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  1. "My brother's wife's cousin's girlfriend's second uncle twice removed smoked four packs a day from the time he was seven and died of natural causes in his sleep at 95, right after he ran two back-to back-marathons with a lit cigarette dangling from his lips." "My great-great-great-grandfather smoked all his life and never even got a cold. Not once. In fact, I think he's still alive! Smoke 'em if you got 'em!" "My grandmother's best friend's mother lived to 102; ate only junk food, smoked like a chimney, and went ballroom dancing every Saturday right up until her very last day." The Legend. That mythical, magical smoker who confidently marches through life enveloped by tendrils of deep blue smoke at all times and never, ever feels one single negative effect of it. The one who sucks deeply on those coffin nails and spits them triumphantly in the face of the Grim Reaper, if he ever dares wave his scythe in her direction. A marvel of existence, this smoker's story is told and re-told in hushed reverent tones, wherever other smokers huddle and shiver, pulling the acrid biting fumes deep into the soft fragile folds of their lungs. More than one smoker has bet his life on the existence of The Legend, with the hope of eventually becoming one himself. And I'm here to tell you that The Legend...does in fact exist. Actually, she was my grandmother. But, before you sigh in relief and rush off to light that cancer stick, STOP. Don't be hasty. Make a cup of tea. Get comfy. Hang in with me for a bit. You'll want to hear the rest of this. Born in the early 1920's in Europe, my grandmother was not expected to survive for more than a couple of hours after her birth. Her parents prepared for a funeral, not a christening. Yet, much to the surprise of the learned medical professionals of the time, survive she did. She was left with a weakened heart, but other than strict instructions to never do any vigorous exercise, she needed no other medication. I'm sure the advice would be different today, but at that time, in that place, it was considered a solid treatment plan. In her teens and early 20's, she lived through the brutality of WWII, surviving regular bombings, violence and some of the worst that humanity could offer up, at times at point-blank range. My grandmother, as it turned out, was bullet-proof. In her 30's, she was involved in a spectacular car crash, where she was ejected from the vehicle, pinned underneath it, and dragged through the city streets, past horrified onlookers, until the car mercifully, eventually slid to a protracted stop. The doctors told my grandfather to start making funeral arrangements. Your wife, they said, will not last through the night. Not only did she last through the night, but a few weeks later, sporting the full body cast she was to be imprisoned in for nearly a year, she discharged herself from the hospital and arranged transportation to send her home for the rest of her recovery. She said she didn't care for hospitals. After that, she endured communism. And food shortages. And political strife. Finally, she relocated her family overseas and began a new life. Throughout most of that life, with all of its improbable twists and turns, she smoked. Her husband smoked. Her son smoked. As did her daughter, my mother. Her son-in-law smoked. Her daughter-in-law too. The neighbours. The cousins. The in-laws on all sides. Most of the friends, as well. Everyone except the family dogs! But that was only because they had no opposable thumbs and couldn't work the lighters; they had to make do with all the second-hand smoke instead. Needles to say, most of my family memories were formed through a thick swirling haze. The years went on. My grandmother, the legendary leader of us all, carried on puffing and laughing away, not a care in the world. And so it was until my other grandmother came for a visit from Europe. I was just a child when she showed up at the airport gasping for air, dragging an oxygen tank, and asking where she could light a smoke. She died soon after. COPD. She was in her 60's. And her illness and subsequent death started a chain of events that marked many of the milestones in my life. A few years after that fateful visit, my father's only brother finally put out his last cigarette as he lay dying from throat cancer. In his 40's. Then it was my uncle, my mom's brother - heart attack in his 40's. By an unlikely stroke of luck, he survived. The rest of the family cheered, celebrating the miracle out in the hospital parking lot, hidden from view by thick roiling clouds of smoke. But at least my uncle quit smoking after that health scare. Until he got discharged. That stellar chapter in the family history was followed by my grandfather's unexpected and abrupt end - complications from prostate cancer surgery. Apparently they're not kidding when they say to quit smoking before all those procedures. A few years later, it was my mom's turn to play cancer roulette - cervical cancer. In her 50's, a young, vibrant, full life ended in pain, suffering and despair within a year of diagnosis. She put out her last cigarette right before the ambulance took her away for the last time. Yet my grandmother, by then in her 80's, kept smoking, not a hint of cough in sight. Nary a pill needed. Puffing away, enduring the unending, unrelenting misery of watching her loved ones suffer and die in agony, one after another in short succession, by the hand of an addiction she refused to leave behind. The stale tendrils of smoke next reached out to my father, who, in his late 