Usually I put some flower pictures up or I find some interesting little tidbit to write about. Today I am writing in hopes that maybe my little journey might provide a spark or a good kick in the rump, as it was needed with me, for any you out there that might have been dealing with the same problem that I have been dealing with.......smoking. I have been smoking for about 32-33 years now. I can still remember the exact day that I started, where I was and what I was doing. Within the last 3 years, I have tried quitting using different methods. Over the last month, my right inner ear has been bothering me. The lymph node on the right side of my throat was swollen a little too. I used hydrogen peroxide in my ear to dry out what I figured was water in my ear ,which is also know as swimmers ear. That seemed to work fine for a couple of days and then the same bothersome symptoms showed up again. After having this cycle happen a couple of times, I decided to go to one of the many small out patient clinics that they have around here. After spending an hour and a half waiting to see a doctor, one showed up in my little room, asked what symptoms I was having, took a quick look in both ears and down my throat and he told me that I had swimmers ear. I got some ear drops from him and spent the next couple of days trying to keep little balls of cotton in my ear so that the ear drops would not get all over the place. After about the 3rd day of doing this, my throat was hurting worse and my glands were still swollen. Yesterday morning I looked in the mirror and was checking out my throat. I stuck my tongue out and I had this yellowish coloring on the top of my tongue. Now, I am not against the color yellow at all but I knew that this color should not be residing on the top of my tongue. My wife called our family doctor and after telling them the symptoms and about the color yellow, I was told to come into their office as soon as possible. To make this long story just a little shorter, my doctor told me that I had Thrush and that this basically is a yeast type of infection and that my bodys immune system is compromised. He looked my straight in the eye and told me that I had best stop smoking asap because the symptoms that I was having could possibly be precursor to getting the BIG C....cancer. After being told not to take these "signs" lightly, he gave me some medication for the yellow on my tongue along with some other medication to help me quit smoking. Well we left the doctors office and I told my wife what I was told about the yellow tongue and everything else. Then we lit up a cigarette and started heading out of the parking lot. It dawned on me....what kind of dummy am I. Here God has given me a slap in the face wakeup call and I turn around and light up another smoke. After giving some thought to what I was doing and figuring out that I was really being a dumbass, I put the cigarette out and when I got home I threw all of my smokes and lighters away. Today is the 2nd day of being smoke free. I don't miss the things and I don't really crave them. Actually, I really have not given them much thought at all. In some ways, I am angry at the companies that make these things so addictive but mostly I am upset with myself, for allowing myself to even try the first one which started my smoky journey and led me to where it was as of yesterday. I still am waiting for the blood tests to come back to see where my white cell count is. I think that I might have caught a break this time around, at least I am hoping that I did. I guess that the best advice that I can give you, if you are a smoker, is to do everything possible to quite, even if quitting means gaining 10-20 pounds. I would rather have the extra weight than be dead. Eventually smoking will catch up to you. It might come in the form of some coughing or maybe a yellow tongue like me. But don't kid yourself, it is going to happen and if it does, hopefully it will come in the form of God slapping you in the face and giving you a wakeup call, as I feel that he has done to me. That way you can have a 2nd chance and hopefully make the most of it.