29 August, 2007

5 Weeks + and a wedding in 3 days!

It's amazing that I haven't had a bad urge to smoke for a few days. Especially since it's my monthly on top of all of this!

I've ridden my bike for 25 minutes every day getting close to 7 miles each time. I've added crunches and a few other stretching and toning routines at the end of my ride. It's still been terribly hot, so haven't tried running again Yet. Think I'll see what it's like Sunday and Monday. Hope I'm not too hung-over!

The house is almost in order. I'm wondering what we've forgotten in all of this. I've been out twice shopping with the bride to be. She's doing very well. We both had a very blonde day on Monday. Took a break from each other on Tuesday, but went back out today. She needed gifts for the bridal party and I needed shoes!

I've missed my walks with my quit buddy. She's been very busy and in meetings this week, so we haven't done much communication.

We all hope Saturday goes well. I know something will go awry, just hope it's fairly insignificant. Or at least funny and memorable.

26 August, 2007

So, now I'm looking for and finding inspiration

Louisville held it's first Iron Man Triathlon competition today. Amazing! I drove downtown and watched the T1. That's the transition from swim to bike. It was interesting to watch the diversity of the competitors. They range in age from 18 - 75+, women and men, very buff to don't look like they could run 5 miles. I was surprised by some of the large bellies.

I'd love to do something that intense. Not that I could get to an Ironman, but maybe a 5 or 10K run. I have to get through a one mile run first!

Get my lungs and heart in good enough shape to join a group and ride my bike on the open road 25 to 50 miles at a time.

There are so many stories of people overcoming obstacles. There's a single mother that's beat cancer twice racing today. There are woman entered in the 70 - 74 age group and men in the 75 - 79 age group.

No one should ever be at a loss for finding inspiration. It's everywhere!

I only have power over myself

I can try to inspire in some small way, give advice when asked, provide a shoulder and hugs when someone needs me. Otherwise, the only control I have is with me, Sherri.

So, I'm not the brightest bulb in the box. I smoked cigarettes for 35 years. I knew better. I still did it. Can't change the past, only the present and hopefully the future.

I ran track in HS, hurdles, 220, long jump and 4 x 220 relay. I loved it. But the last competition I was in was as a Junior at State Regionals. Looking back I now realize I had a fairly decent asthma attack. I didn't run my last race, I just couldn't. My parents were very disappointed in me for not finishing and to be fair probably had no idea that I was suffering from asthma.

I smoked for years after that. At some point, in my 30s, I began self-medicating with an over the counter. Now I realize I could've done some terrible damage to my heart with that. I was around 41 or so when I had my last BAD attack. I didn't have any meds at the time. Spent 12 hours or so using mind over matter. Finally got to the Dr who called EMS and went to hospital for an overnight stay.

Started seeing the pulmonary specialist every 6 months. Continued to smoke and take my new meds. Now it's 5 or more years since that bad episode. I'm now tobacco free close to 5 weeks. I'm wishing I had been smarter sooner.

You can't change history. I have to be satisfied with the fact that I may have a chance to alter my future.

Maybe my bulb is starting to get a little brighter. ;)

25 August, 2007

One week until the wedding

It's been so hot for so long, I've been wondering if we'll ever see a nice summer day again, before slamming right into Autumn. We've had 90F + days for the entire month save 1 so far. Many of these days have reached 100F or more. I live in the Ohio Valley. It holds moisture and the air is always heavy. Probably not the best place to live if you have asthma or other breathing problems.

I hate to get my hopes up too soon, as forecasts tend to change daily. For now, the forecast for 1 Sept (wedding day) is 82F and very low chance of precip. We may need sweaters, not! I hope this holds true. The ceremony and reception will be outdoors in my back yard.

I've been concerned about the dress I'm wearing showing each drop of sweat, so maybe I won't sweat now. At least not like I have every day so far this month.

Anyone reading this, please send good Karma this way!

24 August, 2007

To Taper or not to taper off Chantix

I will not encourage anyone to do anything outside of their Doctor's recommendation. My quit buddy went to the doctor this week for a check-up. He told her that the best success rate is for people to go the full 3 months and that it's not necessary to taper off.

I have another friend/colleague that quit taking Chantix after one month. She seems to be doing very well.

I'm just doing this for me. If I feel the urges are too much to get through, I'll go back on it. Simple as that. I don't believe I'll ever light up a cigarette again though. I've never made it this long and I feel so much healthier.

I could die from getting hit by a bus this afternoon. But if I am lucky enough to live for a while longer, I do not intend to be pulling an oxygen tank behind me. That is exactly where I was headed and it was too close for comfort.

