Tag Archives: smoking

This guy gets me.

songaboutquitsmoking

After 26+ years, I never expected this to be EASY.  But I also never expected it to be so depressing!!  I guess it IS one of the longest relationships I’ve ever had, so I can’t help but be a little (or a lot) sad and/or angry about it at times.  It’s a bad breakup, that’s for sure.  No matter how many times I tell myself, “we can still be friends,” I know that the only real solution is to cut all ties with the Marlboro Man  (or any other nicotine-delivery system he comes to me dressed up as).

I’ve been reading The Journey Home:  Freedom from Nicotine, a free eBook by John Polito available on WhyQuit.com.  I have to say, it made me feel better to have SOMEONE acknowledge the very real grief I am feeling over the loss of my smokes (and not look at me like I’m a complete nutjob).

Polito explains that, “albeit chemical, dependency on nicotine may have been the most intense and dependable relationship in our entire life.  Unless wet and it wouldn’t light, never once did puffing on a cigarette let me down.”  I was guaranteed that “aaaah” relief sensation within seconds that cigarettes deliver every single time.

I smoke(d) a pack and a half to two packs a day.  So let’s say that’s 30 cigarettes.  And according to Polito’s example, if I average 8 drags per cigarette, that’s 240 a day.  Who did I ever kiss 240 times a day?  Depend on 240 times a day?  Turn to for help 240 times a day? I’ve never even said my name (or anyone else’s) 240 times in one day.  We are closer to our addiction than our own name.

So of course it stands to reason that suddenly losing that would stir up feelings of loss and emotional turmoil, in addition to the physical withdrawal symptoms.  A relationship that was once a top-priority in my life is ending….and that realization can be overwhelming.

It is helpful for me to read/acknowledge these things because, as insane as I know this sounds (especially to a never-smoker), I still WANT to smoke.  I miss it.  I long for it.  In the theme of breaking up, you might call me a stalker.  I will follow a stranger with a lit cigarette just to smell it.  I will leave my house and come back just to experience that stale smoke smell (that I hated coming home to a few weeks ago).  I bump the AC on at home and stand under an air vent just for a whiff of old cigarette smoke.

With 11 miserable  days and counting, I understand more and more that, despite my protests otherwise, it IS an addiction, I AM a nicotine junkie, and I CANNOT have “just one.”

I hate everything.

nosmoke-2days

It has been 61 long hours since I have smoked or had nicotine of any kind.  I find myself alternating between emotionally charged self-pity and wanting to cut people.  Any one.  For any reason.

It’s a good thing I cleared out all my ashtrays and emptied the trash…According to the smoking cessation apps I’m following, my sense of smell and taste have improved.  So all I can think of is how much better a cigarette would smell and taste now!!

I haven’t left the house in 2.5 days because I still don’t trust myself to not go to RaceTrac and buy a new pack…or carton.  Maybe later I will go for a drive.  Thankfully, I never started smoking in my baby, so that shouldn’t be a trigger.

Everyone says this will get easier.  When, exactly?  I still don’t know whether it’s nicotine cravings or missing the ACT of smoking that makes this difficult.  But either way, it can’t happen anymore.

I hate everyone.

Goodbye, old friend.

Down to One

 

I stalled for another 2 hours once I realized I was at my LAST cigarette in my LAST pack.  I freely admit, I don’t want to quit.  However, when faced with brain surgery and learning that nicotine (not just smoke, btw) can prevent the body (especially the brain) from healing as it should, I felt like I really had no option.  If I’m going to have this awful scary surgery, why wouldn’t I do everything in my power to try and ensure it goes as smoothly as possible?

I know I’m attaching way too much sentimentality to it, but I smoked my first cigarette sometime around the end of middle school and never looked back.  Once I moved out of my parents’ house, I was smoking about a pack a day.  And eventually, that turned into about 2 packs a day.

I’m one of those crazy people who “loves” to smoke.  There’s no way to explain it to a non-smoker.  The feel of that stick between your fingers, the crinkling sound of paper burning when you take a drag, the fire of a well-lit cherry, , and the smoke rolling into your mouth.  I will miss all of that.

I know a lot of my beliefs about smoking (it is relaxing dammit) are the nicotine/addiction talking, but whatever.  Bottom line is, no matter that I know how bad it is for me, I have continued to smoke.  If it weren’t for this blasted surgery, I wouldn’t be doing this….although, with my 40th birthday just around the corner, I was already trying to convince myself it was time to quit.  So it’s a little earlier than I wanted, but I know I need to do it….even more so now.

And so, at 8:35pm CT, I smoked my last cigarette.  And I cried for the loss of this “friend” I carried with me for the past 25+ years.

 

Decision made…I guess.

I got a callback from Dr Kutz today and was able to ask a few more questions, namely:

Q:  Does the middle fossa approach present more risk?

A:  Slightly higher risk of injury/damage to the facial nerve.  By “slightly” meaning a difference of between 7-8% chance with translab or retrosigmoid compared to 7-9% with middle fossa.  It’s slightly higher, but again, much will depend on the exact location, size, and characteristics of the individual’s tumor.

Q:  What are the chances of regrowth after surgery?

A:  Very rare in the cases were 100% of tumor was removed.  If part of the tumor is on the facial nerve and needs to be left alone, there is a slight chance of regrowth, probably around 5%.  In his experience, has only had 1 patient where this happened.

I talked through my “logic” again in terms of the way I was leaning, and he re-confirmed that that made sense.  That it really is about the patient’s preferences and tolerance for different things.  Aside from my other reasons, I just really don’t think I’d make a very good “watch and wait” patient.  Every little symptom causes panic and fear and I do NOT want to live like that.

So…..I told him I would like to move forward with surgery. The scheduler should be contacting me soon to confirm a date.

Oh, and Dr Kutz reiterated what Dr Mickey had told me, that I really should NOT smoke AT ALL (no ecigs, no patches, no nicotine, etc) for at least 2-4 weeks prior to surgery.  I’ve been waiting on a firm surgery date to figure out my official “no more smokes” date, but at this point, I probably just need to give myself a deadline.  😐

I really think I’m doing the right thing.