Cutting back on Chantix

Smoke Free 119 days!

Yes, it is hard to believe it has been almost four months without a single puff of a cigarette. I have to thank God and Chantix for this is truly a miracle.

Today I cut my Chantix 1mg pill in half and am going to take 1/2 mg for at least four weeks maybe more. The reason I am cutting back is because of the fatigue I am feeling. In the beginning when I first started taking it the first week or so, I felt like I had the flu. I was achy all over and felt like I couldn’t get off the couch. That is part of the reason why I have only taken one 1mg pill in the morning during the last four months. When I was taking it as directed, two 1 mg pills, 1 in the morning and 1 at night, it was way to much for me to handle. I was depressed and tired all the time, could not sleep at all and just felt ‘weird’. After the first couple of weeks on one 1mg pill in the morning, I felt pretty good, not to crazy and I was still not smoking.

Lately, I have noticed when I go to the gym, or walk for long distances, or run up three flights of stairs, I am exhausted and weak. My muscles are weak. I don’t have the strength I had even back in January and February. I haven’t read anything about Chantix effecting your muscles or joints, but I am going to do some research on it. Of course I am worried about it because I have been on the Chantix longer than the suggested twelve weeks.

I will see my Doctor tomorrow and discuss this with him. Leave me a comment if you have had a similar experience with Chantix. I don’t like feeling lazy all the time.

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Pictures of Diseased Lungs-Warning:Very Graphic

Pictures of Diseased Lungs Warning: Very graphic. Do not proceed if you will be offended. This is really gross.

Normal Lung Tissue

Emphysema Lung

Diseased Lung Tissue


An 80 year old - Normal Lung

The chest and abdominal cavities are opened here at autopsy. The lungs in the chest have a normal pink aerated appearance with minimal anthracotic pigmentation, because this 80 year old male never smoked and never allowed smoking in his workplace. The mediastinum contains mostly fat. The pericardial sac around the heart has not been opened.The diaphragmatic domes extend upward to the level of the 6th ribs.

A Normal Lung

A Normal Lung

A Lung With Emphysema

A Lung With Emphysema

Oat Cell Carcinoma

Small cell anaplastic (oat cell) carcinoma

Lung damaged from years of smoking

A lung severly damaged from smoking

Emphysema of the Lung

Emphysema, representating a late 20th century version of “The Masque of the Red Death” in Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, is shown here. Note the loss of lung parenchyma with irregular holes. It should be remembered that deaths from emphysema, as well as lung cancer, have increased greatly over the past few decades because of smoking.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

This is a larger squamous cell carcinoma in which a portion of the tumor demonstrates central cavitation, probably because the tumor outgrew its blood supply.Squamous cell carcinomas are one of the more common primary malignancies of lung and are most often seen in smokers.

These xrays and pictures are from the QuitSmokingSupport Website
courtesy of Dr. Frederic W. Grannis Jr., MD, a thoracic surgeon. If you would like to see more pictures, click on the link above. They have four pages of these!!

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Resources to Help You Stay Quit

Smoke Free 107 days!

Resources to Help You Quit Smoking or Stay Quit!

This is a collection of some of my favorite sites that have helped me the most with my quit. Some have forums for support, some have education, and then some are just great motivators. I visited these sites many times before I finally managed to quit. Reading some of the stories of others who had quit gave me hope. At WhyQuit.com I read some of the stories of those that quit too late or not at all. Nicotine addiction is a serious disease and we need to take it serious and realize that people do die from this, and some are very young. Good luck on your journey to a better life.

