This one is on me. It’s my cancer snob value. It’s very wrong of me but it is a thought I had instantly on diagnosis. It’s a thought that evolved in the weeks immediately after diagnosis.
I have never smoked. Unless you count three or four on the upper deck of a bus from Heald Green to Stockport as a teenager. And I’m not sure I even inhaled. My dad shared his smoke with me daily for eighteen years. He’s still going at 81. My ex-wife took up smoking after years of marriage, but the fumes rarely got near me.
My cancer isn’t caused by smoking or passive smoking. And I’ve felt the need to state that openly from the start. My mind is saying “my lung cancer is crueller because it’s nothing to do with cigarettes”. That’s a pretty shitty thought to have because nicotine is just about the most addictive drug known to man. Kicking the habit is hellishly tough. Smoker or not, nobody deserves cancer.
Yet it’s one of the ways I’ve fronted up to people. “I’ve never smoked” tends to be a proactive first paragraph statement. Maybe it’s because I know it’s a question I’d have asked somebody in the same position that I’m in. Somewhat ignorant as it would be like saying “I’m a detective and I’ve just worked out it’s your own fault you’re ill, dying”. Even though the smoker could be suffering from the same non-smoker lung cancer that I have.
And as I walk past smokers I cringe. Hold my breath. Fear a second of their fumes will somehow make my condition worse. Even though I know it won’t. I want to lecture them on their stupidity. Even though I’m a dead man walking at 49 and they might live for decades more than me.
Perhaps my lung cancer should be called something different. It’s treated differently to smoker enhanced lung cancer. That treatment might buy me an extra few months.
Yes. It pisses me off that I got this disease without smoking. It pisses me off that I think other people might think I got it because I smoked. It pisses me off that somehow in my own mind I’ve got a superior feeling over those who get the same illness but were hooked on the evil weed. We all end up equally dead at the end of it.