I have not written for about a month. I have been busy focusing on improving my health. Since the surgery, the infection and the depression, I have thought long and hard about my life. About the direction it is going and what I am doing. I have thought about my spirituality, my longevity, my past, present and future. I do not like all of it. I have healed and grown from my past. I am stuck in my present, I mean stuck, like stuck on a few personal issues, I must learn to move forward.
I have accepted the fact that I will probably never run a marathon. Even typing that statement breaks my heart. I doubt that I will be able to and get away injury free. I can not risk another surgery because my head and heart want to run. It hurts me to even hike, let alone run. I am slowly giving up and giving in to the reality that I just probably will never be able to run a marathon or even a half for that matter.
I have run frequently since my last post. My last run was five days ago in the Garden. It was four miles in fact. I wish we had flat ground here. There is no starting out small in Colorado because it is all hills. So it seems. I have not run in about five days. As I am in pain, and I am pretty sure that I will be in pain for the rest of my life. It is just what I deserve from a fucked up surgery that resulted with a fucked up infection it all fits well with my fucked up life. I guess my karma sucks, not sure what I did or failed to do along the way. I accept it. Nothing else I can do.
The good thing in all this? If there can be anything good as a result, is that I quit smoking. After 28 years of a slow suicide, I have finally quit. All this injury and healing combined has changed me permanently. I guess the best way to quit this nasty habit is to undergo 5 surgeries in one week and be threatened with loosing a limb? Maybe, it kinda worked for me. However, I do not recommend it as a quit smoking aid.
I learned so much about addiction and as a result, it has changed my life permanently. I accepted the fact that I am no different from a heroin addict, or an alcoholic. I am no different from a crack head, a coke head or a crank head. Nicotine is as addictive, if not more addictive, than heroine and crack, and I beat it. I am a junkie. A nicotine junkie and I will be one forever, for right now I am free.
It started in the hospital, I couldn’t smoke so I was taking nicorette lozenges. Then when I got out of the hospital after a week, I didn’t smoke and continued to take the nicotine replacement therapy. Which only perpetuated my failure, it assisted in my failure because I was only feeding my addiction with nicotine. So I slowly ended up smoking. With-in two weeks I was back up to smoking 15 to 20 cigarettes a day.
As everyone knows, smoking slows healing, especially muscular and nerve healing. So I was only slowing my recovery and continuing to damage my body. I began juicing. Which had a huge effect on my quit because juicing naturally detoxifies your body. Soon after I started juicing twice a day, I naturally began rejecting caffeine, and then sugar. I noticed, I did not want to smoke as much. I cut way back on the wine.
Many other factors added up and contributed to the actual day I quit smoking. One being posts from friends reporting their successful quit dates 1 month, 2 months, 3 months and it was the 100 days smoke free post that finally kick started me on a quit. I thought, Wow, I wish I could say that.
I had this anxiety that would not go away since I contracted the infection. I thought it was because of the morphine, the antibiotics and the infection. What it really was high blood pressure from smoking. ( and probably age)
By the time I figured this out, I was terrified. Terrified because I can remember the feelings I had when my bp was really high and it was often I felt this way. I figured it out and checked it at the grocery store and it was 177/119. I was on my way to a stroke! I will never forget the pharmacist telling me that I am a pretty lady, he would hate to see me with drool down my face and unable to talk or walk because of a stroke. He recommended I go to the hospital then and there. This was on a Thursday evening I came home after having it checked and never bought another pack of cigarettes again.
However, that does not mean I did not continue to inject my body with nicotine randomly over the next three days via “nrt'”s and the occasional bummed smoke. So it was not until I really learned about addiction: what it is, how my brain is affected, how my body reacts to withdrawal and how this addiction to nicotine had such a strong hold of my mind , body and spirit. I finally chose to put a complete stop to my suicide. In other words, I educated myself, gave myself a slap in the face masters degree in knowledge of addiction and learned the Law of Addiction. Never Take Another Puff. I learned all this through a website called “whyquit.com” when I was researching high blood pressure. Imagine that.
It was Monday, April 22nd at 8:OO AM that I stopped allowing nicotine into my body and I officially quit all forms of nicotine.
