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2013

I'm absolutely fascinated by the Blogs I've seen these last few days! I hear people talking about how they "can't" because it's just "too hard!"I can't help but remember my first days of my quit journey more than 1300 days ago! I had just been diagnosed with a chronic progressive illness that's incurable. My life expectancy just went waaaaaay down with one little word. What's more I was convinced that my Quality of Life would really be looooow. In other words, don't expect much from life except pain, suffering, and early death. Talk about STRESS! Please Newbie, don't tell me about stress!!!! And do you know the worst part of it? The personal knowledge that I had done this to myself......with yes, smoking! So I was diagnosed with COPD/Emphysema on March 14 and had my last puff March 19! That's all the preparation time I gave myself! Not weeks.....not Months....not NRTs.....not chantix.... just one tool you folks would be smart to use - KNOWLEDGE! So where did I acquire this knowledge so fast? Right here at BecomeanEX. I didn't join to fool around with slips and relapses. I didn't come here with an "I already know it all" ATTITUDE! I didn't come here with a line about how we are all different and nobody understands me!!!! I came here to be included in the 6% who SUCCEED in their first year of quitting!!! I came here to listen to those who had already achieved what I wanted! I didn't blame them for being too harsh! I listened! Because they had something that I not only wanted - but something I needed!I had a clear cut choice: QUIT or DIE!!! Simple! I humbly asked questions and accepted advice. I did my homework without hesitation! I made friends and exposed my ADDICTIVE SELF to these EXers with integrity and honesty! I let that smoke cloud of distorted thinking lift because FIRST and most important - I kept them away from my face!!!! So my issue was never to smoke or not to smoke!!! My issue was "What do I do instead?" 

Folks, do you really want to wait until you have a smoke related illness before you quit? Or worse, continue to smoke knowing that you are literally killing yourself????Are you even aware that HALF of all smokers will DIE of smoke related illness????? Or do you want to pay attention and follow the road map that has been put right in front of you and shows you each and every step to take if you really want to be in the 6%? No excuses! Keep them away from your face and listen!

And, by the way, so far anyway, my Quality of Life is better than ever - but only because I quit smoking!!!!

Thomas3.20.2010

The Happy Quit

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 30, 2013

Success or failure depends more upon attitude than upon capacity - successful men act as though they have accomplished or are enjoying something.  Soon it becomes a reality.  Act, look, feel successful, conduct yourself accordingly and you will be amazed at the positive results!

 - William James  (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910)

Build FUN and Self Care into your Quit Plan! You are literally creating a New YOU so you get to decide what this person looks and acts like! As that Smoke Cloud lifts, let it reveal the you that you really wish to BE and become that person - One Day, One Hour, One Minute at a time! 

You get to/have to decide!

Another James - the Happy Quitter taught me that I CAN and I decided that I AM!

image

These are some of the Gifts that come to mind as I CELEBRATE my QUIT:

(1) I feel more SELF-CONFIDENT because I made a choice to change my self-destructive behavior and followed through.

(2) I feel more HONEST because I am not evading truthfulness about the consequences in order to support my Smoking Addiction.

(3) I feel more SELF-RESPECT because I made a decision to QUIT SMOKING and honored that decision.

(4) I feel more SECURE because I no longer have that constant battle "I want to smoke"vs"I don't want to smoke."

(5) I feel more OPTIMISTIC because I no longer attack stress with another cigarette, I attack it with a constructive plan of action.

(6) I feel more SPIRITUAL because when I called upon my higher power for assistance I felt his/her response.

(7) I feel more DECISIVE because I saw how I can set a goal and accomplish it one day at a time each and every day.

(8) I feel more SELF-AWARE because I sense days or situations of weakness and have a winning back up plan to protect my QUIT.

(9) I feel more INTEGRATED because when my body said "I need...." my mind and spirit responded affirmatively.

(10) I feel more JOY as I experience COLLATERAL KINDNESS and CELEBRATE each and every daily VICTORY over my Smoking Addiction with my BecomeanEx friends!  THANK YOU for CELEBRATING with me!!!!!!

It's great to see so many new members to our Community! I hope they check out the Freedom Train and Bonfire as well as the testimonials and info-blogs! They all go together to make this site special and this Community stand for SUCCESS!

My little contribution each Monday is this Blog which gives you links from the current news and informs you of what the media is saying. I don't agree wih everything I publish here but choose the articles that will hopefully open your eyes to what Nicotine and Tobacco are all about! It helps me to know and maybe it will help you, too!

 

  NICOTINE REPLACEMENT THERAPY
  Why Is Smoking Addictive? It's Probably Not Just Nicotine, Despite What We've Been Told For Years
   
  SECOND HAND SMOKE
  Second-hand smoke and your pet
   
  Busting myths about secondhand smoke beliefs
   
  Secondhand smoke is linked to chronic sinus disease
   
  Passive smoking 'killing TREE because so many people are lighting up next to it'
   
  ECIGARETTES
  Vaping -- a form of tobacco-free smoking -- is a breath of sweet air
   
  British American Tobacco apologises for advertising e-cigarette in kids' app
   
  SMOKING AND YOUR HEALTH
  Smoking Long or Ultralong Cigarettes Increases Risk of Lung Cancer
   
  Not Kool
  It’s time to ban menthol cigarettes.
   
  Early CT scans for smokers are discovering lung cancers
   
  Latest Research on Tobacco Use and Health Care Cost Has Global Implications
   
  SMOKING CESSATION
  Boots sets up 'Smokers Anonymous' clinics: Chain sets up meetings in 500 stores in bid to help people quit
   
  Smokers, stop lying to yourselves
   
  Smoking Cessation Ups Survival for Patients Undergoing PCI
   
  SMOKING AND YOUTH
  CDC: More teens smoking flavored tobacco
   
  University of Manitoba students questioning sale of tobacco on campus
Thomas3.20.2010

Blessings

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 25, 2013

A friend of mine just received a double lung transplant this morning. I am truly blessed.

When you think quitting is challenging, imagine what she and her family have been going through....

God Bless you all!

   
   
  As most of you, my beloved Community, know - I have COPD/Emphysema Stage II. I am very fortunate to have been diagnosed at Stage II since it gave me more opportunities to change some habits of mine that were killing me including and most importantly - I quit smoking 6 days after diagnosis. In those six days I smoked EXactly 10 sickerettes - the ones left in my pack when I walked out of the hospital with lung infection.
   
  As we come upon November, I'll be talking more about this since November is COPD Awareness Month. If you are 100% convinced that you do not have this chronic, progressive incurable disease, then feel free to skip these blogs. Be aware, though, that COPD is the #3 killer in the US right behind heart disease and cancer. 90% of those who have COPD are smokers or EX-smokers. 
   
  But today I will be talking about how to live with chronic pain and illness. Most of this information comes from the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program at MIT in Boston. This program was created in 1991 by Jon Kabat Zinn and for 2 1/2 decades Dr. Zinn, a microbiologist,  has been working with the chronically ill to aleviate their pain. 
   
