Monday, November 29, 2004

This Is Way Too Cool

I'm starting to think that I'm gonna need to find a steeper hill to climb on my daily dog walk. I've noticed over the last couple weeks that by the time I reach the top of the hill, I'm not the slightest bit winded. This is no piddling little hill I'm talking about goes straight up for about 40 feet, levels out for about 40 feet, then goes around a corner and up for another 20 feet or so. The other day, I really noticed a difference. Usually, by the time I hit the top of the main hill, I'm breathing a bit harder...and by the time I hit the top of the other hill, I'm breathing harder still. Not today, or any day for the last week. I hit the top of the second hill and didn't draw a single laboured breath. I walked up this same hill a few times as a smoker and I'm telling was all I could do to make it up the first hill. I sucked wind like I'd just run 10 miles. I didn't even attempt the second hill in those days. Not only could I not breathe, my leg would hurt horribly. Since I quit smoking, my chronic pain condition has improved vastly...along with my lung function. I still have pain every day, but its more bearable, if that makes any sense. My life is 150% better in every way. My pain is tolerable, I can breathe decently, I have more energy, I have money in my pocket...if I knew my quality of life would be this much improved, I'd have quit years ago. I really can't see the point of smoking anymore...and to think that just 18 months ago, I swore I'd die if I had to spend even 2 hours without a cigarette. When I first quit, I was petrified. I thought I was "too addicted" to quit.You know...the other day my girls and I were going through some loose photos, and we came across a smoking picture that was taken shortly after my 13 yr old was born. It was like looking at a photo of someone else. That person looked miserable. I just don't see myself that way anymore. Now, when I think about my smoking career, all that comes back are bad the things that I'd do to get a fix. Rolling tobacco from used butts into cigarette papers...scamming butts out of other people's ashtrays, even. Then there's all the times my smoke would get stuck to my lips. I'd burn myself between the fingers 'cause I pulled the cherry off trying to remove the smoke from my mouth. You know what I mean...ending up with 3rd degree burns and a chunk missing from your lip. Then there was trying to light a smoke on a windy day. Wind gust catches a lock of hair, blows it into your face, and the next thing you know you're doing the stop, drop and roll boogie. The worst was the way my loved ones would shy away from me, and sometimes even tell me outright that I stunk!Miss smoking? Ppffffttt!! Gimme a break! Sure, there are times when I think about smoking. After all, I did it for over 20 years in response to every emotion. Eighteen months without is a drop in the bucket, really. But, the times that I think about it are few and far between, and it's never my first response anymore. This from someone who averaged a pack a day when all was well...up to 2.5 packs when caca hit the fan. There were a couple times that I was in the hospital, and I only came in to eat, pee and sleep. The rest of the time I was outside smoking.I guess what I'm trying to say is that it gets easier. The beginning was no picnic, but once I decided that nothing was worth poisoning myself over, and I made the commitment...quitting was inevitable. I can't see myself smoking ever again. I don't want to go back to that hacking, choking servitude. I've spent the last eighteen months discovering that life without smokes is actually pretty cool. All I can say is...keep fighting the good fight. Each urge you say no to makes you stronger, and before you know it, the urges are less frequent and less ferocious. Then the next thing you know, you're rambling about how great being smokefree for a year and a half is!

Sunday, November 28, 2004

R.I.P., Janet

I found out a couple of days ago that a long-time member of the QuitNet succumbed to her battle with lung cancer on the 24th. She was a source of inspiration to many, myself included. It was one of her posts that convinced me that I was killing myself with smokes and that I had to quit NOW. "Jessicaybar" was only 43 years old. She was diagnosed with lung cancer shortly after her 40th birthday. Her doctor told her it had probably been there a year or two already, judging from the size of the tumour. She got this horrendous news just 2 weeks after she quit smoking. She could've said " Well, I got cancer now...might as well smoke", but she held on to her quit right up to the end. Throughout her ordeal, she showed remarkable courage and strength. Although I didn't know her personally, she touched my life and helped me to strengthen my resolve toward my quit. Jessicaybar leaves behind her husband and four children, who range in age from 14-5.Here it is, folks...this is what smoking leads to. You're never too young to get cancer. This lady got it at about 38. They caught it while the tumour was still very tiny, they removed part of the affected lung...and she still died. Smoking is so not worth this. Jessicaybar should be teaching her elementary school class and raising her own kids. She was a young, vital woman...and now she's gone. I have a brother the same age, for crying out loud. Smoking KILLS! If you smoke, please...PLEASE quit. It can be done, I promise. You just have to believe that you can do it, and you have to see cigarettes..and your own addiction...for what they are....deadly.

