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New - Scared


Barbara H.

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Yeah, you'll be a little sore when you raise your arms, but not too bad. And like Colleen, the top I wore was quite loose--just wear an oversize t-shirt or something similar and you'll be fine. You don't want something so snug fitting that you have to strain to fit your arms in the armholes. I think at the time I had just purchased a bunch of "Free People" tops, all of which are loose.

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Barbara - I don't have any good advice for calming a fear of needles... Best advice I can give is just don't watch and try not to even see the damn needle! :-)

Really... Try not to worry.  The things you are worried about really are the tiny things.

Yes - you should quit smoking. That's my opinion. If your Doctor didn't advise, I know your anesthesiologist for the surgery will prefer that you've stopped.  Plus... If you quit now you will already have a head start on the nicotine withdrawal (which you likely have since you've cut back to one... that's awesome!) You won't be able to smoke in the hospital and you probably won't feel like it. "They say" your recovery will be much better and faster if you quit.  But... I completely understand if it helps you to still have that one cigarette to help calm your nerves right now. I won't judge, but I will encourage you to stop :-)

I did not care what I had on, to be honest, after surgery. You likely won't be there very long. I walked around in my gown and just made sure my back side was covered! I found another patient, an older man, who also had lung surgery, and we would walk the floor together. Neither of us dressed up for the outings! :-)

 

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Barbara, if you feel like you absolutely cannot quit smoking, I'd suggest you consider at least switching to vaping. It isn't the nicotine that causes cancer--it's the product of burning tobacco. 

My doctors considered me a non-smoker even though I was vaping. They couldn't endorse/recommend it, but none of them told me I have to stop. Of course, there is controversy about whether there is harm caused by vaping. From my personal research, I think as long as you use reputable, lab-tested e-liquids (which are analyzed for harmful compounds), you are much better off than you would be smoking. So from a harm-reduction standpoint--and only if you are unable to quit any other way--it might be worth a try.

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hahah!  you're so funny!! thank you!!!

 

I  will take  your  advice  about smoking!!  I will  not  have  that one!!!  I can do this, and  I  should!  thank you for  everything!!

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Thank you LexieCat, Ididn't  even think about vaping!!!  that  could  be  an  option.  I'd even do it without nicotine, that's  not  what  I'm craving, it's the  whole "ritual"  holding the  cigarette etc.

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Barbara

 You’ve gotten so much good advice and information that there is little I can offer right now.  I am glad you found our group and (as you can already see) there is a lot of great support here.  My LC was lower-right lobe, my surgery was May 2, 2019 and as of right now I am NED (no evidence of disease).   So please be strong and stay positive.  Once your diagnosis is complete your medical team will discuss your treatment plan.   Ask as many questions of your team as you like to better understand what will happen.  You can always come here and hear the experiences of others who went through the same journey.   This will not be as terrible as you fear, so stay focused on your diagnosis, plan and living each day fully engaged.  
Lou

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Barbara:    You say "do you think it's an issue that I'm still smoking  one cigarette a day?  "

I am sorry to butt in but I feel I have a lot to contribute when it comes to smoking.

I tried to quit for 10 long years and in the process I went to hypnotists, week long stop smoking camps organized by reputable hospital, quit cold turkey, use nicorette  gum and patches, acupuncture and all sorts of quit smoking gadgets and tricks. I am not a very smart person but smoking I can write a book about. 

To answer your question about smoking just one cigarette/day  nicotine is an addiction therefore our body  gets it's fill whether we smoke one cigarette/day or 50. The body takes what it needs. The same goes for smoking filtered or menthol.  As a matter of fact if you are a smoker your body will even satisfy the craving from people smoking around you. 

After many trials and error here is how I quit.

1-  I admitted that I was an addict and a weak addict to boot. I was  sick and out of control.

2- I needed nicotine completely out of my body so I drank cranberry juice concentrate  (not the cocktail) and that kept me close to the bathroom. Cranberry juice is a cleanser also good for fighting infections.

3- When ever I had the urge to smoke I exercised till my body was very tired. That calmed my nerves and kept the urge to smoke at bay.

