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123 Posts authored by: DonnaMarie

It's been a minute or three

Posted by DonnaMarie Feb 17, 2020

It has been 428 days since I smoked a cigarette, and I haven't looked back. In the past year or so, a couple of my friends have also quit. I've loved being a bit of a mentor for them. A smoker still lives in my house, but I do not push too hard, though we at least now do talk about the potential for her to quit. She smokes outside and a lot less than she used to. It's amazing the effect of being a good example can have.


Life has changed in lots of ways - I retired, left one volunteer job and took on another, I'm painting/sewing/gardening more, and my health has done nothing but improve.


I tested clean for bladder cancer a couple days ago. I'll still get that checked every 9 months, but beware, smoking is a cause of bladder cancer. My stomach issues are gone. I'm still walking a mile most days. And yesterday and today, we had some of the older shade trees removed from our yard as they've grown so much in the last 35 years that we had zero sun in the yard. We still live in the woods, but the part closest to the house in the back is not as woodsy as it was


Two of my kids moved back to VA, so now all three are within an hour. I have a new granddog and my own dog still brings me great joy.


I lurk here more than I post, but I cheer on all the new quitters and am delighted to see so many people here!  


Anyway, wanted to say hello and stuff, so hello! And stuff



Day 428 of not smelling like a stinky cigareet



2 days to 6%

Posted by DonnaMarie Dec 15, 2019

In two days, I get to wear the quit token that Mandolinrain made for me. 


I didn't think that this time last year, when I was having "chest pains," that I'd go to the hospital, have cardiac issues ruled out, have GI problems named as the probable cause (it wasn't), and when I left the hospital after an overnight stay and texting, I'd quit smoking. But I did. I just never lit up again. 


The GI problems turned out to be side effects from a medication, which I do not take anymore as a result. And still, I don't smoke.


It's so amazing to check "nonsmoker" on forms. 


It's dazzling not to stink.


It's empowering to be so proud.


It's life-affirming to know what a difference I can make in my very own life and health. 


I'm not at one year yet, but I'm smiling thinking about how it's just a couple days away. 


Thanks to every single person here who has helped me along the way. 




Day 1 year minus 2 days


Day 359

Posted by DonnaMarie Dec 11, 2019

I find myself coming to EX often again (mostly reading). It's like I'm thinking about smoking every day as I get closer to the one year mark. Not that I want to smoke, but that I'm about to reach a milestone and am dazzled. But it keeps reminding me of having smoked in the past and therefore, reminds me of smoking in general. 


This is one crazy, messed up addiction!


I'm helping to costume a play right now; I'm an assistant to the costumer. At any rate, I am around a lot of people in a fairly small space and I can point to every smoker in the group, never having seen any of them doing it. It's so secretive now! When did that happen?


Anyway, I felt the need to post today, and so I'm doing it. Hugs to all.



Day 359



Posted by DonnaMarie Nov 17, 2019

I recently gave away my jar of cinnamon sticks and then shortly thereafter, bought another jar to keep in the car... just in case.


I was driving home from Richmond yesterday, about an hour, and thought it would be a good time to grab a cinnamon stick. But something stopped me and made me think that I'm still addicted to something if I do that. I did not open the jar, but rather thought about how I am almost at a year quit and shouldn't need a crutch any longer. Do we ever not need a crutch? Does it (the addictive desire) ever go completely away?


I still have the jar in the car, but didn't "smoke" one on the way home yesterday. I've had a couple days of "I wanna smoke" and know they're transient. 


Argh, smoking is hard, even almost a year out.



Day 335


Day 328...

Posted by DonnaMarie Nov 10, 2019

...and still not letting down my guard. I am a former smoker; I do not smoke. 


I mentioned the other day that I gave away the jar of cinnamon sticks I keep in the car. Well, today, I bought another jar for myself. I'm just not comfortable not having them in the car. How weird is that? I may never open them, but it's a comfort to know they're near if I need one. 


I'm there, but not there. Anyone else still reluctant to fully accept that they'll never smoke again? I won't smoke, but I like having my cinnamon sticks in case there's a super urge.

Onward to becoming a 6 percenter!



Day 328

I love someone who has COPD. I've mentioned it before. Yet, they show no signs of either wanting to quit or quitting. 


Every day, I hear a juicy cough, sometimes worse than others, and most of the time triggered by their lighting and smoking a cigarette.


I cannot make anyone do anything, but I can sit here and not understand the why.


Perhaps, as my husband suggested, they've given up in their desire to quit, the damage having been done. 


This person has done other things to help their situation - going to Silver Sneakers classes at the Y and occasionally taking meandering walks. They eat properly for the most part, though the body weight says there's some snacking going on somewhere   (Also guilty of that one myself!)


I did ask what stage of COPD they had and the answer was "I don't know." I've done some research on COPD as it may be my future for all I know. I smoked off and on from the 70s till almost a year ago, with an 8-year quit in there somewhere. 


