I'm Karen and I'm A Niciholic

Blog Post created by karenjones on Mar 18, 2018

March 18/2018   I have been a non-smoker for 2 days.  Two whole precious days.  It took me a few years to learn how to smoke and it will take me some time to learn how to un-smoke, but these two days are precious and I am not going to throw them away. I am writing what I write from the hindsight of making all the mistakes that someone trying to quit smoking makes. In the fall of 2011 I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in the floor of my mouth. Luckily I caught it early, when it was about a quarter of the size of my little fingernail. I started smoking when I was 13, and by the time I was 18 I was addicted.  By the time I was in my 30's I worried all the time about heart attacks, and lung cancer. All the time, like a sword hanging over my head. I checked the inside of my mouth for cancer and lo and behold, one day I found it., by that time I had worried about cancer for almost 30 years.  So when I saw it,  I knew right away what it was. It was silvery. It was operable. but the operation was hellish, the cancer ward was hellish. I told no one, not my family, not my friends. Of course while I was hospitalized with a feeding tube and in utter pain from having the floor of my mouth removed (it is that part under your tongue, yes, it was all removed) during that time I wasn't smoking. The Dr. said to me, you can continue to smoke, but if you do the cancer will come back, and it will kill you. After being in hospital and unable to smoke (heck, I couldn't eat, speak or anything else you do with your mouth)  I had almost 3 weeks of non-smoking under my belt when I was discharged. I called that the 'easy' way to quit smoking. I went on short term disability at work, (well, I couldn't speak) and through Cancer Care Manitoba I took Speech Therapy for 6 months, and I took a course in Mindful Based Stress Reduction , more about that later, and a course in Nutrition and one in Exercise. These courses were great, because of the people, sure the topics were good and informative, but I met people there with cancers I never heard of, people like me, who wanted to live. We all had that in common. We all wanted to live.