"I thought it would never happen to me, but it did," says Charlotte Hammon, had her laryngectomy in 2009.
Charlotte Hammon was a tobacco smoker for 65 years. But in 2009 she was forced to quit the addictive habit when her doctor diagnosed her with laryngeal cancer.
"It's a lot of changes. There's some people that look at you kind of weird and at first, it bothered me to talk with this but now it's the only way i have to communicate so i do it," says Hammon.
Members of the support group say it's the little things people take for granted, that are the hardest to get used to.
"There's problems and difficulties with the swallowing and cleaning of the throat. Because you almost have no control of sneezing or anything," says Larry Cracchiolo, had his laryngectomy in 2000.
"You lose your taste, you lose your smell, I have no smell," says Hammon.
All of the members say they wouldn't have made it through without the support of their loved ones.
"She didn't give up, she was a fighter," says Walter Hammon, Charlotte's husband.
"He couldn't speak, he would just have to write, that was about 12 years ago. And i was in the hospital about 3 weeks with him but when you love someone, it doesn't make any difference," says Kathleen Cracchiolo, Larry's wife.
"Some of the mood swings are different, sometimes she has to be by restroom because your whole system changes and everything but other than that, we're the same old couple we was," says Walter Hammon, Charlotte's husband.
Tobacco smoking is the greatest risk factor for laringeal cancer. The support group and their relatives say they have one message to share with the public.
"Smoking definitely did that to me. Without it, I don't think I would have this," says Cracchiolo.
"If they could see what happened to me and some other people, maybe they would think twice whether they wanna go through it or not. It's not something you wanna go through," says Hammon.
For more information on The Laryngectomy Support Group at St. Elizabeth Medical Center, visit: www.stemc.org/events/laryngectomy-support-group/
The support group is held the 2nd Thursday of each month. If you have any questions, contact the Speech Therapy Department at 315-734-3475.