One Year Smoke Free!!!

Yay! Yippee! I made it. It’s official.

Tough decisions we make.

Tough decisions we make.

On January 1, 2009 it was one year without a cigarette. According to that is equal to
Your Quit Date is: 1/1/2008 10:00:00 AM
Time Smoke-Free: 371 days, 7 hours, 10 minutes and 16 seconds
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 12995
Lifetime Saved: 3 months, 9 days, 6 hours

Now that is awesome! Thanks to Chantix, lots of prayers, and good old determination, I haven’t given in to any cravings to smoke for over a year! It is truly a miracle and I am soooo grateful.

I was scared that I couldn’t quit. It seemed I was doomed to a short life of smoking forever. Then a long came Chantix and I tried it a couple of times. The first time it made me sick and I thought. Forget it. I don’t want to throw up all the time. It’s not worth that!! Then I remembered that Chemotherapy makes you throw up. There are no easy choices here. So I tried it again and this time I resolved myself to the fact that indeed I was going to throw up and I would just have to change the way I walked into my building at work so there was bushes near by to vomit in so now one would see me. Yuk, I know but…I was determined to quit this time. I didn’t care if I threw up every day, I knew I had to quit. I wanted to quit.

Fortunately, the nausea doesn’t last that long and I never did vomit in the bushes. But, the fact that I was willing to do that, to go to any length to quit smoking was something I had never done before.

I gained weight pretty fast, like 20 pounds the first month. The second month I gained 7 pounds and that was it. I have not gained or lost any more weight. Losing weight, depriving myself of anything is not on my agenda today. Today, I don’t smoke cigarettes. Period. That’s it. I’ll diet, deprive myself of food or chocolate later. I suppose if I gain any more weight I might have to think about a ‘Diet’, but not now. As long as I am eating healthy and walking a couple of miles a day, then I’m not worried. I read once that a person who quits smoking would have to gain 70 lbs. to do the damage to their heart, etc. that smoking does. Wow! 27 lbs is a long way from 70!

I’ll write more later. I plan to include tips and “How to’s” the entire month of January. So check back often. And if you have started with Chantix, hang in there. It really does work.

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Thyroid Disease Information Source

I found this site and thought it was worth mentioning. I have an appointment with an Endocrinologist on February 2, 2009. Then we will know why I have a Vitamin D deficiency, (even when taking huge supplements) and why my parathyroid is sky high. I am just hoping for the best.

Thyroid Disease Information Source — Bestselling Books, News, Information on Living Well With Hypothyroidism, Autoimmune Disease, Thyroid Diet, Home Page of Mary Shomon.

Chantix &Thyroid: Is There a Connection?

Does Smoking, Quitting Smoking, or Chantix throw you into Thyroid Problems?

Smoke free 205 Days!

As a lot of you know that follow my blog regularly, I had a comment by Joan that her and her twin sister had major side effects with Chantx involving their Thyroid. That prompted me to have mine checked. I went to the Doctor and had the blood work done and everything else checked while I was there. The nurse called yesterday with the results. I have HYPOTHYROIDISM and have to take a medication called Synthroid for the rest of my life! Don’t you think that is quite a coincidence? Well, I sure do. Actually, what are the odds that someone on the internet tells me about this new side effect of Chantix that I had not heard “scary stories” about and it turns out I have it too. Very strange in deed. So I decided to check this out for myself and here is what I have found out.

Does smoking cigarettes increase the odds of getting Hypothyroidism? That was my first question. Yes it does.

Smoking and Thyroid Diseases: The Connection

Smoking has been found to be one of the prominent causes of hypothyroidism and it has also been clear that smoke contains harmful ingredients that retard the functioning process of the thyroid gland. Many substances present in smoke trigger off anti-thyroid action inside the system and one among them is cyanide. On smoking cigarettes and other tobacco containing products, the ingredient cyanide enters the system and forms a specific compound thiocyanate.This new substance thiocyanate significantly prevents iodine intake and ensures the low production of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism).

