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 Quitnet.com 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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Coming Soon: One Year Without a Cigarette

On November 19, 2007 it was the ‘Great American Smokeout‘ and I had decided to try once again to quit smoking.  I didn’t think I would make it through the day but I was doing something different this time. I had decided to try Chantix.

Now you may be asking yourself, wait a minute, that was over a year ago. What happened?

Well, I was doing fantastic. Not smoking, cravings weren’t bad, so I decided to quit taking the Chantix. That’s typical of me. I find something that works and I quit doing it. Kind of like walking with my dog for 30 minutes every day. I felt great when I did that so I quit doing that! Why? Who knows.

Anyway, back to quitting smoking with Chantix. I quit taking it and 18 days later I was smoking again and it happened to be on January 1, 2008. I thought that was funny too. I started smoking on New Year’s Day. Most people quit on New Years. So, January 2, 2008 I smoked my last cigarette at 10:00 a.m. on my way to a Doctor appointment that had been scheduled a while back to discuss my Osteoporosis. As it turned out, we discussed that and my quitting smoking. He gave me a new Rx for Chantix and sent me on my way. I started on the Chantix again immediately and haven’t smoked a cigarette since. I have been off the Chantix since April, 2008 and I am happy to say, I am somewhat sane and still smoke free.

Yes indeed, I am a living miracle. It is almost as if I never smoked and it’s almost as if I never quit. Does that make sense? After smoking two packs a day for 27 years it’s hard for me to truly believe that I am a non-smoker. After this long without a cigarette, it’s hard for me to believe that I ever smoked at all. It’s very strange. I am looking forward to my one year anniversary without a cigarette. I am so thankful for all the support and encouragement from my children and family and friends.  I do have my moments when all I want to do is light up once again, but it does pass eventually. Don’t believe them when they tell you the cravings only last a few seconds and then pass. Some of mine have been days of crying and cursing, wanting some relief. It is God’s grace that has gotton me this far.

I have had many dreams where I smoke and I am always so relieved when I wake up and realize it was just a dream. That is how this last year has been for me, a dream, but a happy one!


Chantix: R&D Chief MacKay’s Personal Opinion

Pfizer Research Chief’s Personal Take on Chantix
Posted by Scott Hensley
With questions about the safety of anti-smoking pill Chantix hurting sales, Pfizer’s head of R&D took to the opinion pages of the local paper in support of the medicine over the weekend.

Martin Mackay

Martin Mackay

Martin Mackay (pictured) wrote in the Day of New London, Conn., about his firsthand experience with the health toll of “cigarette addiction, having watched both of my parents smoke for most of their adult lives and my mother die of lung disease.”

His basic message was in keeping with points the company hit last week in a roundtable meeting with journalists. Quitting smoking is important, but hard. Chantix, despite some risks, remains a safe and effective option, in Pfizer’s view.

The drugmaker has upgraded the cautions on Chantix’s instructions to advise patients to stop taking Chantix in case of agitation, depression, or unusual behavior. Thoughts of suicide are a particular worry. A heightened concern about risk from Chantix led the FAA to ban the use of the drug by pilots and air-traffic controllers last month.

In his Chantix defense, Mackay couldn’t stop with data alone. He invoked some hometown pride in Chantix, one of Pfizer’s “homegrown” medicines.

The active ingredient in Chantix was invented by scientists in labs in Groton, Conn., on the eastern bank of the Thames River. On the opposite shore, in New London, other Pfizer workers designed and ran the clinical tests that led to the FDA’s approval of Chantix in May 2006. Pfizer employs 6,000 people in the area.

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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.

    Tips:

    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.

    From: About.com

    Source: Chantixhome.com

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    Another Scary Chantix Story

    Smoke Free 188 Days!
    Chantix Free 60 Days!

    From Joan…

    This Pill has changed my life and not for the better. Mt twin Sister along with my older sister – we all decided to take the chantix drug. After 4 weeks we all became very sick. Leg aches – our feet felt like they were being crushed. So tired could not get out of bed. Terrible dreams – lossing our hair. I thought I was having a heart attack. This medication has ruined my last two years of my life – along with my sisters. We have been doctoring every since. Thyroid problems are the one thing we have figured out and not been able to get under control. There were many days I was in so much pain I just wanted to die. I would never suggest this drug to any one. This needs to be taken off the market. They owe me 2 years of my life back – and who knows how much longer I am going to suffer. Please think good and hard before taking

    My reply…

    Oh Joan, Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I am so sorry you had a bad experience with Chantix. I appreciate you sharing your experience.

