Oct 15, 2017 11:19AM karentwriter wrote:
Oh wow! That is very cool. Hopefully we will hear soon. I hope her mom is okay, I probably missed those posts. I've been on pain meds and haven't been very focused lately.
Share your experiences of life after a breast cancer diagnosis and offer advice on how you cope with life's daily challenges, including how you develop a new daily/weekly routine while you deal with breast cancer.
Posted on: Jan 13, 2009 09:12PM
Some of us will, some of us won't, but it's an ugly beast to try to tackle alone. I think I'd rather have cancer than quit. Sadly, I can't quit cancer. Dunno if I can quit smoking or not, but I just read a study that says smoking (nicotine) interferes with and blocks chemo by 61%.
If I'm gonna have to go through this crap, it darned well better work. I've come to terms with every other aspect of this mess I've been presented with so far. Sometimes with tears, sometimes with humor, sometimes with quiet hugs from hubby. Smoking not so much. I like it. It's my friend, my crutch, my safe harbor in a crazy world. It's killing me. It's time to say good-bye.
My quit date is 1/19/09. My husband will be joining me. Cold turkey for me, patches for him. (I am avoiding more nicotine just as much as I am sugar.)
Anyone out there care to join us?
Posts 12781 - 12810 (13,069 total)
Oct 15, 2017 11:19AM karentwriter wrote:
Oh wow! That is very cool. Hopefully we will hear soon. I hope her mom is okay, I probably missed those posts. I've been on pain meds and haven't been very focused lately.
Oct 22, 2017 03:43PM MinusTwo wrote:
Bosum - congrats on limiting your smoking some more. I really do believe that 90% of the chemical addiction is gone a week after we quit, but that enduring "residual habit" nags on & on & on.
VJ - what is the actual time the nicotine is out of your system? Yes, I could look it up but hoping we're still on your 'favorites' since I know the answer is right at your finger tips. And BTW - how are you doing?
So Bosum - back to the damn wrinkles. I'm older than you but it has been very embarrassing (internally) for me to go visit all these people from my past who look at least 10 years younger than they do. Of course, none of them smoked (at least nicotine). I just try not to look in mirrors and pretty much refuse to ever have pictures taken anymore. Hope things are going better. I don't do Facebook, but weren't you & LisaMarie Facebook friends? I have her regular USPS address so I guess it's time to drop her a note.
Oct 22, 2017 03:49PM MinusTwo wrote:
OK - just wrote a note to LisaMarie & will post tomorrow. Hope we hear soon.
Oct 23, 2017 10:44AM VJSL8 wrote:
Nicotine leaves the body fairly quickly - within 3 to 5 days BUT that doesn't mean the physical dependency is over. Withdrawals and cravings are caused by the specific receptors that nicotine fills in the brain. A craving is just your brain saying, "Where's my nicotine?" When you quit, your brain is screaming for the nicotine. It can take weeks or months for those receptors to calm down.
Here is the section in my book about nicotine and your brain. Anyone who wants a copy, just send me a PM with an email address.
Nicotine Dependence: Understand the physical effects nicotine has on your brain.
Nicotine is a natural substance found in the leaf of the tobacco plant. It is both a stimulant and a depressant depending on the dose. It can be lethal at high doses but does not cause cancer. Nicotine is the drug which causes the addiction, but it is the other chemicals which cause the various smoking-related diseases (see page 137).
While nicotine can be absorbed through your skin and the oral mucosa in your mouth, inhalation through your lungs is the most efficient and rapid way for nicotine to reach your brain, faster than injecting a substance into your veins. It takes less than 10 seconds or about 10 heartbeats for nicotine to get from your lips to your brain. The tobacco companies have further manipulated nicotine into a more potent "freebase" form allowing nicotine to quickly cross the blood−brain barrier, the structure which protects your brain from chemical toxins and bacterial infections passing into your brain.
Your brains communication network includes receptors, located on nerve cells, where neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) fit into like a key into a lock. Nicotine fits into a very specific receptor, located in the reward center or pleasure pathway of your brain, unlocking a flood of dopamine which is the "I feel good" brain chemical. Your brain "likes" this flood of dopamine. As you build up a tolerance to nicotine, your brain makes more of these specific receptors in order to have more dopamine circulating in your brain.
