I know many of you are not afraid to die because of smoking. I felt the same way; like everything will stay the same for the rest of our lives.
“We will all die anyway,” is what I always say, until the time came when I was about to loose everything.
The Fatal Disease
As I lay in the hospital undergoing my first therapy a year ago, tears were running down my cheeks, it was only then that I realized the importance of life.
My lung cancer was discovered in its early stages. Although doctors were positive in its cure, no one wasn’t sure how long my recovery will take.
Each time my cough attacks, sharp pains would stab me in the chest; I couldn’t exactly describe the pain in my chest but believe me, I could hardly lift my hands once my coughing stops from exhaustion.
At times I would wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air. My lungs were so tight I could hardly breathe. If I force myself to inhale, I could feel the pain like my lungs were being ripped off.
And the only way to catch my breathe was to take short breathes fast enough to absorb the needed oxygen. In short I was breathing and panting like a dog.
I kept on hoping and praying that this torture shall soon end.
During those crucifying times the pain was unbearable and I would trade anything just to have comfort and a peaceful sleep even just for one night.
I also lost weight. I couldn’t recognize myself anymore in the mirror and most of the people who visits me gets teary eyed as soon as they see me.
I don’t need their pity, I keep telling myself, even if it’s the last thing I needed to boost my confidence. It makes me lose hope and the more I think about what happened to me the more I curse and blame myself for bringing this sickness that is now killing me.
Confident as the doctors maybe about my recovery, unfortunately for me everything was quite the opposite.I felt like losing everything and I was preparing myself for the unexpected.
My Greatest Regret in Life
At the peak of my career I have everything I need. I have a high paying job and my salary was more than enough to feed my family of 4.
If I pass away early because of this fatal disease I have conjured forth, I will leave everything I have worked hard for.
Financially, I have done my best to secure everything the best I could.
I have a life insurance that will be more than enough to send my kids to school and I trust my wife that she will take good care of our children.
But the only problem is I am not prepared to leave this life yet.
I want to watch my children grow; guide them, teach them, and share with them the wisdom I learned in life.
I want to play with my future grandchildren.
I want to be with my loving wife and be together as we grow old.
And I want to fulfill something in life that will help me bridge the path going to the next life.
As I think things over, all I have right now is regret; regret for lighting my first cigarette and regret for not quitting sooner than I should.
How I started Smoking
My dad was a heavy smoker. Although I see him coughing every now and then I really envy him once he puffed that mouthful of smoke and pumped it inside his lungs. As if by magic I could see him so relaxed as soon as he releases the smoke very slowly.
But such state of bliss and relaxed state cannot be attained of course without paying the price and that costly price is a very nasty cough.
He died at a very early age of 59, he had stroke and all of us in the family attributed his demise because of his bad eating habits and smoking was left out of it.
I guess this was expected since most in the family were smokers. And no one will argue that smoking was not the cause my dad’s stroke.
Soon after, I followed my dad’s footsteps. At the age of 25 I was smoking half a pack a day. I was in my prime so I seldom had those smoking related disease to deal with.
By the time I entered the corporate world, my smoking increased to one pack a day progressing thereafter. I guess, the stresses you carry as you climb the corporate ladder seems relatively proportional as you go up so my needs for “nicotine boost” climbed as well.
There were times I do really want to quit smoking. Honestly I hated the smell of a burning tobacco. Smokers stink, I stink and no one can deny that. Smoking robs you, it messes up your life and steals your health away slowly.
But then again it seems the more I try to quit the more I crave to light a cigarette. Maybe because I was taking everything for granted and maybe I believe that I can quit this habit sooner or later.
One Damn Reason to Quit – Lung Cancer
In my late thirties I developed a chronic cough. As the years went by my cough got worse and I know during those times that something was wrong.
And yet, I never thought of going to any doctor to diagnose what in the hell was happening to me.
Then one day I coughed out some blood; both fresh and dry blood. For the first time in my life I was terrified. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep yet amidst of all this I kept on smoking.
I know for sure that smoking has caused this. Yet, despite the fact that I am dying because of my habit and addiction, I would still light a cigarette as soon as nicotine levels in my system goes down.
My cough didn’t get better and soon sharp pain started to emerge in my chest. Breathing became difficult and I was wheezing all the time. It was then that I started to lose weight.
Out of pity, my wife couldn’t stand my situation anymore. She cried the whole night until finally she convinced me to go to the nearest clinic.
After the doctor showed us the x-rays, he requested my wife to leave us for a minute to discuss something.
The x-rays showed I have lung cancer.
After my wife left, he looked at me and asked me sincerely, “Do you still want to live?”
I replied softly “yes.”
“I know your first question right now is if you’re going to live or die,” the doctor said. “But honestly I don’t have the right answer,” he continued.
“Your cancer is in its early stage and the only option we have right now is to prevent it from getting worse and to do that, you have to quit smoking.”
“I need you to go to a hospital for therapy but right now you need to quit.” He emphasized.
My wife and I left the clinic and since then, I never touched a cigarette again.
My Recovery Gave New Meaning to My Life
After 5 months of therapy, my doctor said that my cancer was successfully contained and my condition has gotten better.
After my full recovery I promised myself never to abuse my physical body again.
I don’t have trouble breathing now although things weren’t the way it used to be; I couldn’t inhale as much air as I used to and my doctor advised me against engaging too much in rigid activities or exercise.
I guess the damages I imparted to my vital organ were permanent.
Nonetheless I am grateful for this new life.
I believe that a Supreme Being created us and I thank Him for giving me a second chance to live life to the fullest.
I also would like to thank my wife for her undying support most especially when I was undergoing my therapy.
I am thankful for my friends and relatives who visited and supported me during those unbearable times. Your presence gave me inner strength to not to lose hope but to remain confident with my recovery.
Lastly I would like to thank Rudy and the people behind this blog who have shared their testimonials and comments.
If you have reached this part in reading my story, I am confident that you will succeed in quitting.
Wanting to finish this story only means that your desire to quit unconsciously is strong enough to achieve your goal.
This was something I never had when I was a smoker. I always had the desire to quit but it was always weak. I never strengthened it to a degree that would free me from my former addiction.
I never gave my best to quit and took life for granted. And it finally took a miracle for me to quit and value life that way it should be cared for.
Believe me, cancer is something to be taken seriously. No one knows who will be it’s next victim (hopefully it’s not you) and the best way to avoid it is to prevent it.
I hope this story of mine will help inspire those who want to quit smoking. As a smoker I never expected to have lung cancer although the fear that it might happen was always at the back of my mind.
So take the first step in preventing it-quit smoking today!
Thank you so much Martin for this heartfelt experience.