  What do you think of when you think of healing? The definition is to restore to health or soundness; to cure. But we have an incurable illness. Does that mean that we cannot be restored to health? NO! I, for EXample, am more healthy now than I have been ever before in my life -   because of the disease diagnosis!
   
  Dr. Zinn says that healing means coming to terms with things as they are now. I see this often where I work (Assisted Living Facility.) Those residents who have come to terms with their health, living conditions, and  limitations adjust well and live more happily than those who buck against the aging process and loss of independence. The same is true with all of us. The Boston Marathon Survivors had to come to terms with new realities. Some lost their limbs but still found a way to move on. We who have chronic pain can learn to adapt to our lives as well. But we might need a little help. 
   
  Stress is the struggle with what is, states Dr. David Black. It could be:
  (1) Something you have and don't want
  (2) Wanting something and not having it
  (3) Having something and pretending you don't
   
  We all have the resources to limit and aleviate stress by virtue of being human. It's not about fixing. It's about   healing - coming to terms with things as they are - as a place to begin and adventure into the field of the possible!
   
  As long as you are breathing there is more right with you than wrong with you no matter what is wrong with you! There are pathways by which positive emotions influence health and well being. Positive emotions are not the inverse of negative emotions - they don't cancel each other out.  You can have both and still benefit from the positive!
   
  So what are these pathways?
   
  (1) Physiological Responses
   
  (2) Adaptive or Maladaptive Behaviors [such as smoking]
   
  (3) Aversive Environments or Supportive Environments
   
  Again I refer to the Serenity Prayer:
   
  God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
   
  The courage to change the things I can,
   
  And wisdom to know the difference.
   
  So how do you access wisdom? 
  - you can listen to people who you consider wise
  - you can ask yourself WWJD. What would Jesus do? [or Mohammed, Buddha, ...]
  -you can use inner wisdom imagery which moves you from fear and anxiety to wisdom - inside
   
  Once you have found calm and are working from a place of wisdom, you can begin to separate out those things that I can change from those which I can't. Each has it's own set of coping tools in their tool box. 
   
  For those things which I can't change I can learn to relax - even with the pain present! I can find calmness and serenity - I can come to a place of acceptance. I have in my tool box: meditation, imagery, physical activity, humor just to name a few tools available to me.
   
  For those things which I can change I can tap into my courage, creativity, and confidence in order to take action. I can learn useful skills such as negotiation and communication. Here the Intention Prayer is useful - Focus on where you want to go because your body tends to go where you look! 
   
  By increasing Positive States we reduce distress and enhance well being. We can do that with:
  Self Affirmation
  Cognitive Behavior Stress Management
  Coping Effectiveness Training
   
  With these skills I can achieve healing in the sense that I can optimize my Health! I can become more resilient to the progressiveness of my disease and my changing physical status. And I can reduce my vulnerability to daily stress.  I can heal!
   
   
   
Thomas3.20.2010

Life Beyond Addiction

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 23, 2013
   
  We spend a great deal of time here talking of how to cease smoking and rightfully so! But abstinence from Nicotine Addiction is only the beginning of recovery! True recovery addresses not what we abstain from, but the rebuilding of the life that was saved! 
   
   
  When we realize just how much time, money, emotional and physical energy we sacrificed to our Sickerettes, we often feel overwhelming shame and guilt about the terrible decision we had been unthoughtfully making for years, even decades. This in spite of our loved ones' pleas for change, their own personal sacrifices to our vice, their heart break and pain!
   
   
  So when we speak of grief, at first we think of ourselves - our grief which, totally justified, is a natural process accompanying any fundamental change. But there is another deeper grief we must accept - the grief and remorse for the lost moments we might have had with our family had we been living Addiction FREE - for ourselves and for our loved ones!
   
   
  There's the   denial and isolation - although you know that you not only hurt yourself, you hurt your Family and Friends but you may not want to believe or face it!
   
   
  Next comes   anger - at yourself, even at the tobacco companies, for the torment that your social circle has been through because of your choices.
   
   
  Even   bargaining comes into play! "Please God, protect my health so I can make it up to my loved ones!"
   
   
   Depression might become overwhelming if we don't have or develop the skills to forgive ourselves and to make amends to the best of our ability to those we care about.
   
   
  Finally,   acceptance! There has been and I can't imagine there being any better way to address grief than the Serenity Prayer! 
   
   
  God grant me the serenity
   
  to accept the things I cannot change; 
   
  courage to change the things I can; 
   
  and wisdom to know the difference.
   
   
   
  Continuously, I find recovery opening up like a beautiful big blossom, one petal at a time with each new phase more spectacular than the last! May you find your true self through self awareness and acceptance and enjoy a deep abiding peace!
   
   image

Do you want to know how much Big Tobacco cares about people? Here is an eye opening EXpose of the Tobacco Giants. It's long but well worth the time to watch the entire truth!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MmYY8sj73g

Happy Monday, Fellow EXers!

Another day and another week and we're moving right along through Stoptober! How are you Brits doing on your 28 Day Pledge? If it's getting rough, there are some suggestions here to keep the momentum rolling! Actually there is lots of helpful news in today's articles. So read, read, read and find out about your enemy! You are so much stronger and valuable than a dead leaf wrapped in paper and dipped in poison! 

  NICOTINE REPLACEMENT THERAPY
  In Smokers, Gene Impacts Success in Nicotine Replacement Therapy
   
  SMOKING CESSATION
  In Defense of Tobacco
  (written by a true Addict!)
   
  Smoker may stay uninsured unless he quits
   
  Do pricey cigs deter smoking?
   
  Quitting smoking: How to survive Stoptober - the month long challenge to ditch cigarettes
   
  To quit smoking, he sketched a cigarette every time he wanted to light up
   
   
  The poor more likely to smoke, research finds
   
  Social networking may help smokers quit (Video)
   
  Smartphones, GPS part of UH scientist's smoking cessation research
   
  SMOKING AND YOUR JOB
  Smoking banned for Nursing Home staff
   
  SMOKING AND YOUR FAMILY
  Maternal smoking may impair infant immunity, causing a broad range of infections
   
  SMOKING AND YOUR HEALTH
  Smoking: good and bad news
   
  This is your body on smoking: website
   
  E CIGARETTES
  GPs fuming at football e-cigarette sponsorship deal
   
  SECOND HAND SMOKE
  Alarming number of kids still exposed to secondhand smoke
   
  Head ‘victim of hate campaign’: Parents abuse teacher after smoking ban at school gates
   
  SMOKING AND YOUTH
  Tobacco Companies Still Target Youth Despite a Global Treaty
   
  BIG TOBACCO
  Big Tobacco Gets Sneaky
   
  Are Tobacco Companies Making a Comeback?
   
   Breathe - take a deep breath, be present with yourself in the moment
   
   Realistic Goals - for this moment, this hour and this day
   
   Everyday Events - Notice the psoitive moments in everyday life
                        +share them with others
                        - recognize when things go right!
   
   Acts of Kindness - Create positive events for others
   
   Turn Negatives Around - reframe negative events   (find the silver lining)
   
   Humor - Laughter is good medicine!
   
