No Thoughts of Smoking Today

FoolishWorkinj
FoolishWorkinj

June 2nd, 2006, 8:04 pm #1

Hi Fellow Travelers!

Just wanted to write to share some thoughts after two days when I didn't once think about smoking -- after 42 years of forced feeding nicotine into my system at almost a two-pack a day addiction.

I am almost at the five month mark in this my final quit, and as most of us know, it is a roller coaster journey. I have been a whiner on these boards and a questioner, and now, I hope, a person who is beginning to understand acceptance, one day at time.

The past few days have been personally challenging. My estranged husband is taking a job 8 hours away, and our misunderstandings with each other are palpable. We have talked, cried, tried to reach a new level of detachment, etc. And not once during any of our talks have I wanted to smoke, thought about smoking, or told myself that I needed to smoke. This came as such an after-thought of surprise that I wanted to post here again and share this new development.

Even as I say I didn't think about smoking -- that I didn't have an urge, or a memory or anything -- I feel confident that I will have a thought, a memory, and an urge again. I was a very seriously sick, addicted smoker for most of my life. I am a very young non-smoker, and the old ways often come back and haunt me.

Still, for this moment, in this day, I have no desire to smoke, and that is a blessing and a new template that I am taking in consciously, to replace those old siren memories of smoking when I could do my drug unconsciously, without once focusing on the death song I was singing to my lovely, loyal body. I am also taking in this new feeling of not craving and contrasting it with the reality that smoking had become before I quit. There are sick memories of smoking that I need to remember to fortify myself if an urge comes along to unsteady me. These sick memories are what smoking did to me over time: I coughed in the final months, and I had never coughed, nor do I cough any longer. I was thinner then, in a gray, atrophied sort of way. Now I have muscles and I am losing the weight slowly, half-a- pound a week. Last summer I had too little energy to climb a steep hillside or swim across the quarry here, which I love to do. I had too little energy to spend in my body, where I love to live. Now I can swim the quarry with the barn swallows! I can take a day hike with breath to spare. And most importantly, I am grateful to feel, finally, a glimmer of what it is to live each day without needing, craving, thinking about, searching for, conniving over some whacked out antidote to being fully alive.

Keep treking. I believe what others come back and tell us, that freedom is there, and gets sweeter every day.

Best, Joanne, free for 142 days
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Joel
Joel

June 2nd, 2006, 8:22 pm #2

"I am almost at the five month mark in this my final quit, and as most of us know, it is a roller coaster journey."
The Real Cigarette Induced
"Roller Coaster" Ride



You will sometimes hear people who have quit smoking say that they experienced a real emotional roller coaster in the early days of their quits. In fact, some people put off quitting, sometimes indefinitely, because they are afraid of the emotional ups and downs they may experience during the initial cessation period.

What all smokers need to realize is that the "possible" roller coaster ride people "may" go through when they are quitting is nothing compared to the roller coaster ride people WILL go through if they get any of the numerous conditions that smoking is capable of causing.

In March of 2006 a member at the Freedom site named Sue attached the obituary for her husband Mike, who had passed away after a five year struggle with lung cancer. The original post can be seen in the 15th post in the string Honor our Fallen Comrades Parade. In that post she put up a link to the Lung Cancer Support Community website. John has had links to this site at www.WhyQuit.com for a long time but I never actually went there to read. That day though I took a look and saw that they had a series of message boards, one of them being a board of obituaries. When I went to look at Mike's notice, I saw that not only was there the obituary written by Sue but also condolences written by other members of the site.

One thing struck me in Sue's announcement and then in the attached condolences: most of the people at the site attached a log of the treatments and the complications that they had endured since their initial diagnosis. If anyone wants to see the real roller coaster kind of rides that people go through from smoking they should go read through those logs. Here is the log that Sue attached describing Mike's battle with lung cancer.



Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 4:01 pm
Post subject: I lost my precious Mike
I have little strength to post . I just wanted to let you know that my precious, Mike lost his battle today. I will write more later and post his obituary when we get it completed. Thank you to everyone for your love and support.

