COPD – Give Up Smoking Before It’s Too Late!

My friend Carole was really looking forward to her approaching retirement. There was so much she would at last have the time to do; playing golf, tennis and bridge with her many friends, walking through the forest with her dog and finally getting around to booking the cycling holidays she has always promised herself. She knew Read more

My Sweet Little Smoker

My daughter is planning on quitting smoking July 29th. She has had the habit for about 30 years. She is 41 now. She has tried to stop several times in the past but hasn't been sucessful.

I have talked to her about how great she should feel after getting all the toxins out of her system. She wants to feel better.

Having done quite a bit of research for the articles I have written on Breathing Happy, there were several things I knew could be hard for a person wanting to quit the habit. For instance, I know about triggers and know what they are is very important. And know what the alternative is that if she continued to smoke, she was in for trouble. This was something I felt was imporant. I have written several articles on COPD recently ,and how it effects a person's life. There are millions of Americans with the disease. I didn't want my daughter to be one of them.

I watched my grandfather die of emphasema. He had smoked for probably 50-60 years. Salems. I was a little girl about six or seven then and I remember watching my grandfather just trying to get into the bathroom to shave in the mornings. He would start out on the couch after breakfast and would get up and walk over to the table in the living room, probably four feet away from the couch. He would grip the table for several seconds, breathing heavier than usual. Then he would move on to the door jam in the hallway about five or six feet away. He would stand there bent over a bit, breathing heavy. Then after a short rest with the breathing, he would move across the hall and into the bathroom and grip the sink, now breathing heavy from whole the ordeal. He would stand there gripping the sink, leaning as he slowly shaved himself.

This went on until one day he came out and set in the big over stuffed chair in the livng room after shaving and died there. I don't want this to happen to my daughter. She has a ten year old son who loves her and needs her around. He really stresses her out sometimes. And she has a boyfriend who smokes like a chimney. With these two components to work around, it may not be easy for her.

July 29th will be here very soon. I certainly wish her luck.

Quitting Cold Turkey

I smoked as a teen. It was more an act of rebellion than anything else, but I liked it as a social device, as well. If you saw a cute guy, you could always ask him for a light to break the tension. You could smoke with your friends, too.

When my grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer, I decided to quit. He was a pack a day smoker for most of his 80 years and I knew I could easily end up just like him. And so I dropped the cigarettes.

The problem is that I have a very addictive personality. If you give me one smoke, I’ll take the pack. It’s one of the issues that has also led to weight problems for me. So, when I decided to give up smoking, I knew there was no way I was going to make it if I tried to gradually work down to zero. Going cold turkey was the only way to go for me. It was certainly not easy, but it was necessary.

At the age of 21, I tossed my last pack in the garbage, fought my desire to pull it right back out and finish it up, and I walked away. The first few days were the worst. I was jittery and constantly reaching for the smokes that weren’t there anymore.

I stayed far away from my smoking friends and I basically holed up in my room when I wasn’t at work. It wasn’t fun, but in the end, I got through it. The desire to smoke didn’t go away though, for a long time. Even now, nearly 20 years later, I still want to smoke sometimes! The trick is to make the decision each minute of each day. “I’m not going to smoke.”

Distraction helped a lot, too. I spent a lot of time reading or watching TV to keep my mind off things. However, since I quit cold turkey, I’ve had one cigarette in nearly all those 20 years. Not too bad, I think! I can proudly say that my children will not be subjected to second hand smoke and that makes it all very worth it.

Real Cravings of an Imaginary Smoker

Three days ago:  

So I was on this plane taking me from Dakar to Istanbul, an 11 hour flight, cramped in a unbelievably small seat. I was flanked by two stern -looking middle aged guys. How in the world is my time going to go by?.. I had stomach cramps all afternoon just before getting on the plane. No doubt,  it was in anticipation of this trip. It was the anxiety of someone who was going to be confined, deprived… Stress, stress, stress, cramps, cramps, cramps. All afternoon, it was the same symptoms any addict would have before involuntary rehab. Read more

Pleasure: My First Time

The first time I smoked, I was a rebel, angry and stupid. 

Whew, it felt weird writing that first sentence, but yes, it's true.

