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2016

Let's try this again, I got an OK for publishing, then nothing showed up, hum....

 

To the big family here at EX!

No big preparations at my house, it is going to be just the 3 of us, mom, hubby and myself, and of course our furry friends, the roast is already in the oven, we'll eat around noon and free ourselves up to watch Romanian New Year's celebration!  They are 9 hours ahead of us, and the best show is happening before mid-night!

We have already called family and friends to say La Multi Ani (Romanian Happy New Year), so the rest of the day is going to be quiet, it is gloomy and rainy outside, food and lots of sleep today.

See you all later at the bone fire, till then Happy New Year, and have some fun tonight, but do not forget we are EX, and the fun involves very little alcohol (if at all, just ask Nancy if you do not believe me :'-)), and no smoking (except meat smoking)!!!

Thank you all so much for thinking of me.

I am done with the shots and they went pretty well. 

My son and his wife drove me and dropped me at the clinic, every one there was really nice and extremely efficient, and I had the shots at the exact scheduled time (8:30am).  Whatever they gave me for sedation made me actually sleep, the only think I remember is the Dr administering the sedation (in the surgery room), and then when they woke me up and offered me something to drink and to eat.  Like many of us were hoping for when speaking about NML: went to sleep and woke up at the end of the procedure.  No pain what so ever, pretty sleepy on the way home, had just a little bit to eat, and went on to take 1h30min nap.

I am back working from home, still a little sleepy, but able to work anyways.  No pain at the site of the shot, just too little band aids covering the spot where the needle went in.

They also took my blood sugar this morning (and it was 106 yay), so everything went well.

Thank you Terrie for reminding me I owe you guys an update, I was working away and forgot...

Daniela-3-11-2016

Good morning all,

Posted by Daniela-3-11-2016 Dec 28, 2016

Good morning one and all!

I hope you all enjoy a new, free of smoke day.  My day started early, in about 4 h I will have cortisone shots in both my knees.  It was about time I do something to be able to walk again.

As I mentioned in a past blog, I am recovering from stopping Cymbalta cold turkey; even though I knew better than what I did, the side effects of the drug on me (including but not limited to muscle cramps and extreme weakness) made me decide to go cold turkey.  And let me tell you it is not easy.  Today would be 2 weeks since my body got not more Cymbalta, and many of the withdrawals symptoms are still strong: my fingers are now half asleep (typing became very difficult), I retain an insane amount of water in my body, and many of the swollen areas are tingly, painful, they burn and hurt. 

Yesterday I gave myself a massage with a crème created in the pharmacy of the pain clinic I go for the shots today. The cream should not be rubbed in, just gently applied; but went ahead and rubbed it in, and in about 10 minutes the pain went from a 7-8, to an over 10, I was crying in pain, had to wash away the cream, and to wait for another 10-15min for it to fad a little.  It was maybe the first time as an EX when I said “right now a cigarette would feel really good” and my daughter in law said “not it won’t”.  Of course I had not intended to have one, however I know at that moment it would have “calmed down” my nerves, even if for a minute. But I got over the pain, over the impulse of having one, and back to my “swollen, painful” life as it has been lately. It will get better eventually, once my body gets used to the idea it has to cope on its own, no more crutches.

I do work today, so I will try to take a nap at the clinic, while waiting for the procedure, and right after it (they keep you for another hour or so), and will be back trying to work (if I can before falling asleep on the keyboard).

Please think of me, hopefully the shots are not too painful, I will definitely let you know!

Hugs to all!\

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Daniela-3-11-2016

One more holiday

Posted by Daniela-3-11-2016 Dec 26, 2016

Good morning and wishing all a quiet and relaxing day after Christmas! 

I cannot complain about yesterday either, it was quiet, the kids ran in the am, and took a long walk with hubby in the afternoon, we all took naps after we had the Christmas lunch, and push the opening presents to last night; that was an awesome moment.  Since we were a little strained financially I went for the cheaper stuff and got funny onesies for our son and his wife, my husband and me.  Mom got some comfy pajamas, but the onesies plus a pair of "old fart" slippers for hubby were a riot!  We had so much fun over these.  Then we ended the day with a game of Canasta, reminding me of the old days, still in Romania, when so much of the big family was still alive.  It was sweet and bitter remembering how many we've lost since, but enjoying the new family and the tradition being passed on to the newer generation.

All in all we had a great time, and great food, planning another similar today, unfortunately hubby has to work, but we will save some festivities for dinner when he will be back home.

In the mix of all that, I could not avoid reflecting to all the challenges our family faced this year, some of which will still spill in 2017.  But with the love and support of each other we'll face them and conquer them all.

