February of 2012, I was tired of being sick all the time due to my breathing. Having COPD, Asthma and Acid Reflux plus being a smoker was quite literally killing me. I had been interested in vaping (didn’t know at the time what it was called), so I picked up a disposable e-cig at the smoke shop one day. It offered me some hope, so about 2 weeks later I picked up a cig-a-like at the local gas station. Actually bought 2 that day, one for me and one for my sister, who has the same problems I do.
What a big surprise, it didn’t work for me or my sister for that matter. I continued to smoke, the failure only making me feel worse about myself, thus causing me to smoke even more. By March, I was sick yet again, and talking to my boyfriend at the time, telling him how I had to make this work. I guess I needed to just buck up and force myself to use that crappy little e-cig. That is when he told me he was a vaper, and ordered me my first ego-t set up from volcano e-cigs and linked me to ECF.
It arrived just after my 41st birthday. It worked a lot better than the cig-a-like did, but it still didn’t seem like enough and I hated those little tanks. Boyfriend couldn’t understand why they leaked and such for me, he had never had a problem with them (for those of you who missed the whole ego-t and those stupid little plastic tanks, be thankful).
Even with the problems I cut back to less than a pack a day, which from a 3 pack a day habit was doing good. From there I got a BB from Alt-Smoke and a vivi nova tank, at the time it was one of the newest styled tanks around.
With it I cut back even more, now only smoking when spending time with my sister, who by this time was on an oxygen tank but still smoked. Because of her O2, smoking was only allowed in 2 rooms of the house, her bedroom and mine, so morning coffee moved to her room and the 3 of us, (her, her husband and myself), would sit in there smoke, drink coffee, and bull shit with each other.
Everything was going much better for the most part, my breathing had improved greatly and I was learning tons. I started rebuilding the heads of the vivi nova to help save money, and found I enjoyed tinkering with them. My sister once again wanted to give it a try, so I set her up with one of the ego batteries from my first kit and a couple of cartomizers. Too bad she never used it.
About that time is when I also wound up with my first iHybird. It opened a whole new world to me, and for the first time I was able to completely stop smoking. Due to some other problems I had before that, I was relying on my sister for money and she was not supportive. She had no issue forking over $30+ a week for me to go buy smokes, but would not help if I needed $15 to buy juice, so soon I was back to smoking at least part-time with her, but did manage to stay away from going back to smoking full-time.
The day I moved out of that house I quit smoking completely, and for the next 9 months did not smoke. Yes, I still had cravings if I was around someone else smoking but for the most part didn’t have an issue.
Now you may think that would be the end of it, over half a year without smoking. I enjoyed vaping, had even cut my nicotine down to 12 mg. I DIY’ed my juice and I rebuilt my genesis atomizers and it was all going well, but I never fully lost the craving for a cig.
At that point was when my friends in FL were looking at losing their house, between that and me not having the medical I desperately needed, I opted to move back to Seattle WA. I knew in making the move I would be homeless, but sometimes we do what we need to do.
I soon found myself staying at tent city 3. For a shelter it is a great place, but for someone trying not to smoke, it could be a nightmare. Imagine 100 adults living in tents in a church parking lot, moving the whole camp every 90 days. Now figure in about 95% of the camp smokes, and smoking is allowed everywhere but inside the small sleeping tents. Even with that for the first month I did pretty good at not smoking, then I got involved with the camp leadership and the stress that entails.
Now all that alone had me ready to pick up a pack, and I had actually at that point smoked a couple, tho I told myself 1 a day wasn’t going to kill me. Then, the one thing I had dreaded and hoped for over the last 18 years happened. My daughter got in contact with me. Any of you who were Facebook friends with me at the time found out she was trying to reach me before I did, as being at camp I didn’t have internet access and didn’t always have time to go to the library, and she had messaged every single one of my Facebook friends telling them who she was and asked them to give me her number. I won’t go into the details of the past, but will say I never truly expected to hear from her again, so it was a major shock and the thing that pushed me over the edge and back into smoking full-time.
About a month and a half later that choice put me in the hospital. Due to the cold temps last winter I had gotten sick. After the ER gave me 3 breathing treatments my O2 levels were still dropping every time I dozed off, so they kept me. Now, you would think that would be enough to kick my butt back into what I already knew to be better for me, but it hadn’t. Between stress, problems getting what I needed, not wanting to have to ask BSP for more help (he had offered many times over and had sent me a stuff when I needed it), and still being around other smokers, I smoked.
Though all this I never gave up on vaping, and truth be told my smoking was stupid. I know vaping gives me what I need, I prefer the taste, and I don’t get as sick. So I can not tell you were my brain was during this time.
July 2014, I left tent city 3 and went to tent city 4. I found it easier to vape there as smoking was not allowed all over, but still found myself having a smoke when I was hanging with friends. My husband Ben was supportive in me getting back to vaping, even putting up with me visiting vape shops. He mentioned to me at one point he would like to get into vaping, so my next trip into a shop I got him an ego set up. Which he uses more than he smokes at this point.
At this point I am back to full-time vaping, and I have learned a few very important things about myself in all this, including just how important vaping support and friends are.