Sunday, October 26, 2008

I never knew...

My emotions are all out of whack these days. Angry words fly out of my mouth before I even know I'm angry. If I feel sad, I'm sobbing uncontrollably within minutes. The only thing I'm not experiencing to extreme is joy--and I don't want to think about that, or I'll start crying again. Sheesh.

It's dangerous, though. My usual "coping Strategy" for emotion is to smoke. (Surprise!) I was feeling the urge very strongly this morning...and realised that what was upsetting me would not go away if I had a cigarette. To boost that thought, I did a little reading. I'm shocked.

I learned a few things about smoking I never "knew" before.

  • Cigarettes are one of the few consumer products that aren't regulated. I knew this--it just hasn't ever struck me before as a rather dangerous thing.

  • Nicotine acts as a vasoconstrictor, meaning it decreases the diameter of your blood vessels and makes it more difficult for blood to flow throughout the body; nicotine also contributes to increased arterial plaque buildup. This forces the heart to work harder and can lead to higher blood pressure and heart attack. More obvious effects of nicotine are cold or clammy hands and feet. Although the heart works harder to pump blood through narrow blood vessels, it isn’t strong enough to get enough blood to the hands and feet to keep them warm.
    Hooray! I'm looking forward to having warmer hands and feet!

  • Carbon Monoxide mechanism of action:
    Every single cell in the body requires oxygen to stay alive. Normally, red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body by attaching it to a molecule called hemoglobin. Think of this as a lock and key process… When oxygen (the key) attaches into hemoglobin (the lock), everything is good. Your muscles work efficiently and your body is happy. However, when you smoke, carbon monoxide attaches itself to hemoglobin in place of oxygen and is carried throughout the body. As a result, you start to feel tired, sluggish, and short of breath since your brain, muscles, and lungs are not getting enough oxygen. Eventually the carbon monoxide falls off or the red blood cells are replaced; however, more carbon monoxide enters the body through continued smoking.
    I really do feel more energetic. And it has come as a complete surprise. Last night I was looking up exercises on the net. I feel more "alive" too--even though my concentration has been utterly shot these past few days!

It's funny. I feel like I've lost ten pounds. I actually got on the scales to check--and I was perplexed to note that I've actually gained (about 3, nothing to worry about). But now that I know this about the CO, it makes sense to me.

This morning, I walked briskly--two times! Once on the way to Church and once on the way back. I have no idea how many years it has been since I've walked briskly. It was really cold out there--especially with the wind. I didn't even realise how fast I was walking until my daughter started lagging behind after walking with me for only five minutes!

I have always blamed my colds hands and feet on my weight. I have always blamed my shortness of breath on my weight, too. (After all, it only came upon me after exertion. If I didn't move, I was fine!) I have always blamed my sluggishness on my lack of sleep.

It's funny--knowing all this is great--but it doesn't relieve me from having to fight the battle of my urge to smoke. Strange. It's like the cravings have a life of their own completely separate from my brain or will. I just have to hold out one minute longer than the craving.




Keep praying, if you do. Thanks.

Added Later--
My Mom came over today. I went to give her a hug--and had to back away. Ugh. The smell! (She's a smoker).
My husband has not complained about the smell ever...not once in eleven years. I'm beginning to think he's "smelling-impaired." Man, I wish I still was.


scb said...

One minute and then one more minute -- they'll add up, and it will be very good. And very worth it.

Colleen said...

hang in there- you'll keep feeling better and better!

lorijo said...

just keep it up! My Mom smoked for over 35 years- until she ended up in an oxygen tent and almost died. She hasn't had a cig since.
Smoking is one of the worst things in this entire world- for you, your kids, your husband and your animals- and your wallet! It is so worth it to quit- and you will keep feeling better and better.

Tawnya said...

Congrats! I hope you are still holding up. Friday was the 4 week milestone for me. It's not easy but it's getting easier. Now when I am tempted to smoke, I just think about how hard it was to get to this point and how i'm not wanting to go through it again. And, I remind myself of the fact that when I was smoking I desparately wanted to stop.

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