Darlene Franz hopes her story will help even one person decide to quit smoking.
“I watched my mom die of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) because she smoked. “She lived with me for many years and I watched her struggle until her early death with her family by her side,” says Darlene.
After also developing COPD, Darlene’s sister began the smoking cessation program at Scarborough and Rouge Hospital and raved to Darlene about her counsellor Rob Mazzei.
“My sister begged for me to meet up with Rob so I could join her in the journey to become smoke-free,” explains Darlene, a smoker for 40 years.
Darlene had failed to quit smoking many times before, but decided she would try again “as a gift to myself for my upcoming birthday.”
Darlene started the smoking cessation program in April 2016 and was impressed by how “Rob took the time to know me as an individual. I am totally different from my sister, who was able to accept Rob’s praise and encouragement, whereas I am a no nonsense bottom line kind of person.
“Rob had some tough words for me, which I appreciated, and he also had some very kind words for me, which I also appreciated. He made it easy by suggesting I try different things to help with my nicotine cravings and I found that the patch really worked for me.”
However, more than anything, a certain piece of advice from Rob has stuck with Darlene.
“When you’re craving a cigarette, ask yourself if that cigarette will change anything. The answer is always no,” she recounts.
“I know it was my hard work, but Rob really got through to me and it was his encouragement that sees me as a non-smoker to this day and I plan to stay that way.”
Darlene is excited by the health benefits she has seen since quitting smoking. “I feel better and I’m back doing the things I couldn’t before because I couldn’t breathe,” she says.
To other smokers considering quitting, Darlene offers her own lesson for success: “You’ve got to be ready, you’ve got to do it for yourself and you have to follow the program.”