Paula and Chris Erickson met as a couple with Redington-Fairview General Hospital’s Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist and Community Health Educator, Jim Fortunato in March of 2013. Later they attended a few meetings of the RFGH Tobacco Cessation Support Group. As of September 15, 2014 they both remain tobacco-free and were willing to share some of their experience regarding the hospital’s support programs. Congratulations Paula & Chris!
Chris Erickson states, “My wife and I met with Jim on a two on one basis in March 2013 looking for support to quit smoking. I was 44 at the time. I had been smoking since I was a teenager. I had tried to quit several times, but never got past 11 months. Having a very frank conversation with a stranger, and hearing the answers come out of my mouth about why I was there and why I wanted to quit, made me look at things in a different light. At the time of our first meeting I had been "white knuckling" it for a few days and Jim made some suggestions to help me get through the cravings. I also left that meeting with some very helpful literature and a plan to attend the next group meeting that was being held at the hospital. I attended some of the group meetings and found it helpful to share my struggles and successes with others. I have now been smoke-free for a year and a half. Some of the benefits of not smoking are: I can breathe better, I do not get sore throats as often as I used to, my wife says I smell better, and I am not wasting my money on something that was going to kill me.”
Paula in sharing her experience states, “I had been struggling to quit smoking for many years. I was getting older and getting more concerned about my health. I couldn't laugh without coughing. Also, I learned I was about to become a grandmother! I had a beautiful daughter who was about to become a mom herself, my husband and I were making plans for retirement, and I was growing closer to God, and smoking did not line up with any of the future plans I had for myself. In fact, I began to realize that if I kept up the way I was, I might not have a future. At first I saw Jim individually, and it really helped to have him listen and validate my concerns. He provided me with lots of written information and facts about smoking. He did not "counsel" me, but assisted me in identifying why I wanted to quit and helped me identify the best strategy that would fit me. Then he invited me to the Support Group where I could share my experience and success with others. Both the individual sessions and the Support Group meetings were helpful and as long as I stay smoke-free, on November 2, 2014, I will have not smoked for 2 years. When I quit, the first thing I noticed was that my cough almost immediately went away. I can give a hearty laugh now. Soon I began to breathe better, my clothes and hair smelled better and my daughter allowed me to hold my granddaughter close without having to worry about thirdhand smoke. I would recommend the tobacco cessation support programs at Redington- Fairview General Hospital for anyone looking for support to quit. Good luck!”