I started smoking at the age of 14. Over the years I’ve made numerous attempts to stop including – in rough order – cold turkey, reading Allen Carr’s ‘The Easy Way To Stop Smoking’, hypnotism, nicotine patches, nicotine gum, more hypnotism, the Allen Carr clinic (about £200 for the day).
I have never stopped smoking for more than 4 weeks. I can normally do the first week ok, but I cannot cope with the constant obsessional thinking about smoking and constantly having to tell myself I no longer smoke and all the reasons for it. In simple speak it just ‘does my head in’.
I came to the conclusion that (a) Oh, well, I’ve probably done the damage now, it’s not worth the effort and misery to stop (b) I nursed my friend – a non smoker – until she died of cancer of the oesophagus and then my husband – a non smoker - 16 months ago until he died of melanoma. (c) My sister, who has never had so much as a drag on ciggie, had a major op last summer for breast cancer. (d) If I die before summer 2016 my kids benefit from an insurance. (e) Everyone has to go sometime. I’ve had a reasonably good life with good health. Hey ho. I am who I am.
On 30th Dec 2013 I visited the dentist because one of my crowns had dislodged. During the consultation he asked if I was aware of the ‘white spots’ on my gums. I said I had no knowledge of these and that they could have only have appeared since I last visited the dentist approx. 6 months prior. He was eager to assure me there was ‘probably’ no cause for alarm, but that he was going to refer me to a specialist hospital clinic for further investigation.
The next day I had a call from the hospital to confirm my appointment for 9th Jan 2014.
Needless to say alarm bells started to ring.
I was on the internet researching oral cancer. The one cancer I had always dreaded.
It was nothing short of horrific. Stories of people’s tongues and pallets being cut out. Throats cut apart. Voices lost. Feeding tubes. Months of rehabilitation. Learning to swallow.
I actually started to plan my funeral.
Suddenly I realised, I didn’t want to go yet. I wanted to see my current grandkids grow up. I wanted to see my grandkids yet to be born. I wanted to live. And I didn’t want to go through the hideous treatments of oral/throat cancer.
The appointment went well. The consultant assured me he does not suspect cancer but that he wants to do a biopsy. My appointment is on 21/01/14.
This was a wake-up call.
I made an appointment at the stop smoking clinic at my GP on 13/01/14.
The nurse was lovely but I didn’t believe she could tell me anything I didn’t know about smoking or giving it up. She didn’t judge or lecture. She was an ex smoker, thank god!
I told her that I’d almost cancelled the appointment because I had ordered yet another supply of ecigs believing this may be the only ‘way out’ I could hope for. She said she hoped to ‘change my thinking’ on that one.
By the end of the session I had agreed to a course of Champix. She reassured me concerning the many reports of adverse side effects I had read about.
Now let me tell you I firmly believe to my core that I am the most severely addicted person to smoking that ever walked the earth (although my logical brain knows this cannot be true).
I deeply believe that ‘other’ people somehow are NOT as addicted as me. After all, smoking is so FIRMLY ingrained into me. I am at this moment sucking desperately on my egig as I write.
Today I have not smoked a real cigarette. BUT it has not been easy. I have been consumed with thought of a ‘real’ cigarette even though I have had my nicotine enabled ecig with me all day.
I desperately want to be a non smoker who ‘HATES’ smoking. I wish I had never started.
I cannot turn back the clock. All I can do is make a concentrated effort rid myself of this affliction – because that is what it is.
I heartily applaud anyone who has beaten this monster, but at the same time I am so very jealous of their freedom.
For 47 years I have been a slave to tobacco. I do not know what it's like to live as an adult as a genuine non smoker.
Tomorrow will be day 2 of no ‘real’ cigarettes for me, if I make it.
Day 3 of Champix. Wish me luck. I don't yet feel strong or confident because I have failed myself too many times.