Love,

Sue





husband, Mike, 59 years old
  • 2-01 dx'd Stage 1 nsclc-9cm tumor to right lung-no lymph node involvement...
  • 4-30-01 pneumonectomy right lung removed. No follow-up chemo or radiation , but scans and xrays were done
  • 1-28-04 dx w/recurrent stage IV nsclc tumor on stump of where right lung had been removed , lymph node involvement, tumor adrenal gland -lft side,
  • 02-04-04 - taxol & carboplatin 3 treatments-didn't work
  • 02-12-04 - radiation 10 to lung for bleeding
  • 04-2-04 - taxotere had 4 treatments. shrinkage had occurred in all after 3.. continuing taxotere. making him very tired ... upper body swelling ..
  • 08-01-04 - in hospital latest..
  • 08-02-04 had stent put in .. superior vena cava.. the vein was being blocked by pressure tumor.
  • 08-05-04-started 10 radiation treatments,
  • 08-30-04- started Navelbine on 3 weeks and off 1 Scan after 5 treatments show chemo Navelbine not working -slight decrease to lung mass, but slight increase to adrenal ....
  • 11-01-04-starting Gemzar ... had 3 treatments... too many side effects... Ct of chest and upper abdomen done on Dec. 2nd -results some shrinkage
  • 12-06-04-started Alimta Dec. 6th- first treatment went well Had 2nd treatment Dec. 27th ... developed a rash and is tired, but otherwise ok Scan Feb 7th, 2005 STABLE doing good continuing Alimta April 18th scans showed stable disease (after 6 Alimta treatments), but he now has pneumonitis... no more treatments until much better.. on prednisone and oxygen..
  • 05-31-05 Ct scan of chest showed pneumonitis resolved and stable cancer
  • 06-06-05-our 35th wedding anniversary... onc confirms everything resolving and stable -recommends break continued til August
  • 6-15-05 to 6-18-05 in hospital due to mental confusion ... had MRI-member empty head club
  • 8-3-2005-Ct scans chest , abdomen and pelvic....Waiting and praying...
  • 8-8-2005-Ct results were that the chest area looked improved, but the adrenal area had increased and involved some lymph nodes. Started Tarceva 150mg
  • 8-16-2005-8-20-2005 stopped 2 weeks due to severe rash on 9-8-2005 started back on Tarceva at 100 mg now.. stopped again on 9-19-2005
  • 9-30-2005 - scans slight progression to nodes behind adrenal..
  • 10-10-2005-Camptosar - CPT-11 started
  • 10-31-2005 - CPT-11 refused more CPT-11 made him extremely fatigued and nauseated
  • Dec. 6th - CTscans chest, abdomen & pelvic. shows stable but tumor compressing the esophagus..
  • Dec. 19th - had stent to trachea put in
  • Dec. 21st - he had stent to esophagus and feeding tube put in
  • Dec. 22nd .. he will ill put in hospital... vomiting and also coughing and congestion in for 4 days... home for Christmas Dec. 25th... still recuperating with antibiotics etc. Continuing cough and numerous doctor visits.
  • Jan 30th-Feb 4th- hospitalized again with cough ...Still has cough , but controlled most of the time Hasn't been able to resume chemo
  • My "prince charming", best friend, husband and soul mate, Mike, passed away March 2, 2006 after being a 5 year survivor and fighting a very courageous battle**
Sending Love and Prayers to all!!!





When people don't even attempt to quit because of the pain or suffering that quitting might cause, or throw away their quits because of some withdrawal symptom, I think they are truly lacking the understanding of just what kind of pain and suffering not quitting can really end up causing them. When I saw the log above as well as all of the others attached to the string, it hit home again just how important a mission we are trying to accomplish at Freedom. I asked Sue if it was okay with her if we used this log at Freedom. Here is an excerpt of Sue's response:

"Please feel free to use the "log" or "profile" I have on the cancer site . I know in my heart, Mike would want to share any information we could provide you with if you think it could help to portray the very real consequences smoking had in store for him and so many others. The log really is quite long isn't it? Yes, it is the true meaning of "roller coaster rides".

Mike began his fight with lung cancer 5 years ago in 2001. You will note on the profile that he was diagnosed in February of 2001 and he had a pneumonectomy - right lung removed on April 30th of that year. He then had to start fighting the battle anew with his recurrence diagnosed January of 2004. He had barely recuperated from that initial surgery when he was again diagnosed with recurrence. This time it was not considered curable .

Mike went through seven different kinds of chemotherapy and a total of 20 radiation therapy treatments, not to mention the one that he had just 2 days before his death. All of this in an effort to live a little longer.

He endured what seemed like hundreds of needles, scans, x-rays and other invasive tests along the way. We went through each step with optimism and praying for positive results. Sometimes we got them and sometimes we didn't.

