Saturday, January 26, 2008

I caught another one

I'm not sure how I managed it, but I seem to have caught another cold. I caught one a month ago, so it seems highly unfair that I have landed another one. I will have to speak to someone about how unfair this is, and see if something can't be done. Ha! I seem to recall that a month ago, I was also working the weekend when I caught a cold. From this, I draw the conclusion that working weekends is hazardous to my health. Think my coworkers will see it my way? Nah, neither do I. I managed to get over the last one very quickly, so I'm hoping the same thing will happen this time. Again, quitting smoking was one of the best things we've ever done!

I don't recall if I've written about how we did it. If I have, it bears repeating. I hope that any of you who smoke will take it to heart and know that yes, you CAN quit. I loved to smoke...just the ritual of it, the easy familiarity, and the psychological sense of calm that it gave me. My job is highly stressful, and I always said that I'd quit smoking when I quit working, because I didn't think I could cope with my job without smoking. All that changed in 2006, when I caught a cold, it turned into bronchitis--as it always did--and a month later, I still could not stop coughing. [Ken just read this entry and informs me that it was much longer than a month, more like 2 or 3, and that he told me I needed to go to the doctor. I'd forgotten it was that long, but he's right, and he did tell me I needed to go.] I'd wake up in the middle of the night and cough for a half an hour. I love my sleep, so that was bothersome. I'd start laughing, and it would send me into a coughing fit. I love to laugh even more than I love to sleep, so that was especially bothersome. It was obvious that I needed to see my doctor. A thorough checkup, chest X-rays, and a bone density scan later, I found out that I had the beginnings of emphysema, as well as osteopenia, which is the precursor to osteoporosis. I'm 45 years old, people, much too young to be looking at something like that!

So that was my wake up call. Ken and I had a talk, and agreed that it was time for both of us to quit. We were set to go on vacation, and agreed that we'd start our program when we got back. We smoked like chimneys when we were on vacation, believe me! But we got it out of our systems and were ready to quit. Ken came up with a plan where we'd gradually cut down by starting with 5 fewer for the first two weeks, 5 fewer than that for the second two weeks, 5 fewer than that the third two weeks,then we'd quit. We also talked about changing our behaviors, i.e., we stopped smoking in the car, I smoked one less in the mornings, etc. By the time we got to the final two weeks, we were theoretically down to 5 a day. We found that we didn't always stick to that, and sometimes had more...with the understanding that when those two weeks were up, we would stop completely. 

We were able to do it without drugs or patches. I think the main thing for me was breaking that psychological dependency. Once I realized that yes, I could cut down and not miss it, I was able to take another step and say that I could actually quit. Once I had it set in my mind that I was going to quit, it became a matter of pride. I don't like to lose, and if I let myself be controlled by cigarettes, that would mean that they won, thus making me a LOSER. Ken just reminded me of another little trick I played on myself. I told people--lots of people--that I was quitting. Admitting defeat would mean admitting to my friends and family that I was a failure. That is simply not acceptable. :)

Let me just say that I am not calling anyone who smokes a loser or a failure. This is just the process I had to go through in my own mind to motivate me to quit. (The whole emphysema thing gave me a good, solid scare, too.) We were also able to quit without any drugs, but I encourage anyone to do whatever it takes to quit. My doctor in Indianapolis was so great, and of course, he was always encouraging me to quit. He said that he'd do whatever he could to help me. For one of his patients, he prescribed Valium, because the risks of dependency were less than the risks of continuing to smoke. I think any doctor will do whatever they can to help you quit. But you bear most of the responsibility. There really is no magic pill that will change you from a smoker to nonsmoker overnight. You have to believe that you will do it, that you want to do it, and that you CAN do it.

As an added plus, it turns out it was probably the best gift I ever could have given my parents.

13 comments:

lisa41076 said...

Beth, I am sorry you caught another cold , I hate being sick, congrats on quitting smoking, my favorite actress is a smoker and I wish so bad she would quit, I do'nt want her to get cancer :( Hugs Lisa

shrbrisc said...

Congratulations on quitting
hugs
Sherry

luvrte66 said...

Thanks for the comments, ladies!

Beth

mpnaz58 said...

