For years, kissing his wife or getting up to go to the toilet were near impossible tasks for Mick Roberts.
The Geelong grandfather said his wife and their two sons treated every day like it could be his last since he had a double lung transplant two years ago after being diagnosed with emphysema.
Mr Roberts, 51, is the new face of the Cancer Council WA's anti-smoking campaign. The Meet Mick campaign, which has already aired in Victoria and Tasmania, focuses on smoking's effects on families.
"I'm doing this so no bloke's got to go through what I've been through," Mr Roberts said in Perth yesterday. "I've been married for 21 years and I couldn't kiss my wife for two years because I didn't have the breath. I couldn't walk five feet without having to stop twice and have a rest."
The former truck driver and motorcycle fanatic took up smoking when he was 14 and one or two cigarettes a week quickly turned into a packet a day.
"My doctor kept saying that I had the first signs of emphysema and he was worried about what he was hearing and I just thought 'of course, you're going to say that, you're a doctor'," Mr Roberts said.
At age 49, Mr Roberts was told he had five months to live.
"I remember waking up and the oxygen is at the end of the bed and you've got to find it," he said. "It's all right to say don't panic but when you're panicking, your brain doesn't listen. You think 'am I going to die?' I had that feeling maybe 100 times a day. You're looking around going, 'Is this it? Is today the day?' "
Mr Roberts' wife Chris said she took up smoking at 15 but quit five years ago when her husband started getting sick.
"With Mick being so ill I thought 'we've got two teenage boys, who is going to look after them'," she said.