Using Medication To Quit Smoking
Chantix - it is a medication that either scares you to death or is a life-saver. Chantix is a medication used to help people quit smoking. According to their website, Chantix works by binding to the nicotine receptors in the body, helping to reduce the pleasurable effects of smoking and making it easier to quit.1 However, this drug is very controversial. It can cause nightmares and even suicidal thoughts. You must work closely with your physician to see how and if this medication may affect you.
My experience with Chantix
I used Chantix to quit smoking and it was the best thing I ever did. Prior to my lung cancer diagnosis, I was smoking in excess of one pack of cigarettes a day. I had tried and tried to quit. Cold turkey, patches, and gum - nothing worked. Until I was introduced to Chantix. The theory behind starting Chantix is to start taking it and set a "quit" date a few weeks in advance. I had decided I was going to take it for one month before actually trying to quit.
So day one, I started taking the drug morning and evening. As the date of my "quit" date drew closer I could feel myself getting very anxious as to whether I could do this. But something miraculous happened. Approximately around week three, I realized a pack of cigarettes was not lasting me an entire day. It was lasting me FOUR OR FIVE DAYS! Talk about a "holy crap" moment. I was absolutely shocked. Over the previous three weeks, I had not even realized I wasn't smoking as much and certainly didn't want a cigarette as much.
Proud of my progress
Now I really started to pay attention. I was down to 4 or 5 cigarettes a day. Sound pretty simple that if that is the amount needed, quitting would be a breeze. Well, for a 40-year smoker, no - that didn't work. It was extremely difficult to give up that last 2 or 3 cigarettes a day. I will be perfectly honest with you - I still have a few a day. Should I quit all together - absolutely!! But my physician and I are thrilled that I have reduced my smoking to that small amount.
I am still trying to wean myself off completely. I mean, let's be real, I've already had both left lung lobes removed. But my mood, attitude, and tolerance level to life, in general, is much better for all who interact with me as long as I have those two a day.
Find what works best for you
The bottom line is: do as I say, not as I do. Quit smoking. Totally. If nicotine patches and gum have not helped you, speak to your medical team about Chantix. Don't let fear from what others tell you steer you away from a resource that may work very well for you. Do your research and make your decision - isn't that what having lung cancer is all about?
Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on January 28, 2020, Jennifer Toth passed away. Jennifer was a passionate advocate for the Lung Cancer community. She will be deeply missed.
Do you find that staying zen through your lung cancer diagnosis has helped you in your journey?