The treatments themselves, undertaken to try and kill the cancer, would often take him to a point that seemed to be so very near death. A "good day" was to be able to stay awake, most of the day, and eat without being nauseous. He lived the last year dependent on oxygen 24/7, having to have breathing treatments 3 times a day plus bronchiodiating inhalers twice a day. He went through 2 months in the middle of last year where he was on medication that caused a psychosis and he didn't know what he was doing. This is just touching on the highlights, but when we got to the end of his days, his body wasted away rapidly and his breathing was labored - something I will never, ever forget. It would have surely been easier to have quit smoking or to never have smoked many years before."

I don't want to minimize the discomfort that some people go through while first quitting smoking. I do want to make it clear though that the pain and suffering that a person may go through if they don't quit and end up developing a smoking related illness, is likely to be a whole lot worse than whatever withdrawal "may" have caused them. Then, there is the ongoing emotional pain and suffering that is left for the people who lose their loved ones to smoking related deaths.

So, can quitting smoking end up in sensations of being on a roller coaster ride? Maybe so, but all people quitting should realize that it is a short ride, and more importantly, that it is a ride that can extend their life and improve the overall quality of their life for years and decades to come. Whatever discomfort a person may initially encounter when quitting smoking will be worth the effort when he or she considers how short this particular ride will be in the grand scheme of things and that he or she will never have to go on it again as long as he or she makes and continues to stick to a personal commitment to Never Take Another Puff!

Joel
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gingerjoe501
gingerjoe501

June 2nd, 2006, 8:46 pm #3

Joanne, You are making great progress! And knowing that the thoughts will come and they will GO , means you are always prepared. Keep on looking ahead, this really does get better everyday. NTAP. Maggie.
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forza d animo
forza d animo

June 2nd, 2006, 9:55 pm #4

Congratulations Joanne on 142 days. Your enthusiasm and sense of self discovery is encouragement for others just beginning this journey and a reminder to those of us who are a little further down the road how much of a difference it can make in our life to remain nicotine free.

Indeed it does get sweeter every day as long as you keep looking for the good in life and as long as you never take another puff.

Joseph
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4Taylor
4Taylor

June 3rd, 2006, 12:00 am #5

Joanne,

I enjoyed reading your post. Here's to more energy to spend in your body where you love to live!!! It DOES get sweeter and I'm trekking along right behind you!

Kristin
One month, 21 hours, 0 minutes and 23 seconds. 637 cigarettes not smoked, saving $159.38. Life saved: 2 days, 5 hours, 5 minutes.
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SandraJ0 Gold1
SandraJ0 Gold1

June 3rd, 2006, 1:26 am #6

Joanne congratulations!!! What a great feeling that is, that suprise of not wanting a fix in a tough situation. Your doing great!!!

Stay smart, stay aware, stay quit Sandy free and healing since 28 January 06
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crissycrost
crissycrost

June 3rd, 2006, 6:43 am #7

Hi Joanne and Congratulations.

As I am brand new in my quit and have not made it to Glory week yet, it is a real inspiration to read your post and know that it will get better and better.
My thoughts are still so full of smoking every day. I can't wait until I can say I didn't even think about smoking today.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Christy - Free and Healing for Five Days, 21 Hours and 43 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 5 Hours, by avoiding the use of 71 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $17.72.
My Quit Date: May 27, 2006 9:00 PM
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FoolishWorkinj
FoolishWorkinj

June 3rd, 2006, 10:59 am #8

Thanks to everyone. Especially to Cristy. I wish I could bring up some of my old posts, but unfortunately I never put them in a journal. I struggled in the beginning, and I do want you to hear that it does get better, and at moments, it feels truly magical to be a nonsmoker. I will watch for your journal and travel along with you. Soon you will be a glory week. Congratulations, Cristy, for taking this courageous step.
Best, Joanne
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Starshinegrl Gold
Starshinegrl Gold

June 3rd, 2006, 5:41 pm #9

Joanne, just for you (and for Christy and ...), have a look:
(You could make this one your journal if you just bring it up one day and then post all these links into it. Whenever you make a new post, you could add the link there ... and you'll always know exactly where you were at which point in your journey.)

I hope I got all your posts here as they really show how far you personally have come already on this journey of ours.

You know what? It really startles me how yours remembers me of my own. I remember it like yesterday: it was on day 145 that I was brave (or confident?) enough to change "my" formula from napt to NTAP!

I would also like to second Joseph and to ask you to never forget what you have experienced and what your first days / weeks as a recovering addict were really like. That won't take anything away from the comfort you are starting to experience (it WILL still get better!).