Funny how your mind works, or doesn't

I was sitting here trying to organise my thoughts and day and started wondering what number day it is. As in number of days tobacco free. It's been a month! Yes for me!

I've been taking Chantix only once a day for almost 2 weeks now. The dreams have subsided nicely, but still there. The gas is better but still annoying. I think once the wedding is over next weekend I'll taper to a half a pill each day. I'd like to be finished with it by end of September if not earlier. I take too many meds already, Advair, Albuterol, vitamins, etc.

Since next week is vacation I plan on getting more focussed and serious about my bike riding and exercise. I've been slacking a bit due to crazy work schedule the last 2 weeks.

I want to go into autumn and the Christmas season without any extra poundage. I want to start and keep some Good Habits for a change!

21 August, 2007

So I posted the earlier post and need to expand a bit

My oldest is getting married on 1 Sept. She and fiance' were here last night and we had lots of emotions. Crying, yelling, saying things we shouldn't have. Stressed because it's so close to the wedding. Stressed because of youngest daughter. We went round and round for a while. I had a couple of beers throughout. I still haven't smoked! At one point I really wanted a cigarette. I could've broken down and grabbed one of Hubbie's. Nah, last night at 10 was 28 days. 4 whole weeks! Not starting over now. If I can survive last night, I'm more confident than ever.

Don't get me wrong. I still had urges today. My gf's schedule conflicted with mine, so I walked the block by myself.

After hitting a record of 21 days in a row in the 90's, we only made 87 today. Hallelujah! Now I'm starting to wonder what I'm gonna do when I need to walk and it's 20F outside. Maybe I'll take the stairs, we have 26 floors. Could be good work out for the glutes. :-)

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger...

My youngest daughter has had problems for several years now. She's only 22. About 5 years ago we discoverd she was self-mutilating. We placed her under observation for 24 hours (hardest thing for me to do) and then she was under a doctor's care and meds for a while. The psychiatrist was a quack, I think he just liked mixing up cocktails instead of trying to understand the problems. We finally found a counsellor she liked and thought that was going well. She went off to college for her first semester. That was a bust.

She's living the life of a gypsy. Goes from friend to friend. Has had so many loser boyfriends I'm losing count. We've discovered over the last few days that she's with a 39 year old man.

My oldest daughter thinks she is on drugs. She wants us to do something.

I wish I knew what. You give advice, you preach, you lead by example. You feel like it's falling on deaf ears. I have no power over this.

18 August, 2007

Didn't make it to the track this morning

But I put in 6.8 miles on the stationary in 25 minutes and burned 250 calories (that'll be good for a beer or two). Not as fast as I'd like, but I haven't ridden since Wednesday. I have to stop putting 2 days between rides. I know life happens, but I feel like I'm never gonna get better and I start feeling very guilty about it.

I really wanted to make it to the track this morning. It was a cool 65 degrees with no humidity, which is a great treat after the last 3 weeks of hot, humid, hazy and nasty stuff we've been dealing with. But I got up Friday with a crick (pull or something) in my left shoulder blade that radiated to my shoulder, up my neck, and down the left-most side of my back. I thought I just slept weird, but it bothered me all day. I woke up with morning about 5 feeling miserable and worse! Tried to get comfy and went back to sleep (should've just gotten up then). It was better when I got up at 7, but still bothered me quite a bit so I ate something and took my Chantix and Aleve. I didn't make it to the track.

Oh yeah, 10pm tonight will be 26 days tobacco free!

I'll try to be good and get there tomorrow morning. Pray the humidity is still low, even though the temps will be 10 degrees warmer. Humidity is the worst for my breathing since I have asthma. It makes me feel like I have a huge weight on my breastbone and inhaling is laboured. Funny, I have no issues with exhaling. Yes, I always carry my fast acting inhaler, I don't leave home without it!

My Sis told me not to kick myself, that I'm doing great. I love her so much! She's training for the Chicago marathon and had a 16 mile run this morning. She said it was great and averaged under 10 minutes a mile! This will be her 2nd marathon. I'm very proud of her and her accomplishments, too!

17 August, 2007

The sun did come up and it has been a decent day

another day of waking and saying, "no cigarettes today". Sounds easy, but it's not. I told my quit buddy how proud I am of her and how lucky I am to have her going through this with me. Can't have too much support or enough pats on the back.

It's finally cooling off a little bit. I'll get up to temps in the 60s tomorrow! We had a record 105F on Thursday and it was a miserable day. I plan on going to the HS track by 7am and see if I can make it the full 4 laps without stopping again. I'm hoping I can run more than half of it, but we'll see.

