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Blog Entries posted by Colleen

  1. Colleen
    Posted 25 January 2014 - 08:44 PM
    COPD is a horrible disease. Originally, I wanted to vent about it. Then, I thought it more constructive if I could help inform a new quitter understand what it really is.
    COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a progressive form of lung disease ranging from mild to severe. It is characterized by a restriction of airflow into and out of the lungs that makes breathing difficult. COPD is the umbrella term for sufferers who have been diagnosed with or show signs of emphysema and/or chronic bronchitis.
    It is on my mind multiple times a day, most days. Today is an exception. The cold air is bothering me, my lungs hurt today, breathing is uncomfortable and I can't get away from it. I will never get away from it, not ever. I am a third generation COPD patient. Most of the time, I go without exacerbation's or flare ups. Both my mother and grandmother have it. My grandmother suffers the most, then there is me and my mom, she suffers the least. I do intense cardio 5 days a week without a problem usually. Days like today are harsh reminders, that it was I that tortured my own lungs. If you haven't quit, please do. No cure exists, but if you quit and treat the disease early, you can live a (mostly) normal life.
    Edited to add: COPD is no longer for the elderly crowd. You are not too young to have it. I was diagnosed in late 2012, at 37 and judging by my symptoms had it for 4 or 5 years at least. I feel lucky that I caught it early in stage one. I have a couple of inhalers, Dulera and Pro Air. Recently I saw a pulmonologist and he increased the Dulera dosage to 200 mcg. It really works to prevent the burning in my chest and throat during cardio. I use a nebulizer before cardio and for any problems breathing. I consider myself lucky that I can exercise the way I do.

  2. Colleen
    Posted 07 October 2013 - 01:13 AM
    I ended up at the ER with an exercise induced asthma attack on Friday. After I was given the oral steroids, I was told I would be having an x-ray of my lungs done. How can I demonstrate how enthused I was not? Reluctantly, I agreed. I smoked for 24 years and you can bet I was nervous to hear what my lungs looked like. While waiting for the results, it actually crossed my mind to leave without learning the results. Realizing how ridiculous that would have been, I stuck around. It was really nerve-wracking waiting to hear. Come to find out the results came back just fine. Nothing in my lungs that didn't belong there. Heart looked good too. Stable compared to an x-ray I previously had in 2004. I'm always going to be nervous that something is going to show up. All I know is I will never put that poison in my lungs again.
  3. Colleen
    Posted 19 September 2013 - 02:04 PM
    So, I took an intended leave of absence from the board. Aside from the fact that this board may have been a lifesaver for me - I've missed reading and posting.
    It's been 3.5 months now, each day is a victory to me. I'm going to be honest here. The past month has been difficult. The urge to smoke has been unbelievably intense. Coupled with some depression due to weight gain, it's definitely been a struggle. I've gained 30 lbs. I know I am better off as a non-smoker - this and pride that I have made it thus far is what keeps me going. I have a nasty sinus infection which complicates things. I remind myself I quit during a sinus infection and I can remain quit through one.
    Sorry for the ramble.
  4. Colleen
    Posted 08 June 2013 - 03:20 PM
    Whomever named hell week, had it right. In about 11 hours, I'll have clocked 6 days into my quit. I think what makes it so hard, is that it takes so long. Maybe this is just a huge long lesson in patience.
    Random whiffs of scents that blow me away, never this strong before. The smell of fresh cut grass and the rain is awesome, my garage on the other hand is so not awesome smelling. Mornings aren't too bad anymore, much more manageable. During the week, daytime is bearable as long as I stay busy. I still have intense cravings during those times, but not so much that I feel like I'm going nuts. The weekend is here and since it's really my first one smoke free I've no idea - unchartered territory, we shall see. Most of my difficulties lie at night, during the long stretch of downtime. The cravings are so intense. Most nights, I don't think I'll make it to sleep without a cigarette. I figured it would get easier each night, but no. Time seems to go by so slowly. I'm afraid I'm going to lose the battle one of these nights. I NEED to stop constantly thinking about cigarettes.
