Have you tried to quit smoking while undergoing treatment?

Posted by Colleen Young @colleenyoung, Jun 7, 2018

The decision to quit smoking is a very personal one. Everyone has his or her own reason that helps start the journey to quit smoking. The diagnosis of a serious illness or chronic condition, like cancer, a heart condition, lung condition, diabetes, might be one reason to quit smoking as part of treatment and recovery.

Are you currently undergoing treatment for a serious illness or chronic condition, or are you a survivor of a serious illness who made the decision to quit smoking while undergoing treatment? If yes, and you feel comfortable doing so, please share the experience of your journey to quit smoking.

Thank you for sharing your experiences anonymously in the online survey. The survey is now closed.

However you can continue to share your experiences here in an open discussion with other members. Your story can help others on their journey to quit smoking.

  • Did you decide to quit while undergoing treatment? Why or why not?
  • What uncertainties or challenges did you face?
  • How did your care providers support you to quit smoking? How could they have supported you differently or better?
@colleenyoung

Did any of you have quit smoking buddies? By buddy, I mean someone who quit smoking before you or with you and supported you along the way. Or did you go it alone?

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That should read step daughter not step granddaughter. Sorry, Fran

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Yes. I have quitted smoking for last twelve years but as substitute I started taking tobacco in a licking form put into mouth under lips for several times a day. I now want to quit tobacco but can't stop this unhealthy bad habit.

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Thank you for sharing your experiences anonymously in the online survey. The survey is now closed. However you can continue to share your experiences here in an open discussion with other members. Your story can help others on their journey to quit smoking.

For anyone seeking online support to quit, you may wish to consider BecomeAnEX.com (https://www.becomeanex.org/) or Mayo Clinic's Nicotine Dependence Center (https://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/nicotine-dependence-center/minnesota/overview)

Find out more about BecomeAnEX here: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/smoking-quitting/

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@iandunlop

You asked about quitting smoking- Well here is my story. I was a 71-year-old man smoking about 35 cigarettes a day and had been smoking for over 50 years. I had tried giving up cigarettes a few times using patches and pills but had never taken it that seriously. I did noticed pains in my feet and lower legs, hands and arms and in my chin but had not been overly concerned about these. Then I noticed problems with my toes in that the ends of my big and adjacent toes were turning black on both feet and the toe nails looked bad. Now I live in Australia and on our cigarette packets we have harassing pictures of the various problems caused by smoking. Hence, it was obvious to me that I had Buerger’s disease. As far as I knew you either stopped smoking or had your limbs amputated. Some choice. My guess was that I had only about six months more to live unless I gave up smoking. Convinced that I should give up smoking my mind strongly supported me. I just stopped cold turkey. At no stage did I have any cravings for another cigarette. Note I did not tell my Medical Practitioner about the problem or my wife who is a Specialist Histopathologist. I was going to solve this problem myself and I have.  I decide to increase my exercise load and improve my already excellent diet. We had a Treadmill and I spent about 30 to 45 minutes a day walking at about 6 to 7 kilometres per hour for six months. Treadmills get very boring, so I bought a titanium road racing bike and slowly increased my riding distance to about 60 kilometres a day or 300 kilometres (188 miles) a week (had a couple of no ride days). Over a year I was riding about 12, 000 kilometres (7,500 miles) or a greater distance than I drove my car.I did this for about 3.5 years, but all did not seem to be quite right. This ended up with me being sent to a heart specialist who diagnosed that I had a non-clinical form of Atrial Fibrillation. He put me on the blood thinner Xarelto just in case. Being on a blood thinner that could not be easily reversed I gave up cycling as the thought of falling from a bike at 40 kph and having internal bleeding did not inspire me. I now walk about 30 kilometres a week, have 5 yoga lessons and a single Pilates lesson. Diet wise I have just about given up meat and have not used added sugar for 30 years and have not had any fast food in that period. I am appalled at the Super Market when I read the nutritional facts on manufactured food products. I recently had my second visit to the heart specialist who told me I am still non-clinical and have been so for a long time as the shape of my heart has changed to accommodate the AFib problem. My blood lipids are excellent with a Coronary Risk Ratio of 2.5 against an Australian average of 4.9. I have never had a heart operation and have no AFib problems that are observable to me without using an instrument like the heart rate monitor on my watch.People who see me bare footed have trouble in believing that I ever had Buerger’s disease.  Dr Ian Dunlop PhD Finance and BSc Physics  

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Inspirational! Thanks for sharing.

