For years, Casel Lastrape’s daughter, Jeanette, begged and lectured her about quitting smoking.
But one day, Jeanette stopped. Jeanette, a senior health education specialist at MD Anderson dedicated to teaching others about the dangers of tobacco use, knew she couldn’t make her mom quit smoking.
Casel noticed. She also noticed that she had developed a persistent cough. And that wasn’t all. Her ability to smell and taste wasn’t as strong as it used to be. And it was getting harder for her to sing. Casel loves singing with her church choir, but years of smoking was starting to affect the sound of her voice.
Casel knew it was time to quit. She decided the most recent pack of cigarettes she had bought would be her last.
She even told the staff at the service station where she always bought her cigarettes that she wouldn’t be buying another.
“All of a sudden, I knew I didn’t want to smoke anymore,” Casel says.
Making to the decision to quit smoking
Casel had tried to quit smoking before, but she was never able to stick with it for long. She started smoking just after high school. She and her friends smoked cigarettes together. By the time she was 20, smoking was a regular habit.
Now at age 70, she decided it was time to stop. She prayed for the strength to quit.
“You really have to make up your mind when you decide to quit smoking,” Casel says. “And for me, the only way my mind was made up was through prayer.”
That was four months ago.
Life after smoking
Since Casel quit smoking, she’s noticed many benefits of quitting. That cough started to go away. Her sense of smell is coming back. She doesn’t have to step aside at family gatherings or parties to take a cigarette break, worrying what others might be thinking about her bad habit. Even her singing voice sounds better.
“I could reach higher notes, and my breathing was better,” she says. “I’m just so much more confident now.”
Jeanette knows how hard it can be to quit smoking and she’s proud of her mom’s decision and her determination to stick with it.
“I’m so happy that she stopped. It’s something that I’ve been waiting for,” she says. Her mom’s decision to quit smoking is a positive example she can share with her own daughter, Casel’s granddaughter. “It’s a good thing for her to see and know and celebrate,” Jeanette says.
In the past when Casel tried to quit smoking, she considered using the patch or other products to help her quit. This time, she decided to quit cold-turkey. So far, she’s happy that she hasn’t been tempted. She still buys gas at the service station where she used to buy cigarettes, but now she just waves to the staff and tells them she’s sticking with it. They always smile and cheer her on.
“It just feels wonderful not to smoke anymore,” she says.
Request an appointment at MD Anderson's Lyda Hill Cancer Prevention Center online or call 877-632-6789.