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Shannon's quitting story: a 31 year victory

Shannon kept putting off quitting, using it as a crutch to get through tough times. But she kept trying, and eventually, it worked!

I am 44 years old and smoked for 31 years of my life.

It was my friend through the stress of divorce, financial strain and child rearing. It was my celebration partner in the good times and fun times - smoking was always there.

When life was up I smoked, when it was down I smoked. I smoked to take care of grief and sadness, I smoked to experience joy and laughter.

I tried quitting a few times but how could I just leave my friend; my real friend who had always been there - even when I lost my mum to a sudden death, my step-father to a fire, my friend to cancer at only 27 and then my divorce...all in the same year. I was raising a 5 month old baby too, did I mention that?

Well, quitting was no success. Then in my early 40s I kept getting colds, pneumonia and just couldn't catch my breath. No stairs, no hills and always sluggish and tired. Then my doctor told me I had first stage emphysema. I prayed and prayed for help to quit. It was so hard.

21 days ago I was going about my day when the pain began, luckily my grown kids were there. The pain was like a full grown man had just kicked me 15 times in the back on the left side and it was hard to breathe. At the hospital I was told my lung had collapsed. I was shipped to another hospital where a chest tube was placed in my side so my lung could expand back and the air would stop collecting in my chest wall. I had a chest tube for 5 days.

I was so beside myself with the seriousness and reality of what was going on. I have faith so I am saying my prayers may have been answered. I quit cold turkey. I've had no cheat days, no back up, no easy solution to this. I've walked a 21 day journey in prayer and fierce commitment that I will not die because I can't breathe, it won't happen, it's scary and it's horrid at times...not me!

So when cigarettes rear up on me... I say go ahead, go right ahead and have your withdrawal. Make me tired, make me go through the feeling of so called loss and mourning (I did go through this and even cried a few times feeling as though I had lost a good friend). I went through it, I allowed my body to feel the full effects of this lying, evil betrayer who will leave you sick and addicted to it physically and emotionally, with nothing to give you in return but heart ache.

This is my story and after 21 days I can breathe better, I can walk further, I can cough and not feel lightheaded. 

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