I had lunch with my sister today. I was nervous, but got the nerve up to tell her that I'm uneasy about this new relationship she's in. It's a gut thing. Can't really say I've been around the guy long enough to make a good judgement. She was very open minded and told me that I should be able to say anything to her. I love my Sis!

16 August, 2007

I wonder lately am I losing my mind?

I'm having a difficult time concentrating. I feel guilty, because I don't think I doing anything very well. I feel like crying at the oddest moments. I have no idea if it's the Chantix, menopause, or some other hormonal thing. Is it because I've quit smoking? Is it because my oldest daughter is getting married in 2 weeks? God, I want to run away for a few days, all by myself. How do I tell my husband, family, boss this? I don't. I suck it up. I get past it. The sun will come up tomorrow and it will be a good day. ;)

15 August, 2007

I know I'm always going to be addicted to nicotine

and I hope I'm not fooling myself. This Chantix has been the best as far as getting beyond 3 weeks tobacco free. I've begun to use it as a crutch and I don't like that feeling. The side effects have gotten to me lately. Nausea hasn't been bad and it's welcome when associated with smoke. The dreams are making me NUTS! I have to get better rest than I have been. The gas, well I can do without this annoying side effect, too.

An earlier post referenced a night of drinking over the weekend. By the time I finally got up for the day on Sunday (around 11) it was too late to take my first dose in my opinion. So, I waited until 6 pm and took it. No real urges all day. Dreams were maddening Sunday night though. I've decided to take it once a day the rest of this week. People are worried I'm pushing the envelope. Maybe I am, and I it feels like I'm slipping I'll go back to 2 a days.

I get the tuggins still as Maggie calls them. But I can get past them as long as I refocus my thoughts and energy.

So happy it's Over the Hump Day!

12 August, 2007

Dinner party with friends

Last night was fun. 5 or 6 couples having dinner, laughing, enjoying each other's company. We had plenty of drink choices. I had more to drink than I should've, but hubby had more. He wasn't doing very well after midnight. We stayed at our hostess's house. I was first to wake about 8 this morning. Head was hurting a bit and full of cobwebs, but nothing like past experiences! Heck, I didn't smoke! Was this another test? I think so. I passed. Yeay!

11 August, 2007

Nothing like testing yourself on a regular basis to make you humble

18 days tobacco free, riding the stationary bike for about 8 weeks, building time and intensity, I thought I'd try a run. Now, way back in the olden days (high school) I ran track and had been athletic until I starting having children.

I drove to the high school and decided to try 4 laps on the track. I know distances on a track and it's flat unlike my neighborhood! Ran the first lap, split the 2nd and 3rd laps with walk first half/run the second, walked the fourth lap. Legs and muscles were ready for more, lungs and heart weren't. Surprised I didn't cough and hack during it, but I wouldn't have made it that single mile if I had. What is so annoying (and it was in high school too) is that my throat/larynx tightens so much. I wish I could keep those muscles in a more relaxed state.

Time and patience are required. Hell I've done all this damage over the last 35 years and have been sedentary most of it. I should be thrilled that I made the mile with no stops, right? Think I'll try it again tomorrow morning. See if I can at least match today if not run a little more of that mile. Gotta get back on the bike in a bit, once this old heart has a chance to recover from the walk/run. ;)

09 August, 2007

This has been a full week and it's only Thursday

My boss came into town about one o'clock on Monday. We met all afternoon and didn't break until 6:30. Full day of meetinngs on Tuesday and then drinks and dinner after.

Tuesday was a good day. I felt the meeting was fruitful and educational, just always creates more work. Drinks and dinner was great! I had a call with Australia that didn't end until 6:30, so I arrived late. When I walked into the bar I was intent on finding my party when 3 men crossed my path. Baryshnikov, I thought and then decided it wasn't. Wish I'd taken a closer look! When I reached the dinner table, my sister asked "Did you see Baryshnikov?". My heart sank, it was him. Oh well, just my luck. He performed last night and my sis got to see him. One of those "once in a lifetime" opportunities and I guess this one has passed me by.

One of my colleagues asked how my not smoking was going. This made me well up with pride and I responded with, "by the time I get home tonight it'll be 15 days tobacco free". With my rushing to dinner I had quite an urge for a smoke while parking the car. Talking to myself I was contemplating bumming a cig from my sis, then decided nah. Why blow it now? Just to start counting all over? Not too difficult of a conversation, even if it was with myself. ;-)

A good friend and colleague mentioned that she only took her Chantix prescription for the first month, then gave the other two to a relative that couldn't afford it as their medical plan didn't cover it. I'm wondering if I could step back on this over the next week or so myself. Not sure I have the nerve for that yet. I don't want to fail, but don't want to use Chantix too much as a crutch either. I'm not thinking it's as much physical anymore as it is emotional. There's also this wedding on the First that I need to get through. Maybe I'll ween off of this in September, after the wedding.