And yes, you guessed right: my quitting smoking was one of the most challenging one; but I had this group of family and friends coming to the rescue every time I needed it, and I am forever grateful for that.

The work of an Ex-smoker is never done, but the farthest in the process of recovery I get, the more knowledge and experience accumulate, the wiser and stronger I become to work on it, whatever tools are needed.

Dear EX, wherever you are in the process, please be grateful for the guidance, support, education, and comfort our mentors are handing out for free every hour of every day, holiday or not!

Thank you EX-family for getting me to 290 DOFs, health and joy to all of you!

Daniela

On March 11 of this year I quit smoking. 

Little did I know I was giving myself the best present ever, including the best Christmas present!  Thanks to you and this wonderful community it is the gift which continues on giving, for every hour of my life as I stay EX it is a new beautiful, clean, happier hour!  The way here is paved with challenges and cries, with laughs and joy, but is giving me a new lease on life.  Has I stayed smoking by now I would have smoked 6,385 cigarettes, costing me $1,843, lots of cought, and God know what else.

On this day of Christmas I want to say a Big Thank You to all my mentors and friends, and supporters, and may you all enjoy a beautiful Christmas Day.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

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Daniela-3-11-2016

Holiday spirit

Posted by Daniela-3-11-2016 Dec 23, 2016

When Jacqueline was called into to work yesterday, I felt bad that I was also needed but did not want to volunteer...Well, my giving spirit was stronger than me, and I did end up offering my services.

So between baking (and I am up since 3:00am for that), I will also work today, during my day off  But it is in the holiday spirit, and I do know I will get it back in other ways!

Afterall, if I were still a smoker I might have spent the same amount of time burning wholes in my lungs instead of helping someone!  It makes me feel good to help fellow co-workers in a time of need!

Merry Christmas to all!

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And this would be me...

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But (pun intended) some people really don't want to get in the spirit...

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 I am hopeful for next year...so optimistic against all odds...

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Daniela-3-11-2016

Who am I?

Posted by Daniela-3-11-2016 Dec 21, 2016

These last 3-4 months were really challenging for me health wise.  But whose weren’t: look at Ellen, Sharon and Sharon, Dale, Thomas, Pops and Giulia (oh, have we heard from her after the eye surgery)? And some of our friends’ family members, it seems so many people had to go through life changing health events lately.

On and off anti-depressants, having a really good effect at first, then becoming more and more toxic as it accumulated in my body to the point it was unbearable.  Experiencing muscle weakness and uncontrolled contractions to the point of walking like an 80 years old person, almost to the point of needing a cane.

Quitting cold turkey, today is the 7th day with no anti-depressant; experiencing all kind of withdrawal symptoms, the therapist ensuring me they won’t be any worse, yet, I’ve learned not to trust him so much anymore.  According to him when I started feeling so weak, it was not from the anti-depressant.  What gave me the clue it actually WAS it, was when I forgot to take it for one day and felt so much better.

Started meditating more, and practicing mindfulness, and gratitude.  Body not ready for yoga, still too much rigor, to the point little stretches are painful.  But I will get there.

And I am looking at me inside: feeling my liver swollen from the inflamed cells, muscles and cells full of water retention, yet my mind is on the right path to stillness and calm, and acceptance.

And I ask myself: has this change in me happened because of the power quitting smoking gave me?  Is it because I acquired the courage shared here every day, and inquisitive mind built up from questioning feelings and reactions while quitting our nasty former addiction?  I am an every day, ever hour changing human being.  Starting to ignore the constant self judgement: “ I am shallow, I am impatient, if I only were more understanding, if I could only listen more and speak less, If I could only be less drastic in my judgement of others…”  But I think I am changing into that person, and the main reason I believe it to be conquering the freedom from smoking. It gave me the freedom to look at me and see possibilities I have not seen my whole life.  Credit should also go to my therapist who is pushing me to introspection, but I think it would have taken much longer had I not been ready because of being here every day.

Newbies, and lurkers, please read the blogs, learn from us who are all changing while working on our recovery, it is a slow process, but we are emerging on the other side more human, more tolerant, more open minded, kinder to us and to those around us.  I know I am and I owe it almost entirely to being here every day and learning from my fellow quitters, and their willingness to share their own metamorphosis so we can all gain a better understanding and a more meaningful transformation.

May you all stick with your decision to remain free of smoking addiction forever, I know I have made mine and will work like crazy to keep it this way!

Daniela 285 DOFs

You all please stay warm, and take care on the roads!

Not too much to complain here, just a cold wind this morning, nothing I could not beat with a baseball cap and a hoodie, even early morning shopping!

Thinking of all of you over there in the cold and snowy weather, please be safe, and keep the eyes on the prize!

