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johio Blog

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Day one of Rehab

Posted by johio Oct 23, 2017

This was day one of pulmonary rehab.....They had me hooked up on monitors and I did a series of exercises...cardio and free weights....stopping often to take oxygen levels, BP & Heart rate. 


Then in class I had an important "Take Away"....Maybe I should have known this but I did"t. I was prescribed Spiriva a long time ago and sometimes took it and sometimes didn't...I know...shame on me...anyway....I felt it was not doing anything...little did I know.


They said in the class that the main reason for Spiriva was that it slowed the progress of COPD.....What !!!! Sounds crazy but I didn't know that....So I went from moderate COPD to Severe COPD in three years when maybe I could have slowed the regression of my lungs


So I just wanted to share that "Take Away"


Not sure what to believe

Posted by johio Oct 12, 2017

I met a woman the other day, at the gym, at the pool, who said she had COPD so bad that at one time she couldn't walk across the room. She said she went in for stem cell treatments and results were unbelievable and now she could spend an hour in the pool.  She said the 1st treatment was $10,000.......and the next was a little less. She said they paid for her motel...What a deal... and insurance didn't pay for any of it. Anyway...I know vey little about this....I don't know wether it's true or snake oil. Anybody know anything about this?

As I said in a previous blog, I was in denial about COPD. I thought it would heal itself or I could cure it……..It Won’t and I Couldn’t. In the process I have learned some things about it that should benefit everyone that ever smoked. Some of these things are:


1  The top leading causes of death in the U.S. are:

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Respiratory Disease  … The majority of this category is COPD ...The leading cause of COPD is smoking.


  1.  These is no cure for COPD.


  1.  Copd is progressive….It gets worse over time.


  1.  Spirometry is a breathing test that can determine whether you have COPD and the degree of it


  1.  One of the numbers on this test that is important is FEV1...that is the amount of air you

    breathe out in one second. From this number they can tell the degree of COPD you have


  1.  My Pulmonologist laid out a chart for me that showed where I was
  1. FEV1 @ 80% - 99%...........Stage 1 COPD is Mild
  2. FEV1 @ 50% - 79%............Stage 2 COPD is Moderate
  3. FEV1 @ 30% - 49%............Stage 3 COPD is Severe
  4. FEV1 @ Under 30%............Stage 4 COPD is Very Severe..They refer to this as “End Stage” They need to change the name of that stage.


I am at 32%.


This is not a doomsday message and the time for feeling sorry for myself and feeling depressed is over and I am ready to fight back. Everyone is different and some have told me their lungs have healed...I was not that lucky. I never experienced that coughing and clearing of lungs as many have on this site…..The damage was already done.


Even though there is no cure for COPD and it gets worse over time, you can slow the progression of the disease, and I have made a plan to fight back.


First I now have an incredible Pulmonologist…..Him and his staff made my visit one of the best experiences I have had. He wrote me a prescription for pulmonary rehab (which I start next week) and went over a number of options and plans we would take.


Next I am becoming involved with the American Lung Association…They suggested I become a member of the Better Breathers Club… organization through the Lung Association that meets once a month and has speakers classes and is made up primarily of people with Copd. I enjoyed the first meeting and learned some things.


And a representative from the Association put me in contact with a support group through them which many are in stage 4. Pretty compelling stuff. I try to always maintain a “Newbie” mentality, So I am like a sponge...learning so much and getting inspired.


In addition, I plan to become active in the COPD group on this site….


I am going to stay involved and have my eye on becoming a certified quit smoking counselor with them (The American Lung Association). This is not an advertisement for is just my plan for combating his disease…..Contact me if I can help you in any way.


Thomas please correct me if I got anything wrong here


In Denial About COPD

Posted by johio Sep 13, 2017

I have been away for a while. I have had some pretty bad medical issues and I have been in denial about my COPD.


