If you think that smoking hurts only those who smoke the cigarettes, then think again. Passive smoking can be as deadly as active smoking and can incur same damage, even cancer. And if you find it hard to believe, you must read the story of Nalini Satyanarayan, 70, who suffered from throat cancer and even lost her voice box and ability to speak. But thanks to her grit, positive outlook on life and support from her family, she now not only has recovered but has turned into a crusader for cancer awareness.
The elderly woman from Bangalore says she never “smoked a cigarette in my life, yet today, I don’t have a voice box.” Her husband used to smoke a lot and it was not until 2009, four years after her husband’s demise, she found out that she had cancer. “It was in 2009 that my voice started getting feeble and the doctors prescribed over-the-counter medications. One year later, I was so breathless that I couldn’t speak. My children rushed me to the hospital. Doctors said it was an ulcer in my vocal cords but I knew they were hiding something,” reads the post on the popular Facebook page Being You.
When she finally was made aware of her prognosis, she broke down. “I broke down. I had never smoked a cigarette in my life, not hurt a soul, and yet this is what had happened. They said I was a victim of passive smoking, because I sat with my husband while he smoked. I had never heard the term before.”
Finally, with the advancement of her disease, doctors had to remove her vocal chord and thyroid gland and has been left with a hole in her neck. “Doctors cut me open to remove my vocal cords as well as the thyroid gland. There was a hole in my neck (called a stoma) and I used to be fed through a PEG tube attached to my stomach.”
But not deterred by the loss, she has turned her life around, learning how to use computers, started talking again using the voice prosthesis and even learning to play the flute through the stoma!
Very soon she will receive a hands-free device that would help her talk without holding the stoma, and she couldn’t be happier. “I could not control my excitement! I giggled like a child.” Her inspiring story is now going viral with over 18,000 shares in just one day.
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