50's, consumed by grief after losing my mother, his childhood sweetheart, started a new life. One which did not include any part of his old one, save for smoking. We all cope in our own ways, I suppose. My last memory of him, likely the only one I'll have, is of a cigarette firmly clenched between his ruined teeth, wisps of smoke escaping through a crack in the car window, the sounds of a wracking cough slowly dying on the wind as he drove out of my life. A few years later, still unbearably broken of heart over her daughter's (my mother's) early death, my grandmother, at 92, in good health and surrounded by swirls of smoke, caught a cold. And then she was gone. My only comfort was that she was finally released from her grief. As it turned out, I had one other reason to be thankful, if you can call it that, a couple of years later. She didn't have to watch as her only surviving child, now in his 60's, having lived through that early heart attack, smoked his way through to a diagnosis of terminal lung cancer. And then he was gone too. And me? Despite being witness to all of this, I had started smoking in my early 20's, and I kept right on doing it. After all, my grandmother lived to 92 and she had smoked all her life! She was never sick! She was MY legend. That mythical magical excuse I used to keep smoking, even as my family fell around me, one by one. But, you see, my nicotine-addled brain only saw my grandmother - an active, shiny 92 - the blue smoke accenting the ice blue of her eyes. THE LEGEND. It didn't register that every single person I had loved had died, horribly, because of smoking. Smoking was either a strong contributing factor or a direct cause for every illness or ill effect that befell each of them. But I only saw THE LEGEND, so blinded was I by that smoky haze surrounding my brain. By my late 30's, other than a few cousins and distant relatives I had no real contact with, my whole family, the ones I spent Christmas and Easter with, the ones I grew up with, the ones I called with news big and small, the ones I loved, were gone. An only child, I was the only one left standing. And smoking. Yes, you build your own family with your partner, close friends also fill the gaps and life carries on. But it's never quite the same. There is always a sadness and an empty space that you can never fill in. I'm optimistic and happy-go-lucky by nature, but I've spent more nights sobbing into my pillow than I'd care to admit because of all I have lost. There is no one alive now who remembers my first steps, or who it was that got drunk on that trip to the cottage that year and went skinny dipping in the lake. There is no one I can phone if I forget how to bake my grandmother's famous apple cake. It's like a part of my life, of my memories, just disappeared into nothingness. I didn't have enough time to hear all the stories, to collect all the recipes and to share some of mine. And I never will. There have been so many moments that I wanted to pick up the phone and call them. But there will never again be anyone on the other end of those calls. And I know that people die. And the younger generations are left with only memories and they move on, in turn raising younger generations. It's the natural order of things. But not this early. Not yet. I should have had another 30 years, maybe not with my grandparents, but with everyone else. So many memories that will never get made. Instead, where a family had once been, I just had a pack of smokes. Cold comfort, that, especially on those days. You know the ones. Mother's Day, Father's Day, Christmas, Easter, birthdays, Mondays; all are bittersweet. Having somehow survived, mentally and physically intact thus far, into my early 40's, it was finally time for me to make a very important decision. Where am I going to place my bet? Having seen what that one first puff of a cigarette, that each member of my family took at one point in their lives, amounted to, I saw what it meant to be a smoker. The odds of survival there, quite frankly, stunk! But I didn't want to be a Legend either. Because when you hear the stories of THE LEGEND, as told in that smoking huddle, you're not ever getting the full picture. My Legend, my grandmother, was an anomaly. The exception that proves the rule. Yes, she smoked right to the end. Yes, she lived to 92. No, she did not die of cancer or a heart attack or any of the other 100 diseases brought on by smoking. But in the end, legends don't get to escape smoking's wrath either; it just gets them in a different way. My grandmother may have had a long life, but her final chapters were just as touched by smoking's miserable effects as those who die of a smoking-related disease. Mental suffering can be just as much a prison as physical impairment, for those who have to endure it. She paid her smoking dues, my grandmother, with interest. Up close, legends are just sad addicts with nothing left to live for, the gift of time now a curse. How aspirational is that? So, don't envy The Legends. Don't use them as an excuse to keep sucking on those refried butts. Don't romanticize them. And don't bet that you'll be one, either, if you're still so inclined. Legends are considered special and mythical for one main reason; there are so very, very few of them. Placing a bet here would just be foolish. My decision was finally made. I put all my chips on being a free and happy Quitter. There are no guarantees, of course, but I really like my odds here. And now that the smoke has cleared, and you too can see the true story behind THE LEGEND, it's your turn to bet. Choose wisely.
