Days Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen

So we just had a long weekend and it really didn’t go so well. I’m still happy to say I’m not smoking, but I’m feeling the toll on what I hope is the Champix.

I’m just so tired all the time. I get up, do what I need to do and then fall back into bed and sleep. Not nap, but a full 4 hr sleep. Even if I did get a good 8-10 hrs the night before.

I’m unmotivated and can’t get into anything that I usually enjoy (like video games). As soon as I stop doing something, I just want to sleep.

My wife has described my demeanor as “flat”. I seem to be hanging on to the first problem I see, so maybe even a sense of paranoia? I’m still able to function and I’m not a blubbering buffoon. But I am concerned about this as it comes across as depression.

To my knowledge I have never really been depressed. However one does wonder why people smoke. And after 25 years of emotional state masked by smoking, who am I really? It’s an interesting thought, but I won’t dig into this too much as it is the last thing I need.

So yesterday I managed to surf the web for a while and look up examples of people that just stopped after two weeks with Champix. Were they able to continue with no smoking.

While researching I stumbled across multiple entries on how people had “changed” after completing or getting off Champix/Chantix. Not usually for the better either. Relationships ending, Unable to function, sex drive depleted. Google is “death” when it comes to self diagnostics, but it did make me think about what is in my future as a non smoker. If I can never shake this fog or get motivated again. the Last thing I want to do is end up at a shrink getting onto anti depressants! .. Anyhow, I’ll move on as once again, signs of paranoia :)

So I decided I would stop the Champix. I need to be able to stay awake for work and as the tiredness, just seems to be getting worse, I did not take my last pill last night. Tomorrow I will hang onto it and see how I do. If I start eating babies and swinging from the chandeliers, I can always pop the pill and then pickup the prescription I have waiting. I would prefer not to as I really don’t want to spend another $70.00 on “sleeping pills”!

Fingers Crossed!

Day Ten

Just a short update as not much has changed from 9. Pretty much the same, but the dreams are less vivid. I can no longer guarantee a dream as soon as I’m asleep.

I’m really tired. Everything seems to be too much effort (although I can get through it). I would love to just spend a day in bed with TV/Laptop and doze in and out for a day. It does seem from researching this is a symptom for others too. Looks like 2 weeks is the magic amount of time from pill 1, so that means by next Tuesday I’ll be raring to go right?

Still no urge to smoke, I do get cravings, but I settle them with ice cream, or treats. For now I can get away with it as I could easily find 10 pounds to go somewhere on my body. I would just like the tiredness to move on so I can start doing some physical activities.

Morning cough completely gone, sneezing a lot and a bitter metallic taste every now and then. Senses are on high alert, I smell everything!

I’ll be back probably after the long weekend (Holiday in our part of the world on Monday)

This will be a bit more of a test seeing it is a weekend and first time as a non smoker! 

Day Nine

Usual crazy dreams during the night, but awoke feeling kind of odd. I was tired and had a “craving”, but not for a cigarette. Perplexed I went downstairs, dodging the livestock and was trying to focus on what I needed.

I started grinding the coffee beans and the aroma wafted to my nose. It was the coffee I wanted! What is odd about this, is when going cold turkey, I actually had to avoid coffee as it triggered the need for a cigarette. Today all I wanted was the coffee!

So the morning went fairly uneventful and I sat outside with my coffee quite content. During the day at work I was happy to be able to report again to co workers, “nah .. still done” as they scurried outside. I actually went out a couple of times with them for an “air break” and found I could actually converse without a death stick in my hand.

I had to run an errand during the day, so went for a brisk walk in the sun through our downtown core. For the first time I noticed the number of people outside 20 meters away from entrance as per our by law, puffing away. I thought I would be jealous, but wasn’t. At first I felt sorry for them as I know more than likely they all want to quit. Then I became annoyed, when smokers would dart in front of me or exhale right as I past by. As I live with a non-smoker, I was what I fondly call a “courteous smoker”. I always tried to make sure my filth wasn’t encroaching onto others nearby, especially when Mom and a stroller would come by … hold the smoke in, don’t exhale until they pass…

I certainly don’t want to become a born again non-smoker and start preaching and holding exorcisms on the damned, but I did have to check myself as to why I felt so frustrated when passing some of these folks. Or is it just me overreacting to confirm in my head, smoking is evil?

By the afternoon, when tired from work I had a zillion things to do. Including the dreaded wait at the clinic to get a new prescription. I’m always one to do things in advance, but this time my last current dose runs out on Monday and Monday is a holiday, as Clinics seem to become emergency rooms over long weekends, figured I better get ahead of the game.

