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Heart disease/heart attacks:

Sue (55 year) - Nationality: White - September 20, 2002

"I suffered an abdominal aortic annuerysm at the age of 50. I had smoke up from the time I was 16 and probably snuck a few a lot earlier than that. It is probably not the reason for the annuerysm but I learned a good lesson. I decided that since I had to be in the hospital for about 10 days and would be on "good" drugs that it would be a good time to quit smoking since I would not feel the effects of the withdrawels as much. I did, and when I got home did pretty well but did sneak a few "puffs" off unpreferred brands of other peoples cigarettes every now and then. Then, when under great stress, I purchased a pack just to have when I felt I wanted one. Well, that was the biggest mistake I ever made. One lead to another and before it I was smoking even heavier than before. I had been not smoking for 7 months when this happened. I vowed that if I would ever have to have major surgery again that I would never pick up another cigarette. And of course I didnt think that would EVER happen. But........ it did. I had colon surgery this May and had my last cigarette May 14. I really think I learned my lesson. I had my mind made up when I put out that last cigarette, I really wanted it to be my last and I honestly think it was. My cravings are very minimal. And I think of it very little and when I watch my co-workers go out for their "smoke breaks" I feel very lucky that I am no longer doing that and really don't miss it. And I am really glad I no longer carry that "smell". Ughhhhhh, didn't realize it was so awful. I am making some real life changes, including my diet as my cholestoral has been out of control for years because I didn't figure that it was worth bothering with since I was such a heavy smoker. Now I am really concentrating on getting a healthy lifestyle going finally and think I am going to succeed. It is amazing how much time is wasted on smoking and how your mind says "what the heck, I smoke so why bother trying to live healthy". I hope that a year from now I can still be saying all these things. Because it feels good not to smoke anymore, Thanks for listening to my story."

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