Friday, November 19, 2004


I talked to my mom today. At first, I was thrilled: she hadn't had a smoke for a week. By the end of the conversation, I was upset and disappointed: she admitted that she bummed a smoke from her neighbor today because she was "pissed off". I was a tad disgusted too: she's coming up for Xmas, and since she doesn't have much money, she figures that a couple of packs of smokes is an appropriate gift for her 16 year old granddaughter. I told her that if she dares to buy CJ smokes for Xmas, I'll kick her freakin ass! She's like, "Well, she why not?" So I said, "Because she's a CHILD...that's why not!"It's funny...she expects my kids to buy clothes or something with the money she's giving them...warned me they better not spend it on junk food, even. Yet she thinks it's OK to buy CJ...who is only 3 years older than Kaitlyn...CIGAR-FRICKIN-RETTES!!! AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!"Gee kids, I dunno why Grandma is buying CJ an incredibly addictive, deadly drug, while you guys have to buy clothes or books." PPPFFTTT..for fuck sake!!Enough of that, though...this crap makes that vein in my forehead throb. My little sis from the Q has quit again...on what I believe was the same day she quit last year. I'd be a bald faced liar if I said I wasn't disappointed that she has to go through the crap of quitting again. She should be celebrating one year smokefree...not one day. I'm in no position to judge though...there are days where it could easily be me. Not many anymore, but once in awhile I'll see someone with one, and I'll get nostalgic. Then the smell hits me...and that's the end of that urge. I hate the smell of cigarette smoke with a vengeance now. lol If I tried to actually light up, I'd probably barf. The smell alone makes me gag. I try not to be obvious about it...I hated people who would cough and fan the air exaggeratedly. I just try to hold my breath as inconspicuously as possible. lol All in all, this quit has been pretty easy for me. Granted, for the first couple of months, I had a hell of a time most days. I struggled quite a bit. One day, I decided that I had suffered enough. I thought about smoking to end my suffering. Instead, I got a pen and paper & challenged myself to come up with 5 good things about smoking. If I could do that, then I could smoke, I figured. I stared at the paper for what seemed like forever...and couldn't even come up with one. Then I decided to write down all the things that had changed for the better since I quit. I filled up both sides of the paper in less than 10 minutes. That did it for me. I started to develop a positive attitude toward quitting, as well as a strong commitment toward staying quit. From then on, whenever I've had craves, I've been able to take them in stride. They have no power over me. Hell, after I talked to Mom, I had a beast of an urge. I was incredulous over her screwed-up gift idea, plus ticked off about some other stuff she said...and I started having some screwed-up ideas of my own. I went for a walk downtown, to go to the bank and check my mail. That 15-20 minutes did me a universe of good...when I got home, I felt calm and relaxed again. I thought about my earlier notion that a smoke might help the situation, and cracked up laughing. All a cigarette would've done is lead to another....and another....and another. Not to mention the explaining I'd have had to do, the self-flaggellation and loathing I'd have been sure to feel, the tears from my kids...and probably from myself. Nope, screw that. It ain't's so not worth any of that stuff. Listen up, people....WALK GOOD, SMOKE BAD!!!!! lol

Friday, November 12, 2004

Long Time, No Blog...

Wow, it's been a long time since I journalled. Things have been pretty mellow lately....about time, too. lol Life is finally back to what passes for normal around here. Still smokefree, too...18 months now. That still blows my mind sometimes. I guess the third time was the charm for me. I won't go getting all cocky're never really safe from nicotine. If you don't pay attention, or figure you got it licked.....BAM! Back to a pack a day. My brother Greg is on his millionth quit...about 4 months now. At least the dude keeps on trying, I'll give him that. My mom says she's quitting when she finishes her can of tobacco....this will be the third or fourth attempt in the past year or so. One of my adopted little sisters from the Quitnet just lost a long quit about 2 months ago, and says she's quitting again in the next couple days. I really hope they all stick with it this time. Smoking sucks, people...I cannot stress that enough. There is nothing good, relaxing or attractive about it. It fixes NOTHING!! All it gets us is broke, addicted, sick....and eventually dead. I'm not trying to come off as one of those holier-than-thou ex-smokers, I swear! I still get tempted from time to time. Mickey and I had one hell of a fight a few months ago, and I very nearly bummed a smoke off a complete stranger. For about 2 minutes, I just didn't give a damn anymore. I just glad that I engaged my brain before I did something stupid. I've worked and fought too hard for this quit to just toss it aside on a whim. I've heard every excuse in the book when it comes to that quit-breaking smoke...I've made more than a few of them myself in the past. But, in my humble opinion, what it boils down to is that the person in question basically stopped caring. If they would just take a minute to think about the consequences of what they're about to do...but who am I to say? All I can testify to is what works for me. The way I see it, many of life's problems are fleeting...even if they seem never-ending at the time. The only exception is addiction. If left untreated, it goes on and on and on.It seems kind of dumb to me to risk re-awakening a beast like nicotine addiction just because you had an argument with someone, or you got drunk...or even if someone dies. I've had all three happen in the past 18 months, and there were times that I came perilously close to smoking. All I can give as a reason for my continued smobriety is that I still care.