Long Overdue Update

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Our Reviews
"I really hope you are still a non-smoker. I found all of your blog entries very interesting. I hope you'll write more in the future about your journey. Best of luck to you! Mandy"

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I realize that it's been a while since I've updated my blog, and I do apologize. It's been a crazy couple of weeks around here, and I just haven't found the time, nor the energy, to post anything about my progress. The review above prompted me to get my butt in gear and post something, and for that, I thank you, Mandy. You've inspired me.

I am happy to announce that, in spite of the craziness, I'm still smoke-free. Twenty-some days and counting. Seven hundred and some cigarettes not smoked. That is an astronomical number! I really had no idea i smoked that much. It's just amazing to me.

To be completely honest with you, and I don't mean to rub it in, I really don't even think about smoking all that often. You would think that a pack-and-a-half-a-day smoker would miss it at least a little bit, but I don't. It's really surprising to me most of all since when I used to smoke, just the thought of running out of cigarettes would send me into panic mode. I don't know how I did it so easily this time, or why it's not a big issue for me, but I'm happy.......and able to breathe.

I think that's what did it for me. The fact that I was scared to death because I had times that I couldn't breathe, or I'd be short of breath just trying to have a conversation. I think I made up my mind way before I quit that if I didn't, it would kill me young. And I think the fact that I feel so much better now, keeps me going and not looking back. I don't miss it. I don't think about it. I am a non-smoker, and will continue to be for the rest of my life.

Oh, and here's some more good news. My husband, who has been using those nasty little tobacco filled pouches for the last couple of years, has quit!!!! It took having the flu for a week to make it happen, but now that he's been without for four days, he says he's done. I sure hope so. Technically, the nicotine is out of his system, so it should be fairly easy. I don't know if it'll be as easy for him, but I'm going to do my best to help him along the way.

Maybe the fact that his face isn't going to fall off from cancer now that he's quit will be incentive enough to keep going. I sure hope so!

I won't lie to you about the side effects from quitting. I will tell you that I've put on a couple of pounds in the last few weeks. I'm going to have to put a stop to that pretty quick if I don't want to put on the forty pounds I lost last year, but for now, I can deal with it. I'm just going to have to put the same dedication forth that I did with quitting and it'll be alright. I'd rather be fat and a non-smoker than a smoker any day!


I Passed The Test

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's been 16 days since I had my last cigarette. Up to this point, I have not been around anyone that smokes. I've smelled it in public, but have not been in the same vicinity as anyone smoking. I've been too afraid to.

Today, I had no choice.

It was do or die, and I was up for the challenge. I was nervous, but willing to give it my best shot.

My In-laws smoke. I believe I already told you this in a previous post. Remember? They smoke like chimneys? Both of them? You remember. Anyway, tonight we had to go to their house for a family pow-wow. My hubby's grandfather died yesterday, and we were getting together for moral support.

I was worried about going over there. They smoke in their house, and there would be no escaping it, what with the sub-zero temps outside. I would be thrown into the belly of the beast, to fight the fight alone. I would be tested..........

or so I thought.

When we got there and entered the house, it was like walking into a wall. The smoke greeted us at the door long before the In-laws. To my surprise, I was repulsed, and for a moment, unable to breathe. It was a full ten seconds before I realized I was holding my breath, and had to tell myself to breath. OK. This part of the test was easy. It stunk. My worries about the smell making me want a cigarette uncontrollably were unfounded. But, we had only just walked in the door. I still had to make it through the rest of the visit, and fight the temptation I was sure was going to come to ask to bum a smoke from my mother-in-law. Surely watching them smoke would trigger a craving inside me, and it would be hard to fight. Surely, right?


The longer we were there, the more I despised it. The longer we sat there, the more I wanted to leave; to get out of that smell that threatened to choke the breath from my lungs. The longer we were there, the more I could not believe that I had ever, EVER enjoyed smoking. I couldn't believe that after smoking for over twenty years, I was actually saying that I hated smoking. The moment it hit me had to be one of the proudest moments in my life. For once, I set my mind to do something, and did it. I am 100% sure that I will never smoke again.

With absolute certainty, I AM A NON-SMOKER!

Now, don't get me wrong. I do not look down on anyone that still smokes. I so totally understand where you are and why you do it. To each, his own. I would never say you're not my friend just because you smoke. I'm just saying for me, it is something I choose to live without now.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go take a shower. The smell is just too much........


