The Champix Chronicles

So I started taking champix 21 days ago, hard to believe that it’s already been that long!  Here’s a quickie break down of how this actually works:

First you pick your quit date, somewhere between day 8 and day 14 from the first day you start taking Champix.

Day 1-3 you take one pill, once a day.  .5 mg of varenicline tartrate AKA as Champix.

Day 4-7 you take 2 .5 mg pills twice a day.  Once in the morning and once at night.

Day 8-14 is when your dosage doubles to 1mg twice a day.  This is also the time period that you pick your quit date.  I decided on October 11th to be my quit date.  It was the Tuesday after the long weekend, I’d have work to keep me occupied and so forth, sounded good right?

Sure did in hindsight…

Except I didn’t factor in PMS.  This obviously doesn’t apply to guys but trying to quit smoking during that time was likely the WORST idea I have ever had!  I made it through one day and one day only.  I just couldn’t take it, I don’t know if it was job related stress, the fact that you can’t fix stupid, my hormones or whatever the hell was going on.  So I caved and bought a pack of smokes the next day.  I hated myself for it and it kind of freaked me out.  I thought to myself, what if this doesn’t work?  How screwed am I going to be?

So I thought well maybe I just needed a few more days to give the pills some more time to work, everyone is different.  So I didn’t berate myself too much, especially since I found myself smoking a lot less.  As in a pack would last me 3 days which isn’t the norm for me at all.  So I had hope and on Sunday October 16th at around 10:30pm I smoked my last cigarette and haven’t looked back since.

I did a lot of preparation work in the meantime.  I’ve been researching this drug for over two years now.  I would advise not to pay attention to the online reviews, people love nothing more then to jump on a bandwagon, especially when it’s something negative.  Yes this drug can have some nasty and quite scary side effects.  Psychotic behavior, suicidal thoughts and or feelings and depression being the three most scariest (in my book) of side effects.  Mind you, these could happen as a result of not smoking period.  Although Champix does ‘mess’ with your mind in a neurological sense so it’s entirely possible.  However it’s not a common side effect in most people and yes I did take all of that into consideration before I started taking this drug.  Hostility comes with the territory of not smoking period, in any case I pretty much get away with being a bitch because I can blame it on my medication 😉

I also prepared my body for it as well.  Nausea, constipation, diarrhea, headaches, gas, abnormal/vivid dreams (rarely nightmares), sleepiness…  You know, the usual.  Because you know what?  Every time I’ve tried to quit smoking, I’ve had some of these issues.  So to combat any side effects I had a chat with my pharmacist and I was advised not to worry about getting any anti nausea medication however to offset it, I was advised however to drink lots of water (which I do now, more then I think I ever have) and to take my pill just after a meal.  I found this helped a lot and the only time I felt a little nastiness was when I didn’t eat and even having something small helped offset the nausea.  As for headaches, well I work in a day care so I’m not entirely sure if that’s due to champix or not.  Most of them are low grade and if they get too bad, I have advil handy just in case.  I also eat a lot better as well, it was suggested in the literature that came with the medication that you beef up your fiber in take, makes sense.  So I basically cut all the bad crap out of my diet, I don’t mind most things whole wheat anyway and anything that I do usually comes in an ‘enriched’ version that has all the benefits so there’s no excuse really.

Anyway enough of my blathering on about this.  Here’s the pro’s & the cons of being on Champix (at least for me)

Cons: Side effects can be a bitch sometimes.  Dreams are beyond odd, but manageable just the same.  Headaches, well I always seem to have one of those too.  That’s pretty much it though, just need to be mindful of the changes your body is going through and likely best not try and wean yourself off of anything else just yet or you’ll most likely pay dearly.  That was an accident I had yesterday by having nothing with Caffeine and almost no sugar.  I had a migraine so bad that I barfed.  Coffee machine is broken (of course) and I have no money until Thursday (of course).  I thought well it can’t hurt right? Yeah no I was about 15 levels of wrong on that one!  Oh and the coughing fits and the sore throat…  Those are extra fun!  There is also little to nothing you can do about them either until they go away.  Your sinus cavities are going to drip constantly and make the back of your throat feel slimey and your nose runs pretty much All. The. Time.  Coughing?  Not a pretty sight, especially when you’re recovering from the flu and you start coughing hacking so hard that you yarf to the point that it would make the excorsist jealous.  Except that ain’t pea soup it’s a combination of phlegm, mucous and bile all rolled into one delightful, projectile vomit package.  This of course happened at work, why wouldn’t it?  Your sense of smell improves.  Why is this a con you ask?  Ever been in Montreal’s metro system?  You develop a new appreciation for breathing through your mouth and NOT your nose.


