I had lung cancer, NSCLC (non-small cell lung cancer! And I needed to stop smoking! I would need a right lower lobectomy, for my lung cancer. It would mean the removal of that entire lobe of my right lung.
I have struggled with this particular post. My mind doesn’t want to go back “there” anymore. It’s like that part of my brain has put up a gate and I have forgotten the password to open it. There were no recommendations for chemotherapy or radiation, but I would need to have follow – up CT scans and Xrays for the next five years.
I could tell you all the facts. I had a stage 1b with no node involvement. But facts don’t tell it all. It was a confused and petrifying time mixed in with lots of medical tests and scans. Each tests seemed new to me and each one fueled my greatest fears in anticipation. It was so bad that I became worked up, even before a blood test. What would it show? Was my blood still red? Would my cancer show up in these tests? What would they tell the doctor that he didn’t know already? Would it show that I still smoked? Did I have NSCLC?
And with every day I shamefully, guiltily continued to smoke creating more tension between Dave and me and within myself. Dave had quit shortly after we moved into our home in 1983. But I continued to smoke. Now I had to quit, it had to come to an end. Lung Cancer was not an invitation to continue to smoke, especially after a particularly involved test that could have collapsed my lung. I was desperate to have the nerve to quit, as a rabbit to be released from a trap around its foot.http://184.108.40.206/~lallo400/my20yearscancer/smoking/
So I called the head rabbi at the Temple that I used to go to. He referred me to his wife Julie, a sociologist. I thought that if I knew how to pray again it would help me deal with NSCLC and smoking. She told me that maybe this wasn’t the time to concentrate on this, but to take care of myself with rest, and lots of water. She also said nothing really defined a prayer. But it could be as simple as getting up in the morning and just saying a word, “sun” or “flower”, and that would be my prayer.
And that’s what I did, I repeated “sun” all the way to the pharmacy and bought a month’s supply of Nicoderm patches. That night I smoked my last cigarette. I put on my first patch and went to sleep. When I woke up in the morning I said “SUN.”