Eventually, in my quest to give up tobacco, I gradually replaced the nicotine gum with ordinary chewing gum. And these days, I’m slowly teaching myself to do without gum of any kind.
But I didn’t escape unscathed. In 2013, I coughed up blood. My doctor at the time told me not to worry about it. He diagnosed me with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). I brought up blood again in 2015. This time he sent me for a lung x ray. I had had a large tumor in my right lung.
After almost a year of maximum chemotherapy and radiation, a surgeon removed the upper lobe of my right lung in November 2015. I learned later that the cancer came close to ending my life, but that my overall excellent health was the key that allowed me to survive. I had been a runner and weight lifter most of my life, but coincident with the lung surgery, I had a knee replacement which the surgeon bolixed, leaving me with a slight limp. My running days were over, and I wasn’t able to resume weight lifting until 2020 when I recovered completely from the surgery. I’ve gradually gotten back into the routine. Even so, I can’t match the weights I used to lift in my twenties.
And I’ve never returned to the physician who failed to diagnose my cancer in 2013.
So I’ve paid the price levied on smokers. Thanks to my healthy lifestyle, I came through it alive. I only wish someone had told me in my teens what price I would pay for my addiction to cigarettes.
I can’t complain. These days I’m healthy as a horse. And even though I went on writing during my recovery, I lost working time due to illness. Now I have to hurry to make up the loss.