I would consider myself a pretty strong woman, I mean I have been through a lot more than the average woman goes through in her lifetime. I have been bullied, stabbed, homeless, abused, addicted to drugs, had cancer, a single mother, almost died twice on the same day two years apart, suffered miscarriages, we could be here a while if I continued the list.
Even though I have been through my fair share of bad life storms, I have always kept a positive outlook on life. Afterall, we only get one life and we should try our damnedest to make it count, to make it enjoyable, to make it joyful and happy.
Well a long time ago I made a decision to make a change, one that has taken me a bit to step up to the plate to, but I stepped up. 21 days ago I began a journey, one that was a long time coming. You see those pictures up there, that is my family, my life, my heart. They are what made me make the decision and a bigger part at making me step up to the plate.
21 days ago I went to the walk-in-clinic to get some medical help for a bee sting, I am highly allergic and my arm had swollen to 2x its normal size. At that meeting with the doctor my mouth opened and that decision I had made long ago spewed out off my tongue. I asked the doctor for a prescription for Champix. Champix if you don’t know is a prescription pill that aids in the effort to quit smoking.
Before I go any further in this post, I have no affiliation with Champix, you won’t see disclosure at the bottom of this post, I am writing about this because I want to encourage others to take that step.
Anywho, the doctor asked me some questions about my history. She asked about my mental health, overall health, and any other medications I was taking. She then discussed my smoking habit, how long I had been smoking for, how many a day I smoked, and if I had a quit day in mind. After that she discussed the side effects of Champix, things that I should watch out for and if they should happen that I should immediately call my doctor, and the way the medicine worked (dosage etc). I walked out of the clinic with my arm on its way to healing and a positive outlook on my journey ahead.
No one knew I was going to quit smoking, I hadn’t discussed it with my kids, mother, partner, or friends. It had been a long time since I actually “enjoyed” smoking, it at this point was all an addiction. An addiction that would wake me up in the middle of the night just to have a cigarette, one that would dictate my life – until now!
I was a badass kid, I remember when we were kids we could take a written letter to the store and buy cigarettes for our parents – thank god kids can’t do that now! Well as you guess, me and my badass friends would do just that. I was in grade 4, ya you read that right, I was 9-10 years old when I started smoking. Of course this was just when we would go play in the creek, it wasn’t like I was smoking all day long. I remember making my sister who was in grade 1 at the time smoke with me and my friends, I was a horrible sister. I also remember my brother catching us smoking, telling my parents who then all chased us through a field. I remember getting my mouth washed out with soap – the liquid Sunlight dish soap … pardon me as a gag thinking about it. One would think that would deter a kid right? Wrong, I continued to smoke. It wasn’t until I was in grade 8 that I got caught smoking again. Someone who knew my mom saw me smoking at school and told on me. My mother, in an attempt to deter me from smoking walked me at age 13-14 to and from school. Sadly I was a complete ass and would enter the back of the school waving goodbye to my mom and strut my self through the front of the school meeting up with my friends to smoke. At the point of grade 8 I was probably smoking a half a pack a day. I would smoke out my bedroom window, in my closet, hide them in a Popples on my stuffed animal shelf, man I was so stupid. My addiction was pretty set at that point, come high school I was smoking a pack a day and that had been my life ever since.
Saturday, September 26, 2015 is the day I took hold of my life – I’m in charge now!
The first pack of Champix cost me just under $66 and for day 1 I was to take 1 0.5 mg pill. Days 2-7 I was to take 2 0.5 mg pills, one in the morning and one at night. Days 8-14 was when you were supposed to quit in between and on those days I was to take 2 1 mg pills twice daily, one in the morning and one at night.
I think of all the side effects I was most worried about and almost convinced I would get was the night terrors. I have tried quitting smoking in the past, I had pretty much tried every remedy out there aside from Champix and sewing my lips shut, nothing worked. While on the patch that one time I attempted to quit I did experience some pretty intense nightmares so I was most nervous about this with Champix as it is commonly reported. I remember my close friend Shaylah during her journey to quit smoking on Champix told me of a nightmare she had where she was ripping her mothers fingernails off, the problem was that it was so vivid she felt the actions of what she was dreaming. I have to say 21 days in and I have yet to have a single nightmare. I have had some pretty vivid dreams but I try to go to bed thinking happy thoughts and figure if my brain is thinking about this when I go to bed it’ll be hard to switch to a nightmare. I either am a genius or I am just not one who would experience the nightmares with this pill, not that they would deter me at all from my journey but either way I am happy.
