Picking my Poison

Blog Post created by BHnCA on May 4, 2018

I know, scary title, but it’s the only words that come to me in the midst of trying to figure out my next step.


Reality #1:  I struggle daily with stage 4 COPD and sleep apnea, as well as horrific insomnia and anxiety issues which commonly accompany the first two problems.  If you don’t know how it feels having COPD problems, try breathing through a pinched straw and you’ll get the idea.  Fortunately, steroid inhalers help me breathe more easily.  I can only rely on supplemental 02 cautiously because, as a C02 retainer, too much oxygen throws me into a different kind of tailspin.  Now add recent bladder cancer surgery and treatment. The cancer is in remission, but I still have lingering effects from the general anesthesia which will, hopefully, stop soon. 


Reality #2:  Smoking cigarettes off and on for 40 years contributed to my current health issues. So did working with industrial solvents, polyurethanes and liquid rubber on a daily basis in a past sculpting & reproduction business, as well as silversmithing supplies, such as soldering gases and agents, more recently. I no longer work with ANY toxic materials in creative pursuits or household cleaning.


Reality #3:  I live smack dab in the middle of valley farming where tilling of the fields occurs every spring, burning stubble occurs in the fall, and pesticides are dumped on the fields every month. The dust and smoke effects me in ways I notice most and I have to use special precautions if I go outside. Being a widow on a very fixed income, I cannot afford to move.


So you get the point - I’m sick because of what my body has been exposed to and I live in an unhealthy environment.   I HAVE to quit smoking. I’ve tried numerous times. This time, though, I think my mind is really wrapped around it.  I keep getting caught up in a vicious cycle, though, when it comes to anxiety.  This may seem like a simple thing to remedy for most people, but it isn’t for me since I’m, also, struggling to ward off or control COPD flare ups when they strike. They are terrifying and the only way I’ve learned to calm myself in the midst of such an attack is to rely on Xanax or a cigarette.  I don’t want to rely on Xanax, because it’s so addictive, too, so I usually opt for a cigarette, which contributes to the problem I’m trying to solve. I’ve done everything but hang upside down to distract my thoughts when this anxiety strikes, but it is simply too frightening.


I dont know what what to do.