Monday, 27 June 2016

I didn’t get the usual lecture about smoking so I had nothing to rebel against, that’s how I finally gave up smoking - Sylvia Coleman

Sylvia Coleman, Christie patient

Sylvia Coleman
Around a year ago I was referred to The Christie for preventative surgery. My family has a strong history of female cancers and I found out I was at a significantly higher risk myself. To make matters worse, I was also smoker.

That is, until I met The Christie’s Health Promotion Advisor Charlotte Finchett nearly 12 months ago whilst coming to The Christie to have my ovaries removed and a double mastectomy.

I had attempted to give up smoking several times before and been to a stop smoking clinic, but the experience was not a good one. I had sat in a chair with a lady telling me how smoking makes you smell and showing me pictures of peoples’ lungs and a huge cancerous growth on someone’s neck. 

We discussed general health issues and then I was given a prescription for a patch or something else. I politely accepted the prescription and would then go away and have a smoke whilst waiting to pick up the prescription. 

I had also tried Champix, which was good because I could smoke for the first few days. It worked for me initially but then it made me feel sick and gave me strange dreams - so that was the end of that and I had another ciggy to make me feel better. 

When I tried patches they didn’t seem to be working – until I worked out that they were getting stuck on my jumper and not my arm. When I did manage to secure them to my skin they gave me a rash and so, you guessed it – I stopped using them and decided to have a smoke.

Before my first appointment at The Christie I was so anxious that I smoked five cigarettes and during my appointment I kept thinking about having a ciggy. 

After my first appointment at The Christie I was encouraged to attend The Christie’s Stop Smoking Clinic.

I had managed to reduce my intake to three cigarettes a day because I was having an operation but this would have been only temporary, I am sure about that. 

I met Charlotte and was very impressed as she did not give me the usual lecture about smoking and she believed me when I said that I had already cut down to three cigarettes a day.

I did not feel like she was forcing me to stop smoking so I had nothing to rebel against. And I think that’s what must have worked for me!

Charlotte gave me a plastic thing which looked like a female item and showed me how to use it. I was not hopeful, but it worked. It was lovely as I could be honest about my smoking and was not made to feel ashamed about it or feel like a failure.

I didn’t dread the smoking cessation appointment – and actually started to look forward to having a chat with the staff and I even had a relaxing head massage at one of the sessions. 

Charlotte and the staff understood that I smoked when I felt stressed or was being told not to smoke. They helped me to look at other ways of managing this. 

I can’t believe that it has been 12 months already. I still feel like a smoker, but I choose not to have a cigarette, and this is all thanks to Charlotte and The Christie - so thank you very much. 

I know as well as anyone how hard it is to give up. But if you are a patient or close to someone who is a Christie patient then it’s worth trying The Christie’s Stop Smoking Clinic.

If I can give up then anyone can. So give it a go. 


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