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I tried to quit last year but 2012 was such a crappy year that I eventually relapsed. I hate myself for it.

In 2012, I attempted to quit several times. Every month I made an attempt. Sometimes I would go for two days without, other times, two weeks.

I'm so scared. My mind won't let me sleep. What will I do without health insurance? I turn 40 this year and I found a gray hair on my head. Pretty soon, something's gonna happen to my health if I don't stop this smoking shit. For all I know, I could have emphysema right now or the beginning stages of lung cancer. How the fuck would I know if I can't even see a doctor?

Nicotine withdrawal is playing tricks on my mind. Like an RKelly song inverted, my body's telling me no, but my mind, my mind is telling me YES! Just get in the car and go to the store. Just get in the car and got to the fucking store. All the tension in your belly will relax, the taste in your mouth will go away. Try again next week. Fuck you, brain!

I quit smoking weed, too. Quitting cigarettes and continuing to smoke weed didn't really give me the satisfaction I needed. Of course, my untreated depression depends on weed for self medication but it doesn't help my depression about dying of lung cancer when I continued to cough for 2 months after quitting. I know the cough will be there without the weed but now when I cough, it feels cleansing, like I'm loosening things up, clearing things out, you know? Before, I couldn't tell if I was coughing from cigarettes or weed. I love to wake up and cough now. It feels strangely...good.

I got a free membership at the rec center last week. They have a nice fitness room with cool, new workout equipment. I only went to workout once so far but I plan to go back often. I'm just not ready this week. I have to hide in this house and not drive past stores that sell cigarettes because I never know when The Crave will hit me.

I can't even call my damn mother. I'm such an angry person. I'm angry because I hate my mother for being abusive to me my whole life in one way or another. I wrote a whole bunch of stuff about how I hate her because she won't even let me forgive her for the past. She's actually attempting to invent another past in which she was never an alcoholic. That's it. I'm done with the bitch for good. I have to hang up on her every time I try to talk to her. EVERY TIME. She won't STFU about conspiracy theories and I'm not gonna listen to the shit for 2 hours and I think she's an idiot so I really, really don't want to hear shit that she's too ignorant to debunk. She insists on bullying me with it anyway even when I tell her to stop. I'm not important enough to her for her to STFU about something that will be the last nail in the coffin of our relationship. She's so offensive and crass and nasty. I might not even attend her funeral.

I won't feel guilty about not attending her funeral, either. There's nothing redeeming about her as a mother. My grandfather didn't attend his father's funeral because he used to physically abuse my grandfather until he was grown and actually tried to shoot him once. My grandfather didn't have to take that shit and neither do I. We don't owe anything to people just because they brought us into the world to do nothing but ruin and hurt us. My grandfather was an asshole, too but different.

It helps me to watch Shameless on Showtime (the USA remake). If you've ever seen this series, you have seen my childhood. I'm black Fiona Gallagher, nice to meet you. My mother is actually Frank AND Monica, Fiona's parents. If she wasn't disappearing and leaving us with alcoholic grandparents for months, she was the alcoholic, laying in a puddle of her own piss in the morning (if she made it home at all) while I ran around trying to get everybody off to school. I'm not as selfless as Fiona but our lives are so paralleled, I wonder if somebody hadn't been spying on my family for the plotline of that show. She's not nice to me. She's jealous that I'm prettier and younger than her which is so offensive and alarming to me, I won't even eat her food because I think she's a monster. She's the sickest mother as far as psychological abuse I've ever seen. She's such a narcissist, she makes Frank Gallagher look like a saint by comparison.

Paging Dr. Freud.

I feel alone. I don't have a husband or a boyfriend or even a sane mother. All my friends smoke something or other but not usually cigarettes. Black n Mild cigars or weed mostly. They keep a bottle of vodka in the house.

I'm not a big drinker, even though I have had brief alcoholic episodes in my life. I recognize that I'm an alcoholic so that's one thing I keep in check. I start acting like an asshole when I get drunk. I don't act abnormally promiscuous or anything like that. I don't dance on tables and fight people. I get really hostile and sarcastic to men who hit on me the wrong way instead of just walking away. I'll argue with my friends who say political things I don't agree with. Somebody always brings up Trutherism or The Illuminati. It's like I wait for it so I can pounce. It's a way of fighting my mother by proxy. Seriously, Dr. Freud, help me. Everything leads back to HER.

