WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Herbie Walton swears he will never touch another cigarette. It's easy for him to say now after a brush with lung cancer.
"My doctor said, 'Go schedule your lung surgery,'" Walton said. "I went 'Uh, what?' That made me quit."
Walton, the owner of Ashley Furniture HomeStore in Wilmington, was faithful about getting his yearly physicals.
When a physical over a year ago showed signs of a problem, Walton got concerned.
"When I took my chest x-ray, (the doctor) said, 'You need to come back and do that again. Maybe it's a button on your shirt or something.'"
A relatively new test called a CT lung cancer scan showed a small spot, so his doctor called for an MRI.
"Then three months later, we did an MRI with dye and there was a spot on my lung the size of a garden pea," Walton said.
That so-called garden pea could have grown into a deadly lung cancer, but it was stopped early with only a few days in the hospital and no typical cancer treatments.
"I didn't have to have chemo or radiation or none of that stuff," Walton said.
Walton admits he had not been kind to those vital organs and was a prime candidate for lung cancer. He smoked a pack a day for 50 years.
"I really hate to say this, but if you smoke a pack a day for 50 years, do you know how many that is? 365,000 cigarettes," Walton says. "Now how can your body absorb that abuse?"
Walton says he's put the packs of cigarettes away for good. He stopped cold turkey after his lung cancer scare.
"I'm so happy that I did it," he says. "I wake up in the morning and I'm smiling. I don't need a cigarette."
As we do the first Monday of every month, we, along with our sponsors at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, are offering you one of our Plaid Packs. They contain important information about different types of cancer, including skin cancer. Click here to visit the Plaid Pack page for more information.