    Everyone who decides to try Chantix needs to be aware of the risks involved. It is such a new drug that you don’t know what all the side effects really are. This Thyroid problem is news to me and I have been trying to follow the effects of Chantix for quite a while now.

    Again, thank you for making me aware of this and I wish you and your sisters the best of health and God’s Blessings.

    Obviously more research needs to be done. After I Googled “Chantix and Thyroid” I have found some good information that shows Joan’s story is just one of many.

    Below is a link about Chantix and Thyroid Problems:

    Chantix and thyroid problems – Thyroid Disorders – MedHelp

    This information is from the Chantix/Pfizer Web Site:

    Following is a list of treatment-emergent adverse events reported by patients treated with CHANTIX during all clinical trials. The listing does not include those events already listed in the previous tables or elsewhere in labeling, those events for which a drug cause was remote, those events which were so general as to be uninformative, and those events reported only once which did not have a substantial probability of being acutely life-threatening.

    BLOOD AND LYMPHATIC SYSTEM DISORDERS. Infrequent: Anemia, Lymphadenopathy. Rare: Leukocytosis, Thrombocytopenia, Splenomegaly.

    CARDIAC DISORDERS. Infrequent: Angina pectoris, Arrhythmia, Bradycardia, Ventricular extrasystoles, Myocardial infarction, Palpitations, Tachycardia. Rare: Atrial fibrillation, Cardiac flutter, Coronary artery disease, Cor pulmonale, Acute coronary syndrome.

    EAR AND LABYRINTH DISORDERS. Infrequent: Tinnitus, Vertigo. Rare: Deafness, Meniere’s disease.

    ENDOCRINE DISORDERS. Infrequent: Thyroid gland disorders.

    EYE DISORDERS. Infrequent: Conjunctivitis, Dry eye, Eye irritation, Vision blurred, Visual disturbance, Eye pain. Rare: Acquired night blindness, Blindness transient, Cataract subcapsular, Ocular vascular disorder, Photophobia, Vitreous floaters.

    GASTROINTESTINAL DISORDERS. Frequent: Diarrhea, Gingivitis. Infrequent: Dysphagia, Enterocolitis, Eructation, Gastritis, Gastrointestinal hemorrhage, Mouth ulceration, Esophagitis. Rare: Gastric ulcer, Intestinal obstruction, Pancreatitis acute.

    GENERAL DISORDERS AND ADMINISTRATION SITE CONDITIONS. Frequent: Chest pain, Influenza like illness, Edema, Thirst. Infrequent: Chest discomfort, Chills, Pyrexia.

    HEPATOBILIARY DISORDERS. Infrequent: Gall bladder disorder.

    IMMUNE SYSTEM DISORDERS. Infrequent: Hypersensitivity. Rare: Drug hypersensitivity.

    INVESTIGATIONS. Frequent: Liver function test abnormal, Weight increased. Infrequent: Electrocardiogram abnormal, Muscle enzyme increased, Urine analysis abnormal.

    METABOLISM AND NUTRITION DISORDERS. Infrequent: Diabetes mellitus, Hyperlipidemia, Hypokalemia. Rare: Hyperkalemia, Hypoglycemia.

    MUSCULOSKELETAL AND CONNECTIVE TISSUE DISORDERS. Frequent: Arthralgia, Back pain, Muscle cramp, Musculoskeletal pain, Myalgia. Infrequent: Arthritis, Osteoporosis. Rare: Myositis.

    NERVOUS SYSTEM DISORDERS. Frequent: Disturbance in attention, Dizziness, Sensory disturbance. Infrequent: Amnesia, Migraine, Parosmia, Psychomotor hyperactivity, Restless legs syndrome, Syncope, Tremor. Rare: Balance disorder, Cerebrovascular accident, Convulsion, Dysarthria, Facial palsy, Mental impairment, Multiple sclerosis, Nystagmus, Psychomotor skills impaired, Transient ischemic attack, Visual field defect.

    PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS. Frequent: Anxiety, Depression, Emotional disorder, Irritability, Restlessness. Infrequent: Aggression, Agitation, Disorientation, Dissociation, Libido decreased, Mood swings, Thinking abnormal. Rare: Bradyphrenia, Euphoric mood, Hallucination, Psychotic disorder, Suicidal ideation.

    RENAL AND URINARY DISORDERS. Frequent: Polyuria. Infrequent: Nephrolithiasis, Nocturia, Urine abnormality, Urethral syndrome. Rare: Renal failure acute, Urinary retention.

    REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM AND BREAST DISORDERS. Frequent: Menstrual disorder. Infrequent: Erectile dysfunction. Rare: Sexual dysfunction.

    RESPIRATORY, THORACIC AND MEDIASTINAL DISORDERS. Frequent: Epistaxis, Respiratory disorders. Infrequent: Asthma. Rare: Pleurisy, Pulmonary embolism.

    SKIN AND SUBCUTANEOUS TISSUE DISORDERS. Frequent: Hyperhidrosis. Infrequent: Acne, Dermatitis, Dry skin, Eczema, Erythema, Psoriasis, Urticaria. Rare: Photosensitivity reaction.

    VASCULAR DISORDERS. Frequent: Hot flush, Hypertension. Infrequent: Hypotension, Peripheral ischemia, Thrombosis.

    Post-Marketing Experience:
    The following adverse events have been reported during post-approval use of Chantix. Because these events are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

    There have been reports of depressed mood, agitation, changes in behavior, suicidal ideation and suicide in patients attempting to quit smoking while taking Chantix. Smoking cessation with or without treatment is associated with nicotine withdrawal symptoms and the exacerbation of underlying psychiatric illness. Not all patients had known pre-existing psychiatric illness and not all had discontinued smoking. The role of Chantix in these reports is not known (see WARNINGS).

    CHANTIX Safety Information

    Important Safety Information

    CHANTIX® (varenicline) is indicated as an aid to smoking cessation treatment in adults 18 and over. Patients may benefit from behavioral modification and support during their quit attempt. Patients should be encouraged to continue to attempt to quit if they have early lapses after quit day.

    Advise patients and caregivers that the patient should stop taking CHANTIX and contact a healthcare provider immediately if agitation, depressed mood, or changes in behavior that are not typical for the patient are observed, or if the patient develops suicidal ideation or suicidal behavior. These symptoms as well as worsening of preexisting psychiatric illness have been reported in patients attempting to quit smoking with CHANTIX or after stopping CHANTIX.

    The most common adverse reactions include nausea, sleep disturbance, constipation, flatulence, and vomiting. Nausea occurred in 30% of patients; 3% discontinued due to nausea.

    Patients should be informed that they may experience vivid, unusual, or strange dreams during treatment with CHANTIX. Patients should be advised to use caution driving or operating machinery until they know how quitting smoking with CHANTIX may affect them.

    Safety and efficacy of CHANTIX in combination with other smoking cessation drug therapies have not been studied. Dosage adjustment with CHANTIX is recommended in patients with severe renal impairment or in patients undergoing hemodialysis.

    Smoking cessation, with or without treatment with CHANTIX, may alter the pharmacokinetics or pharmacodynamics of some drugs, such as theophylline, warfarin, and insulin. Dosage adjustment for these drugs may be necessary.

    Please see full prescribing information.

    CHANTIX® (varenicline)

    Please see Medication Guide.



    Niccine-Vaccine Against Nicotine Being Tested

    This is from another quit smoking blog. Interesting information:

    Should I use Chantix or wait for Niccine ?

    Niccine: a new approach to quit smoking This is a different approach to the quit smoking problem similiar to by the drug maker Pfizer’s Chantix Swedish anti-nicotine vaccine to be tested in Nordic countries “A Swedish vaccine against nicotine will be tested on 400 people in three Nordic countries,” Heavy smokers who would like to quit, will get counselling along with the new drug, initial test will run for 4 months.

    Niccine is supposed to help the immune system build antibodies against nicotine.

