Mom Who Almost Died from Vaping Has a Message to Parents: 'I Wasn't Even a Smoker Before'

Sherie Canada
Sherie Canada/Facebook

It's no secret that vaping has been billed as the "cool" and way less risky alternative to smoking cigarettes in recent years. At least, that's largely what's behind its growing popularity -- especially among teens. But as a rash of recent deaths and illnesses have been reported lately, health officials are taking the opportunity to remind the public of something that seems to have gotten lost in translation: Vaping may be less dangerous than traditional smoking, but it's still bad for you. Now, a mom of three from Texas is joining that chorus by taking to Facebook to share the harrowing story of how she nearly died from a vaping-related illness.

  • Sherie Canada claims that she had never even been a smoker, but after trying an e-cigarette one day, she enjoyed the tasty flavor options.

    Before she knew it, she'd become addicted to the nicotine inside the "tasty" flavors she'd been enjoying, and it quickly became a daily habit -- albeit one she was "ashamed" of.

    In a September 6 Facebook post, Canada recalled how her affinity for vaping seemed harmless, until one day this summer when her health started to take a nosedive.

    "It wasn’t until a few months before I got sick that I started noticing more weight loss, a bad cough, and chest pains, along with it getting harder to breath or just short of breath faster!" she wrote.

    In early June, she came down with what she described as stomach flu-like symptoms -- suddenly, she couldn’t hold liquids down, and taking over-the-counter meds wasn't helping.

    "I was severely dehydrated and my body was in sepsis!" she wrote. "I could feel it!"

  • Advertisement
  • It turns out, she was right. Just three days later, she was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, with low blood pressure and shallow breathing.

    Once there, she was diagnosed with multifocal pneumonia, acute respiratory failure with hypoxemia, and -- you guessed it -- severe sepsis.

    It wasn't long before doctors determined the cause: her daily vaping habit.

    “[Doctors] did a cat scan and showed my lungs were full of fluid and blood test positive for blood clots,” Canada shared in her post. “I was so scared but more than anything in so much pain.”

    On her son's 13th birthday, she was sent to the intensive care unit where her body fought, despite her stats continuing to decline.

  • After days of intervention, tests, and treatment, doctors decided to put her body into a medically induced coma to rest -- on her oldest son's 15th birthday.

    "I was absolutely terrified that I was never going to wake back up and see my boys, family, or friends again!" she wrote." I remember leaning over to my mom telling her just how tired I was of fighting and just couldn’t fight no more."

    She remained sedated for two days, as doctors removed four liters of fluid from her lungs. After waking, Canada was put on a ventilator for an additional three days, and now she appears to be on the mend.

    The entire situation -- harrowing as it was -- caused the mom of three to open her eyes to the dangers e-cigarette users are putting themselves at risk of each and every day. "I am telling this story not for attention but to let others know the risk of inhaling things into your lungs, you have no idea of how precious they are until they aren’t yours anymore and a machine is telling them to breath for you!" she wrote. 

    The public is well aware that smoking causes cancer; we've all seen commercials featuring chain-smokers who've lost their voice boxes, parts of their jaw, or, worse, one of their loved ones to the disease. But it hasn't been until recently -- after reports have surfaced of six vaping-related deaths this year alone and hundreds of illnesses -- that the truth about the e-cig trend is starting to come to light.

  • For Canada, her near-death experience changed her -- and it's what's prompting her to speak out.

    “[I] woke up a whole new woman with a whole new perspective in life that is for sure,” she wrote in her post. "I promised I would do life better and different, and that I would never take advantage of my lungs, and breathe again."

    When she emerged from her coma, Canada explained that one of her doctors had a frank discussion with her about just how risky vaping can be and the stress it puts on the lungs. She promised to never take advantage of her lungs again.

    "I am sharing this today because I have seen so many cases or status updates on Facebook about mothers and fathers standing beside their children in the hospital or brothers and sisters as well, with chest tubes, or oxygen on them and wondering what it could be!" she wrote.

    Canada knows she can't turn back the hands of time but is hoping she can do her best to inform others of what she wishes she had known.

    "I asked for everyone’s forgiveness for putting them through this pain," she continued, "and [I'm] just glad to be here today to share my story and my testimony! All we can do is raise awareness for it now!!"