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Stop Smoking Support Thread

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  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,162
    edited May 2020
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    Honey - thanks for checking in. As you know, we're all ready when we're ready - and NOT before. Sorry to hear that your mind has run amok with the extra smokes. The "stay at home" time doesn't make it any easier. I can't remember - does your partner smoke? I don't think I could have done it if my DH smoked.

    Are you able to walk outside? That's one thing that REALLY helped me. Anytime I wanted a smoke, I slammed out the door and walked around the block (or two, or three). That led to some crazy walks - day, night, rain, sun, dragging myself exhausted or striding out. One rule - must walk before you smoke. By the time I got back, I was better able to control the urge. Or at least I had 30 minutes that I wasn't smoking.

  • VJSL8
    VJSL8 Member Posts: 486
    edited May 2020
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    Hi HB -- It makes total sense that sense that you would relapse now ---- none of us have ever experienced such disruption in our lives. Although, I do feel my medical issues have given me life skills to handle this better than I would have. But the survival part of our brain says -- where is my old friend? the one who always gives me comfort and will get me momentary pleasure. Yup-- our survival instinct is activation during stress and these times are stressful.

    I agree with MT -- what can you do that can give you comfort within your situation? For me -- I go out to the garden and dig some dirt. Each of us is different is what tools we use. I also use progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) -- when my Epstein Barr (EBV) flares, my nervous system goes into overdrive and PMR works really well for me to break me out of it.

    Don't be so hard on yourself. I relapsed during chemo. I had been quit for 6 months and made it through surgery, radiation but I couldn't make it through chemo without my friends.

    Instead of making quitting a goal right now, why not take the pressure off and instead the goal is to try different ways to cope when the urge comes up. We are all different and it might take you a few times to figure out what helps in one situation, what helps in another situation. Start building a tool box of tools Don't deny yourself a smoke, but just start practicing different ideas to see what does help.

    It's like my EBV and using PMR to calm myself -- when my doctor explained what was happening to my nervous system, I researched and found that PMR disrupts the connection between my brain and my muscles and it calms me down. It's one tool for one situation for me. different situations need different tools.

    Find your tools and then when the time is right, you will already have a toolbox full of things you can do. Good luck, I know you can do this.

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,162
    edited July 2020
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    7/11/07 - the day I quit smoking 14 years ago. I quit because my DEXA scan showed severe osteopenia. I was worried about bone loss and breaking hip & being warehoused in a nursing home. And I didn't want to keep taking biosphosnates. Smoking is a major contributor to bone loss. This was 3-1/2 years before my first breast cancer diagnosis so that wasn't an issue.

    For all of you still trying - I no longer think about it every day or even every week. But intellectually I still do miss it. And my head does turn when I smell cigarette smoke when I'm walking by so I can inhale deeply. I think I was a more calm, even person when I was smoking. Not nearly so OCD. Still - of course it was a good thing to do - for health reasons and for all that wasted money.

    If you're still trying - hang in there. Pick your battles. You'll make it when you decide and the time is right.

    Hi to any of you who may still have this thread as part of their favorites and are still lurking. We had some great conversations didn't we!!!

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,162
    edited September 2020
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    Just posted this review on the Book Lover's thread. Sounds enticing. Hope all my old friends from this thread are doing well - smoking of not. No judgement.

    As a former smoker, this is now on my book list. Wow - just look at the authors - Nicotine Chronicles:

    In recent years, nicotine has become as verboten as many hard drugs. The literary styles in this volume are as varied as the moral quandaries herein, and the authors have successfully unleashed their incandescent imaginations on the subject matter, fashioning an immensely addictive collection.

    From the introduction by Lee Child:

    Food scientists have discovered a complex compound naturally present in, among other things, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. The compound offers us a number of benefits: it improves our fine motor skills; it increases our attention spans; it improves our cognitive abilities; it improves our long- and short-term memories; it lessens depression...In and of itself, it has no real downside. It's called nicotine. We should all get some.

    The problem is the delivery system...The most efficient way is to burn dried tobacco leaves and inhale the smoke. Ten seconds later, the compound is in your brain, doing good in all its various ways. Unfortunately, the rest of the smoke doesn't do good. And therein lies a great mystery of human behavior. To get the good, we risk the bad. Or we prohibit ourselves the good, for fear of the bad. Which approach makes more sense?