    Interesting approach to the problem: Niccine will latch onto the incoming nicotine and preventing it from reaching the brain’s reward system, thereby preventing the smoker from getting that addictive smoking “kick” or hit. Niccine, has been developed over the course of 10 years by Swedish researchers at the Karolinska Institute, under the guidance of professor Torgny Svensson who founded Independent Pharmaceutica.

    This is a different approach to the quit smoking problem used by Pfizer’s Chantix. http://www.chantix-smoking.blogspot.com

    Back at Work, MacBook Air™ Released, and Gratitude for Quitting Smoking

    Back at work today! Everyone is talking about the release of the MacBook Air™. Of course, I work in Information Technology so it seems to be all the buzz with the staff around here. Wow, it is the thinnest laptop ever and I am just amazed myself. I am a PC person and Macs are peaking my interest more these days. Hmmmm we’ll have to see where that takes me.

    Enough about IT/work stuff. My mouth seems to be healing pretty well from having my teeth pulled last Thursday. Periodontal Disease is just one more thing I have to thank cigarettes for. I have been running around to all my smoker friends, (they hate me now, because I’m so happy being 14 days smoke free and I’m usually skipping off to the gym as I pass them by), telling them the good news about our Insurance Company covering the Chantix now. That was their last excuse to not quit. Oh, I can’t afford that much money every month. Actually, the Chantix cost about the same as my cigs did every month. Anyway, I just smile and say, “whenever you are ready!” It is wonderful being able to “skip” without getting winded. So many things I have to be grateful for. Oh no, I’m going to start gushing. Oh well, I haven’t done that for a while so here goes.

    My Gratitude List

    1. The disgusting smoker’s cough is gone!! I don’t even have that little rattle anymore. My voice is almost melodic when I speak, not that “deep old lady voice” I used to have. When I do cough it is such a little wimpy cough, I can’t help but laugh at it.
    2. I’m not all full of that awful phlegm anymore.
    3. I drink a ton of water and only one 20 oz diet coke a day. Two 2-liters a day of diet coke was the norm. For some reason, the caffeine left me at the same time the nicotine did. There wasn’t any withdrawal symptoms, headaches, etc. and I am truly grateful for that. Think of the money I am saving on pop alone!!
    4. Speaking of money. I can tell something is not right when I still have $60 in my checking account and it is payday. Now that is very unusual, since I don’t make much money and live paycheck to paycheck. Oh my gosh…what if I can start saving money now! Woo Hoo!
    5. My breath smells nicer and my clothes and of course my car. Actually, I have noticed all kinds of smells since I quit smoking, especially walking downtown past some of the restaurants. 😉 I did buy some air fresheners this last weekend for my house. That is something I have always done but, I can actually smell them now. Some are too strong and I have to unplug them once in a while.
    6. More energy! That’s a big one. I go outside and do things like visit with my neighbor, walk Sonny and not get winded. I can’t wait until Spring so I can smell the fragrances of flowers; the fresh air and the smell of rain.
    7. I am so grateful for the friends I have made online during my quit. All of the support I have gotten just from blogging has been incredible.
    8. This might sound weird but, I am grateful for the little bit of weight I have gained since I quit. At least I don’t look like the walking dead, super skinny, and puffing on a cigarette. I don’t mind having a little extra pouch, (I’ve never had one before), the dog, Sonny, seems to really like it when I am sitting on the couch and he tries to lay in my lap. It will be more comfortable for my grand-kids, whenever I become a grandmother. That was my inspiration to quit smoking, by the way, “To live long enough to become a grandmother!” It’s kind of sad now when I think about it. (I am tearing up here at work, NOT GOOD.) I was so worried I would die before I got to be a grandmother, or see my children graduate college or get married. I want to be there when my daughter delivers her first baby. (Gushing now…) If I die now, even from lung cancer or a smoking related illness, at least I quit smoking.
    9. I am mostly grateful that I QUIT SMOKING!
    10. Last but not least, I am thankful that my Higher Power gave me the strength and grace to overcome this addiction for 14 days of this lifelong journey, one day at a time.Wow! I feel so much better after making this list. Maybe it’s time for you to make your gratitude list, ya think?? I know it sure helped me feel better. Take care of you!I am closing with a picture of my bud, Sonny Boy!

    Sonny Boy

    TTFN




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