  1. You’re saving an ass-load of money!  I can’t speak for everyone but my habit alone ran me about $216.00/month.  That’s 2 hours of tattoo work with my Montreal guy and a lot more with my Ontario one.
  2. You don’t smell like a dirty ashtray anymore.  Doesn’t matter how much stuff you slather on to smell nice, that cigarette smoke over-powers it.
  3. Things taste better, a lot better.  You also cut down on things like salt and sugar because you notice it a lot more without having to add more.  Although I have discovered that there’s a few things I don’t like the taste of anymore.  Not a big deal really.
  4. If you have nerve damage or bad circulation (which I do) you’ll notice that get’s better as well, which is a nice plus.
  5. You’re no longer paying out the ass in ‘tobacco’ tax either, one less contribution that you have to make to the government.
  6. Champix is usually covered by insurance or the province.  In my case the RAMQ does cover it and the starter pack (two weeks worth) cost me $28.00 plus the existing cost of my cigarettes so about $70.00 roughly (I’m guesstimating here) and since my payable goes down every time I get a prescription filled my continuation pack only cost me $18.00 and I haven’t smoked since.

Now don’t get me wrong, you still have to want to quit and on occasion you’re still going to have cravings.  However the actual nicotine withdrawal should only last you 76 hours MAX.  After that, there is no more nicotine in your system and from that point it’s psychological.  It’s a habit, so in order to break this one, you need to create another one.  It’s amazing the things that you associate with smoking and before I decided to quit, I changed up my routine in small ways.  Taking different routes to and from work and eliminating cigarettes that I knew that I didn’t need.  It does help.

I’ve been lucky with the side effects not getting to me too badly, although I know a few people have had problems with the drug.  However they’re all men and men are notorious for NOT reading instructions or directions and I’m willing to bet that if they did, they just *might* have had an easier time with it.  But who am I to say?

The little things, things that happen for a reason and why I choose Champix…

Yes, they all tie in together.  Really 🙂

I was out having breakfast this morning when I over heard the person behind me ask the guy at another table if he had a cigarette.  Other person smugly replied, you got a quarter?  To which he said nope, sorry I do not.  Again with the smugness ‘I guess not for you then’.  I sat there thinking, what a douche bag.  What if that was you and you had no smokes, no money and wanted one?  So I’m sitting there thinking, this guy is innocently sitting there with his coffee and the thought crossed my mind, what if that was me? Also being a smoker and coffee drinker, they both go hand in hand.

I reached into my purse, pulled out a cigarette and handed it over no questions asked.  His face lit up and he said to me’ Well that was un-expected, thank you!’  He looked so happy!  That was nice, because I knew that he truly appreciated the gesture and he didn’t even ask me.  He also wasn’t a douche bag about it either.  Sometimes a random act of kindness can make someone’s day suck a little bit less.

Then I went off to the clinic and to my delight and surprise, it was almost empty and I got to see the Dr. within the hour. We discussed my previous attempts on trying to quit and whether or not this was ideal for me.  I was impressed with her professionalism and the fact that she took the time to educate herself about my past history (even though I have a different Dr. within the clinic) and educate me about taking a slightly controversial smoking cessation drug.  I’ve gotten some criticism for deciding to go this route and before I get more allow me to fill everyone in on my previous attempts to quit:

  • Cold turkey was a bust on numerous occasions.  No matter how determined I was, I always ended up failing.  Although I know numerous people who have quit this way (including my mom) and I salute you for it.  I also admire your dedication and determination as well.  The longest I made it was 24 days.  Then I caved.
  • The patch: Gave me nightmares, made me break out in a rash and several other things.  Needless to say, it wasn’t ideal for me.  That’s fine, it’s -NOT- for everyone.
  • The gum: my father used this method to quit and has been smoke free ever since.  I tried it once, it burned my mouth and the taste, good lord it was so awful that there was no way I was doing it again!  That’s fine, it’s -NOT- for everyone.
  • Laser acupuncture.  Again this worked briefly, and I think that if I was to do it again it -would- work.  Except the only Doctor I trust to perform this procedure is really far out of the way and hard to get to as well.  I think had the circumstances been different (at the time, it was less then a month after Jason killed himself and I also lost my job) and less stressful then I might have made it.  I had a friend who went to the same Dr. and she held out for 3 years until she had to go on a plane for the first time and figured that one cigarette couldn’t hurt.  But it did.  She’s still a smoker today.
  • Homeopathic remedies: tried that too and needless to say, it was a FAIL.  That was back in high school.
  • Zyban: That. Was. Hell.  Insomnia was the worst.  I didn’t sleep for days, I worked these insanely long shifts instead so while the money was good, it wasn’t worth it.  Zyban is something that I would strongly recommend against actually.  It really was THAT horrible.

