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Cigarette dreams

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Hi Everyone, I couldn't think of an appropraite title so that one is it for now. Hope I don't draw this out too much, lots of history here.

Back in 1968 my parents sent me to go stay with my aunt and her husband and kids for a few days, well my cousin Mike took me under his wing and hung out with me, before long he took me to a tree he liked to sit iin, once there he pulled out two cigarettes and told me to smoke one so I wouldn't tell my aunt he smoked, I was 8 years old, way too young.

I flirted with cigarettes for a few years after that, I would have to say by the time I was 13 I was a daily smoker, needed a nicotine fix everyday. By the time I was of legal age to buy cigarettes in Michigan(18), I hated smoking but was hoplessley addicted, by then though I also aquired an alcohol addiction too along with a few choice street drugs. Luckily for me I got my butt in a big pot of boiling hot water inn 1981, and after playing around trying to find the right liquor or drug or combination, I was able to give up alcohol and drugs(with a lot of help, from 12 step groups and family) AUgust 17, 1982, all except cigarettes. I was actually encouraged not to give up cigarettes. In 1987, I quit smoking for four months, but put on about 40 lbs, and for some unknown reason went back to smoking. The next few years I struggled with mental illneses, mostly depression related and wouldn't let the doctors treat me chemically due to my abuse issues.

In late 1991 I met the woman who would become my wife on a complete blind date, met her in an Applebees restraunt with no one else. She was and is the most caring kind beautiful woman I have ever known. I felt a new surgance to quit cigarettes, as she is/was a nurse in a critical care unit at a major hospital here, I seemed to fail at every attempt. We were married Jan.29,1993, my new wife then discovered she couldn't stand the smoke and stuff, so I tried quitting more and failed. In 1995 our twin boys were born, healthy and full of life, so I tried quitting more and took all my smoking to the basement and outside, (disclaimer: smoking ruins acoustic tiles on the ceiling ). I was hoping to quit smoking before my boys realized what I was doing again unsucessful. In the late 80's and all thru the 1990's I would get horrible upper respitory infections, my doctor told me if I didn't quit smoking that I would be on oxygen when I was 50, I was in my late 30's and early 40's so I figured I had a few years.

March 17 2003 rolls around we are having our twins 7 year old birthday party here, I couldn't get out of bed, my whole body hurt especially my upper right shoulder. Finally get up and help my wife clean up the house and get ready for the party.The next day I am sick and miss work, only miss one day work the rest of the week, the newxt saturday I finally go to the doc she puts me on steroids and antibiotic and does a chest xray, ten days later still sick as a dog and weak, I go back to the doctor and have another chest xray this doc sees a suspicous shadow, I call mu wife and she asks to get a copy of it as one of her good friends at work is a pulmonologist. Pulmonary doc puts me thru tests to rule out tb, I give him numerous sputum samples, he finally tells us I need a brochscopy and that I should really stop smoking, something sunk in and a week after that I was able to give up cigarrettes, with the helpof an inhaler and no looked back. The broncscopy results came back positive for cancer( a day I will never forget) I'm set up to see thoracic surgeon he does a mediastinascopy on me to stage me, some lymph nodes are found positive, I remember crying in recovery,so no surgery. I theen see a oncologist he recomends carboplatin/ taxol 2 treatments 21 days apart, then a catscan afterwards, I go thru all the chemo and they think my tumor has shrunk considerably and the surgeon seems to think possibly the lymph nodes are good too.So July 23(I think) 2002 I go under the knife and have my upper right lobe removed, my right bronch(us) rebuilt as the tumor was wraped around it shaveing on my vena clava to try and get a negative reading and nine lymph nodes removed, I tink five were positive for cancer. After the surgery itis recommened I have radiation,meanwhile I ;m having lots of problems breathing it seemed my right bronchis is collapsing when I strain, have a couple more bronchscopies then started radiation 36 doses, Have to say radiation was the hardest part of to this point to lay flat on my back was very uncomfortable. Finished radiation around thanksgiving 2002, my breathing was still very labored and was having lots of pnuemonia episodes, had a bronchoscopy almost monthly till NOv.2003.Late october 2003, the ugly beast named cancer raised its pitiful head again, I was found to have a thickening in my right lung, tumor in my mediastnum, and a suspicous spot on my ribcage between my lung and back(which is very painful). IN nov.2003 my thoracic sugeon put a stent in my right lung, and my breathing is much better, at least it is not noisy anymore.

Since the recurrance I have been on germzar/carboplatin, gemzar alone, and Iressa, each with side effects I just couldn't deal with. Since april 04 I haven't recieved any treatment to combat LC, besides prayer and positive thinking. Today I do not feel bad, and am probably going to start a new chemo called almita the end of july.

Finding this website has been a Godsend for me, I have met many great people here and have actually met Ry and Mr Ry in person, they are great people. It is so go that we can share with each other and not face the disease alone. Just know that I love you all. Hope noone gets too bored reading this. David A

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