   End Each Day with Gratitude - Note positive steps and all   you are grateful for
   
   If this seems over simplistic, don't let it fool you! These strategies not only improve Quality of Life, they actually enhance mortality and increase Positve Affect!
   
   
   
   
Thomas3.20.2010

Worrying Well

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 18, 2013

The following is a college level lecture presentation by Martin Rossman at University of California called How Your Brain Can Turn Anxiety into Calmness. I found it useful on many levels for those of us who have self medicated our worries, anxieties and stress with sickerettes. Maybe this can help you, too!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYJdekjiAog

Smokers do not like to be asked if they know what their beloved cigarette is doing to their health. Yes, they know. They've taken health class too.

But if you love someone who's hooked on cigarettes, chances are you still try to lobby for a quit date -- not just for your loved one's own health, but for the health of everyone around you as well. If the threat of lung disease, cardiovascular disease, emphysema, leukemia, or ovarian/esophageal/pancreatic/kidney/colon/oral cancerisn't enough to scare off the smoker in your life, maybe one of these lesser-known facts will do the trick.

If you smoke...


Your future kids will smoke too.

It's no surprise that children of smokers are more likely to smoke, but get this: Even if you quit smoking before they're born, your kids might pick up the habit. A recent study published in Pediatrics found that the children of both current and former smokers smoked at a rate of 23 to 29 percent, compared to just eight percent of children of non-smokers.

Even those who dabbled in a high school nicotine habit had children who were at least 3.2 times more likely to smoke than those whose parents never picked up cigarettes. Researchers aren't sure why kids of teen smokers mimic their parents, but at least some in the field think it could be genetic.

"We don't know exactly what's going on here, but my hypothesis is that there is a genetic predisposition toward smoking, whether it is a genetic predisposition toward risk taking behavior, genetic disposition toward experimentation of substances, or even a genetic disposition toward nicotine addiction itself," family medicine expert John Spangler, M.D., told MedPage Today.

You're consuming more nicotine than you think.


It can feel like we're in the age of tobacco regulation, but an investigation by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that nicotine levels in cigarettes went up 11 percent between 1997 and 2005. So even if you've cut back to a weekend-only habit or fewer cigs a day, you're likely maintaining the same level of nicotine, if not ingesting more.

And before you reach for a light pack, keep in mind that smokers tend to pull harder on so-called light cigarettes, making them actually more dangerous. In fact, a U.S. federal judge ruled in 2006 that "light" cigarette smokers could pursue a class action fraud suit because the marketing suggested that these cigarettes were less harmful. According to an article about the case in British Medical Journal, the opposite is true:

   Researchers found that people draw harder and deeper on light cigarettes, filling their lungs with more toxic material than they would get from regular cigarettes, said Stanton Glanz, a cardiologist at the medical school of the University of California in San Francisco. 


You're contributing to poor global health.

 


The U.S. has strict guidelines in place about advertising cigarettes to children and teenagers, regulating levels of toxic compounds and providing public education about the ill effects of smoking. That's not true in many other countries -- and tobacco companies use that to their advantage. Global sales have increased so much that U.S. cigarette manufacturers now make more money abroad than they do in the states,reports The Telegraph.

And the World Health Organization reports that almost 80 percent of the world's one billion smokers live in poor and developing countries, which are less likely to regulate cigarette sales and promotion. Want to learn more? Consider the above video -- a 2011 documentary from Current TV's Vanguard series about smoking in Indonesia.


You're losing out on more than $350,000 in savings.


Let's say your cigarettes cost you $8 a pack. According to the American Cancer Society's calculator, that adds up to $2,922 per year. If you began investing that in a retirement account at age 30, you'd contribute an additional $358,602 to your portfolio by age 65, according to a calculation from CNN Money.

It is literally making you weaker.

The effect cigarettes have on your cardiovascular system reduces blood circulation to your organs, your heart and throughout your body, affecting your ability to work out to your potential. But did you know that smoking can actually weaken your muscle response as well?

"Smoking places carbon monoxide in your system, which prevents your muscles from getting as much oxygen to use for energy," Scott Swartzwelder, Ph.D., a clinical professor of medical psychology at Duke University told Men's Health. "The less oxygen your muscles have to draw from, the less efficient they are at contracting, which can limit their capacity for work."


You're contributing to criminal networks -- you know, the ones that also traffic in guns, drugs and people.

 


Anywhere from 12 to 33 percent of cigarettes sold globally are on the black market,according to the World Health Organization -- and that means the money you paid for your discount smokes could be going into the pocket of organized crime, corrupt government officials and even terrorist organizations.

"The illicit trafficking of tobacco is a multibillion-dollar business, fueling organized crime and corruption, robbing governments of needed tax money, and spurring addiction to a deadly product," wrote Marina Walker Guevara as part of a years-longinvestigative report produced by The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. "Organized crime syndicates and terrorist groups such as the Taliban rely on cigarette smuggling to help finance their activities."


You'll catch whatever's going around.

 


No, that sniffle isn't in your imagination. Cigarette smoking cripples your body's natural defense mechanisms. According to a report from the Surgeon General:

   Chemicals in tobacco smoke cause inflammation and cell damage, and can weaken the immune system. The body makes white blood cells to respond to injuries, infections, and cancers. White blood cell counts stay high while smoking continues, meaning the body is constantly fighting against the damage caused by smoking which can lead to disease in almost any part of the body. 

What's more, smoking disrupts the respiratory tract's natural defense system, which is why smokers are more likely to suffer from simple bacterial infections likeStaphylococcus aureus and Haemophilus influenzae.


You might as well go through airport security 3,600 times.


Worried about that backscatter x-ray machine at the airport? Consider this: Smoking a pack of cigarettes per day for a year contributes about 0.36 millisieverts of radiation dose to your body, compared to the backscatter's .0001, reported Scientific American. Instead of smoking a pack a day, you could get 72 dental x-rays or fly 106 hours.

According to safety experts, we should avoid getting more than one millisievert of radiation above the naturally occurring 3.1 millisieverts that we all receive from sources like soil, rocks and sun. If .36 of your millisievert is taken up by smoking, you aren't leaving much room for necessary expenditures like a mammogram (.4 millisieverts).

You're leaving behind an indelible stain of sickness.

Ever heard of thirdhand smoke? Unlike secondhand smoke, which is the contact non-smokers have with actual smoke in their presence, thirdhand smoke describes the toxicants that are left behind on surfaces long after a smoker has left the area.

"Thirdhand smoke residue builds up on surfaces over time and resists normal cleaning. Thirdhand smoke can't be eliminated by airing out rooms, opening windows, using fans or air conditioners, or confining smoking to only certain areas of a home," Lowell Dale, M.D., an internist at the Mayo Clinic, explains.

And emerging research suggests that it causes DNA damage beyond what researchers previously thought. "Tobacco-specific nitrosamines, some of the chemical compounds in thirdhand smoke, are among the most potent carcinogens there are," wrote researcher Lara Gundel, a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National laboratory at the time of her lab study on thirdhand smoke. "They stay on surfaces, and when those surfaces are clothing or carpets, the danger to children is especially serious."