I smoked not because of peer pressure, but maybe because of a little bit of subliminal marketing from television ads. Okay, it was a lot. I don't blame my dad even though he was a chain smoker. He often smoked two to three packs of Phillip Morris a day. (May he rest in peace). For all that has been said and done, I made that dumb decision myself. 

Mostly, what brought me to that moment, to that decision, was a mixture of runaway emotions that are quite normal for rebellious and hormone infused teenagers. I was a curious, confused and hormone laden boy monkey. 

When I think about it today, I recall that moment of planning, of figuring out where to buy, how much they cost, where to smoke, and what brand. In hindsight these were pretty, pretty stupid and trivial matters, since I was caught!

Now, that was not part of the plan!

The brand that I chose was Philip Morris, the green menthol ones which are longer than Marlboros and quite cheaper. Why? Because I saw them a lot at home. I thought to myself: I'm going to start with something familiar. Besides, they were affordable at 20 pesos for a pack of 20. This was in the late 90s, so that was about 50 US cents a pack! The thought of stealing from my father's cigarette pack also crossed my mind, but I knew I'd get caught.

The first problem to overcome was where to buy them. We lived in a middle class subdivision in the Philippines and I was quite naive. (Okay, very naive.) I was thinking quite falsely and innocently

  • "What if the storekeep calls my parents right after I buy?"
  • "What if I go to jail for buying?"

So I came up with the insidious idea to say, "Somebody asked me to buy it for them

In my mind, I was reciting to myself an imaginary dialogue with my targeted store. 

  • Me: "I'd like to buy some cigarettes please," quite casually.
  • Storekeep: "May I see your license to buy cigarettes." said the storekeep quite sternly.
  • Me: Quite cooly "Oh, I don't have any, somebody just asked me to buy it for them."

As naive as the dialogue now sounds, that was my way of thinking about it then. 

To my surprise, it was actually easier. 

Nobody cared what you bought. Nobody asked any questions. None

So right after school, I bought a pack quite easily and also bought a lighter. Now the trick was to smoke when my parents were out of the house. That day, all of my plans seemed to be working out all right. Dad was not yet home, mom was shopping. So, I climbed on top of our water tank, which was as high as the roof of our two story house. 

The view was awesome.

It was like playing with Google Earth for the first time. I saw nearby cities and houses and neighbors' houses I hadn't yet met. I felt the power of the wind move my body gently. It was like a gentle nudge from an invisible force.

I am afraid of heights. Climbing that tower felt exciting and exhilirating. The throbbing in my chest felt stronger. Bright yellow and red imaginary exclamation points were popping up everytime I moved my arms or legs. It was a new, unknown and exciting feeling. 

After I soaked all of the new sensory inputs in, I sat down and got the cigarettes. 

You see, as stupid as I may have been at the time, at least I had the sense to think that smoke flies outwards and upwards. If I stayed on top of the water tank, I somehow felt that nobody would smell it at all. 

So I did this several times, timing whenever my parents were out. 

Finally, I got caught. 

Yes, the smoke does flow upward and outward, but the smell stuck to my clothes! As soon as my mother caught me,  she told me to go down the water tank, like, "Danny !%!%! Go down the water tank!"

A new type of exciting feeling came over me, but this time, it wasn't awe or that feeling of danger. It was fear!

"So, you want to smoke? Do you even have a job?" (I was a teenager)

No.

"This is what we give you money for?"

No. Sorry. 

"Give me your pack of cigarettes."

I don't have any. I lied.

"What do you take me for, they're in your pockets. See, it's bulging!"

Sorry. Here. 

"Now you want to be a big man?"

No.

"Here smoke them all at the same time!"

I shook my head.

Then my mom, tore all up the cigarettes like they were pieces of paper. 

Brown and white pieces scattered on the floor just beneath the base of the water tower. At the time, I was thinking, "What a waste.

"Clean them up."

I did.

 

 

 

 

 

Trial and Error

My name is Amber and I am 23 years old. That picture above is of my husband and I. We have 4 beautiful children together. Our family consists of three little men and one little princess. They are 4 years old, 2 years old, 1 year old and six months old.