4- Here is the good news it only takes 3 days to cleanse your body from nicotine. From there on you are off the hook.

5- To stop smoking all you have to do is not smoke that FIRST cigarette.

I quit smoking 35 years ago and never looked back. If you have any questions please let me know and I will try to help.

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Barbara,

I just saw GaryG's message to you and he is absolutely on target.  I will not tell you what you should do, but I will tell you that many of the chemicals found in cigarettes have a direct effect on the DNA of cells in your lungs and can cause mutations that will accelerate the development of cancerous cells.  At this point you have already "crossed the line" where cells appear to have been affected.  You need to make the choice about smoking or not.  One cigarette a day on cells that have been exposed to cigarettes, in all probability, will have an affect on those cells.

As I said, you can do as you will, but I'll be praying for you to have the strength to quit.  Either way, we are here for you.

Lou

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Barbara... Just checking in! Sorry it's been a few days; dealing with some issues here at home :-( but have not forgotten you.

I'm not sure where you are in this process right now... You had mentioned you were going to get blood drawn - did that take place? How did it go?

On August 16th you wrote: "Next week I'm going for a Wedgectomy (is that the  right word?) with the possibility of  a Lobectomy depending on the results after  they take the first chunk out."  I'm afraid I might have missed your date for this if it took place last week... If so, I am very sorry! 

When you get a chance, can you give us an update on how you are doing? Did you have any procedure(s) yet? How did your blood draw go? 

Wishing you the best!

Colleen

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Hi Barbara, I want to reply to your question about smoking one cigarette a day. Everything people have already written is true. Even one is a danger. I smoked a pack a day for 27 years. I quit once for 3 years, then went back to it. I used to say I was an expert at quitting because I did it so often. But the day of reckoning eventually came. It was my 45th Birthday and I was sick, again, with bronchitis. I decided to just not smoke for that day, in the hopes I would feel better. The next morning I went to grab a cigarette and thought that I hadn't smoked all the previous day, maybe I could do it again for one more day. Every day after that, I would decide if I was going to smoke or not. I could not face thinking that if I really quit I would never be able to smoke again for the rest of my life. So I quit "One Day At A Time".  Now it's been 30 years since I quit, and the truth is, there are still times when I miss smoking a cigarette. It's true you get over the physical craving in 3 days, but the psychological craving takes a lot longer. And remember, when I quit people were able to smoke everywhere: hospitals, restaurants, parties, schools, EVERYWHERE. So was always surrounded by people smoking. Now, the bad news is that those 27 years that I smoked, along with genetics and bad luck, has left me with asthma, COPD, and two kinds of lung cancer. But I really believe that if I hadn't quit when I did I wouldn't be writing this today. Best wishes to you and we will be here for you no matter what you choose. Mamma-Om

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Thank you Mamma Om!  Surgery is tomorrow (so scared)  but  I'm sure  being in  the hospital for  4  days will help in my decision!!!  :)   and  I agree with everything  you just  said.  A co worker just  quit 2 months ago, and all of a sudden her neck swelled  up, no one would see her  because of the  Virus.  she finally found a dr. and he right  away said it's cancer. she now has NSCLC.  she's been smoking about 9 years longer  than me... that was my future  too, I'm sure.

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Gary G.  Thank you!!!  You sound like the  book I read called "Allen Carr's Easy Way to  Stop Smoking"  I  got  a lot out of that book, and  I credit  it with being able to  stop smoking  the  other 19  - 24 cigarettes a day.  I know I don't even need it, it's not a craving, it's like it's too "final" for  me to  handle.  I know, very weird... I just don't want it to  be the  last cigarette for  some reason  :(

 

Lou:  WOW!  that  made  a lot of sense, and a  bit  scary!!!  I  think once I go in tomorrow, that will be  the  end of  it, especially if I hear that it  is  in  fact Cancer!!!  I'm hoping  not to have  that  cigarette today!!  I'll go  to  bed  early so  that  will avoid some "sitting around time"  I have to  get  up  at 3:30 to drive myself to  the hospital  :(  My husband can't take  me because he's  paralyzed and if  I asked  any other family or friends they'd have to  leave their  house at an ungodly hour, so I  figured I'd just  drive  myself.

