The Real Cost of Smoking

Linda's Reasons for Quitting

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I'd like to introduce you to Linda (secondtimequitter), a member of the support forum here at About.com Smoking Cessation.

Linda shared her reasons for quitting in a thread dedicated to the same, and I wanted to add it to the permanent library because it poignantly illustrates how entangled we become with nicotine addiction.  I'm sure many of us have gone on smoking after a family member passed from a smoking-related illness.  I know I did - for 11 years.  

Thanks for sharing your story Linda, and congratulations on all of the smoke-free time you've logged since writing it.

From Linda:

Why did I quit smoking?

1. Was it the coughing, hacking, smell and cost of the habit...kind of, but no.

2. I was a smoker who NEVER wanted to smell like a smoker. I would wear a jacket over my clothes which I took off after, washed my hands, used mouthwash or mint, and always, ALWAYS smoked outside with the wind taking the smoke away from me. Sounds relaxing, huh? Make me want to quit - no.

3. Two years ago, I had an aortic valve replacement. This is open heart surgery. Two days after I got home, I was out in the garage smoking in mid-January in Wisconsin. I shouldn't even call it smoking. I was barely inhaling and was VERY careful not to have to cough because it would hurt very much. Sick behavior...all the while trying to hide it from my husband, which was easy because he (and everyone else) was SURE I was done with smoking after that.

Sick behavior, addicted, made me want to quit, but I didn't.

4. Six months ago, I read a cat scan report from a scan I had done before my valve surgery. It mentioned that I needed a 3-6 month follow-up scan due to the presence of several pulmonary nodules and the start of emphysema. No doctor told me about that...my heart sunk.

My doctor then ordered a follow up CT. I had it done and was told that there were additional pulmonary nodules and I needed another follow-up in 3-6 months. Did that do it...nope. BTW I have since had the last CT and need no further follow-up.

5. On Sept. 28, 2013, my brother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. He was not married, no children, really no friends nearby either. I dropped EVERYthing except my job and devoted my life to caring for him. I went to every doctor's appointment with him and listened to him tell them that he had quit smoking the minute he was diagnosed. We would go back to his apartment and both have a cigarette. Again...sick behavior, I know.

After a few weeks, I started to feel despicable about smoking with him and told him I wasn't going to do that anymore because I didn't want to help make a bad situation worse. This lasted a couple days and he asked me to keep smoking with him; that he had no intention of quitting at this point. So I did. (sick behavior).

In the 5 months that my brother suffered from lung cancer, he mentioned his guilt over the whole disease being his fault...only once...for 3 days straight.  His guilt poured out. He said his knowledge that he caused his disease and the work and worry it caused me was more to bear than the cancer.

My beloved brother did not feel good for even one day of his 5 months fighting it. I stood next to my very visibly sick brother while he asked for and bought his packs of cigarettes and noticed the looks on the cashier's faces. THIS is what finally made me want to quit smoking, but I still didn't quit until two months after his death.

Linda 

"The key is this: Meet today's problems with today's strength. Don't start tackling tomorrow's problems until tomorrow. You do not have tomorrow's strength yet. You simply have enough for today." ~Max Lucado~

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