On this date in 1996 — twenty years ago — I had recently been diagnosed with diabetes. I was also proudly and loudly smoking at least two packs of cigarettes a day.
As part of my formal Introduction to Diabetes education by the BC Ministry of Health, I was assigned to a specialist doctor. I liked him immediately and we quickly developed a rapport beyond any I had had with any other doctor before or since.
Around lunchtime on 15th September 1996, this doctor telephoned me to discuss my latest test results. He explained that he did not feel it was possible to treat me to the full extent of his skills if I continued to smoke so heavily. I am sure I still had a pack or more of cigarettes in the apartment, but I never smoked another cigarette from that moment to this. It was perhaps the most important decision I ever made, and one I am so proud to have kept for twenty years.
The wonderful Dr. Vlachos died himself just a year or so later, but I will always thank him for leading me to my own Day of Freedom from cigarettes.