2nd Febuary 2011, Ben's 5th Birthday and he is looking forward to going out for pizza as a birthday treat after school. Sadly Mummy is unwell from the side effects of chemotherapy and Daddy is sat in A@E waiting to find out if he has had a heart attack.
It turned out I had'nt, but the day was spent with a thousand questions about family history and my health in general. All very sobering, your own mortality being brought forwards into the limelight and the stark realisation that this was serious. I was 45 years old, the same age that my Grandfather was when he collapsed and died of a heart attack.
The next few weeks were waiting for test results, treadmill test had discovered something wrong so further tests were lined up. I still smoked, felt a bit of a fraud,did not feel unwell, besides , I had to help look after my children more as there Mother got better, we both still smoked.
Begining of March and I am in the Angio suite of my local hospital awaiting my turn. I went in last, previous patients were leaving as I was taken into the theatre, masked faces reassuring me and telling me what was going on, telling me not to worry. Process complete and feeling groggy, I returned to my cubicle to await my release....I could have a fag then.
Only they did'nt let me go, a very serious consultant informed me that I had two blocked arteries...one 99% and the other 70%, a heart attack waiting to happen, I was sent to the wards whilst I waited an appointment at Papworth.
I was stented at Papworth and duly released, fine treatment from the best at there buisness, and home I went to recover, but still I could not quit. I had cut right down but getting rid of the last few smokes seemed to be impossible. I sought help from the NHS support people who duly loaded me up with champix. I had been on it before, and could only tolerate fairly low doseage, but, it was a start.
So, the situation, Mummy, cancer patient, Daddy, heart patient, both still smoking when our eldest son (6 at the time) is admitted into hospital with a terrible infection in his sinus that was affecting his eyes. He was there for a week and as you can well imagine the stress levels were getting high. We took turns to go out for a fag, heart patient, cancer patient.
Our son was released from hospital and life could now start to return to normal, and by May of last year the Chemo had finished for Mummy and Daddy was back at work, both of us still smoking, how many warnings did we need !?
2011 was a truly horrible year, and we were all so glad to see the back of it, everyone has recovered from there illness and infections and it was on the back of this that we both decided to quit the fags. From my own viewpoint people had stopped telling me I had too. That may sound bizzare with all the things going on around me but I feel you can only make the choice yourself, and only you know when you are ready.
2nd Febuary 2012, Ben has his 6th birthday and we all went out for pizza, and no one went out for a smoke