Change is not easy. It usually means the adoption of foreign ideas and concepts along with emotional and physical adaptations that take reasonable time to accept and implement. I often refer to my experience of quitting smoking because it parallel’s well with what and why I am doing the Wahls Protocol. My father was a jazz musician who played accordion. He was a product of a time when most people were smoking. Born in 1933, he began smoking at the age of nine. I grew up watching him chain smoke non filter Camels. He went through four packs a day, not an exaggeration. His two fingers that held the cigarette had permanent tobacco stains. You could hear the sound of him opening and closing his Zippo lighter every ten minutes, “Ka-ching”. Most people had ashtrays in their homes, even if they didn’t smoke, for guests who did. Smoking was expected and allowed almost everywhere. My father said often that it was his right to smoke. Even when it was killing him with Emphysema, he died at age 62 in 1996. A painful, long drawn out twenty-five year illness, the last fifteen in particular…..just like his father before him, who passed at age 60 from the same thing. I heard stories of my grandfather in the hospital under an oxygen tent, lifting his tent off so he could smoke his cigarettes in his hospital room. We think of that now and we think how ridiculous that was.
My mother who also was a heavy smoker, managed to quit in the seventies. As young children in the sixties, my brother and I had candies in the shape of white cigarettes in a “pack” box. We held the cigarette candies between our fingers like we saw our parents and pretended we were smoking, sucking in and blowing out imaginary smoke, then we’d tap our cigarettes on the edge of the imaginary ashtray. So, its no surprise that I started smoking when I was eleven in 1973. Marlboro’s, I loved Marlboro’s. They were apart of my identity. I always had a pack of red and white Marlboro’s with me everywhere I went. The first time I experienced a public restaurant that had a “No smoking” sign in the window was in 1983. It was a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop in Western Massachusetts. I’d never heard of them and I was incensed that I couldn’t smoke inside. That was unheard of, “Who do they think they are?”, I exclaimed. I refused to go in and waited outside while my friends had their ice creams. Fast forward to 1992, the hospital I worked in went no smoking on July 4th, Independence Day, now that was maddening. I spent the last three years freely smoking cigarettes out on the floor at the nurses desk. In the mean time, my father, long on oxygen, was getting sicker and sicker. At night when I slept, my feet were cold, and I felt bad in the morning. It became obvious that I had to do something about my smoking and I was furious about it.
It took me the next three years, stopping and starting before I finally quit for good in 1996, not long after my father’s death. That year, we lost five close friends and my father to smoking related illnesses, lung cancer, Emphysema and throat cancer. Five of us, together, supported each other to quit. Three of us stayed stopped. After my diagnosis’ of MS and a compression on my spinal cord that would result in an immanent surgery, I picked cigarettes up again after nine years of not smoking in 2004. I thought, I’ll just smoke for a short time, just to get through this. Feeling like an idiot buying cigarettes at the store the first time and lighting up at home, to have my 14 year old son catch me, calling me, “Puffer!” It was no longer acceptable to be a smoker anymore and I was very embarrassed to be seen smoking and even more embarrassed to smell like a smoker and it had become horribly expensive too.
I couldn’t smoke for a short time, my habit came back full force, only this time it was harder to quit. Cigarettes were different. They had more addictive chemicals added to them, they burned faster too. It seemed no sooner had I lit up, that the cigarette had a long ash already. I spent the next five years starting and stopping till I finally became willing to go to any lengths and stopped for good. This time around though, it took a whole year to be rid of the obsession to smoke as compared to the first time I quit in 1996, just one month for the obsessive cravings to dissipate then.
Suffice it say, that profiteers will do anything to make money. Fillers, chemicals, sugars, and whatever else, inundate our food source, like the increase in addictive fillers in cigarettes. Commercials assault our senses with melted cheese pizza’s, snacks and sweets beckoning us to be hungry, setting off cravings. Illness is rampant these days in a day and age when it should be the opposite. There have been no cures for much of anything in decades. How is that, when we eradicated polio, mumps, scarlet fever, and other childhood illnesses in the 50’s and 60’s. My father is deaf in one ear from his bout with polio. We have drugs that cost tens of thousands of dollars that only manage symptoms and poorly so. That then, need other drugs to combat the side effects, one leading to the next, leading to the next. If you replace all this with cigarettes, it is no less insane and just as outrageous. And like cigarettes, it is just as hard to change eating habits in a culture that, largely, still accepts this as the norm.
Change is hard, but I want my life back and for that, I’ll learn to eat healthy, untainted whole foods, that unfortunately includes wheat products. There is nothing wrong with wheat, the problem is what we’ve done to it in the last one hundred years that is the problem. Watch, “What’s with Wheat” on Netflix to learn what I am referring too. All I know, is ever since I stopped eating sugar, gluten, dairy and began eating six to nine cups of fresh, mostly organic vegetables everyday, I’m healing at a profound rate. Just like smoking, a few people had to make an unpopular stand against it. So, thank you Ben and Jerry’s and anyone else who had that courage.
Matt Embry’s documentary Living Proof is an example of standing up to several such Leviathans, one of which is the MS Society, which has long been tainted by pharmaceutical companies. This is the letter put out by the US MS Society in reference to Matt’s documentary:
Below is a message that was sent to all the National Multiple Sclerosis self-help groups in the United States of America about our award winning documentary ‘Living Proof’:
As you are aware, filmmaker Matt Embry is promoting his film around the United States. At this time, we ask that you please refrain from promoting via your Self-Help group.
The National MS Society is a trusted and reliable source of information and resources for people affected by multiple sclerosis. We continue to be here as a supportive partner for each person affected by MS. The Society has not yet reviewed the film and therefore not promoting it. The National MS Society only promotes or endorses content – information, sources, video, film, etc. – after a thorough review of the material, including scientific or clinical review where needed. We only endorse content that is aligned with our strategic plan, including our research strategy that engages leading MS experts around the globe.
Please continue to connect with me with any questions on promoting any third party events. Also, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. I appreciate your dedication, commitment, and support to the MS community and this request.
Enjoy your day!
Christy A Bomba, MPA CTRS
Manager, Program Implementation and Engagement
National MS Society
Includer, Arranger, Woo, Positivity, Communication
JOIN THE MOVEMENT®
Consider a gift to the Society (and get a tax benefit!) Learn more about the ways you can give.
1-800-344-4867 (Information and Referral)”
Note: to see the comments to this click on Matt Embry’s name. Well worth the time to read.
After premiering to sold-out crowds and standing ovations at the Toronto International Film Festival, LIVING PROOF will hit theatres across the United States and Canada beginning February 1, 2018. Take a stand for patients, take control of autoimmune disease. Visit www.SeeLivingProof.com to find a screening near you.