Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thank you for not smoking...

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you’ll see that I announced I decided to quit smoking. I’ve not done an update really, so here it is! On September 4th, I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned and ultimately, got up and played on the computer. (No point in just staring up at the ceiling, right?) I looked at Facebook and then began browsing Pinterest… chain smoking my Marlboros. (I wasn’t supposed to be smoking in the house either… oops!) Something caught my eye and it was comparison of a smoker and non smoker… something I have seen probably 1,000 times. For some reason though, it hit home. I clicked on the board that this person had assembled and looked at all the smoking cessation photos and links. One was about a man, age 33, husband and father who had been diagnosed too late, had an aggressive cancer, and had recently died looking nothing like the person he was. I read the stories from his family and cried. 

I thought to myself “but some people can smoke their entire lives and have no side effects whatsoever.” Did I want to chance being that person or the man above? As I took another drag, I thought about how I’ve said I wanted to quit in the past… but never really tried. I couldn’t even imagine it actually. What do you do in the car? After a meal? When you wake up? How do you function without smoking?

Back when we first started out, Chris and I found ourselves without money… frequently. (Poor decisions mostly… young and stupid.) I remember numerous times Chris asking if I wanted to eat or buy cigarettes… to which I always replied “get me a Coke and some smokes.” I would have much preferred not eat than do without cigarettes. 

I started on my 18th birthday, 12/27/2002. I figured I was legal and could buy two things… lotto tickets and cigarettes. So I did. While I had tried them a couple of times before, I could take them or leave them. I did it mostly with others, a social thing or I had one offered and didn’t want to seem like the ‘uncool’ freshman. I swore all my life (up until that point) that I would never smoke. I hated that my parents did and was so glad my dad has quit when I was in middle school. My mom was up to over two packs a day (she was forced to quit in 2004.) Following a birthday dinner with friends in the West End, my best friend and I were driving around and I stopped in at the 7-11. I scratched the lotto tickets and lit up the Camel Light. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t cough. I liked how it made me feel. I dropped her off at home and smoked another on the way home… and from then on, couldn’t stop. 

I remember going upstairs to my bathroom and smoking, ash-ing in the toilet. I’d smoke in the shower sometimes, because the smoke seemed to dissipate quicker. I’d watch myself in the mirror and try and master the French inhale. I loved that I had a few friends that would smoke with me at Starbucks and it just seemed… natural. My parents noticed the smell on me and in my truck, but being 18, I of course, always lied about it. (Did I really think they were stupid?)

By the time I went to (my only year) of college, I found myself smoking almost two packs a day sometimes. I’d walk down from the third floor of my dorm and spend awhile outside on the benches, smoking and talking on the phone. If it was raining, I’d stand outside under and umbrella. I’d walk to class, smoking. I don’t remember when, but at some point, I do remember thinking two packs was excessive… and costly (I mean they were like a whopping $3.00 a pack then!) Ha!

Anyways… you get the point. Fast forward to today… $6.50 a pack. Pack a day. Sick, all the time. Luckily, I went from Camels to Marlboro Lights, and then right before I quit… I had been smoking Ultra Lights. Which I guess is the lesser of evils. I was sick every morning from drainage. I got bronchitis about three or so times a year. I couldn’t walk after smoking without being winded. I smelled awful. My dog sneezed every time he got near the smoke. Ridiculous!

I had promised myself for awhile (and my family) that at the 10 year mark, I would quit. That was this year. As December drew closer, I found myself more fearful and anxious. How in the world was I going to do this? How could I quit? I can’t function without smoking. I went to bed that night, thinking about it, and said a short prayer about ‘giving me the strength’, like I had so many times before.

So the morning of September 5th, I woke up and shuffled to the living room and grabbed my morning smoke. I called Chris and mentioned I thought I was ready and maybe we should look into an E-Cig. I don’t know what made me say it really, but I  know that I did mean it. (Not enough to put them down right then!) As I drove to work that day, I smoked. After lunch and dinner, I smoked. When I got home that evening, Chris gave me a surprise…..