But your brain isn't used to this dramatic increase in dopamine and down regulates the amount. It is as if you are listening to music that is too loud, so you put ear plugs in to muffle the sound. Once you stop smoking, it can take time for your brain to adjust to a normal but lesser amount of dopamine (the music has been lowered to normal but you haven't taken the ear plugs out yet). This may be the cause of depression when quitting.
This increase in receptors and the dulling of excess dopamine is what makes the brain of a smoker structurally different than the brain of a non-smoker. This can happen by smoking as few as 100 cigarettes and is the start of a nicotine addiction. This does not mean that after 100 cigarettes you become a daily smoker, only that nicotine has already changed your brain structure, especially if you have started smoking as an adolescent, while your brain is still developing.
These changes may be permanent and may condition your brain to be more susceptible to other chemical addictions. This is why smoking has been called a "gateway drug". Nicotine is often the first substance used and it primes the brain for addiction to the next drug used. It doesn't mean that smoking will cause you to use another drug, only that if you do, you are more likely to become physically addicted compared to a non-smoker because an addiction pathway already exists in your brain.
The "I feel good" sensation doesn't last long. As nicotine leaves the receptors, cravings and withdrawal symptoms start as a reminder to refill the receptors with nicotine by smoking. A craving is just your brain shouting, "Where's my nicotine?"
The half-life or the time it takes nicotine to totally leave your body is quick, about three to five days. Many mistakenly think that once your body no longer has any nicotine in it that the withdrawals are over too. But this lack of nicotine in your body is what causes the intense withdrawals and cravings, which is your brain now screaming for nicotine. This continues until your brain receptors calm down and go dormant, which can take days, weeks or months.
Nicotine also hijacks the survival instinct part of your brain, the place where fear and compulsion come from. This is why a craving can often feel like, "I'm going to die or go crazy if I don't smoke". These are your "4's" and "5's" from your Tobacco Use Record (see page 32). This part of your brain constantly scans, analyzes and interprets your environment looking for danger. It is a carryover from ancient survival skills telling you to play it safe and not make any changes because change is risky. Your instinct to survive is stronger than your willpower (the thinking part of your brain) which is why using willpower alone is a poor plan.
Unlike other addictive substances, nicotine is not a recreational drug used to get intoxicated but you need a certain amount of nicotine just to feel normal. Throughout the day you unconsciously self-regulate the amount of nicotine in your body to get your daily fix to feel normal by unconsciously adjusting how often you smoke and how deeply you inhale. This keeps the amount of nicotine in your blood system within your comfort zone, to avoid both nicotine withdrawals and overdose.
When you wake up in the morning, the amount is low, so you smoke several cigarettes to reach your comfort zone. If you smoke too much you will start feeling symptoms of nicotine overdose. If you don't smoke enough or go for several hours without smoking and have too little nicotine in your body, you start going through nicotine withdrawal. At night during sleep, the level falls again.
When you consciously try to limit the number of daily cigarettes smoked, you unconsciously compensate by smoking more intensely and/or deeply to stay in your comfort zone. If you want to cut back, substitute a fast acting nicotine medication for a cigarette, such as the gum, lozenge, inhaler or spray. You will reduce the amount smoked but because your nicotine blood level will be in your comfort zone, you won't compensate.
Oct 23, 2017 11:33AM VJSL8 wrote:
Nope, still single but not looking. It's been almost two years since my heart was broken and it's only been lately where I think I'm finally over that heartbreak and starting to feel hopeful about finding a new relationship. (for those who don't know, the "love of my life" ghosted me after 2 years). I had gained about 20 pounds of what I call "grief" weight and it's almost gone, about another 5 to get back to where I was.
On the good side, I am working with a new medical clinic who is very supportive of helping people become smoke-free. I work as a team with a clinical pharmacist who is able to write prescriptions. I do the behavior part and she takes care of medication management -- so the clients don't have to see their doctor, don't get conflicting information, always have someone to call to ask about side effects etc. She also follows up with their insurance to work through any issues. It is really has made my part so much easier since they have removed many barriers to medications and I only have to focus on my part. We have on-going educational classes -- where people can come and just get information -- no pressure to quit etc, just things to think about for a future quit attempt. There are also cessation classes where they are expected to set a quit date and take action. So there really is something for everyone. Here is a one minute video they did: https://www.mydohc.com/spa/blog/details/91
Oct 23, 2017 12:46PM MinusTwo wrote:
VJ - Thanks. I'm glad your heart is healing. He was just unbelievable. The new job/clinic sounds really good. Hope it's also fairly close to home to avoid a long commute. And hope you have been able to stay clear of the fires.
