Friday, April 07, 2006

You Need to Stop!

You really need to stop right now. I started smoking when I was 15 years old. I wrote about it before; it is in the archives somewhere. I also wrote about quitting smoking, and how it was the best thing I have ever done for myself (and my family). I wrote about how hard it was to quit; how I would prefer to have a baby or a root canal without anesthesia than to have to go through that again.

I am really proud of myself for quitting. I have proven over the years to be a fairly addictive person, and quitting smoking is harder than most anything. Since I quit 27 years ago, I believed what the info always tells you: that after five years, your lungs are back to the condition they were in before you started smoking. Some of the info even says that your lungs are stronger after you quit than they were before you started. I believed it, I wanted to believe it, it made me even more proud of quitting. Finally, I was going to be healthy!

I learned today that I didn't quit soon enough. I have "a touch" of emphysema. That is the way the doctor described it. I have much to learn about the disease, the symptoms and what to expect. Googling it helps the educative process, but it doesn't answer all the questions. It is part of what doctors call COPD - or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is what my adoptive dad died from (he was a smoker). My birth father died from lung cancer (he was a smoker). For the last 20+ years, I have not lived in a home with a smoker, nor have I been subjected to smoke at work. Mr. Kenju smokes a pipe, but rarely, and he does not do it in the house.

If you are a smoker, young, old or in-between, won't you please stop smoking NOW? Do it before you develop COPD or chronic bronchitis or emphysema. The power is in your hands. Do yourself and your family - especially your children - a BIG favor. Quit while you are ahead, and pray that you have done it soon enough. Please.


Valderbar said...

hello, Michele sent me. to your good message. I haven't smoked myself or lived with anyone who has. The most dirt around here is dander. Hope your breathing isn't too hard.

mommy d said...

Great post. You are so lucky you had the strength to quit when you did. I hope what you discovered isn't too bad for you. I haven't been by in some time. Here via Michele's tonight. Take care and have a restful weekend.

goldenlucyd said...

Oh my, Kenju. "A touch of emphysema?" How scary that must be for you and how powerful your message is for others who may not have stopped smoking. It hits very close to home here--literally.
A family member who has smoked for 30 years is trying very hard to quit. However, it seems the habit is harder to kick than drugs or alcohol and I have my doubts about her long-term success. Thinking about her future problems should she fail, sickens me.

Judy, you are really to be commended for quitting and for putting yourself out there for others. Keep us posted about your research and thanks so much for sharing.
GD bless,

Clarence said...

I would like to second that motion.

I too smoked since I was fifteen years old. I too waiting too long to quit but quit I finally did after over 45 years of smoking at least two packs a day.

I can't imagine how I could have survived till now if I had not quit. I too have COPD but I feel so much better now than I did two years ago.

I'm realistic enough to know that most of you out there that smoke now will not stop soon enough. You WILL pay a price for the smoking you have done so far. You must want to quit and it has been my experience that no one was able to talk me into it.

When you get to where you can't breathe well enough to enjoy living, you will want to stop and for won't be able to on your own. When I finally got serious about quitting, I asked God to help me. I knew I couldn't do it alone. With His help, I stopped cold turkey and discovered that I could actually do it because of Him helping me. Was it easy? Not hardly. But I've never regretted doing it.

As Kenju said "Please stop now if you can." It can be done if you really want to do. If you can't do it by help. You won't be sorry.

Merle said...

Hi Judy ~ Sorry to hear that you have
a slight problem and I hope it proves to be slight. You deserve better after
giving up smoking. I gave up nearly 10 years ago, after smoking for 40 odd yrs.
I hope some of your readers will heed your advice. It is such a waste of money, apart from the health risk.
Good luck, Merle.

keda said...

how scary! i'm so sorry ro read this. i wish you luck and good health.

i gave up 3 months ago after battling against fags for the last 5 years. i had smoked about a pack a day for 12 years, but since getting pregnant have quit on and off.

its certainly not easy- but it is definately worth it. it scares me so much that i might die young of a smoking related ilness- how do you explain to your children that you killed yourself?

i now feel and look fitter and healthier. i smell nice. i have more money and i have more time.

i am so scared to go through quitting again that i am determined not to start again.

take care*

i'm here via michele today*

Karen said...