My first thought was “Crap! Now I HAVE to do this” but a small part of me was excited too. I tried it. Hm… not bad. I smoked just one real cigarette that night. The next day, I vaped, but missed the feeling of a cigarette… so I had one. I realized I could do without it. Take it or leave it… so I left it. I kept the four remaining cigarettes in the pack… wrote the date on them and carried them in my purse for several weeks. That was the last I had a REAL cigarette. We finally threw those final four in the trash. What a relief!

I’ve had serious cravings. I still do. Truly, if it weren’t for being able to Vape and get the sensation… I don’t know if I would have had success. I’d done a patch, gum, and Chantix. I need the oral fix of smoking. I need the “throat hit.” I’ve used the iPhone app, called My Last Cigarette to track my progress… and just look! 

It shows how much ‘time’ I’ve added back to my life. I’ve been a non-smoker for 43 days and in that time, I would have smoked 869 cigarettes. SERIOUSLY. I would have spent $282.49 in those 43 days…  how can I look at that every day and still want to buy a pack? It shows my savings and my estimated spending in all these years. All that money… to put BAD things into my body.

I used to roll my eyes at people. But if you are thinking about quitting, please know you can. As cliché as it is… if I can do it… you can too. I also knew I needed to quit if we wanted to try for a baby. I also thought about what the secondhand smoke was doing to my ASTHMATIC husband. How could I do that to people I love? 

Now… when Chris brought home the E-Cig, I started out at 18mg of nicotine. That means that, in all technicality, I wasn’t 100% “quit”—but also wasn’t getting the added tar and chemicals. What a difference just that change made! 

The first week was awful. Your body begins ridding itself of all that and you wonder if quitting was a good idea or not. My chest hurt and I hacked up tons and tons of junk from my lungs. 

Now? I feel so much better. I can walk from my car to a store, without a cigarette and NOT be winded. I sleep better and fall asleep faster. I smell better and when I put perfume on, it lasts. I don’t accidently burn holes in things. My circulation has improved and I don’t feel the random pulse racing that I did when I smoked one too many that day.

I felt so good in fact, that when I needed a refill… I moved down to 12 mg. Then 6 mg. And now? I’m at 0 mg. That means it’s just a habit. It’s just vapor! I could smoke the E-Cig the rest of my life and be fine, because I am not putting those things into my body anymore. And honestly, I am NOT ready to give this up. I will try, eventually… but considering I did this within a month, I think I can cut myself a little slack, right? I can do it anywhere, if I wanted to, which is another perk!

I’ve started mixing flavors and currently have Mom’s Menthol, Juicy Strawberry, and Lucky 7 (tobacco flavored) all mixed together. A great taste and good kick. Since I’m not so dependent on the taste of a cigarette, I am branching out more and ordering fruit flavors and other types.  I tried a bunch the last time I went to Good Vapes in Dallas and found several I want to purchase. Today, I ordered several to be shipped to me, from DFW Vapors. Cranberry, Menthol, Broadstreet Tobacco, RC Cola, and Peppermint. I can’t wait to try them! Heard they have super fast shipping since they are local... should get in a couple days.

Another thing about making the switch? PINK E-Cigs. Tell me that’s not reason enough. (They actually have a bedazzled one that I have my eye on too.) Hehe! I won’t continue on right now about vaping…. But please, consider it. Email me and ask me questions about them and how much money it will save you. It’s one of the best things I have ever done for myself.  

My family is ecstatic for me… and you know what? So am I. So when 12/27/2012 rolls around… I’ve already got this one checked off. How cool will it be to see how much time I added to my life by then and how much money I have saved? Thanks to everyone for their well wishes, prayers, and messages of support. Those really helped me too. Each of you were just another reason to keep at this and succeed. I’ll update off and on and hopefully, can always still say… I’m QUIT!

Side Note: My cousin made this for Chris on his birthday… you know, in case I got too ridiculous or withdrawing too badly. It’s so funny and too cute. I don’t think we’ll ever need to break the glass, but it’s a nice reminder. Thanks Stacy!

 Websites mentioned in the above post: and Check it out!