Meet my new best worst friend. Now I realize this post has little to nothing to do with gardening, but there are some fires you walk through in your life that just beg to be shared. If not a single soul reads this post, I’ll still feel better for the writing of it.
I’m going to try to quit smoking. Again. Yes, I’ve made many half-hearted attempts in the past, once even going as long as three months before picking it up again. I’ve tried patches, gum, and other nicotine delivery products. They helped, but the thing that was missing was desire — the motivation that comes with making up your mind that you want to be rid of the nasty habit once and for all. It’s easy enough to say it, but you have to really want it. Those of you who have never smoked will not understand that — those of you who do, or who have in the past, will.
While discussing this with my doctor, he mentioned a somewhat new medication that’s available that many of his patients have found very helpful. It’s called Champix (varenicline tartrate) here in Canada and Europe, Chantix in the US. Quite different from other medications that have been offered in the past, Champix actually works on the “addiction center” of the brain to lessen cravings and also provides a barrier to nicotine receptors so that less amounts of nicotine are absorbed. The photo (from google images) shows the starter kit that you use for the first two weeks (while still smoking) to ease this medication into your system. According to directions, at some point in the week of blue tablets, you choose a date and stop. That date is Thursday, November 27, for me. From then on, you don’t smoke and you stay on the med for 3-6 months. Luckily, my prescription drug plan covers the cost as the first three months would come to about $260 — still cheaper than buying cigarettes, of course.
The medication is not without side effects, and I’ve experienced some or most of them in varying degrees. The majority of them, however, are mild and annoying, not horribly unpleasant. It can cause nausea and vomiting, but the pharmacist pointed out that taking the tablets with meals would help that. Which it had, until this morning. I downed my first dose of the day with a coffee today and have been paying for it ever since. A slice of toast has helped somewhat, but you can bet I won’t be doing that again, shall we say. I haven’t had morning sickness for 25 years! But I’ll even put up with that, if that’s what it takes. This attempt at quitting feels like do-or-die to me. I mean, if this doesn’t work, then I don’t know what would.
I’ve questioned the wisdom of trying to quit with the holiday season upon us, and all the excitement and stress that it can bring. But then I thought, no…what better time to quit? This a gift to myself! You can’t quit for anyone else, though it’s important to have the support of family and friends. Like losing weight or getting sober, it’s something that has to come from within, something you have to decide you want for yourself.
So, we’ll see how it goes. So, here’s to being smoke-free! Does anyone else have any experience with Champix/Chantix they’d care to share?