    Featuring brand-new stories by: Lee Child, Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Ames, Eric Bogosian, Achy Obejas, Michael Imperioli, Hannah Tinti, Ariel Gore, Bernice L. McFadden, Cara Black, Christopher Sorrentino, David L. Ulin, Jerry Stahl, Lauren Sanders, Peter Kimani, and Robert Arellano.

  • tangandchris
    tangandchris Member Posts: 934
    edited September 2020
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    I wonder if I could join this thread?

    I feel shame and guilt about smoking. I quit smoking in 2009 when I found out I was pregnant. 2013 I was still not smoking but was dxd with BC.

    Well....here comes the shame and guilt. I picked up a cigarette in July 2019 and I haven't been able to stop.

    I know its insane to start smoking again after a cancer diagnosis. I have tried a few times to quit, but I just can't get there. My family hates it. DH really hates it.

    Has anyone had success with the nicotine gum?
  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
    edited September 2020
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    Tangandchris, I quit two years ago, I think on the 10th of September. I remember I asked both the breast surgeon and oncologist about smoking, and they both said that of course it's not a good idea for general health reasons, but it's not really tied to breast cancer. But then I found out I had kidney cancer just as I had my lumpectomy, and the urologist told me at my first appointment that I HAD to quit before my kidney was removed. Funny, if I hadn't been a smoker I'd have gotten a pre-op chest x-ray, but the oncologist had me get a chest CT for a better look at my lungs, and that picked up enough of my kidney to find the tumor on it. So smoking may have saved my life, in a roundabout way. It was a good-sized tumor of a nasty type.

    I used the patch to quit. Hubby and I went out of town for a few days, and early in the morning on the return day, I ditched my last pack and lighter, and sat in the passenger seat and crocheted for five hours on the road. I used the first group of about 10 patches (the strongest ones), then moved into phase 2, with a lower dose of nicotine in them. After a few days, since I hadn't had a single craving, I stopped using them. I still haven't craved one, even when I've inadvertently walked into someone else's smoke. I wish I'd known how easy it would be for me, because I'd have quit years ago. But maybe I needed a scary incentive to re-set my priorities.

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,162
    edited September 2020
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    Alice - you are so strong. Thanks for posting.

    Tang&Chris - I quit once to go on a private sailboat cruise up the Caribbean (one of several 'quits'). That "quit" lasted 2 years after the trip. We were out to dinner with my DH's boss & his wife smoked. Much to his discredit - my DH said: Oh you need to join her. You can have just one. Nope - doesn't work that way. Funny twist. Fifteen years later we got divorced and one of his reasons was 'because I smoked'. So you see, we've all been there.

    My last (and hopefully) final quit I used Chantix. Stopped smoking in my house. Two weeks later stopped smoking in my car. So then I'm only smoking on the porch. Good thing I live in Houston and not Boston in the winter. Two weeks after that I started Chantix and followed the 'decrease' plan. Most of that fall & winter I walked incessantly - rain or shine - whenever I felt the need to smoke. I kept 1/2 a pack in the freezer for over a year. Now I've cleared 13 years w/o smoking.

    NO SHAME!!! NO GUILT!!! That just makes it harder. We all do the best we can. Sometimes it comes together & sometimes not. You'll quit when the time is right for you. But oh it must be frightening looking at this hard task in the middle of the Covid lock downs.

    Look up to VJ's post on 5/28. She's made a wonderful offer to give BCO members a copy of her 'quit smoking' book. Just send her a PM.

    Hope someone else chimes in with their patch & gum experiences. There are lots of tips & tricks to sublimate and get through this.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
    edited September 2020
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    If it helps to add to the "Scare that cigarette out of your mouth" technique, smoking wrecked my teeth. In my year from hell in 2018 (2020 is an amateur in my experience!), my teeth were starting to crack because they were hollow, even the front ones. My Mom died in January that year, and one thing that was a relief was that she passed a few weeks before my teeth started breaking - she was 97 and still had all her teeth! I'd have been so embarrassed if she'd seen mine breaking. So I had the top ones pulled and got dentures. At least I had a few months to get used to them before the cancer crap hit the fan. So, a warning of what can happen to your teeth AND your kidneys from smoking. But I probably never listened to other people's scare stories while I smoked.

