Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Public Service Accouncement

Or 'How cigarettes are destroying my family'.

In a previous post I wrote about my mom's diagnosis with small cell lung cancer. In this post I'm going to share the less than pleasant experience I had as a result of a photo I posted on Facebook.

If you've followed my blog for any period of time then you'll know that while my heart is a big as Texas I am very outspoken and stand up for what I believe in and advocate for things I feel strongly about.

And I know that some of you will probably take offense or feel attacked, but know that is not my intent. Everything I am going to say comes from a place of deep love and compassion - for myself, my family and each and every person effected by this particular topic. I was going to say negatively effected - but there truly is NO positive effect from this particular thing.

I am talking about smoking.

I DETEST cigarettes.

Aside from the given - they stink up your house, clothes, car, air around you, stain your fingers, teeth and are a danger to the smoker themselves and EVERY person around them. Oh yea and they kill.

Aside from those things they stole the life of my grandmother - someone I loved and adored - and are stealing the life of my mother as I type.

Now for the post....

My grandmother died from emphysema caused by smoking in 1994.
My mother will soon follow her.

*Smoking is the leading cause of emphysema.
*Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer.
*Smoking is the leading cause of children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins & friends having to watch their loved ones die slowly and painfully.
If you don't care about yourself enough to quit - care about everyone who will suffer when smoking kills you.

I debated telling my intent behind the picture before posting it, but decided to let you see it first and have your own initial reaction.

Now that you have I'll tell you what I see - and what most everyone but my family saw as well.

A strong, healthy, beautiful woman.... followed by what a careless, selfish addiction has done to her.

Now for some of the responses -
I deleted many of them because they were so cruel and hateful I could not see any benefit to anyone by leaving them - but I'll share bits and pieces in a moment. As you can see - for the most part a very positive response was received.

Staci Moss Schneider: My mother lives with me and my husband. She has COPD, Congestive, and Diabetes. She smoked all throughout my childhood. She finally decided to quit about 10 Years ago but the damage was already there. She is oxygen dependant and can't ...walk more than about 30 feet without getting out of breath. A little over a year ago she had a Bi-Ventricular Pace Maker and Defibrillator placed in her. I absolutely despise cigarettes. I know people who have watched a loved one struggle for their last breath and yet they won't put their own cigarettes down, I just don't understand.

Kevin Yekaitis: A very sad and powerful message. I pray God will give you both peace.

Aryn Polk Knight: Very powerful! I am so sorry, Mollie!

Melodye Smith: Mollie, I will be praying for you and your mother. Our God is a healing God

Joseph Abshire: Mollie, truth or not, this is not very sensitive. Don't do things like that. You have one thing right, smoking will impact your health negative.

Theresa Langston: Thank you so much Grandpa!

Jerri Withers Stidham: Ok now it is time for my opinion. Thank you Mollie for posting that! My Mom has COPD and emphysema. She just got out of the hospital from having pneumonia for the second time in 3 months. She was still a heavy smoker at that time. The doctors told her the next time she is in the hospital she WILL leave with an oxygen tank. I took her last week for her follow up appointment with her primary care physician. I told him what the doctor told us he said “IF” she gets to leave next time. He said the harsh reality is that she could not make it next time. He also ordered an MRI of her head because she still was incoherent. The MRI results showed a stroke (which is caused by heavy smoking) and a meningioma. She has an appointment with a top neurologist on February 8th. Smoking KILLS! It also kills ALL dreams and hopes of the people they leave behind. It is time to GET REAL! This is HER mother also. Mollie is suffering like the rest of her family. Please let her deal with this as best as she can. Thank you Mollie for being a fighter and advocate!! On a positive note my Mom hasn’t smoked since January 12th!! She said she is DONE. The damage is done but she may have saved herself from much worse down the road.

Kaffa Warren: Mollie, I know I don't know you well....but it would appear to me that you would have more inspiring and courageous things to say about your mama, especially at this time. She is my cousin and although the miles have separated us, I love very much for who she is. Yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I pray the regrets and guilt you will feel in the future (because you will feel them) will diminish more easily than the hurt your post has caused. We are none perfect, but we are as God says to love each other. This post definitely does not show the smallest ounce of love. You can delete my post, it matters not. But I for one think your mama is one of the most courageous and strongest women I know. It is not our place to judge. When you start pointing fingers, remember 4 are coming right back atcha.

