I am off to work but wanted to post this before I leave...
Today I am celebrating five years of freedom from smoking. There was a time when I did not believe this was EVER going to happen for me. It’s certainly not that I LIKED smoking, I HATED it, I hated what I knew it was doing to my body, I hated the fact that I was seriously ashamed of smoking, I have always considered myself to be pretty smart, that’s a lie, I have always considered myself to be VERY smart. Smoking is NOT smart, smoking does not reflect intelligence or concern for others. Every time I smoked, I put others who may have unwittingly been in my path, in danger of the effects of secondhand smoke. I did not even know there was such a thing as third hand smoke until after I quit. I didn’t smoke in the house but I didn’t realize that when I picked my kids up and held them, they were exposed to smoke.
There is no way that even I, the Queen of Denial, could possibly deny that I was getting progressively more short of breath, that I was not able to walk up even a gentle incline and talk at the same time without my shortness of breath being evident to others. I could not laugh heartily without gasping and coughing. I LOVE to laugh and now I CAN without coughing, what a treat that is.
I told people and I think I might have actually believed for a while, that if I could get my pain under control, I could stop smoking. I suffer from severe chronic pain from Rheumatoid Arthritis, degenerative disc disease and a rapidly progressing scoliosis, among other things. On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the worst pain, I am very rarely below an eight. I don’t remember what it was like not to be in pain. Smoking left me with COPD, emphysema caused such severe damage in the upper lobes of my lungs that they were surgically removed in November of 2015. I had to be smoke free for at least a year to be considered for the surgery. I had been smoke free for a year and ten months. Initially, I noticed dramatic improvement because the most severely damaged portions of my lungs were gone. COPD is progressive, any damage cannot be reversed, BUT, exercise and a good diet and staying away from allergens can SLOW the progress. Stress tends to cause both my COPD and my RA to flare so I try very hard to handle stress without letting it handle me. I do deep breathing, I meditate, I rest when I am tired, sometimes even before I am tired. It’s impossible to avoid all stress, at least that has been my experience but I CAN at least try not to let it overwhelm me. I KNOW that smoking never helped me with anything, it did not help my pain, my stress, my anger, ANYTHING. It DID leave me with this progressive disease...don’t let it happen to you. don't allow smoking to steal your mental/emotional health along with your physical health. If you are still alive, there are still things you can learn, feelings you can feel. Smoking is a CHOICE, CHOOSE NO!
Much love to all,