Anyway, I didnt' get home til after 10 on Tuesday and spent Wednesday with the boss until 2:00. He left for Philly and I got my hair permed. The stylist talked the entire time she rolled. Then I picked up my youngest for shopping and brought her to my house to pick up the bike so she'll have transportation to work(her car died). She's a talker and went nonstop the entire time. Once my hubby left with her and the bike, I talked to my Mom and the the oldest called. I was exhausted! All I've done all week is hold conversations. I need some silence, serenity, peace.

Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday. I'm hoping I can focus on the tasks at hand, maybe get some meditation in, and make it one more day tobacco free.

Oh yeah, it's been 100+ Farenheit most of the week. I haven't been able to walk at work (can't be sweaty meeting with people). I missed 2 nights in a row on the bike. Gotta ride now, 'cause I'm feeling fat and guilty.

05 August, 2007

So only 4 hours and it will be 13 days tobacco free

Most people would wait until the 2 week mark, but 13 has significance for me. Both my daughters were born on this date (both Mondays, too) though one was July and the other May. Thirteen is a good number for me. So I'm just a few hours early.

Little goals, little goals I keep reminding myself. The bigger ones will follow soon. I'm so afraid of becoming complacent. What I'd like to see is building a momentum so once late autumn and winter arrive I'm in a groove. It is so easy to gain weight during those short day/long night months. I do eat more than summer, but I also definitely sleep more.

Most people get out and enjoy cold weather sports in winter, but the cold air has always caused me to have a fairly intense asthma attack. I wonder if no more ciggys and increasing my time on the bike will help heal my lungs to where I don't have the same problems with cold air. I'm not needing my fast acting inhaler nearly as much as I was and we've had some unhealthy air quality days over the past 2 weeks.

Anyway, I was going to go for a ten-miler this weekend. Didn't make it. Will have to try again, maybe tomorrow, it that doesn't happen another day this week. Got in 6.7 miles in 25 minutes and burned 230 calories. Wish it was more, but I've made lots of progress over the last two weeks.

Life is more than a little insane this month, besides my being tobacco free. My oldest daughter is getting married on 1 September. Most things are under control and she's done most of it. My youngest is Maid of Honor and trying her best considering her circumstances. But I'll leave my girls to another day except to say they both have big hearts and I love them with all my heart.

03 August, 2007

8 days and counting (orig date 1 August)

Well, it's been 8 full days + since my last cigarette. Should be 9 +, but I screwed up last Monday night. I went all day long without and was sitting on the porch with my sister having a beer and smoked one. I was so annoyed with myself. Didn't enjoy it in the least and messed up a 24 hour period. Oh well, live and learn.
Now, I wake up each morning and say to myself, not gonna smoke today. It's not easy, but not nearly as hard as it was other times I tried. I want to do this for me, no one else. Seems to make a big difference. Of course, the Chantix is a miracle in my opinion.
Thankful I have a great friend that's going through this at the same time. We work at the same company and instead of going out for a smoke, we now call each other and walk the block or several blocks. Another colleague is quitting cold turkey (no Chantix) and is doing great, he's walking, too.
Worked myself up to 25 minutes and getting between 6 and 6.7 miles in that time. Building intensity is what I'm going for here. Need to work this heart muscle and lungs.

So, still not completely tobacco free (orig date 18 July)

But, I am closer than I've been in a very long time. Only 7 cigs today and only 2 left in my pack. Tomorrow's goal is to go as long as possible before that first one. I'd be happy if I could make it to work, happier if it was 10 am. All I know is that I've been unrealistic in the past. I've set unattainable goals, basically set myself up to fail. My plan is to set small goals to achieve the ultimate.
Funny, I've been talking to a colleague that is very athletic about workouts. I'm riding a stationary bike, trying to increase time, intensity, and stamina. I've been riding daily for 20 minutes, but adding a minute or two each day. I'm at 50 RPM, which is slow! (the colleague pointed this out) Well, since I've been sedentary too long it's better than a zip. Next small goal is to be able to work at least 60 rpm if not more by September. Won't qualify me for any races, but that's not point. (for now). I think I'd really like to join a bike club/group.
If I keep my focus and determination, who knows. Maybe I'll lose that 20 lbs by the end of the year.
By the way, I'm not doing this alone. A good friend of mine is also quitting. She's running instead of cycling. We've been very supportive of each other, which is so important. All of my family and friends are behind me.
You can achieve anything with focus, determination, and by being realistic.