Judy, you are a good person to send out this message. I smoked when I was very young - from about 13 years old to 17 years old and I agree, quitting smoking was the hardest thing in the world to do. But SO worth it! I'm so glad I'm not shackled to that pack of cigs any longer. Not to mention how expensive it is!

I'm sorry to hear about the emphysemia, but it sounds like you caught it early. Hopefully your treatment will be effective.

Michele sent me back again today. I hope you're still having a great weekend!

ET said...

I started smoking as a teenager and it lasted into my 40s until I made up my mind to quit.
What made me give it up was one time after being without a cigarette for a while (few days - I didn't smoke in front of my family) I accidentally got a whiff of somebody who reaked of nicotine. I made up my mind to not have another cig. And started running as a substitute.... heaving those lungs for something more worthwhile.
It is just bad for your health, the health of your loved ones, and the enviorment.

Ravvy said...

Hey Kenju!
thanks for stopping by my blog, i hope you enjoyed your stay *no matter how random i am for an Aussie girl!*

the whole Smoking topic makes me sad because my dad has smoked alot of ciggies every day of my entire life of knowing him and for about 18years prior to my emergence into the world and im really sad that the chances are that he'll die from some tobacco related disease are so high.

for everyone out there trying to give up, dont worry if you feel like you cant do it, make sure you tell a really good friend so that they can help you too...

Thankyou so much for you post Kenju! It was really inspiring to read your story and for others to understand the hazards of smoking because you were brave enough to tell your story...

Ravvy.. xox

Prego said...

Amen. I quit about eight or nine years ago, though I was a sporadic, casual smoker. (I'm embarrassed to admit it.) I always looked upon smoking as an insult to my intelligence.

My best to you.

here via michele today

Ravvy said...

Anytime Kenju... i'll come back to visit you as often as i can!!!

Take care,

kristal said...

My grandma died of emphysema. She never smoked, but my grandpa did. I can't remember ever seeing him without a cigarette or a pipe. They had been married over 50 years and the doctors told us she was going to die and he still didn't stop. Even when she was on oxygen and fighting for every breath, he couldn't [or wouldn't] stop.

The doctors told us that it was the second hand smoke that killed her.

Smoking is bad.


{here via Michele}

doubleknot said...

Your message couldn't have come at a better time for me - what I have is pulmonary fibrosis - which is the doctor's way of saying my lungs are dying they just don't know why. But I am still smoking - it isn't much but I can't seem to lay them down. Some days I think why bother the damage has been done already - but I know my quality of life would improve and that smell - even smoking I can't stand it. Thanks for writing your post - I almost skipped it today but am so glad I stopped in. I may have to come back and read it again to inspire me but I think this may be the big quit day.

Jennifer said...

Message received, dear heart.

Loud and clear.

Carmi said...

Your comments reinforce the obvious: you probably saved at least one life today.

I wish my father had been able to read your words years ago. If he had, his life - and the lives of his entire extended family, for that matter - wouldn't be defined by one surgery after another, one crisis after another, and an overall sense that his life is now less rich than it could have been.

I'll pray for you, Judy, that it remains just a touch, and doesn't progress from there. Good people need to be around as long as possible to share these important lessons with those who are either unwilling or unable to listen.

moon said...

I smoked over a pack a day when I quit. I started in my teens and quite at 41 yrs old exactly 2 years ago this month. I was always getting sick with bronkitis and pneumonia etc..till the last time I had such a hard time getting air , I was sufficating..I had never been so bad...I was so often on the edge of panic it was no be able to JUST BREATH....scared me enough to finally say ENOUGH... I don't ever want to feel this scared again!...I did it cold turkey..and I feel so much better now. I am angry that it took me so long but still so happy I finally did it.

Hugs to you Kenju...for posting this, it made alot of us think today....I also hope that your diagnosis by the doc was meant to inform and better understand what can be done at that stage and if it can be treated in order for it to remain as it is and not progress. What I am trying to say is, has it been like that always and they just saw it or does it progress?....I am so gauche sometimes trying to say something.

Keep us informed ...I am sure I am not the only one who wants to know and follow your progress in knowledge in this

Amanda Cowan said...