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,162
    edited September 2020
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    OK - I'll add another scare. I quit smoking 4 years before cancer. I quit because I was diagnosed with increasingly severe osteopenia. Didn't like the Fosamax, etc. But even more I was paranoid about falling & breaking a hip & being 'warehoused' in a nursing home. My grandmother never really recovered after breaking a hip. Nicotine is a causative factor for bone loss. I also was drinking a ton of coke - another cause. Quit that at the same time. That might have been equally as hard, since I never liked water. And bone loss was the same reason I was walking - weight bearing exercise strengthens the bones. Great results. Bones back to perfect.

    Unfortunately the chemo drugs from my recurrence 6-7 years later caused more bone loss (or bone loss again??) Losing bone from smoking was a lot more fun than chemo. Now I have Prolia shots every 6 months.

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,162
    edited November 2020
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    Bumping for those trying to quit now. I miss all you guys that posted here.

    If everyone's disappeared, how will we have lunch back east in four more years?

  • abigailj
    abigailj Member Posts: 102
    edited November 2020
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    I’m pretty new here but had to quit smoking when I was diagnosed this past February and learned that ANY kind of nicotine affects the blood vessels negatively. The breast surgeon said the odds of my skin and nipples (if margins permitted) went way down unless I was off nicotine at least a month and the plastic surgeons I consulted would not do the immediate DIEP recon I wanted unless I was off nicotine for at least 6 weeks and another said at least 4 months. That was what motivated me to quit cold turkey after 45 years of smoking on February 29th of this year, not the cancer itself - yeah, shallow, but that’s what did it for me I confess I lit one up in the back of a supermarket parking lot, like a teenager sneaking one, a few weeks ago, took one puff, coughed, tried a second inhale, coughed more then just ditched it and felt really bad I’d given into it

    But dammit I really still want one sometimes, when stress is high in particular with work so it’s still hard to resist tryin it again. Smoking/nicotine addiction runs in my family- my older sister has stage 4 lung cancer (thankfully stable without treatment following surgery for past 2 1/2 years) and still has a few every day. And my long-departed father went back to it after his heart attack and so on. And I really do think some people are genetically pre-disposed to certain addictions like nicotine, alcoholism, opiates so guess I should be grateful I didn’t one of those others, despite struggling to resist the nicotine. Thanks for understanding

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,162
    edited November 2020
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    abi - yup. I think most of us still want one sometimes. I'm fortunate that I've made it 13 years. But that was the 3rd time I'd seriously tried. The first time I made it 2 years. SIGH.

    That doesn't mean that I don't still occasionally DREAM about smoking. And still probably once a month I think 'oh a smoke would be so nice'. Like yesterday. I worked out in the yard for several hours and when I finished I really wanted to sit down with a coke & a smoke. Settled for the coke (meaning cola)

    Hang in there. It's a royal bitch. Hopefully you can find a good substitute to reward yourself. For delayed rewards, the money saved is amazing - but that's not much help when your back's up against the wall.

    This was always s a good discussion. Maybe others are having the same issues.

  • abigailj
    abigailj Member Posts: 102
    edited November 2020
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    MinusTwo, thanks for your understanding, it does help. I just need to keep a lid on my craving substitute which tends to be sweets like cake, pie so just need to keep that under control (or dust off my exercise bike to counter it) Again, my thanks.

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,162
    edited November 2020
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    Abi - please do check back in. Every one of us that ever posted here understand the issue and we're rooting for you. Yup - exercise bike might help.

    Tang&Chris - how are you doing in your struggle with this beast?

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,162
    edited December 2020
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    Merry Christmas &/or happy holidays to anyone who still has this thread in their favorites - or still checks in occasionally. Thank you everyone for helping each other with quitting. Or not, it it wasn't your time yet. I think of you all fondly.

