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Topic: Stop Smoking Support Thread

Forum: Share Your Experiences Of Life After A Breast Cancer Diagnosis —

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 14, 2009 12:12AM

webwriter wrote:

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%.

http://www.jointogether.org/news/research/summaries/2006/nicotine-hinders.html

joeoncology.blogspot.com/2006/...

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?

www.acoffeebreakcafe.com/CBC/b... Dx 11/24/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 1/19 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 26, 2020 08:30PM MinusTwo wrote:

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.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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May 28, 2020 08:25PM VJSL8 wrote:

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.

VJ Sleight, 1st diagnosis: 1987, stage 2, ER+, 0/18 nodes, lympectomy, radiation and chemo. cancer free for 22 years, 10 months and 27 days. www.VJSleight.com Dx 8/2/2010, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jul 11, 2020 07:59PM MinusTwo wrote:

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!!!

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Sep 7, 2020 09:33PM MinusTwo wrote:

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.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Sep 7, 2020 09:57PM tangandchris wrote:

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?
My reconstruction with TE's failed...had them removed because of infection. I am still unsure of if or when I will try again. Dx 10/24/2013, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 6/25 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/23/2013 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 2/13/2014 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Sep 8, 2020 12:43AM - edited Sep 8, 2020 12:44AM by AliceBastable

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.

Endometrial cancer 2010, basal cell multiples, breast cancer 2018, kidney cancer 2018. Cancer's a bitch, but I'm a bigger one with more practice. Dx 5/2018, ILC/IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/11/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/8/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Sep 8, 2020 11:51PM MinusTwo wrote:

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.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Sep 9, 2020 12:10AM - edited Sep 9, 2020 12:11AM by AliceBastable

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.

Endometrial cancer 2010, basal cell multiples, breast cancer 2018, kidney cancer 2018. Cancer's a bitch, but I'm a bigger one with more practice. Dx 5/2018, ILC/IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/11/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/8/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Sep 9, 2020 12:29AM MinusTwo wrote:

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.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Nov 10, 2020 04:44PM MinusTwo wrote:

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?

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Nov 10, 2020 05:12PM abigailj wrote:

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

Dx 1/2020, ILC/IDC, Both breasts, 2cm, Stage IB, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/22/2020 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap, SIEA flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap, SIEA flap
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Nov 10, 2020 05:22PM - edited Nov 10, 2020 05:23PM by MinusTwo

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.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Nov 10, 2020 05:47PM abigailj wrote:

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.

Dx 1/2020, ILC/IDC, Both breasts, 2cm, Stage IB, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/22/2020 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap, SIEA flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap, SIEA flap
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Nov 10, 2020 07:25PM MinusTwo wrote:

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?

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014

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