Saturday, 5 July 2014

Fourteen Months - There Has To Be Some Benefit

Yesterday at 17h00, I was fourteen months smoke free and yes I am proud of the fact that I have lasted this long and still do believe that I will never light up again. Ha did you think I said I don't crave cigarettes anymore?? I so crave them like it was yesterday, but I absolutely hate the smell of cigarette smoke. Mark thinks it is hilarious and loves telling people how I bitch and moan about the smell I used to love. Mark as an ex-smoker does not moan and groan that much about the smell of smoke.

The only obvious benefit of giving up smoking is that I no longer smell stink like cigarette smoke. The other day I was in the bank and there were about six old men  in the queue ahead of me and one woman directly in front of me and they all stank like old stale cigarettes. The bank was full, I was reeling with nausea and it was all from that stale smell of smoke on unwashed Winter jackets mixed with a recently smoked cigarette. One thing you cannot do when you smoke is wear clothes more than once without washing them. The smell is bad enough as it is and yes I smelt like that too.... and for 35 years. What I am enjoying now is wearing scarves and jackets, but I am still struggling with the "wear them more than once without a wash" scenario. You just can't do that when you smoke. I am not judging anyone on their smoking habits, I was there not so long ago and for a whole lifetime - each to their own. It was something I did not believe when Mark pointed it out to me, but I did know and realise that clothes do stink terribly of stale smoke, I don't know if that is the reason why I will never wear the same clothes twice without a wash or if it is just because of my slight OCD about washing clothes. I think it is a bit of both, but now that I don't smoke I will wear scarves and jackets more than once without washing them - but only scarves and jackets.

Other than the above, there are no other benefits for me since giving up smoking. Again my opinion about my life!!! The other day when I went to the doctor, I told her that I have now had enough - it would be 14 months on the 4th of July and I have still not felt the benefits of not smoking. I am physically tired, I have no energy, my eyes ache and she started telling me that I am depressed. I told her out right that we are not going down the depression road, I am not depressed. If you are depressed, you don't want to do anything, I am saying this with all due respect to genuinely depressed people. If you have depression a complete stranger is not going to tell you how tired you look. Dr S looked in my file and said that my thyroid needed checking again, because there were some irregularities when it was checked before.

What a coincidence, I just read the post about my second month smoke free and it is almost a year to the day that I went to the doctor, because I felt ill and out of breath and just under the weather for no apparent reason. Now I am wondering if she thinks I went to see her as a follow up to that consultation a year ago. I did not it is just so weird, other than the fact that I am feeling no better to what I felt a year ago. I also just read in this post that I was supposed to have my thyroid checked again in six months - I didn't.

So she sent me for loads of tests again and it was the same laboratory sister who did my tests lasts year. You can read about her in both these posts here and here. The doctor's rooms phoned on Saturday to tell me to come in on Monday morning to discuss my results. I worried about it the whole weekend - not that she would find something seriously wrong with me, but that the tests would all come back fine and she will have proof that I am neurotic and a hypochondriac and in denial of being depressed. Turns out I am quite the Medical Marvel with a few ailments that will make for perfect lunchroom conversation at the local old age home. For one I am pre-diabetic - the reason why I cannot keep my eyes open most of the time. I should never have given up smoking the way I did. I should have done it slowly and not gone from 40 a day to zero, but like Mark says, at the time I did not believe that I could give up completely or that I would even give up.

My New Smokes

Thanks to my new addiction, that is a lie, I have always loved sweets and chocolates, but now they are on an even higher level, my normal love for all things sweet, plus my replacement for cigarettes, I am now pre-diabetic. My paternal grandfather had late onset diabetes, so there was a good chance of it coming my way anyway - I am now pre-diabetic - will I become diabetic? My body has had two major shocks in life - when Clint died and when I gave up smoking - did the shock cause me to be pre-diabetic or was it just lying there dormant - it is most likely a combination of being in my DNA; the shock of Clint's death; the shock of giving up smoking and of course the unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits, because of Clint's death and giving up smoking. Everything in life actually joins together and makes one.

