3 weeks on..

So I’m sitting here  rather jealously watching my daughter and her friends splashing merrily in the paddling pool when the urge to write overcame me.

Today for the first time in about 15 years for 90% of the day I have managed to breath, and when I say breath what I mean is this .

My lungs are not filled with tar, nicotine or any of the 2000 chemicals every cigarette has, my breath has not been compromised by the cancer stick that I, only 3 weeks ago honestly believed I could not live without.

There have been many times I have given up, never for more than a week or 10 days  though before, the addiction inside me always won. I would tell myself that I would buy a packet (£10.70 a pack .. a pack a day … you do the maths ) only have one and then throw the packet away, looking back now I realise how  warped the thinking of an addict is, it was never one, because once those receptors in your brain are awakened they don’t go back to sleep, it is a repetitive cycle, the promising yourself that this would be the last one, the swearing to anyone who would listen that just one more , only one more . The ridiculous waste of money of buying a packet smoking one then depositing the rest of the packet in my neighbors letter box as I kid myself that I would never smoke again and he can have the rest.

Allan Carr’s teachings that you are not giving up at all, are so correct, giving up implies loosing something, having something of value taken away, while the word quitting can have positive connotations. When you quit smoking you only gain, as I am experiencing now, you gain breath, your skin becomes clearer, your mood is better and so much more.

The messages Smokers tell themselves, it helps relieve stress, it helps relax you etc are so false, it adds to our stress because as soon as we put one out we stress about when we can have the next one, so leaving that restaurant to light up in the freezing snow may feel like stress relief but only because we have been stressed about when we can smoke !

 

Sure I wake up in the morning and my first thought is still “ I need a smoke “ and there are times my family know to keep out my way because those smoking monsters and giving it one last go, rearing their ugly heads with the strength they have left trying to convince me just one more, but they eventually recede, they know they are loosing the battle.

Smoking addiction is known to be a harder addiction to get over then heroin, which I think is why so many of us believe we can do it, only to return to smoking after.

Having become rather ill a few weeks ago, which was NOT a result of smoking, my outlook on life has changed, this was not a conscious decision, I did not think to deeply about stopping smoking, but the reality of lying in my bed, unable to speak or move my leg seemed to have flicked a switch in my brain, giving me a terrifying glimpse of what can and probably would happen if I continued to smoke .

So my message to anyone out there thinking about quitting, don’t kid yourself that you will have just one more, don’t tell yourself that you will quit in a week or a month or sometime soon, we never know which cigarette will bring on that stroke , heart attack or even worse death.

Do it now.

All my love

sara

 

A Sudden full stop.

So there I was, sitting at my desk, comparing weekend notes with my college, usual chit chat, usual tutting about the filth on the floor, usual conversation about ” oh my isn’t it hot” and ” how long will it last, oh really another week at least, goodness me, and we are stuck here in the office ” kind of conversations when, everything came to a sudden and abrupt full stop.

My arm, which had till then been doing its thing, sitting quietly on my left side awaiting instruction started to ache, and when I say ache I mean, an incredible, all consuming, heavy pain, I began to feel overwhelmingly exhausted, dizzy and sick. Within 10 minutes I was on an ambulance, the lovely paramedic informing me, in a way that only someone who has delivered life changing news ( not happy news!) can that I was having a stroke.

I will never forget that ride to the hospital, the ambulance going so fast I thought I was going to fly out of it, the blue call he sent through to the hospital, meaning that when we arrived there was a team of Dr’s and nurses ready to greet me,  the pure terror I fel is hard to describe.

I have been lucky, this was caught so fast, on Monday I could not move my arm, could hardly speak, and could not move my leg at all, and now miraculously only 3 days on, my arm, although I have some weakness is pretty much doing its thing again, my leg on the other hand not so much, I have managed to do a kind of shuffle, shlep the leg dance, and get to the door of the ward and back, but it feels as though I have just climbed Everest and ran back down again, without stopping for breath, my speech is also getting there, I now sound like I have had only 10 or so teeth taken out instead of a mouthful, when i try to talk for to long it gets worse and every syllable is an effort, and it is my speech that is scaring me the most, as, if you know me personally, you will know I like to talk!! Speaking leaves me exhausted, and frustrated.

Lying in the ward I have had a lot of thinking time, when I picked up my Siddur ( prayer book)  this morning and I said the blessing “Blessed are you … who firms mans footsteps” I realised in all my 41 years I had never stopped to consider what that actually means!! Go ahead and try something now, lift up your leg.. done? how long did that take you? did you have to concentrate on sending messages to your leg, or did it just happen, now imagine I say lift up your leg, and as you go to do it nothing happens, not a twitch, your leg just stays as it is, you are now starting to strain, shouting at your leg to move… but nope, nothing, nada, zilch, it lies there, mockng you, refusing to move. For the first time in my life I appreciate my leg. I appreciate how incredable our bodies are.

When I open my mouth to talk and even though the words are tumbling through my brain, it is an extreme effort to say the word, I am appreciating the ability God has given us to form words and say them, we would live in a very angry world if it took everyone the amount of time it takes me to say a word.

Speech, what an incredible gift, what an amazing way of letting others know our needs and wants. Interestingly enough my husbands name is one of the hardest things I am finding  to pronounce.

I have learnt so much in the past few days.

1. It can happen! we smoke, over-eat, never excercise and say “na it wont happen to me” but it can and it will, and yup I am going to preach, take care of your body, it is so precious.

2, Every word that comes out of your mouth is a gift, use that gift wisely.

3. Think about where your feet are taking you, we are on earth to please God with our actions, but also God wants us to have a pleasurable life, use your legs to take you places and to do things that both you and God will find pleasure with.

4. In the last few months my extended family have seen over and over the kindness of community, I am experiencing that now, with messages, words of support, calls and texts and offers to help coming in to all my family and friends from everywhere, and I  am so touched and blessed to be a part of a wonderful community.

5. Questions, basically all I have to say is “shhhhhh” if you are not asking the question out of pure, unadulterated care, not just because you want to tell your neighbour or local friendly baker just how much you know don’t ask!!

6. Hospital beds …. SUCK!!

Night night, God bless, stay healthy.

Sara

 

 

 

 

 

 

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