Your editorial on cigar smoking was exactly on target. I am a lung cancer survivor. I had smoked prior to the time I started to ACC in 1954, and I never smoked after that.
I developed lung cancer in 1998. When I found out that it was so bad, I went to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. When the doctors did exploratory surgery, I awoke to a great disappointment-the doctors said that my tumor in my lung was the size of a tennis ball and that I had cancer in my lymph nodes as well. The doctors told me, “It will probably be in your brain very shortly.” They would not remove the tumor or any of the cancer. They told me point blank that I was probably going to die within six months.
I went through a horrible period of radiation, chemotherapy and depression. I had radiation and chemo with good doctors in Abilene, and it began to work.
It has been six years now and the doctors at Mayo tell me that I am in the 20 percent still living. The cancer brought on horrible pain, expense and lots of depression. I have gradually overcome most of the fear of the cancer coming back, but the fear is still there.
I visit the hospital sometimes, and I see people, sometime patients, standing outside smoking. I wish they could see my tattoos for radiation and the scars where I lost part of my lung and some of my ribs. I have files of medical receipts for thousands of dollars of medical bills plus the hours of going to and from the doctors for treatment. To put it bluntly-smoking, or using any tobacco products, is stupid. If you smoke-quit. If you can’t and need help quitting-get help.
I am doing well now, and I walk three miles every day. I eat right, stay away from those who smoke and thank God that I narrowly escaped death.
Class of 1954