Deana James Eaton: Mollie- I truly respect that you are showing what really happens when people smoke. I am so sorry about your mom. Reading your post has reminded me that I HAVE TO QUIT. Thank you for your honesty and sharing the truth about the harmful effects of smoking. I am also sorry that ANYONE would say you posted that for "attention". I can't imagine anyone who knows you saying that. Again THANK YOU Much love and prayers- Deana

My sister responded that she has never been so embarrassed by any one's actions in her entire life - then proceeded to tell me in text that except by blood I was not her sister and she had no desire for her or my nieces to have a relationship with me any longer.

My brother responded in many posts that were deleted because I could not even believe the hatred and cruelty of his words, but here is one that I kept, hoping if he read what he was actually saying he'd see how his words described in himself everything he was putting off on me.
'Anthony Abshire: Mollie if you were not so selfish then you would see the no one but people who do not know mom on a personal basis are agreein and if it was there mother no one would be mollie wake up. You are so selfish you do not have the capability of understanding that it is not all about you for once this is a grab at attention. It has upset a number of people not jus SMOKERS...It is true family that loves our mother. You will probably burn in helll anyways but you should be crucified for this one mollie...You will never be part of my family again and you would be lucky if anyone accepts you. This is over a line. A line that people dont have to talk about. Its understood by everybody but you and whoever the hell these other people are...Let our family mourn and do it in private this is not putting just you and a dying woman in the spot light it is putting your whole family out there and seperating us whenever we need to be the closest but no its always all about mollie. cant be about everyone our mother cant even die in peace because of you only you and i hope you never live this one down. It would be best if you and your little husband moved somewheres far far away

What my brother and other family failed to realize is that those other people, the ones who understood and appreciated my post didn't have to personally know our mother. They knew the people they had lost and were losing from smoking related illnesses. They had a personal connection to this message the same way I do.. and they understood where I was coming from.

One of my brother's friends posted this..
Bradley Scott: .... but as Anthony said, you didn't have to put your mother's pictures on display. I'm sure there are more comparative pictures on google or somewhere.

And I'm sure there are... but those pictures aren't personal to me, my life, my experience with smoking. There are dozens of pictures of my mom on Facebook in the hospital looking sick, out of it, but because they are taken with someone healthy and smiling next to her they are OK to post?

The only difference in the picture I posted is the healthy smiling person next to my mom... is her.

All of those commercials you see on TV about starving children, or people killed by drugs or drunk drivers...those commercials touch your heart but then you turn the channel and forget about them don't you?

How easily would you forget about it if it were a picture of your family? Or of someone you knew?

As a kid I remember wishing I could participate in certain events, or go out with friends but we never had the money. As a kid I also remember wondering.... if we don't have the money for me to go to the movies with my friends... how do we have the money for mom to buy cartons of cigarettes every week? Or for dad to buy packs of Skoal?

By their choices my parents were telling me - this addiction we have - this thing that we do that we KNOW is killing us - it's more important than you.

A few years ago I brought my mom to New Orleans with me for a company Christmas party. We spent the day walking down Bourbon street and most of the walk was spent with my mom walking behind me.... so the cigarette smoke didn't blow in my face. She thought she was being considerate.

But she had no idea how much I'd have rather had her JUST NOT SMOKE and walk beside me.

This picture is my plea to every person out there who for whatever reason cannot see the damage they are doing by smoking.
"I'm not hurting anyone but myself"
"It's too hard, you just don't understand"
"I'll get fat if I quit"
"It helps me with stress"
"I've tried everything but I just can't quit"

Those are some of the most common excuses I've heard from not just my mom but my entire family.

I've watched my niece want to sit on her mother's lap and be told 'Not now Marley - mommy is smoking and you know it's yucky'

What kind of message is that sending?

Now think of your children.. your grandchildren, your spouse...your brothers, sisters, parents... and think of this.

Every time you put a cigarette in your mouth and light it you are, by your actions, telling them.

I love this thing more than I love having a long healthy life with YOU.

This is my family

This is my family on cancer

Don't let your last family portrait be like mine.

Please quit. If not for yourself... do it for your family.
The Internet's leading cold turkey Quit Smoking resource
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Da dum da dummm....

Except from my and Matthew's 'The Knot' Wedding Page

When Matthew instant messaged Mollie on Saturday September 28th 2008 at 2:40pm she checked his profile and thought "Cute... but kind of nerdy".