    I've got plenty of reasons to quit. I think my son at nearly 14, will soon be at the age I was when I started smoking. Oh, here's another craving. Then I think of my 87 year old grandmother, who quit smoking at 50 and was diagnosed with moderate COPD last year. Earlier this week, took the same grandmother who has begged me enough times to quit to her pulmonary doctor. The latest bout of pneumonia is almost out of her lungs. Tells me how much of an addict I really am. Oops, there's that annoying craving again. There's my mom who quit at 52 because the doctor couldn't remove the aortic aneurysm until she stopped. She made it look so easy and never gave it another thought. Damn these cravings...I can't stand the fact that I can't bike or swim for a long time without needing my inhaler.
    Apologies for the long ramble...Just thought I'd put it out there - maybe it'll make me accountable.
  5. Colleen
    Posted 04 June 2013 - 04:49 PM
    I am amazed that I made it this far! Last night was rough, had a pretty hard time falling asleep without my bedtime cigarette. Then, when I did pass out, I was woken up by coughing and every time I laid back down there it was again. By the end of yesterday, I had enough of yesterday and just wanted to sleep. I must've fallen back asleep at some point, so I did sleep some. I woke up and my patch was gone, somehow it ended up in between 2 pillows.
    I'm feeling like I lost my best friend or something. I find myself wandering around my house, just restless, never sitting still. Not doing anything constructive, almost like I don't know what to do with myself. Tried to watch a movie last night, but just couldn't focus. Drinking lots of water with frozen fruit in it, chewing gum, cough drops and sugar-free popsicles. I keep thinking " oh, when I'm finished with such and such, I'll go have a cigarette". Must be my sub-conscious trying to trick me, because I have no cigarettes around. I've come close a few times in the past 24 or so hours to buying a pack, but so far have been able to hang on.
    The shaking has subsided which is awesome. I was afraid it would stick with me longer. Thanks for all the kind words of support yesterday, it really is helpful!
    Posted 05 June 2013 - 06:26 PM
    I think I'm starting to realize that instead of a friend, it's like a really bad relationship that I want to get over and forget about. Yeah, and people are much better than cigarettes!
    Today was sort of up and down. I was actually enjoying not smoking for short periods. When I'm out and about, I'm avoiding looking at people. I am so nervous I'm going to SEE someone smoking and then it will be all over. Obviously, that can't go on for long. I was at a local drugstore and when I got to the entrance all I could smell was cigarettes. I couldn't decide if I liked or hated the smell. I actually thought about it the entire time I was in the store and still couldn't figure it out. This quitting smoking is making me weird!
  6. Colleen
    Posted 02 June 2013 - 11:39 PM
    Hello Everyone! I'm new here and I've picked my quit date to be tomorrow. I've decided to jump the bullet and quit tomorrow. I've actually a job interview tomorrow and am excited to interview not smelling like a smoker. The real kicker will be the long drive into Boston, but I've got bags and bags of Twizzlers to keep me busy. I removed my ashtray and cleaned the windows and dash. I am really nervous though. My patches are ready to go and I have been taking Zyban. Would it be better to put the patch on at night or straight away in the morning?
    A little bit about me - I'm nearly 38 and been smoking since mid-teens, much too long. I keep trying to cut back, but every time I do I end up smoking more. I suffer from chronic and acute sinusitis as well as exercise induced asthma. Recently I was diagnosed with the beginning stage of COPD. About six weeks ago, I had a Septoplasty, Turbinate reduction, Concha Bullosa resection and sinus surgery Ethmoid & Maxillary. I thought I would quit after the surgery, but I was in a lot of pain and the cigarettes helped me through it, or so I thought. I have been on antibiotics for most of the time since the surgery, due to a staph infection and yep another nasty sinus infection. They say that smokers are more susceptible to sinus infections. I hope quitting will help the sinus infections. Thanks for listening!
    Posted 03 June 2013 - 02:10 PM
    Thanks for the support. I am seriously doubting quitting today, tomorrow would have been better. Is shaking normal? Will it pass quickly? I feel this strange nervous energy as well. I'm afraid to take any decongestants like this. Instead of having my coffee in the basement, I took my coffee up to my bedroom instead. I was actually ok for the first hour or so and then when I was in the shower, the shaking started.
    Posted 03 June 2013 - 08:18 PM
    Well, I made it this far into the day. Longest I've gone without smoking, 18 hours now. Still shaky/jittery and a new symptom nausea. What is motivating me at this very moment is the fact that I don't want to relive this day ever!
