About me and my quit - Year 1

Blog Post created by aolski on Jan 14, 2020
  • Quit Date
    December 15, 2015
  • My Quit
    A little about me:

    I am 49 years old (at time of quit/2015). I have been smoking since college. I dabbled in High School, but did not get to be a "serious" smoker (a pack a day) until after High School. I guess that would make me a smoker of 27+/- years... a long time..... too long.

    This is my first real attempt to quit smoking... Oh I had gone hours or even days without a cigarette, mostly because of travel or a surgery (wisdom tooth extraction), etc., but never because I had to or wanted to. BUT, I have been thinking of quitting for years... FOR YEARS.... Every time I would light a cigarette this little nagging voice in my mind saying, things like "You really need to quit." "You really need to stop this." "Why are you still smoking?" Seriously, 20 times a day I would think this. Who does that?

    We lost Mom 6 years ago to a smoking related disease, and she did not go quickly or peacefully. She lingered for months. It was quite painful for everyone in the family, especially her. Oh how she suffered... Dad quit smoking cigarettes 10 years ago when he woke up coughing up blood one morning and doctors found a "spot" on his lung. I should have stopped when that happened to him.... Dad is just fine, thank goodness, but has to have yearly MRI's to monitor that spot and make sure it doesn't get any larger.

    I knew better.... What smoker doesn't? I was just waiting for cigarettes to cause issues for my health. And now they have.... So I am in a position that I don't have a choice to keep smoking if I want a quality of life. I am so sorry now that I waited so long and didn't stop sooner. But such is the reasoning of an addict. (It wont happen to me syndrome....)

    I did my homework for my quit.... I read everything I could find on the internet, I continue to write in my quit journal - my reasons for quitting, my many fears, my list of things to do instead of smoking.

    I continue to take one second, one minute, one hour, one day at a time ~ it seems to be working for me.

    12/31/2015 - Made it through Hell and Heck weeks! Whoo hoo! Each named appropriately. I NEVER want to have to go through that again. Days 3, 5, and 10 were horrible to the point of panic, but I did it!

    01/04/2016 - 19 days quit today! Happy New Year to me!

    01/06/2016 - Was on the 7 mg patch, but only wearing during the day. The night sweats and the waking up every 30 minutes were driving me mad... 3 weeks of interrupted sleep was making me crazy, so I stopped putting the patch on. Made it through the day without too much of a fuss, so I am going to see what happens tonight and see if I can get a good nights sleep.

    01/07/2016 - Got some good sleep last night - only woke up 3 times total and no monster night sweats, so I am done with the patches and flying solo. So far no major craves or anything, so we will see. Completely optimistic on just letting the patch go! I can do this! Looking forward to getting more sleep tonight... Such a small thing, but so major...

    01/08/2016 - Sleeping so much better now. Feel that foggy brain feeling going away now too. Ahhhhh.... Some craving feelings, but manageable.

    01/12/2016 - Sleeping much better now. Only got up once last night. The cravings are small and getting somewhat less. Some days I still do a lot of deep breathing.. Other days, not so much. One minute, one hour, one day at a time.

    01/14/2016 - Day 29 of my quit. Slept all night last night without waking up once. Feel so good this morning. Amazing in fact! First time I have felt this good physically in a long while. I am blessed.

    01/19/2016 - Have noticed that some days are better than others, but isn't that true of all things? Laughing at myself. The craves come and go - I just ride them out. I am in this for the long-haul. Read this the other day.. "I will NOT smoke, even if it never gets easier." Wow... Yep!

    02/01/2016 - Lots of celebrations here on the Q today. It is really nice to see. Day 47 for me. Its a good day. Still writing in my journal, still hanging out on the Q (a really big help), still snacking too much, but am toning it down a bit. Still getting little nags, but the major craves have calmed down quite a bit. Thoughts of cigs here and there. Oh, and I can breathe much easier now.

    02/02/2016 - Groundhog Day - 48 Days Quit
    Seems to be a very strange day on the "Q". Lots of "slips"; meaning that people have smoked. Many excuses for not resetting their counter and feeling that is a matter of the time put in, and not necessarily a continuous days counter... To that I say that it is a matter of integrity. *** Integrity means doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching. It takes having the courage to do the right thing, no matter what the consequences will be. Building a reputation of integrity takes years, but it takes only a second to lose, so never allow yourself to ever do anything that would damage your integrity. *** My 2 cents.