  • QuitNet
    Don’t Quit Alone! All of us need social support to keep our Quit going. QuitNet has the best forums on anything you can imagaine, even quit zits, (you know what I’m talking about.) The best and easiest to use support site I have seen.
  • WhyQuit
    Straight talking facts! This site will definately motivate you to quit. No BS here. Some of the stories will scare you to death, but they are true and factual. If you need a little incentive to stay quit or if you need a good swift kick in the pants to jumpstart your quit, this is the site to see. If you need to be educated on what exactly nicotine addiction is, this is the place to go and it’s all free.
  • Freedom From Smoking Online (FFS)
    This is from the American Lung Association. This cessation program is taught at Hospitals all across American. I went through the program locally and I must say it helped me a lot. It was one of the few times I stayed quit for over 30 days. I was thrilled when they started offering it online also. If you do the work it, you will quit. It has a good success rate.
  • Tales from the Quit
    This guy-Kevin-quit using the above program FFS. This site he has kept going for seven years now. He has a great forum that is still active. Check it out!
  • Smokefree.gov
    A good first place to start. Extensive information about why and how to quit smoking, including 39-page booklet and links to other sites and quitlines
  • Cancer.org
    Nationwide network of free local quit lines at 800-QUITNOW, questions answered by e-mail, message boards, brochures, other information on quitting smoking. This is from the American Cancer Society.
  • Cancer.gov
    877-44U-QUIT
    This is from the National Cancer Institute.Detailed information about tobacco and how to quit, surgeon general’s reports, live messaging service at Cancer.gov/Help
  • Nicotine-Anonymous.org
    415-750-0328
    List of local meetings in the United States and worldwide, publications in nine languages
  • SilkQuit
    This site has some good information about quitting and also a good quit-smoking-meter for your computer.
  • Chantix.com
    This is a link to the Pfizer site that also has a “GetQuit” smoking cessation program for support while you are taking Chantix and up to a year after quitting.
  • BecomeAnEx– this is a brand new site, (commercials are airing on tv). I haven’t checked it all out, but it doesn’t appear as though they are selling anything. Let me know what you think!

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Smoking Addiction-Could it be your Genes?


Smoking Addiction-Could it be your Genes?

US News.com reported that three seperate teams of scientists have narrowed down that smoking addiction and lung cancer could be connected to certain genes. This discovery could mean screening that would help with the success of people who have been trying to quit, but seem to lack the ability. This explains why some smokers continue to smoke even after being diagnosed with cancer or are on oxygen. They just can’t stop.

The scientists studied the genes of more than 35,000 white people of European descent in Europe, Canada and the United States. Blacks and Asians will be studied soon and may yield different results, scientists said.

They aren’t quite sure if what they found is a set of variations in one gene or in three closely connected genes.

The gene variations, which govern nicotine receptors on cells, could eventually help explain some of the mysteries of chain smoking, nicotine addiction and lung cancer. These oddities include why there are 90-year-old smokers who don’t get cancer and people who light up an occasional cigarette and don’t get hooked.

“This is really telling us that the vulnerability to smoking and how much you smoke is clearly biologically based,” said psychiatry professor Dr. Laura Bierut of Washington University in St. Louis, a genetics and smoking expert who did not take part in the studies. She praised the research as “very intriguing.”

The smoking rate among U.S. adults has dropped from 42 percent in 1965 to less than 21 percent now.

The new studies are surprising in that they point to areas of the genetic code that are not associated with pleasure and the rewards of addiction.

That may help explain why some people can quit and others fail, said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse in Bethesda, Md., which funded one of the studies.

“It opens our eyes,” Volkow said Wednesday. “Not everyone takes drugs for the same reason. Not everyone smokes cigarettes for the same reasons.”

One clue is in the location of the just-discovered variants, on the long arm of chromosome 15, Volkow said. It is in an area that, when damaged during tests on animals, makes them depressed and anxious. While some people smoke because it helps them focus or gives them a physiological reward, others do it to stave off depression.

That suggests that adding antidepressants to some smokers’ treatment could help them kick the habit.

Being on antidepressants isn’t always a cure all. My history with quitting smoking is I get so depressed I cannot stop crying. The depression is so great that even on antidepressants, it cannot be over come. This is what I am working on now.

Taking Chantix once a day seems to keep the depression away. When I go off the Chantix, after five days, I am so depressed that I cannot work, I cry, and want to quit my job or other erratic behavior. This has nothing to do with the Chantix. Every time I have quit before with the patch, when I cut down to the lower level of nicotine, the exact same thing happened to me. Identical behavior, I couldn’t stop crying, etc.

So I am convinced that depression is why I smoked and why I have such a hard time stopping. I will be going to see my Doctor on April 30th. He is the one that prescribes my antidepressant, Lexapro (I am taking the highest dose possible), and my Chantix. I am anxious to see what he has to say about it. Last time he said to just stay on the Chantix for at least a year. It is better than smoking. I have to agree with him. I am functioning great and it has been 106 days smoke free. Why mess with it by trying to get off Chantix? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I’m not sure how safe it is to stay on Chantix forever, but for now I am doing great.

