Agnes was very poorly when she came to the Healthy Lifestyles service and she wanted to quit smoking.
She had bladder cancer and this unexpected news had hit her for six. Her consultant had said that her cancer was related to smoking, and that she needed to quit immediately to conduct a necessary operation.
Agnes admitted to me that she enjoyed smoking and was not sure if she actually want to quit at that point. She knew she should, but had never really been successful in the past and that quitting now would be a very big ask.
I talked with Agnes about what we could do for her, and what the benefits of quitting in readiness for the operation would be. If she quit smoking then the risks whilst under anaesthetic, the time spent in recovery, and the risk of infection after the operation would all be reduced. Long term, Agnes could look forward to other benefits to her health if the operation was a success.
Agnes needed space and time, she talked with me about her anxiety around having the surgery, and the fear of what life would be like without smoking. Agnes talked about how smoking had been a crutch for such a long time.
How Agnes quit smoking
There were a number of options available to Agnes in order to quit. Together we worked out which option would best suit her requirements.
To help build Agnes’ confidence we practiced using this equipment she would be using to help her to quit smoking.
Agnes set her quit date and she stuck to it. During her first week smoke free Agnes told me what had helped her quit.
“I felt like I was truly being listened to, not spoken at, and not dictated to. No assumptions about what was good for me were made.
My Healthy Lifestyle Advisor, Catherine, made me feel that this was my attempt to quit, my decision. This was the fundamental thing that kept me going.
I felt back in control after the awful news of the cancer and I quit smoking because I wanted to.”
Now Agnes is well on her way is well on her way to recovery after her operation. She has been smoke free for eleven weeks.
I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. Hopefully my story will inspire others to quit smoking, even in the face of severe adversity.
I really appreciate the support Catherine offered me – it really has made all the difference.
My test results following my operation have come back and I am cancer free. My consultant congratulated me on quitting smoking – he said it gives me a better chance of it not returning.
Myself and the rest of the Healthy Lifestyles team wish her all the best.
Get support to quit smoking
Telford and Wrekin’s Healthy Lifestyles team can help you to live a healthier life.
Whether you want to quit smoking, lose weight or exercise more – Healthy Lifestyle Advisors can help you to make the change in your life that you always wanted to make. For free.
By Catherine Sixsmith
Healthy Lifestyle Advisor