Archive for Thursday, December 3, 2009

Smoker reaches out to Lawrence resident through anonymous letter

December 3, 2009


A smoker — who wanted to be anonymous — wrote a compelling letter to Lawrence resident Melanie Birge after reading her story in the Journal-World. The story was about Birge’s struggle to stop smoking and her determination to quit on the Great American Smokeout, which was Nov. 19.

The anonymous person contacted Aynsley Anderson at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Anderson contacted me, and I will be sending the letter to Birge.

I wanted to share just a few excerpts of the letter in hopes it might help others decide to quit smoking like Birge, who is struggling to kick the habit for good.

“It has been a stressful couple of weeks,” Birge said in an e-mail. “Last weekend, I slipped and had a cigarette. It made me feel sick and a bit guilty. I am taking one day at a time with this. It’s just so hard to believe this is not an easy road to travel.”

Well, maybe the letter will help. Here are a few sentences from the letter:

“I totally understand the addiction, as I am a smoker and I am yet fighting it even though I have been diagnosed with COPD and early stages of emphysema.”

“I feel guilty — how detrimental this could be for my family. It will affect my marriage, my job; everything in my life, including every day living.”

“My lungs are shot; it’s downhill from here is what I am told.”

“We all think this will never happen to me; think again.”

“I can’t change my diagnosis; I only hope there is someone out there that gains some hope or insight from this. ... If you falter, try, try again before it is too late.”


gccs14r 8 years, 3 months ago

Nothing like drowning in your own phlegm.

AnnaUndercover 8 years, 3 months ago

How sad. I'm rooting for the smokers in my life to quit. You can do it!

somedude20 8 years, 3 months ago

maybe you give out free "dances" for anyone who can prove they have been smoke free for 30 days Anna (there is a blood test that can show if nicotine is or has been in the body).

amac 8 years, 3 months ago

My husband quit July 4 and never looked back. He used Chantix...I think it must be an amazing drug! It really seemed easier for him. I quit almost 6 years ago with patches, etc. and failed a few times before I really quit. It was hard, but well worth it.

geekin_topekan 8 years, 3 months ago

Chantix is a crutch and for some it helps and for others it won't, based on the person's dedication to quitting.

Just like any addiction, taking a supplement to ease off is not a proven method. For too many it is simply pawning off the responsibility of quitting onto the pill itself. So when they start smoking they can simply blame the pills instead of themselves. Same goes for weight loss scams and get rich/out of debt schemes. Nothing will ever take the place of self reliance and lessons in failure. People seek shortcuts and quick fixes so others are more than willing to capitalize on that desire. Just stop buying, lighting and bumming them.

Kelly Anderson 8 years, 3 months ago

defenestrator (Anonymous) says…

Chantix. It works. You may have dreams of driving a tank through a playground full of pre-schoolers, but you WILL quit, if you want.

I agree, Chantix really helped me quit and I have been smoke free for almost 2 years!! I could not have done it without Chantix but I have to say that the dreams are weird! Also, NOTHING will work if the smoker is not ready to quit for THEMSELVES first. You cannot quit for your kids, spouse, significant other, etc. it has to be for you and you only!!!

kmat 8 years, 3 months ago

Chantix!!! If you really want to quit, it's the wonder drug. I like the dreams. I can usually remember them quite vividly too.

mrsm 8 years, 3 months ago

Take it one day at a time. I know that everyone says it, but it is so true. My husband and I quit over a year ago and there are still days that I feel I would love to have a cigarette but I don't. Chantix really does work. I've seen 5 people quit with the use of the drug. There are the side effects which were only bad for 1 person.The other 4 had mild side effects. Good luck and just know there are a lot of people rooting for you!

RUserious 8 years, 3 months ago

Chantix really works. I've been quit for 13 months. Also, try for incredible support.