Oct 29, 2017 11:09AM lisamarie68 wrote:
Hello Ladies ,
I am here in Las Vegas , sorry it took so long but I did not have internet and cannot remember my password to get on this site through my phone so here i am now .. back on laptop ... my mom looks so bad I want to cry most days .. she dont go out too much anymore due to having the O2 all the time . It was a 4 day journey but im glad i'm here and so is she ... I finally got work so I am working 2 pm to 10 pm ... its so different here from anything iv'e ever known ... It's hot and dry ... my skin and hair do not like it .. and my lips chapstick 24 hours a day .. I miss you all so much .. thank you for checking in on me ..... xoxoxoxo
Oct 29, 2017 11:39AM MinusTwo wrote:
Oh LisaMarie - we are SOOOOOO glad to hear from you. In addition to your long journey, I was worried about you because of the mass shooting in LV. Thank heavens you there & safe. How wonderful that you found a job so quickly. Are you working at a nursing home or hospital or...?
Sorry about your Mother. It is so hard to watch our parents get older, particularly when they are in bad health. Are you living with your Mom? How are you dealing with her boy-friend? How are you dealing with the cigarette smoke?
Yes, the desert is quite a change. When I moved from the West Coast to Albuquerque many years ago, my nose bled every day for months due to the dry climate. Slather on the lotion and drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Vaseline is your friend. I grew to love the beauty of the desert and still miss it.
I think I said before, I have a friend who's children moved to LV a year ago. I hope to visit her there sometime next year and if everything works out, we can connect in person. Sending hugs. You are so special to have made this extreme life change & taken on this challenge.
Nov 13, 2017 09:18PM MinusTwo wrote:
I miss my non-smoking friends and my smoking friends. This thread is still on my favorites if anyone ever wants support.
Dec 24, 2017 08:33PM MinusTwo wrote:
Happy Holidays. I was glad to hear that LisaMarie is safely in NV with a new job. Wishing all of you from the "old group" a great Christmas or Hanukkah or Winter Solstice. We had a good run!!! And I know we helped each other while fighting the demon smokes. Even if everyone didn't quit - NO GUILT. The time will come when everything falls in place for you.
Dec 25, 2017 12:27PM HoneyBeaw wrote:
I have not totally quit either, during the week I do great , weekends different story I struggle. I know its not doing me a bit of good but its like a bad friend that's hard to get rid of.
Yes 2018 is a new year and as I gradually change habits I do pray this is one that I get rid of I call myself a closet smoker. I actually have to plan when and where Im going to smoke and then use body spray to cover it up, I know Im not fooling anyone but it gets rid of some of the guilt I feel ............Crazy never in a million years did I think I would be in this postion with smoking . I always though I could just quit when I decided to
Dec 28, 2017 08:35AM lisamarie68 wrote:
Hello Everyone , I am here in vegas safe and sound ... working and tending to my mom .. las Vegas brought a lot of change that I guess I could not handle .. I started smoking again after 3 years on a wonderful non smoking journey ,luckily I have a great doctor in NY who is very supportive and has sent me a new supply of chantix . i will be back on that journey again ... I cannot think of this as failure but yet a set back in life ... I am sorry to dissapoint ... I hope 2018 finds everyone in a good place ... love to you all.
Dec 28, 2017 05:48PM MinusTwo wrote:
And for everyone - NO GUILT. Just imagine how many times most of us have tried. I quit once for over 2 years. And quit many times besides that. NO GUILT. Your time will come.
LisaMarie - thanks for checking in. Not Broken - hang in there girl. Honey - Turns out one of my friends & neighbors started smoking again in August and I never knew. And believe me I can usually smell smoke from a mile away. She's doing a terrific job as a 'closet smoker' - and feeling very guilty. She plans to attack quitting again with Chantix on January 1st.
New day, new year - guilt doesn't help.
Dec 31, 2017 12:57PM MinusTwo wrote:
Happy New Year's everyone. Congrats if you stopped in 2017. Think about the coming year if you want to try again.
I'm off to eat black eyed peas & cabbage and play dominoes at a neighbors. Southern tradition - peas for luck & cabbage for money in the new year.