A Smell All Its Own

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I noticed a peculiar thing this morning while taking a shower. My body wash, which I thought smelled sooooooo good when I bought it, now suddenly smells...........

not so good.

Could this be my new non-smoking nose finally voicing its opinion? Is it possible that this body wash never smelled that good, and I've been going around stinking for months? Oh, the thought!

I guess this means another smell-test in the body care aisle at Wally World next time. I love it! My husband, on the other hand, does not. I love opening and smelling all the bottles to find just the right one; and since I can't drive, my husband has to take me and stand there......and like it!

Oh thank you, my new strong-smelling nose! Thank you!


So Proud

Monday, January 25, 2010

I just found out today that my husband is going to try to become an Ex also. He doesn't smoke anymore. He quit three years ago, but went to "chewing" those gross little pouches of tobacco. He had to. His asthma was killing him.

So, he's been chewing for a few years now, and has decided that if I can quit using tobacco, he can to. He did not buy any more chew today when he ran out. He also didn't tell me that he was attempting to quit, either. I figured it out when he was a bit quiet this evening, and I noticed that I hadn't seen him put a new chew in after we had supper. I asked him about it, and he confirmed. He's going to give it a go.

I can't lie. I'm so proud of him, I want to tell the world! I always joke around with him that his face is going to fall off because of the stuff, but to be honest, I'm serious. It scares me. Cancer scares me.

Hopefully, this will not be a concern any longer.

So, should he stick with his quit, this blog will become a two-fer. I'll track our progress simultaneously, posting the ups and downs, as I'm sure there will be, so you all can understand or commiserate with us.

This is about to get interesting!



1. Facebook, namely Cafe World, is an excellent distraction from quitting. May quite possibly be a new addiction, though. Will have to monitor and adjust accordingly.

2. Did not even think about having a cigarette with my morning coffee this morning. Didn't dawn on me until the kids had already left for school and was enjoying cup number two. This, my friends, is what you call progress........


Others Are Quitting, Too!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Although not inspired by my awesome quit, my sister-in-law and her husband are giving it a shot. Their decision to quit is based on a society that frowns on smokers and feels the need to charge outrageous prices for cigarettes. Their lack of funds will eventually save their lives, that is for sure!

She just told me today, and to my surprise neither one has smoked since Sunday. She didn't sound too happy about that fact, but I did my best to lift her spirits and give her a little pep talk. I think she thought I was full of shit, but I tried all the same.

As for me, today was even better than yesterday. There were two instances exactly, where I felt a small twinge of panic at not having a cigarette, but they were gone just as soon as they came. Once after eating lunch, and then once after I got supper all ready and was waiting the ten minutes or so until hubby got home from work. I used to go out in the garage during that time and smoke a cigarette or two while I waited for him to get home.

So, after 11 days, I am really starting to see life as a non-smoker. I hardly ever think about smoking, and feel the need to wash everything that has ever been touched by cigarette smoke; my coats especially. They still reek, but won't after this weekend. I'm washing them all!


Day 10

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Just a quick note before I head out the door for a night watching my oldest kick some wrestler butt.

High five! Not one piece of nicotine gum chewed today! No nicotine patch either, and of course, no cigarettes smoked! It has been a completely nicotine-free day so far!


There have been a couple tiny cravings that came and went so fast, I'm not even sure I actually had them.

It's called progress, people! I am so excited!


Day 9...That's it. Just Day 9

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What a difference a day makes. I'm not completely bitch-less, but definitely much less bitchy than yesterday. I know this because not every thought that goes through my head today is about hurting someone, throwing things, or screaming at anything that moves. My head has also stopped spinning, and the projectile vomit has subsided for the most part.

Didn't put a patch on again today. I made it though yesterday without one, and didn't see the need to put another on today. I'm dealing OK. Still chewing the nicotine gum, but I'm proud to say that I've gone from the 4mg pieces to the 2mg pieces already. I know the box tells you to chew it for weeks and weeks, gradually stepping down. Same thing with the patches. But, I don't have that kind of time.

Actually, I do.

But, I don't want to. I want to be off this stuff and not taking in any nicotine at all as soon as possible. You could say that I'm on a crash course of assistive quitting. Part gradual, part cold-turkey. It's the Up In Smoke Program......HA!

Oooohhhh....I see my sarcasm and strange sense of humor is returning. This is a good sign.