Matt Schwartz 8 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Karrey Britt 8 years, 3 months ago

I want to thank everyone for sharing their stories. I know they provide inspiration for Melanie and my mother. Again, thank you! I think featuring someone who is suffering because of smoking would be a very compelling story — and one way to help others.

ksdivakat 8 years, 3 months ago

Solomon....let me say that I am so sorry for your loss, I can tell by your post that you are still grieving, and its sad. I am a smoker for 27 yrs :( and my father died from COPD and your right, its a horrible death. I want to quit and Ive tried, nothing works, and I dont know anyone who wants to quit and we could go on the buddy system to do it. But i have to be honest, when I did try cold turkey, I was a raging loonatic! I would cry one minute and then bite your head off the next and thought I was 10 ft tall and bullet proof. This article has made me sit back and rethink a plan for quitting, but Im scared, its been my security blanket for so many years, and how will I deal with the stress without them?? UGHH, Im sad that this must go, but I know I have to do it for my family. Thank you all so much for sharing your stories!

gccs14r 8 years, 3 months ago

"...its been my security blanket for so many years, and how will I deal with the stress without them??"

I found that all of my life stress was the continual nicotine withdrawal between cigarettes. After I had quit for a month, I found that my life had no stress at all.

lgreen17 8 years, 3 months ago

I quit with Chantix. My boyfriend got it from the Leo Center free of charge because he lost his job (and health insurance). It really works, if you want to quit! I smoked for 35 years and quit this year. I have a LOT more money now.

You can quit with Chantix, and get it free, if you are willing to try.

paladin 8 years, 3 months ago

I want to say something about addiction. One can only stop using when he/she wants to help himself/herself. It will be right when you stay with the effort and get some kind of support. A group or some counseling.. Dedication is the key. GOOD LUCK!

bearded_gnome 8 years, 3 months ago

Solomon, your comment is very moving. losing your wife that way sure is hard. reading between th lines, I can tell you were often your wife's caregiver; hi buddy, so am I. there are some very particular stresses being your wife's caregiver, I know.

good thing you quit and you're a great example.

Topekan, problem with your comments: ou need to eat, youdon't need to take in Nicotine. Nicotine dos hold a strong biological addiction power.

and some people it truly is the puffs, the working with the lips, the breathin, and there's a relaxation beyond just getting your hit. for soe of these people, they need something else to doo.

thanks Ms. Britt for publishing this. I've never smoked, my father was addicted though.

rbwaa 8 years, 3 months ago

the sneaky thing about nicotine is that it cures your every problem...if you're down it makes you feel up...if you're up [anxious] it calms you down...if you're hungry it curbs your appetite...if you're pissed off it cools you off, etc. etc. and those are the reasons it is difficult to kick the addiction.

i was a 2-3 pack a day smoker and attempted to quit several times. when i did finally quit it was because i had an asthma attack and literally felt like i was going to die. i quit cold turkey and went through several weeks of pure hell but i made up my mind that i would not go through that again even though i still have cravings 20 years later.

the other sneaky thing about nicotine is that the addiction never goes away which is why it is necessary to make the decision and do whatever it takes to stick to takes a tremendous amount of will power but the result is worth it.

for all those who are trying to quit, hang in there and find someone who is supportive of your efforts and doesn't make you feel bad if you slip up. if you know someone who is trying to quit, be supportive and encouraging and don't criticize.

mr_right_wing 8 years, 3 months ago

I watched my mom die from a lifetime of smoking. She never could quit. In the end every night she couldn't sleep because she couldn't stop least once a week she'd have to go to the emergency room because her throat would completely shut. She had to breathe a mixture of helium and oxygen each day to help keep it open. This whole time she continued to smoke each day if she had the energy. I asked her why and she told me it was the only pleasure left in her life. She is now dead after over 10 years of incredible misery.

leedavid 8 years, 3 months ago

RUSerious and others, congrats on your quit. After smoking for 34 years I turned to by accident more than anything else. It was listed on google as a free source for quitting smoking. Shows how commited I was, free. LOL! In March I decided to join the April quit group. The end of April that is. The month started and so many people quit on April 1st, I got excited, day after day, and finally quit on April 8th, 2006. Here are my quitnet stats.:

1336 days, 3 hours, 48 minutes and 34 seconds smoke free.

40085 cigarettes not smoked. $7,014.00 and 10 months, 6 days, 4 hours of your life saved.

This is not a brag about me, so please do not read it that way. I quit many times, many methods. Sometimes for an hour, once for 8 days. This site was so helpful. It was the best gift I have ever given myself. I highly recommend it. If you smoke, try it. If you have a loved one that smokes, show them the site. They can look at it and when they are ready....well we all hope for the best.

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