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Breathe easy with CentraCare’s tobacco treatment program

Wendy Miller and Linda Hoppe

Wendy Miller, NP, and Linda Hoppe

Linda Hoppe of Paynesville started smoking when she was 16. Her mother smoked. Her brother and sister smoked. She thought it was the thing to do. She continued to smoke, until she decided to have children. During this phase of her life, she was a successful quitter.

When her daughter died at a young age from a terminal illness, the stress and grief overwhelmed Linda and she turned to her old friend and comfort, tobacco, for support. With more than 40 years of smoking behind her, she made the decision to quit again. The time was right. She had lost her brother to heart disease and saw health issues related to tobacco use in the ones she loved.

After speaking with her health provider, Randall Zimmerman, MD, she learned about Wendy Miller, a nurse practitioner at CentraCare Health – Paynesville Clinic who specializes in tobacco treatment. Working together they identified craving triggers and how to cope with them. “I learned that I lean on cigarettes when stress is high, after meals and with my morning coffee,” said Linda.

With Wendy’s support, she set a quit date of Sept. 18, 2017, and at age 65, Linda again became a quitter! Linda used nicotine replacement patches in combination with nicotine replacement lozenges, working with Wendy to taper down on the level of nicotine that she received. Now, seven months later, she has eliminated the patch and only uses a lozenge on occasion when the urge comes with coffee or after a meal.

Since she quit, Linda has reduced her blood pressure medication and been taken off a heart medication completely. “My friends say that I really surprised them,” Linda mentioned with a smile. “They say that I was more grumpy as a smoker than when a quitter. Maybe it’s because I feel so much better.”

“If you have a desire to quit, don’t go at it alone,” suggests Linda. “Wendy was helpful. We talked. She was supportive.” If you are thinking or have ever thought about quitting, a certified tobacco treatment specialist can increase your chance of success.

When you are ready, CentraCare would like to help. To schedule an appointment call 320-352-6591. No referral is necessary. Learn more about tobacco treatment services.

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