This happens when I drink past the point where I know I need to stop. It rarely happens nowadays but that's not what worries me. Drinking is a huge trigger for cigarette craving.

Drinking, smoking and drugs; the calling cards of a poor and dysfunctional life. This is what they say that "the ghetto blacks" and "the poor white trailer trash" devote their lives to instead of more productive pursuits. Fuck everybody who says that. How nice for them that they didn't have parents that smoked cigarettes and weed and drank to excess. La-de-fucking-da, you privileged little brats. I'll bet your parents were drunks, too, they were just able to hide it with money.

I want to be healthy and productive, too. Other people buy clothes, I spend my money trying to keep my teeth from looking too "poor", even if my shoes give me away. Shoes can be replaced or even borrowed, not teeth. Poor people can't go to the dentist for most things unless they pay. It's really hard to do. I refuse to date or even kiss most men because I'm afraid of what's living in their mouths after 40 years of no dentistry. I had all the tartar scraped off my teeth and under my gums 2 years ago. Smoking made it worse than it would have been. It's time for me to have it done again and I don't know how I'll get the money this time. I'm gonna use all the money I would have spent on cigarettes, I guess.

In case you're wondering, it's only the beginning of day 3 and I'm wearing a very weak, outdated Step 3 nicotine patch. I was gonna spring for the whole set, starting at Step 1, but I really, really want nicotine out of my body as soon as possible.

I just want to say, thank you all for listening and thanks for being such nice people. I'm sad about Translator (Dave) and GreenMountainBoy02 and the sadness is a bit of a trigger because I feel that the only people I can truly trust are within the pages of this crazy blog. When you guys are hurting, I feel it, too. I couldn't sleep so I wanted to talk to you all but things are so hard to say sometimes. I feel as if I can say anything here. I'm saying that I'm a desperate addict in the grips of withdrawal and I need to write even if you don't read it.

The Crave has passed. I think I'm gonna make it this time. People around here have bigger problems than me and I know it too well so ignore me if you want because I completely understand. I appreciate the format of this blog that gives us all a chance to be prolific (or not) writers and this is the best tool I have, so thank you, Markos Moulitsas as well.

Good night (or morning, whatever) I've been up since about 3am and now I feel a little bit sleepy. One minute at a time, lord, one minute at a time.

I love you. Thanks for being here for me. ((((((Daily Kos)))))))

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

    by GenXangster on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:16:23 AM PST

  •  Patches made me smoke more- e-cigs made it (5+ / 0-)

    easier to quit, if you can find a legitimate supplier and not those scams that were prevalent a couple of years ago- something about inhaling (deep breathing) was the part I like.

    However, after a couple of years of not smoking (I needed to do something, don't ask me why) I found organic tobacco, roll my own and since it's my only vice...oh well.
    If I didn't smoke, I'd be just about!

    But wish you luck in whatever you choose.

    Have you considered writing a book/memoir and publishing it? You write very well!!

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones." "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    by roseeriter on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:27:06 AM PST

    •  Thank you for the kind words. (4+ / 0-)

      One of my friends from Daily Kos offered to help me with publishing but I'm having a hard time writing about myself in book form because the story's not over. I see a happy ending way ahead and I can't format any story about myself until I have all that info or else I'm just writing a tragic, unispiring story that will help nobody.

      I'm trying to come up with a good fictional plot, though. I'm so insecure about my level of education. I was watching a film about writers earlier today. They went to Harvard and stuff. It just makes me feel like a dunce, like I need some classes.

      I imagine that organic tobacco is so many times less harmful than the cigarettes I used to smoke, I aint even mad at, you, rose. lol I could quit a lot easier if it weren't for the goddamn chemicals that made the addiction WORSE.

      But the patch works for me. The E cigs is just too much temptation. I need to shut my mouth and be still. the patch takes the edge of the sharp pains of withdrawal.

      "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

      by GenXangster on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:39:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Write your story via novel- I did and it was very (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GenXangster, flumptytail, JoanMar

        carthatic, and healthy to expell one's demons. As far as thinking you don't have enough education to write?? BS! Some of the worse writing I've ever read are by people with PHD's- Most of the best are people like us :)  people with Passion and an interesting eventful life.