 

Colleen Rae:  aw, you're so sweet  :)   I had the  pre-op testing on Friday.  I cried... I was hoping I wouldn't, but  I  did.    but it's over!!  now I get to  anticipate the  IV for tomorrow morning...   Oh and I asked the  nurse that  reviewed the upcoming  surgery about  the chest tube, and she said "I'm not gonna  lie, it's painful, but they'll give you pain medicine"  I said "I'm hearing the opposite from people that have gone through this"  she said "the  brain is magnificent in making  people forget"  sooooo...  now  I have that to think about  too  :(   so, no you didn't miss anything Colleen, it's tomorrow morning at  7am...  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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We'll be thinking of you tomorrow!  And, yes, being in hospital will definitely help your quitting effort.  After 4 days off, just keep reminding yourself, "it will never be easier than it is right now."   Like Mamma Om, I had a situation where I *couldn't* smoke for a few days, and that was the mantra I kept repeating to myself.  I've never looked back and that was about 33 years ago.  Don't miss it a bit (and I was a 2-pack a day smoker at the time).  

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This is your best chance to quit once and for all. Here is a promise: The food will taste better, once you go home, you clothes in the closet will stink. You need to wash them few times. Anybody smoking near you will get the dirty look :-) 

I'll be rooting for you. If I can do it, anybody can. Good luck!

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Hi Barbara,

 

Sorry for the late welcome here.  I have been reading all the posts but have been busy restarting my treatment for a recurrence of my cancer.  I was diagnosed  1 year ago with stage IIIa nsclc.  Went through chemo/radiation and then on immunotherapy Durvalumab for 16 doses.  Cancer came back in July but has not spread.  Just had my 1st treatment with Carbo/Taxol/Keytruda last Friday.  Dealing with some not so nice side effects right now.

I like you was terrified of going to seek any kind of medical care.  In fact I didn’t see a Dr for probably close to 30 years until my neck swelled so bad I went in to urgent care and here I am.  I am now completely over the “white coat syndrome”.  It doesn’t take much once you are engulfed in your journey. I was a 40 yr smoker and after being diagnosed I quit but it was with the help of both Chantix and a nicotine patch which I wasn’t aware you could do both.  My Onc said yes and now my husband also quit the same way.  He got tremendous push back from his primary for wanting both, but they agreed and now we are both ex smokers.  Quitting is the single hardest thing I have done.  Smoking is also the biggest regret of my life. You can do it, you know you can.  
 

I wish you luck tomorrow.  I know how hard it is to face your fears. I will be thinking of you,

Babs

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You guys are making me feel so loved!!! thank you for caring so much!!!!

 

Sabacat:   yes, you're right when you say this  ""it will never be easier than it is right now."     I'd be an idiot  if  I came home and started smoking my usual amount again, I always said  I  just need a jump start.  here's my chance!  If I screw it up, anything that happens going forward is my own damn fault!

 

Gary:  absolutely!  that's exactly what I'm thinking!  Thank you for your good wishes.... I can't believe it's tomorrow... I'm getting more scared as the day goes  on  :(

 

Babs:  I am so  sorry that you're struggling  with side effects!!!  when I read everyone's  stories,  I'm embarrassed that I'm freaking  out over an IV or needle etc.  I  need  to  get a grip!!!!  Yep, that's me too!  haven't had a  blood test since I  was  married the first  time back in 1989,  and even then my fiance' at the time had to  get me drunk!!!!  The dr. knew too.... it was the only way, and i still cried and carried on!!!!!  ugh... sucks to be me!!!  Congratulations to  both  you and  your  husband  on quitting!!!!  That's great!  and see, I get jealous  of other ex-smokers... so I must, deep down inside, want to  quit!!!  My husband smoked until  he became paralyzed in 2016.  He was in the hospital and rehab  for  so long that it  would  have been stupid for him  to come  out  and  start smoking  too.  so he went with it  :)

 

I will definitely let you know how  I  make out when I get  home from the  hospital!!  

