Not everybody gets a second chance

two person doing surgery inside room
Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. on

Last week, the details of the first double lung transplant to a 17 year-old due to vaping were revealed. The procedure took place on October 15th at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. Although the identity of the patient is being kept anonymous, the hospital shared a written statement from the family.

First, they underscored that the effects of vaping are real. They described their son as a regular, young athlete, who went to school, socialized with friends, and played video games. But one day, he woke up breathing with a pair of lungs that were not his own. (See the hospital press release)

Dr. Hassan Nemeh, Surgical Director of Thoracic Organ Transplant at Henry Ford, said he had never seen such damaged lung tissue in someone so young, and that this teenager was facing imminent death had he not received the transplant.

According to the medical history, it all began on September 5th when the patient was admitted to St. John Hospital with pneumonia symptoms. On September 12th, he was intubated and then transferred to Children’s Hospital of Michigan. On September 17th, he was connected to a ECMO (Extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation) to keep him alive. ECMO is a long term heart/lung device similar to what is used during open heart surgeries. On October 3rd, the patient was transferred again to Henry Ford and he was placed on the transplant waiting list. By October 8th, he was on his last breath. Finally, the transplant was completed on October 15th. Even though the procedure was successful, the recovery process is painful and lengthy.

The first blog I wrote about this subject was on September 8th, a little over two months ago. At that time, the CDC had confirmed five deaths and 450 cases of lung injuries caused by vaping in the U.S. Fast forward, as of November 13th, the CDC confirmed 43 deaths and 2,172 cases.

Additionally, the CDC also confirmed the initial suspicion about the vitamin E acetate–present in more than 80% of the THC cartridges samples examined–as the principal cause of vaping related illnesses. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive agent in cannabis.

As vaping banning efforts continue in America–Apple removed all vaping related apps from the Apple Store last Friday (read article)–THC vaping continues to make strides, and its tentacles are gripping more and more middle and high school age kids.

Like I said before, vaping is not rejected in social settings because it is not annoying. The vapor is almost odorless–unless you have the nose of a bloodhound like me–and the devices are easy to conceal from parents.

But in my opinion, the blame is on the cool perception of many about legalized cannabis. People who smoked weed in their glory days disregard the problem, thinking that the THC that kids are vaping today is the organic kumbaya weed grown in Cheech and Chong’s backyard. It’s not. Instead, the new THC vapers–legal or illegal–are made of deadly synthetic combinations.

Now think about this and talk to your kids–I already started with my eight-year-old. Imagine a balloon filled with glue. Let it dry, then try inflating and deflating it. That is what happens to someone’s lungs after using THC vapers. So remember, getting a transplant is almost like winning the lottery. Not everybody gets a second chance at life.

Thanks for reading and sharing.

Xiomara Spadafora

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this publication are the author’s and are not influenced by paid sponsors or advertisers. The author is not responsible for the comments generated in the open forum of Good Crazy Woman. All copy rights reserved. 

An Oath of Gratitude


This post was originally published last December, but the story is timeless. I want to salute our troops and thank them for their service, today and always. X.S.

Sgt. Lippencott is a father of four. He joined the Marine Corps in 1996 in Chantilly, VA, and since then, he has completed seven tours of duty to Iraq and Afghanistan for the operations Iraq Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and New Dawn. He is planning his retirement for June next year after almost 23 years of service.

Needless to say, the wounds of his sacrifice to defend our country’s freedom are not only the ones he bares on his body, but also the ones on his soul.

After our first visit, I emailed Sgt. Lippencott and asked him a couple of questions to write this blog. The first one was, what would you say to a seven-year-old boy’s mother, like me, if my son decides to enlist in the military in the future? I asked him this because when we met, he said that he never thought about joining the military. His answer brought me to tears. Continue reading “An Oath of Gratitude”

Divide and conquer

Hilda Molina

Last Sunday, October 27th, Argentina elected Alberto Fernandez as its new president; he will take office on December 10th. Nonetheless, his triumph has not been the main focus of the media spotlight. Center stage is the return of the controversial and former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner as his V.P.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner became the first female president of Argentina in 2007 succeeding her husband, Nestor Kirchner; she was re-elected for a second term. Together, The Kirchners became the power couple of the Judicialist Party, amassing twelve years in office from 2003 to 2015.

The center left elected government will face the challenge to steer the third largest economy in Latin America with inflation over 50%, US$100 billion in foreign debt, and more than 30% of its population in poverty, according to Argentinian media outlets.

The results of this election have sent shock waves across the markets. Why? Perhaps it is the phantom of Fidel Castro’s ideology that haunts Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Continue reading “Divide and conquer”

Taking a deep breath

backlit beach dawn dusk
Photo by Cedric Lim on

Last year, my eight-year-old son started struggling with his second-grade math. For a few days, I felt as if our kitchen table transformed into a Medieval torture dungeon while doing homework. Who would have thought that the unanswered 3+2 question could trigger so much anxiety?

Once I decided to stop inflicting pain on myself and causing my son’s irreversible psychological damage–imagine his face trying to understand mathematics smothered in a thick Spanish accent–I searched and found a tutoring facility close to home.

After I dropped him off for his first session, I noticed the yoga studio* next door and realized that I too, needed some tutoring. The next Thursday, and almost every Thursday since then, I have been religiously practicing yoga with one simple goal: taking a deep breath from life. Continue reading “Taking a deep breath”

The real clown is Hollywood

Photo: @JokerMovie Twitter

Last week, there was a controversy in the U.S. that had nothing to do with President Trump. I’m not kidding. It was in reference to the premiere of the film Joker next Friday, October 4th. (See trailer)

In April 1940, DC Comics introduced the Joker, a bank robber with clown grandeur. However, throughout the years, the creators of Batman’s arch-enemy transformed the character into a psychopath with genocidal desires capable of the most abhorrent acts.

In the 2008 version, The Dark Knight, the Joker was played by Australian actor Heath Ledger, who died from a prescription drug overdose a few months after finishing the movie. Continue reading “The real clown is Hollywood”

E-cigarettes’ catch is coming to the light

photo of person holding vape
Photo by Rafael Lisita on

The most recent data from the World Health Organization estimates that there are 1.1 billion smokers around the world, and about eight million die annually. Out of those deaths, seven million are first-hand smokers and more than one million are second-hand smokers. 

To cease smoking is not an easy journey. Therefore, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), commonly known e-cigs or vapers, rapidly became a popular alternative to combustion cigarettes since their origin in 2003 in China.

However, on September 2008, WHO stripped electronic cigarettes of their good reputation as a smoking quitting aid and forced their manufactures to remove literature from their ads and packages.

Continue reading “E-cigarettes’ catch is coming to the light”

Glowing LasVegas

The Venetian Resort, Las Vegas, NV

Last week, I had the privilege to spend four days in Las Vegas to celebrate my mother’s birthday. We left my husband and son in charge of the house and our dog, Sasha, and ventured to Sin City.

The last time I visited the jewel of Nevada was 2007. That year, according to Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the city received 39,196,761 tourists who accounted for a record revenue of $10.8 billion.

Eleven years later, in 2018, the number of tourists were 42,116,800 and the revenue was $10.2 billion. By comparing the numbers, I reached a conclusion that was evident during our stay. Continue reading “Glowing LasVegas”