I have asthma, and I have been smoking for 28 years. Am I stupid?

I started smoking at the age of thirteen in the 70´s. All the older teenagers and many adults did smoke at that time. Smoking was for me a way to both do something forbidden, and to act more adult. When I now see a movie from that time, I am stunned by the fact that every one in the movies are smoking cigarettes! But it also show how common it was to smoke back then.

My first cigarette!

My first package was a small package Prince which contained 10 cigarettes. Me, and my best friend shared that first package. Since our parents did not allow us to smoke, we hid the cigarettes behind a door in a power substation in the community. We met daily behind that power substation and smoked cigarettes in secret. It was exiting! I can’t remember that we coughed or that we thought it tasted bad. We just started. Soon we left the power substation and carried the cigarettes with us instead. Strangely enough, my parent never noticed, although they did not smoke themselves. Or maybe they knew, but said nothing.

So, then I was hooked, and no one talked about the danger with smoking and no one tried to stop smoking. It was just something every one did. I continued to smoke through school and even through nursing school. If someone smoke without knowing the consequences it might be forgivable. But to have knowledge about how the body works, and to know exactly what damage smoking does to your body and still smoke, can that be anything else than stupidity?

Inhalators and medication for astma!
Inhalators and medication for astma! | Source

It gets worse!

And it gets worse; I have since I was a child suffered from asthma. I had fairly severe asthma during adolescence. Back then we didn’t have preventive medications for asthma, which meant that I had asthma attacks regularly and had to go to hospital emergency.

At the hospital I received medications that widen the airways, sometimes intravenously. And although I was embarrassed, as fast as I could breathe again, I was dying for a cigarette! Later on I received preventive medications for asthma and the emergency asthma attacks came more seldom. But I continued to smoke.

When I became pregnant I stopped smoking immediately. I didn’t want to expose my unborn child to these toxins, and if something would happen to the baby I would never forgive myself. I didn’t think it was so very hard to quit, the worst part was to break the habit! I didn’t smoke for seven years, and then, believe it or not, I started to smoke again! Not even I can find any excuse for such stupidity, so I will not even try!


Everyone needs a wake up!
Everyone needs a wake up! | Source

After a few years my lungs slowly became worse. I had to increase my medication gradually. But it worked, one adapts and I started to walk more slowly, I reduced the effort, etc.

But eventually, that day came, when I was really scared. I was recovering from a very bad cold, and the stubborn cough did not disappear. I had problems breathing which is very stressful. And I found, I even had difficulty walking up to the second floor in my house! Once up, I was like a hissing creature that had run a long distance. That was the first alarm bell for me.

The second time was at my work. I work as an environmental and public health inspector and occasionally, we have to do emergency actions with the fire fighters. This particular time it was an oil spill, in a bay surrounded by steep slopes. Fire fighters are well trained and I had big trouble to keep up with them as we walked up and down the slopes during work. There is always something to fetch, someone to talk to, and the whole area has to be examined and evaluated for damage. Drinking water sources should be checked and so on. When we got into the fire truck after completing the work, I had an asthma attack! I couldn’t breath at all! How embarrassing! At least one can say that I was in good hands and got professional help!

But, that was it! After I recovered I made a decision! Now, it is enough! I wasn’t prepared to spend the rest of my days with not getting enough air, and not be able to move around as I wanted.


The way back to normal breathing!

So, I did stop smoking, and this time for good! It wasn’t as easy as the first time, but I did it!

And slowly my journey back to almost normal began. In the beginning, I was still breathless and could not be as active as I had been. I was thinking a lot during this time, and thought, oh well, now I have to pay the price for all those cigarettes! This is how my life is meant to be, from now on.

To walk with my teenage daughter was stressful. I was out of breath while she just floated over the ground without any trouble at all. No one I know had both smoked and had asthma, so I didn’t have anyone to ask. And somehow, I was too embarrassed by the whole thing so I didn’t want to ask anyone in health care either!

