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!


  1. Well done to you. I'm sure your kids are very relieved. I hope you reap many benefits from quitting this dangerous habit.

  2. Good for you. Quitting smoking is one of the hardest things to do. I had a beloved teacher that quit smoking after a heart attack.

    We were hanging out together 10 years later and he started pretending to smoke his french fry.

    However he never touched a cigarette again after quitting.

  3. That's one great doctor you've got there. And congratulations on quitting. I've seen what hell it can be to both continue and to quit. I'm glad you made a positive choice for your health.

  4. Good for you HBG. I quit 10 years ago in February. Never regretted it for a moment.

  5. Congratulations on quitting!!!! Quite an accomplishment. Julie

  6. Good for you!

    I wish my mother would have done the same. After the Dr. warned her repeatedly that she was killing herself, she didn't listen.

    She didn't listen after being discharged from the hospital following complications from PAD.

    As a matter of fact she went home and smoked while wearing a nicotine patch. A week later (a year ago this month) she died following a massive stroke.

    RIP Mom

  7. Those triple A's are not to be trifled with! I'm glad you stopped smoking and wish you health and happiness!

  8. ahhhh I am so trying to quit. I have a new grandson and I just cannot keep smoking, but so hard to quit. My dad died last Dec. of lung cancer and do you think I quit? NO!!! I plan on quitting on father's day. I need to reread your blog over and over and over. Any other suggestions would be appreciated!!!! Good job, Grandma!

  9. I am so proud of you. I have probably quit smoking 500 times, for lengths of time varying from a few hours to a little over a year. I have COPD. It is so bad that I can not walk a block without stopping to rest. I'm 67 and otherwise healthy enough (other than the usual aches and pains and stiff joints), my cholesterol is under control, no rumblings of cancer in my lady parts, no osteoporosis.

    I wake up in the morning breathing reasonably well. Then I go out on my balcony and light up (to my credit, sometimes this is an hour or more after I get up) and I can feel my lungs shut down. It is going to kill me. Eventually my lungs will be beyond redemption and then my heart will shut down. I've got to stop. Maybe I'll use you as my inspiration.

  10. PS - Beth, my dad also died of lung cancer.

  11. Congrats! That's so AWESOME. I used to smoke also, and quit everytime I got pregnant, but then would start again after breastfeeding. DUMB I know. I could quit for months and months, then start up agian like nothing. It might not mean much from a perfect stranger, but I'm proud of you. Keep on Keeping on!!

  12. There's not better reason to quit than something that personal. Good luck to you.