    02/10/2016 - Caught a cold and am not feeling very well, kinda punk... Doing a lot of sneezing and blowing my nose. BUT, I cant tell you the last time I had a cold.... usually I just have bronchitis... So we will see if it turns into bronchitis, but for now, its still just a cold, and that is better than having bronchitis!

    ******************** 2 Month Rant *******************

    How is my quit today? My quit is Awesome today, because I think of my quit in those terms!

    Do I have cravings? Why, yes. Yes, I do, thank you for asking. How do I deal with them? Well, it depends on the severity.

    I have days like everyone else... I get the monster crave, that really gets me to stand up and pay attention. Those can be triggered by Anger, Hunger, being Tired, or Boredom. I have to acknowledge, accept and sort of ride and then shoo off those cravings. They take some work. I acknowledge to myself that they are a part of quitting. Just like going to the Department of Motor Vehicles is part of driving. A necessary evil. (Its still a pain in my rear end)

    Then I get the little ones, more thoughts than craves. Sometimes those come more than once a day and can vary in intensity. Small ones - I just ignore those and distract myself or Medium ones - I tell them, out loud, to "Take a hike". (Why, yes, I do get strange looks when I talk to myself).

    My mantra for my quit, even on the worst days, has been: "I can live with this even if it NEVER gets any better" and poof, craving gone! Because I can live with them, even if they never get better.

    I think its all about acceptance of your quit early in the process and acknowledgement that you will not be going to get cigarettes. THAT WILL NEVER be an option for me because I know I am only 1 puff away from a pack a day.

    I think once you establish that reasoning and those limitations in your head, the rest kinda falls into place. At least it did for me. Is it easy? Heck, no! But is it do-able? Hell yes!

    02/23/2016 - 69 Days Quit - Its a good day! Feeling much better now. That cold never did turn into bronchitis, so I never did go to the doctors office. The weather has been nice and I have been working on the house a bit every night cleaning out closets and getting donations ready for charity. It does help quite a bit to work on my spring cleaning a bit every night. Counting my many blessings. Cravings are getting of shorter duration.. sometimes very weak, sometimes very strong.. in either case, dispatched posthaste and without regret.

    02/29/2016 - Day 75 - I have chosen my VP as a Phoenix... Not a huge jump because of my love of pets that fly. I have wanted a phoenix of my own since I saw Harry Potter...

    I loved Fawkes the phoenix...

    Phoenixes can carry enormous weights, and their song is said to strike fear into the hearts of the impure and courage into those who are pure of heart. The tears of the phoenix can heal severe poisoning, and other illnesses and injuries.

    The presence of a phoenix reinforces the underlying theme of overcoming death by embracing life found throughout the series, and many of the traits of the phoenix follow closely with the myth (including that they burst in flames when dying and rise again from the ashes).

    03/11/2016- 86 days - Everything has been going well with my quit. Sometimes I find myself a little short tempered, even after 86 days. I just have to remind myself that it is a learning experience and to be patient with myself and others. I have to admit that it is really tough some days though. The weekend is here! So some time to relax.


    The 100 day ramble....

    When I started this journey, I had NO expectations... 49 years old and a 27 year smoker, first time out attempting to quit, scared and struggling, almost certain I would fail. I had nothing more than an addiction, a desire to quit, and no cigarettes. Yea, that's a great recipe for failure, right?

    I didn’t get myself a plan until Day 2 when I found the Q. But you know what? 100 days later, here I am, 100 days quit. It didn't "happen" by accident, and it didn't "happen" all by itself ~ there is a bunch of really hard work that has gone into my quit. BUT I got here... I made it to 100 days! So while I have the floor this morning, I have jotted down some thoughts:

    There is no secret to quitting smoking. Stop thinking anyone else has the answer to make your quit a successful quit. There is very valuable information here at the Q for the taking.... But your quit is unique and it is yours. It is ultimately up to you to put together those things that make sense to you and educate yourself in such a way that will make your quit a successful quit. There are no two people here at the Q that quit in exactly the same way, however, we are able to reach the goal of being non-smokers. Yes, nicotine is addictive, but (here comes the shocker) it is not nicotine that keeps you from staying quit…..

    It is what goes on between your very own two ears: it is in your beliefs, your environment, your anxiety, your support group and, ultimately, how this addiction works in your brain. I suspect the very same things that brought you to smoking, are the things that you have to work on to quit, but that’s just me.