September, 28, 2008

(2:40:43 pm)Ranger_1:hi. how's it going? :-)
(2:44:52 pm)Dmplgrl1124:hmm not sure if this thing is working or not
(2:44:56 pm)Dmplgrl1124:ah there it goes
(2:45:03 pm)Dmplgrl1124:fine thanks lol and yourself
(2:45:30 pm)Ranger_1:LOL I hear ya about this new IM :-P

Little did she know, it would be his 'nerdy' brilliance, quirky humor and obsession with IM Smiley Faces that would break down her walls and ultimately win her heart.

The last time I wrote about my relationship with Matthew was back in Sept of 2009 and at that time things were, to put it mildly, on shaky ground. In June 2010 our failure to communicate finally got the best of us and we broke up. We were still living together (in torturous pain), still loving each other and still having no idea how to fix what we'd broken.

In a desperate attempt to put back together the pieces of the truest love I'd ever known I took the advice of a co-worker and bought 'The Love Dare' by Stephen Kendrick for Matthew and myself. Fast forward one month.....

Tuesday July 20th was the day Matthew and I had set to discuss the growth and changes we'd seen in our relationship over the past month and decide if we were going to 'give love a chance' and get back together officially or put the 'relationship' to bed and just stay friends.

We're sitting on the bed facing each other and had the following conversation:

Matthew: 'Do you honestly truly believe we can work?"
Mollie: "Of course I do, if I didn't I wouldn't have fought so hard to save us" (bawling like a baby here)
Matthew: "Ok, that's what I wanted to know".
Matthew: "The other day.. we were walking back to the office from lunch and I realized... I'm in love with you"
Mollie: (Stops breathing)
Matthew: "I'm in love with you and I want us to be together"
Mollie: "I do too" (I'm a little too unsure of where this is going - and crying too hard - to say much more)
Matthew: "There's something else too" (and he takes my hands in his)
Mollie: ???
Matthew: "I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to marry you"

At this point I'm speechless, over joyed, ecstatic, terrified, and about every other emotion you can imagine all rolled into one.

Mollie: "Uh, Um, Uh.. Are you serious? Are you saying what I think you're saying?!?"
Matthew: (Smiling at me being a mess) "Yes. I'm saying I love you. I'm IN love with you and I want to marry you"

I finally gain a little brain function back, suck up obnoxious amounts of snot and do my best to form a coherent thought

Mollie: "Ok so, you made a statement..... is there a question in that somewhere?"
Matthew: "Yes, yes there is."

Matthew: "Mollie Abshire..... will you marry me?"

Mollie: "OF COURSE!!!!!!!"

I can honestly 100% credit that book for saving our relationship.

Our original plan was to have a one (1) year engagement and get married on the day he proposed but then mom's cancer took a turn for the worse and we moved the wedding up.

When we'd talked to each other about plans and what we wanted, a simple wedding on the beach with just immediate family was what rang truest to who we were, but being the oldest child, the last one mom would likely see marry I wanted to try to do the whole big wedding thing for our families.

We found a mansion, a caterer, dj, the works and put a gob of deposits down on everything, but the more planning we did the more stressful it became and the less happy we were with it. So at the risk of pissing off our family (which it did) but making ourselves happy (which it did) we cancelled the entire thing and decided to follow our original idea and get married on a beach. In Orlando.

We sent out updated invitations (yes we'd already sent out invites for the big wedding) inviting immediate family to Florida and extended family and friends to the reception that would be held locally the following Saturday. To make the 8-10 hour drive for parents and siblings worth while - though our wedding should have been enough - we rented 3 suites in the resort hotel where we were staying and bought one day tickets to Disney for everyone that came. In the end we ended up hosting my mom, dad, step-mom, brother, sister and nieces, Matthews mom, step-dad, brother, and niece, and it was absolutely perfect.

Matthew and I drove to Orlando Wednesday Oct 6th, checked into our suite at Mystic Dunes Resort and spend Thursday and Friday exploring Universal Studios. Friday evening the family arrived and Saturday morning we all woke up (at the butt crack of dawn), got dressed and headed to Paradise Cove for a sunrise ceremony overlooking the water.

My mom and dad both walked me down the isle, I cried when Matthew and I read our opening prayer, Matthew pretended to lose my ring and the rest turned out more beautiful and perfect than I could have possibly dreamed.

After the ceremony we loaded up (me in my dress, and Matthew in his suit) and headed to the Contemporary Resort at Disney for breakfast. Then we all changed and took the monorail to Disney's Magic Kingdom.