After dinner I began to get heartburn which I only ever get when I quit smoking. It could be my diet of snacks and treats during the day or maybe it is actually something physical that goes on. Water is like fire. So added the picking up of Tums to my list

Come time to plop into bed I also noticed a benefit. I usually shower in the morning and at night so I don’t smell like smoke when going to bed, once again thinking of my wife. I was so tired, but I was able to skip it! Bonus for me, my wife and I guess the environment considering we have had no rain in 6 weeks as well as the pocket book

I was VERY pleased with today. I have not been able to go a second day and still function at such a high level, mentally and physically. I do have moments of “zoning”, but just a few seconds. I have also noticed a tingly feeling through my arms and torso. Which from research is a physical side affect from not smoking. I will assume I’m going to get the clearing cough, bowel issues, sense of smell and taste along with the other side affects/benefits as I’m not sure Champix takes care of that, but so far things are rolling well

All I wanted was to be able to continue to function as I don’t have the option to stay in bed for a week .. I’m really happy how things are going!

Day Eight

As mentioned pretty much woke up feeling like death on day eight and also decided that I will quit when the smokes that were grossing me out anyway were gone. I had four left and they were gone by 10AM.

One thing that is good is that my wife has just started a new job after being home for six months. Because she is working, our routine has changed. I can’t help but feel changing a routine with a 25 year old habit is perhaps a good idea? Instead of staying at work all day, timing my smoke breaks within company allowance etc, I had to go home for lunch and check the dogs to make sure they hadn’t eaten the cats .. or stove after being spoiled for six months.

Waves began washing ashore my brain at about 2PM, 4 hrs after the last cigarette. There were cravings, but easily pushed aside remembering how awful I was feeling with smoking. I made the mistake of buying a one pound bag of candy which I gobbeled at my desk in under an hour. The rest of the day I fought waves of cravings with waves of “what the hell did you to to me?” from my blood stream. So the cravings were there, but not the lack of mental ability which is usally what happens to me.

Exhausted by the end of the day and promptly feel asleep while still light out, woke again at around 11pm from dreams, but passed out soon enough

A bit of a rocky day, maybe I stopped too soon, but I pushed myself feeling gross to start smoking, I’m not about to force myself to keep smoking when I’m feeling the same way. This does seem to be working

(As I post the day after the one I talk about. I’m into day nine and will post about it tomorrow .. but forewarned .. I’m feeling awesome! :) )

Day Four Five Six and Seven

I’m now on day Eight, but will report on that later.

Lets go over the last four days.

Brutal!

I’m starting to see how Champix works .. at least for me. So we upped the does to 1Mg (.5 X 2 a day)

The dreams the first night were insane. So real and tiring. Imagine partying with Depeche Mode, flying the globe because of getting on the wrong plane and visiting a jail which is more like a city that you grew up in 25 years ago, realizing you are late for work so grab your pedal bike and hoof it off!”. All in the span of one evening.

Yup I was exhausted each morning of these days. I’ve never been able to say “wonder what I’ll dream about tonight”, hit the pillow dream a months worth of dreams and wake up in the middle of the night with still another 4 hrs of “sleep” to go … which is then filled with more dreams! It’s crazy! I mean it is kind of cool that I no longer need a TV, but wow I’m tired!

So during the days I was still smoking, pretty much my usual over the weekend, but feeling horrible after smoking them (still craving to have one though). I wake up tired as mentioned, but my chest feels heavy, my joints are aching .. just plain old … old!

Usually by the afternoon I’m doing much better as the joints feel oiled up , chest is back to normal, but by around 6pm (just after I take my second dose) I beging to feel pretty horrible again, being over tired, dry mouthed and “heavy”. Almost like a mild flu

Don’t get me wrong, the one thing that has stayed fairly normal is my brain. Compared to cold turkey, my ability to function is far better while dealing with the physical part which is worse. Needless to say I’ll take worse physical over mental to be able to continue with life, deal with problems/stress and not rip anyone’s head off. I haven’t had to cope with the irritability either. So once again, I think I’m going through a slow painful withdrawal as my receptors aren’t acknowledging the good stuff!

Today I’m going up to 2mg’s and smoked the last cigarette at 10AM (decided my quit day would be day 8 and when the smokes run dry). I’ll report back to how that has gone/went in  the next couple of days

Day Three

Not much to really say today. Was hoping to expect some sort of miracle, but also realize it’s only day 3

Pretty much the same symptons. Upon waking after many hours, stiff with a dull headache, but thinking of the morning smoke. Not sure if we blame the physical part on too much sleep, but all in all not bad

During the day, noticed no headache at all, slight pain in the kidney area, but then at 45 can I really pin aches and pains onto the Champix? :)

Went to bed at 10, tossed and turned. Could not get to sleep even after killing imps and demons on the laptop for a couple of hours. Not wanting to disturb my wife, I went to the family room and figured CNN would put me to sleep on the couch. By about 3AM I must have dozed off, comforted by our two Boxers breathing heavily into each ear. One thing I realized is that in a situation like this I would usually have a smoke during an insomnia moment, this time I didn’t. As well, no dreams that I can recall, but with 3 hrs sleep, maybe there was no time?

Tomorrow (Friday) is the big day where we up the dose, so I probably won’t report back until Monday to state how the next three days go. Should be interesting

Day Two

Alright! We made it through the first day and now we will start the second day and take the Champix correctly.

Usual morning routine, except this time a glass of water and a bowl of cereal.