Around day 13 I was feeling a bit discouraged that I hadn’t fully stopped smoking yet. I had cut down significantly, once smoking a pack or more a day down to around 3 was a huge improvement but I hadn’t stopped. I messaged my friend Shaylah and she encouraged me, she told me to let it happen naturally and that it would. I trusted her and set my mind to this will happen naturally and I will go on about my days taking my pills and one of these days I am just not going to smoke. I had noticed changes, I wasn’t craving them at all really, it was more the boredom and habit of going outside to smoke that was really keeping me smoking at this point. Half the time I did go outside I couldn’t even take more than a few drags before saying to myself this is disgusting, what am I doing and I would put it out.
October 12, 2015 – day 17 of my Champix journey was a day I will never forget. It was day 1 of being 100% smoke-free. I woke up in the morning and didn’t feel the need to go outside for that morning smoke. I said ok, I can do this, lets see if I can make it to lunch. By lunchtime I had totally forgot that I had yet to have a cigarette. I fed Bella her lunch and put her down for a nap. It was now early afternoon and I figured I needed to keep myself occupied to keep myself from thinking about smoking so I did some dishes and tidied up the house. By dinner time I knew I was going to be able to go the whole day without smoking, I did not have even an ounce of an urge to go smoke. This whole time I had cigarettes in my purse, about 8-10. Knowing I had them was kind of comforting but not hindering.
I am now on day 21 of my journey, day 5 of being 100% smoke free and I can’t begin to tell you how much better I feel already. I see the changes, I feel them, I SMELL them, I TASTE them.
Food, lets start there because I love me some food! I have not been smothering my food in salt like I have my whole adult life. I can actually taste stuff, things taste different but not a bad different. It has been a massive 5 day party in my mouth let me tell you. Of course this has come with some extra pounds BUT this is also not going to discourage me. So what if I have gained 10 pounds since starting this journey? You know what, working off the weight I gain after I am fully off Champix and 100% smoke free for good is going to be a lot easier than trying to reverse more years of smoking damage. Of course I am living in sweat pants and trying to hide my stomach rolls right now but the cold weather is coming and that means bulky fall sweaters so I am not too worried!
Smell, ya, I want to apologize to every boyfriend I have ever had that was a non-smoker. I am seriously so sorry for putting you through having to smell me. People, no matter how much perfume, gum, cologne, or mouthwash you use non-smokers can smell you a mile away. After I had been smoke free for 2 days someone I know came near me and I wanted to gag, I smelled like that? GROSS people, I honestly asked the person to go wash their hands, brush their teeth and change their clothes haha! It was bad, if for this reason only you need to quit, who wants to smell like that? Trust me once you quit you will understand what I am talking about!
Although I am extremely tired since starting this journey, the pills do make me kinda blah I notice I don’t get out of breath as often or as fast as I used to. This is a huge plus with a toddler who has me running in circles all day. I need this energy for her, I am not a spunky 20 something year old like I was with my first two, I need this energy to give her all of me that my older two girls did.
Of course you have to want to quit, I mean anyone can take this journey for the 12 weeks and quit but if you are not 100% in you are more likely to fail.
I have 9 more weeks of pills to take and I honestly never in a million years thought it would be this easy, this natural to wake up every single day and not smoke. To not want to smoke, to not need to smoke. I know my kids are thanking me, my partner is thanking me, and my body is thanking me.
It may not be easy, in a few days I could have a major craving, I am not pretending there may not be bumps or some hard days ahead. I know it isn’t going to be easy but I also know I can do it! For me, for them.
Do you smoke, have you quit, are you thinking about quitting? Chime in below or just leave some encouraging words – I could use all the cheerleaders I can get!