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But I LOOOOOVE to Smoke!

Posted by SkyGirl Aug 31, 2016

Um.  No, you don't.

Your brain TELLS you that you do love it.  And that you NEED it.  And that you can't give it up...



Because nicotine is a drug that has actually PHYSICALLY CHANGED your brain receptors and your dopamine pathways to trick you into thinking that the act of ingesting nicotine is a pleasurable experience. 

Understanding how nicotine affects your brain is really, really, really important when you are about to quit.

When you understand how your brain has been changed by nicotine, it becomes much easier to sort of step outside of a craving when it hits.  Not to be morbid, but it's like those hospital room scenes where the patient is hovering above their body, watching it all happen as though it's happening to someone else.

If you really want to understand, go to  In the upper left hand corner of the homepage, there is a link called "Nicotine Addiction 101".

Read it.

You won't be sorry.  It will help you.  

xxxooo,   Sky



Posted by SkyGirl Aug 27, 2016

When I came back to EX tonight to blog about Betty's passing, I saw that my last blog was on April 27th.

So much has happened since then.

Some of you know that Jeff and I finally got married on April 25th after 22 years together.  We always knew we would.  We already felt married anyway.  But as we aged, we knew that we had to be legal in order to share medical insurance, benefits and retirement income.  Poor guy got down on his knee with an engagement ring about 18 months ago and I had to help him get back up!

So, one Monday morning, while having coffee and deciding what to do that day, we just playfully said, "Let's get married today!".  Got a same-day ($10 extra!) marriage license at city hall in Tillamook, Oregon and found a realtor who was licensed to marry people (by the Online Holy Church of Whatever You Need).  I bought a long sundress at the local Fred Meyers store (akin to Target) and changed into it in the bus station bathroom.  We bought Hostess cupcakes from the vending machine for our "wedding cake" and headed down to the beach.  Our officiant had brought two witnesses (her uncle and his buddy, toting open beer cans).  And in less than ten minutes, it was a done deal!  One of the guys took lots of pics with his iPhone, so we have "wedding photos".

Afterward, we went to a beachfront restaurant for a crabcake wedding lunch and then home to tell our kitties (Kenneth and Barbara---think about that for a minute) that we finally did it.

The sun was bright, the breeze on the beach was soft and it felt RIGHT, after all these years together.   It was a very good day.

Then...the %#&@ hit the fan.

Two days after we got married, (while I was at home, making my last recent post on EX and completing online stuff to get him added to my health insurance--thank GOD!)  Jeff suffered a serious seizure at work.  He was seriously injured when he fell from his desk chair to the floor, hitting his head on some computer equipment next to his desk.  A night in the ER, with every kind of brain test they can do there. Then on to a neurologist in Portland, OR (which is almost a two hour drive over the Coast Range Mtns from the Cape Meares beach), where many other tests were done in the hospital in Portland.  No brain tumor, thank goodness.  But also, no apparent cause.  That's hard because you don't want to have a terrible diagnosis, but you do want to know what the heck is causing this.  The neurologist said that seizures of this kind often have no explanation.  To the doc, Jeff admitted that he's been having small "episodes" where he feels "disconnected" for 5-10 seconds, but has hidden it well for almost 18 months!!!  

The neurologist dictated that he not be left alone, nor drive, until he had gone three months without a seizure.  So I took ANOTHER unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act and was without income while I stayed home in Oregon taking care of Jeff.  He was able to return to work (as manager of a coastal boutique motel) in July, so I flew back to DC to go to work again.  I hadn't been back to work for more than a week when Jeff was abruptly fired by the motel owner.  Now we are embroiled in a claim of unlawful dismissal while he is no longer making any money and I'm flying my head off, trying to keep us afloat while dealing with my illnes.

Here's the good stuff:  We are alive.  We love each other.  We have medical insurance.  He is on a medication that is controlling his seizures.  We have a roof over our heads  (both in Oregon and mine in DC).  We have cats that purr loudly in our laps (which studies prove lowers our blood pressure).  We make each other laugh.  And he rolls his eyes, but chuckles when I want to watch "The Bachelor" and "Survivor".

Best of all, neither of us are addicted to nicotine anymore.

Life ain't all that bad, is it?  So...what's going on with YOU GUYS??  

xxxooo,   Sky


About Betty...

Posted by SkyGirl Aug 27, 2016

Hi, dear friends.  Every time I come back to EX after an extended absence, my heart swells up with the love I feel for my friends here and the warm "welcome back" I get from them.  I'm so grateful for this website and the people here.  

This time, it was the news of Betty's passing that lit a fire under me to come back.  Betty was not a firecracker here on EX.  She didn't write lengthy posts giving advice.  She didn't jump in with solutions when someone hit a roadblock.  She never felt like she had to be witty or amusing.  No.  She did better.  She was a ROCK.  Betty was solid.  She was kind.  She made thoughtful comments.  She was encouraging to everyone.  She wasn't outspoken.  But she spoke with wisdom, experience and love.  I had the honor of spending time with her during the Nashville EX gathering.  I remember sitting next to her on a ride from downtown back to the hotel.  And I remember feeling so comfortable, so easy, so understood when we talked during that ride.  Betty was a gentle soul.  But she was also a warrior against smoking--albeit a quiet, loving warrior.  Sometimes, it's the gentle ones who have the most impact.  Betty had an impact on my life.  I'm sure she had influence in many other lives here on EX and in her own life sphere.  I am grateful to have known her.  Rest in peace, Betty.  You made a difference here on EX.

xxxooo, Sky