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Walks of Life

Quitting cold turkey

4/6/2022

Once cigarettes have grabbed hold of a person, it is difficult to break free from thm. Thankfully, today’s world has come a long way from the days of smoke-filled rooms and a lighter in every pocket. With products like nicotine patches, gum and inhalers — among many others — a growing number of smokers are putting the cigarettes away for good. ♦


ANN WILLETT

Cancer causes life change

Right before New Year’s, Ann Willett was diagnosed with Stage 3 epithelial ovarian cancer. Doctors first thought she had a prolapsed uterus as she’d just given birth to her son in November, but they found a tumor instead. 

As a nine-year smoker, Willett’s diagnosis gave her a wake-up call. 

“It all came to me,” she says. “I’m still young — I’ll be 24 this month — and I can fight this. But, with all the bad habits, it was harder being sick, which has changed my thought process. I pray a lot more lately since finding out, and I told God if he sees me through this that I would quit smoking and change my habits completely.”

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In February, Willett quit by tapering herself off the cigarettes. Now, she can focus on her health and future.

“I have one cancer already; it seems redundant to give myself another cancer,” she says. “I have two kids who I want to be around for.”

Source: Norwalk Living March 2022; By Lindsey Giardino


MIKE MALLBERG

Not cool anymore

Sports, especially football, have been an important part of Mike Mallberg’s life. He played in high school, then at the University of Mississippi.

“I started smoking in college because I thought it was cool,” says Mallberg, “and most of the athletes back in the ’60s were smokers.”

A lung cancer diagnosis at age 52 convinced him to quit for good. The surgery that took the cancer also took one of Mallberg’s lungs.

Currently, Mallberg serves as a high school football umpire. He pushes young athletes not only to follow the rules of the game, but to live a healthy lifestyle. 

“My advice is, ‘Don’t start,’ ” he says. “And, if you smoke, recognize the cost, not only to your wallet, but to your health. I would use the phrase John Madden used as a coach for the Oakland Raiders: ‘Don’t worry about the horse being blind, just load the wagon.’ In other words, don’t give excuses about why you can’t quit, just do it.”

Source: Adel Living March 2022; By Marsha Fisher


KAREN ALLES

A pivotal nightmare

Karen Alles began smoking in 1965 mostly as the result of peer pressure and “wanting to be cool.”

She was a heavy smoker from then until 2003. That year, she had a wake-up call in the form of a nightmare. 

“I dreamed my little granddaughter, Taylor, was standing over my grave crying hysterically and screaming, ‘You killed my grandma,’ ” Alles says. “The next day, the shopper came with an article for a class called Freedom from Smoking, which was offered by our local hospital and taught by Kim Hulbert. I called and enrolled. With God’s help, I followed the steps and quit on April 23, 2003, and have not smoked since.”

Alles’ advice to those trying to quit?

“Have an accountability partner,” she says. “One of the tips I still use today when the urge strikes is to inhale deeply, hold it like you did when you were smoking and then exhale slowly. It works.”

Source: Winterset Living March 2022; By Lindsey Giardino


ERIKA JOHANIK

If at first you don’t succeed…

Growing up surrounded by smokers, Erika Johanik bought her first pack of cigarettes on her 18th birthday.

Her journey to quitting has been riddled with false starts and stops.

“I stopped smoking when I got pregnant with all three of my children, but, after they were born, I started back up again because I was always around it.”

Johanik has tried multiple methods to quit: from nicotine patches and spearmint gum, to vaping and even hypnosis. Most strategies didn’t work — but she hasn’t let that discourage her.

“Having a good support system and those to help keep you accountable and understanding helps a bunch,” she says. “But stay strong and work through it.”

As of right now, Johanik has been cigarette-free since New Year’s Day after slowly weaning herself off starting in November.

Her advice is to not beat yourself up if you aren’t perfect the first time. 

“Everyone has slip-ups and off days,” she says. “It’s what makes us humans.”

Source: Johnston Living March 2022; By Ashley Rullestad


 

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