I’ll never forget the pains lurking deep in Chinedu’s eyes the day before he was referred to a specialist, whom he was told is good at managing lung cancers.
“Please God! If only I survive this, I’ll never smoke again and I’ll serve you all days of my life”, he yelled as the doctor dogged the tender five by four mass on the right side of his neck. Soaked in his perspiration; his waist and chest ache as he try to cough up fresh breath. Doctor, did you hear that sound. That’s exactly the kind of cough; bloody and overwrought for his cachectic body. His beloved wife, Maria, tried to notify the doctor.
At the age of 40 one would say let the music of life play on but for Chinedu, it will be to masquerade his own ghost, sensing out of his tremendous self-worth a deep hallowed blame for a life not well lived. He could picture himself like an evergreen leaf suddenly turned dry and about to give up the ghost.
The doctor stepped aside as he pulled off his gloves, looking through the angle of his eye glasses the anxiety that loots the young man. Their eyes met and Nedu coughed up words, “hmm mmh Am mm I going to die?” Silence ensured for a while and before the doctor replied with his stressed assent; the wife bust out with tears again. The doctor intervened, “no, no you will n…t, God will not let bad things happen to you. Not now we are doing our human best”.
Chinedu graduated from Law school about fifteen years before and after law school had joined a law firm that allowed him the time to run his post graduate degree. He is one of the few promising but not too prominent Nigerian political crusaders.
Born in the mid-70’s to a father he hardly ever saw in daylight, hardworking they said he was but had always come home at night drunk and in the day he smoked about 5 packs. When asked why he had the habit; he said that both smoking and drinking were to him stress killers. They help him forget life odds and get even with things.
His mother was a petty trader who held her husband as her most reliable cigarette customer. A trade she inherited from her own mother who taught her to tip off the kids to sleep with a pinch of snuff. Like father like son, Nedu started smoking and drinking before he turned 15 but even then argues that his father died at the age of 78 and it was not smoking or lung cancer that killed him. However, he believe his fathers death was not natural, his enemies killed him. If not, how can a man suffer multiple system break down; his heart, kidneys, eyes, and liver.
Does this story sound familiar? Well it is very hard to accept rationally how our ill-habit has contributed or contributing to out general well being. Even when it’s obvious, the consequence of out ill-habits, addicts and their cohorts think that something that has a name must kill a man.
After three months of persistent coughing and weight loss, Chinedu found it increasingly challenging to breath. At that point, he knew it was time to give up smoking. Unfortunately, the decision was not just late but little could be done to save the situation. He was already being diagnosed with end-stage Lung Cancer. He was referred to a tertiary hospital where he died two months later.
Nedu’s story isn’t made up, it’s a real one. I wrote it down on my diary as one of the encounter I had that has remained indelible. I decided to publish it because someone who read it and was touched by it had requested that I make it available to as many more people as possible. I hope you will find meaning and reason to retell it to someone that it will benefit.
You know I am a smoker. Chinedu’s story has stuck into my head, urging me to do better than just quit for an hour, but a day, a year and forever. I am on that journey.Adel – a doctor who encouraged me to share Chinedu’s story
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Cigarette Smoking Kills
In general, Cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causes many diseases, and reduces the health of smokers. Quitting smoking lowers your risk for smoking-related diseases and can add years to your life.
Smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body:
- lung, treachia and bronchus
- Blood (acute myeloid leukemia)
- Colon and rectum (colorectal)
- Kidney and ureter
About 85% of cases of lung cancer are due to long-term tobacco smoking. The rest of the percentage occurs in people who have never smoked but are often explained by a combination of genetic factors, exposure to random gas, asbestos, second-hand smoke and other forms of air pollution. Prevention is mainly by avoiding risk factors such as smoking and air pollution.
If nobody smoked, one of every three cancer deaths in the United States would not happen.
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Gift your lungs oxygen, not tar. Gift your body exercise, not bad health. Gift your lips kisses not cigarette butts. Gift yourself a life, not death.” – AnonymousTweet
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