        Also if you can conquer the FEAR part of stopping an addiction-fear of side effects- you'll Do It!

        For me, it keeps me moving as I won't do it inside or near anyone, cause if I didn't I'd probably almost never leave my bed-room...and that's my truth.

        Chewing on a tooth pick or straw also helped when the urge came. The urges don't last but a minute..

        "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones." "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

        by roseeriter on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:50:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Have you read the Fifty Shades of Grey? (0+ / 0-)

          The worst writing I have every seen. Srsly. I picked it up, read a few paragraphs and sent it to the donation pile.
          Don't you know it will be made into a movie?

          Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

          by JoanMar on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:10:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  LOL Oh, great. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FindingMyVoice, flumptytail

    A movie called "200 cigarettes" just started on one of the several HBO channels I have.

    Remember when people used to smoke in movies? I hate these people's guts right now. lol I'm gonna watch a new movie where nobody is smoking. This piece o crap movie came out in 1999. Figures. :-D

    "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

    by GenXangster on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:43:00 AM PST

  •  I was on the gum a long time (4+ / 0-)

    But when I tried to get off the gum, it was like getting hit hit by a train. People said it got better after a few days, but it didn't. At least I wasn't smoking.

    I've been nicotine free for a couple years now. What I did was to stop the gum, and start drinking chamomile tea and taking Valerian capsules. I'm sure it was partly placebo - at one point I was out of Valerian, and I got panicky, like I might when out of nicotine. But the relaxation properties of chamomile and Valerian helped too.

    It was like part of my brain "forgot" that nicotine gum would provide a (temporary) relief from overwhelming stress and stopped demanding it.

    The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

    by A Citizen on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:52:06 AM PST

    •  Valerian. I'll look into that. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GDbot, FindingMyVoice, flumptytail

      Chamomile relaxes? I didn't know that. I'll try that, too.

      Addiction sucks. I wish I was locked up in rehab right now.

      "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

      by GenXangster on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:08:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Chamomile (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GDbot, GenXangster, flumptytail

        According to Wikipedia, "There is Level B evidence to support the claim that chamomile possesses anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties and chamomile may have clinical applications in the treatment of stress and insomnia." Chamomile tea has been used for a long time when people want to relax. At worst, its just a cup of tea

        Valerian can produce stomach upset if you overdo it. Early on, I would overdo it, and it was like having too much gas. Some people drink it as a tea, but I think Valerian smells bad, so I took it as a capsule.

        If you're allergic to ragweed, you may want to avoid Valerian as well.

        The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

        by A Citizen on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:26:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I've mostly seen valerian recommended (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        flumptytail, GenXangster, GDbot

        as a sleep aid - and it did that for me excellently!  Actually too well, I had a hard time being awake and alert for a long drive the next morning.

        I haven't taken it since then.  It's possible I simply took more than I should have.  Still, I'd say you should be careful with it and make sure you understand how it affects you before driving, etc.  It might be an "I'm all done with stuff now, time to chill" at the end of the day kind of herb for you.

        Chamomile is great!  It makes a nice tea and it has never delivered a knock out to me.  Soothing, calming, helps with relaxing.

        If you're having trouble sleeping, you might want to try melatonin.  It's a hormone or enzyme or something that our bodies naturally produce, but production declines with age.  My doctor said he takes it, so I felt it was ok for me too.  Again, an end of the day, ready to pack it in substance for me.

        BTW. I'm an ex-smoker.  I sort of feel bad because it wasn't so hard for me when I quit - just went cold turkey and was over the worst in a few days.  Now that there's no smoking in bars, restaurants, etc in my state, it makes it MUCH easier to forget about lighting up when I have a beer or two or after a meal.

        Wishing you the best - it REALLY IS WORTH IT to quit.

        Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences. -Robert Louis Stevenson, novelist, essayist, and poet (1850-1894)

        by Spirit of Life on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:09:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Arresting your addiction (6+ / 0-)

    Smoked 2.5 packs a day for about 15 years!

    Just before my daughter was born decided to stop…. one day at a time… I treated my addiction to nicotine just like my addiction to alcohol.. LIKE AN ADDICTION!

    To deal with the physical aspect I used the patch. Most cities now provide them free of charge… To deal with the mental aspect I turned to a "Higher Power"…. This helped me out immensely! Because, although the patch is alleviating the physical urge to smoke your head is still fucked up and you got to get through the stinking thinkin'.

