A smoker — who wanted to be anonymous — wrote a compelling letter to Lawrence resident Melanie Birge after reading her story in the Journal-World. The story was about Birge’s struggle to stop smoking and her determination to quit on the Great American Smokeout, which was Nov. 19.
The anonymous person contacted Aynsley Anderson at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Anderson contacted me, and I will be sending the letter to Birge.
I wanted to share just a few excerpts of the letter in hopes it might help others decide to quit smoking like Birge, who is struggling to kick the habit for good.
“It has been a stressful couple of weeks,” Birge said in an e-mail. “Last weekend, I slipped and had a cigarette. It made me feel sick and a bit guilty. I am taking one day at a time with this. It’s just so hard to believe this is not an easy road to travel.”
Well, maybe the letter will help. Here are a few sentences from the letter:
“I totally understand the addiction, as I am a smoker and I am yet fighting it even though I have been diagnosed with COPD and early stages of emphysema.”
“I feel guilty — how detrimental this could be for my family. It will affect my marriage, my job; everything in my life, including every day living.”
“My lungs are shot; it’s downhill from here is what I am told.”
“We all think this will never happen to me; think again.”
“I can’t change my diagnosis; I only hope there is someone out there that gains some hope or insight from this. ... If you falter, try, try again before it is too late.”