However, clinical studies have established that smokers are more prone to have thyroid enlargement which could be an indication of thyroid disturbance. Further, it has also been found that grave’s disease (thyroid eye disease) which is specifically responsible for hyperthyroidism can be triggered off on account of smoking. An article appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association which makes it clear that people who are addicted to smoking are twice more likely to develop grave disease in comparison to non-smokers.

In a study involving women in Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden, it was found that smoking impairs both thyroid hormone secretion and thyroid hormone action, according to Beat Mueller, M.D., et al., in the October 12, 1995 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

Before I go blaming Chantix, there is a connection between Hypothyroid and smokers. Smoking is directly related to Hypothyroid so how can anyone say Chantix did this to me when it could have been building over many years and smoking has masked it. We all know smoking and nicotine increase your metabolism so the weight gain doesn’t show up as a symptom. Then we quit smoking and Pow! We get this weight gain that cannot be removed by diet and exercise, and we are fatiqued, almost lethargic when we quit because we all know nicotine is an upper/stimulant. So we are diagnosed with Hypothyroid and we want to blame somebody and Chantix is right there. They do have the warning that rarely it can cause the problem so we know that is a possibility, but not very likely. I would tend to believe that this is another thing that smoking has caused, just like osteoporosis, and I just have to learn to live with it.

How to Tell If You Are Hypothyroid

Here’s how you can determine if you have an underactive thyroid condition called hypothyroidism.

Difficulty Level: Easy Time Required: 5 minutes

Here’s How:

1. List your risk factors, including: family history, previous treated/untreated problems (nodules, hyperthyroidism, goiter, hypothyroidism, thyroid cancer), previous thyroid surgery, another autoimmune disease, childbirth.
2. Note symptoms including:

  • weight gain, depression, forgetfulness, fatigue, hoarseness, high cholesterol, constipation, feeling cold, hair loss, dry skin, low sex drive, tingling hands/feet, irregular periods, infertility.
  • 3. Note related conditions, including: recurrent pregnancy loss, resistant high cholesterol, difficult menopause, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, mitral valve prolapse.
    4. Meet with your doctor for a thyroid examination and blood test.
    5. Request a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) blood test, along with T4, T3, Free T4 and Free T3 tests.
    6. Review your test results with the doctor.
    7. At most labs in the U.S., up until late 2002, the normal range is from around 0.5 to 5.5. That range changed to .3 to 3 as of early 2003. If the TSH level is at the higher end of the range, or above the range, your doctor may determine that you are hypothyroid (underactive thyroid.)
    8. If your doctor ran a test called Total T4 or Total Thyroxine, normal range is approximately 4.5 to 12.5. If you had a low reading, and a high TSH, your doctor might consider that indicative of hypothyroidism.
    9. If your doctor ran a test called Total T4 or Total Thyroxine, normal range is approximately 4.5 to 12.5. If you had a low reading, and a low TSH, your doctor might look into a possible pituitary problem.
    10. If your doctor ran a test called Free T4, or Free Thyroxine, normal range is approximately 0.7 to 2.0. If your result was less than 0.7, your doctor might consider that indicative of hypothyroidism.
    11. If your doctor ran a test called Total T3, normal range is approximately 80 to 220. If your result was less than 80, your doctor might consider that indicative of hypothyroidism.
    12. If your doctor ran a test called Free T3, the normal range is approximately 2.3 to 4.2. If your result was less than 2.3, your doctor might consider that indicative of hypothyroidism.
    13. If your test results come back “normal” but you have many of the symptoms or risk factors for thyroid disease, make sure you ask for an antibodies test. Some doctors believe in treating thyroid symptoms in the presence of elevated antibodies and normal TSH levels.
    14. If your test results come back “normal” but you have many of the symptoms or risk factors for thyroid disease, consider going to a reputable holistic M.D. or alternative physician for further interpretation and diagnosis.


