.

    Just know that Oreo is up there waiting on you for another game of fetch and another trip around the block. You never truly lose a loved one, you just get separated for a bit. In the end we all get there. It is just that some of us are taken for a higher purpose. I think Oreo is answering that higher purpose.

    Thank you for your service. It is only by the grace of men and women like yourself that the rest of us can enjoy the freedom we have. I have lost three of my four grandparents, all of which were veterans, in the past few years and I understand the sacrifice you make for your country. Keep your chin up and know that there are those who appreciate what you do.
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