But, I continued to do my walks, and after six months, I noticed that my lungs were slightly better. I could now walk quite briskly! I did fitness exercise in my basement and bought a cross trainer to be able to do condition exercise also when the weather was bad during winter.

The next spring when I resumed my outdoor walking, I felt that I suddenly had much more to give! I was not out of breath! Jipphii! My body was working again, I could move without difficulty! What a feeling! I felt so enormously grateful! My vision from my worst moments, when I imagine myself slowly walking with the aid of oxygen aggregates was gone! I felt so healthy and strong!

And I still am! And now I can even jog! That is pure joy every time! I can hardly believe it! I can’t jog for more than five minutes at a time, but those few minutes are precious! Then I walk for about three minutes to catch my breath, and then I can jog for five again! My goal is to be able to slowly jog the whole distance, and I will get there. I know i will!

How about the stupidity?

But, back to the stupidity! I look at myself as a stubborn, quite intelligent, well-organized woman. But not when it comes to smoking! In that case I am stupid! Some people have big difficulty quitting, but I didn't think it was so difficult. At least not the first time. When I decided to quit, then I just quit. Without any appliance! And yet, I have smoked for so many years. Even now, after going through all this struggled to get back to somewhat normal breathing I can still feel craving for a smoke! Unfortunately, I still think it tastes good! But I won’t! Not this time, because I want to live!

If there is anyone out there, who experience the same as I did, and feel that breathing starts to weaken. Stop smoking immediately! The breathing capacity deteriorate quickly even if you don’t have asthma. If I didn't have had bronchodilators to take, I probably would have been forced to stop earlier.

To stop smoking is a winning street all the way. You can’t loose! And if you already suffer from breathing problem, it is never too late! Your body will recover slowly and you will get better! But the longer you wait the worse it gets! Give yourself the best gift you can! Nothing in the world can beat the good fortune to be able to breathe! Don’t be as stupid as me!

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Comments 18 comments

carrie450 profile image

carrie450 6 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

First of all thougtforce, I don't think you are stupid at all. Smoking is one of the most addictive habits to have. Times are very different now than when we were young adults and it was perfectly acceptable to smoke, even in hospitals! I smoke also and have tried quitting more times than I can count on my fingers. I'm in the process of trying once again and trying cold turkey this time as I've tried every aid there is on the market to no avail.

Congratulations to you and I'm so glad you are feeling better.


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 6 years ago from Massachusetts

Congratulations thougtforce for quiting smoking. I know it was the hardest thing for me to do, but i did and have not had a cigarette for 25 years now. Awesome hub!!!


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 6 years ago from Sweden Author

Carrie, thanks for your encouragement! You are right, it was totally acceptable to smoke when we where young! During the early 80´s as a nurse we where allowed to smoke in the corridor outside the hospital ward where everyone had to pass in order to come to and from the ward. Today, that is unacceptable to even think about! Good, that you are thinking about quitting. It is a process! Get ready, and bee determent! I really hope you stop this time. The first two or three weeks are the worst, then it´s easier! And every one who quit smoking is a winner!


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 6 years ago from Sweden Author

Kashmir, Thanks for your congratulations. Yes, stop smoking takes a bit of work! I am so glad that you made it, and that you have been avoiding relapse! You should be on the safe side now!


gmann46 profile image

gmann46 6 years ago from Phx., Az.

It's funny how your body starts to send you signals to stop or start certain behaviors. I too had asthma as a child and stated smoking @ age 13. Looking back we had no chance of not smoking due to all of the glamour that was associated with smoking. I still remember buying CANDY cigarettes @ the drugstore when I was 5-6 years old. After 35+ years of smoking I have stopped for good, my stop smoking date is 12/30/2009!


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 6 years ago from Sweden Author

gmann46, Good for you and congratulations for quiting smoking! Now you can soon celebrate one year! Sadly, it is some comfort that I am not the only one, even if I don´t wish this to anyone! 5-6 years, you where so young!It´s like you say, we had no chance! Thank you, for your comment!


