Henry ‘H’ Pridding

Henry ‘H’ Pridding - Christie patient

I can’t wait for the day when I forget I ever smoked and hope my story inspires other to give up as their New Year’s resolution

Lots of people who smoke or drink too much will have decided to give up or cut down as a New Year resolution. By sharing my own experiences I hope that it will give others some encouragement to make their resolution stick. If my story inspires even one person to stop smoking that would be great.

I recently completed 30 rounds of head and neck radiotherapy following an operation to my tongue to remove cancer. It was a huge wakeup call and made me realise that I needed to give up smoking, for myself but also for my amazing wife Tina and our five children.

With the help of the smoking cessation team at The Christie – big shout out to Charlotte and Peter – I managed to kick a lifelong smoking habit in October this year. It’s not been easy and I’ve had to be determined but I have succeeded.

I started smoking and drinking over 50 years ago as a teenager. By the time I was in my 30s I began to realise that my drinking was becoming a problem. When I met Tina, I realised that I wanted to turn things around. Through my love for Tina, who was to become my wife, I managed to stop drinking 28 years ago.

Henry Pridding

When I stopped drinking I had a thought in my head. If I do it for Tina everybody will benefit, and they did. The whole family benefited. We could afford to buy things for the kids and I could provide more for my family. Respecting and helping other people is very important to me and being able to respect my family was the thing that helped me to become free from the drink.

Unfortunately, giving up smoking took a lot longer, 28 years longer in fact!

When I had my final cigarette I looked at it and simply decided ‘No more’. Since that moment I have not touched another roll-up and can’t wait for the day when I forget I ever smoked, or even forget the date I stopped because it’s no longer of any importance.

When I’m having a bad day or feeling stressed I take a moment to notice what’s winding me up and causing me to feel that way and then instead of reaching for a cig I’ll do something really straightforward that helps me – I’ll make a cup of tea, or have a chat with Tina or make someone laugh. I have a wicked sense of humour and love nothing more than to make people smile, especially Tina.

I’m an old romantic at heart and I wear my heart on my sleeve. I even have a tattoo of a cup of tea on my arm. It is there for my special Tina.

I don’t allow smoking to occupy my thoughts.

A teacher at school told me there is no such thing as no. As an adult, I now realise if I want to do something, no matter what it is, I can. As far as I’m concerned there is no such thing as can’t!

There have been many times in my life where I’ve thought ‘I can’t do it’ and then surprised myself with what I can achieve. I believe that actions speak louder than words and if you believe your fears or doubts then nothing ever changes.

I believe that something good can come from anything. Since being diagnosed with cancer my daughters, who have witnessed my illness and pain, have both stopped smoking.

With the help of everyone at The Christie, the doctors, nurses, smoking cessation team and radiographers, I’ve been able to quit smoking. To use a Manchester adage, ‘Nice one’!

You can find out more about smoking and alcohol cessation services at The Christie on our website.

January 2018