Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I can't believe I forgot

I can't believe I forgot to post on this blog when I celebrated my first year's anniversary.

That was a few days ago.

I have gone an entire year without smoking.




I can't believe it.

I never would've believed it possible. I tried to quit before. I tried to quit smoking, and I failed, and I failed so spectacularly that I really thought I wasn't going to figure out a way to quit smoking before I was old and decrepit.

Then Chantix came along, and it changed all that.

I'm so glad that it's still available. I know it has been linked with some questionable and worrisome side effects. So if you are considering taking Chantix, or if you've just started taking it, and you're worried, then here are my warnings:
1. Be aware.
2. Don't push yourself.
3. If you're scared, stop taking Chantix.

Otherwise, I hope that if you -- like me -- can make it through the slightly scary side effects without trauma, then I wish for you the life that I have. I wake up and I feel good. I don't cough. I got through a whole winter without bronchitis. Food tastes fabulous. I can walk uphill without worrying that I'm dying. My hay fever isn't so bad. I'm saving money. I'm saving LOTS of money.

This can be your life. Don't give up!

Chantix rocks. Chantix bloggers rock even more.

I made it a year. You can, too!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Six Months

Just a tiny FYI -- I have made it six months without a cigarette. I told Wesley, "This is my six month anniversary!" He asked what I wanted to do to celebrate it, and my son interjected, "Go to Disney World and walk past ALL the smoking areas!"


And of course, I did dream that I smoked half a pack of cigarettes and was very upset with myself. But it wasn't a Chantix dream -- not vivid enough to make me think I really did smoke. I do miss those vivid dreams!


Seriously, I never would've made it this far if it hadn't been for Chantix. I feel so badly for all the people for whom it didn't work.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Get Quit: No good at math

Today I received from Get Quit, the spiffy online-support system provided by Chantix, an email which congratulated me for having been with Get Quit for six whole months.

Let's see.

I signed up for Get Quit on August 1st.

I tried to quit smoking on August 8th.

I didn't actually quit until August 20th.

So... how, exactly, does January 25th qualify as a six-month anniversary of anything?

Well, I shouldn't split hairs. I mean, I did quit smoking, after all. And I still haven't smoked yet.

I dreamed that I smoked two nights ago. I'm going to Las Vegas on Monday to visit my beloved sister Amy. (She quit smoking using the nicotine patch because she is Iron Woman.) (*I* tried to quit smoking using the nicotine patch THREE TIMES. And I never got anywhere close to succeeding.)

Anyway, I dreamed that I was smoking, and when I realized I was smoking, I felt bad. I worried that if I smoked, would Amy pick it up, too? Augh!

Later on, I woke up and realized it was a dream. OH! That's something worth noting. I, personally, feel that my dreams are still quite vivid. I've not taken Chantix in a month, but the dreams... still feel vivid. Maybe I just got spoiled. I always loved the vivid dreams.

So I dreamed that I smoked, but I felt awfully guilty about it. And I didn't actually smoke just because I dreamed about it.

Tonight I was in Knoxville, and I suddenly remembered that I was supposed to pick up something for my dear husband. Wesley smokes cigars. He has never smoked a cigar in the house, but he does enjoy a good cigar and he has, in fact, belonged to a cigar club for... well, I think about 7 or 8 years now.

I'll be honest, I do not like the smell of cigars. I just don't. I never liked the smell of cigarettes, either, but I put up with the smell in order to get the nicotine. Anyway, Wesley smokes cigars.

He asked me to pick up a humidifier thingie for him from Leaf & Ale, a shop in Knoxville where you can get tobacco and home-brewing products. I happened to be in the neighborhood, so I stopped in.

And dang it, there were people smoking cigars in there.

I could hardly stand it. The stench and the smoke were just *thick* and choking and *awful*. I tried so hard to be polite and not gag or cough, but the whole time I was thinking, "Oh, please, let this be fast so I can get out of here and breathe some clean air."