I am a smoker and I have been one since I was thirteen years old. I was pushed into smoking by two cousins of mine. As it turns out, family can be just as persuasive as your best friend. Family sometimes is much worse,  because they are supposed to love you.

Well I started because of them, and I have been smoking ever since. My entire family, the women at least, have no teeth.

I am now missing five teeth on top and one on bottom. I currently have stitches in the bottom part of my mouth. I just recently got all of these pulled. This included my front teeth. I am now wearing partial dentures. I have been told by family that it is because of having kids so close together.

I, however, do not think this is true. Perhaps this affected my dental health a little, but I"m quite certain that smoking has caused this problem for me. I no longer feel as pretty as I once did. I do not think I look as young as I really am, thanks to smoking. My mother is only 42 years old and she looks as if she is 65. This is no joke.

I have been reading up on some advice and tips on quitting. I have already lost some of my teeth, but I would like to keep what I do have. I want to be healthier for my children and my husband. They deserve me, and they deserve to have me around for a while. I do not want to go out the way my grandmother did.

My grandmother passed away having to be on oxygen and other medications. I already have asthma, and I do not want to add to that. I hope I have encouraged someone somewhere to quit with this blog. I am trying my hardest to quit myself.

My Grandmother

My grandmother was my best friend. She was an amazing woman that would do anything for anyone. On February 6, 2013 she passed away from cancer at 70 years old. She has smoked since she was about 16 years old. When she got to be about 55 she was on oxygen continuously. She slowly stopped being able to leave home because she couldn't breathe. It was completely awful.

She had a stroke back in 2010 and they told her to stop smoking. She did for about 2 weeks, but once she was released from the hospital she started back again. Eventually she went to see her physician and was told that if she stopped smoking it would kill her.

That was heartbreaking news since she could barely move without running out of breath. She was very important to me and now I no longer have her thanks to cigarettes. It's a tough habit to break, but it's even harder the longer you wait. It is best to stop as soon as possible.

Of course it is hard to just stop cold turkey, but maybe making a plan out to stop might help. Listing things off that you could do instead of smoking might help. That away when you do stop you can always go back to your list that you made.

You can even list out why you want to stop and you can always go back to it when you want to smoke. It could work since quitting cold turkey doesn't. If you have to make hundreds of lists, well it's better than being put six feet under because of a cigarette. They do take life's and they do not discriminate.

Trapped: Stop Controlling My Life!

With chains I am bound, to a destiny of toil, bondage and servitude to an unseen master. They who have the power to alter the course of this lifestream has a chokehold on my life. Oftentimes, they grip it with talons as sharp as an eagle's. I turn purple as I grasp for air, trying to clutch that which cannot be touched, never breathing happy as if with eyes wide open while seeing a nightmare. 

Yet with a forceful motion, I open my eyes and see that the eagle's talons are none but my own. I was choking myself, willfully, amidst the dreamy wisps of smoke. I cough when I walk and spit out the viscous liquid, pretending and fooling myself that in such a dastardly act, I have, in one fell swoop banished and exorcised the demons that lurk within. 

Yet they remain, gleefully laughing and snickering in silence. Pointing out that destiny was not meant to be controlled by a single person but by the multitude. With these they punish, as I observe the starvation of my head. A bottomless pit I clutch with broken nails in my fingers, grasping whatever soil that may be there. 

I beckon my soul to yell, yet no sound emerges. Choked beyond control, I bow down to my masters. 

Mesmerized and unbelieving, I watch as they tear down the walls of what I have built. Hopelessness emerges like a traitorous and dark fog from the nethers. 

Yet I carry on and move, with the tiny sliver of hope. That morsel as big as a corn kernel, lodged amidst the fiery charcoal rock of ignorance and retribution. 

In my head I bow down to thee, with my body bent I am enslaved for you to see. You laugh, I know and see. But in my heart, there is a light for all to see. 

How many must you enslave, with your treacherous hands by my neck? Oh control, you have the power to alter the will of the nations. Oh control, you have the might to decimate all, including the legions. 

Is it the will of God, that decrees forth my destiny? Or is it merely happenstance that those who utter the words of confusion, hold a dagger behind me? 

