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The Beginning Or The End!



An old friend of mine, Norman Kelly, the former custodian at Castle Rushen, sat on a bench on a summer's day on Castletown square chatting to a bunch of tourists. After listening to his fascinating tales one of them asked him had he lived here all his life? After pondering the question for a few seconds, he replied, "No, not yet."


I was in Nobles Hospital yesterday; it was my first day of chemotherapy. At some point during the day a nurse asked me if I had been a smoker all my life. I recalled Norman's words and found myself replying, "No, hopefully, not yet". No, the Chemo will decide just exactly how much of my life I will live as a non smoker.


I gave up the pipe 4 months ago. At that time I didn't know that cancer was already knocking on my door. Just a couple of week's later, shortness of breath and persistent coughing had forced me to see my doctor and the rest is history.


The trouble is, we smokers don't take any notice of Government warnings on packets and they can advertise till there blue in the face on the TV about the dangers of smoking. It matters not. Why? Well I guess it's not because we think it won't happen to us. It's because we think it won't happen yet. I always thought there would be time to pack in smoking. I would pack in at the first sign of breathlessness or when the coughing started. Well of course I waited for those things and sure enough they came. My cancer didn't come barging through the front door, he entered slowly, almost so you don't even notice he is has arrived. By the time he has over stayed his welcome and is starting to annoy you, it's too late. He has sold you his wares and you have signed on the dotted line. Over the years I have witnessed close friends who smoked, suffer and die from lung cancer, yet even that did not influence me to pack in smoking. I always thought I would have time. There would be enough warnings and I would sort it. For many of us smokers, the only time it really hits home is when we sit in front of the doctor and he reads the results of the CT scan back. "There is a possibility you have lung cancer." Well if you think you will have time to sort out packing in smoking, that is exactly just how much time most of you will have.


I was never in favour of the smoking ban, I believe that people should have choices and, I cannot see why we can't have smoking venues and non smoking venues. Better still, why wait for the ban. Whether you like it or not, as a smoker you are bang on course for the non smoking zone. They did not wait for legislation in the graveyards to impose a smoking ban. It just kind of goes without saying.


Well yesterday was my first day of chemo. It was either the first day of the rest of my life, or near to the end of it. I am however very optimistic although I'm not quite sure why. I have faith but in goodness knows what. I am not a religious person. However, maybe the prayers, good wishes and chemo will be just a tad too heavy for the cancer to bear. I stopped smoking my pipe because I did not want my young collie dog Skipper to outlive me. I wanted to be around for my friends and family. I hope I have not left it too late and I will give this thing my best shot. If just one of you good folk who read this blog kicks the habit, then this is worth while and even if you don't but you start to think about it, then that is a very acceptable goal for me.


As I blog my way through chemo it will be nice if you come with me and even if as a smoker you don't kick the weed, at least keep me company along the way.


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A very candid description of your current situation and determination to beat it. Our thought and love are with you.


John F

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I wish you great strength at this time. I can see that this has made you see life around you in a totally different way and if anything take comfort from that, that you have that sense of appreciation about life that you maybe didnt before. Keep strong, keep smiling, keep loving, keep writing and most of all take each day at a time. You sound like you have a great network of support around you, and I am sure I can speak from many people on this forum - we are always here! (whether you like that or not!) :P but keep writing, we are listening.

Godbless x

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