I made it out. I didn't gag or cough, and I *hope* I didn't look too hysterically desperate to the guys in the shop. After all, I do still support people's right to smoke. Tobacco is still a legal substance. I would still be smoking... if it weren't so darned expensive, and if Chantix hadn't been such an effective helpmate in my effort to quit smoking.

Whenever my six-month anniversary really is, I hope I start feeling like a real non-smoker then. Part of me is concerned. I'm flying to Las Vegas. I'm landing at an airport. Every other time I've flown to Las Vegas to see my sister, I've gone outside to have a cigarette while waiting for our luggage to get to the luggage carousel. If I don't have something else to occupy my time... and my hands... what will I do?

I don't know. But I'm looking forward to finding out.

Here's the thing, dear Chantix readers: If you found this blog because you're starting to take Chantix, then read all the posts on this blog. But if you're reading because you became accustomed to my take on things, then you need to switch over. I'm going to be posting my trip report -- as usual -- at Bay's Travel Blog. It was my original, and my favorite. Bay's Travail Blog has served its purpose. Time to return to business as usual!

Smooches, y'all!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Chantix, the sequel

I had this fabulous idea today.

I'm hoping that some scientist already had this idea and is already working on the next version of Chantix.

What the world needs -- other than a pill that helps you to quit smoking -- is a pill to help some of us eat healthy.

I'm not saying "a diet pill," because that's not what I mean. I mean, wouldn't it be fabulous if there were a pill we could take that would re-wire our brains so that we didn't looooooooove chocolate and butter and cream and things with sugar in them? Wouldn't it be fabulous if our brains were programmed to think that raw carrots and celery were yummy treats? Wouldn't that make it so much easier to eat right and lower our cholesterol?

If they made a pill that could make me stop loving cigarettes... how far are "they" from making a pill that convinces me that potato chips are not the delicious crunchy delights that I think they are right now?

The thing is -- if they *do* invent a pill like that, I would like to be able to stop taking it now and then. Like, on my birthday. And on Independence Day. Because honestly, one should be able to have apricot nectar cake or big, sloppy chili dogs loaded with cheese *occasionally*. I mean, that's just fair.

Isn't it?

Friday, January 4, 2008

So scared!

So. My sister called me and told me to go see "I Am Legend."

In her defense, she knew I already was thinkin' about seeing it.

Against her, though, she knows I'm a total weenie when it comes to scary movies. I cannot tell you how many scary movies I've walked out on because I was too scared to keep watching. I walked out on M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs." Too frickin' scary. I had to wait until my husband watched it on DVD, and then he had to tell me EVERYTHING that happened in it, and even then, I kept pausing it and running away and crying before I could finish it.

I just realized... I am a huge weenie.

("The Exorcist"? I didn't see it until I was 12 years old. AND! That was the edited-for-prime-time-TV version. No cursing. Very, very clean. And I still slept with the lights on... through all of 7th grade.)

(Not kidding!!!!!)

So, OK, my dear stister tells me to go see "I Am Legend." I take my 19-year-old daughter and my 15-year-old son. We are seated in the second row, and there's a teenager three seats down from me who talked NONSTOP through the whole movie, even though her own friends were whispering, "Shhhhh," and "Hush now," at her.

I saw that movie on Wednesday.

It scared the wubba out of me.

I didn't walk out, but only because I didn't want to traumatize my own very delicate children.


On the night that passed between Wednesday and Thursday morning?

I had nightmares every hour or so. I walked around the house, looking for zombies. I was very, very worried about the mutating zombies who would expose themselves to daylight. I tried to hide in closets. In my dreams.

I am ... *such* a huge wimp.

Darn it, my darlin' husband wants me to see "I Am Legend" with him on Saturday night.

Why can't we go see a romantic comedy???

At least, no matter how freaked out I got? I never did smoke a cigarette.

Next time, remind me to blog about how irritated I am with the lack of black markets. I paid $130 for my last box of Chantix, and I only used three-quarters of that box. Seems like a huge waste of moolah! On the other hand, I'm not spending $11 a day on cigarettes. So I guess it all evens out!

