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Addiction bigger than the Disease


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This coming Thursday I will be four weeks post op from right upper lobectomy. Pathologically staged 1A (I think A anyway it didn't say on the report). I'm supposed to have some follow-up radiation here shortly. The tumor had grown outside of the lung space but none the less removed. However, they were unable to get a clean margin due to the proximity to the greater vessels (superior vena cava) near the heart.

All things considered I feel pretty good and don't get too short of breath. I walk a couple of times a week. It's been kinda cold here so I don't get out much. I'm only taking one or two pain pills a day - yesterday just one. Mainly to get comfortable so I can fall asleep. Still have some discomfort due to the nerve regeneration but its tolerable. Not doing much around the house so far as cleaning goes my doc won't let me lift over 10 lbs until 6 weeks post op.

I am basically a life long smoker. My parents smoked so I was subjected to second hand smoke from birth. I started smoking when I was 16 and smoked right up until surgery for a total of 32 years. The first two weeks after surgery I had a couple of set backs. I got oral thrush from the antibiotics and all food tasted terrible. That lasted about two weeks. Then in the middle of that I got 48 hours of a flu that wouldn't allow even liquids on my stomach. Because of those two bouts I lost 6 pounds. I know that doesn't sound like much but I only weighed 101 lbs when this whole thing started.

This whole thing was caught on a fluke. I caught a cold and a subsequent chest x-ray (just to be on the safe side because I was traveling outside the country on business to a country that has socialized medicine and I wasn't sure how I would be treated) that started the ball rolling. The lobe was removed with only a positive pet scan.

And now the bottom line. I am unable to quit smoking :oops: I know they are killing me but they are so much a part of my life. Since this whole thing started I've seen five or six docs all asking the same question "Have you quit smoking?" Nobody tells me how, nobody offers a solution. I hate it that I can't do it on my own and I hate myself. They are bigger than me. I was so proud that I had managed to quit just for those few days and then :twisted: they came back to haunt me. They comfort me, console me. I have been able to give up other things in my life without a look back but not cigarettes.

I should be grateful that this was caught early and be jumping up and down for joy and be able to toss them right out the window but I cannot.


NSCLC Stage 1A

Right Upper Lobectomy 12/18/03

Radiation Coming Soon

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Welcome , I hope you decide to register. Most of us know how hard the addiction to nicotine is to break. It can be done! I am over 6 yrs nicotine free and boy it feels good. No more burned clothes, carpets, no more stinky smell, no more money down the drain, no more embarrassment if some one found out ( for many yrs many people I knew did not know I smoked) etc. It is not easy for a little "liar" up in your head keeps telling you that you need to smoke. Believe me it is not true. I tried Zyban and truly after a couple of weeks I forgot to smoke, before I got to my "quit" date. Even the patch is better for your lungs at least , it may help you with the habbit, but you still need to wean off the nicotine. You are young, if I added up your numbers correctly so it will be well worth it. Also some places have a 12 step program for nicotine addiction if you think a support group would help.

Just to add I also had a tumor found in my Right upper lobe, it touched to edge so I had chemo and radiation before they did surgery and chemo after. My lymph nodes were clean, and so far it has not shown its ugly head again, thank goodness. I pray you find a way. Good Luck Donna G

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I stopped smoking a couple of years before my diagnosis. I also had an upper right lobectomy, in January 2002. There are many online stop smoking groups, which will help. I found that drinking water and especially using a straw (simulates inhaling) was helpful. Pat, you can do it. Good luck, Judith

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Hi Pat,

You are my age. I started at 16 and smoked for 27 years, 2 packs a day.I started trying to quit about 14 months before I was diagnosed, and had a very rough time of it. I did find that Quitnet.org is quite a useful website to belong to, very supportive. I also found that most local hospitals and/or American Cancer Society/American Lung Association will sponsor 6 or 8 week once a week courses to educate and support people trying to quit smoking. There are various nicotine replacement therapies, such as gum, losenges, patches, and inhalers in addition to zyban, an anti-depressant that had the side benefit appear in clinical trials that it was a strong aid to smoking cessation.

