Smoke Free for a Year Tomorrow!

One year ago today was the last day in my life that I smoked tobacco.  Just as I am the “reluctant dieter” I was also the reluctant quitter.  Michael had been done with cigs for a year and a month the day I tossed my Kools.  He let me smoke in the bathroom.  Ha, that sounds funny, he doesn’t set boundaries for me, he just suggests them and they are usually good.  The thing is, winter in Wisconsin is usually brutal and temperatures in the -10 to 20 degrees with the wind chill factored in making the temperatures even lower.  That’s too cold to smoke outside, or even in the garage. 

I was a slave to cigarettes.  If I was out, day or night, no matter the weather, I was able to get out to buy them.  I didn’t like myself for being so submissive to tobacco...but I loved smoking.  The smell was awful, and permeated everything, my hair and clothes and anything else that was in the vicinity of the smoke.   

I really didn’t want to quit, I enjoyed smoking.  It relaxed me, it was even a substitute for food at times.  Heck, I was so afraid to gain weight.  I had more excuses than woolworth’s had nickels to not quit.  And then the sciatica struck.  Holy shit knock me to my (replaced) knees-jolting pains that would come every few seconds.  Pains that made me gasp...so for 8 months I was hard to live with I am sure, I can’t imagine listening to anyone gasp in pain.  But my dear hubby put up with me... urging me to seek help.

It wasn’t that I didn’t try everything that could possibly help.  My family doctor sent me to the pain clinic and Dr. said “you don’t want the surgery to fix this, let me do these shots in your back” and so I went to pain management for a series of 3 shots directly into my lumbar.  They gave me zero relief.  The next step was surgery.  

The orthopedic surgeon said he could possibly give me relief, so we went next to the neurosurgeon.  If you ever have nerve pain, see the nerve doctor!  He took a look at my x-ray’s and MRI and said:  your back is fractured.  I can fix that.  I had a big sigh of relief.  And then he told me I would have to give up cigarettes for a while... like six months ... because smokers don’t heal properly.  They grow stringy cartilage instead of bone at the fusion.   

Ok, enough said Doc... I will quit.  ANYTHING to get out of this pain.  ANYTHING to keep it away.  And the thought of the surgery failing because of smoking.. well I would have to be a dope to not listen.  

 So the 22 of February 2011, I smoked all the cigs I had in my possession.  And the song “Turn the Page” went through my head all day long but instead of smoke the day’s last cigarette I sang smoke my life’s last cigarettes and prepared myself mentally for quitting cigarettes.  

I had quit before.  Once when Nikki was little, I quit for a few years.  But then we had a major stressor in our family and I caved and started smoking again.  At first I was a closet smoker.  I brushed my teeth and washed my hair so often during that time period.  And then I was caught, which just meant I didn’t have to hide anymore.  They all knew, so what the heck.

The last time I quit was a few years ago and Michael and I quit for months.  Then we had another major family crisis and we both started smoking again.  Every single day I was not smoking, I thought about how much I wanted to be a smoker.  

But last year, I knew I had to quit and stay quit.  That was confirmed by the anesthesiologist who told me that if I didn’t quit, my health problems would compound.  And he said he’d see me often.  

Staying in the hospital for 5 days on morphine helped me get a start on the quit smoking project.  And being doped up on oxy-morphone and percoset once I was sent home really helped.  I didn’t think about it much.  

And then I started getting more mobile, the pain went away.  Physical therapy started.  I had no desire to ever cause myself the kind of pain I had prior to the surgery.   

But I thought about smoking every day.  

I wished I could.  

And then I asked the neurosurgeon after 6 months, could start I smoking again?  He said yes and hubby said WHAT?  and I said don’t worry, I won’t.  And I didn’t.  But I wanted to.  Every day.  Every waking hour.  I wanted to smoke.

One day, I was organizing junk drawers and found the Green Smoke starter kit that I had ordered the last time I tried to quit.  I picked the assembled e-cig up.  It felt like a cig between my fingers.  I held it for a long time...and then I inhaled a puff.  All of a sudden I had the answer... I could vape!  Totally mimicking smoking but without the tobacco!  The day I found my starter kit, I was going to go to the store and buy a pack of Kools.  I was healed and the tobacco talked to me constantly saying, it says It’s ok Karen, you can smoke..

My GreenSmoke set up  

But no longer did I need to!  The electric cigarette totally cured my brain of the noise of the nicotine telling me to smoke! 

So, Happy One Year anniversary to me!  

I should buy myself something.  Something that costs 365 times 7.00 a day because that is what I would have spent on cigs.  Maybe I will start warming hubby up for the new Nikon d800!  A reward gift!  (fat chance but I can dream) 

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