I am almost never sick. I’ve been traveling around SE Asia the last nine years eating street food and living in questionable circumstances. I’ve never gotten food poisoning, the flu, a mystery illness, or even a cold. I don’t know if I have a strong constitution, or if I’m just lucky.

A few days ago I awoke coughing. My lungs were congested. The coughing was so violent I had to stand up and walk around until the fit subsided.

I didn’t have the typical symptoms of a cold. My nose didn’t run. my eyes didn’t water, no fever, my sinuses were not stuffy. It was just lung congestion.

A few days earlier I’d read a story about the American actor Michael Douglas. He has lung cancer. In the article he noted the symptom for his illness was a persistent cough. He is a life long smoker.

I smoked cigarettes for about two years when I was a teenager. My mind immediately thought the smoking may have planted the seeds of cancer in my lungs that began to grow today. I immediately thought I must have lung cancer.

The next night I hardly slept because of the coughing. I had to get up three times to walk around coughing to clear my lungs. I was absolutely convinced I had lung cancer.

My son is getting married in October. I hoped I’d be able to hold on to life until after the wedding.

I don’t trust Chinese medicine so I looked at booking a flight to America where I could get decent medical treatment.

Fortunately my cough was considerably better today. I guess it was just a Chinese cold, not lung cancer. But I’m still cautiously waiting for it to go away completely.