I had no idea that November was Lung Cancer Awareness Month. I just happened to come across it when I was looking for a topic for today’s post. I’m a day late for the Great American Smokeout, but I think I have some things to share with you that might make you think about quitting if you are still smoking.
I have some very special connections with lung cancer. My dad technically died from brain cancer, but it had spread from the lung cancer he had years earlier. Dad had been a smoker.
One of my very best friends has lung cancer right now. She has never smoked a day in her life, but her cancer spread from the breast cancer she had eight years ago.
I smoked for more years than I care to remember. On Thanksgiving, I will be four years tobacco free. Quitting smoking was truly one of the hardest things I have ever done. I tried multiple times to quit before I actually succeded. I always quit when I was pregnant, but I always went back to it. Thinking back now, I can’t believe I was that stupid. But, nicotene gets it’s claws in you and it doesn’t let go easily. It puts up one heck of a fight.
The only way I had success in quitting was to go “cold turkey”. I had tried some of the other methods to quit and I always went back. Sometimes I would last a week or two. Sometimes it would only be days, but I always went back.
I started the process of quitting by making a list of the things I had to be thankful for. It was a pretty lengthy list. Then I made a list of the things that were bad about smoking. It too was a long list, but not as long as my thankful list. I looked up lots of things on the internet about smoking. I was impressed by the list of things that change in your body as quickly as hours after you quit smoking. I was pretty sure that I was ready to finally quit smoking for good. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I knew it had to be done.
I picked Thanksgiving as my start day. I figured that if I started the process with things I was thankful for, then Thanksgiving was an omen, so to speak. I would also have all that yummy food to distract me from my nicotene cravings.
Within the first few days, I was amazed at how good food tasted. I had never known that smoking dulled my taste buds. All of a sudden, food tasted wonderful. That was a good thing and a bad thing. Food tasted good, so I wanted to eat it. I wasn’t smoking, so I told myself that eating was better than smoking. Long story short….I gained some weight. I still think to this day that is better than smoking.
Gaining the weight from quitting smoking was how I found the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans in the first place. I think that was a win/win for me. No more smoking and finding some of the most amazing people I know. Yep, win/win!!
I’m not going to lie to you and say it was easy to quit smoking. It was hard work. There were times when I was downright surly. I am lucky that my family, friends and coworkers didn’t disown me. They were all great though. They were big helps.
There were three things that I think helped me more than anything else. I drank so much water, I think I sloshed when I walked. I just thought this would wash the toxins out of my body faster. I had an endless supply of Starlight Mints. Anytime I felt a craving for a cigarette, I popped a mint. Lastly, I exercised every day. I think it helped keep the weight gain to a minimum and it kept me occupied.
One of the best sites I found online was at cancer.org. There is a lot of information and help there. Read through it. You can learn an awful lot. You may find your inspiration there.
If you are still a smoker, I hope that this will give you some things to think about. Maybe “cold turkey” isn’t for you. There are so many other ways to quit. You just have to decide which way is best for you.
Lastly, if there is anything specific you want to know about my quitting process, please feel free to contact me. I am definitely not an expert on the subject, but I can tell you what worked for me. I am no longer a smoker and I am very proud that I can make that statement.