I’ve smoked for 22 years now.  It’s NOT an easy habit to give up.  In the past two years alone (never mind what happened prior to this) I’ve had to deal with:

  • Several friends’ committing suicide.
  • PTSD
  • Depression (which thankfully has been ‘cured’ through therapy).
  • A slumlord/an apartment that I hated with every fibre of my being!
  • various personal issues that are simply too private to include here.

All in all, a lot of emotional battles.  I’m tired of fighting and while I know this isn’t going to be easy, it’s my last ditch attempt. Needless to say, I am terribly addicted to nicotine.  I need help, this HAS. GOT. TO. STOP.  I have debated taking this drug for a really, really long time.  I’ve made a point to do my own research, I grilled my Dr. and two different pharmacists about this drug.  ALL of which took the time to answer all my questions and concerns about taking this drug and how to offset any side effects which aren’t pleasant to deal with.  However if it helps me to quit smoking, then I’m ALL for it!  The side effects also force me to live a healthier life, I need to consume more water and eat better to help offset some of the side effects so there are a lot of pluses to be had.  Also the success rate is high and that also gives me hope!  Especially since I am at the end of my rope.  I went to my regular pharmacy and it’s closed on Sunday’s so I said to hell with this and went to another one.  Also picked up TP on sale, which is awesome because I was out & it’s the good stuff.  Also got a sweet deal on my prescription as well!  With the RAMQ aka provincial prescription plan accepting this drug I only paid $28.00 for a 2 week supply, can’t beat that!

So I’m not saying that there -is- a magic cure to quitting.  You have to -WANT- to quit, which I do.  I hope that this time is my time to do so.  For those of you that have managed to quit by other means, good for you!  I’m truly happy that you found a method that works for you.  They didn’t work for me, c’est la vie.  If you feel the need to be all smug and self righteous about it, then you can go fuck yourself.  After I high face you in the face with a baseball bat.  For real 🙂

However if you want to encourage me, even if you don’t agree with my method of quitting.  Please do, I need all the help and support I can get and I will willingly accept it.  There is no right or wrong way to quit, the important thing is finding something that works FOR YOU.  I hope that this works for me as well as it has for others!

All I can do is try and that’s exactly what I’m going to do!



Where there’s smoke…

Occasionally one would see fire!  I forgot to mention how I due to my own abject stupidity almost burnt my apartment down!  Thankfully it was nothing, no one was hurt and nothing was ruined either.  Melting plastic gives off a ton of acrid smoke.  Totally filled my apartment and the most disturbing thing of all?  My smoke detectors didn’t go off AT ALL…  SO yeah new batteries are on my to do list…

My schedule has change yet again…  At least this time, my schedule allows me to have a personal life.  I miss going out with my friends and all those good things that come with some form of social interaction!  So I’ve come to a turning point in my life, once again.  Seems to be happening more and more lately.  One thing is certain, I need to get out of this industry.  I only worked 5 hours today and maybe it was because I was tired.  Only had one day off since we got back to work after the holidays.  In any case its really starting to get under my skin so I’m calling the school as soon as I can manage and seeing what I can do about getting myself in there that much faster!   On the good side of things, the one person that I couldn’t stand has been terminated.  She obviously did it to herself, but I can’t help by have a sense of schadenfreude over the whole situation!  So it means I have to work a little more this week but whatever, more money in my bank account and there ain’t nothing wrong with that!

Still have to call videotron and cancel my cable, I rarely watch TV anymore so what’s the point?  Not only that I can download what I want and use windows 7 to watch it on my TV.  Just need to get the proper cables and those aren’t that hard to come by.  Oh technology, gotta love it!  Someone also “compromised” my Visa, so that was canceled and a new one is en route.  What a pain in the ass that is!  I also gotta call my student dentist and see if they haven’t kicked my ass out of the clinic yet, have to make an appointment with my GP to get my thyroid tested…  Gr so much to do and not enough time to do it!  I’m just so. damn. tired.  Oh yeah have to do laundry sometime soon too…  Going to be a long ass night at work, I actually don’t start until 4pm but were having a training session at 1pm so that were all on the same page at work so more time spent there.

I’m pretty sure I spend more time at work then I do anywhere else these days!  Needless to say I can’t wait until I get a day off again!  Mostly so I can sleep.  At least on Wed its not so bad…  Maybe I’ll get my laundry done then.  Maybe lol.  Should have gotten it done today but I really had zero motivation to get out of bed and actually get it done.  Next week won’t be so bad (I hope) but this week is going to be full of suck I’m thinking!

I’ll get there, someway somehow!