Dustin Falters; Doug Going Strong

July 21, 2017


DUSTIN: No smoking challenge Week 6!!

I turned the BIG 33 on Sunday. Woooooohoooooo! Anyways, smoking is bad! I'm doing GREAT and love the small benefits I have been seeing here and there (whiter teeth, no smell, cleaner vehicle, less stress making sure I have cigarettes, more time, more money, breathing is getting better, etc.). I still think about smoking daily, but I am getting through the days.


I did smoke a few drags at K-Rock the other night, as I forgot my gum at home. This was the perfect excuse to see if I like it, or hate it. I can not lie, it felt normal.....BUT it tasted horrible. I felt the few drags well over 24 hours later, deep in my chest. It's not worth it.


I was going to blog yesterday, but needed another day before I could tell on myself. This is the ONLY way I hold myself accountable. If I tell the world, I don't smoke! This is still less than a full cigarette since I quit, and I will not go back to that. This feels too good! Tobacco is a strong addiction, but I am stronger!


Thanks for all the support, Way2Go Cortland!




I stopped to see my mom over the weekend. She said, " I need more stamps." Every time I stop to see her there are several envelopes by the door to be mailed. I am no stranger to the Post Office. I look for something new and different. I love going to the Post Office because the woman and man behind the counter are always smiling and perky and helpful and upbeat. I have to wonder - why are they always so happy to see me?


"We have Henry David Thoreau!" she tells me. Mom will love this. She knows what Thoreau was talking about when he said, "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." Mom seeks them out and sends them letters in the mail. I have a friend whose house on Pleasant Street burned down many years ago. He stopped me on the street one day. "Doug, I have to tell you this. A while back things were looking pretty bleak for me. I was alone. I had been betrayed by someone I cared about. He actually set my house on fire, though it may have been accidentally. During that time I felt totally abandoned. Then I got a card in the mail from your mother expressing her concern for my welfare. She is the only one who was aware of my plight and cared enough to reach out and offer a kind word."


I learned this from my mom. It is important to be on the lookout for people who need a bit of connection. I saw this guy on the porch having a cigarette. Rosie and I went up the steps. I told him about how Rosie was found abandoned by the SPCA and then came to add some more love to our family. Then it was time for him to hear about the amazing things that doctors can do when they rebuild a tongue. "Can I see it?" he says. That was a first.


I had a check up a few months back with my new primary family doctor and even he did not ask to see my amazing new tongue. "Sure!" I said, "But I cannot stick it out too far. For some reason they had to tether it in the back, so you might say my tongue is on a short leash." I open as wide as I can - which is not very wide at all.


"So," I said, "have you thought about quitting those cigarettes?" He was wondering if this was coming. He said the thought had crossed his mind. I explained that I had come there to remind him that he needs to think about it more. And make a plan. And pick a quit date on the calendar. And pack his bags for the adventure. One of the things he needs to pack is a few good ideas about what to do when he has stopped smoking and he feels the craving. Best to anticipate this so it does not take you by surprise. "I am here if you want to stop again," says my new friend Sam. He's inviting me back. He wants to stay connected. 




Rosie and I started early today.  We took a different route so we could see someone different.  We were coming south on Hamlin Street and saw a guy on his porch having a smoke.  We walked right up the steps.  I did not recognize the guy right away.  He was older and a little heavier than when we worked together ten or fifteen years ago.  He smiled at me and said, "Hi Doug!"  I studied him for a minute and then it came to me. 


"Hi Tom.  I haven't seen you in a while.  I have had my tongue rebuilt since I saw you last!"  He gave me a look of disbelief.  So I gave him the whole story.  Then I had to ask about whether Tom had thought about quitting.  


He said, "You know what?  I had stopped smoking for about a year.  Then one day I got this idea in my head that I wanted to have just one cigarette, so I bought a pack.  Now I smoke more than I did before.


Don't be fooled.  You can't just have one cigarette.  Much too risky.


Good to see all the outdoor videos over the weekend Dustin.  Breathing that good clean air.






As I came up Madison Street the other day I saw a woman pushing a cart.  She was in the street alongside the curb - not on the sidewalk.  I decided to introduce Rosie to her.  Usually my tongue is my calling card, but everyone loves Rosie.  She's quiet and soft and a little bit timid around people and other dogs.  I picked Rosie up and we walked up to this woman.  I had seen her before.  I assumed that she was homeless.  I was wrong.  She smiled at me right away and I told her about when my pup was homeless - thinking they might bond due to the shared experience. 

Then I told her all about my new tongue.  When I was finished she told me that the last time she went to a doctor he told her she had to stop smoking.  She said she found this curious, since she has never smoked.  She has asthma and a little COPD, but not from smoking.  I asked her where she sleeps at night.  She said she has an apartment on Port Watson.




"Now," she says, "I have a story for you!"  I realized that I talk too much and agreed to listen.


She told me about the day that a man offered her a ride to Tops with her cans and bottles.  They started out on Port Watson.  He said he did not feel good and he pulled over.  She gave him a bag, because he felt sick and had to vomit.  They started off again and they got to Groton Avenue and he felt sick again, so they pulled into Pontillo's parking lot.  Said he had a prescription bottle and put a nitro tablet under his tongue.  She turned away for a minute and when she looked back at him his eyes had rolled back in his head and he was gone.


The police and the paramedics arrived and asked her if she could get him out of the truck.  She smiled at that.  She said he weighs about 350 lbs.  No way can I move him.  It took five men to get him out from behind the steering wheel.  He had no next of kin, she said.  "So I bought him a headstone with my own money.  I tell you it took quite a while to pay off that $1,200 bill with my bottle and can money, but I did it.  He lies buried in the same cemetery as his brother.  But his brother has no headstone.


"You are a special person, Cheryl, let me give you a hug." 

I squeezed her tight for a minute and then she head off west down the street.



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