Conemaugh Home Health & Conemaugh Regional Hospice
Nancy Tyrrell, Clinical Director of Conemaugh Home Health / Director of Conemaugh Regional Hospice, says she should have listened sooner to the warnings about smoking. “I was totally addicted, not just an occasional smoker,” says Nancy about her past efforts to quit smoking that were unsuccessful. Nancy’s now smoke-free life comes after two near-death experiences from health issues.
Back issues frequently left Nancy unable to walk causing a deep vein clot and then a pulmonary embolism, a blockage of one or more arteries in the lungs. “Because of the new smoke-free policy at Conemaugh, I was planning on cutting back and I already had nicotine substitutes to help,” says Nancy. “But then I was hospitalized for five days because of my health issues and had no choice but to not smoke. I went cold turkey. It’s crucial that I don’t smoke because of the pulmonary embolism.”
Nancy encourages others to stop smoking before it’s too late. “I should’ve listened sooner. I was just lucky that I didn’t die. There’s so much more in life to do and give. Don’t do something that’s preventing you from living longer, being with family and helping others. Realize what’s really important in life.”
In addition to being smoke-free, Nancy has also started eating healthier and has lost 28 pounds to date. “People associate smoking with sweets or caffeine – cigarettes taste better after dessert or with coffee, so I was eating more because of the connection,” she says. “If anyone told me I could stop smoking and lose weight I would’ve told them they’re crazy!”
Nancy is appreciative of her biggest supporter, her husband. “When I have the urge to smoke he’ll tell me to go find something else to do to take my mind off of it. Support when quitting makes all the difference in the world.” She also thanks her colleagues including the Hospice and Home Health administration staff and her Vice President for their continued support. “Having that support from coworkers and management is essential to success. I never heard one negative comment or accusation from them. I only received genuine concern and support. I am extremely thankful for these friends.”
“I feel a lot better. No doubt about it,” says Nancy of her lifestyle changes. She encourages others to “give up the excuses” for why you can’t change to a healthier lifestyle.
Congratulations, Nancy! We're proud of you!