  • abigailj
    abigailj Member Posts: 102
    edited December 2020
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    Hi MinusTwo and wishing you joyous holidays as well. I'm happy to say that I haven't fallen off the no smoking wagon again, although have been eating too much of all the baked goods I keep making - i love tobake and have 2 weeks off work more or less so time to do it...a dangerous combination). However I started doing some regular exercise a few weeks ago under guidance of a physical therapist (30 minutes daily though not in one stretch) so at least maintaining the status quo with my weight (which is about 10% more than it should be but good enough for now). Thanks again for being there for me!

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,162
    edited December 2020
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    Abi - thanks for responding. Good for you for finding a physical therapist. All exercise is helpful.

    Since the gyms & pools shut down with the virus, I decided to start walking in March. When it was 100 degrees in Houston & 99% humidity, I was only making it 3-1/2 to 4 miles a day. Once it started to cool off, I started pushing and now usually walk 6 miles every day. That's two hours I'm not eating - not to mention the benefits for my bones.

    When I was active on this thread earier, 8 or 10 of us planned a reunion on the East Coast for 2024 - but most of those have moved on. Maybe I'll go see VJS in CA instead.

  • abigailj
    abigailj Member Posts: 102
    edited December 2020
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    My goodness MinusTwo! I can barely manage the walk across a parking lot from my air conditioned car to an air conditioned store in that kind of weather let alone multiple miles! That is really inspiring! I live in a residential area of NYC so it's walkable without any crowding and when I was going into my office I would have 1 mile of walking just to go to/from the express bus stop, and would also go use the gym my firm provides for us sometimes. But now I am not doing as much walking, just on weekends since there is a nice national park that's a 10-12 minute drive from my house that has a lot of walking paths and beachfront too on the weekends. I work a good 10 or 11 hours most workdays (yeah, that includes the majority of the time I was spending commuting before this but I had to log in and work more often than not when I came home so it's really an improvement!) The recent PT has really been great for me - I already have more strength than I did before my surgery and I even think my range of motion and certainly my endurance is now better than it was. So as I was on the machines at PT this morning breathing pretty hard as I used the recumbent bike-like thing and then the upper body cycle-like thing I thought to myself "if you were still smoking there is no way you would have the lung capacity to do this" and that really struck me - I do not want to be limited in my physical abilities, I want to have the flexibility and strength to do what I want to do in life especially as I am getting older. That is certainly a thought I can now focus on to help me when the desire to have a smoke (or eat things I should not) comes over me since both the smoking and carrying excess weight impose physical limits. Thanks again for your support and encouragement.

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,162
    edited December 2020
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    Way to go Abi. I really like the recumbent bike. I miss the gyms being open but the walking is probably better weight bearing exercise for my bones.

    BTW - if you didn't know, smoking is very detrimental to bone health. That's the only reason I quit - although belatedly at age 63. I didn't want to break a hip & be warehoused in a nursing home for my remaining years.

  • abigailj
    abigailj Member Posts: 102
    edited December 2020
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    that’s some powerful motivation MinusTwo! Although my bones were good at last density test around 2 years ago when I was 61 I was foolishly still on HRT then. SoI’ll be looking to add some weight bearing exercise to the routine as well - PT had me do one today, raising my arms up together to one side at a time with a weight that looked like a plastic coated soccer ball - it’s a start 😊

  • CarolAnnieLumpLump
    CarolAnnieLumpLump Member Posts: 54
    edited January 2021
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    Hello Minus,

    I see there are a few new people here. Hello to you all. I am Carol, I am from Michigan. I smoked for 44 years until I was dx with breast cancer in May of 2018. I quit smoking on June 21, 2018. I still have a pack of cigarettes (Marlboro Menthol Lights) with a sticky note on them that reads “Not today Satan".

    This year has been crazy in so many ways. It's interesting that I think of you Minus occasionally and wonder how you are doing. I have not had a cig but I am still using my e-cig. I was using cartridges from a company named Mistic but they went out of business a few months ago due to some new restrictions. No notice was given. So it was a struggle to find a replacement in a hurry. I ended up trying a few different e-juice until I found one that works for me and isn't too expensive. I went from 18% nicotine down to 12% and plan to reduce to 6% with my next purchase. I know it's the hand to mouth for me. I just can't seem to give it up.

