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article imageOp-Ed: The Effects of Smoking and Learning Things I Didn't Know

By Debra Myers     Jul 28, 2007 in Health
Peer pressure and the fact that my father smoked, is what led me to light my first cigarette when I was 17 years old. It was cool. It was a sign of being grown up. Yesterday, some 32 years later, I received a wake up call from my doctor.
Of all the stupid things I've done in my life, this is the absolute worse: smoking. I've spent the last few years fighting a private war within myself, knowing that I need to quit, but refusing to take that step, no matter how short my breath had become, no matter how much I cough...I was in denial. Until yesterday. I may have walked in the doctor's examining room with a few doubts, but when I walked out I knew some things that I hadn't before. The most important thing that I walked away with was a complete conviction that I will quit.
This morning, I did some research, to find the information that my doctor shared with me, so that I can pass this knowledge on. You see, what we all know is what smoking can do to our lungs, our hearts and our bodies in general. My intent here is to delve deeper than what is common knowledge, and shed some light on those things that are rarely ever discussed about what other ways smoking effects our bodies.
What spurred all of this on, was the fact that I have noticed blood in my urine a few times in the past few months. I thought perhaps is was because of my Diabetes, but...it's not. Instead, I found out that I will be having testing done for the next four weeks on my urine, to look for possible cancer cells in either my bladder or my kidneys. From smoking.
The American Cancer Society says, "Cigarette smoking...is a contributing cause in the development of cancers of the bladder, pancreas, liver, uterine cervix, kidney, stomach, colon and rectum, and some leukemias." I did not know this, so you can bet my surprise, horror and fear when I was told this!
As well, I also found out that the burning/numbness/pain that I feel in my feet is not just because of my Diabetes, but also from smoking. Below is a chart that shows all the possible or probable things that can happen to some one's body from smoking.
I have my work cut out for me in the next several weeks, one of which is to decide on my quit date (Chantix has to be in your system for 7 days prior to your quit date). I will begin taking "Chantix" on August 2nd, and have decided that my quit date will be August 9th.
As my final thought, I have no one to blame for my smoking but myself. If I end up with any other kind of disease from smoking...again, that's my own fault. If you wonder if I've tried to quit before...yes, I have. Cold turkey and with a patch...both failed because I wasn't ready to quit. Now...I want to live, and I am ready.
Chantix website for more information.
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