Dec 31, 2017 01:52PM NotBrokenJustBent wrote:
Ugh, your food sounds disgusting. I guess if it works it is worth it but time with your friends is priceless. As for me it is pizza and later Fritos with taco dip, pistachio and cashew nuts, and chips with dill dip, plus a few beers and egg nog. Throw in some chocolates and Christmas cookies and it is a very unholy feast. Gotta love New Years when you indulge finally and then make resolutions that it will never happen again.
Dec 31, 2017 07:22PM MinusTwo wrote:
Love this sentiment that one of our BCO ladies posted on another thread.
Jan 10, 2018 02:30PM NotBrokenJustBent wrote:
Good one Minus!
Well I have been down to 10 cigs well before Thanksgiving. It was a struggle but now it is very manageable in fact during this bitter cold weather and snow I snuffed out many after a couple drags since I am only smoking outside. Tomorrow I will only place 6 cigs out and will see how that goes. Progress, not perfection.... yet.
I definitely have seen a difference in my wallet and that is a very good thing and also my index finger nail where I hold my cig has lost it's yellow tinge. Also a friend who did not know I was cutting back commented that my skin had a pink hue instead of sallow. At the time I thought it a compliment but thinking back that was very rude.
Jan 10, 2018 04:16PM MinusTwo wrote:
Oh what exciting news. Holding it down to 10. Yellow fingernail fading & rosy cheeks coming back. And extra money to spend or save. We're with you. Are you going to try Chantix? Or just go cold turkey?
Jan 10, 2018 05:43PM HoneyBeaw wrote:
Hope you all had a great New Years celbrations, we did supper with kids and Grandbabies and then feel asleep in our chairs..
Im determined to kick smokes so slow and stead is the plan that and doing planks everytime I was one. I will either fail or be a super planker by this time next year .Actually eveytime I want one I just wait it out until is passes , after I have done that 3 or4 times I will end up having one but the time between them is getting longer and longer .
Huggs to you all
Jan 10, 2018 06:46PM NotBrokenJustBent wrote:
Minus, I tried Chantrix and it did not work but maybe because I did not take it long enough. I will continue to try to cut down. When coming down from a pack a day+ to 10 I initially used the ecig also and that was a helpful substitute so that's the plan. Tomorrow's morning coffee time will have to go as I blow thru 2-3 cigs just in that couple hours. :(
Honey, I too try to delay the cig as long as possible. After dinner is the worst but I have been having a few chocolates, (well actually more than a few), and sometimes during my candy binge I get involved in the internet or the TV and I remember that I didn't have that after dinner smoke! I had read that a nicotine attack only lasts 2-3 minutes and it is true. It is very helpful to know that the constant overwhelming urge does in fact subside rather quickly and not a constant perpetual state, but of course the next one will come but the longer we go without the less frequent they will be. In my mind it doesn't have to be all or nothing. I feel like I am ahead of the game just by having not smoked several cartons these last couple months and so slow and steady I go. Tomorrow I will cut back more. GL.
Jan 11, 2018 07:12PM HoneyBeaw wrote:
I to have cut back on my Morning coffee as I will easly burn 2-3 just watching news and drinking my coffee. . My hope is as I break these bad habits that the smokes will go with that habit, so far doing well with that so I will continue the turtle walk.
Jan 11, 2018 08:13PM MinusTwo wrote:
Just read an MedicalX article that now docs are on board with using e-cigs as an aid to quitting. Apparently even if you get some nicotine, you aren't exposed to the other carcinogens. If you're doing well with only 6, maybe that's an option.
Jan 19, 2018 09:11AM lisamarie68 wrote:
Hi everyone , just checking in .. I started Chantix again yesterday. so here i go again . I am so mad at myself for being weak and giving into these damm cigarettes .. life is too short . I sit here everyday and watch my mom struggle for breath yet I chose to pick them up again . i am such a slave already to them .. i wake up smoke and watch the clock at work for my break . I have no idea what I was thinking when I let them come back into my life .. a comfort thing perhaps but a dumb decision by far .. so today is day 2 into the medicine in hopes that I can overcome this once again .. its only been a couple of months smoking but i sure feel its effects when im climbing stairs or trying to do anything . I started yoga to relieve stress and even the breathing techniques are difficult .. anyway I hope all of you are doing well . I miss everyone so much .. lots of love and hugs ..
