October Is National Healthy Lung Month

My Healthy Lungs Story

Believe it or not, I used to smoke. I didn’t start until I was around 18 though, when I started hanging around with friends that were older than me. They were awesome friends, but pretty much every one of them smoked. Back in the 80s, it was rarer to be a non-smoker than a smoker. So, I joined the club. Why, I can’t even tell you. Maybe I wanted to be like my older friends, I don’t know. To be honest, I can’t quite remember why. But it was one of the dumbest decisions I’ve ever made in my life.

For me, smoking was more about something to do with my hands, and it helped calm me. I’m a nervous, anxious person. Yup, always have been, always will be. You know how some people take a drag on a cigarette and put it down to go and do something? Yeah, I couldn’t do that. I’d smoke that sucker fast until it was done and DONE. I was the fastest smoker in the west. So did it really calm me down? Not really. It was a smoky illusion.

My sister was a heavy smoker-really heavy. Over two-pack of cigarettes a day heavy. One summer, her and her hubby came to Alberta for a 2 week vacation with us. We took them to Calgary, to Banff, to Jasper-all my favourite places in my beautiful province.

While in Banff, we hiked Johnston Canyon. It’s not a very hard hike, but there is elevation change of course. Well, near the end of the hike, my sister had an emphysemic attack on the ascent back up. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen. Her face turned so red, and she couldn’t catch her breath at all. She has to sit down, red and gasping for air that just wasn’t getting into her lungs. Her hubby stayed with her as she recovered, while me and Terry finished the hike as fast as we could. I didn’t want to stick around and watch her gasping for breath. I couldn’t do it. It sounds mean that I didn’t stay, but I was in shock and I had never saw anything like it before. She was only 42. I was 25. At the top of the canyon, I looked at my husband and said:

I don’t want that to happen to me when I’m 42. I’m quitting smoking. For good.

And when my sister left to go back to Manitoba, I quit smoking. And never looked back.

Exercise can help you quit

What helped me quit was exercise. I started running. It took me 4 weeks to be able to run a mile without stopping, but I did it! And ever since then, I’ve been a regular exerciser. Exercise helps my nervous personality now, helping me deal with stress way better than smoking ever did. Exercise is so important to keep your lungs and heart healthy, and can help you deal with stress too. The secret is to find something you enjoy doing. I know everyone says that, but it’s true. At the time when I quit smoking, the challenge of running that mile-to get to that goal-was addictive. A healthy addiction. I could see my progress- I was getting better and better at it every day. And that focus really helped me to quit.

I don’t run anymore. Sometimes I get that itch to run, but it’s a little too hard on my aging joints lately. These days, I keep my lungs healthy by doing Zumba, Walking, and my real love which is Hiking. Nothing soothes my nervous soul like hiking does! And, for me, every hike-EVERY HIKE-reminds me of that moment, which will be 25 years ago soon- that I decided to make my lungs healthy again. Every hike? Is a VICTORY.
Healthy Lungs

Even though 90% of lung cancers are caused by smoking, there are other causes. “Pollutants and indoor toxins like radon and asbestos can also cause lung cancer and asbestos in particular can cause a rare cancer called mesothelioma. Here in Canada, while asbestos is not yet banned it’s no longer used in construction, and in fact, gets removed pronto if it’s found in an old building. A lot of people are dangerously unaware that these carcinogens are still around so if you are buying an older house in the US where asbestos is still legal and actually still used, please get it tested for radon and asbestos before you buy. Please.”

Healthy Lungs.jpg

Make a pledge right here, right now to keep your lungs healthy! Nothing, NOTHING feels better than making your health a priority in your life! Once you do, it’ll change everything around you. I promise. If you’d like to learn more about asbestos exposure and what mesothelioma is, head over to Mesothelioma.com.

Take a deep, healthy breath, and do it.

How do you keep your lungs heathy?

One thing I’m going to do is get some plants that help purify the air in my home. I have no plants in the house right now, and it’s time to change that.

  • k r i s t e n //

    Tracy, I’m so proud of you for quitting smoking! It’s not an easy feat, but when you’re really ready mentally, it’s doable. I remember people telling me quitting smoking was harder than quitting heroin – and for years, I believed that. I didn’t even want to try, because how could I succeed at something that was harder to quit than a drug one can become addicted to in one dose? Over the years, I started seeing negative changes to my health from smoking so I tried everything: cold turkey, cutting back, nicotine gum, the patch, Chantix. Nothing worked. Last year, I tried vaping. After about 2 months of vaping and smoking cigarettes, I quit cigs after smoking for 17 years (I started at 17) and over time have reduced the nicotine in my e-liquid to 3 milligrams – about the same as an ultra light cig. I now vape but it’s 0 milligrams – no nicotine. I only vape occasionally and I plan to quit that soon as well. On the 21st, the date of this post, it was 1 year since I quit smoking and the changes in my health have been amazing. I have no issues exercising, the insomnia that haunted me for years is now almost nonexistent, the quality of sleep I’m getting is incredible, my sense of taste – WOW that was a fun thing to get back! I honestly had no memory of chocolate tasting THAT GOOD. But it’s SHOCKING how good it tastes! And pineapple! YOWZA!! Anywho, thank you so much for sharing this story and for giving me kudos for quitting smoking on snapchat. I hope someone else who might be struggling to quit finds inspiration in your story. Congratulations to you for quitting and staying quit! Much love and happy zumba-ing! <3<3<3

    • I’m so happy for you! And so proud you quit! Congrats! I’m glad vaping helped you-I’ve heard it helps a lot of people finally quit. I hope others who see your comment get inspired to quit. It’s amazing the health changes that happen almost immediately. Much love to you! xxx

  • I never smoked. But I’m sure quitting is really hard. So good for you for quitting! I guess seeing someone so close to you struggle is a good wake-up call.

    • It was scary! I’m so glad it happened way back then though and made me quit. I don’t even remember what it was like anymore.

  • I never smoke, during my time working as a pharmacist and being in contact with those that smoke, I have loads of respect for everyone that has managed to stop smoking. Huge thumbs up to you! Even though I don’t smoke I really dislike being around people that smoke, not just for the health issues, but because of being impregnated with the smell through hair and clothes… Did your sister stop smoking?

    • It’s been such a long time since I quit that I don’t even remember what it was like anymore. I hate being around smoke now too-the smell just sticks like glue to you! And she tried many times including drugs, but finally in her 60s she quit.

      • How did she finally quit? My brother in law finally quit by going to a couple of hypnotism sessions. It wasn’t the hypnosis itself that made him quit, it was the price tag of the sessions! lol

      • LOL hahahaha! It was having grandkids. Her daughter basically told her that if she didn’t quit, she wasn’t going to bring them to the house anymore. BOOM.

      • Oh wow!