Anyway, I can't honestly tell you where I'm at right now in my quit. Is it getting better? Is it still bad? Where do I go from here? I don't know. The only thing I do know is I don't want to smoke ever again, and I'll do whatever it takes to live that dream.

Oh, in case you're wondering where I get some of my inspiration from, check out www.becomeanex.org. Join. It's a great place to meet others in the same boat, who are struggling just as much, if not more, and some that have been there and have awesome advice for the "newbies".

Join, I say!

No excuses! Just do it!



8 Days....I'm Being Tested

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Oh boy.....

There is only one word to describe me today, and that is BITCH. Ask my husband. He'll tell ya. Ask my kids. They will agree and probably add a few choice words of their own.

It is terrible. I hate everyone and everything. I even took a nap this afternoon because I couldn't even stand myself.

Maybe it's the not smoking. Maybe it's the PMS. It's probably a combination of both, and it's not good. Or, maybe it's the fact that I didn't put a patch on today. Thought I'd try to go without it. Obviously, it was not a good idea.

Whatever it is, I sure hope it's better tomorrow, because if it's not, someone may end up getting hurt. You know, if they'd just leave me alone if they can't be supportive, things would be so much easier.

What is wrong with them? Don't they know that?


The Nicotine Patch and High Blood Pressure

Monday, January 18, 2010

Last night while at Walmart, I decided to check my blood pressure. I have been dealing with slightly elevated blood pressure for about six months now, and keep a regular check on it as well as taking my meds. It's usually pretty good since starting the medication, so when I read 159/90, I was a little scared.

After walking around the store, trying to figure out what was going on, it hit me. I had just put a piece of the nicotine gum in before coming into the store, and I was wearing the patch. It made sense. Not completely sure that this was the cause, I looked it up when I got home on the Internet. My suspicions were correct.

This is what I found:

Nicotine stimulates the central nervous system. Whether you smoke a cigarette or absorb nicotine from a patch, your body responds by releasing a hormone called epinephrine (adrenaline). Its effects range from increased energy and awareness to high blood pressure, a rise in heart rate, and nervousness. High blood pressure with the use of a nicotine patch (or gum, inhaler, lozenge, or nasal spray) may mean you are taking too much nicotine.

Now, while reading previously about the gum and the patch, I had read that you may use the two together if need be, and this is what I do on occasion. I'm beginning to think that this isn't something that should be practiced on a regular basis. So, today, I've limited my use of the gum, but am still wearing the patch. The patch seems to serve my purposes better, and doing without the gum hasn't been too difficult. My goal is to be off them both before the end of the week.

If you'd like to read the entire article, you can do so here. It's just a short article, but worth the read, especially if you have a heart condition and are using the patch.


Day 6: The Worst Yet

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Today is day 6 of my quit. Everything was smooth-sailing until today. I don't know what it is, but today I am so crabby. I don't want to smoke, per say, but if I had them, I'd definitely smoke today. I'm not really having any major cravings, but the crabbiness is fueling the fire.

I don't want to be around anyone today, so I've holed myself up in my office/bedroom, and am just vegging on the computer. My husband comes in every once in a while to check on me and offer as much support as is possible for him. Bless his heart. He tries, but I really don't want it today.

I'm hoping tomorrow will be better again.

Yesterday, my oldest son had a wrestling tournament. He's a Senior in high school this year, and wrestling has been a big part of our lives for five years now. My In-laws even go. Anyway, I hadn't realized until yesterday at the tournament, just how much my sense of smell has returned.

My In-laws walked into the gym and sat down in front of us. At that very moment, a wall of stench hit me! You see, my In-laws are heavy smokers. Two packs a day each, minimum. The smell that came off of them was enough to make me gag. They smelled like walking ashtray! To tell you the truth, I was embarrassed for them. I KNOW others around us could smell it also. I honestly wanted to get up and move away from them so no one would think it was me.

How terrible is that?

Of course, I didn't get up and move. That would've been too hard to explain, and I surely didn't want to hurt their feelings. So, I sat there all day, smelling that stink, and thanking Heaven that I didn't smell like that anymore. I had no idea before I quit smoking.

I even asked my husband at one point, "Did I smell like that too, when I smoked?"

He nodded in the affirmative, with an "I'm sorry" look on his face.

No need to apologize. I really had no idea it was that bad.