    I'm now an atheist but if you're not then you have the big guy on your side and you can let your brain hold conversations with him for hours!!! Here is a trick… When the head starts messing  with you start repeating the Serenity Prayer… over and over and over again… For those few minutes it will take your mind off your heads urge to sabotage your recovery… It works, if you work it, so work it you're worth it…. Good luck man…Keep us posted.

    One more thing. Now that you're not smoking your are accumulating vast amounts of rich's. Get an empty mayonnaise jar and put it on top of your refrigerator. The money that you spent on smokes now goes into that jar for…. The saltwater fish tank you always wanted to set up… The new speakers for your car…. the silk bed sheets… the health insurance… The visual will keep you motivated…

    Hope this helps...

  •  I quit a two pack a day habit 32 years ago. (10+ / 0-)

    So I understand the difficulty.  I'd like to draw your attention to one of your first sentences in your diary...."I hate myself".  One has to hate themselves to be so abusive to themselves.  Would you want your child, your best friend, or someone else you liked or loved abuse their body in the same way you're doing?  This isn't a judgement comment, so please don't see it that way.  I've been there, and this is what helped me get through.  

    I realized that I had taken on within my own head the abusive, abandoning parent(s).  I was now doing all the abusing on myself (with cigarettes, alcohol, and a "you're a worthless piece of shit" head tape I was playing 24/7).  You have taken over for your mother.  She just heaps on now.

    The answer is simplistic, but it worked for me.  Love yourself where you are.  Start treating yourself as well as you might even treat a beloved pet who loves you unconditionally.

    It's a slow road...self love.  But when you can slowly sow the seeds of it then miracles will happen within you and without you.  Cue the Beatles song.   No, seriously, you're doing great now.  Don't chastise yourself for any angry feelings towards your mom.  They need to come up and out.  Writing is so good.  Glad you wrote this diary.  Very smart.

    Talk to yourself kindly in your head.  "Hey, good job for making it one more hour without a cigarette."  That kind of thing.  The opposite of how your mom talks to you.

    And this little saying was priceless to me during my withdrawal from cigarettes....ONE WILL HURT.  Never smoke that first one.  And stay sober long enough to get past the withdrawal from nicotine.  It's too hard even with one drink.

    Love yourself where you are, and remember that you're not the voices in your're the one who SEES the voices in your head.  

    Best of luck to you, and a big hug!

    •  You're right. (5+ / 0-)

      I wrote a diary last year telling myself how much I loved myself and I was sorry about smoking. I suppose I hate myself for ceasing to care for myself like I promised to do. It's one part of me hating myself for disregarding another part of myself. I feel split in two.

      I shouldn't hate any part of myself. I should forgive.

      Thank you so much.

      "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

      by GenXangster on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:15:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are two inside of you essentially. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FiredUpInCA, GenXangster, flumptytail

        You're "lower self" who is the abusive one, and your higher self who knows and loves you.  The trick, if you will, is to give more of an ear to your higher self.  This is the one who is "observing" all that's going on in your lower self's head.  Just start giving that observer part of you more of your attention.  Watch the voices you conjure up to "keep yourself in your place", so to speak.

        Be kind and gentle with yourself as much and as often as you can.  Almost all of us are taught, or learn on our own, that being nice to ourselves is somehow selfish.  This over time creates a human being who feels guilty for things like having too much fun, or too much abundance, or too much of any good thing.  We all deserve these things, and if all of us had them our world would be a much more peaceful place.

        So self love eventually turns to true, pure love of your fellow man.  You see everyone as equal, everyone as simply "on their path", or on life's journey in their own way.  Guilt just won't allow any of that to bloom.  Love will.  A person filled with self hate is a person filled with hate, even though it's hard to see.  And hate creates nothing good.

        Again, best wishes for another hour of not smoking.  But if you do happen to fail, be kind.  Try again when you're ready.

    •  This (5+ / 0-)

      Diary and this comment is appreciated.