Monday, December 31, 2007

J'ai oublie

When I was 14 years old, when I was finishing my freshman year of high school and my brilliant sister Amy was finishing her freshman year of college, she said her favorite phrase in French was "J'ai oublie."

OK, I can't figure out how to make all the accent marks. I wish I were Canadian. But I'm not. So Amy said, "J'ai oublie" was her favorite French phrase ever, and I asked, "What does it mean?" and Amy intoned imperiously, "I ... FORGOT!"

Turns out that "j'ai oublie" means "I have forgotten." ROFL!!! Amy is exactly that kind of person, which is exactly why I love her so much.

And I still can't do the accent marks, especially in blogs, but that phrase is pronounced "zhay ooblee yay." So now, you forgot, too!

Anyhoo. The whole reason I'm posting this post is to tell you that while most people were dealing with the holidays, I was dealing with both the holidays and... the forgetting to take Chantix.

J'ai oublie.

I forgot...

To take Chantix.

And I had un-set my morning alarm, but I was still getting the nighttime alarm to remind me to take my 1 milligram of Chantix.

Even with an alarm... I still managed to forget. Christmas was crazy. I mean, it always is, and I still was ahead of the usual schedule this year. Yet, even with all that work and the alarms, I forgot to take Chantix. For *days* at a time!

So. Here it is, and we're almost at the end of 2007, and I haven't had Chantix in more than a week, and I haven't had a cigarette in more than four months.

This is *so* weird. I haven't gone through Christmas without a cigarette since 1984. And trust me, Christmas is WAY more stressful than it was back then!!!!

But I made it through.

I think I have quit smoking. I feel nostalgic when I think about all those holidays when I went outside to smoke. But I got through it all.

I am going to miss the vivid dreams. So far, I still have the vivid dreams, and yes, I have been sleepwalking a good bit. (My husband tells me that on Christmas Eve, I led him on a merry chase while I wandered around the house, totally asleep.) I'm going miss hanging out with Mama. The vivid Chantix dreams have been such a fabulous god-send in terms of dealing with my perpetual longing for Mama. She died in April, 1993. I think *anyone* who has lost their mother is going to tell you how hard that is to deal with. Mama was my best friend, and the vivid dreams have given me such marvelous hours of visits with my best friend. I did have one vivid dream of visiting with my father -- who died when I was 8 years old -- and *that* dream was not fabulous. It was just weird. But since I got on Chantix, every time I've dreamed of Mama... Honestly, y'all, it's like she's really here. And that's... such a blessing.

I hope I haven't totally scared some readers. It's not maudlin. It's just... really cool.

So, anyway, I haven't had the Chantix, and I haven't had the vivid dreams.

And I haven't smoked. In fact, I am still totally disgusted by the whiffs of smoke I smell in public.

2007 was such an amazing year!!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

I'm almost ready

OK. I didn't post last weekend, like I said I would. I still keep up with a few of the Chantix bloggers, but only every other day instead of every single day. And I no longer read their blogs because I know that they're going through exactly what I'm going through. I keep reading them -- because they're interesting. Because I feel like they're my friends. Because they're fun. But not because it's going to bolster my resolve not to smoke.

I still make way more stuff out of paper than I ever did before. I am way more productive in the cards and the scrapbooks and the handmade boxes and books and doodads. But it's not because I'm desperate to keep my hands busy and to get my mind off smoking. It's because I became accustomed to it, and I enjoy it. Here it is almost Christmas, and I have some seriously kick-ass crafty things to give to my relatives. - Piles of handmade greeting cards that they can send to their friends. - Stacks of nifty little books filled with photos of loved ones. Heck, I even have tiny message boards that can hang out on the fridge door. I mean -- I have seriously made a whole ton of paper things, and it's not ALL because I'm jonesin' for a cig.

My doctor originally prescribed six months of Chantix for me. She said it was because I was such a longtime, heavy smoker. I smoked about two packs a day for 22 years. (Ya know what? I smoked more like 3 packs a day for a while there. I try not to remember that, I would love to deny it, but it's true. I smoked 3 packs a day for about a year during 2005-2006.)

