When I read Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 's blog today, it made me think about my OWN father's diagnosis of lung cancer. My father quit smoking when he had a heart attack, he was 48 years old. Eleven years later, he was diagnosed with TB and had to spend 6 months in a sanitarium. Fast forward another 9 years and he was diagnosed with emphysema. He was discouraged but he upped his exercise routine, changed up his diet, and he did not smoke. Twenty-two years after he quit smoking, he was being screened for by pass surgery because he had suffered two more heart attacks after the first one and he had a significant amount of damage to his coronary arteries. It was just before the 4th of July weekend, he was devastated by the diagnosis, two months later, in September, he was told that the radiation had cleared him and the cancer was at the very least, in remission. He and my mother and his siblings and their spouses, went out to dinner to celebrate this amazing news. During the night, he woke up with severe chest pain. He was rushed to the hospital where his cardiologist decided to pull him off his cardiac medications because he felt that they were probably making it harder for him to breathe. He felt that the chest pain was the lung cancer despite what my father had been told. I called the cardiologist two days later when my mother let me know that Dad had been transferred into ICU. He was at the first hospital where I ever worked and I knew the doctor well. He told me that he had made a terrible mistake (you never want to hear that from a doctor). He said that he was so sure that the lung cancer was causing Dad's pain that he pulled the cardiac meds and it turned out that he had a massive heart attack. He told me that the next 24 hours would tell what was going to happen but his condition was very critical. I was living in Arizona because my husband was in college there, we were moving back to NY, where my parents lived on Sept 6th, this was all happening on Sept 3rd. I had a terrible sinus infection and had to go to the doctor myself, I was praying with all of my might on the drive to the doctor's that my father would survive so I could see him again. In the middle of my prayers, I stopped and asked for forgiveness for my selfishness in wanting him to stay alive if he was suffering. I asked God to do what was best for my father, if it was time for him to go, to let him go peacefully. I said my prayers at 2:00 in the afternoon in AZ, 5:00 in NY. When I got home, the phone rang and I was told that my father had died at 5:00. For YEARS, I felt guilty about that prayer, like I had that kind of power to tell God to take him and he would. I was still a smoker then and I didn't slow down at all. I felt like my father had quit for 22 years and he still got lung cancer, what was the point. I'll tell you what the point was, I got 22 more years with my Dad and I adored that man, there are five kids in my family and I was the only one who had to come from across the country for his funeral. My heart ached, it STILL aches because I miss him. Six years later, I had my son and I named him after my Dad. Think about it, 22 years...I am so glad he quit when he did. I wish I had been smart enough to quit years ago but I have over three years free now and I can only hope to be here for MY kids, his grandchildren, for as long as possible. It is NEVER too late to quit. NEVER!