One accomplishment that came out of yesterday was the fact that I did not need to go out to my car after lunch to have a smoke. My In-laws went out multiple times during the day to puff away, but I didn't. I didn't have to freeze on my way out to the car, freeze while sitting in the cold car, or freeze on my way back in, just to do it all over again in an hour or so. That made me proud. I'm not going to lie and say it never occurred to me, but I was able to fight the tiny urge as they put their coats on for the long, cold trek. It felt good.

I know that today's mood will pass and tomorrow will probably be better. I'm not going to give in now. That would be stupid. I'm stronger than that. As long as my family leaves me alone today, no one has to get hurt.


Funny Story

Friday, January 15, 2010

I posted previously about how I bought the patch to help me along in my quit. I said I didn't know why I bought it, but have since discovered, without a doubt, why I bought it.

Because it freakin' works!

I've had it (step 1) on since 6:30am this morning, and have only had two notable instances where a piece of nicotine gum was required. That was after I had lunch and after supper. Otherwise, I have barely thought about cigarettes at all! It's amazing.

Now, for the funny part. This should be a lesson in following directions for all you other quitters out there thinking about using the patch.

I read the directions before applying the first one this morning, I swear. But, reading and following are two different things, and following, I did not do. It said to clean the area before applying the patch. I thought, "I showered last night before bed. Clean enough!", and applied the patch on the upper part of my arm.

It stuck pretty good......for a while.

At about noon, the edges started to peel slightly. I thought, "That's OK. It'll be fine."

By 3:30pm it had peeled all the way around. The middle was still stuck really well. I began to think, "I wonder if this thing is going to make it till 6:30am tomorrow?"

At this point, it was time to take a shower. We have plans to go out this evening. I had read in the directions (again, I DID read the directions) that you can take a shower with it on. So, up to the shower I went. About halfway through the shower, it started to peel more, and faster. I even took great pains to make sure I wasn't putting my arm directly in the spray, but it wasn't good enough. By the time I was done, it had peeled to the point that just the center was stuck.

I yelled downstairs to my daughter, "Is there any band-aids in the other bathroom?"

She checks. "No!"

"What about medical tape?"

She sighs and looks again. "No!"

"Are you sure?"

"Mom, there's no band-aids and no medical tape. Why? What do you need it for?"

"I just need to stick something back on. Bring me the duct tape!"

"Duct tape?"

"Don't ask questions! Just bring me the duct tape!"

She brings me the duct tape, and I tape the patch in place. I don't know how effective it is anymore, but it's on. Even if not effective anymore, just having it on makes me happy. They are too expensive to just throw the thing away when I've got another 12 hours to go until I can put the new one on.

I suppose if someone turns up injured in the next 12 hours, we'll know that it became ineffective after a trip through the shower........


Another Tool

I decided last night to give The Patch a try. It can't hurt, and should be a welcome addition to my arsenal of defense against the smoking monster. We shall see.

Woke up this morning with hardly any cravings, though. Thought that was a little odd. Surely, it can't be this easy after only four days, can it? I remember last time I quit. Four years ago. I went to a hypnotist, and managed to quit, on the spot, for ten months. I don't know what happened to make me start smoking again, but when I did, I picked up right where I left off, as if I had never quit. It was the strangest thing.

But, here I am now, four days into my quit, and breezing through. Sure, I have a few moments where I would smoke the entire pack at once if I had it. But, for the most part, the cravings come and go so quickly, it's not really too much of a struggle. At this point, I'm wondering why I even bought the damned patch last night at all!

I suppose the extra insurance is good to have, that's why......

I even made my coffee this morning. I didn't make it yesterday because that is one of my triggers. Always had a smoke with my morning coffee. So, feeling not as confident yesterday, I decided to forgo the coffee. Almost done with my first cup, and not a single craving. Weird......

I should be thankful for the ease thus far. I always have a tendency to expect the worse. I think that's so I'm not disappointed or surprised if it's bad. It's how I approach everything. I'd rather be pleasantly surprised than devastated. Makes life easier on me....

One thing I need to get a handle on is my eating, though. I don't think I'm over-eating a lot, but I could definitely back off a bit. Like yesterday. I ate an entire frozen pizza throughout the day. I know it sounds like a lot, and it probably is, but I didn't have anything else to eat with it, and it wasn't all in one sitting. I know. Excuses, excuses.

Anyway, I suppose the Whopper I had for supper after the entire pizza didn't help matters any, either. Will work on this.


Day 3

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day three hasn't been too bad. I'm definitely feeling better. Much more energetic and breathing seems to have improved. I actually ran up the stairs this morning, and didn't find myself sucking wind afterward. I know this doesn't sound like much to the average, non-smoking person, but believe me. It's an accomplishment.

