Smoking kills – all smokers are well aware of this fact. However, little do they know that they are actually putting their family members in danger through second-hand smoke, and Nalini Satyanarayan is one of the unlucky victims.
The 70-year-old woman from India has never laid her hands on a single cigarette before, but she did have a husband who was a heavy smoker.
According to The Better India and Indian Express, Nalini married her husband in 1972 and he had a habit of smoking cigarettes when thinking about work-related stuff. There was nothing Nalini could do to make him quit smoking.
When her husband was 45 years old, he suffered a mild stroke but that still didn’t stop him from smoking. Five years later, he had a close shave with a severe heart attack and he had quit smoking ever since. Sadly, nine years later, he passed away in his sleep.
Although Nalini was free from second-hand smoke for years, she still ended up with vocal chord cancer. It all started in 2009 when her voice suddenly became weak and all the prescribed medication didn’t help with her condition.
A year later, her doctors broke the news to her saying that she was diagnosed with vocal chord cancer at the age of 62.
“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.”
To be exact, Nalini said her husband used to smoke 18 cigarettes a day when he was still alive. Without her realising it, Nalini became a passive smoker, inhaling all the smoke from her late husband.
“Doctors cut me open to remove my vocal chords 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.”
Thanks to the encouragement from her children, she fought back and now, she’s an activist fighting against tobacco products and spreading awareness about the dangers of smoking.
“I learnt to talk all over again – the alphabet, how to hold my wind pipe so I could speak – and to manage the hole in my neck. Now I breathe through this hole and I am even learning to play the flute through it!”
“Don’t underestimate the threat of passive smoking. Don’t shy away from telling your loved ones not to smoke, for themselves and for you!”
She may have lost her voice, but that didn’t stop her from inspiring thousands to stop smoking. If you have friends and family members who are smokers that you care about, share this article with them!
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