Well, I need to get out of here now but I couldn't not congratulate you on your massive achievements , especially as I won't be around for your silvering.

Joanne, thank you for all your so very honest posts, your encouragement to others and for just being you!

Wishing you a really good nicotine free journey to silver and beyond!

Gitte
554 days and a bit
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ChurnedSue
ChurnedSue

June 3rd, 2006, 6:45 pm #10

Hi Joanne
Sorry you are having a difficult time.....I am to .....but likewise I haven't really given any serious consideration to smoking I find that incredible.
I really don't know where this back problem is heading but will I be TAP?
(What and add to my problems..........I dont think soooooooooo.)

"what will be will be" we know ...but this NTAP is something in our lives we can control.
So glad you are enjoying your freedom and long may it continue

Sue
Free 154 days and grateful with a saving of £800.80 after 45 years of enslavement
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FoolishWorkinj
FoolishWorkinj

June 3rd, 2006, 8:37 pm #11

Thanks, Gitte, and Sue. I will make this my journal. That's a fabulous idea. I don't know how to actually show the posts, Gitte, but I don't need to, because you have already put them all together for me. You are what hikers call a "trail angel" who comes along the way and makes sure there are no fallen trees to block the hike, to make sure the hikers have all the sustenance they need,a warm bed,a friendly chat, and the encouragement and wisdom that comes from having already travelled this particular winding road.

Regards to all. Joanne, I have been quit for 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 3 Days, 37 minutes and 7 seconds (144 days). I have saved $1,181.00 by not smoking 5,761 cigarettes. I have saved 2 Weeks, 6 Days and 5 minutes of my life. My Quit Date: 1/10/2006 8:00 AM, with gratitude to Freedom.
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KatieDidIt1999
KatieDidIt1999

June 3rd, 2006, 9:28 pm #12

Just think Joanne....creeping up on silver! It's almost like a dream isn't it....something we could not even imagine once upon a time. It sounds as though your comfort is finding you or you are finding your comfort! Way to go qs...hang in there.
yqs
Kat
151 Free Days
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Bonniequit
Bonniequit

June 3rd, 2006, 10:39 pm #13

Joanne,

Thanks so much for sharing with us your experience of not thinking about smoking during challenging times. Every time I hear that message, it reinforces my own commitment to NTAP since I can believe that it will become easier with a little patience!!

I'm going to go back and read all the messages Gitte so thoughtfully brought up for you, so that I can follow your amazing journey.

Bonnie
Happily nicotine free for One month, three days, 20 hours, 9 minutes and 44 seconds. A grand total of 778 nicotine sticks not ingested, saving $264.63 of my hard-earned money. Life saved: 2 days, 16 hours, 50 minutes.
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Mitzi499
Mitzi499

June 6th, 2006, 8:43 pm #14

Joanne, hi, and thanks for sharing your thoughts on those two days when smoking never even entered your head. After a couple of difficult days without access to Freedom and all of my fellow quitters, it's so great to get back and read of all the successes again. Knowing that comfort is attainable does so help.

As you say, onward to sweet freedom.

Maria - 7 weeks free after 38 years
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FoolishWorkinj
FoolishWorkinj

June 8th, 2006, 9:22 am #15

I am taking Gitte's advice and using this as my journal now, and I wanted to follow up on these days when I don't think about smoking. This weekend I was in New York with a crowd of very close friends, and we went to a music program and one of my very dear friends went out for a cigarette and I went with her. Hadn't seen her smoke since I quit in January, and what I felt was a big giant nothing -- I didn't feel sad, jealous, envious. I just felt grateful that I wasn't doing that any more. So it gets better -- and better. WOW!

regards, joanne, free for 148 days
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auntvaleria
auntvaleria

June 8th, 2006, 12:34 pm #16

Way to go Joanne! You are doing an awesome job with your quit, facing the challenges of real life. That was hard for me, to face the fact that life goes on, life happens, and that nicotene will not make anything better! You are an inspiration; thanks for sharing your journey with us. One day at a time and NTAP!

aunt valeria
I have been quit for 3 Months, 1 Week, 5 Days, 4 hours, 4 minutes and 50 seconds (104 days). I have saved $286.46 by not smoking 2,083 cigarettes. I have saved 1 Week, 5 hours and 35 minutes of my life. My Quit Date: 2/23/2006 7:30 PM
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realmarino
realmarino

June 11th, 2006, 3:27 am #17

Thank you for your post to my diary. My weight is kinda staying at a 12 lb gain. its ok cause I feel so good. Your quit is so strong and I see that you are doing great .NTAP you are a real encouragement to me.