I had a supposed simple surgery on my right eye to fix a very small blind spot in that eye that originated when I was diagnosed with diabetes and my sugar went over 600 and my vision in that eye went blurry for a couple of months then had floaters, strings and a tiny blind spot. The VA sent me to a Doctor in Cincinnati and they operated on me, it was called a vitrectomy and afterwards I had to stay face down for a week…..The Doctors said I was an enigma and this never happens...the operation was a failure and I had a full blown hole in my retina…...The VA sent me to another Doctor and they operated and I had to spend another five days face down. They say this operation was a success but now I have a blind spot in my right eye the size of a dime.


Next I have had some blockage in my legs to the tune of about 60%. I get checked every year...the right leg was the worst. They went down the right leg (Which Now is 90% Blocked) and said they decided to do the left (The stent in the left leg is below the Blockage) In surgery they cut something inside me inside and it took 45 minutes  to stop the bleeding. They actually let me go home that night and at 2AM I started bleeding from the femoral artery….blood was everywhere covering Andrea and myself. We live somewhat in the country and at am it took the volunteer rescue 4 minutes to get there….that was awesome.  The next morning they had to put Andrea in the hospital for a nervous breakdown for three days….

This all happened in the same year.


When I first stopped smoking, I was concerned because I never experienced that clearing of my lungs that everyone talks about...well I discovered I had COPD. Thomas tried to explain the numbers but I actually thought it was going to get better…It didn't. There is no cure and it's progressive which means over time it gets worse. 


The test they give is called a spirometry where you breathe into a machine that measures different values, One value they look at is what they call FEV1 which is the amount of air you can exhale in one sec after a deep inhale based as a percentage. The following is table that shows what stage COPD you are in based on your FEV1


Stage 1     Mild                 Above 80%

Stage 2      Moderate         Between 50 and 80%

Stage 3     Severe              Between 30 and 50%

Stage 4     Very Severe     (End Stage) Below 30%


I am at 32%


There is no cure and it gets worse with time...I am confused, depressed and a little scared as I don’t know what to expect. This is the same thing Johnny Carson died from...And to quote him about it all he said “Those Damn Cigarettes” All of us in this situation did to ourselves.

We have no one to Blame but ourselves.


I always told my kids to never quit and never give up..If you are running and you fall … get up...if you can’t get up...crawl...and you will tired of crawling...get mad and get up and run again. Well I am mad and tired of crawling and feeling sorry for myself and I am ready to fight back.


I will become an advocate for COPD and I am starting to get involved with the American Lung Association….


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Posted by johio Jan 23, 2017


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Temptations Come in Many Forms

Posted by johio May 28, 2016

As some of you know, some crazy things happened in my life that led to me becoming a student at Cincinnati State, studying Web Design. Like I said, I have articles of clothing older than some of the kids I go to school with. But somehowe I seem to fit in and actually I have made some pretty goods friends that we stay in touch with often.

Last year the Film Producction Students asked me to be in a movie they were making....It was filmed at a 100 year old Country Club in Cincinnati and I was one of the poker players that got much for my debut. I recieved an email the other day saying that they were making another movie and asked if I would be in it. They want me to play a Mob Boss that is the Chairman of a meeting of other Mob Bosses. Iam probably he only 68 year old Italian they know. I am thinking of bringing some of my friends to add authenticity to their film...just kidding....The kicker is that the scene takes place in a smoke filled room.....and I think they want me to smoke a cigar....It's not going to happen....As I was taught by one of the Elders...I am always one puff away from 1000. I am not real happy about the smoke filled room either....I will handle it as it goes or not do it.

At this point in my quit, or maybe especially at this point in my quit ....I need to be vigilant...and keep my guard up as if I was in NML


Stress and More

Posted by johio Apr 10, 2016

This is in response to a blog Thomas did about stress.

Back in the stone age of the 70s, I met a woman who taught a yoga class at the YMCA, in Macon Ga (Deeeep South), that I was a member of. It was one of those old YMCAs that had incredible architecture inside and out, and in one of the basement classrooms, she taught me some breathing exercises to relax and to give myself some hypnotic suggestions to achieve my goals. Remember, I came from a simpler time where a wonder of technology was the slinky…so this peaked my interest. The exercises went as follows:

She said that it involved three steps:

1.         Quiet you breathing.

2.         Quiet you body.

3.         Quiet your mind.

Get Comfortable Now this does not involve some ridiculous yoga position that would attract attention. I am not sure I could cross my legs like that anyway. Just sit in a comfortable position.