   
  

The secret to lasting happiness might be neatly summed up in a cheesy neuroscience joke: "The neurons that fire together, wire together."

  

"It’s a classic saying, and it’s widely accepted because it’s very true," neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, author of Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science Of Contentment, Calm and Confidence, tells The Huffington Post. “The longer the neurons [brain cells] fire, the more of them that fire, and the more intensely they fire, the more they’re going to wire that inner strength –- that happiness, gratitude, feeling confident, feeling successful, feeling loved and lovable.”

  

But on a day to day basis, most of us don’t stay with our positive experiences long enough for them to be encoded into neural structure (meaning there's not enough wiring and firing going on). On the other hand, we naturally tend to fixate on negative experiences. Positive and negative emotions use different memory systems in the brain, according to Hanson, and positive emotions don’t transfer as easily to long-term memory.

  

Hanson argues that the problem is we're wired to scout for the bad stuff -- as he puts it, the brain is like velcro for negative experience and teflon for positive ones. This "negativity bias" causes the brain to react very intensely to bad news, compared to how it responds to good news -- research has even shown that strong, long-lasting relationships require a five to one ratio of positive to negative interactions in order to thrive, by virtue of the fact that the negative interactions affect us so much more strongly. The brain has evolved to be constantly scanning for threats, and when it finds one, to isolate it and lose sight of the big picture, according to Hanson.

  

"We've got this negativity bias that's a kind of bug in the stone-age brain in the 21st century," he says. "It makes it hard for us to learn from our positive experiences, even though learning from your positive experiences is the primary way to grow inner strength."

  

The way to "hardwire happiness" into the brain, then, is to take in the good -- being present to life's tiny, joyful moments.

  

“[Lingering on the positive] improves the encoding of passing mental states into lasting neural traits," says Hanson. "That’s the key here: we’re trying to get the good stuff into us. And that means turning our passing positive experiences into lasting emotional memories."

  

Hanson shared some of neuropsychology's best secrets for overcoming your negativity bias and hardwiring happiness into the brain, optimizing your potential for joy.

  

Take in the good.

  

We all encounter positive moments each day, and no matter how small or seemingly insignificant they are, they can be instrumental in changing our perspective. But in order to do so, we must take the time to appreciate these moments of joy and increase their intensity and duration by lingering on them for longer, effectively "wiring" them into our brains.

  

"People don't recognize the hidden power of everyday experiences," says Hanson. "We're surrounded by opportunities -- 10 seconds here or 20 seconds there -- to just register useful experiences and learn from them. People don't do that when they could."

  

When you appreciate and maximize the small, positive experiences, he says, “increasingly there’s a sense of being filled up already inside, or already feeling safe inside, or already feeling loved and liked and respected. So we have less of a sense of striving ... Insecurity falls away because you’ve got the good stuff inside of yourself.”

  

Focus on the positive experiences with the greatest personal impact.

  

Certain experiences will have a greater positive effect depending on your individual negativity bias at the time. For instance, if you're worried about a health scare, you need experiences that address this worry -- so rather than seeking success or praise at work, you'd want to look for things that gave you a sense of safety or a feeling of wellness.

  

"You want experiences that are matched to your problem, like matching the medicine to the illness," Hanson says.

  

We have three fundamental needs for safety, satisfaction and connection, he explains. So if you have a safety-related issue like a health scare, you'd want to seek positive experiences that boost your feelings in that sector. If the issue is connection-related, you should focus on small moments of positive interaction with others. And if you're anxious and feeling threatened, it would help to feel stronger and more protected inside.

  

Be on your own side.

  

An essential ingredient of happiness, as research has recently reaffirmed, is setting an intention for joy and then insisting upon it.

  

"We don't get on our own side; we don't take a stand in which we are for ourselves, and that's foundational," says Hanson. "There's a joke in the therapy world: 'How many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb? Only one, but the lightbulb has to want to change.' It's lame, and it's profound, because right there is square one."

  

He explains that if someone we love is upset or worried, we try to help them move beyond that state of mind. But when we are upset or worried ourselves, we often don't help ourselves the same way. Instead, we tend to stay upset and ruminate over things longer than we need to.

  

Maintain a sense of wonder.

  

Einstein once said, "He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle." And when it comes to taking in the good, a sense of wonder is key. Experiencing moments as fresh and new, with a childlike awe, allows them to stick in the brain for longer, potentially becoming part of our lasting emotional memory.

  

“The more that things seem fresh and new, the more that you’re looking at them with beginner’s mind or child’s mind, that’s going to increase brain structure because the brain is always looking for what’s new,” Hanson says.

  

Open your eyes and look around.

  

The secret to bliss could be as simple (and extraordinarily difficult) as paying attention. Mindfulness -- the cultivation of a focused awareness on the present moment, developed through practices like meditation and deep breathing -- is perhaps our greatest tool when it comes to increasing our capacity for happiness.

  

“I think of attention as the combination of spotlight and vacuum cleaner: it illuminates what it rests upon, and then shuuup! It sucks it into our brain.," Hanson says. "The problem is, most people don’t have very good control over that spotlight, and they have a hard time pulling it away from what’s not helpful.”

  

It can be very difficult to pull our attention away from the negative, which can take the form of rumination, self-criticism, obsession and anxiety, according to Hanson. But one way to change this, and to create more lasting positive memories in the brain, is to make a concerted effort to notice those little, everyday pleasant encounters: A smile from a stranger, a small gesture of caring from a friend or a little personal victory.

  

"Mindfulness is a great way to get control over your spotlight," explains Hanson, who is also a longtime meditation teacher and author of Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom. "It can help you stay with -- for 10 or 20 seconds at a time -- these positive experiences, and it can help you be present in your own life, so that you're showing up for the good experiences that are here for you."

Thomas3.20.2010

Arteries

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 16, 2013

Think a smoke now and then isn't so bad?

Watch and remember this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEc-Rsv9pMc

Hello, Fellow EXers!

I went to the Doctor with all kinds of symptoms. After many blood tests, it was discovered that I had been ingesting arsenic! WHEW! No wonder I haven't been feeling well! Thank God I went to the Doctor before it killed me! I will recover but it will take a long time, he said. Then he absolutely shocked me! This "Doctor" said that getting off of the arsenic too rapidly would be bad for me and that I would have to wear arsenic patches with just a little arsenic in it until my body could get used to the fact that I wasn't poisoning myself anymore! WHAT?! 

"You want me to poison myself slooooowly instead of quickly? Doesn't that still kill me in the end?" asked I. "Oh, no, sir! This is just a little arsenic! It will continue to make you sick, but not as sick as you are now and as long as you eventually stop using it, it won't kill you," he said with a reassuring smile. "And if I don't stop using it?" The Doctor looked me in the eye and said, "Well, of course, there is that risk since arsenic is addictive. But my guess is that you'll get tired of feeling sick all of the time and eventually stop." Angrily, I looked directly back at him and said, "You're a QUACK! You just want my money so that I can continue to kill myself but not notice it as much!" And I stomped out yelling behind me, "And don't even think about billing me for this 'consult!' You're pathetic! What happened to the hypocratic oath?"

