The first time stopping smoking came to the front of my mind is when I arranged a meeting with Helen in March 2017 after seeing her advertising the stopping smoking service in the hospital's main atrium. Stopping smoking was in theory what I wanted to do, but my willpower was low. I enjoyed smoking, but the breathlessness, cost, smell, and overall impact on my family outweighed the enjoyment, which is why I knew I needed to quit.
Helen was exceptionally good at responding to my routine and arranged to meet me during lunch time, where she talked through the replacement therapy options and support available in full detail so I felt supported and knowledgeable about what I was getting myself into. After the meeting, I felt prepared and ready, therefore I agreed to a course of treatment and to meet up again after 2 weeks to catch up on how I had been getting on.
As the day went by and I got home, dread kicked in and the thought of actually stopping the habit that I had been doing for 2/3rds of my life had started to set in. I wasn’t ready to stop so I didn’t start on the replacement therapy.
Over the next 2 weeks, I avoided Helen as much as I could, dodging her in work and making sure that I wouldn’t bump into her. I was ashamed and embarrassed that I had not tried to stop smoking, and felt like I had wasted her time. I kept making excuses for rearranging my meetings with her and came up with every excuse in the book; which is now something I regret doing!
I have 5 children to support, but I’m smoking my life away when I should be doing everything I can to stay healthy to see them grow up.
Fast forward to June 2017 where I finally ended up bumping into Helen on the stairwell at the hospital. To my relief, she was understanding, empathetic and most importantly, offered her support but reassured me that I would stop when I was ready. I felt a million times better knowing I was not pressured into stopping right away, which really took the stress out of it for me. I felt comfortable knowing when the time was right for me that Helen would be there for support.
That evening while shopping, I was walking past the replacement nicotine therapy section when the thought of guilt hit me; but this time, it wasn’t the thought of letting Helen down. I have 5 children to support, but I’m smoking my life away when I should be doing everything I can to stay healthy to see them grow up.
I decided there and then to buy nicotine patches and not go over to the tobacco counter. I had 1 cigarette left so when I got home, so as silly as it may sound, I decided to sit in the garden and enjoyed my last ever cig. This was it and there was no turning back.
The first few days weren’t as hard as I thought they would be, and I found that my skin was clearing, the horrible red line around my lips had disappeared and I wasn’t as breathless which gave me added confidence for doing daily tasks which often left me out of breath. This gave me more encouragement and the days not smoking turned into weeks. I couldn’t wait to see Helen and tell her about how I was getting on.
I am now very proud to share with you all that I am coming up to week 19 smoke free and feel better than I have done in what feels like forever. I honestly believe that if I hadn’t met with Helen back in March, I would never have stopped smoking- So thank you so much to Yorkshire Smokefree for their wonderful team, especially Helen who helped me quit when I was ready!