Hi there! I'm here through michelle. I have to say that I can relate. I'm not a smoker. But my parents are. Well, my mom quit last year and I could not be more proud than I was and am everyday that she gets through. My dad has smoked since he was 12 and will probably smoke until the day he dies. He also has a "touch" of emphysema. It scares the daylight out of me. I don't know you, but I'm proud of you for quitting too. I'll be back to your site to see how you're doing. I hope things work out, I don't know much about the illness either.. Best wishes. BTW I have a blogspot blog but I also have my regular blog

surcie said...

I wish you good health, kenju!

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

After many fits and starts, my parents finally quit smoking a few years ago, and I was so proud of them. Good for you for quitting, and I hope and pray that everything turns out as well as possible for you.

aka_monty said...

I'm so proud of you too!!!
I've only been off the smokes since Christmas and it is STILL hard...but I will persevere because I worry who will take care of my son if I help myself into an earlier grave by not trying to be more healthy.

Thanks so much for this story~and I pray that I quit in time.
xoxoxoxoxoxox*hugs* to you

aka_monty said...

OH! I forgot to say that Michele sent me (today)! :)

srp said...

I am so glad you quit 27 years ago. The wonder of the lung is in the millions of tiny little sacs with very thin lining in between. These sacs are the site of oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange. The small size and large number give a whoppin huge surface area for this exchange in a limited space (lung cavity) and this is a very good thing. Cigarette smoke weakens these alveolar sac linings until they finally break down. The break down of several small sacs leads to the formation of larger diameter sacs. The surface area goes down and the oxygen exchange is less efficient. You are correct that the increased risk for lung cancer will subside to that of the non-smoking population usually within 5 - 8 years of stopping. Any breakdown in the alveoli, however cannot be reversed. That is why people must never start smoking or if they do, stop immediately.

What do lungs look like with severe COPD. Picture the lungs as looking somewhat similar to a brand new intact natural sponge with all the little holes and pockets tiny and round. Now gouge out pieces of that sponge and add black and gray soot coloring to it and you have lungs with emphysema.

Fortunately it is not an "all or nothing" disease, so a "touch" is much better than what you would have were you still smoking.

Good for you for stopping and for spreading the personal word to help others.

Guess what? I was here from Michele this time.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I agree 150% Judy. I too was a smoker and I too quit actually longer ago than you, by quite a few years...(But then I'm older than you..LOL) And, I too, have a "touch" of emphasyma in both lungs, plus another lovely chronic lung thingy called BRONCHIECTUSIS...which began after a very severe illness at age 9, with subsequent heavy0duty illness adding to the already damaged, (irreversibly so...) to my lungs..BUT, I did not know about either of these things till I had to have a CT Scan in July, 2004.

I too was not around a lot of smoke after I quit, except for the secind hand smoke on Planes, Restaurants, street, offices, etc. THIS IS A LOT OF SECOND HAND SMOKE.
And, actually, given these conditions, the worst thing for me is being around toxic fumes, like smoke. To one & all: Stop Smoking, NOW! For your own future health and the health of all those you love, too...stop now. Before you too have irreversible damage, or worse.

Loren said...

After I got throat cancer, even though I'd quit smoking nearly ten years before coming down with it, I wanted to rush out and tell smokers I saw, "Quit Now!"

If they had had to see all the smokers and ex-smokers in the doctor's office being treated for throat cancer, they'd have a new perspective on just how "expensive" the habit really is.

utenzi said...

My Mom smokes so I grew up with second hand smoke but I've never smoked, Judy. I've never understood why people would.

I hope this "touch" of emphysemia you have is a very small touch. We really don't do well without oxygen, Judy. Not well at all. I guess it's a very good thing you quit smoking when you did. said...

Judy - I quit 7 years ago. Thanks for reinforcing my decision today.

I was always told that from the minute you start smoking you will have empheysema because there is damage to the lungs. BUT....once you stop, the empheysema would not progress. So hopefully what I aws told is correct and you won't develop further issues from this.

Thank God you quit when you did!

Dak-Ind said...

greetings from michele!

quitting smoking was such a hard thing! i have not had a cigarette in almost two years now, so i feel for ya. i hope i quit in time!

emphazima can be horrible, i hope yours is as mild as possible!

Duke_of_Earle said...