    1. Many people who have radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism/Graves’ Disease, or who have sugery to remove all or part of the thyroid due to nodules or cancer, are hypothyroid.
    2. If you have been treated with radioactive iodine or surgery, and are currently not on thyroid hormone replacement, but have hypothyroidism symptoms, see your doctor.
    3. Keep in mind that laboratory normal values vary somewhat from lab to lab. Make sure you find out your lab’s normal ranges and review these with your doctor.



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    How To Rid Your Body of ‘Flabby Fat Arms’

    How To Rid Your Body of ‘Flabby Fat Arms’

    What is the best way to lose those flabby fat arms?

    Pushups! 🙂

    I am serious. Start out doing them standing up and leaning toward your kitchen counter and push up off the counter with your legs straight just like a push up. Do 3 sets of 5-10, however many you can do. After you can do 3 sets of 10 comfortably, then go lower like a desk. Then the floor. Using our own weight as much as we can to work out. It is great for our body.

    The other thing you can do is buy 2, 3 or 5 lb weights. Whatever you are comfortable with and while watching TV in the evening, (I keep mine on the floor beside the couch so when I think about it I don’t have to get up and get them, I just bend down and pick them up), you put one weight in your right hand, stand up and put your left knee on the chair or couch and keep your right foot on the ground. You lean forward and hold yourself up with your left arm in front of your body. Keep your right elbow next to your side, swing the right forearm holding the weight straight out.

    This is a great e.g. from

    Dumbbell Kickbacks

    Exercise Advice: Grab a dumbbell with your right hand and position your left knee and hand onto a flat bench. Keep your arm tucked into your side at a 90 degree angle. Slowly extend your arm out and keep your elbow in. At full extension of the movement, make sure to keep a little bend in your arm and all the tension on your tricep muscle. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. Repeat with your opposite arm.

    Of course, check with your Doctor before starting any fitness or exercise routine.


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    It’s Tough Staying Healthy

    I felt Healthier before I went to the Doctor!

    Smoke Free 200 Days!

    I went to the Doctor for my “Well Woman” visit. I weigh 173 lbs. Ugggghhhhh!!! I have to have a colonoscopy because I am over 50. Uggghhhhh! I have to have my yearly July 31st. Ugggghhhhh! My osteoporosis rating was T -2.5. last fall and he ask if I was taking my Fosamax and I told him I was going to take care of that myself with Calcium Supplements and Walking. Oh no, he said that won’t do it. I have to rebuild the bone! I have to take osteo medicine. so I am going to call my insurance and see if they will cover the once a year Reclast shot. Uggggghhhh! I hate going to the Doc. I couldn’t eat and was poked & prodded, took blood from my little veins, and had an EKG with hairy legs. Uggggghhhhhh! I’m not doing this again for another 5 -10 years. It’s too much work. Luckily I broke it up by doing the Bone Density and Mammogram last fall and the Chest X-Ray and my Eye-Exam. It’s tough trying to stay healthy.

    And did the Doc care that I walk everyday? No, he was not impressed. Did he care that I hadn’t had a cig for 6 months? Kind of happy but didn’t jump up and down or pat me on the back and say, “Good Job”. He didn’t say my lungs sounded better or nothing. He listened to my heart a lot, like even in my neck with the stethoscope. Kind of weird I thought.

    Anyway, it all ended with me not being able to pee in the cup so I figured I will do that when I go on the 31st to the Lady Doc there for my yearly. Oh, and the lab gal sent me home with a poop card. Ugggghhhhh! It was a wonderful day…


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    Take a Walk!

    Smoke Free 48 days!

    These tips are courtesy of GetQuit Support from

    Take a Walk!

    Walking is good for almost everyone – and it’s easy to do. All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes – and a place to go. Of course, before you begin any new physical activity, you should talk to your doctor.

    Here are just a few of the benefits you may get from walking:

    • Manage your weight
    • Control your blood pressure
    • Decrease your risk for a heart attack
    • Lower your risk for a stroke
    • Strengthen muscles, bones and joints
    • Improve sleep

    Walking may also help improve your overall mood and relieve stress – and we all know that stress is a big trigger for smoking.

    Here are some ideas for getting walking into your routine. You can write down 1 or 2 of them, and tape them onto your refrigerator.

