Mike T.'s Story

Virginia – I blame it on the cigarette companies - they knew smoking was dangerous yet denied it and still advertised it as OK, even implying that "light" cigarettes were an acceptable alternative. Some people are able to fight the narcotic effects better than others - I'm one of those who struggled and who was unable to finally quit until it was, it seems, too late. I was diagnosed with both lung cancer and throat cancer at the same time, five years after I finally quit smoking (thanks to all those who prayed for me and for "the patch"). My cancers were found only after a) my wife insisted on getting a chest x-ray to find the cause of my constant coughing, and b) I noticed a strange growth at the back of my mouth around the same time. Biopsies indicated the throat growth was cancer, but the lung growth appeared to be benign. Surgery followed to remove my throat tumor and parts of my lung; the lung growth turned out to be cancer after all. So chemo and radiation followed. Clean for about 4.5 years, only to have more cancer discovered in my lymph system. Surgery and chemo followed but that was only partially successful. And now there is more to come with potential other cancers showing up. But that's not all! Due to cigarette smoking, I've experienced a pulmonary embolism and a host of other smoking related problems (thyroid, breathing challenges - not to mention the chemo side effects). The only surprise with my treatment was that the radiation did not hurt. My challenges are to remain upbeat and confident that I will continue to get the best treatment available, and that it will be successful. I know the statistics - and I pray every day that I will beat the odds. This doesn't affect just me - it affects my family and our friends. It is a constant dark cloud over our lives - we are constantly wondering if we can make any plans for the future, or if we do whether we will be able to enjoy them. If you smoke, for God's sake, your sake and especially your loved ones sakes, stop! If someone you love smokes, please don't hesitate to work hard to get them to quit. If I can do it, I'm confident that ANYONE can do it. Just do it!

 

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