Do you see where I'm going with this, folks? Fortunately, this is just a story. But change up Arsenic for Nicotine and you get the picture! Nicotine is insecticide! IT KILLS!

I hope you enjoy and learn from today's columns!

NICOTINE REPLACEMENT THERAPY

  Smoking Cessation Meds Don’t Increase Suicidal Behavior
   
  E CIGARETTES
  E-cigarettes: all you need to know
   
  Why Is The FDA Shielding Smokers From The Good News About E-Cigarettes?
   
  Video: Smoking out the truth about e-cigarettes
   
  SMOKING AND YOUR HEALTH
  POV: Smoking and Your Sex Life
   
  Man dies after setting himself on fire while carrying gasoline-powered lawnmower and smoking
   
  Obamacare and you: Quit smoking to save on insurance premiums
   
  Study: Smoking Is Deadlier Than Ever, Cuts 10 Years Life Expectancy
   
  SMOKING CESSATION
  Voxiva's personalized interactive smoking cessation program shows early success
   
  Gender matters in quitting smoking
   
  The Five Best Quit-Smoking Apps
   
  Duke nicotine research conference examines tobacco addiction
   
  SMOKING AROUND THE WORLD
  Smoking for a living: The strange tale of Li ***, a Chinese tobacco appraiser
   
  Indian cancer surgeon’s open letter to Mr Woody Allen
   
  BIG TOBACCO
  Goodbye Tobacco, Hello Stevia, Say Tobacco Growers
   
  Research shows that genetically modified tobacco plants are viable as raw material for producing biofuels
   
  US Supreme Court Rejects Big Tobacco Appeal
   
  15 Years Later, Where Did All The Cigarette Money Go?
   
  SECOND HAND SMOKE
  'Passive smoking gave me cancer'

Due to overload, I won't be able to publish the Quitters' News until tomorrow! For new members, I publish on Mondays a list of current quitters' news about smoking, smoking cessation, tobacco, etc... because I have found that knowing my enemy well - Nicotine, not the NicoDemon (who is me!) -  I fortify my Quititude and travel the Quit Journey more confidently and I hope sharing this knowledge does the same for you! See you tomorrow!

Thomas3.20.2010

It's Not Enough...

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 14, 2013

to say STOP IT!

For many of us -

You have to figure out

What do I do instead?

  Relapse happens. In fact, it happens a lot. The relapse rate for smokers who try to quit the habit is discouragingly high: About 94 percent ultimately begin smoking again at some point down the line. Most of those smokers relapse in the first three months after the decision to quit, when cravings are particularly strong and withdrawal symptoms are still occurring, or are fresh in the smoker's mind. That extremely high rate of relapse is the result of the addictive nature of the nicotine in cigarettes. A million people go on diets and start exercise programs every day and a million people give them up every day. That’s just the way it is.
   
  So are you doomed to relapse? No, it isn’t required. I’ve known a good many addicts who quit smoking years ago and haven’t relapsed yet. I relapsed  cigarettes after quitting, but that happened when I was trying to quit on my own. Since I sought and received help here at BecomeanEX, I haven’t relapsed. The tools and strategies that I learned from the EX Community  have worked so far. In fact, the smobriety tools have worked for my diet and EXercise plan, too.
   
  The common thread among those who avoid relapse is their commitment to keep working at it. They make smobriety and healthy living their first priority. They don’t make EXcuses. They are committed to a better life and nothing's going to take that away from them.
   
  Unfortunately, though, relapse is a reality for the vast majority of us who are trying to get better. And here’s the great danger: many people who relapse feel so badly about themselves, are so embarrassed, are so depressed about the relapse, that they give up. They don’t try again. Or, they go through the misery for many more years before they hit a new bottom sufficiently horrible to motivate them to try again. A lot of them die.
   
  Be Prepared
   
  Don’t plan to relapse. That’s dumb. If you quit smoking with the notion that relapse is normal and acceptable, you’re flat doomed. Instead, learn and practice relapse prevention strategies so you avoid it. You should however, think about what you will do if you do relapse before it happens.  Latch onto the Boy Scouts’ motto: Be Prepared.  Don’t wait until you wake up the morning after a relapse and have no idea what to do next EXcept feel really, really lousy. You should have thought about how you’re going to get back on your program if relapse happens. Don’t let embarrassment or regret threaten your life by keeping you in your addiction or other self-destructive behavior. Our nicotine addiction is just sitting there waiting, like a vulture. It is incredibly patient. It’ll wait a day, a year, a decade, and more.
   
  
   Don't Want to Change? Expect Relapse 
  
     
  
   Over the years, I’ve watched Nicotine Addicts relapse. Some decided that if they’ve been able to keep from smoking for a while, they must be able to control it. They can’t. Never happens. Others tried to keep from smoking, but don’t change their lifestyles. They still hang around at their favorite smoking spots, keep the same friends, and do the same things. They smoke again. Some try to white knuckle it without doing anything to change the way they respond to life. When bad things happen, they have no defense against them. The misery, anxiety, fear, or any other feeling they tried to change by smoking never goes away. Eventually the continuing misery leads them to say, “To heck with it.” They smoke again. 
  
   So how do you avoid relapse? 
  
     
  
   Priority One 
  
     
  
   The first defense against relapse is to stay centered in the desire to remain healthy by making smobriety and healthy living an absolute priority in our day-to-day lives. I’ve heard EXers use this analogy: Before every airline flight, the flight attendants tell passengers what to do if cabin pressure is lost. Oxygen masks will drop from above their heads. Passengers are instructed to put their on masks on first. Even if you have a child gasping for air next to you, put yours on first. You have to take care of yourself first, then care for your children and others after that. If you don’t put your mask on first, you will be disabled and will be unable to help anyone else. Same with smobriety. Some of us put it in second place. Family is first. We're proud of that. Here’s the deal: You can’t be there for your family if you’re Addicted. Smobriety has to come first. It’s not selfish to put healthy living first. Absent that, you can’t be there for others. 
  
     
  
   Complacency is the friend of relapse. If we ever believe we have our problems licked and quit working at the solutions, we’re doomed. Don’t do that. Like diabetics, we are never cured. Instead, we have to manage our conditions to stay healthy. Keep doing the things that helped you to quit in the first place, whatever that is. For me, that means doing all those things I've suggested regularly in my Blogs – things like living one day at a time, reordering priorities by gaining new perspectives on what’s important in life, finding healthy ways to deal with stress, no EXcuses, and the rest.  
  
     
  
   Become aware of triggers and avoid them. Remember the acronym HALT – hungry, angry, lonely, tired. Any of those feelings will often lead to relapse. Stay aware of what you’re feeling and take action when you find yourself on dangerous ground. 
  
     
  
   
    Romancing our addictions is a sure road to relapse. After all, there were times when smoking worked for us. Bad things didn’t happen every time we smoked. Not at all. In fact, some of my favorite memories come from times when I was smoking. There’s nothing much better than sitting on the  balcony looking out at the mountains and having a gentle buzz going. Too bad the legacy of that behavior is so very lousy. I loved that first cigarette after coming out of a movie. I felt so much better after a smoke break at work when things were really intense.  I’ve got to keep remembering where all that will lead me when I want to romance those things.  
   