Let me tell you 9 hours at Disney is a LONG day. 9 hours at Disney after 2 days at Universal Studios is.... there are no words.

We had a blast though. Marley & Lexi had a blast, Matthew and his step-dad wrote scary rides, I took a ton of pictures and mom cruised the park in a scooter and out-lasted us all!

Sunday, Matthew and I did a quick sweep of 2 more of the 4 Disney Parks. I have two things to say The Hollywood Tower Hotel and OH SHITTTTTTTTT!. Then Monday morning we packed everything up, checked out of our room and drove home.

Today is Saturday January 22nd, we've been blissfully married for three (3) months and twelve (12) days and I truly have never been happier in my life.

He is my best friend, my lover, my confidante, my soul-mate. He challenges me, encourages me, motivates me and when necessary lol puts me in my place and keeps me in line and I love him with every fibre of my being.

I learned that gut feelings can sometimes be wrong - or at least confused. I learned that no matter who or what we think our 'type' is, it will inadvertently turn out to be someone completely different. I learned that changing your last name is a HUGE pain in the butt, and that I'm so happy Matthew has the same last initial as me so at least my monogram didn't change.

What will change though is my blog... or my blog name rather. The Crazy Cat Lady is no more, and thanks to my husband I now have a name fitting of day time TV so coming soon to a blog near you - a new header, a new look and a new name - ...... The Mollie Allen Show!!

For more wedding and Disney/Universal pictures visit my Facebook Page

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hello blog.... it's me again

I'm Alive!!!!

I know all 3 of you readers out there have been wondering where I'd wandered off to

It's been just under a year since I last wrote and although 'I've been super busy' is actually true that's only half the reason I haven't written until now

The last 12 months have been the most impactful years of my life. There's been good times. There's been bad times. And there's most definitely been ugly times.

I'll start my year long catch up with the most ugly.

In January of 2010 my mom went into the emergency room for chest pain. Having chronic pneumonia the last several years she thought they'd find some gunk in her lungs, give her an antibiotic and send her home.

Well they found something in her lungs, but it wasn't fluid. It was cancer. Cancer in her lungs, cancer in her liver and over the course of the last year - cancer in her spine, bones and brain. She's had 3 different type of chemotherapy, one round of radiation and she's been hospitalized twice; once for 3 weeks with pneumonia and clots in her lungs - and once for pancreatitis.

The pancreatitis admission was the latest. Last Wednesday she text me saying she was doing good, starting to eat solid foods and the plan was to send her home Friday. Thursday evening I got a call saying she had a 4cm lesion on her brain and it was bleeding. I rushed to MS with my husband.... (yes my husband, but I'll save that news for another post) got to the hospital and learned that she wasn't expected to make it through the weekend. She was heavily medicated and barely able to talk.

Today is Friday Jan 21, 2011 and mom is home at my sister's. She's awake, talking, and eating but there's no doubt that cancer has had it's way with her. The bleeding was stopped with 6 units of plasma (Go Donate!) the swelling on her brain is being controlled with steroids, and she's been kept pain free with serious meds, but her cancer is still out of control and at this point she's just being kept comfortable until her time with us is done. Hospice comes daily to check on her and make sure she's comfortable and resting.

My mom is 53 years old and is going to die leaving behind 3 children, 3 grandchildren, brothers, sisters, parents and a host of other people who love her... because she smoked.

Even now she's most likely sitting in her wheelchair out on my sister's porch.... smoking.

And I will never forgive her for it.

Small-cell lung cancer accounts for approximately 20-25% of all cases of lung cancer.

The predominant cause of small-cell lung cancer is tobacco smoking.

Smoking is by far the leading risk factor for lung cancer. Tobacco smoke causes nearly 9 out of 10 cases of lung cancer. The longer a person has been smoking and the more packs per day smoked, the greater the risk. If a person stops smoking before lung cancer starts, the lung tissue slowly returns to normal. Stopping smoking at any age lowers the risk of lung cancer.

Love your children more than yourself. Love your parents, your spouse, your siblings enough to stop being selfish. SMOKING KILLS.

There is no doubt, no question, no yet to be determined medical test to prove it.

So do yourself and everyone who loves you a favor and Q.U.I.T. or be prepared to explain to them why you loved your cigarette more than you loved them.

'It's just to stressful to quit'. 'I'll quit when I'm ready'. 'I smoke because I like it'.... none of those are acceptable reasons why my 4yr old niece will only have vague memories of her grammsy.