With a solitary will, I toil, crawling on all fours and all have surrendered except that one tiny morsel of faith. Were it not for my grace, I would have unleashed the furies and chaos would have ensued. But as the son of the law, providence dictates that my hands move in a certain manner. 

Providence! Hah!  

With a sound mockery of what has been built, they tarnish it with insanity disguised in an unworldly manner. Look about you and see what has been eroded over years of lack of foresight. Wanton insanity, unbridled abuse. 

Thus, it is now the present that we all have to see, what more could a slave do but do as thee bids? 

Thus we are all ensnared.

 

 

Maybe Tomorrow: Quitting and The Procrastinating Diva

                    Maybe Tomorrow: Quitting And The Procrastinating Diva

I am what you call a professional procrastinator. Unfortunately, it has been that way since I was just little diaper clad diva of four who would much rather have smeared my finger paint on the wall than sit down with those boring old letter and number books my parents were always trying to foist off on me. It was always “Carpe Diem” for me. The very wise words nearly every child who is born into this world adopts as their motto.

Fast forward about ten years and said procrastinator is sitting on the front porch of her house with her cool older sister and older sister’s even cooler friends. One of them, an extremely cute older boy I might add, thinks it’s funny to light a cigarette for little diva. Of course she isn’t going to turn it down. Carpe Diem right? After all, that’s what the cool kids were all doing. After coughing and sputtering through the first few puffs, much to the amusement of the older kids, little diva is now a bonafide nicotine addict in training.

I bet most of you have stories similar to this. It all starts out so innocently right? Maybe you have puff off your older sibling’s cigarette or sneak one from the pack your parent has carelessly left lying on the table. Sometimes it’s blatant curiosity, other times you just want to feel older, sophisticated, and look cool in front of your friends. Before you know it, you’re twenty-nine and cursing the day you ever picked up the damned things. What is it with us smokers (especially women) and putting off the quit? There are many different reasons I have come across in my own travels and I can only speak from my own personal experience. I have been married for ten years to a brilliant man. He is also a smoker. Actually, his whole family are a bunch of smokers. You might be asking yourself “What does this have to do with anything?” Well, my lovelies, I happen to live pretty much in their front yard. Anyone who smokes can tell you just how ridiculously difficult it is to quit smoking when you are constantly surrounded by those who light up. After you haven’t smoked in a couple of days, just a whiff of cigarette smoke in your proximity smells better than filet mignon with a side of devil’s food chocolate cake! Amplify that times twenty when you live in a house with someone who smokes. It makes it feel like almost an impossible task.

I am an idiot for smoking for many reasons. The least of which is that heart disease is nearly a given for me later on in life if I continue. There hasn’t been a woman on my mother’s side of the family who hasn’t died from it. I used to be a talented dancer. Now if I even attempt a pirouette in my living room, I am wheezing and out of breath in about five minutes. (Trust me; the sight of a former ballerina attempting her old tricks after years of smoking is both sad and also somewhat amusing if you happen to catch her falling on her ass after a particularly ambitious attempt.) I also used to have a pretty decent singing voice which is now beginning to be replaced with that smoker’s growl. Not sexy ladies, not sexy at all.

With all of these reasons in my pile of motivation to quit, you would think it would be something I was working overtime to do… Nope, not this procrastinating diva. Instead I say things such as “Oh, I’ll quit next month.” I am also guilty of going to bed and saying “NO MORE CIGARETTES AT ALL TOMORROW!” “I AM DONE!” only to light up as soon as I wake up the next morning. It’s such a vicious, miserable, cycle. Why does anyone do this to themself? I know I’m stronger than this. I know the will power is there. I just have to form a solid plan of attack and stick to it. I know that my body isn’t going to keep forgiving me for abusing it. So I will soldier on and keep trying…Next week sounds good. I will quit next week for sure.

Smoking and Drinking: A Dangerous Cocktail

When you picture people at bars, you see men and women casually smoking AND drinking, right? As the daughter of an alcoholic and a heavy smoker, my heart goes out to the children and spouses of those who indulge in both. Because let’s be realistic, the likelihood that anyone who smokes also drinks is strong. I did not see the correlation as a child or teenager, I just thought of them as separate bad habits. Read more