       
   
    Overcome Cravings and Smoking Memories  
   
       
   
    We can carry it through to the end. When I’m contemplating  lighting that cigarette, I think about where that first puff will take me. Right now, most of the time I’m not thinking about cigarettes, but if I take even a tiny puff, the nicotine will trigger my obsession and I’ll be right back to the misery of nonstop craving. I’ll smoke again. I’ll spend lots of money, stink, and eventually die. If I carry the thought through to the end, chances are I’ll realize that I really don't want all the guilt, shame, and sense of defeat that goes with that  and the obsession will leave me.  
   
       
   
    Speaking of passing, cravings do that. “This too shall pass,” seems simplistic. It is, but it’s true. When I’m hit with a craving, I’ve learned to take a deep breath, and engage in some self-talk. I tell myself that the craving is temporary. There will come a time when I won’t be thinking that life isn’t worth living without cigarettes. In fact, that time will come in just a few minutes. Soon I’ll focus on something else and those awful feelings will go away. I’m always right. A few minutes later I realize I had stopped thinking about cigarettes. I am again grateful they don’t control my life as they once did.  
   
       
   
    Attitude Adjustment  
   
       
   
    Our attitudes about life can go a long way toward preventing relapse. Things that seem bad and make me feel bad are triggers. But, way more often than not things that seem bad turn out for the good.   
   
    I often refer to that week of my quit in March 2010. I had been diagnosed with COPD, a chronic, progressive, incurable smoking related illness. But I also found my forever quit! So a very bad circumstance led me to many, many Blessings! That's how God works! At 100 days, I was laid off during the height of the recession, but only 3 weeks later I found the job I have currently - one of the best I've ever had! Look for the Blessings and the Miracles - they're always there for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear!  
   
       
   
    
     Gratitude   
    
         
    
     I've had to learn to deal with life on life’s terms. I don't run away from problems and hide behind a smoke cloud. If a problem is overwhelming, I walk away, take some deep breaths, instead of a smoke break, I take a think break, and come back and deal with it. I no longer worry about the stuff that used to drive me crazy. I don't have to plan how many sickerettes I have for the day, when I can get my smoke breaks, where I can smoke without offending somebody, covering up the smell so people won't think less of me.   
    
     I'm grateful.   
    
         
    
     Gratitude’s more than that, though. It’s an antidote to depression and anxiety. It’s easy to focus on what’s wrong. It takes some effort to notice what’s right. The former drags us down. The latter pulls us up. Here’s the prescription I’ve been given by those who have been successful in avoiding relapse:  get a piece of paper and start making a list. A gratitude list. Don’t spend a lot of time wondering if you should be grateful for something or not. Just write it down. Write down a hundred things. Seems impossible? It isn’t. Just get started. Put the list in your wallet. When you feel down, angry, hurt, or discouraged, pull out your gratitude list and look at it. Add to it. Tell somebody about something on the list. Do that and you’ll feel better. If we feel better, our odds of relapse are greatly diminished.   
    
         
    
     Most people who quit  smoking will relapse. You don’t have to, though. I’ve shared a sampling of strategies I’ve used to avoid relapse. There are more. Look for them. If you do relapse despite the efforts you make, don’t make that an EXcuse not to try to get better again. I know smokers who relapsed multiple times before getting it. Problem is, I’ve know some who relapsed and didn’t make it back. They died first. You don’t want to do that. If you do relapse, gather yourself quickly, work to recapture the willingness, and try again.    
   
  

Leaving the 1200's behind and entering 1300 Smoke FREE Days tomorrow!

BELIEVE!

 YOU can do it!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/08/childrens-hospital-brave-video_n_4066018.html?utm_hp_ref=good-news

Thomas3.20.2010

Facing Fear

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 7, 2013
  Fusion
  
   Excessive expectations 
  
   
    Avoidance of discomfort  
   
    
     Remoteness from Values   
    
         
    
     
      Fusion    
     
      As soon as you start setting goals, Radio Doom and Gloom will start to broadcast, "I can't do it, " "It's too hard," "I'm wasting my time," "There's no point in trying," and a whole playlist of other golden oldies. If you fuse with these thoughts, you're in trouble.     
     
           
     
      The scariest of all these demons is called, "You will fail!" which usually hangs around with several of it's pals, "There's no point in trying," "You're wasting your time," and "Look at all the times you failed in the past."    
     
           
     
      When they appear, it's helpful to remember this quote by Henry James: "Until you try, you don't know what you can't do." In setting goals for ourselves, we're talking about what is possible, not what is certain. None f us can ever be certain that we'll achieve our goals. But what we can be certain of is this: if we don't even attempt to achieve them, there's no possibility of success.    
     
           
     
      The solution is to use your defusion skills: see these thoughts for what they are (just words), let them come and go, and return your focus to taking effective action. Make your choices based on what you truly care about instead of on the voices of defeat.    
     
           
     
      Excessive expectations    
     
      Your expectations may be excessive in several ways:    
     
      1. Your goals are too big. You expect to do too much, too soon.    
     
      Ask yourself, "What's the next small, easy step that would bring me a little closer to my goal?" Then go ahead and do it.    
     
      2. You expect to achieve goals for which you lack the necessary skills and resources.    
     
      If you lack the skills to achieve your goals, then you will need to take the necessary time to learn them.    
     
      3. You expect to do it all perfectly, to make no mistakes.    
     
      As for making mistakes, that's a fundamental part of being human. Making mistakes is an essential part of learning, so embrace it. Let go of aiming for perfection.     
     
           
     
      Avoidance of discomfort    
     
      The more you try to avoid discomfort, the harder it will be to make important changes. Change involves risk. It requires facing your fears and stepping out of your comfort zone - both of which point to one thing: change will usually give rise to uncomfortable feelings.    
     
           
     
      
       The only effective solution is true acceptance (not tolerance or "putting up with it.") Make room for your discomfort, and focus on taking effective action.     
      
             
      
       Remoteness from Values     
      
       It's not enough to clarify your values - you need to connect with them on a regular basis. You need to know what's important in your heart and to remind yourself often. And you need to make sure your goals are in line with those values. Doing this will provide you with motivation, inspiration, and meaning.     
      
             
      
       If you're remote from your values, it's all too easy to lose heart, give up, or get sidetracked. The more remote you are from your deepest values, the more your goals seem pointless, meaningless, or insignificant. Obviously, this doesn't do much for motivation.     
      
             
      
       The solution? Connect with your values. Write them down. Read them through and change them as required. Share them with someone ou trust. Reread them on a regular basis First thing in the morning, mentally go over them. At thhe end of the week, take a few minutes to check in with yourself and ask:  "How true have I been to my values?"     
     