I have been quit for 2 Months, 3 Weeks, 1 Day, 16 hours, 27 minutes and 48 seconds (83 days). I have saved $238.49 by not smoking 1,004 cigarettes. I have saved 3 Days, 11 hours and 40 minutes of my life. My Quit Date: 3/18/2006 11:00 PM
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FoolishWorkinj
FoolishWorkinj

June 12th, 2006, 1:56 am #18

This message has been deleted by the manager or assistant manager.
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Bonniequit
Bonniequit

June 12th, 2006, 2:22 am #19

What a great post Joanne!! And how wonderful that, at five months, you can recognize what triggered your smoking thoughts, say no to your inner junkie, and recommit so strongly to your quit...



What a great inspiration you are for me!! Thanks for your post.

Bonnie
Happily nicotine free for One month, one week, four days, 23 hours, 51 minutes and 51 seconds. A grand total of 965 nicotine sticks not ingested, saving $328.39 of my hard-earned money. Life saved: 3 days, 8 hours, 25 minutes.
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happybeaming
happybeaming

June 12th, 2006, 3:19 am #20

JoAnne,

I don't know why, but your post quelled the anxiety I came to this site with. Here I was, dying to smoke, and I came here, I thought, to hear people say that the craving goes away.

And, yes, I read a couple of those......but it didn't help. I thought I wanted to hear that at 5 months I'd be craving free, but, for some odd reason, your sharing your craving helped me more than the posts about being craving free.

I think it's that you're feeling the way I do, and, in spite of these episodes, you've made it to 5 months.

Yay for you! And me!

Doretta, nicotine free almost 4 weeks now.
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Joined: January 16th, 2003, 8:00 am

June 12th, 2006, 6:11 am #21

From: FoolishWorkinj Sent: 6/11/2006 12:56 PM
A good June Sunday to all, and thanks to realmarino. I am writing, ironically, onto my "no thoughts of smoking" journal in order to say that today I had nothing but thoughts of smoking, and they have startled me as if I didn't know better, that probably I will often have intense urges that feel like a craving, even if they are not. My brain has been damaged by nicotine. As Joel has explained and as the library reminds us, there are hardwire changes that have occurred to our brains -- all those thirsting, junkie receptors on our nerve endings, and when they get triggered, watch out!!

So today I am with friends in the morning and then I have hired an amazing gardening assistant to help me put in a vegetable bed (belatedly, I know), and he shows up with a buddy, who is smoking. I watch this man in his early 30s, maybe, pull off close to the edge of the woods at our house, and light up, as if he's not sure whether I will castigate him for smoking in my yard. I don't. I just watch. He looks embarrassed, sneaky, and not cool. I am glad that I am not him. But something has triggered me -- I get that feeling in my nose that I associate with withdrawal, wanting a smoke to end the discomfort. How wierd!! I haven't felt that old nose feeling since the first 2 days of my quit. What is this???

Ah, I remember. Yesterday I went to the opening of an artist buddy whose work I love. She and I were not only art buddies, we were also smoking buddies. We hadn't seen one another for almost a year, and so she asked me to go out in the back garden of the gallery with her while she smoked. I went, and boy did I want to smoke with her. It was about being in the club, the old stinky smokers' club, the old rose colored glasses club, the rebel with a cause club. I didn't smoke or even acknowledge to myself that I wanted to. I haven't admitted it yet, until now. I had a trigger from an old friend who still smokes and who I believe is crazy and cool. That Rose Colored Glasses thread was the truth, and that old rebel is still lurking. No!! that part of me is in service to my addiction, and I have to name it as such. That's my junkie who wants her old false buddy.

I think:if I smoked again, I could drop ten pounds in a matter of weeks. I wouldn't have these pudgy cheeks when I smile. Then I think, right, but I might have emphysema or a heart attack before I can the weight off, when I'm chubby and smoking at my old level again. Because I would. I know I would.

1= All. 1=ALL. 1= all. And I know this, and I won't smoke. But I'd better not get complacent or those rose colored glasses fears will do me in.

Thank you. Joanne. Free for 5 months. WOW! I never quit for 5 months before, and I don't know if I ever could again, so I'd better cherish this quit, and keep my head up, and remember there are no coincidences. Whatever made me decide to REALLY quit this time is still out there lurking and could get me if I let my guard down. Ever vigilent, I commit once more to NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF.
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