This study is exciting and I hope it will develop into something like an easy screen test to see if you have the “genes” to become addicted to smoking. My son is 23 and he smokes all the time. It makes sense to me that he is predisposed to this addiction. Just like Alcoholism. It’s is a family disease, now we know, smoking is too.

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Smoke Free 90 Days!

Smoke Free 90 Days!

Wow! Now that’s a new record for me. It’s a miracle that’s for sure, one day at a time. Never underestimate the power of prayer. And I can’t forget the Chantix. I know I couldn’t have made it this far without it.

I have not been going to the gym. I miss going because it is such a great reminder that I no longer smoke. I tend to take it for granted that I am not smoking anymore. Can you imagine? As desperate as I was to stop and all those times I tried, I have now become complacent. When I go work out every step on that treadmill reminds me how lucky I am that I can breathe and still have the oxygen and stamina to walk two or three miles at a pretty good pace. Now if it gives me such a great feeling, why don’t I go? I have a million reasons. I forget to bring my shoes/clothes in the morning, my son works at 5:00 and needs my car most nights during the week, I never think about going in the morning before work, and I never think about going home changing shoes/clothes and then heading for the gym. Okay, no more excuses. I just figured out how I can overcome the minor obstacles I have thrown in my path. After all, I am paying for it every month, I might as well use it, right?

Well, our KU Jayhawks have made it to the Final Four once again. I am so excited. Those kids have worked hard and I hope they go all the way! Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

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A Post from my Son on Smoking

Smoke Free 80 Days!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me!

Nicotine is a drug used for relaxation, no? Nicotine is a drug used as sustenance due to frequent situations where one is expected to behave well beyond the so-called ‘rational’ task, to deal with the more than the expected……and only to those addicted. To others such a task is normal and easy without any chemical help. To those addicted, it is a staple of life.

I want to see Nicotine as a ‘drug of relief’ instead of a ‘drug of sustenance’ (AKA ‘BECAUSE I HAVE TO’ ). Thus, due to my stubbornness and my expectations of being perfect, I will only be smoking one pack per day from this day on, down from two packs per day. I got off work at 9:30 PM. It is 12:26 AM now, and I’ve had three smokes since then, the normal sum is around 15 smokes, amazing?….and it doesn’t bug me. Thus, why should the force of habit make me smoke when my natural dependence to nicotine doesn’t even WANT it? Answer: I shouldn’t. I should only ‘use’ such a ‘drug’ when I ‘need’ to.

I may never ‘need’ to….but it’s a step towards a future smoke-free life. I should never ‘need’ anything besides myself and those close to me, but the word ‘need’ is almost synonymous with the word ‘want’……Do I want what I need, or do I need what I want? One way to tell, and I’m trying to figure out that question by literally cutting my smoking in half.

This work is released to the public domain. I hold no copyrights, and no rights reserved.

After 5 Days-Back on the Chantix

Smoke Free 76 Days!

Wow! It seems like forever! I took Chantix for 6-weeks and thought I would try to get off of it because of bad things I am hearing in the news. I have not had any of the side effects-depression, suicidal thoughts, etc.-that they are discussing about Chantix. Anyway, I went off of it last Monday. It has a 5-day half life, sort of a self tapering system. So, by day 5, it is completely out of your system. Well, Thursday, day 4, I was kind of depressed and weepy,(which is exactly the way I am without my cigarettes.) Then Friday, I had a fully blown depression episode of crying and not being able to stop. That usually happens to me when I get off nicotine. When I would go to a lower dose nicotine patch is usually when I when get like that and smoke, hence I never got past 60 days before Chantix. When I am on Chantix I am fine, without it I could smoke just to make me quit crying. Anyway, I filled my Rx and got another six-week supply, (I only take one 1mg Chantix in the morning. I do not take two 1mg doses.) The one at night was just too much and I couldn’t get to sleep and when I finally did I didn’t want to get up. So one Chantix has been working for me for 6 weeks now.

So, I am back on the Chantix. Big deal! I did not smoke and I could of. There are plenty of people at work that would give me one. My son gave me a good idea on how to look at going back on the Chantix. He said, “Look at it like you do your anti-depressant. It is medicine, that helps you, not a drug.” Well, that helped me so much. As a matter of fact, my Doctor told me I could stay on it a year if that is what it takes for me not to smoke. I am not going to try and rush this thing.

It is a bigger risk to my life for me to smoke than it is to keep taking the Chantix.

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