      "There are four boxes to use in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, ammo. Use in that order." Ed Howdershelt

      by Lava20 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:33:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is such good advice, Shelley99! (4+ / 0-)

      We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. -Pres. Obama, 1/21/13

      by SoCalSal on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:59:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Saw the prez furiously chewing nicotine (6+ / 0-)

    gum on Inauguration day. You may be in good company.
    So sorry you're having to deal with this at this time, GX.
    I can empathize with the abusive mother.
    Luckily, I had such a beautiful, loving, wonderful angel for a grandmother - mom's mom - that if ever I feel bitter or resentful, I just think of my mother as my grandma's daughter.
    But truth is, I have forgiven my mom and now have a compulsive need to take care of her.
    My mom, too, was an alcoholic and a smoker - weed and cigarette. I wanted to be nothing like her as a result of which, I have never smoked and only drink light wine every now and again. I thank her for that.
    Keeping you in my thoughts. Sending you fortifying positive energy. You are a beautiful soul.

    Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

    by JoanMar on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:44:10 AM PST

    •  He was chweing nicotine gum? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FindingMyVoice, JoanMar, flumptytail


      I had a better grandmother than a mother, too. Thanks for that, JoanMar. I don't know what I'd do without people like you, at least to talk to on the internet. Seems like I'm always surrounded by dysfunctional people. I stay centered talking to people like you even if it is just online.

      "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

      by GenXangster on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:08:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice post. You can do it, if I did. I am at ... (8+ / 0-)

    19 months now. Yay me! Go hang at the GUS community. It helped me persevere for those first few days and weeks of the withdrawal. The cravings only last for a minute or two, you can do it.

    There is no they, We will sink or swim together.... We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness

    by GDbot on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:02:53 AM PST

  •  Thanks for posting! (3+ / 0-)

    I appreciated your post.  Ciggies can be kicked to the curb forever (I know!) and I sure hope you make it this time.



  •  Good luck (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GenXangster, flumptytail

    How about some deep breathing to relax you?

    Or listen to some non-nicotene related music?

    Or take a hot shower - hard to smoke in the shower - it will help sweat out the toxins your body needs to get rid of.  A hot bath, too, while listening to music - i know smoking in the tub is possible, but if the ciggies are inaccessible then you might be OK.  Treat yourself to some soothing oils?

    And drink water, too, to help flush your system.

    Just some suggestions. I've never been hooked so all I can offer is sympathy.

    by chloris creator on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:51:24 AM PST

    •  I love hot baths. They make me feel brand new. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FindingMyVoice, flumptytail

      I used to hate that I stepped out of the water feeling clean only to pollute myself again.

      I'm guzzling Pepsi cola but eventually, I will get to the water. The strong taste f the pop and the bubbles helps my taste buds. Your addicted brain plays tricks on you. it makes you taste the thing your craving.

      Thank you. :-)

      "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

      by GenXangster on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:13:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Keep going. (5+ / 0-)

    I remember being where you are, when I quit. Those first few days & weeks are the hardest, but it does get easier. I had the patch + Wellbutrin, which helps, but not enough! I drank a lot of herbal tea, "smoked" straws, chewed a lot of gum, and still raved and raged my way through it.

    •  I find that keeping my mouth shut (3+ / 0-)

      helps more than chewing the straws or chewing the gum.

      I just cursed out the guy at the store who carded me months ago for my debit card when he knows I come in that store for years. I reminded him today of what he did because he said "Long time no see!" when he saw me. That set me right off! lol "You know why you haven't seen me in a long time? You carded me. You treated me like I stole my own fucking debit card and you KNOW ME!" It escalated, I called him an asshole, left my items on the counter unpaid and stormed out. He should have never started it. lmao

      Yeah, I'm gonna stay in the house for a while. ;-)

      "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

      by GenXangster on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:18:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I quit smoking for good last year. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GenXangster, flumptytail, GDbot

    I tried everything. The patch, the gum, even anti-depressants. The patch and gum just made me more addicted to nicotine. I would chew while working, then at break time, rip off the patch/spit out the gum and smoke.

    It was hard for me to quit, even when my dad looked me in the eyes and said, "You aren't supposed to die before me, kiddo."

    It sounds like bullshit but the book, "The Easy Way to Quit Smoking" actually helped me quit.

    It isn't easy, but it helps with the stupid manipulative things  I did as a smoker to justify my smoking. (Like being mean to people I love in the hopes that they would tell me to go have a cigarette.

    The average nic-fit lasts about two minutes. I have found that once I have made it through two minutes, my mind has already moved on to something else.

