No news is… no news.

Really not much to report.  I did just get a Garmin activity tracker, so we’ll see what that shows me.  My sister and her husband recently found a good deal on Amazon, so I decided to check and the price had dropped even more.  That, combined with about $35 in gift card credits I had sitting there, made it too good to pass up.  Here’s what I got.  Currently going for $69.99, so basically half price.

Since my last post a number of people have asked if I’d recommend trying Chantix to kick the smoking habit, so I thought I’d maybe sum up my thoughts  – such as they are so far – on that.

First off, I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.  This post is not medical advice.  This is just my take on things.  If you’re seriously considering using Chantix to quit smoking, please consult your doctor.

I did quite a bit of reading about people’s experiences with Chantix after deciding to fill the prescription from my doctor but before starting to take it.  The doctor and pharmacist both mentioned common side effects – nausea, headache, and unusual and/or vivid dreams or nightmares.  But in my reading I learned that it can also cause hallucinations and suicidal ideations, among other rather unpleasant things.  I found lots of stories about people freaking out, attempting suicide, and even succeeding in suicide while taking Chantix or shortly after quitting it.  I also found lots of stories in which people’s experiences were basically, “Yeah, I had a little nausea but that’s it, really.”  This is one of the articles I found particularly informative re: the potential dark side of Chantix.

That’s a pretty wide spectrum, and it definitely made me stop and think before taking the plunge.

So, here’s the thing.  As I understand it, Chantix basically blocks the connections in your brain which give you a pleasure response from consuming nicotine.  So, yeah.  It’s directly messing with your brain.  That certainly explains the range of mental side effects.

At least having gained an idea of what kind of potentially freaky stuff to look out for, I felt educated enough to give it a try.  So, here’s what I’ve got so far.

I do experience mild nausea during the first hour or so after taking it.  While I did have a couple of ultra-vivid, ultra-violent dreams at the start of week 2 (I’m in week 5 now), the dreams seem to have settled down since then.  The biggest impact for my day-to-day life has been my quality of sleep, though.  I don’t feel like I ever truly hit a deep sleep most nights, leading to being tired and grumpy most days.  (Okay, more grumpy than usual.)  But has it helped me stop smoking?

I have’t had the urge to smoke for about 4 weeks now but because I failed to run out of cigarettes on/by my “quit date”, I still had a partial pack in the house.  I decided to try a cigarette or two a couple of weeks ago just to see how I reacted to them, and did not enjoy them.  Okay, fine.  But I know me, that likely wouldn’t quite be enough to stop me if I had a couple drinks too many one night and cigarettes were available.  So one evening last week – exactly a week after the initial “cigarette experiment” – I decided to try again.  Smoked two cigarettes and absolutely hated them both.  And then was physically ill for the next two days.  Not just, “I feel kind of crappy” ill, but full-on called in to work sick ill.

As of right now, I can’t imagine choosing to have a cigarette again.  Even thinking about it causes a negative physical reaction.  Kind of like how to this day I can’t drink Peppermint Schnapps because of that one night in college.  And that was 20 years ago.

Oh, and the rest of that unfinished pack?  Gave it to a friend who still smokes because I don’t even want those things in the house now.

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