    Here is what I know: I know I am worth any effort I have to put in to staying quit. I know I will have good days and bad days. I know that my quit is my responsibility – mine to keep and mine to lose.

    Finally, I know that I will always have a support system and friends here at the Q. I would not be here at 100 days without you all. Big thank you’s to each and every one of you! How very blessed I am.

    Take these broken wings and learn to fly. All your life. You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

    5/31/2016 - Day 167 - After surgery

    Hi My Quitnet Friends and Family! Hang on to your hats as this will be a quite lengthy post. Feel free to bookmark to read it later if you like.

    First of all, I have missed you all during my time away from the Q, but have thought of you all often, and have made short visits to catch up with everyone's quits. Thank you to all of you that sent me messages and good wishes during my absence.

    Over the last 3 weeks I have been hospitalized and have undergone 3 surgeries. I want to explain how I have gotten here to help those of you early in your quit or struggling to quit - I want to help you quit and stay quit. I want you to avoid my pain of this surgery and the surgeries that are yet to come for me.

    You see my doctors tell me that all of this could have been avoided for me had I never smoked, or had I quit smoking 10 years ago. All of what I am experiencing is the result of my smoking cigarettes. Oh, there are some hereditary things - some overweight things, but bottom line, the bulk of my health issues are due to smoking.

    You see, I have severe peripheral arterial disease. This is a common circulatory problem in which narrow arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs, in my case, my legs. My big issue was that the blockage in my abdominal aorta, narrowing the flow of blood to my legs was over 85% - leaving me open to stroke, heart attack, and/or amputation of one or both legs due to restricted blood flow. After many discussions with my doctor, my surgeon, my cardiac specialist, and my family I made the decision to have the surgery to try to prolong my life as well as the quality of my life moving forward.

    The 3 surgeries were to introduce stints into my body to open blockages for adequate blood flow. I had to have a femoral artery bypass, they had to cut my calf's in a separate surgery as the newly educed blood flow and swelling in my legs caused issue with my circulation - the blood and swelling too much for my body to handle, they had to release blood pooled in my lower legs, and then the last surgery to close those open wounds 2 days later.

    I am relearning how to walk... let me repeat that. I am relearning how to walk and cannot walk without the aid of a walker.

    The effects of smoking, for me, will be long lasting... for the rest of my life. My Vascular surgeon and I are now best friends for the rest of my life. These new stents will require a CAT scan yearly and monitoring.

    Please know that I am on the mend. That I am fighting to regain what I have lost during this ordeal. I guess what I am trying to say to you all, newbies and those of you struggling with your quits tonight, that smoking was NOT WORTH IT. It was not easy to quit, but it was so very worth it. I am not dependent upon that evil weed anymore and it has no control over me and never will again. If I can share this with you and just one of you has a forever quit because of my pain and misery, then it is worth it... All of what I have suffered through these last months and weeks would be worth it to me.

    You think the cost of smoking is just buying a pack of cigarettes? Oh, no, my friends. I cannot wait to see the hospital bills and the doctor bills which will start pouring in here shortly.

    Please consider my story before you light that cigarette, or take a draw from the e-cig. I guarantee you, it is not worth it. That cigarette is not worth the pain of surgery, is not worth the time off work and disruption to your life, is not worth the worry you will put your family through, is not worth the days and nights in the hospital, it is not worth the discomfort and swelling and it is not worth relearning how to walk.

    Find peace and just quit. Please.

    As for me, I will always have hope. Psalm 70:14

    Thank you and much love to you all!

    06/16/2016 - 6 months quit - Whoo hoo!

    6 months quit: “Who deserves the most thanks for helping you KTQ?”

    Here it comes folks... The 6 month rant... LOL For those of you celebrating anniversaries and milestones today (and there are a BUNCH) ~ Congratulations to all of you Qmaniacs!

    So here I am at 6 months... Never thought it could happen. Lots of ups and downs, but I am convinced that this is the best thing I have ever done for my health and myself. Admittedly, I have some really brutal circumstances to deal with, but I was a die hard smoker and had I not been given grim news 7 months ago, I really don't know how successful I might have been. Looking back, it was a really big motivator to quit and stay quit. I am not cocky enough to say I will never smoke again, but what I will say is that I am taking one day at a time. I was able to not smoke yesterday, and if I did it yesterday, I can repeat the same behavior today - I will not smoke today. That evil weed will not control me.