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 6 years ago from A small southern town

I don't like to call people 'stupid', unless I have either married him or diapered them. :)

You ignored the first wake up call, but you were given a second chance. You took it with gusto and resolve.

Our vices are strong forces to contend with.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 6 years ago from Sweden Author

onegoodwoman, always nice to see you! No, I´m not use to call people stupid either, but locking back now, with all the answers..I wish I had done different. Thanks for reading!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

Yes-yes-yes, I know, I know, I know…. Sulky and grumpy on my way to read How to Quit Smoking: An Easy Method for Quitting.... :)))

I’ve tried sooo many times in vain. Just thinking of quitting gives me an anxiety attack. So I’ve decided to stop torturing myself by trying to quit and even of planning to quit. To sooth my conscience I smoke the lightest brand (1mg tar and 0,1mg nicotine.) Three years ago my doctor needed x-rays of my lungs (in order to diagnose what was at the end stones in the gall bladder), and he said: “Your lungs look beautiful. Nothing wrong with them.” And guess what my response was? “Oh, that's nice to know.” Because I knew if I tell him I was a smoker, he would ‘see’ a hundred signs of my affair with Mr. Nico Tine. I am emotionally not at all ready to say farewell to this lover of mine. He was and is my loyal and perfect crutch – I can’t imagine living without him.

Something has to happen to me – Death himself has to appear in front of me – before I will get the determination needed to quit smoking. It is my only Achilles heel. (Besides chocolates.)

Excellent writing, thoughtforce!


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Martie, I know too, as every smoker know! I know what you mean,a smoker is constant undergoing an inner monologue;I should quit, but I don´t want to quit! As a smoker Mr Nico Tine is a perfect lover, he helps in any given situation. But the funny thing is that after I quit I don´t need it any more. I feel more relaxed now then when I smoked, and I am stronger and more alert now, compared to when I smoked, even if smoking is supposed to help with both. But we are all different, and to quit smoking is really hard for some. Everyone must do the best they can, and if it isn´t possible, one have to live with it. We all have an Achilles heel, even though I think chocolates sounds like a better addiction:)) To be mentally prepared to quit smoking can take years, especially if there is no immedate health issue! And I do hope you don´t face any health problems for many years even though you smoke! I am not the one to tell people what to do, everyone has a unique situation, as I had too! Thanks for your honest comment and for the "excellent". Such encouragement coming from you, means a lot!


samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee

voted up and useful! Well written and informative. Congratulation on quiting. I smoked for 32 years (starting because it made me appear someone I wasn't) and finally quit in 1991. In 1999 was diagnosed with asthma which has grown into chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and have to carry oxygen around to breathe. Anticipating surgery soon to give what lungs I have more room to expand a little so I can maybe live a little longer...

Now, I don't feel that that first smoke really made me appear as 'superhuman' as it did at that time. I think I was very foolish and unwise. I did promise myself that when Marlboro went to 35¢ a pack I would quite cigarettes, and I did - I started smoking a pipe. I even gave that up in '91, but still suffer the consequences of my own foolishness. Tobacco has NEVER increased one's life expectancy...


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi samsons1, Congratulations on quitting! I know it isn’t easy even if you must quit from health reasons. I am so sorry to hear about your health issues! I know how asthma feels and I can only imagine what you go through. I hope with all my heart that you get surgery soon and that your life becomes easier. Not to be able to breathe is so anxiety-provoking and stressful, and it affects everything one does.

If I was able to change one thing in my life and do it again and would not have start to smoke. But like you a started when smoking was normal and a grown up thing that I tried as fast as I could. Yes we where foolish and unwise and now we suffer from it.