Quiet Your Breathing. Close you eyes and breath through your nose. Focus on the air passing in and out under your nose. Think of nothing else. Your breaths should not be too deep, but deep enough to feel good and as soon as you finish your inhale… should exhale with no time in between. Remember focus on the air traveling in and out under your nose .Do that for two to three minutes then move your focus to your body.

Quiet Your Body Now she told me to start at a point in the back of my neck. This is a juncture…north you enter the brain….south you enter the body. She said to focus on this area and imagine that it is a warm glow…..then move it down your shoulders and arms to you fingertips……as it passes….focus on that part of your body relaxing…..almost going limp…then move it down your body to your legs, feet and toes. Repeat the path of this glow throughout your body and enjoy the relaxed feeling.

Quiet The Mind   She said  at this point enter the brain; focus on relieving stress and relaxing parts of your brain that are in turmoil.  She also said at this point your brain is more susceptible to accept suggestion as far as changing your behavior triggered by the brain ie overeating, smoking. I read one time that the part of the brain that handles addiction like smoking, is in the front part of the brain. So I focus on the front part when I am focusing on quitting smoking.

I don’t profess to know anything about anything, only to state what works for me. I mainly use this to lower my blood pressure, but I have used this in my quit.


Thankful Thursday

Posted by johio Apr 7, 2016

I believe an important part of my quit is to constantly review the things in my life that I am thankful for. I actually keep a list of these in “My Quit Book” (Journal of my quit).and review them daily. If you think about it….if you made a list of the things you are thankful for…in each of those items is a reason to quit smoking…whether it is children, grandchildren, a good relationship, friends, or whatever…So in addition to that list, I make Thursday…my “Thankful Thursday” where I take one item or obscure item that I am thankful for and reflect on it. There’s a touch of spirituality n this exercise and I feel I benefit from this in a number of ways.

Actually it only takes a couple of minutes a day to do this.

Recently I have some friends that are going through the nightmare of dementia suffered by a loved one, and it’s heart wrenching to me……So this Thursday I am thankful that I still have some degree of my mental facilities. I know that may change as I get older, but for now I am thankful.. I become more forgetful as time goes on…My Boys tell me they are going to let me hide my own Easter eggs, because I will never remember where I put them….very funny…Its time like that I am not sure I am thankful for their sense of humor.

So I am thankful for the fact that I still have my mental facilities and I want to maintain my quit to keep myself physically and mentally healthy

Anyway….I invite you to join me…silently or whatever… reflect on some things in your life that you are thankful for and and how those things reinforce your quit.


Keep An Open Mind To New Things

Posted by johio Mar 29, 2016

About a year ago I signed up for a class on Web Design at the University of Cincinnati. I was thinking of having a commercial site for the business we have been in for around seven years. I was going to go under what they called the Senior Audit Program where if you were a senior citizen, you could attend class on a space available basis at no cost…tuition free sounded good.  I signed up and when I went in the first night the Professor said “This course was not open to seniors, it was a highly technical course and he didn’t have time to hold someone’s hand…Really ?? I was thinking that my Lawyers will be high fiving each others chests when they get a hold of this.

I took a deep breath and told him “God Bless you Son…you have a nice day” now when I tell someone that I really mean something else…usually the person I am talking to somehow knows that.

Now normally throughout my life…..this would time to light one up…..not a chance in hell.

The next day I called the College and spoke with the woman I had been dealing with…I told her what happened. She really seemed to get upset and made me repeat it a couple of times. She said she was going to elevate this and I really didn’t think I would hear anything. About five minutes passed and I got a call from the Program Chair at the University. He started talking to me as if I was a teenager…….total control…I just listened. Then I told him “I have listened to you now you are going to listen to me. I said” I was denied access to one of your classes last night because of my age and to make it worse, it was done in front of the class and I was humiliated.” I know that sounds like “Lawsuit” but that’s not who I am, but a little bluff never hurts.

