Today we said the final goodbye to my classmate Melissa. Class of 1980. She died of lung cancer, fighting a courageous battle for the last 9 years, until she ran out of options - AND NEVER SMOKED A DAY IN HER LIFE.
Last night I helped send a heart to a 14-year-old on the transplant list, from a 27-year-old who died from an asthma attack and was a pack per day smoker. She left behind 3 children under the age of 10.
There, by the Grace of God, go I... I don't want to die of emphysema but if I do, it's because I earned it one cigarette at a time. Tomorrow I see the Pulmonologist for the first time.
Raising my glass in the air, "Here's looking at you, Kid."
11/01/18 Update: I have COPD - NOT emphysema. Like I knew there was a difference before today? Are you FEN kidding me? How can one be so smart and so stupid all at the same time? How sad that no one I spoke to today knew of this web site. The Doc jotted the site name down after I mentioned it was affiliated with the Mayo Clinic. I hope that helps just one person.
My lung capacity was at 66% which is only compared to the 80% of a normal NON smoker. It would appear I'm not dying tomorrow or any time soon. Due to my Grade 1 (x 2) nodules I get to have a CT scan every year for the next 15 years but require no further followup. I smoked for 45 years and no one wants to see me for a year? WOW.
I have no idea why I am alive and Melissa isn't. 45+ years of smoking and I'm writing to my support peeps and Melissa is dead. What The Hell. I HAVE TO acknowledge having this thought: "I'm not dying... I could smoke again - at least just one - and still be OK!"
HELL NO MELISSA.
HELL NO ELLEN.
HELL NO BARB.