The day went by unscathed except for also coping with a bunch of personal family stuff. Some good, some not so good. Perfect ammunition for a smoker to “keep smoking”. I guess this is what is so great. With this pill, there is no stress that you won’t be able to smoke in a situation where you would usually do so. Hanging onto the hope that come quit day, your brain won’t call for it as loudly. Add in a dab of willpower it will all be good right?

Side affects the same as yesterday, but not as bad. I’m assuming the food and water in the AM helped that out. I would almost say my “smoke breaks” have increased, however I seem to be only smoking 3/4 of a smoke at a time as starting to notice a taste change. I guess a way of explaining it is like smoking with a hangover. Kind of a fuzzy mouth feeling with a tad of nausea and a light headache.

Come the evening I was wiped. Past out at 6:30, awoke at 10 and then fell asleep by 11. Rest of the night filled with dreams, not wild .. just dreams of things going on in my life, not bad, no over the top good. I can cope with that I think! :)

Pre Day One and Day One

After much debating back and forth with myself about the Pro’s and Cons (latest news on suicide etc), I decided to take the plunge.

After 2 hrs at the walk in clinic and then checked out, I walked away with my Champix script, rushed to the pharmacy and victoriously dumped it down on the Pharmacist

Read a few magazines while waiting then was called. I told her I didn’t need any instructions as I’m a guru from all the research I have done, she then said I owed $66.00. What?? I have extended coverage, this can’t be? $66.00!!?? (scrambled to do the math, will I still have enough for groceries, 14 days for $66.00 vs $140ish in a pack a day, but wait I’ll still be smoking .. do I have enough left for groceries AND smokes!!). I heard a “pop” in my head and I calmly stated, “sure here we go”

Having taken the wind out of my sails, I was perplexed that my health insurance doesn’t cover this. My wife and kids do so many prescriptions for all sorts of ailments, this is my first visit to the Pharmacy for something and I’m not covered. What the hell?

Regardless, I got home all ready to pop the first one, but noticed the blister pack divided up nicely, first single pill for the day with a happy little half sun next to it. Guess I wait until morning. It was silly, I was like a kid waiting for Santa. I tossed and turned all night waiting to be able to “Start the Program”

Went through the usual routine, wake up at 5:30AM, let the dogs out, start the coffee, feed the cats, sit on patio with coffee and smoke. After showering came downstairs, emptied the dishwasher and grabbed the blister pack of my savior. Popped out the pill and quickly swallowed it with a handful of water from the sink. My wife past by and asked me “do you need to eat something with that?” My reply, “Nah they didn’t say to at the pharmacy.” I haven’t eaten breakfast in 24 years, I just can’t even think about the “most important meal of the day” in the morning.

Off to work we go

3 hrs later, I’m feeling horrible. Still going out for a cigarette and tasting blood in my mouth. From research later people had made comments on that they taste metal, so that made more sense. An iron taste. I was also nauseous and my mouth really dry. Also the beginnings of a headache. A tiny pill and three hours later and I was feeling that way? Nah .. ok lets Google!

So much for me being the “guru”, seems a full glass of water and food should be taken along with the pill. Symptoms I was having was normal. Upstairs to the work kitchen, two glasses of water. Over to the muffin shop and grabbed a giant blueberry muffin from hell. I forced myself to eat it and then grab a coffee and off I went for my smoke.

Come mid afternoon, I was feeling much better and back to normal. Still smoking, but noticing something going on. It was hard to explain, but something felt different. I wasn’t smoking it down to the filter as usual and didn’t feel as satisfied as I usually did. Once at home the afternoon and evening smokes were also, just not quite as rewarding. I guess this meant progress with one lil pill taken over 12hrs ago!

So it begins (and why I’m here)

It’s been almost 25 years. I still remember the first cigarette that crept into my mouth back in the days when working at a KFC it was still ok to sit in a 4 by 12 foot office and everyone smoke. Originally I didn’t.

I had beat the High School Pressures and refrained from lighting up, but at the ripe old age of 21, somehow thought to myself “what the hell” may as well try one with the co-workers. I even forced myself to smoke while feeling ill from it, coming home in the evening and chugging Malox to deal with the nausea. Ridiculous? Yes

So 24 years later after multiple attempts of cold turkey, patches, gums, Zybans I am still a smoker. I’m the guy you see standing in the rain, capped hand over limp cigarette, sucking out as much as possible before it falls apart. Planning my day around when I will run out of smokes, panicking in the evening when seeing only two smokes left in the pack. Putting more concern into if I can afford a pack over a jug of milk. Pathetic?

Well enough is enough right? That is what we all say, we are done, we are going to quit! Tomorrow I will change my routine, change my life! I will be smoke free! (as I extinguish my “last” cigarette and hop into bed.)

6AM the next day, coffee brewing, fumbling through the garbage to get that pack I threw out..”there is always tomorrow”

I’m now on Day 2 of using Champix. This Blog is more I guess a diary for myself and maybe if other people stumble across it they can have some hope with my successes or relate to my failures. It’s a 2 week starter pack so I will report for those days and hopefully beyond if all goes well, lets get on with it!

(oh yeah and I have no idea how to blog, this would be my first one!)