Today marks two weeks ago that I quit smoking and I couldn’t be more proud of myself. Actually, I should say that I couldn’t be more cautiously optimistic for myself. I’ve been in this position before, but I have to say that this is so much different than all of the other times I quit smoking. It’s not different in the respect of how I feel about quitting, but just how it’s affected me.
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about my struggle with smoking for the last few years, and now I’m going to tell you all about these last two weeks and just how different they’ve been than the other times that I quit.
How I Actually Quit This Time
First of all, I used the nicotine patches to help me quit, which I’ve never done before. Sort of. Two Sundays ago, February 19th, I woke up with no cigarettes to smoke and a promise that it was finally time. I’d been getting weird lung pains a lot more often than normal and it was starting to really scare me. It was finally time for me to try quitting again, but this time for good!
The morning started off with me being cranky as all get out because I didn’t have any nicotine and I think my husband was ready to divorce me. I didn’t want to put the nicotine patch on until I had showered because you’re supposed to put it on clean and dry skin. So finally when I couldn’t take it anymore, I showered at 11 that morning and then put my first patch on.
Within the hour I was already feeling a million times better. Not only did I not feel like I needed or even wanted to smoke, I felt like going crazy I had so much energy. I cleaned our whole apartment top to bottom without stopping and when I had no more of our home left to clean, my husband and I took my car to clean it out. I spent all day being productive and I can’t even remember the last time I was that productive before that. It was so unlike me, but it was awesome.
Throughout the day, I had started to feel a little shaky and dizzy but it was very minor and got a lot better when we ate lunch and dinner, so I didn’t worry about it. The next day, though, was a different story.
The Beginning of The Week
Monday morning: first work day without a cigarette. Normally on days that I work, I would wake up, smoke a cigarette, drink my coffee, watch some tv, smoke another cigarette, shower and get ready for work and then smoke two more cigarettes on my way to work. You can say I was a bit nervous for my routine to change. I set my alarm a little later to let myself sleep more than normal and it also helped that I still had my patch on from the day before, since you keep them on for 24 hours at a time. Not only did I not even worry about not smoking, I was excited to be able to put a new patch on instead of smoking a cigarette!
The day went on from there and I went to work rejuvenated from my new patch, even though driving to work was a whole new kind of struggle for me. Smoking while driving was one of my favorite things to do and I was so bored during that drive to work that I didn’t even know what to do with myself. I couldn’t even remember what it was like to drive, and only drive.
Those Damn Patches
A couple hours into work, I started feeling really bad. My stomach was upset, I was extremely shaky, dizzy and hot and I almost went home sick from work. It was horrible. I knew right away that it was from the nicotine patch and I was so incredibly discouraged. I tried to hold out as long as I could but I ended up taking the patch off around 11 AM because it was that bad. After I ate lunch, I started feeling a lot better, but I was still upset that I wasn’t able to wear the patch like I was supposed to.
So the next day, I decided to try eating breakfast in the morning, unlike every other morning for the last five years of my life, to see if that helped me feel any better. I was also concerned that because I had originally put the patch on at 11 AM on the first day and then put a new patch on at 7:30 AM the second day, that it screwed with the schedule of it all so I was optimistic about Tuesday and not getting sick from the patch.
Tuesday morning rolled around and even though I ate a good breakfast and no patches were overlapping in time, I still started feeling sick a couple hours after I put the patch on. It wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been the day before but I still ended up having to take the patch off mid-morning.
My Spirits Were Down
I was becoming extremely discouraged at this point because the first day had been so successful and I was sure that I was going to want to smoke if I wasn’t able to wear the patches. I decided that I was going to try one more day on Step 1 of the patches and if it still made me sick, then I would try going down to the Step 2 patches and see how that worked. Even though I had been feeling okay and not wanting to smoke really without having the nicotine patches on for a whole 24 hours, I was scared that that could go away and the cravings could come back.
I was absolutely right when the next morning on my way to work, I saw a woman smoking a cigarette in her car and couldn’t stop staring at her because I was so jealous. I’m glad that I had a patch on that morning because I know that it would be really bad to smoke with a patch on because that would absolutely be way too much nicotine, otherwise I might have stopped for cigarettes. It was crazy how I couldn’t stop staring at her as the smoke rolled out of her window and how it made me want to be smoking right then. Once I got to work, I was fine, but yet again, I ended up taking the patch off in the morning because of feeling dizzy and sick.
The next couple days, I went without nicotine patches altogether, but I felt good about it. Josh had asked me if we should go to the store to buy the lower-dose of patches but I didn’t feel like I needed them, and when we were at the store they were out of the Step 2 so it didn’t matter at that point anyway. I wasn’t really having cigarette cravings either, not even through the weekend when I would normally be smoking the most.
The cravings that I was getting were so out of the blue that I didn’t even realize until the other day that they were because I wasn’t smoking, but since I quit smoking, I am always hungry. I want to eat all of the time, and I want to eat absolute junk. I have actually gained about five pounds in the past two weeks, so that is my new challenge.
Another Week Ahead of Me
Monday morning came around; it had been a week that I had been smoke-free and I was pretty happy with myself. I wasn’t wearing any patches because I didn’t want to get sick anymore, but that night I had to pick up a prescription from the store and ended up buying the lower-dose nicotine patches because I was feeling extra cranky and was wanting to smoke all day. It didn’t feel like I wanted to smoke because of a craving, but because it’s just something that I liked to do and the physical habit of smoking a cigarette was something that I was craving, not the chemical reaction of it.
Since I bought the Step 2 patches, I’ve only worn two of them and each one only for a couple hours because they still are making me feel off, which I’m sure is something that I’m not going to get away from. The good thing though is that I’m not smoking either way, so that’s a huge step up.
Living A Healthier Lifestyle
Even though it’s not really healthy at all, I’m still eating way too much because I crave food and it helps me not smoke, and I figure that if I stay quit long enough, even if it means I’m turning into a food monger, I can take care of that problem slower and as time goes on. I actually went for a run Friday night after work to start that train moving, and I felt like I was going to die.
All of the times in the past that I’ve worked out while I’d been a smoker or right after I’d quit, it hadn’t been too bad. Yeah, it was always a little harder to breathe than it would be if I wasn’t a smoker, but a lot of it always had to do with the fact that I haven’t been in shape since I was in middle school. Friday night, though, my lungs really felt like they were going to explode. I was seriously shocked at how much more drastic my situation was than I’d been thinking and since then, it has scared me a lot more to think about going back to smoking because I know that it would only continue to get worse.
I want to get in better shape and lose some weight and be healthy for my age and I definitely don’t want to be sick and out of breath from walking up a flight of stairs, which is exactly where I was heading.
Again, I will say again that I am cautiously optimistic about staying quit and living a healthier lifestyle. We’ll see how these next couple weeks go and I will check in again with my journey of quitting smoking soon. Thank you all so much for all of the encouragement!