Rich wanted me to write this down and share it with as many people as possible. He didn't want to sound preachy or anything but he didn't want anyone else going though the hell he was. He thought if others knew it might stop them from making the same mistakes.
 He was right. I have shared it on a stop smoking support  group on the Internet. His story  has helped many all over the country. And though it he and I received support of our own. I Hope it helps  you.
 I started this around the end of August 2007.
My husband is 61 years old and is dying of oral cancer. We have been married for 27 years. I`m 46 years old and have been smoking since I was 14 years old.
Let me tell you about that long miserable death you may be facing if you cont. to smoke. My husband is slowly going though it right now. He has oral cancer. The treatment recommended involved a 12 hour operation to remove most of his tongue and the lymph nodes in his neck. They would have taken a flap of muscle from his arm to rebuilt his tongue and neck. After the surgery they wanted to do radiation every weekday for 6 weeks plus chemo. He would have had a tube to breathe though and be fed though a tube. All of this would have given him a 20 percent chance of surviving for 5 years. This would have dropped to less than 5 if he cont. to smoke.
However due to other damage from his 45 year habit this is out of the question. When he went to a cardiologist to get clearance for the surgery he found out due to smoking he would need heart bypass surgery first to even be considered a candidate for the surgery for the cancer. He decided not to do it.
So now he is receiving hospice care. The cancer in his mouth is growing. He has difficulty talking, eating and is on major painkillers than don`t always work. He can`t close his mouth and is constantly drooling. I could go on but I think you get the idea.
This is what convinced me to quit. Smoking is not worth it!
 Update on Rich. 9/4
  We have been told the end is near.  2 hours to 2 weeks. possibly by bleeding to death. The cancer had broken though a vein  once and will soon break though an artery. If that happens it won`t stop.
update on Rich 10/7
 Its over a month since the doc said 2 hours to 2 weeks. He has had 4 more episodes of profuse bleeding. The tumor in his mouth is now breaking through the skin on the bottom on his chin.
Update on Rich 11/15
His face is horribly disfigured now. The tumor under his chin is protruding about 3 inches and is about 4 inches around. It has a few open areas that seep blood. The whole thing is scabbed over and black in color. He also has a large tumor on the lymph node on his neck.  This is by his carotid artery. This is the one  they say  may be causing the personality change by blocking the blood flow to his brain. This horrible disease is turning him into someone I don`t know.
Update on Rich 11/21
Yesterday every time he attempted to swallow he bleed a little. Got his pain meds switched to a patch. He is unable to eat or drink at this point, Then he woke up from a nap bleeding profusely. Had to pack his mouth with surigel.  He really isn`t himself anymore and is verbally abusive. At least with his mouth packed he was unable to talk.  ;) (gotta  laugh whenever possible )
Update on Rich 11/26
The tumor on his neck bleeds profusely each time the bandage is changed. He is alert and aware and very scared when this happens.  I can usually get it under control pretty rapidly but sometimes its not so rapid. Yesterday he insisted I get the hospice nurse to do it cuz I just didn`t know what I was doing. The on call hospice nurse came , it bled profusely she almost passed out and I had to get it under control. He told me how much he loved and appreciated me then:) He has not smoked since the 21st. He attempted to smoke that day with blood pouring out of his mouth, he couldn`t do it and i guess looking at the bloody cig finally turned  off the desire.
Update 11/29
His mouth is just one big sore now, He is unable to even take the Roxanol for the pain.  This is morphine that  you just put in your mouth and it is absorbed. No need to swallow but  not meant to be put on an open sore.His pain level is `between an 8 and a 9` Since he remains at home they do not provide shots. We are waiting on morphine gel that is given by rubbing it into the wrist. He is only taking sips of fluids and eating ice cream for the last few days. Since we got a humidifier he hasn`t bled when he swallowed.
