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Effects of Smoking and Ways to Quit


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#1 Karenlee

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 07:53 AM

Hi Tru,

Your post was really interesting. I agree that there are unfortunately many more people out there undiagnosed. Some cases creep up so slowly that the symptoms just seem random and singular rather than the whole of one disease.
I find it frightening that there are doctors that have never even heard of CREST.
It's understandable that the general public is unaware (myself included until just about 3 weeks ago) and trying to explain to your loved ones is hard enough, but trying to tell a physician can be harrowing.

If you don't mind me asking, what was the condition that Raynauds caused that lead to your toe amputation?

Karen

#2 truman

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 11:09 AM

Hi Karenlee:

It is frightening how many doctors are unaware of CREST and Sclero. I went to a vascular physician who asked me to please explain what CREST was! Frightening the uneducated medical field in the United States!

With Raynauds, the vessels shut off. At the time, I had a very small ulcer on my toe. When the Raynauds would hit, numbness would set in and I was unaware that this ulcer was constantly being irritated by shoes, walking, etc. When the blood vessels would reopen, the pain was overwhelming. My general practitioner didn't recognize that this was a Raynauds condition or CREST in general and was treating it with antibiotics for 8 months, until the toe started turning black and the pain excruciating. I took myself to the wound care center and had to explain CREST to the doctor there and by the time all was said and done, the toe had to be removed because gangrene had set in the toe and bone as well.

It's a slow progress and should have healed long ago, but with CREST patients and skin conditions, it's tedious (not to mention this awful smoking habit). I'm grateful that now my Podiatrist knows CREST, knows my healing slowness is part of the disease, and is taking care in the healing of the amputation. Next is a skin graph which I am assuming is shortly. Where the toe was removed, remains a large gash as if it should have been stitched (which it was), but skin is so tight that it remains a gash.

Sorry if I grossed you out........
Tru

It is what it is...........

#3 Karenlee

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 02:49 AM

Tru,

So sorry you had to go thru that. I cannot even begin to imagine how scary and diffucult that was for you.

The reason I asked was I too (hangs head in shame) am a smoker, and was told by my Dermatologist that if I did not stop smoking I would lose my toes.
So far I have tried the patch but that did not work for me. I have heard a lot of people have had success with a new medication called Chantix. I am going to ask my primary care physician for a script and try that. I know I have to quit. It's just tough when within one week you are told: "Stop drinking coffee, no more sugar, no more salt and stop smoking". What else is there to do? Lo Jk.
Anyway if the Chantix works I'll let you know and maybe we can be quitting buddies. :)

Karen

#4 Snowbird

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 09:46 AM

Hey Karenlee

I quit smoking many years ago (before I even knew about this)...I was a heavy smoker. I kept bags of those little white coated mints and popped them in my mouth steadily for a few weeks when I quit...humn...where am I going with all this....well, I suspect one thing at a time and choose your battles. Maybe try to quit smoking first and if you have to chew a few candy or whatever, well so be it, it won't be forever! Then, once you've won that battle, go on to the next! Good luck with however you choose to do that!
Sending good wishes your way!

#5 truman

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 11:32 AM

Karenlee:

I'm pretty much dead set against taking pills, because as a CREST patient you can suddenly become allergic to drugs which never were a problem in the past.

Ask you doctor for a script for Nicotrol. It's a capsule that is inserted into a cigarette like casing. You are allowed 6 capsules a day, but I find it quite strong and use one capsule per week! It was the only thing that stopped me from smoking before I was the fool and took it up again. In fact, (hanging head in shame too), I ran out of smokes last night, and used the Nicotrol.

Please give that a try before ingesting any more pills. We all know we do enough of that.

The patch never work and the drug you mention is sitting in my linen cabinet.

Let me know.....

Linda
Tru

It is what it is...........

#6 jefa

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 12:19 PM

This discussion is an important enough to stand on its own. In February we had a similar discussion and I posted a topic on Smoking and Scleroderma, definitely worth reading.

In that post these three points are particularly relevant to your discussion:

Smoking Cessation Support. Includes quit smoking action plan. American Lung Association.

SmokeNoMore Support Program Online free meeting for learning how to live a smoke-free life. Requires daily contact with the 90-day program. COPD Support, Inc.

Smoking Cessation. About.com

Whatever methods you and your doctor agree to use, please know that we are behind you 100%. Your friends here in the forum are available to give you that extra kick when you need it. Hugs to you all.
Warm wishes,
Jefa

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#7 truman

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 12:28 PM

Thanks Jefa:

Interestingly, a nurse at the Podiatrist office finally explained it to me in terms I understood. She said that for every cigarette ingested, your circulation is cut off for 72 hours. Meaning, light one 72 hours, light another, another 72 hours and so on.