Yes. Thank God you quit when you did. One of my employees (a smoker) has just been diagnosed with lung cancer and heart disease that was probably either caused or exacerbated by a 20-year cigarette habit. It's really is hazardous tou one's health.

I hope and pray that you COPD is, and remains, minimal!


margalit said...

You go, girl. I'm asthmatic and I have never smoked tobacco (but can't say that about other stuff, long in my past) and I'm totally freaked out about cigarette smoke. I happen to live in a town where tobacco is not allowed anywhere, inside any public building, outside in any public area, so basically you can only smoke on your own property. I love it because I just never get smoke in my face if I stay in town.

I've got congestive heart failure so smoke could easily kill me. I understand how scary it must be not to be able to breathe well. I hope you can get over this and stay active in the non-smoking movement.

Here via Michele

My float said...

Hi Judy, what a great post. I didn't smoke but my boyfriend of seven or so years did, and after we parted ways, I used to get very bad nicotine cravings, so I would smoke once every six months...until I developed a blood blister on my tongue which cured me for good!! Kids don't listen though, I know I didn't when I was younger, so they're so susceptible to the advertising. I think that's where most of the trouble lies...
I wish you better health.

PS. Thanks for visiting my site and your lovely words. See you again.

kimbofo said...

I'm sorry to hear you have a 'touch of emphysema'. But thank goodness you quit smoking when you did or it could have been much worse, right?

I'm not a smoker: never have been, never will.

PS> Michele sent me but I have been here before.

road apples said...

I have High School students who smoke. My class room is on the third floor and by the time they get up there they are weezing. They are only 17 or 18 years old. I weeze too but I am 3 times older and overweight (slightly and besides I am big boned as my mom liked to say).

I will pass on your wods of wisdom.

Laura said...

Oh Judy, I'm so sorry to read this! I hope your message strikes a chord and makes someone put down their cigarrette today! Hugs to you, I hope the symptoms are as mild as possible.

Sonia said...

I am sorry to hear that you have
a slight health problem. But fortunatelly you quit!
Very important post, Judy! Fortunately I am not a smoker and I never did, but my husband smokes 3 or 4 cigarettes per day, and always out of the house. Anyway, I think he must quit. Better late than never!
Have a happy Sunday!

Raehan said...

I am so sorry, Judy.

I never smoked, but know how hard it is to quite.

JunieRose2005 said...

If I could have ONE WISH it would be for all the ones I love to stop smoking-or never to start!

(and the 'ones I love' includes everybody!)


poopie said...

I hear ya. Thanks. ^j^

scrappintwinmom said...

So sorry to hear this news. My father is a smoker, he refuses to quit, my DH smokes occasionally and thinks that by doing it in a closed room, he's keeping it away from our girls. I have chronic sinus problems thanks to living all of my life with a smoker. I used to have an occasional cigarette with cocktails, but I don't smoke anymore. It would suck if I wound up sick because of living with secondhand smoke.
Here via Michele today - sending good vibes your way!

Bhakti said...

KENJU-- I am very sorry to hear this news. I will pray for you, and pray that your 'touch' of emphysema stays at just a 'touch'. You are so kind, such a great soul, I know that you will be able to handle anything that comes your way. Still, I pray that you do not have to carry the burden of this or any other physical ailments.

Much love,

PS I am proud that you quite smoking so long ago.

Maria said...

I am late in getting to your blog and really sorry to read this post, but I have a feeling that you will be on top of this very soon. You are right in making a web search to learn all you can and then making a list of questions for your doctor. The more information you have the less the fear. I believe this has been found so early that all will be okay.

Angie said...

I have quit several times and for no reason I can understand picked them up again. Right now I want one so bad it is nawing at me!! The want never seems to go away.

Anonymous said...

Hi kenju was googling to find out about emphazima and came across what you wrote about your smoking experience. I started smoking at 12. Smoked untill I was 41, 2 to 2 1/2 packs a day. Stopped for 6ish years and a little over a year and a half ago started again. Going to stop again the end of this month March 2007. Before I stopped smoking I would get a typical yearly cold, which would always get into my chest and would set up house for a good month or more. And I would cough and cough until it ran its coarse. In the years that I stopped I think I got a cold once and it never traveled into my lungs. But now since starting back 5 months ago my doctor said I was an inch away from getting admitted into the hospital with pneumonia. Got another chest cold 5months after that and tried two different antibiotics and its been a good month now and I'm still hanging onto this cough. Which is just what I used to go thru before I quit smoking.

