Margaret Weaver, of Norwood, sits confidently – yet relaxed – wearing a new pair of glasses. Her exuberance is contagious.
She has a lot to be thankful for, especially her health, now that it’s been nearly three months since she’s picked up a cigarette. “I breathe better. My food tastes better. I enjoy people’s company better,” Margaret explains. “I can actually sit down, relax and talk to someone without having to think: I’ve got to have a cigarette.
How Margaret Picked up Smoking
The 57-year-old started smoking when she was just 13 years old. Many people were doing it at the time – including her friends – so she picked up the habit without a second thought.
She tried to quit cold turkey, but it affected her mood and she couldn’t go more than a few days before the withdrawal symptoms and cravings became unbearable; she promptly slipped back into the habit.
Life Turned for the Worse: Margaret was Ready for a Change
Then, she had the stresses of life to deal with – anxiety that didn’t make quitting any easier. Margaret and her husband divorced several years back; but, a few months ago, her 21-year-old daughter, Henrietta, moved to Tennessee – that’s when things got rough. Margaret suddenly found herself feeling depressed, needing support.
Additionally, she has breathing problems. So Margaret’s doctor at Bethesda Family Practice Center, Wendy Quiles MD, suggested Margaret start focusing on herself.
She joined the practice’s Smoking Cessation Program, a 13-week series that focuses on:
- Skill training
- Social support
Each week centers around a new topic, ranging from dietary suggestions (sometimes people gain weight when they quit smoking due to mindless snacking) and ways to cope with cravings, to tips for generating support from family and friends.
Margaret Gains Unexpected Benefits, Feels Confident
Margaret’s entering her twelfth week of the program, and aside from the pride she feels in accomplishing her goal, she’s noticed residual benefits. She’s started walking in her neighborhood for exercise and is excited to hike long mountain trails when she visits her family in Kentucky and Tennessee this summer.
On the other hand, she’s noticed another, unexpected advantage to quitting: she’s making new friends. Margaret’s a cashier at Remke Markets, and instead of taking smoke breaks at work, she goes to the lunchroom. “I’m part of the group that doesn’t smoke anymore! I love it,” she gushes. “I’ve met a lot more people.”
Looking back at life prior to starting the Smoking Cessation Program, Margaret doesn’t quite recognize who she once was. “I couldn’t even stand myself then. I was so grumpy! I’d advise anybody to do this. I feel so much better now,” she smiles.