Rich awareness comes and goes now, The gels work well for pain control. The tumor on his chin has sloughed off and is one hugh sore now, The smell is terrible yet there is times Rich has no idea what is going on, Sometimes he thinks it healing because its not a tumor anymore others he says `something is wrong with me, maybe I should go to the doctor.` Those times really make me cry. When he is aware he is dying he comforts me talking about the love ones he will see. He is an amazing guy.
Update 12/5
We had 3 great days when Rich was completely lucid. We were able to talk and was it terrific. I reassured him I would be ok. And told him how much I would miss him but that if he needed to go then he suffered enough and I was ready to let him go. We held each other tightly and cried together. He is very concerned about his mother and I reassured him I would cont to look after her and as she is a hospice pt too that Hospice has assured me they would be with her when she was told the news. He said he was ready now. Well I guess he thought that was it, since then he has been miserable and angry that he is still here. He has not eaten anything since the 30th and only sips of water. I don`t know why he is still here and pray he goes soon even if its from bleeding . He asked me If I would be angry if he ended it himself and I told him I would understand.
I broke down completely today, I just could not be strong any longer, I collapsed in Rich's arms sobbing hysterically. Not sure it helped him but getting it out helped me and he comforted me.
I got hospice out here and they increased his pain med and his ativan and will now be out once a day do do his bandage change at least once so I won`t have unless it comes apart
Update 12/24
The last 3 weeks has been pure hell. When he is aware he is angry and remains in pain, He has asked me to end it for him which PO me off to no end. He couldn't do it but asked me to. As much as I wish I could I can't risk the rest of my life for this when he is able to do it himself.
 Most times he is not aware. He is barely able to take sips of water and no food  since the 30th. He  looks like a concentration camp prisoner. He is too weak to stand without help. Mostly now he just sleeps. I pray for his death daily.
Update 12/28
Yesterday my cousin and bestest friend in the world informed me that she would be staying with me for awhile as she nor my uncle thought I should be alone during Rich's final hours. She usually takes care of Rich's 97 year old mother, and since neither Rich or I wanted someone we didn't know here with us during this ,my uncle is paying someone else to watch her so Tracy can stay with me. She told me this was going to happen unless I really had some strong objection, All I could say was WOW. I had no objections at all :)
Rich has become very restless. He was sure he has dropped a lit cigarette in his bed day before yesterday and I had a heck of a time convincing him otherwise. He is too weak to stand but was attempting to get out of bed. He has severe osteoporosis and he really don't need a broken bone at this point. I had to sleep beside him in the hospital bed just to keep him still. It was crowded and frankly I haven't slept with him in ages because I am a kicker bed hog and blanket thief so I didn't get much sleep . Since Christmas he has been more awake but more confused. Today was the first time in over a month I was able to get out of the house. He was not happy about it. and asked Tracy repeatedly where I was. He tells me often he loves me.
Update 1/2
Just a quick update. Hospice now calls this the active stage of dieing. He has been for the last 2 days. He is having 30-45 second periods when he stops breathing at least every minute. He rarely blinks even just stares straight ahead. Whats great is when he stares off in the distance and smiles. You can tell he is seeing something great:) The end could happen any minute.
Rich is finally at peace. He passed away yesterday at around 6:30 PM. It was peacefully and such a relief. I was holding his hand encouraging him to let go and my reaction when he finally did was pure joy and relief. I know I may fall apart later and be sad because I miss him so much, and upset because he had to suffer so much before god finally took him home but right now I'm just enjoying thought of him with my brothers and his and his father having a party and him being able to eat a big juicy steak.