It seem to work because it got to the point he kept saying “What can I do to fix this. I will personally put you in any class we have on campus…I will walk you there myself” Unbelievable way to treat people.

Anyway about two hours later I get a two page letter from the Professor that started out “I would like to apologize for my behavior” Well I believe the arrogant Pr*ck was not sorry…he just got caught by someone that would fight back. It gets better.

I had met the VA Counselor at the University…he seemed interested that I was back in school and got hold of this episode and what took place. He called me and said that the VA had a new version of an older program that he thought I was eligible for. He said he would have someone fill out the paperwork and submit it……I was called and went to a two hour interview and was accepted. They would pay for me to go to school full time…tuition, books, everything.

So now I go to Cincinnati State majoring in Web Design and Video Production. That’s where I been the last year or so…..less a little time for two eye operations that was a part of the disability. I have T shirts older than some of my fellow students but I seem to fit in. They asked me to be in a movie they were making filmed at a century old Country Club in Cincinnati. It was actually a lot of fun and I sit back sometime an think…You never know where life will take you so enjoy the ride.

Finally, I have a 3.8 GPA…who knew?



Posted by johio Mar 22, 2016

When I retired, I decided to take an inventory of my life to see where I really was and where I wanted to go. Getting healthy was one part and stopping smoking was a part of that. I sat down and wrote down a plan for quitting…nothing elaborate…just a simple outline that grew from there. The plan was as follows: Write down a plan for quitting In a journal and enter my progress everyday, read it back (Daily) and reflect on where I was. This is important to me because I was taught early in life that “A Goal Without A Plan Is A Wish” So I spent a lot of time wishing I could quit smoking until I really got serious


Next I decided to use a NRT and I chose the patch, next I would read and learn all I could about this addiction, and finally I was going to join a support group.


I don’t profess to have all the answers. I try to keep a “Newbie” mentality where I am always “On Guard” and always learning. I am just saying what worked for me.


A Good Day

Posted by johio Feb 26, 2016

Over the years, my definition of a "Good Day" has changed drastically.  Now they are made up of simpler things.

One of my favorite days of the year is that first warm day in the Ohio it is usually in March and sometimes in April, but in the middle of February it was in the 70s....I was outside in a tee shirt, walking, breathing very deeply..trying to take it all in...Feeling the sun on my skin….it was a good day

Later that day, I got an email from my Grandson, who is in the Navy and aboard the Aircraft  Carrier USS Stennis heading toward Singapore....Addressed to his Papa Joe….it made me feel very was a good day.

After that I was sent a picture of my Great Grandson in Georgia….8 months old…beautiful child…a work of art…it was a good day.

I have entered these things in My Quit Book

My Quit Book is a journal I keep on the progress of  my quit… serves as a written plan and positive reinforcement of the process of me quitting smoking. Some of the sections in that Journal are the Thankful Section….which of course are things I am thankful for……..another is the Reason Section…In this section I write down the reasons I need to quit smoking…..Seems like most things in my Thankful Section are also in my Reason Section.

For example….A reason I need to quit smoking is I want to enjoy many more of those first warm days of spring….and of course a reason I want to quit smoking is I want to experience many more messages from Grandson addressed to his Papa Joe…and of course an important reason I need to quit smoking is to be a part of my Great Grandson’s life. It seems the older I get, the important young life becomes.. I am very lucky and have many great reasons to not smoke and not one to smoke.

I read and enter in my journal everyday,,,This day was a good day.


My Quit Book

Posted by johio Feb 1, 2016

I am convinced that breaking a habit, whether it is smoking, eating, or whatever Is a matter of reprogramming your way of thinking and what triggers your brain. I am not speaking for everyone…just what works on me.


One of the ways I did this, when I quit, was to carry and read everyday “My Quit Book” It was a small note book I carried around with me and read a number of times a day That was made up of various sections that contained short “Bullet Type” phrases and highlighted in bright iridescent yellow. Some of the sections were as follows:


(1)      First was the Thankful Section. As it indicates, it included all the things I was thankful for.