    Keep on, keeping on.

    •  Isn't it amazing that it only lasts minutes? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The craving. Passes in 2 minutes.

      It doesn't sound like bullshit. Everybody is different. For you to find that book in the first place means that you really wanted to find something that worked. You looked until you found it. I'm proud of you.

      My ex supervisor told me that he was put on Chantix once and he was such a jerk, his gf nearly begged him to smoke so he could stop being so mean. He's really a sad case. His dysfunctional older siblings made him smoke so he wouldn't tell on them when he caught them smoking. He's been smoking since he was 6 years old. He's only a few years older than me. I can hear the shallowness and squeak of his lungs when he talks. He just had a minor heart attack. He tried to quit and started back again. I worry about him all the time.

      "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

      by GenXangster on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:23:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You're not alone here, GenXangster (7+ / 0-)

    I just posted my first comment/plea for help at GUS a couple of nights ago. (I think it was a couple of nights ago, I'm having some problems with short-term memory.) You can read it here, if you want, but it's just another smokealogue covering some of my failure as a quitter.

    I'm 65 now, so here's what I want to tell you from 25 years into your future if you don't quit. I've been up most of the night, too. Severe leg cramps keep waking me up even after taking 2 Baclofen (muscle relaxers) twice my prescribed dosage. At 65, I have Medicare, so after a few years without insurance, I'm finally getting the medical attention I need for my health problems. Just a few weeks ago, I had a chest CT that showed "thin-walled pulmonary cysts consistent with COPD." I'm hoping I've caught it at an earlier stage than my younger brother did. When he was diagnosed at about 50, his doctor told him he had two years to live. He lived a few months longer than two years  before he set his face on fire smoking while using oxygen at the same time. He actually died of a heart attack while still in the burn unit. I miss the hell out of him. Of course, just catching it an an earlier stage won't help me much if I don't stop smoking. I've already emptied my ashtray once this morning.

    Smoking also probably accounts for my memory problems. I had an MRI of my brain that showed a bunch of lesions, possibly ischemic, in the white matter. And, yesterday, I had a simple test of my blood oxygen level before and after a bit of exercise that showed I was too low in both cases. Your brain simply needs more oxygen than it gets if you're a heavy smoker like I am. I always planned to write fiction once I retired, but now I'm having problems with a couple of novels I've started. I can't remember the "facts" about my characters once I've left them for a day or so. So, unless you quit smoking, you need to start on that writing you have in your mind before it's too late.

    I'll be having cataract surgery on both eyes this spring. Smoking doubles your cataract risk. In the meantime, I've had to stop driving at night which has severely our lives, mine and my husband's. He's 72 and can't drive at all anymore since he had his right leg amputated a few years ago following a blood clot in his foot. They tried taking just the foot, but had to go back a few weeks later to take the leg up to a higher level. He had the best "limb salvage" specialists and they worked on him in surgery three days in a row while he was also in intensive care on IV "clot buster" meds, but they couldn't get his circulatory system opened up enough to get sufficient oxygen to his lower leg for healing to take place. That's how they decided they had to go higher. He also has painful nerve damage that prevents him from using a prosthesis. He gets by on a fentanyl patch plus a ton of hydrocodone. Although it can't be said for certain in his case that his problems are a direct result of his smoking (he also drank too much and ate too many cheeseburgers in his earlier life), smoking is known to cause all of that stuff.

    My right ankle is already swelling. My doctors say it "venous stasis." My husband had that same problem on the leg he still has. It resulted in a venous stasis ulcer that took more than a year to heal. To get it healed, he had weekly doctor's appointments, wore a wound vac for months, had daily hyperbaric oxygen treatments for 8 weeks, two hospitalizations for infection, and I had to learn how to set up his twice-daily antibiotic IVs at home. It's a good thing we had good insurance at the time, because the whole thing cost more than $500,000. Needless to say, I'm not sure Medicare would go that far for me, so I need to nip my problem in the bud. Exercise would help, but I get so short of breath...

    When you think about what those patches cost, think about this. Just a few weeks ago, before I learned about the cataracts, I thought I was pulling into a left turn lane about 7:30 pm, totally sober, and failed to see a center median. I did $2,000 worth of damage to the bottom of our car. The opthamologist told me my peripheral vision is severely compromised until I get that eye sugery, as if I needed a $200 test to tell me that.