Anyway, I'm at a loss right now. I can't help. I can only offer an occasional bravo for lifestyle changes going in the healthy direction.


This person is almost 70. Maybe that's it. Maybe their thinking is that they've gotten this far while smoking that there's no reason to quit.


Yep, I love a person with COPD and I can't do a damned thing about it.



Day 301


300 days

Posted by DonnaMarie Oct 13, 2019

300 days doesn't sound like much. It's not even a year. It's a drop in the bucket when you think of your whole lifespan. It's a fairly small number in the big picture. 


But 300 is a frickin HUGE number to me. 

See? It's a BIG number!


For the last 300 days, I have not smoked. Not even one puff. I am zeroing in on a year. Can you imagine? I couldn't. But here I am, telling the tale.


This seems cliche, but if I can do this, anyone can. It took a lot of work, a lot of friends, the world of Ex (a gigantic part of my quit), and lots of tricks of the trade to make it happen, and it did. I am a quitter. Oh yes I am.



Day 3-frickin-hundred 


Still out here

Posted by DonnaMarie Sep 9, 2019

A small victory - I pulled off a surprise housewarming for my daughter and her husband in their new house in Richmond on Saturday. About 20-30 people were there off and on. When one of my friends pulled up, she said, "Oh good, Arthur (her husband) has a smoking partner!" I said to her, "Sue, I haven't smoked for 260+ days!" Damn, that felt good. Really good. The housewarming went off without a hitch. They had no clue and weren't pissed that I planned a party at their house


I'm still working hard on my diabetes and am off another medication. That's one BP medication and one diabetes medication I've gone off of since I quit smoking, for those who are keeping score.  I'm eating very low carb and exercising in the pool, and my numbers are coming into normal range, not diabetic range. Oh, I still have the stupid disease, but it's my b i t c h now instead of the other way around

Bravo to all the new quitters. It is so wonderful to see this community grow and grow and grow. 



Day 266


Day 262

Posted by DonnaMarie Sep 4, 2019

Lots has been happening in my life and most of it pretty amazing. 


I know I've talked about going to a new doctor. He and I have been working on things that my last doctor didn't seem to have a handle on, and man, is it a blessing to have a doctor you can put your trust into! Now that my stomach woes are gone, my surgeries are all over, and I'm back at the pool swimming three times a week, it's time to address my ****** diabetes. For the last 6 days, I've been tackling a low carb (almost keto) diet at his suggestion. A little background - I take three meds for my diabetes, one of which is a blood sugar lowering drug; the other two work with my pancreas to encourage it to function better. In 6 short days, I am off of the blood sugar lowering drug because I was having blood sugar lows consistently. Amazing. And the quit smoking weight is starting to come off. 


I mentioned swimming. That's why I had my shoulder repaired (twice!). I've been working for a few  years to get back in the pool and swim laps. I'm going slow and my goal is to work in the water for an hour. Not all of it is swimming, but I'm there. 


I haven't even begun to think of smoking. Getting out of the house and doing things that I enjoy is helping. On the way home from the gym today, I remembered all the times I had swam, showered, and got into my car just to light up. Not today. I'm really enjoying not being the one that stinks, is outside by the back door at my place of employment, and is wasting money on cigs. 


Sorry I've been scarce. I come out here and read often. I have to. You guys help keep me smober. As we now wait to see what Dorian has in store for us, if anything, I smile and am glad to be alive.



Day 262


Day 263

Posted by DonnaMarie Aug 28, 2019

Today was my second day back at the pool and I took my fins and other play toys with me this time. I set a time goal of 45 minutes minimum and an hour maximum. Then decided to walk one/swim one, lather, rinse, repeat. I have a 12-lap routine for the kickboard and fins, and got that done for the first time in forever. I'm still going very slowly so as to strengthen my fixed body parts and not over tax them. I think this is gonna work out fine!


After my shower, I was going through my swim bag in the locker room. The bag has been living in the closet since last August. As I was picking out this and that to comb my hair, get dressed, etc., I smelled smoke. What? I don't smell like smoke anymore daggumit. Then I remembered that when I was going to the pool before, I would toss my swim bag in the back of the car as I drove home.....and smoked. What an icky reminder. Next stop for my giant tote bag is the washing machine and dryer. I can't go back till Monday, so that gives me plenty of time. 



My quit continue to grow and I have finally stopped growing in the belly area. LOL 


Happy hump day, everyone!



Day 263


Not sure who to tell...

Posted by DonnaMarie Aug 26, 2019 will do my talking here. First off, no, I did not smoke


I had the stitches out of my hand last week and was asked to wait until today to get back to the pool. The long story is two shoulder surgeries got me repaired enough to swim, but had the trigger finger surgeries to get my hands back in order, and now, my body is mine again. 