    I did retire from my job on June 30. We gardened this summer and canned lots of tomato juice, peaches, green beans, apple sauce, froze baked zucchini breads and muffins, corn, and asparagus. We did lots of fishing and froze lots of fish fillets. My DH is sitting at the table right now cleaning more fish he caught today through the ice. Any way we stocked up on all kinds of healthy food that was either grown here on our 40 acres or within a ten mile radius. Needless, to say I love the outdoors so my retirement was filled with fun.

    When we went to the grocery store in late March after not having gone for a month we were astonished that the shelves were bare. There was no meat to be found. No TP. So now we feel good about having our pantry stocked up with all this stuff we gathered. Lol. I don't know about where you live but here in Michigan, we couldn't even buy seeds to start plants or paint or any of the non essentials that you want when you are cooped up in your own 4 walls.

    I have to make a confession. I was planning to go to Cancun on January 16th - January 30th. My uncles family does this every year and I have gone with them for the past 4 years. This year things were going to be different in that my dad and sister weren't going. It was only going to be my aunt, my cousin and myself. I had visions of having a real cig on the beach! After almost 3 years that urge snuck in on me. Good Lord! I ended up backing out from going when they announced you had to have a COVID test to get back in to the USA and all the political mess. I didn't want to be stuck down there with the Covid or a false positive or something crazy happen here and me be down there away from my family.

    This is turning into a book... You had asked me last post if my husband was retiring too. He has been on disability since 2009. He looked forward to my retirement. Now I think I am driving him crazy. Haha. We turned ourwalkout basement into my craft space so I go down there and create things most days. I rediscovered how much I love to sew and have made hundreds masks. My daughter and I also have an etsy store where we make and sell things.

    Glad you're still here encouraging others to work at quitting.

    Carol

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,162
    edited January 2021
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    Carol - so nice to hear from you and discover you are loving retirement. Strange times. Wow, the garden sounds amazing. What a LOT of work to 'put up' all those things. And good for you sewing & listing things on etsy,

    I'm sorry to say I've slacked off on the walking since January 1st. Instead of only missing one or two days a month, now I'm missing two or three days a week. Oh well. I'm still getting in over 25 miles a week and I have to remember I DESERVE to sit in my recliner and read if I want to. My only outings are to the grocery store every two weeks. Before it got colder a group of neighbors got together several times in one of our driveways for a 'sit & sip'. Everyone brought their own chairs & their own drinks.

    Interesting about the smoking. Glad you found something that works for you. I'd love to smoke on the beach (or anywhere really), but I KNOW I truly can not have just one. Sort of like how I approach Cheetos even though it was a Lay's PT chip advert. Open a bag - finish the bag.. I'm going on 15 years out now and there are still several times a month that I miss it. Oh, it's just a flash & not angst, but I loved everything about smoking. Walking around the neighborhood I veer closer to those homes where it's obvious people smoke. It's my bloodhound tendencies. So that makes me weird again. Most former smokers can't stand the smell of cigarette smoke. I gravitate towards it.

    Thanks for writing Carol. Found it interesting reading there's not much ice on the Great lakes this year. I can't remember if you're on the UP, but hope your weather stays decent. Cancun will still be there next year.

  • jo-jo2018
    jo-jo2018 Member Posts: 139
    edited January 2022
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    I so badly want an effing cigarette!

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,162
    edited January 2022
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    Hey Jo-Jo... Been there, done that. Hang on girl.

    I hope some of the older members of this thread will post - or maybe new people currently trying to quit. I have to say that this thread was a MAJOR support for me. There are still lots of good ideas. A bunch of us had a deal to meet on the east coast in 10 years. I have no idea how many will still see this thread - but I'm still ready to travel back east to meet any of you once the virus dies back.

    And JoJo - I was raised in CA - SF bay area. I used to travel to see my parents in Palo Alto a couple of times a year, but they are gone now. My son is still in Marin County, so BEFORE COVID I was always out there at least once a year. Maybe we'll be able to go to lunch one day.

  • jo-jo2018
    jo-jo2018 Member Posts: 139
    edited January 2022
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    Thanks MinusTwo, just battling today.... Life seems to be a bag shit lately

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,162
    edited January 2022
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    Somedays chicken - somedays feathers.... Unless of course you are vegetarian... (LOL)

    I'll be happy to post some of what worked again if you don't have time to go back & read old posts.