Looking for some inspiration to stop smoking. Here at Quit 51 we feel the best ambassadors for our service are our clients.
Meet retiree Maureen Fowler from East Sussex. Maureen was referred to us by her GP and smoked 40 cigarettes a day for the last 37 years. She received one to one support from us at River Lodge Clinic and is now 12 weeks’ smoke free. Here is Maureen’s quit story in her own words
“I started smoking at the age of 32 –I was a recently divorced mum bringing up my children – my friend suggested I try her Dunhill St Moritz cigarettes – one cigarette and I was hooked. It did not take long before I was smoking 40 cigarettes a day spending about £15 every day. I have tried to quit over the years – either by myself or going to GP and getting patches – I even tried Champix once but never got any support, so my quit attempts just fizzled out and I never managed to quit for good.
I was diagnosed diabetic at the age of 47 and although several doctors have told me to stop smoking I have never managed to. Once a vascular consultant told me “you must stop or it will be an amputation for you”. I became so ashamed to admit that I was smoking 40 a day that I lied and told my GP that I was cutting down and only smoked 10 a day. Even being told I might lose a limb did not make me stop.
The last 18 months have been horrible for me. I started to experience calf pain (intermittent claudication) that I was able to manage with over the counter painkillers but eventually this pain became so bad that one day I could not stand up and walking became difficult. My GP started me on a course of Morphine tablets to ease the pain. By now I needed a walking stick to get about and mentally I was feeling very low indeed. Now I can look back and see that I gave up on myself and could not find the strength to keep going sometimes.
I had to see my doctor as I caught a cold that quickly went to my chest – my cough was dreadful – people would ask me if I was ok and once someone moved away from me on the bus as I sounded so dreadful and they probably did not want to catch what I had! The doctor said she would refer me to quit 51 and a few days later I got my first call from someone at Quit 51.
I really did not think it would work and though that I had better at least go to the first appointment otherwise I will be in trouble with my GP. I was hesitant – I thought “ha – you probably won’t see me after the first appointment”
I had no faith that it would work and thought I would probably get a lecture about why I should quit. However, I actually felt comfortable talking to the practitioner and quickly realised that I could tell them anything. I finally admitted that I was smoking 40 cigs a day. I realised that once I got home I was motivated and upbeat although I had admitted how low I felt. For me that 1st appointment was crucial as it made me feel good and I liked the rules that were clearly stated. Twelve weeks of support was something I never thought I could get. I like the texts that I receive as they motivate and remind me to keep strong.
Before I accessed the service, I felt I had let myself go and was thinking “what is the point” – I got trapped in a cycle of negative behaviour and let myself go and did not care about my appearance. My mobility was do badly affected that I was having to walk with the aid of a stick and chores like shopping became very difficult. On first the 1st week of quitting I bought a whole new set of clothes – it felt like a fresh start and after each Quit 51 session I felt more and more motivated. I have even started putting make up on again and feel good.
In the 12 weeks since quitting I have saved £1,260 pounds – that will be £5,000 in one year. I have been telling anyone I can “Do it – go to quit 51” – I thought I was a lost cause and I was worried that I would put on weight but I have in fact lost some weight. Also my relatives have noticed and commented on how well I look.
Cigarettes were always my priority so I was always hunting for reduced priced food and low quality stuff but now I buy the best – I love shopping for food now because I can mobilise better and afford good quality food. I have an appointment with my GP soon and my pain medication is going to be reviewed – hopefully I might not need them at all."