    
   
  
Thomas3.20.2010

ROAR your Quititude!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 7, 2013

If you're just getting started then your roar may sound like this baby lion cub:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/04/white-lion-cub-practices-roar-_n_4045986.html?ref=topbar

but with practice, your Quititude becomes a full throated ROAR!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_22gJ5kB31k

image

Practice, practice, practice!

You CAN do this!

Good Morning, Fellow EXers!

Today it's sunny and cool in Colorado and every sunny day is so welcome in helping to dry out the saturated flooded areas. Recovery is slow but steady but unfortunately the economy is taking a big hit - especially from lost tourism dollars!

I, too, am recovering (from a combination respiratory infection gastro-intestinal virus.) I am now back to my normal work schedule and increasing my EXercise program back to almost normal levels - so I am hopeful I missed another threat to my lung capacity. [For those who don't know, every illness can permanently make a dent in one's lung capacity when you have COPD! That's why we have to take EXtreme precautions against colds and flus.] 

This is Stoptober for our friends across the pond! Stoptober is a 28 day challenge to become and stay Smoke FREE! Each year we learn more techniques for managing Nicotine Addiction while Big Tobacco creates 4,000 new Addicts every single day in the USA alone! One in 3 of these Addicts will die from smoking related illnesses!

Learn more about Nicotine Addiction - Know your Enemy because Knowledge IS Power!

  SMOKING AND YOUR HEALTH
  Kettering health: Smoking in pregnancy remains main concern
   
  SMOKING AND YOUTH
  Plain cigarette packs ‘stop children smoking’
   
  Don't smoke around your kids, it will make them aggressive, claims study!
   
  E CIGARETTES
  Too many concerns exist with e-cigarettes
   
  SECOND HAND SMOKE
  Secondhand smoke contains dozens of harmful chemicals
   
  Navigating Health and Aging: No risk-free level of secondhand smoke
   
  SMOKING CESSATION
  Follow my lead in Stoptober
   
  BIG TOBACCO
  Some Tobacco Farmers Have a Sweet Tooth
   

By Cecilia Westbrook


Everybody knows that smoking is bad for you. Yet quitting smoking is a challenging endeavour – insurmountable for some. Even smokers who get the best help available still have a 50% chance of relapsing. Clearly, the more options we have to help with cessation, the better. Recent research suggests that meditation and mindfulness may be beneficial for smokers looking to extinguish the habit.

Mindfulness is a concept stemming from ancient Buddhist philosophy, comprising nonjudgmental attention to present-moment emotions and experiences. Mindfulness and meditation-based practices have shown remarkable benefit for a variety of ailments, from depression to chronic pain. This year, the first randomised, controlled trial of a mindfulness-based smoking cessation program found that it worked better than a standard behavioral paradigm in helping smokers quit and avoid relapse.

Mindfulness seems to be beneficial by helping smokers cope with craving. Cigarette craving can be a powerful motivator, and one of the major reasons for relapse. But mindfulness is effective at helping people cope with strong emotions, such as those experienced with depression, anxiety, and pain. A small handful of studies have examined the relationship between mindfulness, craving, and smoking, and have lent some support to this hypothesis. However, the findings from those studies are inconsistent, and not terribly conclusive.

Wanting to examine this link further, we conducted research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We trained smokers in mindful attention and had them deploy it while looking at smoking-related images, which are known to induce strong craving in smokers. While they did so, we scanned their brains to learn more about what mechanisms might underlie the effects of mindful attention on cigarette craving.

We wanted our training to be quick and easy, so it would mimic what a smoking counselor might really teach her clients. The training took about fifteen minutes, and was based around a simple principle: focus your attention on whatever feelings or sensations arise, and then accept those without judgment. Secondly, we had them rate their craving right after viewing a picture. We didn’t tell them that mindful attention was supposed to make them crave less, so they didn’t have any expectations about what would happen. For all they knew, their craving might increase. Finally, we also included a control condition, where we asked them just to ‘passively view’ pictures—in other words, to view them as they normally would.

Our findings had some interesting implications for mindfulness in general, and for its application to smoking cessation.

First, we found that mindfully attending to smoking images caused people’s self-reported craving to decrease. In other words, when people ‘passively viewed’ a smoking-related image, their craving increased, but if they practiced mindful attention, they craved less. Their cravings weren’t completely eliminated, but were significantly decreased.

Second, we found that mindful attention affected a specific part of the brain, the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC). SgACC is known to be important in regulation of emotions, and it is overactive in depression and other mood disorders. During passive viewing of smoking pictures, when participants were craving, they had increased activation in this region. However, mindful viewing decreased activation in this region back to levels seen for neutral pictures. In addition, we found a decrease in functional connectivity between various brain regions known to underlie the sensation of craving, including insula, premotor cortex, and ventral striatum. This suggests that during mindful attention, the network underlying cigarette craving may not be as strongly coupled.

In addition to the findings themselves, there was one surprising aspect. Prior research suggested that mindful attention was associated with prefrontal cortex—areas involved in cognitive control and skills like attention and working memory. However, we didn’t find activation in that region. This suggests that mindful attention works through a more ‘bottom-up’ mechanism, where instead of directly suppressing craving, you instead mentally disengage from it. This may seem like a fine point, but it suggests that mindful attention works differently from the kinds of cognitive skills we usually teach smokers, which involve things like re-thinking a craving, distracting yourself, or actively suppressing it. Therefore, mindful attention might be a new kind of skill, useful for different people or different situations in which cognitive strategies don’t work as well.

Overall, our work has some implications for how mindfulness relates to cigarette craving. Based on our work, we think mindful attention can be taught relatively quickly, and is effective at decreasing a cigarette craving in the moment—when it’s most important to a smoker. Therefore, we think this approach has clinical usefulness in the real world, and this is part of why it seems to help smokers quit. And finally, since it seems to work in a manner differently from the types of cognitive skills currently taught by counselors, it could represent a new kind of tool to add to the tool-kit. And of course the more tools we have to help people quit, the better.

So if you’re trying to quit, consider learning mindfulness techniques to help you cope when you’re craving. It might be just the tool you need!

- See more at: http://blog.oup.com/2012/01/quit-smoking/#sthash.MDiV4y8P.dpuf

Thomas3.20.2010

Smile and BREATHE!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 5, 2013

image

  You know it's strange to me that folks associate COPD with oxygen use in a negative connotation! Oxygen therapy enriches the blood with much needed oxygen and keeps the entire system - not just the breathing system - functioning! 
   
  Though COPD is a lung disease, it has far-reaching effects and leads to a host of other health conditions. COPD is actually the umbrella term for chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis, emphysema, asthma,  and other chronic obstructive lung diseases which combine in different ways for different people. One size does not fit all!
   
  A recent study published in Thorax: An International Journal of Respiratory Medicine found that not only does COPD reduce your quality of life in the present, but it can also shorten your overall life expectancy by causing excess wear and tear on the cells in your body.
   
  Researchers studied blood samples of 46,396 people and determined the amount of each person’s state of cell erosion by measuring the length of their telomeres, the ends of chromosomes that protect each cell’s DNA. As you age your cells divide. Each time they divide, a piece of the telomeres is cut off until there is nothing left. Once the protective tips have disappeared, the cells stop functioning, ultimately leading to organs shutting down and death. This process occurs naturally over time, but the study demonstrated an accelerated rate in people with COPD. Oxygen therapy slows this process and protects the teomeres.
   