Jan 19, 2018 09:59AM april485 wrote:
Hi everyone! Long time no post. Happy New Year to all.
LisaMarie, I know you can do this again. Don't sweat the setback. We have all been there. You will be smoke free again with the Chantix and working your knowledge of what to do.
Hugs to all! Back to work!!
Jan 19, 2018 10:21AM MinusTwo wrote:
April - weird coincidence - I was just thinking about you last night. Are you happy with a new job? Weren't you going to move also?
LisaMarie - April is right. Don't beat yourself up about would'a, should'a, could'a. I know it's hard when you're around your Mother and she's smoking all the time. Good luck going forward.
Jan 22, 2018 03:33PM SimplySammi11 wrote:
I have just stumbled on this thread after struggling to quit smoking myself. My daughter has breast cancer (her Diagnosis and treatment is in my box below). She was just told last week that she had to quit smoking. She’s only smoked about a year and only very few a day. Her first breast surgeon never told her to quit smoking actually told her not to worry about it right now.
Well we went to a new breast oncologist surgeon because of some issues with her treatment plan and he scheduled her double mastectomy for January 31st and set her up with a PS who she just saw last Tuesday for the first time and he told her she had to have all nicotine out of her system or he wouldn’t be doing any reconstruction. She has to go in for a urine test this coming Friday (26th) to check her nicotine level. She has stopped as of last Thursday and we are praying the nicotine will be out of her system.
We come from a family of smokers. My mother was just diagnosed with limited small cell lung cancer last May that was inoperable because of the size (5cm). Yes this is the lung cancer you get from smoking. She quit immediately after starting back after a 3 year of being an ex smoker. I have cut down tremendously. I had quit and started back myself. I am not smoking around my daughter at all and have hidden when I have smoked.
My daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer in June confirmed biopsy results on July 5. This has been a horrible year. We had just buried my mom’s brother (who smoked) in April before Mom’s diagnosis. He too had small cell lung cancer but his was advanced and we also buried my mother in law in April. She too had lung cancer but never smoked and we believe she had it for a long time before we were told about it. What can’t I stop!! It’s ridiculous with all the cancer we’ve had in the family.
I am in need of some support. This thread doesn’t seem as active but I’ve read a lot of the first posts and the last few pages of recent posts.
If you make it through this book I’ve written I appreciate any support. I can’t take Chantix as it makes me extremely agitated, nauseous and anxious. Been there done that.
I have about 4 cigarettes left in my last pack. I am determined to quit. I have smoked about 4 a day even just 3 yesterday, although today it was four. I have my pack well hidden and also any lighters as to not temp my daughter.
Do you think the nicotine will be out of her system if it will be over a week before she is tested? I would hate for her to have made it through all the chemotherapy she went through and have the reconstruction held up.
The PS wasn’t mean about it but he said that’s her s requirement and he’s supposed to be really good. Her breast oncologist surgeon of course will be doing the double mastectomy regardless. I would just hate for her to awake without reconstruction (tissue expanders) in. She’s come so far.
Our daughter is 31 and lives with us. This has been a hell of a journey and it’s not over.
Thanks for reading.
Jan 22, 2018 03:47PM StrongJess wrote:
I also come from a family of smokers. I am about to have an excision biopsy and breast duct excision on Thursday and I am trying to quit as well.
It’s going to be hard with all the stress, may smoke my last one Wednesday night as a goodbye lol.
I can go a long period of time without smoking but no doubt it will be hard! I’m hoping after surgery I can ride out the urges.
I think the nicotine should be out of your daughters system.
If you need any support I’m here for you! You can send a PM or post here.
Praying for you, your daughter and family! Big hugs
Jan 22, 2018 05:55PM HoneyBeaw wrote:
From what I have been told by co-workers that cheat on the nicotine test at work is that it takes about 7 days for a heavy smoker to get it out of there system. In the mean time drinking lots of water does help flush the system which makes you fell better but wont do much to get it out of your system . I see we are both from Tn. Smoking is nasty and I have asked myself a million times why I continue with this nasty habit knowing I have breast cancer . Trust me I undertstand how crazy it is........I to can go hours and not smoke and then will smoke 3 in a row.Sometimes I think its more habit then addiction., we are addicted to our habits of picking up that smoke at specific times.
I had pretty much quit during chemo and then started smoking more and more so back at a half pack a day which is horrible. I wish I could give you word of wisdom but I have none as I struggle to .