Thanks for this sincere comment and taking the time to add value to this hub! I wish you all the best and hope that your health soon will be improved. Best regards! Tina


Ashantina profile image

Ashantina 5 years ago

Well done Tina, Im so proud of you gurl!! I too am asthmatic and was also a smoker for a while but I quit the day before my birthday, joined the gym the next day, and haven't had one for 7 years!!!

Also, not sure if you still get asthma, but I now use a saltpipe (www.saltpipe.com) which is a natural and very effective alternative to the steroidal inhalers.

Always an interesting read Tina, hugs.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Ashantina, yes it is the best I have ever done! Well done to you too! To smoke is so unnecessary even if it don’t feels like it when you are a smoker.

Oh, my asthma is still present and I keep it in control with the aid of steroidal inhalers. Thanks for the tips on saltpipe! I have read about it but never tried it or heard anyone who has tested it. Good to know that it works! It is always nice to see you!

Take care

Tina


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

So glad you shared your experience so others can be encouraged and possibly helped to do what they need to do. This hub has generated some interesting comments, too. Bravo to you for being brave enough to face your enemy and then write about your victory over it.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

RTalloni, I really hope I can prevent others from doing the same mistakes as I or at least not do them for so long time. Even though we all do mistakes tot smoke is one of them I regret the most. To be able to breathe and to move around freely is more valuable than everything else. Thanks for coming by and for your positive comment.

Tina


thegitch_smokes_no_more 4 years ago

I too had asthma since a very young age and began dabbling around with cigarettes around the age of 13 and and was a full blown smoker by the age of 15. I am 37 now and my final quit date was nov 20, 2011. Ive quit several times in the past which lasted from 6 months up to 2 years. But for some dumb reason kept coming back; mainly in the summer time when my breathing is at its best and asthma symptoms are not as much of an issue as it is in the winter (MI). Each time I've gone cold turkey because I knew I had to quit and was not feeling well. Even though I felt lightyears better once I quit, and agree that the body can repair itself gradually once smoking has ceased, I always seemed to still have that urge for the smoke. I know I am done for good at this point and congratulations to you, thoughtforce and everyone posting here who has had success or is trying. Where there is a WANT to quit, there is definitely a way.

I also felt incredibly embarassed that I smoked with my asthmatic condition and it made no logical sense to do so. My mother smoked for nearly 40 years and quit 4 years ago. However she was recently diagnosed with COPD and has quite a persistent cough (still scares the heck out of me). I've also watched my aunt (her sister) smoke up to the point she was on her death bed with lung cancer and ignored all the warnings. It truly is an evil addiction. But, time is of the essence. Its never too late to quit. It scares me a lot thinking about some of the irreversible damage Ive had to have done already, but I have to trust that it is never too late. I do not want to be on oxygen or have my life cut short by cancer stemming from something I had a clear decision in doing or not doing. I am currently doing the P90x program and find my endurance and stamina on the uprise again, thankfully. Although I still have my bouts where I need the inhaler for days at a time. I have the same goal, Tina, to be able to jog non stop for a good half hour or something. That would be amazing. For now, like you say, its jog, walk, jog..but its definitely a (new) start!

It can be done! Keep both short and long term goals and health in mind. Keep on keepin' on!

Gitch


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi thegitch! I was really touched by your comment and it seems like we have so many things in common and I can relate to what you say about being scared. Not being able to breath is terrifying and like you, I will always regret the damage I have done to my body. It is a difficult habit to get rid off and it seems like common sense has nothing to do with the desire to smoke or the addiction. I am so glad to hear that you have stopped smoking too and the jogging feels like a miracle! I will be thinking about you on my next jogging round. It takes some time to get back but it really is doable. Unfortunately I had to go through some major surgery for other reasons and because of it, I haven't been able to walk or jog as I did before. Now, I am slowly on my way back to where I was before, and have once again come to the phase; walk, jog, walk:))

As you say, it can be done, we just have to keep on doing it! Thank you so much for this wonderful comment and I know that we will both soon be jogging!

Best wishes to you,

Tina

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