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Did you know that exercise increases inflammation in systemic sclerosis?


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#1 dimarzio

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 09:32 AM

I did post about this on the UK forum but looking for comments worldwide.  I'm struggling with the cigarettes but I'm sure it's making the Raynaud's worse. 

 

Have any of you quit smoking? 

How much did your Raynaud's improve? 

Has anyone found that their Raynaud's has disappeared after quitting? 

How long did it take before you felt an improvement?

 

I've been gradually cutting down, but having good days and bad - it's too easy a crutch to reach for when something stresses me.  So I'm just looking for other members experiences.



#2 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 12:06 PM

Hi Dimarzio,

 

I'd be happy to try to answer some of these questions.

 

Yes, I quit smoking.

I quit smoking years before my Raynaud's or scleroderma was diagnosed, so the other questions are moot.

 

However, I have personally witnessed smokers with scleroderma having their fingers, toes, hands, feet and even legs amputated, usually piece by piece. One of my friends had two fingers amputated before quitting smoking, and after that had no more amputations of any sort.

 

When I was diagnosed with Raynaud's (after vascular lab testing), my doctor gave me a very stern lecture, saying that I must stay warm at all times, or I would risk gangrene and amputations. If I was smoking or drinking, I'm sure I would have gotten a far worse version of that lecture!

 

However, in my experience, knowledge about smoking's harm doesn't do the smoker any good so far as quitting is concerned. After all, any good smoker is going to find that sort of news alarming, and then need to immediately calm their nerves, in the only fashion they really relate to at the moment, which is....to light up another one.  Same with drinking or any other addiction.

 

I watched my mother have an entire lung removed due to cancer. She merrily continued smoking anyway, to calm herself down from the fright of cancer, of course. And so did I.  Obviously, none of us need a medical degree in order to read the Surgeon General's warning on each pack.  Take that warning, multiply it times 10 or 100, and you have the effect it can have on scleroderma, reading, fatal and often entirely unnecessary complications.

 

That said, please do NOT expect that feedback to have any effect whatsoever on your desire or plans to quit.

 

Quitting is usually successful if it is a positive decision, backed with positive intent, and a can-do attitude. Maybe some people could do it while wallowing in fear, but I found it impossible. I have yet to encounter a medical reason that I could/would emotionally respond to enough to have gotten me to quit. I'm sure a reasonable person could, but by definition, a reasonable person is not addicted to and still using their substance of choice.

 

I think for a very long time, I wanted to think that I was trying to quit, but I wasn't willing to pay the price of actually quitting. I wanted the best of both worlds, for me and others to THINK that I was quitting, but to still fiercely hang onto the habit, and sooner or later (usually, sooner!) have another puff.

 

That portion of my life was absolutely agony, in retrospect.  But it was what I had to go through to get to the other side, and I learned an awful lot about myself, and addiction, in the process. I'm just overwhelmingly relieved to be on the other side of that, and to no longer be a little puppet being dangled by the Nicotine Monster anymore. I'm FREE!!  And I think only a former smoker, who was really good and dedicated to it, can understand how joyful it is to be free of the constant urges, desires, and feeling of not being in control.

 

Maybe some day you can be free, too. But please don't expect mere input on the health dangers to be a key to any of it. If anything, those can be a reason to maintain the habit, in order to quell the associated anxiety that information can induce.

 

:hug-group:


Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
Founder and President
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.