I have SO many thoughts running in my head and I'm confusing myself. I want to shake Rich's kids as they light up yet even now I am craving one. How sick is that? I'm hurting as I miss Rich so damn much, yet happy he is gone. I'm angry at people and family as they tell me how good Rich was as I hate the fact that he had so few visitors. Why couldn't they have stopped to see him when he could have enjoyed them? I know how hard it was to see him but please don't tell me how much you care when you couldn't take a bit of discomfort to bring him some enjoyment. People at quitnet who didn't know him as least listened as I talked about it, They profess to love him but wasn't there when needed. Please dear god don't let me hate, don't let me spoil Rich's memory that way as he was so forgiving., Also give me the strength to stay away from the addiction that caused me to lose him. I would end up hating myself so much. I am disgusted I am even tempted.


"Can I have this dance for the rest of my life?"
On October 11th of 1980, we became husband and wife.
Twenty seven years together in life
Twenty seven years adoring my wife.
I had three children before we met,
And now three grandchildren compete the set.
We ventured on trips and took rides in the car
took shortcuts that ended up going so far.
We cherished our pets, Our dogs and our birds,
The joy that they bring can not be put into words
"I so loved to eat cookies,
Penny's fresh baked were great.
It didn't take long and the last one was ate.
I loved to watch squirrels, eagles. turkeys and deer,
And the birds outside seem to come so near.
Anyone with a need, I was so willing to give,
Helping all that i could, that's the way i would live.
Life is too short to be selfish and greedy,
I'd take all that I had and give to the needy.
My love for my mother was easily shown.
"Don't mess with my mother!" was very well known.
I always wanted to protect her and make sure she was well.
Having her for a mom was really quite swell.
One day cancer came like a thief in the night.
Cutting short our plans taking all of my might.
I held on as long as I possibly could.
You stayed by my side as you promised you would.
But one day god hollered" its time to come home."
I so didn't want to leave you alone.
But God has a plan we don't always understand.
Just remember I'll always be holding your hand.
I'll forever reside in your heart it is true.
I'll forever be a part of you.
So when your feeling lonely sad and blue,
Just look in your memory and I will be dancing with you!

In memory Of Richard S.
Author Sandy C.

It make me so sad that smoking stold him from me. Even his death certificate states clearly smoking contributed to his death.
I mentioned before I would fall apart later, well I have Just going to the food mart today and not trying to get anything for him had me bawling like a baby. I know I have a zillion tears left to shed But I sure to wish I could do it while I'm alone.

Today has been a rough day for me. Not sure why but I wanted a smoke so bad. I even told my dad how much I wanted one. I knew I wouldn't get any sympathy from him, he has been after me since I was 14 to quit. Anyway he was my strength today. He asked why I wanted one. All I could say was so I wouldn't cry so much, He told me to quit trying to be so strong that I had every reason to cry and if smoking would have stopped any of my tears that was just another reason to stay away from them.
Since then been crying off and on all day but not wanting a smoke.
As much as I wanted one even today there was no way I was going to give in.
When the craving gets strong I tell myself putting a cig to my lips would be like kissing what Killed Rich. I won't do it!!!!

Yesterday was the first day i didn't cry since Rich died. That made me sad. I know it doesn't make a lot of sense but the fact that his being gone is getting easier makes me sad. Everything in life is so temporary. Rich is not the first loved one that has died. I have lost two brothers, my mother grandparents and friends. I know the grief process and have explained it to others yet nothing prepares you for the lost of a spouse

I have been sitting here thinking about the last year. The last year has been hell. And I'm still fighting my way back from it.
I remember how proud my husband was when I quit smoking, and how disgusted I was with myself for still having to struggle with it even though I could see what it was doing to him. Now I can say I'm proud of myself too. And at times its still a struggle. Now that doesn't make me disgusted with myself but angry with the tocacco companies because I know just how addicting cigarettes are.
I have been under a great deal of stress, first with his disease then his death now living without him and fighting with his children. Plus all the daily stress that just goes with living. I could have used that as an excuse instead I chose to think of smoking at the one thing I could control in all this madness.
One thing for sure this past year has shown me who my true friends are and who I can count on. Cigarettes are not one of them.


 WARNING pictures that follow are graphic  I seriously debated with myself about posting them, but Rich  insisted I take them and he wanted them seen.