July 21, 2004
|On December 26, 2003 at 7:30AM, my dad
Wayne A. Litzenberger passed away at Easton Hospital from COPD/Emphysema,
he was 71 years old. My family experienced a very emotional and traumatic
event that will impact our lives forever.
Dad was diagnosed with Emphysema in 1991. He had been a smoker since his early teenage years. Smoking as much as 1 ½ to 2 packs a day. Upon hearing the diagnosis, he immediately quit smoking. However, for my dad, it was too late, the damage from smoking had already been done. Soon afterwards, he frequently was rushed to the hospital with a respiratory infection or double pneumonia, each time destroying more of his lung elasticity and taking more of his breathing capacity from him. Dad was always a fighter and each time would bounce back to a partially normal life.
In his early years, Dad was a wonderful trumpet player and was involved in many Swing Bands. He also was excellent at playing the piano and organ.
My dad was a very family oriented man trying to give us the best life that he could. He cherished and loved his wife dearly; he would do anything in the world for his two daughters, my sister and I, and was a very proud grandfather to three wonderful grandsons. He truly was the #1 DAD.
Dad’s “quality of life” began getting worse in the past few years and the fight that he had in him was beginning to fade. Ten days before Christmas 2003, dad was admitted into the hospital for a slight lung infection. We were told he would be put on a respirator and kept comfortable until the infection was cleared up. We knew that dad was sick, but never expected that this time dad would not be coming back home, this last infection was too much for his lungs to handle. He could not breathe without the respirator and even then, he was suffering terribly. My mom, sister and I, had to make the hardest decision of our lives, “what would dad have wanted us to do?” The decision we made ultimately resulted in dad’s death.
As we go through life day by day, we question ourselves and wonder if there was more that we could have done that may have kept dad alive a few more years. We could have researched emphysema years ago in the early stages, learning more about this debilitating disease and how to live with it. If dad would have taken better care of himself, helping to fight off infections and also using his oxygen as he was told to. I imagine these are all questions that we will never really know the answers too. I had begun to do research on COPD/Emphysema before my dad passed away, unfortunately it was too late, dads’ emphysema was already in the severe stages. My goals in becoming involved with the American Lung Association is to first, get the message out to adolescence and inform them as to the risks and dangers of cigarette smoking. Secondly, is to inform individuals and their families, who are struggling with a lung disease, that there is information and help available to educate them and let them know that they are not alone in this effort to fight for the “Breath of Life”.
As the Family Team Chairperson of this year’s American Lung Association’s Breath of Life Walk at Nay Aug Park on Saturday October 2, 2004. I am asking that you consider helping in one of two ways. Please let me know if you will join us in our team at the walk, (our team name will be Knights of Melody), or if you are unable to walk with us perhaps you will consider sending a donation to our walk team effort. You may write a tax deductible check addressed to the American Lung Association and mail it to me at RR#1, Box 1220 Lehigh Road, Gouldsboro, PA 18424. (570) 842-6148
These donations help the American Lung Association raise funds for research, education, and awareness in fighting all types of Lung Disease.
Thank you for your help in preventing others the pain our family has endured with the loss of our Loving husband, father & grandfather.