There are times(many times) today where I get a little attack of panic when the thought of having a cigarette crosses my mind. For example, I used to smoke any time I was sitting in front of the computer. I sat down just now to write this post and the thought that I'd enjoy a smoke right now crossed my mind. A brief attack of panic seized my chest when I remembered I didn't have any. Then, it passed. Just like that. I popped a piece of nicotine gum in for good measure, and here I am. Sitting at my computer without smoking a cigarette. Great strides have been made.

I don't think my husband believes that I'm going to quit for real this time. I've said it before, but I'm serious this time. It's a matter of life and death now. At least, in my mind it is anyway. I'm going to prove him wrong, even if he doesn't say so much in words. I'll show him....

All in all, day three is proving to be a success. Check the ticker out below. Just the fact that I've saved over $25 already is something to celebrate! Can you believe I used to spend at the very least $180 a month on my habit? I know it was more than that, but that's just an estimate. I never really kept track of how much I smoked. I know it was a lot.

Isn't that something.....$25 already!


Did You See The Quit Ticker?

Look at the bottom of this blog

I installed a quit ticker to keep track of everything I'm gaining by not smoking. Pretty cool, huh?

$25 saved so far! That is amazing! I think I'm going to open a savings account specifically for this money. I'm going to make it a daily practice to transfer(online) $6.98 from my checking account into this savings account. This should add up quick!

What I'll do with the money, I don't know. Nothing comes to mind right at this moment, except for smoking. I'll make a plan for it some other day, but for now, just putting it away will be reward enough.


Day One Is Over

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day one is over...finished. Can't say that I'm any happier that it's over. I'm crabby and want a smoke in the worst way, but still able to fight the urge. Seems the urges are more prevalent when the children come home from school and the husband walks through the door. Wonder why that is?

Anyway, I'm looking forward to bedtime tonight. Don't believe I'll be staying up late as normal as sleeping takes away the suffering. I'm hoping tomorrow is less urge-laden, but something tells me it may be worse. I don't know why I just said that. I have no reason to believe it will be worse. It's just a hunch.

I'm still proud of myself for having gone 24 hours. It is an accomplishment for me. I'm already telling a difference in my breathing, if you can believe it. I don't seem to be so full of all that gross mucusy stuff that seemed to be a natural part of my every day life. Haven't cleared my throat nearly as much today. That's a good thing. Hubby will be happy to hear this as he says I keep him awake at night clearing my throat in my sleep. Yay for him, I guess.

Tomorrow will be better. I'm sure of it.......I think.


Hour 18

Hour 18.....

Not too bad so far. I could definitely smoke a cigarette right now, but it's not an overwhelming feeling. The nicotine gum helps take the edge off, I think.

What I'm most proud of is that I haven't killed anyone yet, or even threatened to kill anyone yet! There again, I think the nicotine gum helps. Gotta remember to go to Walmart and get some more tonight so I don't run out. I think that would be a bad thing.

I can feel that I'm on the edge between sanity and complete craziness.....even with the gum. It's a fine line that I have warned my family not to make me cross. So far, they've been pretty understanding and accommodating. I think they might even be tip-toeing around me. I should feel bad, but I don't. The less they irritate me, the easier this quitting thing will be. It's all about me right now. They will just have to deal with it. It can't last forever, right? Right?!

I have to say that the hardest part so far has been not having a smoke after a meal or with my morning coffee. I think the coffee is the worst, though. I thought about not having any coffee this morning, but made it anyway. Why deprive myself of two things I love?! The coffee was good, but would've been better with the cigarette that usually goes with it. Ah well, I suppose I'll learn to adjust.

Trying to find things to keep me busy so I don't think about smoking.....or EATING! I could eat the entire refrigerator...nevermind opening it to find out what's in it! I'm not hungry, but food seems to be flying into my mouth without my knowledge. That's something I'm going to have to get in check. I'm quitting smoking to be healthier, not to die of a heart attack from weighing 500lbs! I'm sure this, too, shall pass. Gotta keep busy....

So, there's the first day and a half. Not bad. Not good. Not struggling too much yet, but would smoke them if I had them. Good thing I sent the extra pack I had with hubby today to give to someone at work. I know I'm not strong enough to be left alone with them. I'm weak.

Here's to hoping tomorrow goes as well. One day at a time.....one day at a time.......


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