Are You A Quitter? I Sure Am…
Today I am writing about something that is very close to my heart and important to me. I am going to tell you the story of how and why I quit smoking.
I am aware that many of you guys are still smokers and will not appreciate being preached too. But if this post can inspire just one of you to take the plunge and become a ‘non-smoker’ my heart will be happy. Please read on and hear my story.
First I will openly admit to you all that as an 11year old (yes only 11), I used to ‘borrow’ a few smokes out of my mum’s packet. Why? Because somewhere in my immature mind, I was convinced that if I was a smoker, I would lose weight.
It took the next 6 or 7 years to develop the habit properly but as I entered the pub scenes in my late teens, I was a fully fledged ‘pack-a-day’ puffer.
Fast-track to 2003… The love of my life and myself decided it would be nice to start our own little family. 8 months later (I’m still convinced that it took that long to conceive due to the 60 odd cigarettes that we smoked each day between us), I was delighted to find out I was finally pregnant.
A week later I was bed ridden.
I was so ill I could not even lift my head off my pillow. I could not hold food down and the one cigarette I tried to smoke had me vomiting & passing out.
After 18 weeks of hospital stints, I found out I was having twins.
I also realised that these precious babies had forced me to QUIT smoking.
There was no way in the world I was ever going back…
It was the next few years of being a non-smoker that made me realise that smoking doesn’t have to kill you to leave a massive impact on your family. What I am about to share with you next, quite literally changed my life forever.
2005 was a massive year for us. We were expecting Zafirah, our 3rd child. Amongst the excitement of expecting again my mother had a stroke.
My mum was a pack-a-day smoker, with a few other little health issues. She went into hospital for a routine procedure and woke up with an Acquired Brain Injury. She knocked on deaths door that day and our lives have never been the same since.
While there were other contributing factors to my mothers stroke, several doctors have admitted that her cigarette habit was a large player in how her body had coped before the stroke.
Mum is now a non-smoker. But the effects her smoking had on her life are irreversible. When she becomes sick with a cold, it progresses to bronchitis within days and I have no doubt that she is well into the early stages of emphysema.
It takes mum months to overcome any kind of chest infection or illness and she becomes short of breath quite quickly as well.
A classic case of the smoker that preaches ‘It will never happen to me’.
Whilst juggling the last month of pregnancy, twins that were about to turn 1, and my mothers stroke I stood by my poppy’s ICU hospital bed and watched him fade away from emphysema and other lung related diseases.
Nothing can ever be compared to watching someone you love so much die before your eyes with a struggled last breath.
I am certain that most smokers do not realise how debilitating having a disease like emphysema can be. It’s not just a cough, it’s not just a cold or chest infection. Once you have it you cannot go back, you cannot be cured and you cannot reverse the damage it has caused.
I know, I have watched it kill and effect 2 of the most important people in my life.
Both of these horrible events cemented in my head that I would never pick up a smoke again.
Late 2007. The day before my wedding I had a freak-out. I stupidly drove myself to the milk-bar and purchased a small pack of cigarettes and a lighter. I sat in my van, and I lit up.
I struggled through that first smoke, tears running down my cheeks because I knew just how badly I had let myself down. Then I lit up another. And another.
By the end of our 3 day honeymoon I was smoking upwards of 25 smokes a day….. again.
I became that smoker who swore it wouldn’t happen to me, caught up in the desperate beliefs that this research they go on about was all a load of mumbo jumbo… Ahhh the things we tell ourselves…
I puffed away for the best part of 6 months, and during this time we had decided to have another baby. I remember telling myself that it wouldn’t matter, the twins were fine and so would this next baby be.
Except it didn’t quite happen like that.
I found myself in hospital once again. This time, not because I felt sick, but because I myself was on death’s door. I had conceived a life threatening ectopic pregnancy. The pain is not something I can describe. Excruciating doesn’t quite cut it, but you get my drift.
The doctors couldn’t confirm for me whether it was cigarette related, but I knew in my heart that it was life teaching me a valuable lesson.
I left the hospital a week later and vowed and declared that I was giving up for good.
Since quitting smoking, (and I will be honest), I have had so much more energy. I now get up of a morning, have a cuppa, deal with my children and on most days, go for a walk. It’s a massive change from my old routine of getting out of bed, lighting a cigarette before even having breakfast, and coughing up all sorts of gross coloured phlegm.
I gave birth to my baby boy Levi, with a big thumbs up from the doctors after they inspected his placenta. I knew in my heart I was on the right track.
My biggest challenge right now is to convince my hubby to give up smoking. He is the last of a dying breed in our friendship circle, being the only smoker left amongst us. He is ostracized out of the house with his habit. He keeps his smoke right away from our kids. But what is it going to take for him to realise the damage it is doing to his own health?
I don’t know if I am strong enough to live through the pain that cigarette smoking causes once again. I don’t want my children to feel the anguish like I have losing my pop and enduring my mum’s stroke.
Brian gives me all the excuses in the world. He tells me it’s stress that makes him do it. He tells me it wont happen to him. He’s even assured me that he’s not going to die…..errrrr……
All I want him to do is make an appointment with his GP, to discuss his options. I believe in Brian. I know he can do it. I know he can quit.
Life is too important, there’s just far too much at stake to spend years of it with extreme health issues. Especially avoidable ones. Smoking is just not worth it.
My nagging is getting nowhere, but perhaps, the smokers out there that are just waiting for the right moment to declare their quitting intentions, could inspire my hubby, MonsterSquad Dad.
Please, if you do smoke, give it some thought.
If you have made it this far though the blog post, their must be some part of you that wants to give quitting a go.
If my story is not enough to inspire you, head on over to the QUIT website where you can read and view many other stories, just like mine, including the touching story from Mick.
Leave me a comment, you might just find other readers keen on quitting too. You can also click on the email button in my sidebar (Looks like an envelope) to send me a private message if this post has moved you.
It’s not easy, but it’s worth it,