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Thank you for the update Barbara... I can "hear" your stress, but as others have said - You really can do this. You can get through the procedure and you can quit smoking. We are all here to support you. Sounds like your husband will as well since he's already taken that big step!

One thing that worked for me (in addition to a firm mindset) was to breathe deeply whenever I thought I wanted a cigarette.  I would just stop and take several deep breaths and it would relax me. It was actually very similar to what I used to do with a cigarette / why I smoked to begin with. The only thing missing was the actual cigarette. Try cutting a straw down in size and take a "puff" on it instead of a cigarette. Maybe the action of holding the straw alone will help.

I would not focus too much on what the nurse told you about the chest tube. After-all, she did say pain medication will be given! :-)  Seriously - things were a real blur those first few days for me. I just remember waking up after the procedure and seeing my son sitting in the corner of my hospital room and I was just so grateful... that was the only, really important thing that mattered to me. My biggest fear was anesthesia or that something would go wrong with the surgery and I would never see him again.  The rest of the stuff after surgery (blood work, x-rays, chest tube removal, etc.) just came and went and left no traumatic memories.  I had my lobectomy without a 100% guarantee that the lobe had a cancerous nodule, so it was a gamble in some ways. It was cancer and, surprisingly, I was grateful. Grateful that it was cancer so that I didn't have it removed for no valid reason. Grateful that it had been caught early. After that - nothing else really mattered other than I was happy to be alive. I just wanted to walk and get back home as soon as possible.  Save your energy for that!  I am not good at following this myself - but nevertheless - remember: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.  That can be applied toward chest tubes and giving up that last cigarette!

I am curious as to how you are going to be able to drive yourself home after four days in the hospital???  I have a feeling you've been taking care of others... Please enlist help from others if you can.

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Thanks again colleen -----  This will help tremendously  Try cutting a straw down in size and take a "puff" on it instead of a cigarette. Maybe the action of holding the straw alone will help.

 

I was going to do that with an unlit cigarette, but thought it  would be too tempting.  thank you for  this, because I  really believe it's the action of holding the cigarette!!!

 

I'm getting so  scared now, it's becoming so  real.... I'm already starting to cry and I know tomorrow at the hospital I will be acting like a 2 year old.  I hope I have some kind nurses.

 

My husband and my stepdaughters will  have to  pick up my car.  Due to  the virus, Joe, my husband can't even  wait  in the waiting room.  The doctor will  call him when the surgery is  over, and he'll only be allowed to visit  when I'm in  a  room, sometime in  the early afternoon.  PLUS!!  only one visitor per day.  So  I'm hoping they will allow one of my stepdaughters to wheel him to my room to  visit for a bit, then  I can  give him the car keys :)  

 

I really want to believe all of you about the chest tube...   but  my brain has other   ideas, it's my brain that screws me up about the needles... no matter how  much  I know it's over  in a second  and  isn't that bad, my brain tells me  otherwise, over and over...   I'm messed up.

 

I don't want to  cry, I  don't want  to be  afraid, but i  can't help it  :(  

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it  may just wind up being a  wedgectomy, if it's not cancer... I have to  think about  that too.. there's a chance it's  benign.

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You are not messed up! You're just human. We all have our individual quirks and things we're scared of. I'm afraid of needles in my mouth. Not afraid of needles otherwise. I became able to tolerate them, first by having nitrous oxide first (for years). Now I  ask my dentist to let me know when the needle is coming, so I can close my eyes. It's more tolerable if I don't see it coming. 

You can do this!

Bridget O

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so  funny, I have  no issue with  needles in  my mouth  :)

 

I hope you're  right, I'm losing  confidence, but NOT smoking!!!!  Might start drinking soon though!!!! :) :) :)  

 

 

 

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Hey, good luck today!

I have a feeling it will all go perfectly and you'll be home in no time. 

Sending lots of positive vibes--post and let us know how it went (and how you're doing) as soon as you feel up to it.

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Barbara

 You hang in there ma’am, you’re braver than you think and you have a number of folks already praying and pulling for you so you will not be alone.  
Lou

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