Thursday, September 11, 2008

3 Years Today!

Three years ago today I stopped smoking. What prompted it was some news that had been delivered to me the week before.

Some months before, while sitting at work in the awful insurance office I worked in, I noticed the vision in my left eye suddenly did something really strange. It turned all white. That was all I could see out of that eye. It faded away just like an old movie or cartoon toward the center and eventually, over the course of maybe one minute, all I could see was white. Needless to say it was alarming but I didn't say anything to anyone. I simply got up from my desk and went into the ladies room. My vision came back about the same way it left, from the middle of the eye to the outside. It was a very strange feeling. After I could once again see I returned to my desk and decided to keep this tidbit of information to myself. After all, it was probably just a fluke, it would never happen again. How wrong I was.

About 2 months later I was in Walmart with Stephanie and the vision left again, but this time I could still see somewhat. I immediately decided it was time to do something about this. When I got home I told Joe what had happened both times. I made an appointment with my PCP for later on that week. My doctor had me go to a retina specialist. Nothing was found there, my eyes looked perfectly normal. He then set me up for a CAT scan. Again, it was normal.


He then had me set up for a carotid artery ultrasound. I went to the afternoon appointment full of confidence that this test would also prove to be normal, the episodes would be quickly forgotten about and all would be well in the world of Lisa. How wrong I was.


The technician completed the test on my right side but when she ventured over to the left side of my neck she really took her time. After a few minutes she politely excused herself. I didn't think anything of it, just thought perhaps she had a pain and had to sit in the ladies room for a minute or two. Nothing would have prepared me for what she said when she came back into the examination room. She told me that she had just spoken with my doctor's office (which, at the time, was right across the hall from where the testing was taking place) to tell them that she saw blockage in my left carotid artery. EEEEEK! She was talking but it all seemed like it was in slow motion. She told me to not get alarmed (yea right lady, you just told me that my main blood supply to my brain is blocked on one side) but to go home and take an aspirin and to see my doctor in the morning. I managed to get myself together enough to get out of the office and to my car. I sat in my car for a few minutes trying to take it all in. What does this mean? Will I need surgery? Surely there is a way to take care of this without surgery. After all, this kind of thing happens to other people, not me.


The next morning I went to see my doctor and he confirmed everything. He referred me to a local vascular surgeon for an appointment. Let me tell you something. Sitting in the surgeon's waiting room with a lot of people well into their 70's and 80's is not a good feeling. Especially at 47 years old. The doctor explained everything to me and Joe about what he felt was the best course of treatment..........surgery.


I had been thinking of quitting smoking for a couple of years. I mean seriously thinking about it, not just the "I'll quit one of these days" bit. This was my chance. I always suspected it would take something medically wrong with me directly related to smoking that would get my attention and it did. The surgery was scheduled for Sept. 11, 2005. I had my last cigarette the night before at just before midnight. I threw the 3 cigarettes left away and went to bed.


I have never even been tempted to pick the habit up again. You see I was blessed yet again. Even through being so scared about the surgery, the pain of the surgery and the realization that I am in fact getting older and it's time to start taking better care of myself, I was given the gift to quit smoking. The human brain is an amazing organ. Very very powerful. I used that will power to quit.

If I ever am tempted to pick up that nasty habit again all I have to do is remember the 'gift' that was given to me and all temptation is gone. I truly believe it was a gift from God.

19 comments:

Scott W said...

I am so grateful that you are now a non-smoker. I quit just a couple months ahead of you and it was, indeed, a gift. I didn't have cravings afterwards, either.

Karen said...

Congratulations on your three year anniversary:)

Trailboss said...

Thanks Karen. You know, I hate that my quit date is on 9/11 but it is what it is.

Jen said...

I'm very happy for you. I quit 12 years ago to have Madison. It was so worth it. Don't you feel so much better? God did bless you. What insurance office did you work for? I sold it for 8 years here..and 4 in Fl.

J-Online said...

I really need to stop smoking: problem is I just don't want too. I love it way too much but know it is time. I'm a closet smoker by the way so I have to sneak it from my son but he caught me about a month ago. This morning he asked me "Mom, why in the world would you smoke if you know it's so bad for you. Do you even like it? This hit home. I want to be around for a long time so I know I need to stop soon. I really admire your strength and determination. Congrats!