  2. Ok. So some of you may have seen my intro post where I talk about my anxiety and how it led me to quit a little over a month ago. I am currently at 5 full weeks smoke free and just now noticed today that when I take a big breath in I can hear the tiniest little wheeze type sound. Like I can ONLY hear it if there is no other noise in the room I’m in. Let me preface all this and say I was on mental health leave for anxiety all of February and this past Monday was first day back at work. Since returning, I have had 2 panic attacks after I got home. So my question is do you think this is just from the fresh anxiety I’m feeling or should I call my doctor like a weirdo asking for X-rays? There is no wheezing or crackling when I’m exhaling and my chest doesn’t feel tight. I'm sorry if I sound manic. I find I go through various stages of anxiety and as long as I’m not hyperventilating or sobbing I’m ok. Lol I hope this is the right place to ask this. Thank you everyone!
  3. *Want better Health immediately ? *Want extra Money in your pocket now ? *Want more enjoyment from Sexual encounters tonight ? Well then, it's Time to free yourself from nicotine addiction ! You can start by giving yourself 72 hours because in three days nicotine begins to leave your body. Take the weekend and pull the covers over your head if you need to. Strengthen your resolve and understand that any discomfort is temporary. Give yourself another three days...give yourself Time. What else are you doing that could possibly be more important than saving your life, liberating your sovereigns and making you better in bed ? You only have to go through this ONCE so, enjoy the ride. Soon you will be seeing astoundingly positive results. You are evolving into a new person, more honest with yourself, much more confident, happier, healthier, wealthier, and wow ! out of this world in-between the sheets. No kidding.
  4. Hi All, I am hoping for a little support and reassurance. I decided to quit smoking after 12 years of smoking 20 to 30 smokes a day. I was constantly out of breath and generally unhealthily. I used champix to quit, but after 4 weeks of taking champix I was having some tightness of the chest, I stopped taking champix. I have now been smoke free for six months. I still get a lot of discomfort from a tight chest and neck with a constant dry throat. I have been to the doctor who has run blood tests and done an exam and his conclusion is this is withdrawal symptoms. It is extrememly hard to believe this as I constantly feel fatigued and tired and irritable, after reading all the positive things that would happen after quitting and none seem to be happening to me it is very disheartening. Has anyone else experienced this?
  5. So I have been diagnosed with gene related High cholesterol, there is a fancy medical term about but I cant be bothered with all that jargon, it inherited by one or both parents, basically I am fat on the inside! which I feel is unfair as I am quite active and eat quite healthily, apparently even if I just smelt lettuce all day my liver would produce high bad cholesterol :( So just diet and exercise wont cure it, so I am now on statins! So my advice is even if you are quite fit and healthy on the outside, it might be a good idea to get your bloods checked at least once a year! now wheres that lettuce!