It has not been easy. It has been almost 5 weeks that I quit smoking and I quit nicotine. I feel great. I have learned so much on this journey and it is not all related to running, obviously. I can only hope I am able to walk away unscathed by poisoning my body for 28 years. To date I have been free for 4 weeks, 6 days and have saved $213.25. I have smoked 690 less cigarettes and have saved 5 days of my life. I am still green in my quit. It take more than 30 days to have a strong quit after smoking for 28 years. However, I am growing stronger every-day. I am very proud of myself. VERY PROUD.
These are real changes I have experienced so far:
I no longer stink. I can breathe. I have unbelievable stamina on my runs, especially up hills. I am not sure how I used to run long runs when I smoked, but I did. I have more confidence. I am calm. I have less anxiety. My skin looks and feels healthier. My hair is healthier. I am able to concentrate and focus. I have more time on my hands. I can taste my food. I sleep deeper. I sleep less but feel more rested. It is easy to wake up in the morning, in fact, I wake before the alarm every day. I wake up happy. I go to sleep happy. I am just happier. I managed to lower my blood pressure to normal with out man-made medicine. My circulation has improved. My lungs are clearing out and I am now hardly coughing. ( for a few weeks, I thought I might die from coughing) I have incredible energy. I can smell everything, I can smell the rain and I can smell a person smoking from 2 miles away ( kidding, maybe just two blocks)
I feel guilty for stinking up the air for 28 years. I can not stand the smell of smoke or smokers now. I feel like a hypocrite, but I can not help myself, I hate the smell. I feel as though I have been stuck on stupid for 28 years. When I see people smoking, I see them as stuck on stupid too. I still get cravings, but they are psychological and as long as I do not fixate on the crave, it will not last long. I have daily triggers.
Once I live through each trigger, it will not occur again. For example, the after dinner smoke, the driving the car smoke. the after a run smoke. The smoke with a glass of wine. Around the campfire, walking the dog, before bed, first thing in the morning. smoke breaks at work. after sex smoke ( yeah right as if that…never-mind) there are thousands of triggers. Whatever the triggers are, I have defeated many of them to date. There will always be triggers. I accept that and have to learn to live with it for a while.
DOCTORS AND THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY
What I have learned is, that it is all one big lie and the doctors and tobacco industry want to help you live that lie. I really believe that. I am not one to go into conspiracy theories, and this is no conspiracy. It is a fact. The Doctors and the tobacco industry want to “help” you quit, by giving you free nicotine replacement therapy, when it is not only the 4000 cancer causing agents in a cigarette that is killing you. It is also nicotine!
The main thing you are addicted to is nicotine, so how in the hell is sticking a patch on your arm or chewing gum HELPING you quit this addiction??? This idea, to push these NRT’s is just repulsive to me. It is a scam. It is an insult to anyone who has common sense. It doesn’t work! Yet, Doctors and Quit lines and everyone pushes NRT’S or quit smoking aids. When all they need is a slap in the face education and knowledge about addiction.
With this entire experience, from day one, I have pissed Doctors off. I did not intend to piss them off. All I did was question everything. I really had a very hard time when I was in the hospital with the doctors who thought they were GOD. Well, I decided I do not care about the Doctors feelings or ego or degrees, because they usually do not care about your feelings, your ego or the number of degrees you may or may not hold. I decided to just stand my ground with them. I do not discount the fact they are Doctors and yes, they know what they are doing in most cases. BUT my body is my body and I know my body better than any doctor alive. When I went to my Doctor this last time, he wanted to put me on high blood pressure medicine. I shared my idea with him. I told him, instead of the medicine ( because those pills have side effects, and it would just be the beginning of me contributing more and more money to the pharmaceutical industries bank account) I told him I would like to try my own way, that I will quit smoking and juice a beat daily and see if my BP drops to normal. He told me that juicers were quacks. So I am now a duck? umm yeah well ok.
He also replied, “I can supply you with some patches to help you quit”. I looked at him and asked him, “How can I successfully quit if I am pumping my self full of the very thing I am trying to quit?” He said: “I just don’t want your blood pressure to increase when you have a bad craving for a cigarette”. I can not thank him enough for this short conversation. I will never forget it. He drove the nail into my quit. He sure did.
I will never give another dime to the tobacco industry or the pharmaceutical industry to help them make billions and billions of dollars off of addictions that they perpetuate. I quit cold turkey, and I am sure they do not appreciate the thousands of dollars not going into their accounts. That, I feel good about.