I was always under the impression that if I lit a cigarette, as soon as it was put out, the vessels would open up again. Nope, not for 72 hours and an additional 72 hours for each cigarette you smoke.

That shocked sense into me. Now I need to get on the band wagon again.

Linda
Tru

It is what it is...........

#8 Sheryl

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 03:50 PM

Tru, I would be surprised if any doctor would agree to do a skin graft on your foot if he knew you might be smoking. It most likely would not take. The skin would die. The foot would need to be debrided. You do not want to go through more torture. Once you get through the first 3 days you start to think about it maybe 20 times a day the first day. Each day gets less and less. The thought stays in your mind less and less. You put something else in your mind. Reward yourself for finding something else to take your mind off the subject for however long. Clean a drawer. If you have to punish yourself. Every time you think too long about having a cigarette you have to drink 6 or 8 ounces of water. I was so sick of water. I got tired of going to the bathroom. Do something. I spent years teasing myself and only having one. You can't even have one puff or drag. NONE! If you do you have given up on yourself. You aren't a loser. My grandparents were tobacco farmers. We rolled cigarettes as kids for our family members out of brown paper bags. All my relatives smoked. Back then they didn't use the pesticides that they use today either. I know what each of you are going to have to go through. I went down that trail a few years back when I had to have toe surgery also. It wouldn heal either. I was sent to several specialists. I quit smoking and waited for my toe to heal. As soon as it healed I started back up. Then I found out I had Scleroderma. I needed to give myself every chance I could for survival. I chose LIFE. I hope you do too. I love each and every one of you on this board and don't want to lose any of my new friends. So, we need to stick together and help each other when we can. I know you can do it. We just thought we really enjoy those cigarettes. Funny how I wouldn't dream of ever going through the quitting process again. It is pure tourture. But we are strong. Don't give those cigarette manufacturing companies all your hard earned money. Throw that 50.00 dollars a week in a drawer and each week get yourself something for your reward. I even got tired of buying new things, which I didn't need anyways. So, I started saving for bigger things. Then vacation money. Find ways to reward yourselves. You are worth the reward. Enough said.
Strength and Warmth,
Sheryl

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#9 truman

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 06:03 PM

Sheryl:

Wished you lived here! What a support you are. I hadn't even considered that portion of the skin graph and smoking; you are correct.

Don't ever stop harping on me, because with you and all the others here, I won't have a chance.

What a special circle of friends here.

Thanks again Sheryl.

Also, thank you for sharing that story. So many facts and past histories do place importance on circumstances surrounding others. I really appreciated it.

Linda
Tru

It is what it is...........

#10 Sheryl

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 01:56 AM

Hello my dear friends, I am sure many ex-smokers are the worst about being around smoke after quitting. I never notice when someone is or isn’t smoking. I don’t mind smoke. I know I can pick up a cigarette anytime I want. You have to just tell yourself you just don’t want that cigarette. I kept a spare pack in the Freezer and knowing my security blanket was there I felt good. Knowing I could open the door and have one anytime I wanted made me comfortable. I gave my cigarettes farewell parties, funerals, burned them crumpled them. Something different every time I tried to quit. I was quitting for others like my kids, or grandkids or the doctors. I was never quitting for myself. You have to quit for YOU. You have to love yourself enough. This is for everyone out there that still wants to kick the habit. Tru has a bunch of my letters. Several these past months. She told me not to give up on her so I haven’t. I have tried every gimmick to quit over the years. The urge to have just one puff still occurs on rare occasions, but I now know that I am stronger and have gone through too much to take the chance of having to go through the process yet again. Most of the products are out there to get you through those first several days. Then it is the mind you have to sway. I once told my doctor if he could brain wash me to not like cigarettes I could quit. I even sat and told him that I love them better than anything in the world. They were my constant companions. Now, isn’t that sick? That is control. I was controlled. The last time I quit I didn’t use anything. I didn’t even go through the hard shakes of withdrawal. I had been through them a few weeks before. I put my cigarettes down on the counter and they stayed there torturing me for a few weeks. I could have one if I wanted. I just didn’t want one, I kept telling myself, I just didn’t want one. And I would go get that dreaded drink of water. I had a real flushed out system, that is for sure. I took some vitamins for energy. I found other things to occupy myself. Every one of you can quit. When YOU choose to. It will be 4 years for me in July. I really am happier. I don’t have the smell in any of my clothes or my car, or hair. My house is cleaner because I don’t have the tar on my windows or furniture. I can honestly say I don’t miss them anymore. And I have some very nice possessions that have given me pride in my accomplishments. I have faith in you. Now, you have to have faith in yourself. YOU GO.
Strength and Warmth,
Sheryl

