Health First, NOW.

by Nicole on March 27, 2010

Happy Saturday everyone! I have been an absentee blogger and blog reader for the past two days because I have been packing and I had a wedding shower today!  This post may be a downer, but I have to write it. 

Yesterday was my dear Aunt Louise’s birthday, she would have been 53. I don’t often write directly about her, but when I write about my family life, values, love of cooking, creativity, food, etc, it is largely because of her. On December 26th, 2008, 4 months after the best day of my life (my wedding) we lost her to stage 4 lung cancer.  She was (is) my God-mother and never married or had any children, so my sister and I were her kids and everyone knew us as such. She spoiled us ROTTEN, always buying us things whether it be Halloween T-shirts, Christmas pajamas, gas in our car, my first Louis Vuitton bag, she was always there.  She helped put me through college and started to help my sister, she had savings accounts for us, bought me my cake and wedding flowers and made all my bridesmaids gifts. There was not a selfish bone in her body.  I could go on forever about her, but there is a message to my telling you about her.  

A week after Danny and I married, August 30th 2008, we went by to see her.  She had already bought me supplies to make Halloween cupcakes for my class. She was laying on the couch, coughing and had a swollen ankle but didn’t know why.  Danny and I went to get her cough medicine and told her she needed to go to the doctor.  Fast forward 2 days later she was being rushed to the hospital.  That was the start of our lives changing.  She had a blood clot in her leg and since she was a smoker they were doing all sorts of tests.  Fast forward again to finding out she had lung cancer and they had to remove 2 liters of fluid that were surrounding her lungs. She was intubated and barely conscious for awhile, my sister came home from college and things were not good.  After she came home from the hospital we went to see many doctors and all the signs pointed to stage 4 lung cancer. She knew it and we knew it before it was official.  I don’t need to go anymore into details, but she died after trying to fight for 3 short months.  Christmas was her most favorite holiday of the year and she hung on, in the hospital for that day.  Everyone got to say our goodbyes to our dear Aunt Louise.

Why am I telling you this? Why am I sharing one of the most important people in my life, someone who helped make me who I am today? Because I want to celebrate her life and I want you all to take away an important lesson.  Aunt Louise was a giver. She didn’t really spend time thinking about herself. In retrospect I saw some signs she was sick a lot in the last year of her life. She was sweating a LOT and always had a bad cough.  Since she was a smoker, I thought it was that.  She did not go to the doctor regularly enough and didn’t push to find out an answer because I believe she was scared. 

The point is, we need to take care of ourselves.  If we are a little selfish and worry about ourselves than it will help us to take better care of the people we love in our lives.  Take time for yourself, go to the doctor.  Make yourself a priority and you will be here longer.  Eat well, go for walks or runs, do what you have to, to keep yourself in good health. 

I hope we all can learn a lesson from Aunt Louise.  Smoking is toxic and kills every single day.  If I could go back in time I would be more persistent to get her to quit and take control of her life.  I was too young to know any better or to see any warning signs.  But if you or a loved one smoke, than stop NOW. Celebrate life and take care of yourself. Make today the day you get healthy. 

This post wasn’t easy to write, but I needed to, to celebrate Aunt Louise’s birthday. I know this won’t be easy for my family to read, but I know they will take a second to remember fond memories her, I know I do every single day. I am so lucky to have so many things about me that remind me of her. Love you Weiz, Happy Birthday.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie March 27, 2010 at 8:59 pm

What a great post Nicole! I think it is fantastic that you shared that with everyone. That is something very personal but so important.

Thanks for the reminder.


healthyexposures March 27, 2010 at 9:01 pm

I don't think there is anything I can say to make the hurt any less – but know that every single word I just read is hugely inspirational, and I love that you chose to take that route, rather than purely seeing the negatives. And – you did it in her honor. She sounds like an amazing woman, and you give an excellent reminder that health comes first; it's so much easier to take precautionary measures, rather than waiting until it's too late. You're right – sometimes we need to be selfish, but those who love us will understand, and are likely to not view it as selfish at all :)
Hope you're all packed and enjoyed your time at the bridal shower. You deserve it!


Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty March 27, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Wow that was beautiful! somebody RT it on twitter and i'm glad I came by to visit.

Beautiful words, thank you for sharing your story!


pegasuslegend March 27, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Very deeply felt and heart warming words and very sad. I totally relate to this post, and have lost people I love to smoking. Its not just lung cancer smoking causes, but heart attacks and kidney cancer many other afflictions. An addiction to smoking is like a death sentence for many and then some never have had a problem, none of my immediate family smokes in this generation, and the past one are all gone. Sorry for the loss of your Aunt, as I can hear your grief and love for her . I am sure she was wonderful by your vivid heartfelt description. No matter what we do in our lives something and someone is affected, she will always be in your heart.The lesson learned and legacy left behind for you,is death is senseless from smoking, you will continue to save your family from that tradegy and your students with this example and have made a difference by this great post. unfortunate pain is left behind, but the strength and your love for life has given you a new appreciation. God Bless.


Erica Sara March 27, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Nicole, kudos for writing this difficult but important post. I hope those who read it are reminded to cherish those that they love and to take care of themselves.


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) March 27, 2010 at 10:44 pm

what a moving post..I am so sorry for this but hopefully the tides are changing and people fully "get" what smoking can do. I saw this gorgeous 25-30 yr old woman light up yesterday and i was just in shock that ppl our age still smoke. wow.
glad you like mynew layout!


sophia March 27, 2010 at 10:45 pm

I'm so sorry for your loss…Aunt Louise sounded like an extraordinary woman in her own way. And thank you for retelling us this tale to remind us to treasure our health and bodies…NOW. Our bodies are not trash bags…it deserves love and care and attention…and it will pay us back in the end!


christie, honoring health March 28, 2010 at 7:16 am

I am sorry about the loss of your Aunt. What a lovely post you have written in honor of her. A lesson we can all take to heart in some way or another.


Christine @ Grub, sweat and cheers March 28, 2010 at 9:02 am

So sorry for the loss of your Aunt – she sounded like a remarkable, loving woman. You offer some wonderful advice in her memory. Take care.


Claudia March 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Thanks for sharing Nicole… I'm so sorry for your loss.

Both my Parents are Smokers and have done so all their lives, funny how both myself and my sister are non smokers and lead fairly healthy lifestyles. We are constantly 'running' an anti smoke campaign for my parents and now my kids have joined in BUT they still choose to this lifestyle.

I think what really makes me sad is how many young people that are picking up this bad habit, even knowing what smoking can do.


Anna Dufault March 28, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Your aunt was an amazing woman! Such a great post! Your words definately brought tears to my eyes!


Trix March 29, 2010 at 3:19 am

I'm so sorry. I lost my mom to lung cancer in 2006, it's the most awful disease. You are so right to post this … it's a perfect tribute to your wonderful aunt.


Anonymous March 29, 2010 at 10:12 am

Thought about Weiz on her birthday,as well- so many wonderful memories we shared- can never forget… Love Mom


Christine March 29, 2010 at 10:23 am

Happy Birthday Weiz, we miss you so much.

Great post Cole with more people sharing stories like this smoking will hopefully be a thing of the past.


joanna March 29, 2010 at 4:35 pm

you're such a good person… just like her.
love you.


Helena April 5, 2010 at 11:07 am

wow Coley.. what a beautiful way to remember Aunt Louise.. I'm sure she's looking down for heaven and is very proud of you.. as we all are!
Love you! Aunt Hena


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