  6. Greetings from the land of wandering moose and timbits! :wacko: It's been a very long time since I checked in. I'm actually not altogether sure when I signed in last. I guess I reached a stage where I didn't want to think or talk or read or hear about smoking. Not even in a positive "yay, we're smoke-free!" kind of way. It took me a long time to figure that out. My early days were filled with nothing but thoughts of smoking. Once I reached a stage where it hardly ever crossed my mind, I suppose I didn't want to encourage those thoughts to come back. I didn't mean to leave so abruptly, in fact I never meant to leave at all, but every time I started to sign in, something stopped me. And then one day turned into two, and then into a week and a month and before I knew it...today had arrived. Yesterday I marked six months smoke-free. And I felt the need to come back and let you all know, that though you may not see or hear me, I'm still on the train with you. I quit romancing the cigarette months ago. I found a new love. Maybe even an obsession. It's actually a very old love. I'm back into weight lifting. Any free time I have is spent at the barbell, aiming to lift ever heavier things and put them back down again. It's spent creating meal plans, and counting macros. It's spent running, with the wind in my hair and the rhythmic tattoo of my shoes on the pavement. I often think of you guys when I run. And I send up thoughts hoping you're all well, and still riding the train. And I send up a thank you. Because without your support through those very tough early days, I wouldn't be pushing my lungs well beyond what I thought they were capable of. I wouldn't be lifting weights I've only dreamed of lifting. I wouldn't feel as strong and healthy and full of possibilities as I do now. And it's those possibilities that matter the most. If you're struggling right now, and wondering if this quit is really worth the pain you're feeling right now, listen up. Six months ago, I had certainties, but no possibilities in my life. A big giant pack of cigarettes had suffocated those. I was certain my allergies and my wheezing was getting worse. I was certain I, a former athlete, could not walk briskly down the street without getting short of breath. I was certain I could not get through one day without coughing. And I was certain that smoking would bring me an early, and unpleasant, end. Today, well, the future is uncertain. But it's full of new goals and dreams and, yes, possibilities. It's amazing how your life gets bigger somehow, and makes space for new adventures, when you're no longer planning the majority of your days around a cigarette. Suddenly there's time for...living. Do I ever think about having a smoke? Yes. But it's just a thought. It doesn't happen often. And I remind myself of what my life looks like now, and what it looked like then, and that makes the choice, and it is a choice, an easy one for me. NOPE. My hope is that everyone here keeps on choosing NOPE too. Every single day. Because it gets better. And it will be worth it. You'll see. Hugs, Ali
  7. ...today at my dentist appointment, I learned that I'm growing NEW teeth instead. FML. (Posting this here, figured it fit as I consider taking care of my teeth part of healthy living, and growing new teeth isn't really directly tied to quitting smoking ;0 ) I went in for a small cavity, and mentioned that my back teeth felt a bit odd now and then lately. Not painful, just...odd. An exam and a few x-rays later, and yes, at the lovely age of 43, more than 20 years after having my upper wisdom teeth removed, my lower wisdom teeth are finally growing in! One's already broken through the gums. I'm teething guys!! :blink: And they're growing in such a way as to need removal sooner rather than later. So, I have some appointments with a specialist coming up and sometime in the next few weeks, dental surgery. I'm glad I don't smoke anymore - I'm sure it will be so much easier to heal from this and I won't have to worry about dry socket as much. Whew. Still not looking forward to this though. Ugh. And it's kind of funny that wisdom teeth are book-ending my smoking "career". I had the first set removed just before I started smoking. And I will have this set removed just after I stopped. Huh. :crazy:
  8. I'm on Day 19 smoke and nicotine free. Mentally, I feel so so good. Physically, I feel both good and awful. I can breathe deeply, I can laugh whole heartedly without coughing, I have a ton of energy, my skin is looking better, my eyes are clearer, my teeth are whiter. I can smell things again. Of all things, my nails are really shiny. What? And it goes on. At the same time, in the last almost 3 weeks, I've had a bladder infection, a cavity, bronchitis, sinusitis, a flare up of my TMJ/TMD (jaw joint issues) from too much gum chewing (not nicotine gum, just normal gum), and it just feels like it's been a merry-go-round of antibiotics, and doctor and dentist visits. I rarely get sick and now, it's everything all at once. I'm taking care of it all with the appropriate doctors etc. as it comes up, but it's annoying. It's like my body was holding it together until I quit smoking and now it's just letting all the problems, all the cats out of the bag, as it were. I'm falling apart. Yet, I also feel really healthy. It's really confusing. Have you guys experienced anything like that?