I've never understood the addiction part, but it must be very real.  My husband smoked for over 35 years.  In October 2003, barely a year after we married, he was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer.  He had surgery and smoked until the day before his surgery.  He had radiation treatments, 7 weeks, every day.  The last treatment was 12-31-03.  He has been cancer free since.  He readily admits had this not happened to him, he'd still be smoking...he enjoyed it!!  He, too, had a nagging cough...hasn't had it since.  Kudos to you and Ken for kicking the habit!!!
xoxo ~Myra

luvrte66 said...

Thanks for the well wishes, Myra, and I'm so happy that things turned out well for your husband...and you!

Take care, and thanks for reading,

Beth

rdautumnsage said...

I was probably the last one anyone would expect to quit out of Doc and I both. I'm not even sure now what clicked and why I quit. After my daughter's car accident for some reason I just stopped smoking. I don't know if I underwent some kind of psychological trauma that instilled itself in that way or what (It was cold turkey). All this winter I've been fighting lung infections like crazy....I think it's still after effects of having smoked for years. Doc I'm sad to say went back to smoking....it breaks my heart, I've told him I don't want to go through life without him, because he's willing to take that chance (He has breathing problems sometimes). I think it's harder for him because he works gigs on the weekends with his band. He's in a bar atmosphere were most people do smoke....

Neither of us ever smoked in the house. I refused to have my home smell like a chimney. I'm throwing fits like crazy when he lights up in the truck now. My complaint is if you want to smoke fine...but being in an enclosed place like the truck, I get to share it and I no longer have that desire....We will see how long that last...(Hugs) Indigo

luvrte66 said...

Indigo, I'm sorry Doc hasn't found his motivation--yet--to quit. I pray that he finds it, so you two can have many years together.

I find that I'm extremely sensitive to the smell of smoke now. I can handle being around it and not feel a craving (like on the rare occasion we go to the casino), but I can always tell if someone smokes...I can smell it if someone walks by.

I really hope Doc can quit...Ken and I feel SO much better, as I'm sure you do. I'll send positive vibes....

Hugs, Beth

cacklinrosie101 said...

Whoo hoo...WTG.  LOL..it is weird and especially weird that you read that particular journal.  That entry was from November.  I have a graphics journal that I use as my "chatter" journal also now because I couldn't keep up with two journals.  I took Chantix.  I was down to less than half a pack a day by May of last year.  My 24 year old son developed adult asthma and had to quit which meant absolutely no smoking in our familyroom or around him anymore so anticipating sitting on a frozen deck this winter, I quit a week after he did.  He took Chantix for two months.  I didn't take the full month.  I still take a puff or two once or twice a month off of my BF's cigarettes if we are in a bar but never touch them or miss them otherwise.  I can't say I still don't get strep and colds but the colds don't turn into pneumonia.  I've had that twice before.  So, anyway, congratulations to you and your husband and my son and I.  Hehe, can you tell I like to talk?  HUGS Chris

luvrte66 said...

Chris, WE ALL ROCK for quitting smoking! Yeah!

{{Beth}}

buckoclown said...

Cutting down is a great endeavor.  I hope that as you go forward, you can get to the point that you can quit completely.

deshelestraci said...

That would have been a huge kick in the pants.  Wow!  Now if I could just quit sugar like that!  But good for you for getting rid of the habit!
Traci

queeniemart said...

i'm so glad Chris came to meet you. She is pure GOLD, i love her so much. She just quit too and it was so hard for her.
I smoked from age 18 until 27. Loved cigarettes. Both of my DH's HATED it that i smoked. I got sick, deathly sick and went to the ER. It was 11/21/95. I also had bronchitis....i have never been so sick ever...and they said "you are obese and you are going to die if you do not lose weight and stop smoking". So, i quit the easier one, the smoking. Its been 12 and a half years and i have NEVER had another cigarette. I stopped cold turkey that night.....to me, it was all a mind thing. If i set my mind to it, i did it. IF ONLY losing 100 lbs was so easy. I am SO proud of you and Ken for stopping. You added YEARS to your lives!
lisa

luvrte66 said...

Thanks, Lisa, and good for you for quitting many years ago! You're right, it's very much a mental thing...if we put our minds to something, we can do almost anything!

Beth