I smoked my first cigarette when I was eleven years old.
After that, I sneaked cigarettes from my mother’s purse
and, I could sometimes go into the drug store
and buy a pack of Camels by saying my mother sent me.
By the time I was fifteen I was smoking openly,
buying cigarettes and going out drinking and smoking
as a regular thing.
Somewhere in my chest, my maturing lungs were
smoking too. I increased my use and by the time I was an adult
I was smoking two packs a day and more on drinking nights
like bowling with friends. Inside my body,
my soft pink spongy lung tissue was turning black with tars and nicotine
but my outer body was that of any twenty-something: smooth skinned,
slim and nice to look at. My voice was a little deep but that was sexy
or so I thought.
Inside my body, my lungs were crying for pure oxygen instead
of the polluted fumes I was breathing. It was around this time
my brain had already settled in a minuscule error in my lung cells
unknown and unseen like the RNA in a physical deformity.
The breath of Satan had already blown onto my lungs and
I was shorter of breath than I used to be! I quit!
I was twenty nine and quit cold, oh I had a couplerelapses
but stopped right away. I was patted on the back by friends
the doctors, my workplace friends, and I suppose every person
in the restaurant dining room who I had previously offended.
But inside my body the little cells were confused and bumping
into each other and growing stronger. Fifty years passed.
Having a scan for a pulmonary problem, it was discovered
that the confused cells had become organized into a gray shadow
on my right lung’s upper lobe. Next was a biopsy and
it was given a name: Amniocarcinoma of the lung: cancer.
The cause of my pulmonary problems and now cancer were driven
back to my smoking in spite of having stopped over 50 years before.
I’ve had treatments (radiation) and a three-month scan has shown
some shrinkage of the tumor.
There are many little nodes that also may stop being confused
and develop into a carcinoma which will probably get the same
treatment. My advice to children: Don’t Smoke! No matter how
many years pass after you stop, the cell damage has been done
and is lurking somewhere to come out and stop being confused
and cohere into something terrible.