While she doesn’t remember exactly how she learned about our ministry’s quit smoking class, Patty Burroughs, a telecommunications operator, remembers that the information sparked something in her.
“I tried to quit smoking numerous times and hadn’t succeeded. I thought, ‘I’m going to try this,’’ Patty recalls. “I was very nervous about it but maybe with other people’s help, I’d succeed.”
Our team of lung navigators are certified as American Lung Association Freedom from Smoking class facilitators and they lead this program, which offers a structured, systematic approach to quitting. Patty signed up and was looking forward to the first day. Due to COVID-19 precautions, the classes took place via video chat.
“It was a good thing for me to be on a video chat with the other people,” Patty says. “I thought I wouldn’t say anything, but it was such a moving experience.”
During the call, the counselor had participants say why they wanted to quit smoking.
“Everyone was sharing their story, including me. Everyone had different reasons why they wanted to quit, and we talked through our why. It was really good. A lot of those reasons to quit are everyone’s reasons, such as health.”
For Patty, she started smoking when she was 18.
“I’m currently 58,” she says. “I had quit a number of times, including when I was pregnant, but I just always started up again. I’d smoke half a pack to one pack a day, sometimes more, even when I was sick. In the dead of winter, I’d bundle up and go outside to smoke. It was always coffee and cigarettes.”
Patty continues, “people in class talked about the money part of it. The cost is crazy, but that wasn’t what hit me. I didn’t treat myself to anything in particular with the money I saved after quitting. My health was the issue. I want to be here for my grandson and my kids.”
Patty credits our counselors with helping her find the motivation she needed and building a support network.
“The thing that really helped me with quitting was the counselors suggesting reaching out to people and telling them I’m quitting,” she shares. “This way, people would know and I’d build support. I have five brothers and five sisters. I reached out to all of my sisters and my three daughters and I got a lot of good responses, which I still have on my phone. It was very moving. I think me putting myself out there and being accountable helped. I got support from family, friends and my group and looked forward to every session.”
Another thing that helped was setting a quit date. The group set their own quit dates right in the middle of their series of sessions.
“Saying my quit date was Oct. 25 helped me as well,” Patty says. “I had my last cigarette at one minute until midnight. I took the rest out and threw them away. I have been going strong ever since. It did the trick for me.
“I had this little flowerpot on my desk where I used to put my cigarette butts. Now I use it for pens and pencils. It’s a reminder to me that I don’t need it anymore.”
Overall, Patty is pleased with the results and the reaction from her family.
“I’ve noticed an improvement in how I feel,” she explains. “I can do things now. My sense of taste has improved, and I can breathe and smell things. My sister sent me a huge bouquet with a card that read, ‘I’m so proud. Now, you can smell the roses.’”
On Thanksgiving, the first holiday after Patty quit smoking, her oldest daughter asked, “Do you know the best thing about this Thanksgiving?” Patty said, “No, what?” and her daughter said, “Mom, that you were with us the whole time and not going out to smoke all the time.”
“This was something that really hit home,” Patty says. “I never realized what I was missing when I went out to smoke.”
Patty feels confident that this time, she has quit for good.
“Other times when I have quit, there would be a situation that would automatically make me start smoking again,” she shares. “Now, even after two family members were in an accident in December, a young relative had to be hospitalized and other family situations that made me angry or sad, I haven’t thought about picking up a cigarette. This is how much this program worked for me.”
For anyone who’s thought about quitting, Patty encourages them to consider signing up for the classes.
“Try it! It was exactly what I needed at that time. All the counselors were great. I showed up and participated so don’t be afraid to say what’s going on. If I can do it, you can do it. Just give it a chance. It really made the difference. I’m so glad that I did it and I’m very proud of myself.”
The next session of quit smoking classes in Cincinnati, Ohio will start in October. Call 513-603-8601 or email email@example.com for information.
Also, learn about all the health care services we offer at Mercy Health.