MichelleSG said...

You go woman, that's wonderful that you were able to get the gumption to just up and quit, most can't do that. Many can do that but then falter and go back soon afterwards. Fear can be a motivator to stop but not keep the habit gone. It's a hard one that's for sure and it will kill many many people but were were darn lucky to catch it before it got you. You were given warning and you listened, good for you!

carrielt said...

That's great! My dad quit smoking cigars 7 years ago on Thanksgiving. My mom and stepdad quit smoking cold turkey 5 years ago this Christmas. And my husband quit chewing almost a year ago. I'm so proud of all of them.

Jen said...

I have my insurance with Phil and did when we moved home from Fl...I worked for Lyles Vasseur and Trice for 8 years and State farm in Fl....small world isnt it?

Trailboss said...

Yes it is jen. Do you know that old thang Diane that works there? She just about drove me to my grave, Miss DoEverythingPerfect. She would sit in that small office all day and not say a damned word to me unless it was to point out some error or anything to make her feel better about herself. I do not like her at all. She is the main reason I left there. The next time you go in, if you even do, stomp her toe for me ok? Guess I'd best stop now before this really gets ugly.

Heidi the Hick said...

My grandfather smoked for 50 years. He quit at age 64. By that time he already had numerous circulation problems due to diabetes and I think right around that time he had to have a leg amputated. Scary. He was so stubborn that HE QUIT COLD TURKEY after 50 YEARS!

I was a kid at the time, but I remember being so proud of him... and really ticked at my teenage friends later on who moaned that they'd been smoking for like, two years, and they're like, totally addicted maaaan, and totally can't quit. Bull.

I think you just want to. I don't know because when I tried smoking it made me sick. And I consider that to be my gift from God!

Scott W said...

Oh go ahead and get ugly about Thang! LOL!!!

Jamie said...

So proud of you and congrats on your anniversary.
I quit a year ago, but then had a relapse and started back. I really need to quit again. I gained about 10 lbs and just don't want to gain it back again after I lost it. I know - excuses, excuses....
My hubs hates it and no one we ride with smokes but me, they are always complaining.
When I quit I went and got the stop smoking shot - 400+ bucks. I did really well for a year and then had some really bad things happen in my family and just picked them up again.
My friend / trainer has told me that if I stop by Christmas she will train my filly for free...Pretty good deal I think since she charges about 400 a month, and she will probably need 60+ days.
So pray for me.
Gonna get my boxer post done soon.
So glad I found you !! Or you found me !!

Lou said...

That exact thing happened to my son in law's father at age 50. He had surgery, quit for a year, and now he is smoking again (and drinking.)The kids get really upset about it,but he won't change!

Trailboss said...

My boss quit the day after I did. He picked them back up about 3 months ago. I couldn't believe it. That reminds me, I have to rib him about that tomorrow.

Zanejabbers said...

Congrats. I'm so glad I never really smoked. At the height of my smoking career, I probably smoked a carton a YEAR. My Mother was a three pack a day. Quit for 11 years and I was on her constantly to please quit. One year she asked me what I wanted for my Birthday and I told her, for you to quit smoking. She asked why it was so important to me. My reply was so you'll be around for a few more years. On my birthday that year I opened my gift and it was 1-1/2 cartons of cigarettes that I had just bought her. That was 1982.
In 1985 she was diagnosed with Oatcell Carcinoma (lung cancer) that was March. Mother Died the following year on May 29, 2986. She really lost a lot of weight - please all of you don't lose it like that. Luv and kisses to you.

Zanejabbers said...

OOOOOPS, 1986, not 2986. Time machines did not work then either.

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

Well done TB. It's also the greatest gift that you could have given to your lovely granddaughter. My folks both smoked, but neither my sister nor I ever did. Similar to other stories here, my Mom quit in her 60's and it was a real gift to all of us and her grandchildren.

Dan

Pony Girl said...

Congrats! I'm so proud of you!!!
My uncle had a stroke a few years ago, it freaked him out. He quit smoking cold turkey and never looked back. Who wouldn't if your doctor basically tells you if you keep smoking, you will die?

dAAve said...

Be proud Lisa.
It takes what it takes.