Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thank You For Not Smoking

Over the years, I have tried many times to quit smoking. I have tried cutting down, Zyban, the Nicoderm patch, Nicorettes – all to no avail.

I have found a much more effective way to quit smoking.

It was recently discovered, quite by accident, that I have an aneurysm in the abdominal aorta. My vascular surgeon sat with me and explained smoking has caused the aneurysm and continued smoking will further weaken the artery walls, it will burst and I will bleed to death - he then pulled his chair closer, looked me directly in the eyes and said, “So, quit or die.”

I quit, cold turkey, over a week ago and will never smoke again.

At this point, the risk of a rupture is minimal (11%). I am being monitored regularly and if the risk increases, surgery will be performed.

Thank you to a medical professional who had the balls to be brutally honest.

In all of my years as a professional in the addictions field, I was rarely that forthright. I usually tried to soften probable outcomes and/or consequences. If my doctor had framed the situation with “possibilities,” “maybe’s” and “probabilities” rather than with stark certainties, I might not have been so quick to quit smoking and then I would surely die – sooner rather than later.

This has been a good thing. I am getting healthier, I am saving kazillions of money, my house has never been so clean, and my darling daughter who worries too much can stop.

PS: My husband, who smoked more than I did, also quit and we are both doing great!