Even though Chantix itself recommends 3 months, I was glad that my doctor prescribed six months of the drug. After all, Chantix itself recommends quitting after 7 days, and I failed miserably at that. I didn't quit smoking 'til the 20th day. Having the extra three months of drugs made me feel ... more secure. If that's possible. I mean, come on, quitting smoking is not an activity which actually qualifies for use with the word "secure."

But I am in my fifth month of the pill. I learned long ago to eat before I take a pill. I had to set an alarm on my cell phone to remind me to take the pill after several weeks. My sister quit smoking using just the patch -- and when she forgot to put on a new patch, she stopped using the patch.

My sister... is a *real* quitter. She amazes me. For all sorts of reasons for as long as I've known her, my sister amazes me -- but for quitting smoking and then giving up the patch before the recommended time, she *really* amazes me.

Anyway, here's the thing: I'm pretty sure I will not be filling my prescription for the sixth month of Chantix. I keep forgetting to take pills now, and that's with an alarm to remind me to take it.

And most importantly -- and I have so resisted this way of thinking --

-- Smoke repulses me.

It really does.

For weeks after I quit smoking, if I smelled cigarette smoke, I thought it smelled delicious. Just *divine*. Oh, if only I could bottle that irresistible aroma and pour it all over me! I would walk through clouds of smoke around the grocery store entrance, and I just wanted to hang out with those happy smokers and smoke with them! I would stand on the street outside the restaurant in Knoxville, and deeply inhale the delectable second-hand smoke like a dieter outside a doughnut shop.

I just ... so loved the smoke.

But recently --

If I run into a cloud of smoke outside the grocery store, I run through it faster than normal, and I hold my breath. The smoke smells so bad. So evil and bad and disgusting. It's like... Oh, I hate to say this, because I'm Southern and we just don't speak of these things. But cigarette smoke smells like... someone... had a bout of intestinal distress. It's literally repulsive. And I can't stop myself from making faces and running away from the bad smell.

I do not *want* to smoke.

And I never thought I would feel this way. I thought I would always be a smoker who simply wasn't smoking at the moment.

Now I look into the future, and I see it clearly, without a cloud of smoke hanging around it. I can watch a long movie and not light up first thing when I get out of a cinema. I can dine in non-smoking restaurants without feeling put-upon. (OK, all Tennessee restaurants are now non-smoking, and I'm so glad in such a perverse way. I honestly think it's an unconstitutional law, but I'm so glad that I don't have to smell smoke while I'm eating.)

My house smells better, my hair smells heavenly. I breathe deeply and it doesn't hurt. I don't cough first thing when I wake up in the mornings, and my sense of smell ... really has... become... more pronounced. Not my sense of taste, though. I still love the way everything tastes, and I can't tell that any food tastes better or worse now than it did before I quit smoking. I wear cologne now. I hadn't worn cologne regularly since I was 29 years old. There was no point. I never smelled the Private Collection over the stench of my smokiness. Now, I smell better than a freshly baked loaf of bread in a clean, new, brown paper sack.

I honestly do have more energy. I really am more positive and cheery and all that happy garbage that the non-smokers heaped on me unbidden when I was a smoker.

At the same time, I am in despair because my very best friend in the whole world hasn't quit smoking yet. I am going to see her in November of 2008. I hope that by then, I will have gotten over my phase of being repulsed by smoke. (Is repulsion a side effect of fear? Because I can handle it if it is.)

So this is where I am: My vivid Chantix dreams are becoming less vivid. (Maybe cuz I keep missing a dose.) I have gone through tons of stress. (Oh, my gosh, if I didn't want to smoke on Thanksgiving Day, then I will never want to smoke.) I am disgusted by cigarette smoke. And my sister, my other very best friend in the whole world, isn't smoking, too.

I think... I think I might be ready to stop taking the Chantix.

In a week or two.

But I refuse to give up the Chantix bloggers!!!