    But, none of the above is the part that scares me. Here's what does. When my husband and I got together 10 years ago (a relationship record for both of us), part of our reasoning had to do with wanting to have someone to live with in our "golden" years. All the literature on aging told us that we'd live longer together with help from each other than we would on our own. But, it's already getting harder for me to manage the work around our house and yard (thanks, COPD). And, yesterday, I put some eggs on to boil for a tuna salad, forgot about them, and fell asleep. My dh was awake, but he didn't know I was cooking until he heard them EXPLODE in our kitchen. What a stinky mess that was. I feel lucky that I didn't start a fire. I worry that our kids will find out about some of this stuff and put us "away." We've already given up many of the plans we had for our retirement, we don't want to give up our independence completely.

    I apologize if I've said too much, bored you, and/or been too graphic. I only wish I could go back to your age so I could stop smoking at 40 like you can. I sincerely hope you do, and I'd love to think I've helped.

    “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

    by RJDixon74135 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:06:41 AM PST

    •  You definitely didn;'t bore me and you (5+ / 0-)

      didn't say too much. I appreciate it so much. I read every word. Twice. Even as I feel the craving starting up right this second, I'll just read your post for the 3rd time until it passes.

      I can't tell you how much I appreciate what you've told me. I hardly have the words.


      "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

      by GenXangster on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:29:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, GenXangster (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I hope you could read through my sentence above with a missing word. It should have said, "In the meantime, I've had to stop driving at night which has severely limited our lives, mine and my husband's. We used to like going out at night. Now, we can't. Actually, it's not that easy to go out in the daylight. Today, I lifted his wheelchair out of and back into the car four times so we could go out to lunch after a stop for  the blood work I forgot to get yesterday when I left the doctor's office. When we got home, I had to take a nap.

        You know, you hear so much about smoking and lung cancer, but I don't have any cancer on either side of my family so I've never worried too much about that. I didn't hear about all this other shit. I just thought you'd want to know.

        In the past, the best try I've had at quitting was when I stopped thinking about myself as someone trying to quit smoking, and started telling myself I was a "former smoker."

        Good luck, GenXangster.

        “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

        by RJDixon74135 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:11:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  (((((((((((RJDixon))))))))))))))))) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Sending you love and healing energy.
      Take care of yourself.

      Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

      by JoanMar on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:18:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks to you, too, JoanMar (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        for the hug, for the love and healing energy, and for all the great diaries you write and I always enjoy reading.

        I had a Lexiscan recently, some kind of chemical stress test they give when they think you couldn't make it through the regular treadmill version. For most people, the stress drug clears pretty quickly, but sometimes they have to give something extra at the end to help the process  along. Because I smoke 2 packs a day, I got the extra drug at the end. By the time I got home, I felt great, better than I've felt in a long time, even better than I feel in the middle of a Medrol dose pack. (Steroids I take every few weeks for autoimmune inflammatory arthritis. Yeah, new research shows it's linked to nicotine consumption.) I called the lab the next morning to see what they'd given me. It was aminophylline, a bronchodilator. I'll be seeing a pulmonologist soon, and I expect to get some kind of inhaler. If the television commercials are to be believed (lol), they help a lot. And, my heart is fine, no signs of congestive heart failure, something a lot of smokers eventually battle. So, all in all, I'm feeling somewhat  optimistic.

        “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

        by RJDixon74135 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:06:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You should consider writing a diary, RJ. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          You are knowledgeable about this subject and with your real life challenges it should make a compelling read.
          I am sure there are people on here who'd benefit from such a diary.

          Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

          by JoanMar on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:14:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Wish hugging away the sad & the angry (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flumptytail, GDbot, GenXangster, JoanMar

    were possible, sweetie.   You deserve to be applauded and loved for the life you have made for yourself in spite of horrible obstacles.   I wish I could hug you & maybe some of your strength will magically rub off on me, and maybe my hug will give you a moment of comfort from the anger & hurt that's been heaped on you for no good reason.

    Until then, {{{{{{GenX}}}}}},  and remember there's an old, fat broad out here on the 'tubes pulling for you.

    Comfort the afflicted. Afflict the comfortable.

    by FindingMyVoice on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:44:02 AM PST

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