  9. Sadly, that's not a euphemism for anything fun. -_- At the end of Day 3, and leading up into Day 6, I was itchy. Actually, literally, physically...itchy. It actually makes me itchy now, just thinking about it. :o My upper chest, neck, face, especially around the jaw, and head came down with a serious case of THE ITCHES. It came out of the blue, it was sudden, and it was really annoying. Like dealing with multiple mosquito bites. There were no bites, no bumps and not even a hint of a rash. The skin, unbroken, looked normal. I went through a mental checklist. Did I change my shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, lotion, anything? No. Did I eat a food I've never eaten before? No. It wasn't cat allergies - those make my eyes red and itchy and they make me sneeze, but they also make me really red and blotchy. And that wasn't happening. Also, my cat allergies only get that bad when I groom the little buggers. So it wasn't that. I do shower regularly. LOL So...what changed? The only thing that was different was that I quit smoking. And when the itching started, the nicotine was almost out of my system. Maybe my body was trying to expel some chemicals? I don't know. All I know is, I spent several days scratching. Ugh. Nothing helped. Not lotion, not Benadryl, not anything. But I got through it. And by the middle of Day 6, it stopped, just as suddenly as it had started. Haven't had an issue since. But now that experience serves as another great reason to NOPE. If I do, I will be right back to Hell Week, and THE ITCHES. No thanks. NOPE. That's not the kind of itch I want to scratch. Never again. :blink:
  10. What Ho! Quitting, I fought cravings by walking. Something about putting one foot in front of the other helped me calm down. I discovered that I actually quite like walking. So...I'm off for a long walk. Next week, I am going to do a hundred miles or so of the Camino de Santiago. This is a pilgrimage, in the footsteps of St James. I am going to walk the 500 miles over five years - a week each year. (The wife won't release me for longer! :D ) "The Way" was dramatised by Emilio Estevez in a movie starring his Dad, Martin Sheen. Look it out, it's not a bad watch. On Sunday morning, I, and some friends, will set out at dawn from St Jean Pied de Port in France to cross the Pyrenees. We will walk 17 miles or so a day, and hopefully on Friday night will have supper in Logrono, in the heart of Rioja. This year, we are walking to raise money for a hospice in Ireland, where an old friend spent his final months before cancer took him away. Next year, we'll walk for another cause. Follow along on www.sensibleshoescamino.com - it should be a laugh! Could I have considered this as a smoker? Nope. My life is richer as a non-smoker. Really.
  11. Looked today at the calendar and today is World Diabetes Day. Smoking is a major cause of type 2 diabetes. Another great reason to live smoke free!
  12. I am the opposite of a natural runner. However - as my quit grew - I decided that I wanted to enjoy the health benefits, create a distraction and offset some of the weight gain. So - I am in week 2 of a "Couch to 5 kilometres" programme. I have a free app on my phone, a very swish armband thing to hold the the phone - and a pair of running shoes with more colours in them than are in my entire wardrobe (they cost an arm and a leg, have go faster stripes and everything :lol: ) The program starts off with 60 seconds running and 2 minutes walking - repeated 8 times..gradually it increases the running time. The plan being that in 9 weeks I will be running 5k. So - any advice from experienced runners appreciated - and any other learners- join in. If you are thinking about it - my advice would be GO FOR IT....I feel great! :D

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QuitTrain®, a quit smoking support community, was created by former smokers who have a deep desire to help people quit smoking and to help keep those quits intact.  This place should be a safe haven to escape the daily grind and focus on protecting our quits.  We don't believe that there is a "one size fits all" approach when it comes to quitting smoking.  Each of us has our own unique set of circumstances which contributes to how we go about quitting and more importantly, how we keep our quits.


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