  Why Does This Happen?
   
   Smoking is the most common source of COPD, but the disease can also be caused by genetics or long-term exposure to other lung irritants such as pollution, dust, or chemical fumes. As COPD progresses, damage to the lungs makes it more difficult to breathe. “In people predisposed to COPD, this damage accumulates over time, leading to progressive loss of cells,” says Antonello Punturieri, MD, PhD, program director and medical officer in the division of lung diseases at the National Institute of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. “The final result is an organ crash; the lung crashes; without the capacity to sustain the respiratory needs of the body.”
   
  In addition to immediate damage to the lungs, COPD causes damage to other parts of the body by way of a downstream effect, explains Keith Robinson, MD, MS, a member of the COPD Foundation Clinical Advisory Committee (CAC) and a board certified pulmonologist and critical care medicine intensivist at North Broward Hospital in Florida. White blood cells are produced in response to damage that occurs because of COPD inflammation. In order for these white blood cells to be created, existing cells must divide, causing more damage to the telomeres and making cells wear and age faster than they normally would. Controlling the chronic inflammation associated with COPD alleviates this function. Some pulmonologists are prescribing low dose anti-inflammatories as on going therapy for COPD.
   
  The Impact of COPD-Related Health Concerns
   
  The possibility of potentially serious health concerns occurring alongside COPD makes it necessary to focus treatment on more than just improving airflow to aid breathing. Along with experiencing flare-ups and the inability to exercise, many with COPD are malnourished, and their weight loss can lead to muscle deterioration, impaired health, and death. A study of 424 COPD patients found that health care costs for malnourished patients were higher than costs for overweight or normal weight patients, primarily due to an increase in the number of times the malnourished patients had to go to the emergency room for treatment. Researchers believe it is important to measure muscle mass as part of routine check-ups in order to better monitor the overall health of COPD patients and improve their quality of life and life expectancy.
   
  The link between COPD and other health conditions has been identified in multiple studies.
   
  A study by the American Thoracic Society found that people with COPD are 2 to 5 times more likely to develop lung cancer than smokers who do not have COPD.
   
  A study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology showed that people with COPD have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
   
  Another study, published in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Respiratory Disease identified a varied list of additional medical issues: malnutrition, osteoporosis, anemia, muscle deterioration, kidney abnormalities, and hormonal abnormalities.
   
  Vitamins and Hormones published a study that explored the connection between vitamin D deficiency and an increase in severity of COPD, as well as with the prevalence of osteoporosis in COPD patients.
   
  It is important to work with your health care provider to develop a treatment plan that focuses on all aspects of your health in order to achieve and maintain the best quality of life possible.
   
  Ways to be Proactive and Stay Healthy
   
  Here's what oxygen therapy can do for somebody with COPD:
   
  Improve blood health. Severe COPD limits the amount of oxygen in your blood cells, which can affect your overall health. Improving the health of your blood will make you feel better and help to keep your organs healthier. 
   
  Stay active. Physical activity is important for staying well, especially if you have COPD. Increasing the amount of oxygen you get will allow you to remain active for longer periods of time.
   
  Sleep better. If you have bronchitis or  bronchiectasis, you know how uncomfortable it can be to wake up coughing in the middle of the night. Getting more oxygen will help you feel more rested.
   
  Keep your mind working better. The brain needs oxygen to function properly, and it gets oxygen from your blood. Many COPD patients also see an improvement in their stress levels when they are on oxygen therapy.
   
   
   
   image
   
  
   Enjoy more of your favorite activities. If you opt for portable oxygen, you can continue to work, travel and do almost all of the activities you enjoy. Oxygen treatment does not mean you have to change your life completely. In fact, you will probably find that you can do more of the activities that you have been missing. 
  
     
  
   Yes, COPD can reduce your life expectancy. If you do not properly manage your symptoms, the risks for complications increase. But if you are proactive, you can help keep your body healthy, longer. “Good nutrition,   quitting smoking, regular exercise, use of recommended medications, including oxygen therapy and taking care of other conditions are all expected to improve the quality of life of COPD patients and may improve life expectancy as well,” says Punturieri. 
  
     
  
    image

The next time you see somebody with oxygen, look past the tank, look them in the eye and SMILE! They're out and about and caring for themselves - not sitting at home feeling shame and embarrassment and giving up!

Thomas3.20.2010

Carpe Diem

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 4, 2013
  Seize the Day!  Carpe Diem!
   
  Dismiss the problems that COPD causes you, instead make the very most of this day.  Distract yourself from potential problems, which always seem worse when we dwell upon them.
   
  Look through the BecomeanEX Blogs and see the ones with happy potentials.  
   
  If you have been down in the mouth, enjoy annoying people by giving them a huge smile.  :)  Life is not over yet - it may be  here for some while!
   
  Happy   Friday dear friends

I'm absolutely fascinated by the Blogs I've seen these last few days! I hear people talking about how they "can't"because it's just "too hard!"I can't help but remember my first days of my quit journey 1300 days ago! I had just been diagnosed with a chronic progressive illness that's incurable. My life expectancy just went waaaaaay down with one little word. What's more I was convinced that my Quality of Life would really be looooow. In other words, don't expect much from life except pain, suffering, and early death. Talk about STRESS! Please Newbie, don't tell me about stress!!!! And do you know the worst part of it? The personal knowledge that I had done this to myself......with yes, smoking! So I was diagnosed with COPD/Emphysema on March 14 and had my last puff March 19! That's all the preparation time I gave myself! Not weeks.....not Months....not NRTs.....not chantix.... just one tool you folks would be smart to use - KNOWLEDGE! So where did I acquire this knowledge so fast? Right here at BecomeanEX. I didn't join to fool around with slips and relapses. I didn't come here with an "I already know it all" ATTITUDE! I didn't come here with a line about how we are all different and nobody understands me!!!! I came here to be included in the 6% who SUCCEED in their first year of quitting!!! I came here to listen to those who had already achieved what I wanted! I didn't blame them for being too harsh! I listened! Because they had something that I not only wanted - but something I needed!I had a clear cut choice: QUIT or DIE!!! Simple! I humbly asked questions and accepted advice. I did my homework without hesitation! I made friends and exposed my ADDICTIVE SELF to these EXers with integrity and honesty! I let that smoke cloud of distorted thinking lift because FIRST and most important - I kept them away from my face!!!! So my issue was never to smoke or not to smoke!!! My issue was "What do I do instead?" 

Folks, do you really want to wait until you have a smoke related illness before you quit? Or worse, continue to smoke knowing that you are literally killing yourself????Are you even aware that HALF of all smokers will DIE of smoke related illness????? Or do you want to pay attention and follow the road map that has been put right in front of you and shows you each and every step to take if you really want to be in the 6%? No excuses! Keep them away from your face and listen!

And, by the way, so far anyway, my Quality of Life is better than ever - but only because I quit smoking!!!!

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