We are all EX, let's stay that way through the Holiday Season!

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Daniela-3-11-2016

Proud to be an EX

Posted by Daniela-3-11-2016 Dec 14, 2016

Today we had a little holiday gathering in the office (all probably 50 or so of us in the office today), around some catered appetizers, some cocktails and desserts.  Just socializing around the tables with food, then going back to our desks and worked some more. 

More than one person was asking me about my quitting smoking, if I am still quit, and I was so proud of my just past 9 months.  Physically not feeling really great, but I was all smiles when the question was asked of me either by still smoking co-workers, ex-smokers (who know it is not the easiest thing to do), or just co-workers inquiring about my health, and being happy for me that I quit smoking.

Be proud you are an EX, it is one of the Greatest feelings in the world, to be able to say "Yes, I am still an EX and have no intent what so ever to go back to smoking, ever again!!!"

Just be proud, I know I am!  I got the gift of EX, thank you my EX-family!

Back from the Dr, the liver biopsy did not reveal anything new (there is no evidence of malignancy), but a fatty liver and the same mild cirrhosis (non-alcoholic chronic hepatitis).  No treatment for it either, but this big girl has to lose weight somehow. Follow up in 3 months.

Still need to figure out where the muscle weakness is coming from, along with the muscle spasms, and I should be good to go.

Thank you all so much for your support, prayers and good wishes!

I love you my friends, 

Daniela

And "Blue Christmas" my favorite Christmas song.  But I won' be singing it this Christmas, my kid will be home.

Thinking about my son (him and his wife are coming home for Christmas), and how I deserve such an incredibly awesome kid. 

As he was growing up I told him: "the secret to stay a non-smoker is to never start; I wish I never did myself, and now I can't stop, but if you ever want to try one, you know where in the house they are, please to not try any from the kids in school, have one at home".  

But he never started and he is a non-smoker, he sails, hikes, uses the bicycle to go to work weather permitting, participated in the Spartan games, while working long hours.  

And a while ago he told me "mom, you are approaching 60, and your body's ability to recover is not the same as in your 30's or 40's; please quit, I would love to have you by my side for a little longer".  Culturally we are not saying "I love you" very often, but this was his way of telling me.  He made me look at what smoking was doing to my dear ones, and I quit.  

And now I am happily awaiting the holiday, the first smoke free Christmas, I was the only smoker, and I remember how many times I was interrupting our game, to go out and have a smoke.  Not this year!!!  

Now we have a non-smoking family and I am so proud to be one of them.  Well, it is not a big family (5 here in USA, including my daughter in law), but it is my family and no one smokes anymore, and I am so very happy about it!

If you have not quit, please do.  If you are struggling with cravings, please know they will go away.  If you want to become someone you are proud of please quit today.  It is worth the work, the patience, the frustrations, because somewhere along the way you are becoming someone else, someone better, healthier, more lovable, more loving, more respected, mostly by yourself, and that makes a whole world of difference.

Hoping you are reading...Happy Holidays to all!

Daniela 272 DOFs

The first Christmas season as an EX debuted last night with attending the Holiday Party with my husband's company!  And I am happy to report smoking was not on my mind, but maybe a couple of times when walking towards the ball room by a group of people freezing around a bar on a little patio and not being envious how cold they were standing by the tall tables and smoking!

Not being a drinker my whole life, no surprise there either, having one spritzer did not trigger anything other than maybe a little more smiles than I would normally.

I have not been feeling so great lately, for whatever reason I went from the big walker I used to be (3-4-5 miles at one time) to nothing, after just 1 block I feel my muscles have lost all the juice they have and start cramping, and hurting and I have to stop.  We will see, the liver biopsy is being scheduled for tomorrow morning, so another 2 weeks and I should know if the "mild cirrhosis", my latest diagnosis is what causing me such muscle fatigue, or something more serious.

My Shih Tzu girl Nucka is still going strong, and even though we know what's to come in the near future (having been diagnosed with malignant melanoma), we are trying to get the most out of time together, going for little walks in the park she loves the most, feeding her what she likes to eat, and having long sessions on the floor of loving, hugging, playing.

Dear friends at EX, for those being by my side during recovery, I could never express how deep my gratitude is for all the love and support.  I went from a passionate more than 1 pack/day smoker, to someone shifting priorities towards health, family (and that includes our pets), work.  I became someone attaching values to things that really matter in life instead of wasting so much time, money and health on a nasty addiction.  And I could not have done it anywhere else as easily as I did it here, under your wise guidance and loving support, THANK YOU!

May the holiday season be good to all of us, may our friendship become stronger every day, and may we always be able to support newer quitters to better themselves, as you did to me!

Happy Sunday all!

Love

Daniela 268 DOF