For a lot of us, it can take a big event or scare to realise that we may not be treating our bodies the way we should. It certainly was for Rebecca. Rebecca shares her honest and difficult journey to quit.
I smoked since I was 12 years old.
I was never a heavy smoker. I easily gave up when I fell pregnant with my children but when my marriage broke down, I started again. My girls begged me for years to stop smoking and would get upset when those ads came on the TV.
Over the years I have had a pain in my side which I presumed were gallstones. It would come and go and wasn't anything major. One day I finally decided to go to the doctors to get to the bottom of it. My doctor gave me antacid tablets and as a precaution sent me for an ultrasound. The technician advised me to make an appointment with my GP and off I went. I had checked the pictures in the meantime and thought uh oh, I could have a problem here.
The GP called that very day and had me booked in to see a urologist. I had a growth on my left kidney. My appointment was in 6 weeks. Finally the appointment came and the urologist just said "You have a tumour on your kidney and I believe it's cancer". The mental anguish I went through in the week from my appointment to my operation still makes me cry when I think about it.
I was a single mother with 2 little girls. Would I die? What will happen to my children? It was horrendous. I had this thing growing inside me and I just wanted it out. The cancer I had was Renal Cell Carcinoma and it was a 4cm tumour. The surgeon removed my entire kidney. I'm very lucky, I didn't have radiation or chemotherapy. The surgeon just whipped it out and it was gone.
Six years on I am cancer free. It is still with me every day though. It is a permanent part of my being that will never go away. I'm happy and feel very lucky that I have a doctor who is very thorough. I haven't touched a cigarette since the day I first visited my urologist and quite frankly smokers make me cringe.