I checked out what aqua exercise classes were scheduled and joined one of those today, The swimming lanes next to us were calling my name...big time. I stuck with the class for a half hour and then ducked under the lane divider and got into a shallow lane of my own. I did a few walking laps and then decided to try breaststroke, then some floaty stuff with kicks, then a freestyle, then some walking again and could I do it? Yes, I could - I swam a lap of backstroke, my goal for the last year or so. I didn't use my left arm the whole way, but I did use it 10 strokes at a time before resting and just using the right arm. In all, I spent a half hour in the swimming lane doing swim/walk work, and damn, it felt like I was on top of the world. I'm sure to be tired later, but who cares?


The goal is to go very, very slowly at first and build the shoulder up to where it once was. 


Guys, I'm back in the pool. I'm almost in tears. 

For what it's worth, swimming, slow as it was, was easier than it used to be. (I found out walking uphill, though still hard, is easier when I went to Busch Gardens last week.) So, not only is my anatomical stuff back where it should be, my lungs are not as pissed off as they used to be and I didn't get short of breath with minor effort. I'll never swim as speedily as I once did, but perhaps, just perhaps, I can get my stamina in better shape.


No more medical stuff please. I'm moving on. I don't smoke. I eat right. I now exercise again. I sleep okay. I have a good personal relationship with my husband. Etc.....I'm ready to be the person I've become


Thanks for everyone's help with the quitting and for listening as I went through my surgical woes. Let's get back to it!



Day 252


No bandages today

Posted by DonnaMarie Aug 24, 2019

After a year of fixing my shoulder and two hands, I am bandage-less today! So sick of medical chit

Just a little dried skin and before long, you won't even see the scars because they do the slicing right in a palm line if they can. 


It's a rainy day, again, around here. We could use some moisture (not). 


I have a very, very long way to go with the writing part of this sewing tutorial, but this is what I'm working on right now - how to make a patchwork tutorial. I haven't got all the photos up where they need to be and barely any narration, but here's what I'm doing on this dreary day:


Scrap Stitching - Let's make a patchwork tote bag. 


It will go on my sewing site when the tutorial is done. The bag itself is on its way to Vermont to a childhood friend. You know, the kid you learned life with, the one you got into a bit of trouble with, snuck out of the house with, and overall spent the best days of your life with? That's this friend



Day 251


Day 250

Posted by DonnaMarie Aug 23, 2019

Seems like there's a celebration in order for myself! 250 days. Smober as I can be.


Things that keep me from smoking right now:


I just don't think about it all that often.

When I do think about it, I just don't do it. 

I remind myself and others that I just don't do that anymore.

Knowing that if the comet is shooting through the sky and headed for my house that if I really wanted one, I could have one seeing as how I'm about to be obliterated any second. 


N.O.P.E. is the bottom line.


Got my stitches out of my hand from the final surgery I had two weeks ago. I am released to go back to swimming on Monday. I'm going to start with the aquatics classes and slowly get back to the lap swimming. Until then, I'm still doing my volunteering. The hospice house had a brunch for the garden volunteers and as I am the Bird Lady of Hospice House now, they included me  (You can see the glove I had to wear to keep bandages on my palm in this picture, but it's gone now. I wear band-aids one more day and then that's done too.)

As you can see from the "ooooh" expression on my face, there was some really good food! 

Life is good out here in coastal Virginia. I'm ready for the temperatures to go down a bit, but can't change that, can I?


Hope all is well in your world and that you're doing N.O.P.E. with me. 



Day 250


Day 240

Posted by DonnaMarie Aug 14, 2019

Saw the hand people yesterday and everything is healing fine. I don't have to go back to the hand therapist as I've kept up the motion on my own and have made progress without going to therapy. Yay me? They took of the super bulky bandage, so I can move freely again. That's a huge bit of goodness for me. I do have to keep the palm bandaged for another week and will wear a glove (fingerless, lightweight) to keep the bandage on. Much better. 


I made a stop at Whole Foods on the way home from the therapy visit since we don't have one here. I had a run-in with a raspberry/passion fruit cupcake. Holy cow. It was amazing and so worth busting my diet for. Now I'm glad we don't have a Whole Foods in my town!

I'm bored to tears already today. I might go meet the treadmill at the Rec Center this morning. Time to get to stepping.


And no smoking was done!



Day 240


Day 239

Posted by DonnaMarie Aug 13, 2019

I've been lurking a lot and posting a little, but am still amazed at the power of EX. So many new people coming here and changing their lives. I, for example, have stuck with this quit due to my own strength and the help of all EXers, both new and elder. I'm dazzled every day I wake up and don't smoke. I don't even want to smoke! 


For new people who may be reading this - I do still have smoking dreams. They seem to be the last thing to get out of my head. I rarely think of smoking at this point, but when I do, it's like a bullet flying by my head - whiz and gone. I keep dodging that bullet and plan to keep it that way. There's that word - plan. It never leaves in your quit. Keep it in your pocket and make a plan for every situation. You'll save  yourself over and over if you know how you're going to handle something. 


Enough preaching.


It's just great not having to smoke and not wanting to smoke. We're all here for a reason and if you don't watch out, you might make a friend or two at EX.




Day 239

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