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I'm French. Therefore I was a smoker. For 17 years non stop. And god knows I've enjoyed every minute of it. "Meat and Potatoes" as Bill Hicks so truly said. But he's gone now and I got scared it would happen to me too if I wasn't doing something about this last remaining vice from my troubled teenage years.
What got me thinking? My husband. I love him so much I could barely convey 1% of how I feel for him with words. Sadly he got very ill this year. The doctor said he would carry his ailment until the end. Which means he will need me until the end and it was now my responsibility to be healthy and operational. I started eating better, exercising, and decided it was time to throw the little cancer sticks in the bin.
I heard many things about patches, cold turkey, electronic cigarettes, gums etc... It didn't seem too successful. The only product I witnessed working was the controversial Champix.
I prepared myself mentally for a couple of months. I started imagining life without my pack-a-day habit, how I'd spend the extra cash (200 GBP a month) in all sorts of useless goodies, how good it would feel to not cough my lungs out every time I'd run to catch the train, how lovely I would smell, how long I'd live...
Then I went to see the doctor to get a prescription. He referred me to a support group, apparently wanting nothing to do with the evil drug. And what a group it was, the funniest collection of people I had seen in a long time. Old, young, sick, healthy, poor, rich, clever, daft, all united by their struggle against the nicotine! The specialist took note of my Carbon Monoxide levels (34 it was...on which scale, no idea. Quite high he told me, but not the highest), made me fill up a form and gave me a prescription.
I went home feeling elated and scared. The day I had anticipated for so long was to be tomorrow. The first step towards a smoke-free life. How was I going to cope???!! I'm very energetic and prone to boredom. I work from home. Would I put on weight? Would I turn into a psycho?
The Champix treatment works that way: you chose a "stop date" between the 10th and 14th day after you start taking the tablets (they are progressive, 1 small dosed (0.5mg) white tab the first 3 days, then 2 small dosed tabs from day 4 to day 7, then you upgrade to the big boy (1mg) blue tablets twice a day until the end of the treatment 12 weeks later). You can still smoke until your "stop date" but somehow, as the dosage increase, you lose interest by yourself. I was down from a pack to 4 unloved and half smoked cigarettes from day 7 or 8. When D-day came, I was ready. The cigarettes had become pointless and boring, foreign somehow.
I haven't touched one in 3 weeks now and I am AMAZED at how efficient this drug is. It's like I never was a smoker.
I have been in contact with smokers in between (I'm in a band and the others are too rock'n'roll to stop) and it didn't bother nor titillate me. I have a half pack opened in a drawer and spend loads of time on my own, but not once was I tempted to sneak one in. My sense of smell is back full on (not sure I like it actually... some things were better un-smelled), my Carbon Monoxide is back to a smashing Zero on the Mystery Scale I mentioned before, the morning cough is gone, the piggy bank is fattening for Xmas, the energy is back. And the sense of achievement constant.
Now I know Champix got very bad press a while back, people killing themselves or going bananas... I can't tell whether this was true or just some scaremongering against the big evil Pfizer Devils... My personal experience and my friend's at the support group is just very smooth. Some of us (not me) got nausea in the morning if they took the tabs on an empty stomach. We all get the funny side effect we all love and will miss when the treatment is over: the crazy-ass dreams! so vivid and clear. One of the girls gets mild headaches but they aren't bad enough to deter her from the treatment. None of us has fallen back into the habit yet (some of us had a cigarette here and there but all reported regretting it because there was no pleasure associated with it anymore)
One worth the try if you feel ready to ditch it.
Don't listen to the rumours.
Try it for yourself and stop if you think you are feeling odd. If you live with someone, you can also ask them to keep an eye on you.
Better spend three months on meds now than in chemotherapy later...
It's covered by the NHS too! 3 quids a week's treatment, best money I ever spent (and still cheaper than a pack of ten B&H.)
I'm thankful to not be a smoker . . . I had a very brief spell when my husband took it up of trying cigarettes about 15 years ago, and the psychological effects were the worst, with everyone smoking to relieve stress around you
. . . ♥ jesi ♥
DerMusso 30.12.2010 12:38
Update! I have now completed the treatment and I haven't had any side effects or withdrawal symptoms. I am now a non smoker and I have already saved around 630GBP!
My breathing is much better, the morning cough is gone and I feel better all around. Sense of taste and smell are back and I sleep like a baby!