I started smoking in high school a long time ago, because I thought it was the cool thing to do. Today, at 48 years old, I am dealing with late stage lung cancer. Despite months of treatments, the doctors have barely made any progress. The hardest part is not being able to do anything about it.

Over the years many doctors gave me that speech about quitting smoking. I barely listened, thinking I had forever to try and quit or that medical science would have advanced by the time I was in the danger zone. Looking back now, I feel like a complete idiot. They were telling me that smoking was killing me, and I did not listen.

A diagnosis of cancer is always devastating, no matter what stage it’s in or how you developed it, but when you were warned repeatedly it feels like an “I told you so!”. I have virtually no recourse in terms of treatment, because of the areas my cancer has invaded. Chemo and drug therapy will only extend my life by a few months or so. While this feels very unreal, little by little the reality sets in. I have cut my own life very short by smoking. There’s nothing that can be done about it.

Of course, if I had it all to do over again I would have listened. When my gym teacher told me smoking was deadly, I would have stopped. As doctors warned me, I would have quit. If you are hearing people tell you how dangerous smoking is, listen to them, before it’s too late. Smoking is just not worth dying for.