Healthy Lifestyle - The Double Thick Creamy Way

I am always going on about how I should eat a healthy diet and even had a blog called My Fat Fight once upon a time, but it lasted not much longer than my very last attempt at eating healthy at my four month smoke free mark. Well my next ailment, who would have guessed - is high cholesterol. My doctor has been monitoring my cholesterol for about four years now and it keeps going up and up. In January she did a quick finger prick test, just because I was there and she put me on statins  (cholesterol lowering medication), which I mentioned over here that I did not take, because our medical aid does not pay for them even under our acute benefit. Now it is not negotiable, I have to take the medication whether the medical aid pays for it or not. My lipid profile testing shows my HDL (good cholesterol) is very low still and my LDL (bad cholesterol) is past dangerously high. OK, I think she did just exaggerate and use scare tactics and it is not quite past danger levels, but pretty close to it. It is also in my DNA, both my parents have high cholesterol and my father has had a heart attack and a stent. My lifestyle and eating habits certainly do not help, but I have to take the medication and not just change my bad habits.

Image Source - Photoshop Graphic

My last ailment is my Thyroid and that was my "I knew it" moment. That tiny little butterfly shaped gland in your neck that is responsible for the functioning of so many different parts of our body and system. I have text book symptoms of hypothyroidism. Even before the days of Google, any article I read on hypothyroidism described me to a "T" - even excluding the hysteria ones found when searching Hypothyroidism on Google - like 300 Hypothyroidism symptoms, you just WILL find a few that apply to you. One day I will do a post on why I always believed I had Hypothyroidism and I will link back here. This post has just gotten far too long to write about it now. Well the doctor described my thyroid functioning as an old rusty car that starts some days and other days it doesn't. Well this time I tested on the right day to make a diagnoses. Now I am on lots of medication for my geriatric ailments and I am positive that my doctor thinks I am certifiably insane, because after she went through the test results, I said to her well that is a relief that there is something medically wrong with me.

I am that tired of being tired and I have also been so close to thinking what the hell and lighting a cigarette in the hope that my tiredness and crankiness is due to not smoking. My concentration levels are non existent and my memory is taking me to a place called Alzheimer - I am that forgetful!!! To know that it is due to more than just giving up smoking is a relief, although I am almost certain giving up smoking put me on this new path in my life.

This has been one very long post. I am lying in bed with a very bad head cold - bordering on flu. I am not sure whether the constant leap from cold shivers to hot and flushed is due to the flu or the weather or maybe side effects to the new medication, but either way I have a bad Upper Respiratory Infection and this week has been the longest week ever. I keep saying how time flies, but not this week - it didn't. I woke up feeling ill on Wednesday with a sore throat and I thought it was GERD from the Spaghetti Bolognaise the night before, but turns out it was the beginning of an Upper Respiratory Infection. I have been to work everyday spreading my germs, instead of listening to Mark and staying at home in bed, so today it is in bed with cold and sinus medication and lots of fluids. The weirdest thing ever is that I am craving a cigarette even more now that I am sick with a head cold/sinus infection than I ever have before. That is one thing being sick never stopped me from smoking. In fact I would smoke more when I was sick.

Early Morning Start

I either picked up the bug at the doctor's rooms siting next to a young girl coughing her lungs out or during our two day visit to the licencing department for Chad's learners licence. The second day being very early long before sunrise. The cash office at the licensing department closed at 10 am on the 30th, because it was their year end and Chad only wrote at ten, so we had to go back the next day to pay and collect his learners - not ideal, but that is the way it is. We left early to fight the queues at the licensing department and the traffic and stood in a long line at 6.15 am in the freezing cold. Surrounded by people coughing; sneezing and spluttering, smothering my hands in hand sanitiser and trying to block the germs coming my way did not help. I am now coughing and sneezing my germs onto everyone.



Chad having his Motor Bike Learner's License is a very contentious issue in my life, (well done Chad, I am very proud of you anyway) it is a huge dilemma that I am not sure how to deal with and being sick and thinking about this whole motor bike dilemma is taking quite a toll on my smoke free journey. Quitting smoking has been a long and difficult journey so although finding excuses to start again is very easy, I am not going to easily give in and start again.

Yes fourteen months and still not "crave" free

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