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#11 Karenlee

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 02:40 AM

Sheryl,

Thanks for sharing your story with us. I can't beleive what a hold these things have on me. I did cut back to just about 1/2 pack a day, but I know now that means nothing and my goal is to quit. My Dad smoked for years then one day just put them down. Went cold turkey. This was back before there were all of the patches, gums, and pills on the market. My Father in law quit the same way. Just put em down and never smoked again.
I suppose a lot of my fear is weight based. I know it sounds like an excuse and it probably is, but between quitting and being on prednosone I'm terrified of gaining weight. But I suppose fat and alive is better than thin and sick.

Tru, I didn't know that it stays in your system for 72 hours! :o I guess that's why they say the first 3 days are the worst.

Karen

#12 Sheryl

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 03:53 AM

Karen, weight can be a big fear. Every time I quit I would gain about 7 pounds. I would start smoking again because I was starting to gain weight. So I would smoke and not lose the weight. I might lose a couple pounds but not all. Then I would wait a few months and quit again. I went through this process and patches and the gum, and prescribed medications. I got tired of being worried about my weight. So, when I quit for myself, yes I put on about10 pounds. I am alive and the 10 pounds I needed anyways. That bit of weight gave me extra strength and warmth.
The weight I gained from the medicines for Scleroderma added much more weight. I am not worried about weight anymore. I am worried about staying healthy and alive. My priorities have change. I do not look like the person I was 7 years ago. I don’t cough my head off. I don’t have morning cough. I don’t cough when cold air hits my lungs. I am healthier in mind and body. I now weigh 50 pounds more than I did. I know it is from medications so I just forget about what others see. I still in my mind sometimes think I am still thin. Then I walk past a mirror and get shocked all over again. Live goes on. I want to be here and watch it. I may be a fat little butterball, but I am smiling because I feel I have accomplished the biggest feat in my world, striving for health. Keep taking that one step forward. When you are ready it will be easy. It takes being ready.
Strength and Warmth,
Sheryl

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#13 isobelle44

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 11:47 AM

I smoked for quite a few years, then I got morphea. I still smoked but began to notice that my breathing was alittle off, kinda labored, but not bad. So I figured I would quit. But I liked smoking, and rationaled in my head that my disease was only morphea and that is just skin involvement. So I continued. Then I got at times a tight chest, hmmm, and I had a weird sensation in my throat like food stuck, so I would quit during the week and only smoke on weekends. That certainly couldn't hurt me. Well I wouldnt smoke all week and friday night run to the gas station cause "the car needed gas" and as long as I was there I mise well pick up a pack. That first inhale should have made me shudder, but it didn't, it felt just like I had a cigarette 10 minutes ago. By sunday night, my throat was tight and felt like something was stuck in there, chest tight, slightly labored breathing, it would take the week to get over it. Then Friday night I would feel good, normal, and the game began again. I did that several times for months, till I finally got to the point where I hated feeling sunday nights. And taking the week to recover. I dont know if I have lung involvement or not, but smoking sure affected me personally. I agree with the one that said you can't quit for anyone but yourself. I tried to do it before for my husband, my kids, anyone but me and it never worked. I had to get sick before I did it. I won't touch a cigarette again, I know what comes after. Sharon

#14 kellyA

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 06:57 AM

I also quit the day I started chemo last June (my first visit) I watched a woman next to me choke (she told me she has Stag. 4 lung cancer) it was horrible I wanted to cry and promised nyself I would never have another cig.

I did have a set back my mother passed away and I had about 3 cigs a few months ago, they made me so sick I almost threw up.

Do what you can to quit, you will feel so much better, yes I gained 10lbs (working on trying to get that off) I actually can do 45 min on the treadmill, when I smoked I could hardley do 10.

KellyA

#15 KarenL

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 09:37 AM

I smoked as a teenager. Not even heavily, but at age 47 when I had my first (of three) heart attacks due to coronary artery disease my doctor said it could indeed be because of smoking all those long years ago! Also, my rheumatologist said that my youthful indescretions could have caused some early blood vessel damage in the heart and fingers too. You just never know. I'm so glad I quit. I had a boyfriend in college who refused to kiss me when I tasted like smokes, so that was that for me! :lol: Let me know what works for any of you....I have a young man, 18 years old, a friend of my sons living with us now and he smokes and has Raynauds! He tried the gum, but it made him sick. His hands are really bad, but he's too proud to wear gloves etc. Oh dear....Good luck everyone!

Karen