The reason I've responded to your story is it's a good story but that's all it is. I think in this day and age most people know that in one way or another cigarettes are going to inevitably do something thats going to harm your health...even if you stop for years and years like you did. But I think the most important thing x-smokers can do for those who are still smoking is to try to get them pointed in a direction that will start them thinking differently about their smoking which will hopefully get them motivated to finally say this is stupid it's time to quit. I mean if stories of emphazima could make smokers quit then we wouldn't start to begin with....but stupid as it is we do anyway. how much did you smoke daily....I sleep generally 6 to 8 hours a day....smoking 2 to 2 1/2 packs a day thats what about 3 or 4 cigarettes each hour that I'm awake. If I was stressed I'd smoke even more...drinking alcohol, more then too. Can even say the majority of the time I enjoyed smoking....When I stopped for the first time almost 8 years ago I used Ziban and the patch. To pretty much make my doctor happy when I had pnuemonia 5 months ago she suggested I try stopping again that their was a relatively new product out you can now get by perscription called "Chantix". So I thought what the heck lets see what this new thing can do. Well I did the entire 3 month plan but didn't stop....didn't stop for the right reason...ME, didn't have my head in the battle mode to put up the fight that it does take to successfully stop. But I'll tell you (everyone reading this) when I stop again in a few days from now I have my Chantix waiting for me to start. Without trying and continuing to smoke that first time on it I went down from 2 and a half packs a day down to less than a pack. Now this was a couple of months ago that I did that...and once I stopped the medication I gradually increased my smoking. So I know this medication is going to work because this time I've got my head into doing it.
I think the best advice I have for anyone that wants to stop smoking but never really thought about it much is to start with this and I'm really serious about this. THINK. Think about your smoking....think about the cigarettes and what they've done to you for however long you've been smoking and think about how addicted to them you are and how hard you know its going to be to try to stop. Most smokers that light up probably don't even consciously think about what their doing they just automatically do it. Start making an effort to think about it instead of just doing it like you do blinking your eyes. Now start to think about how you feel physically, and all the effects that you probably feel from those cigarettes. Like how out of breath you might feel just going up a flight of you ever make wheezing noises (strange little noises when you breath)? Do you feel heavyness on your chest. How about trying to take a deep breath in and holding it. How much air can you take in and how long can you hold it. And anything else that I might be forgetting or things that you out their can think of that effect you as a smoker. Now start the war with those cigarettes....instead of them being something friendly something you think you need start thinking about them for what they really are....they are not your friend....they are truly you worst physical and mental enemy...and they are controlling you and quite possibly determining your future health for the rest of your lifetime. Why would anyone give such an inadiment object so much power and control over their life...but those of us who decide to smoke it's exactly what we've done....we've given up control. We've given up our will. Don't you think its a little amazing when you really think about it how much power one little cigarette has over you a human being. Trust me or not...what would be my point in writing all of this if I wasn't telling the truth...Anyone that know's me know's how I smoke, I think jaws dropped when they knew I actually did...because the two went I never talked about quiting never thought about quiting, one because I knew it was going to be tough and because I mostly enjoyed doing it. But I quit....and it was hard for a couple of weeks but nothing you can't get through, and no if I can get some kind of relief with things that will help me quit help ease some of the withdrawal symptoms then give me as many smoking aids as I can take at one time!
Just one more thing for the road...I wrote that I smoked for 30 years, then stopped for a little over 6 years, and have been back smoking now for 16 months. You out their that have quit or when you do ever quit, keep this in mind because I'm sure I'm not the only one this will has or will ever happen too. You would think that it would be alot harder to stop smoking after 30 years then it would be smoking only 16 months.... NO SUCH LUCK... It's as if I never quit for 6 years, I feel just as addicted as I did before I stopped. So for whatever the reasons you'de like to stop....but haven't gotten their yet...try this to get the ball rolling start the battle against the enemy. I was weak too, but that helped me alot thinking about it realistically..and truly almost like waging a war on the nasty things. That along with things to help you stop is how I did it. And I think every smoker who stops owes their story of how they quit and what they did to finally stop to those that are still smoking.