    As far as my support system... well, all of you Qmaniacs have been amazing. There are just too many of you that have mentored, supported, and given out swift kicks in the butt, to mention. But I can definitely say that without all of you and this community, I am not sure if I would be 6 months quit. Of course, my family - my Dad, who quit 11 years ago, my boyfriend, who quit the same day I did because he wanted me to be successful in my quit, my 3D sister @Wendy S. , who has joined me on this ride and has quit as well... I am truly blessed.

    For those of you curious about my recovery, I am doing well. I walk... and walk (with my walker or my cane)... and then walk some more. LOL The incisions are healing nicely and I continue to have to clean them up every day and apply ointment then gauze. I would post pictures, but its really kind of nasty. Yesterday, I walked Costco. I really amazed myself because I wasn't really sure I could do it, but I did. Hmmmmmm.... sounds familiar.

    Life Lesson: You can do anything... even when you think you can't. And you wont know if you can do it or not, unless you try and give it everything within you to achieve your goal.

    I wish you all only the best. I encourage newbies and those of you struggling to follow the advice of the more seasoned quitters. QMail those people that inspire you and ask for help. ASK FOR HELP. Quit and stay quit. Please. Sending everything good your way.

    07/08/2016 - Day 205 - 93 days post surgery

    I continue to walk, and walk, and walk some more (up to .75 miles now) - still need the walker, but more for balance than to lean on. Something very new to report: tingling in my lower left thigh and some sharp "electric shocks" in my right ankle. This is good because it means that I am growing new vascular infrastructure and nerves in those places that before were non-sensation or limited-sensation. Whoo hoo!

    I now have feeling in my right foot as well, which I didn't when I came home from the hospital. Ultrasound Doppler tests show pulses at the tops of my feet, which I also didn't have when I left the hospital (probably due to swelling). Not to worry, my toes are pink and healthy. We humans have multiple systems at work to supply blood. The body finds a way unless that vascular system is damaged beyond repair. There are vascular systems at the side of your ankle that feed a majority of the blood to your feet, so its all good!

    I also got a stationary exercise bike from my father, so now I can watch TV and bike to my hearts content. It is really helping, I think. I cant stay on it long - maybe 10 minutes at a time, but I do that multiple times a day, so I can build endurance. All positive stuff!

    07/14/2016 - Day 211

    OK, so this isn't about me... but it has to be said... What is up with the DRAMA on the Q the past couple of days??? It is amazing the childish shenanigans going on here. Just let it go already. Holy cow! That is all....

    8 Months Quit – 08/16/2016

    Congratulations to all of you that are celebrating an anniversary or milestone today!!!! It is a very happy 8 month quit celebration for me today.

    So much has happened in the last 8 months. It is rather amazing really, how much happens over an 8 month period in our lives. Lessons learned, what obstacles we can overcome, the changes we can make in our lives, and how truly strong we are – in spirit and in body.

    My challenges are ongoing. To bring those of you that don’t know me up to speed, I am in recovery – not only my nicotine addiction, but I am also recovering from trying to repair the damage that I have done to my body by smoking. In May of this year I had 3 surgeries; the first was a 9 hour surgery to introduce stents into my abdominal aorta and my femoral arteries – the right side was so blocked with plaque that they had to do a bypass. The second surgery, 4 hours later, was done to cut down my calves to let pooled blood out of my legs – a 3 hour surgery. The final surgery was to sew up my legs 2 days later - another 3 hour surgery. 7 days in the hospital. Pain, aches and pain, and more pain. My body doing some really foreign stuff that I wont go into here (you will thank me later), and swelling in my legs are just some of the things that I experience, even 4 months later.

    There are some good things happening too! I am walking again, daily ~ sometimes with a cane, but I am walking. I am riding my stationary bike daily too. There are days I just don’t want to do the rehab stuff. I want to sit and be still. I want to be lazy. But I can’t. I have to do these things for the rest of my life to rebuild what I have lost and to be able to walk when I am 70 – so the future me wont be in a wheelchair or have to have anything amputated. So I get up and do those things that need to be done every day.

    It is exactly the same with not smoking. I focused on what needed to be done and I did it. I made that commitment to myself and I followed through. NO MATTER WHAT. There was no "excuse" that I could give myself that would “allow” me to smoke. So I didn’t, and I haven’t, for the last 8 months. Am I really proud of myself for quitting? You bet! I am sad that it took me so long to do and I ruined my health for the sake of a cigarette. It will be a while still before I will be back to "normal" - whatever my new normal will be. But as they say, you can’t change the past, so I am working on my future… Hopefully, my very long future – with you guys! I still maintain that I could not have gone on or been successful in this journey without all of you. Thank you – thank you each and every one of you who have participated or just watched my journey. Sending you all hugs and loves.

