I don’t really know why I started smoking.
I was 16 and home alone and thought well, why not? Let’s try it. It didn’t take long before I was hooked. A lot of my friends were smoking as well, and although they never pressured me, it felt like the cool thing to do.
Apart from briefly stopping during pregnancy, I have smoked for the past 46 years.
I smoked about 20 tailor-made cigarettes a day, which in the end was costing about $22 a day but still I continued to smoke.
I never really had a good reason to stop. I enjoyed the habit. It was my companion.
But then last year I suffered an injury that required surgery. I was told in January this year I needed to stop smoking to receive the operation.
That was seven weeks prior to surgery and it gave me the motivation I needed to stop the habit. I referred myself to the Southern Stop Smoking Service, and started using patches and lozenges.
The coach has been marvelous.
It’s been like having coffee with a friend. Anything I felt I needed to talk to her about, I did. I don’t think I could have done it without her guidance, and answers to my questions.
Stopping was stressful. I felt like something was missing and so I continually had to keep myself busy. But my goal was to get the surgery and I was determined.
I’ve now had my surgery and I’m about 14 weeks smoke free. I’m taking one day at a time.
I’ve noticed my lung capacity is greater. I can take big breathes which probably I couldn’t have done quite as easily before, and people have told me my skin is better.
I still miss the habit terribly but I live in hope that one day I’ll get past that. I’m determined never to start again.