My story starts 36 years ago. Still to this day, I have trouble believing I became a smoker. Both of my parents smoked. I hated that, and was continually waving away the smoke, hiding their cigarettes, and complaining. Finally, when I was in college, my roommate and I decided we'd add smoking to our weight loss plan. We'd eat a very small amount, then choke down a cigarette or two. It certainly did cut down on our eating...UNTIL we became used to smoking, and didn't get sick every time we lit up! Before we knew it, both of us NEEDED to smoke. We were addicts.
I managed to keep my habit a secret (or so I thought) from my family for a year or so. Finally, Mom told me that Dad was pretty sure I was smoking because there were always dirty ashtrays in my house. The final unrobing of my "secret" was the day Grandpa arrived at my home bearing a small gift. It was the cutest little boot shaped cigarette lighter! How do you suppose he knew I smoked!!??
The next thing I knew, I was married and had two sons. I'm ashamed to say they went through the exact same suffering from my smoking that I went through with my parents. I braved their anti-smoking assaults just like Mom and Dad had braved mine.
Then came a grandchild who hated smoking. One thing that proved the power of addiction was both my husband's and my disregard for our (at the time) four year-old grandson's fears. One day out of the blue, he said, "I don't want Grandpa to die."
When asked why he was worrying about this, his answer was, "He smokes cigarettes."
I get tears every time I think about not giving up our "enjoyment" and letting this little boy's mind be at rest.
I had been smoking for about twenty-four years when I started developing a cough. This cough started out as occasional and progressed to very often. Not wanting to admit that maybe the cause of the cough could be smoking, I decided I must have allergies to the chemicals I use every day while working in my hair salon. This led me to purchase all kinds of cough syrups, over the counter allergy meds, and throat lozenges. I bought machines to clean the air and stopped using aerosol sprays. Funny thing, the cough didn't go away or even diminish.
I started getting slightly short of breath, then progressed to VERY short of breath. I could no longer climb mountains, water ski, or play sports with my boys. I used to walk for miles daily. My boundless energy was gone. At night I would lie in bed and feel my heart pounding while my chest ached. I began to suspect COPD.
Denial made me hope that I had something wrong with my heart. I felt something could be done to help me if I had heart troubles. COPD sounded too scary, too final. I went to a heart clinic to get checked out. After a treadmill test, ultra sounds, etc., it was determined that my heart was fine. This left me no choice but to admit I had a serious lung problem.Gaylene learns she has emphysema