Monday, May 18, 2009

Out of Sorts

I'm not sure if anyone noticed, but I didn't post a blog last week. I wanted to, I needed to, but I just couldn't do it. The truth is, since I got back from SOS, I've been "out of sorts." For those of you not from the South, "out of sorts" is simply a catch all diagnoses, most often used by ladies of my grandmother's era, to explain otherwise unexplainable ailments and illnesses. To make matters worse, for the last twelve days, I have been taking a mind altering drug that is supposed to help me dump my oldest and most dependable friend, Mr. Cigarette.

Chantix, a product of Pfizer Labs, is a 1mg pill, taken twice a day for a minimum of four months, with an additional three months also recommended, designed to "help ease" nicotine cessation. Simply put, Chantix's active ingredient Varenicline, binds with high affinity and selectivity, to neuronal nicotine acetylcholine receptors in the brain, thus preventing nicotine from binding to said receptors. Yep it's all that and a bag of chips, too for only $150 a month. By the way, insurance doesn't cover a dime.

Yes it's a little pricey, but you get a lot of extras and possible extras, that you don't get with that $6.00 pack of Merit Ultra Lights. The clinical name for these extras is "adverse reactions." They include, but are not limited to: rash, nausea, vomiting, constipation, flatulence, headaches, abnormal dreams, nightmares, insomnia, dry mouth, fatigue, lethargy, irritability, mood swings, depression, and not least but maybe last...suicide. It sounds pretty involved to me. With Merit Ultra Lights it seems much simpler: your lungs turn to brown goo, you can barely breathe, you get cancer and you die.

I first heard about Chantix from my friend Steve Dean. After Steve's doctor told him if he didn't quit smoking, in about a year his lungs were gonna turn to brown goo, he would hardly be able to breathe, and he would get cancer and die, Steve decided to try Chantix. I remember the Saturday morning Stevie told me he was gonna quit smoking. I took a big draw off my cigarette and thought go son, never believing he had a chance in hell of stopping. I told him I hoped he could, and I meant it, but I also told him, they would have to pry them out of my nicotine stain fingers before I'd give them up. Well it's been over a year and a half and my friend Steve is still on the wagon! God bless you my friend, you go son!

I really do have it in my mind to quit this time. I'm down to about 6 cigarettes a day now and I know my "quit date" is very close at hand. Already I miss smoking. It really is like losing a best friend, not to mention, I really think it's affecting my blog production. Poe had his opium, and Hemingway had his booze for inspiration and relaxation. Soon I won't even have my cigarettes. Now don't misunderstand me, I'm not comparing myself to, or insinuating that I am as recondite as Poe or as prolific as Hemingway. I'm just saying, "can't this brother have a crutch too."

It's good to finally get back to blogging. Hopefully if the "adverse reactions" don't get too bad, we'll chat again next week.


  1. great !!! You can quit if you really have made up your own mind that the time is right to do it. Jim and I quit with Chantix also ... we suffered through the awful side effects for about 7 months (mostly trouble sleeping) ... but it really helped us with our smoking cravings. It worked for us and I hope it does for you as well. I definitely feel better. We have both gained a lot of weight ... but I'm hoping that we can the weight off with exercise. Jim and Steve talked about Chantix a lot while both trying to quit. Stick with it ... good luck.

  2. Hang on Tommy,hang on. It is possible to dump your old friend, I dumped mine in 2003 after only 138 tries. Hell, it took me two years to get off Nicorette gum after I threw my last pack in the garbage. Mr. Nicotine is a bad boy, he'll whisper in your ear "smoke one, you can handle it"...Mr. Nicotine lies and especially when his friend, Mr. Alcohol, is around. Those two rascals had me bad and, like you, I said that I ain't quitting...I'll just burn my candle to the end, both ends. But at some point you realize that you enjoy life and you want to live. That realization came to me when I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the maxillary sinus. Thankfully, after they wacked away half my sinus, the surgical biopsy came back as odontogenic cancer. Since then I've had an aorto-bifemoral by-pass graft in 2005, 3x coronary by-pass in 2008 and I'm being followed annually for COPD. I'm now wishing I had quit sooner but at least I did quit and I'm still alive. I know you enjoy life and I, along with hundreds of others, want you to live. I know you have the will to do it, so do it. Being "out of sorts" is better than being "out of the game"!! Love ya guy and hang on! Frankie Brantley

  3. Hey Tommy...I took Chantix too, and it made me CRAZY!!! I couldn't get off it soon enough. i took it for 3 months and I did quit, but that lasted a year and a half!! i am now in the mission to stop again, but there is no way that I could take Chantix again, I think that everyone that I know would KILL me!! I don't think they liked me on it.....dont know why!!