    • Take a morning walk to get you relaxed and focused before work.
    • If you walk your dog, vary your routes and try to make them a little longer.
    • Take a walk on your lunch hour, even if it’s just around the block or parking lot once or twice.
    • Offer to take your kids or grandkids to the playground or a park and get active with them.
    • Buy a pedometer and see if you can walk a little further each day.

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    Do You have “Ex-Smoker Disorder?”

    Smoke Free 24 days!

    Signs you may be an ex-smoker…

    There are so many “Disorders” these days, I thought there should be one for all of us ex-smokers. Now that we have Chantix, there are going to be a lot more of us running around. Make it easy on yourself to recognize someone with the disorder, by reading the symptoms below.

    • A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation. Never be able to smoke again. What is there to look forward too? No more smokers cough in the morning to wake up to. No more panic attacks because when I get out of bed and I can’t find my cigarettes or worse…a lighter. Yes, it is rather bleak to wake up in the morning with clean lungs and no panic attacks.
    • Loss of interest in daily activities–No interest in or ability to enjoy former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. OMG! You mean I can’t enjoy my former activity of being a couch potato. What about my favorite pastime of standing outside in a wind chill of -50 degrees trying to get a good hit off of my cigarette. Oh yes, that is a true loss.
    • Appetite or weight changes–Significant weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month. What can I say? Food never tasted so good! Unfortunately I now enjoy food with all my senses, I can smell it and actually TASTE it! Amazing. Not to worry though, this symptom will correct itself around 6-months to a year.
    • Sleep changes–Either insomnia or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia) Sleep is good! Our bodies are healing and they need the rest to restore all the damage we did to ourselves by smoking.
    • Psychomotor agitation or retardation–Either feeling “keyed up” and restless or sluggish and physically slowed down. And this is supposed to be something new? I have always had this symptom, even when I was smoking.
    • Loss of energy–Feeling fatigued and physically drained. Even small tasks are exhausting or take longer. Time does seem to move in slow motion now. I used to get up and get ready for work and have a good 30 minutes to get on my computer and check emails or blog before I had to leave for work. Oh yeah, I would get up at 4:30 a.m. coughing my lungs up and craving a cigarette. Now that I’m not craving nicotine in the morning, I can sleep later. I don’t have to get up and have my “fix.”
    • Self-loving–Strong feelings of worthiness or pride. No criticism of perceived faults and mistakes. All of a sudden, we love who we are. Active, healthy,empowered people who are doing the single most important change we can make in our entire lives. We are proud of ourselves for overcoming many obstacles and not smoking. We have made it through many trials and tribulations and did not smoke! We are no longer beating ourselves up for not taking care of our health, for being perceived as “outcasts” in our society. Yes, this is a tough one to live with. More self-esteem is always a downer.
    • Concentration problems–Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things. Smoking a cigarette doesn’t help us focus or concentrate any better. It’s a distraction from the problem at hand. If I have problems concentrating, I take 10 deep breaths which gets more oxygen to my brain and relaxes me. It works every time. Or, getting up and walking around also helps. I think it does the same thing-get that oxygen flowing to my brain.
    • Irritability–Easily annoyed or frustrated and lashing out in anger or snapping at others. Unfortunately, nicotine withdrawal isn’t a good legal defense for murder. So, for now we have to learn how to cope with these feelings. I haven’t murdered anyone yet but, I have lashed out with some choice words to a co-worker. Before I quit smoking, I thought I was a saint, so lashing out just makes me a little more human and a little less perfect. I’m okay with that. It was a lot of pressure trying to be perfect.
    • Aches and pains–New or worse physical symptoms, including headaches, backaches, diarrhea or constipation. Feeling aches and pains makes me grateful that I’m alive and not lying in some hospital bed with a tube in my lung and hooked up to oxygen. I can deal with a few minor discomforts because my body is healing.

    That’s it for now. If you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself, get down on your knees and thank God for the blessing he has given you. A second chance at life and the power to choose how you want to live it, this time around.

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