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Sinead Hayes is a mom, wife and blogger. This is her quit story…
I had tried several times in the past to quit smoking but never lasted more than the token few days. This time was different!
My father was a very heavy smoker, getting through in excess of 40 cigarettes a day and had been a smoker since the age of 13. When I heard he was planning to attend a quit smoking group, of course, I encouraged and wished him well but in my mind, I condescendingly assumed he’d fail. I was wrong.
I’m very proud to say that having attended the HSE Quit course and, with the use of NRT (nicotine replacement therapy), Nicorette patches and Nicorette spray combined, he is smoke-free since September. He is now looking and feeling so much healthier than he has in a long time. If he can do it so can I.
My father’s success in quitting led me to contact Miriam O’Shea, the smoking cessation officer with the HSE, who led the course my father attended in Cork city.
Two weeks later, I attended the first group meeting of the six-week course. At this stage, my mind was well and truly made up, I was going to quit, I had to! I have a husband and three fantastic children that I want to be around for, for as long as I possibly can be.
I have an auto-immune condition known as Palindromic Rheumatism that requires me to take daily immunosuppressants. I have little doubt that my smoking certainly wasn’t beneficial to my condition. I also had an embarrassing smoker's cough which had plagued me for years.
From day one, I was pleased to find all group members to be very welcoming and supportive. It was very encouraging and uplifting to find myself in a room of like-minded people all willing each other to achieve a common goal.
As part of our introduction to the course, we all had our carbon monoxide levels checked. Although I was the youngest member of the group, I had the second highest reading of all those in attendance. This frightened the life out of me. I actually felt nauseous.
Although as a group we had all agreed to quit on week three, the result of that test was enough to convince me to quit there and then. After a few days, it was however ultimately another failed attempt. Again it became apparent that cold turkey wasn’t the way for me to tackle this.
In hindsight, I really should have listened to the advice and understood the important role that NRT would play in aiding me in my quest to quit.
It was week five before I fell into line and started to correctly use the patches and inhalers. Even then, it was far from plain sailing. I still stumbled several times along the way. On more than one occasion, I found myself accepting cigarettes when offered, more out of reflex than anything else.
Most recently, I was invited by a good friend to attend Ladies Day at Leopardstown Racecourse, something I have wanted to do for a very long time. I threw myself headlong into the preparations, a busy mind is a fabulous aide.
On the morning of the event due to being so busy with getting ready I made a fundamental error, I forgot to apply my NRT patch before leaving home for the two and a half hour journey, and on top of that I did not bring any patches with me. Needless to say, as the day went on, my cravings grew, to the point where I gave in and had a single cigarette.
This only goes to show the importance the correct use of the wide variety of NRT products plays in our battle to succeed and quit once and for all.
Thankfully I was able to persevere and reap the benefits of the NRT products which enabled me to reach my goal and quit. I am very happy to say my husband and children, family and friends are delighted with my success, and I am also delighted to report that I no longer have that embarrassing smoker’s cough!