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@merpreb

Hello- I was more worried about how and when to stop smoking than my cancer. It had me in a panic. I finally came up with a mantra, "if you smoke you'll die." I stopped a week before my lobectomy. I came close only once to starting again but never did.

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Knowing that if I did start again it would kill me. I haven't suffered through 4 cancers, 2 stents and various other stuff to turn around and say the hell with it. I don't want to die for a very long time!

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Recently quit smoking after 40 years of a pack a day. Nicotine is a horribly strong drug that is extremely difficult to detox from. Please don’t judge people who tried to quit smoking and failed. My grandmother, mother, 2aunts and a sister all failed and had accepted their fate and all are now dead. I am trying very hard to not relapse but it is very very hard, even being faced with death. Please never stop trying even if you have to quit smoking everyday. Realize that you made a mistake and try again. It is when you stop trying that you will surely die. Keep trying! You can do it!

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Noreheenbeth- I so agree with you. Congratulations for quitting smoking after forty years. Twenty-one years ago I quit smoking after 35 years of two packs a day. I think that it takes the equivalent of a town to help as a support system. There really is no advice you can give someone on how to avoid the waves of craving for more nicotine. I had a mantra- "If you smoke you die". I said that every time a wave of desire hit me until I noticed that I wasn't saying it to myself again. I haven't picked up another cigarette since but the last time I was told that I had cancer that urge came back- briefly. I said to myself, "Yup, that's what this feeling is…" and marched on. But for those people who, for whatever reason slip, the feeling of shame is compounded by guilt. No one should pass judgment, make snide remarks, or in anyway attempt to shame a person who is trying to quit smoking- that will just backfire. Keep up the good work, and it is tough work.

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Wow, @merpreb, you came up with a great mantra. Congratulations on being so successful after a long history of smoking. You are a great example for others.

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@teresa– It really helped me. It brings you down to earth and sometimes even gets rid of the craving.

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@merpreb
I'm sure it would, Merry. That mantra would work for anyone. It would be very hard to keep smoking if you said that very often.

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I quit smoking because I couldn't have surgery while smoking due to impaired healing. Several months after surgery I started again. Then my dad died of lung cancer. He wasn't a smoker or exposed to second hand smoke. With genetics like that, the writing is on the wall. I quit again. After three years, my doctor didn't tell me but put it in my medical record that I had spinal stenosis. When another practitioner told me what she couldn't tell me to my face, I didn't cope well. I was angry that she wouldn't tell me, sad because of the diagnosis because I knew disability was very near, fearful over concerns of how to support myself and my family. I started smoking in June and now I'm quitting again. Chantix is my drug of choice. I think I've tried everything on the market and that's just what works for me.

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@harleymama

I quit smoking because I couldn't have surgery while smoking due to impaired healing. Several months after surgery I started again. Then my dad died of lung cancer. He wasn't a smoker or exposed to second hand smoke. With genetics like that, the writing is on the wall. I quit again. After three years, my doctor didn't tell me but put it in my medical record that I had spinal stenosis. When another practitioner told me what she couldn't tell me to my face, I didn't cope well. I was angry that she wouldn't tell me, sad because of the diagnosis because I knew disability was very near, fearful over concerns of how to support myself and my family. I started smoking in June and now I'm quitting again. Chantix is my drug of choice. I think I've tried everything on the market and that's just what works for me.

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Hi Harley mama! Fun name. You must have a wonderful sense of humor. But seriously, it wasn't until I was diagnosed with
lung cancer, that I realized nicotine is the #1 addiction, and the stigma is very unfair. In my journey with this disease, I have
learned that even research about lung cancer suffers from the stigma.

Because insurance made me go thru nicotine rehab, even though I 'never smoked', I learned a lot about smoking. There are
some excellent programs that compliment what you are doing. It takes some people 7 times before they can quit. You can't
do this alone. Have you looked in to the Team Approaches available to Quit?

I am sorry that your physician, was not helpful. For two years, I was told, 'Your cough is in your head"! It took two years of pain
and a choking cough before I found physicians who listened, properly diagnosed my lung cancer and saved my life. My Mayo Clinic team has been amazing and wonderful. So the moral of this story is get another opinion. You know your body best.

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