  7. Colleen
    Posted 18 July 2013 - 02:05 AM
    I had planned on waiting to drink any alcohol until I hit 3 months, at least. Whenever I drank, I smoked a LOT. I was avoiding it, I think because I really want this to be my first and only quit. Well, you know how it goes when you have something perfectly planned out, right? Yes, I drank earlier tonight. Yes, I enjoyed myself. No, I didn't have any problems. In fact, I only had one quick thought about smoking and it was gone as quick as it came. It wasn't a craving, just a thought; an association really. It is so nice to live my life free of the pathetic cigarette.
  8. Colleen
    Posted 05 July 2013 - 06:10 PM
    Like the title says :D . I am so happy to be a non-smoker that I FINALLY threw out my ashtray. Before I quit, I made sure there were no cigarettes left. The ashtray, on the other hand I wasn't ready to get rid of so soon. You see, I don't think I believed that I could quit. I'm going to be honest and say I did not expect my quit to last even a day. "Clearly, you were wrong", says the ticker. Never have I been so happy to be wrong. It's almost like pinching yourself to check if you are dreaming. Only instead of pinching, I keep looking at my ticker.
    Not only did I toss out the ashtray, but I found an old coffee can with butts in it - I forced myself to open the can and take a big whiff. Uh, nasty or as we say around here wicked nasty. Definitely a motivator not to smoke :).
    Now it's not all rainbows and sunshine and I know there will be plenty of speed bumps along the way. That's why I'm here. I think I finally realized that it's possible to not smoke and I CAN do this :D .
  9. Colleen
    Posted 25 June 2013 - 06:32 PM
    I keep telling myself that I've made it this far and because of that I can keep on going. Not to mention, I DO NOT want to go through it all again. There are also all of the benefits I am experiencing and the ones I will soon discover. With that said, I am having an awful hard time of it.
    It started about a week ago, these tests one after another. All situations that in the past I would have needed dozens of cigarettes to get through. It started with a death in the family and that first test I handled well. It just seems like every time I turn around, there is another test. There have been dozens of these tests, seems like the nico-monster is following me around waiting for me to slip up.
    The past 5 days have been just plain horrible. I suddenly realized I had an abscessed tooth and it drained one night. I thought nothing of it really, just a mental note to try and get to a dentist and glad that it didn't feel like my tooth wanted to explode any more. By Saturday I was in agony and at the emergency room. I could barely swallow, eat or talk - my tongue, throat and some lymph nodes are infected from that abscess. Several days later on strong antibiotics/pain meds and really no change at all. It looks like I need to see another doctor I guess. So, physical pain is a big trigger for me and I am having a hard time with it, but I have not smoked. I keep asking myself: "And what exactly is a cigarette going to accomplish here?" The answer of course is nothing. Nothing good anyway. It won't take away any pain and it certainly isn't going to make me feel good in any way. I know this, but it's still hard all the same.
    Addendum: While I did have a problem with that tooth, it wasn't the big problem. Due to using my inhaler improperly, I ended up with a bad case of Thrush that had advanced to my throat and lymph nodes. It was an easy fix too. If you use a maintenance inhaler, be sure to rinse your mouth completely. I had figured just drinking something was enough, not so!
  10. Colleen
    Posted 11 June 2013 - 06:45 PM
    Very similar to Hell week, just less intense. I've actually been off the patch since Saturday. While exercising, I took it off because it wouldn't stay on. I forgot about it until the next day and never put it back on. With the patch, there was really no irritability and I had trouble sleeping. Without the patch, I find myself snapping at innocent people and losing my patience quickly. I also have trouble staying awake past 9, which is odd for me - a night owl. Hopefully, the grouchiness and inability to stay awake go away with time. Now, I am waking up very early without the alarm, 4 a.m. or so full of energy! A month ago, if someone asked me if I would consider going bike riding at 5:30 a.m. I would have said never. It's almost euphoric how much energy I have. I'm really trying to take advantage of being smoke free by exercising daily and eating better. Just can't afford to gain weight - I am only 5'3", so 5 lbs. would seem like 10 to me. Ditched the ice coffee and diet Dr. Pepper for water with frozen fruit for flavor - and I never liked water.
    I am already starting to breathe better and it can only improve. Clearly, I still have a lot of moments (and hours) that just really suck, but am starting to see some positive benefits and feel great right now!

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