(2)      Next contained My Reason List….it contained all the reasons that I should quit smoking


(3)      Next was my “I Will List”   ie I will not put one of filthy things in my mouth…etc


(4)      Then was my “Facts” section …included facts that smoking does to your body


(5)      Then there was my Act/React list…I am convinced that the only things in this entire world that we are in control of is how we act or react…this section had some suggestions on to do either…ie what to do if you find a half empty pack in the house…sounds silly but these things and many more were real problems for me


I ended up with about ten sections…you get the idea……I would read this book a number of times a day and the bright yellow made it stand out. It only took a couple of minutes and the idea was to internalize these goals…reprograming my brain. It only took a couple of minutes each time.


Sometimes it would help to say it out loud…careful where you do this one. I guess it would help to hear myself saying it…crazy I know, but it worked for me. One time, I had about 84 days behind me and I had a monster crave sneak up on me. Some of my Elder (Mentors) told me it was all in my head…it sure felt real…I felt there was a hole in my chest the size of a bowling ball…..So I took off to a quiet part of the property and took out my Quit Book and started reading out loud with all the fervor of a TV Evangelist.. and I looked up and cows were lined up on the other side of the fence staring at me. Don’t ask me why but I was embarrassed…and thought “I am losing my mind” anyway the crave passed and I think that was the last really big one that I had.


 I am not saying that “My Quit Book” was the magic bullet, but I believe it helped me be successful in my quit..  Other things that help me reprogram is reading as much as I could and staying active on this site and being involved in others quits.


Thanks To All

Posted by johio Jan 29, 2016

Thanks to all that sent messages, words of encouragement and prayers during my eye surgery this past week.

I had this surgery back in August and afterwards I had to stay face down for 7 days. That surgery failed and I ended up with a hole in my retina and they performed the surgery again....and I had to stay face down for another 7 days...I could get up 10 minutes every hour.

Again ...Thanks for your meant more than you know



Lung Cancer

Posted by johio Oct 7, 2014

A few years ago, I was watching a documentary about a Lady named Barbara Hillary, the first black woman to reach the North and South Pole.She did this in her 70s.

Barbara said that she started smoking at age 19, and has smoked two packs a day ever since. One day she was reading about a new test to look for cancer in long time smokers. It was a relatively new test called a CT Lung Scan. They did the test and discovered stage 1 lung cancer. Since they caught it in such early stages, They operated and successfully removed it all.

This peaked my interest and I started to research this. Come to find out that this test is far more accurate than xrays. By the time the cancer shows on the xray, it usually is very serious, or too late. A Mayo Clinic study shows that a CT Scan will increase the chances of finding cancer in it's early stages by 85%, and at that point is treatable. and they recommend that long time smokers, 50 and over, have this done yearly. I had my first done last year, and now the VA is doing it and I am scheduled for another friday.

I am not advocating everyone go out and have this done. All I'm asking is that you research this procedure and ask you doctor about it. It could save your life


The Mother All Cravings

Posted by johio Sep 23, 2014

I am confident about my quit and thought I was beyond any dangers of relapse, but tonight I had something happen that took me to the edge of smoking again.

I recieved the following message on my facebook page: "Are you the same Joe Monile that served with the 173rd Airborne in AnKhe Vietnam" It caught me off guard., and I cant describe everything that I was feeling but it definetely had an shook  me. 

I didnt answer the message, and at that point and started drinking, (Big Mistake) It took me back to another time. I became the person I was back then, I hate that person.  And at that moment I wanted to smoke.....not just smoke, but like Chesterfield Kings, Pall Malls, or Lucky Strike type smoking.

Anyway I didnt smoke, I am mad at myself that I didnt practice what preach and that is to come here and post when your quit is is danger.

I finally answered the message and it turned out that it was the wife of one of my best friends in Vietnam. And she said that she had been searching for me for quite a while... I called him and we talked for hours.

It was over 40 years ago that we were together, and I still cant express all that I felt. I told him that we were supposed to be tough guys and not supposed to cry. He said "F It" Under the circumstances, I coudnt have put it more eloquently.

My Quit is in tack