    To the newbies: Please learn from those of us who are experiencing the ravages of smoking and what it will do to your body…

    Because if it can happen to us, it can happen to you too.

    Scary right? Listen to the warnings from those of us brave enough to share our stories with you. Please quit and stay quit: for yourself, for your future, for your families, for your children.

    9 months Quit - 09/16/2016

    Good Morning Q!

    9 month rant… OK, so, wow! It still amazes me every day that I am and have been nicotine free for so long. In a lot of ways, it feels like forever and in others, just like yesterday…

    Here are just a few things I DON’T miss about smoking:

    I don’t miss the extra stress brought on by smoking – Yea, I didn’t get it either before I quit.
    I don’t miss buying cigs – so expensive
    I don’t miss finding a place to smoke them– California hates smokers, but loves the money they pay in cigarette taxes. No more standing in the cold, the wind, the rain, the god-awful heat, etc to get my fix
    I don’t miss finding a time to smoke them
    I don’t miss making sure they are put out before leaving the house- worrying that I would burn the house down
    I don’t miss the stinky smell – the garage has finally started to lose that icky stale smell (we never smoked in the house, thank goodness)
    I don’t miss the way my chest felt when I tried to do anything physical – weighed down and heavy
    I don’t miss worrying my family and friends every time I pulled out a cigarette from the pack.
    I don’t miss getting sick every time the seasons changed… Don’t ask me why, I just did. Not this year!

    So, how did I get here, you ask?

    Every smoke-free day you get through is a teaching moment that helps you live your life without cigarettes. You re-learn how to do things without cigarettes. An example? Here are several… Just getting up in the morning, finishing a meal, getting in the car, finishing a task (this one was big for me). I have read that you need to get through a full year, all four seasons, to recognize your triggers and learn how to deal with them. I think this is spot on, at least for me. I quit in December, so I had the spring and summer to help me learn new ways of doing things… Gardening – I used to take breaks while working in the yard and breaks always included a smoke, or to be honest several smokes. Going to the Movies? Prepare for a crave when you get out… not because you actually want one, but because that’s what you used to do for 30 years when you left the movie theater.

    I expect I will learn more as fall is starting, and we move on into winter again.

    I have said it before and will say it again:

    Educate yourself by reading everything you can find about nicotine addiction – there is so much literature out there – go and find it. It will help you start to change the importance and meaning that cigarettes have. The objective is to break those mental “chains” of nicotine addiction to you can be free, for good.

    Be patient with yourself and allow for as much time as you need to heal from this addiction. There is no set rules or to-do’s for nicotine recovery – It is your quit and you are unique.

    Don't look at quitting tobacco as a sacrifice. Change your attitude and you'll find your freedom.

    You're not giving up anything of value – tobacco is trying its best to kill you.

    Finally, reach out for help when you feel you need it. There are plenty of people at the Q that will help. Send them a note, a message, put it on the feed, or send a carrier pigeon. It doesn’t matter how you ask, it just matters that you do!

    Thank you all for your part in my recovery! Would not be here without you!

    12/16/2016 - 1 YEAR QUIT

    1 year quit: “How do you feel about being smoke-free an entire year?”

    Got my hat, the last one for a while, I guess! For all of you celebrating a milestone today, CONGRATULATIONS!

    Truth: One year ago today, I was a mess. An anxiety ridden, uptight, weeping, pacing, hopeful mess. Looking back, I have to admit that first week was a killer for me. However, saying that, I look back on it and truly think that it wasn’t all that bad.

    Now before you all stone me to death and call me bad names, let me clarify. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t. But it wasn’t as hard as I had it built up in my mind either. I made it harder in my head, than it had to be, because I never thought I could do it. Never thought I would make it. The only reason I did was because of you folks at the Q and my family and friends.

    I wish I could hug each and every one of you, but since I can’t, I just have to say (again) that you are all such a big part of my quit – and my reasons for staying quit. All these special folks that quit so long ago, don’t need to come back every day to spur us Newbies on, but they do. They come every day to hang out with us and give us cuddles, support, congratulations, and a good kick in the butt when we need one. They care. They are some really special people and the backbone of this community. So {{{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}}}} to you all and THANK YOU!

    If you are just starting out: Hang in there, you can do this!

    On to year 2!