I tried to quit for over a year, right through my diagnosis up to my surgery, where I was smoking a couple a day. I managed to stay quit for almost 8 months, until a serious depression had me to where I just didn't care. So since then I have wrestled with cigarettes ( maybe a pack a week) and spent a small fortune on nicotine gum, which at least saves my lungs, and spares my body the additional toxins.

Good luck to you. I hope you find the help you need.


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Hi Pat!

First off, congratulations on wanting to quit, that is the first step! I smoked 2 packs plus a day for 31 years. I quit once for 3 years, and I stopped this time 1 month before my dx, both times I quit through the help of a hypnotherapist! Nothing esle I tried worked, not the patches, not the gum, not zyban, nothing.

The day I found out about the tumor, I went to the store to buy a pack of ciggs, (remember I had quit a month before and I was really stressed!) I couldn't get the words out of my mouth. The hypnotherapist had given me a post hypnotic suggestion that every time I saw one of those no smoking signs, you know, the circle with the slash over a lit ciggarette, it would reinforce my desire not to smoke and apparently it worked. I am now 3 months smoke free and while I still miss them, it is not an every day thing.

But the first step is: you gotta want to quit more than you want to smoke.

Good luck with it, and keep trying you will eventually make it.



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My husband tried and tried several times to quit. He would go awhile and then for some reason or another he always started again. He tried the patch, classes and nothing worked until he tried Zyban. He said he never felt better. It's been almost 6 years now. As someone above me wrote, you have to want to stop more than you want to smoke. Best of luck to you~


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Check with your doctor, but there is a product out there called smoke away. It does work but first check it out with your doctor.

I tried it over the holiday's because I too need to quit smoking. Not only do I want to quit but I need to quit. I was not successful over the holidays. I am not trying to make excuses here, but the holiday's this year were my worst ever. With everything that was going on, the depression hit worse than it ever has. I have had depression for many years and I was on meds for it. I quit taking my meds because I don't have any insurance at the moment. I am still not back on meds yet. I did go for 36 hours without a cigarette because of the smokeaway stuff. It wasn't that I really wanted a cigarette but if you have ever had depression, one thing that will send you down the dark path is trying to quit smoking. At that point, I decided I would rather smoke than go through the depression. I know I will need to take the zyban before I try again, and I am going to try again soon. I am just waiting to hear weather or not I have been accepted into the state health program or not. I also am not working yet and that doesn't help matters.

So check with your doctor and see what he says about the smoke away products. It does come with a CD to listen too and that was so helpful. I still listen to it as I am trying very hard to cut down the number of cigarettes I have everyday. I have tried the patches, the gum, the zyban alone (I should have quit the first time), and all the other stuff. The smoke away though is what I will use again. I do believe it works. This time though with my doctors approval and with the anitdepressants. I know I will need the happy pills just to function. There is a lot going on for me that is stressful right now and I know for me, I will need the extra help the zyban gives.

Best of luck to you. If you don't quit the first time, keep trying. Most people who smoke try between 7 to 11 times before they are successful.

My prayers are with you that you are able to heal and feel good soon.

Take care,

Much love,


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Pat, here is my two cents.

You don't get comfort from the cigs nor do you get pleasure. The cigs get comfort and pleasure that you are smoking them. It is the habit you cannot quit. That is what the tobacco company did to you. When I finally quit I figured out that the cigs did not comfort me, they actually made me unknowingly more nervous. I didn't become calm until I stopped smoking. I don't run around with my head feeling chopped off at times anymore (well, maybe every once in a while when the roller coaster is in play).

I tried many times to quit. Once I was within an hour or 5 minutes of the deadline to win a prize, I can't remember, for it was so long ago, of quiting and gave in and lost the bet.

When you really want to stop, you will. It is mind over matter.

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Every one is different in what it takes for them to quit. For me the diagnosis of cancer did it and I have been smoke free since 6/6/03, the day I started chemo. I admit there are times I would like one BUT as long as I don't buy them I can't smoke them! It was easier to give up BUYING them than SMOKING them! I never was one to bum from my friends and I smoked menthol cigs for years which most folks don't so there was no one to borrow from anyway, lol.

Stop buying them and see what happens. Put the money in a jar or something you can't open very easy and watch it mount up. Then take yourself out for a nice dinner or something with what you have saved!

Prayers for success headed your way!

God Bless,


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