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smoking during chemo


kimblanchard

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Hi everyone,

I don't know how I am going to get Chris to stop smoking. He has never skipped a day of smoking in over 34 years and tomorrow he starts chemo. Does anyone know if his smoking will reverse any treatment he receives? Would it really make a difference if he quit? He is so obstinate and no one can tell him anything. I don't want to be a nag because I know it is his choice and he already knows how I feel. What should I do? Has anyone here encountered this problem or is there anyone here that has lung cancer and continues to smoke? I am so frustrated because I am doing everything in my power to do to help him beat this thing and there he is smoking....any suggestions? :roll::x:roll:

Christina

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Christina -

The day I was diagnosed (Nov 1, 2002), I walked out the door of the doctor's office, threw up and then lit up a cigarette.

After sitting in my car sobbing, and smoking, I realized I DON'T WANT TO DIE YET! Who's gonna save me? These doctors! And how can I expect them to take me seriously and provide me the BEST treatment they have to offer if they know I'm still smoking!

That was it - haven't had one since. And amazingly it wasn't that bad, especially considering what a stressfull time it was!

And now I'm in remission.

Have Chris read this, and I'd be happy to converse with him directly if you want to email me.

SandyS

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Hi,

My husband quit the day he was diagnosed too. He did take a few puffs off of ONE cigarette a few days after they released him from the hospital in April 02, he got sick from the taste and the smell, and he has not had a cigarette since! :D

I would just tell his oncologist to nag him since you don't feel like it is your place to do so, but I would nag him if I were you - you might be saving his life and/or extending it. In circumstances as such - nag away. JMO.

;)

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Hi Christina,

Smoke, Smoke, Smoke that horrible habit. I smoked to 30 some years and quit fifty million times until one day I finally figured out I was hooked just like one on drugs. That it just controlled everything I did. Am sure your husband is the same. To him, smoking is his only resort to staying able to handle what is happening. What he doesn't realize is that smoking only makes it worse whether one is now with cancer or not. Smoking makes one more nervious so one keeps smoking to think it is making them calm.

No one can make a person quit. We must do it on our own. I had a dear dear friend who smoke till the day before God took her. Her husband was caught between the family telling him to stop buying them for her, and her telling him she needed it. He followed her wishes. Cancer is hard enough to deal with without having people constantly nagging you.

This was really hard for me to say to you but some people just cannot quit even though they know they should for life's sake.... God Bless with what ever choice your spouse makes. Just watch yourself with all that second hand smoke...... God Bless you too.....

Norme

--------------

husband Stage IV

nsclc dx'd 7/31/02

nsclc surgery left lung removed along with 5 to 7 lymph nodes 9/11/02

radiation and chemo 10/02 - 11/02

Radiation 12/02 - 2/03

2/03 mets to brain - 10 whole head radiation treatments

4/03 mets to bone - 10 radiation treatments

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Guest DaveG

I smoked for 40 years and quit in 1997, 4 1/2 years before I was diagnosed. I, however, had become addicted to Nicorette and chewed the gum right up to my initial surgery in 2001. The day after my surgery, I asked for a piece of gum, took one chew and threw up fo an half hour. I haven't had the gum since.

I quit spontaneously in 1997. No pressure. I did it over night. Went from 2 packs per day to nothing and went on the gum. When I made the decision it was simple, I was just plain tired of smoking. I was tired of freezing my *ss off in the winter, as my wife wouldn't let me smoke in the house. I was tired of standing out in the rain at work, smoking, because we couldn't smoke in the workplace. I was tired of my wife not riding in my car because of the smell of smoke. I was tired of all my clothes reeking of cigarette smoke.

My suggestion is to start making rules and enforcing the rules. No more smoking in the house. I imagine sitting through chemo will be a big pain in the butt, because of not smoking and I hope the chemo department will prevent him from going outside to smoke while on the chemo.

Smoking while on chemo is like trying to ski without skies. If he is going to continue to smoke then why go through the chemo. I know this sounds tough, but I don't see the sense in it.

I don't usually lecture about smoking, but I have a 16 inch scar going down my back because of smoking. I have lost my hair because of smoking. I suffer through the effects of chemo every three weeks, because of smoking. I want to live out my life in a normal manner. Smoking got me to where I am today. Not smoking will get me to live out my life. So, lay the law down. Make him quit. Plead with him if necessary. Get emotional with him. Make him realize that he may as well give up now and not bother with the chemo. An make him read this and the other posts here about smoking. It is now an absolute no-no. He has to make this decision. Get the family together. Just do whatever is necessary to get him to quit and do it now.

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Hi Christina,

My Dad smoked a pack a day for over 30 years. He found out he had lung cancer and continued to smoke for 2 weeks despite my pleading against it because he said it was a stress reliever. He quit after two weeks when this happened: One day at the doctor's office I asked his oncologist why is it so important for Dad to quit smoking before his treatment begins? Dr. Atkins said that when Dad smoked it was like dumping fertilizer on his tumor. That's all it took and he hasn't smoked since.

Good luck with your situation. I hope he quits.

Kelly

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Dear Christina,

One of my doctors told me that he wouldn't treat me if I ever started smoking again. He was very blunt, but honest about it. I stopped smoking about a month before I was diagnosed.

To be honest, I smoked for many years and thought I would never be able to quit. I though I would fail. But the fact that I had a collapsed lung and possible lung cancer got my attention and slapped me into reality. I always thought I was smoking because of anxiety. Believe it or not, when I quit, my feelings of overall and generalized anxiety faded. I think the cigarettes made me anxious.

I quit smoking (2 years ago) with the help of an anti-depressant called Wellbutrin which I believe is the generic medication for Zyban. Many people use the patch and some people use nicotine inhalers. Your husband should do whatever it takes to stop, if at all possible. People who have smoked for many, many years need assistance from the medical community to stop smoking usually. He can ask his doctor.

I am thinking of you and hoping that all goes well for you both,

Ada

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Hi Christina,

Like so many others here, a DX is the "wake up call" that brought me to my knees and I gave up the cigs at the time when my DX was pretty much made. I didn't stop when the DX was only a nervous possibility for a few weeks..silly me.

SO...as a recent ex-smoker myself, (Last ciggie 3-1-03) I have a lot of empathy for Chris... BUT...

Tell him exactly what you have said here:

"I am so frustrated because I am doing everything in my power to do to help him beat this thing and there he is smoking...."

This was my strongest motivator to quit. I knew that I was going to need the help of many people to get through this. I could not stand the thought of impositioning everyone like that and then have them sit there and have to put up with my ciggies too. All that would tell them is that they care about my health more than I did, so why should they bother? I needed and still need them more than tobacco. (Even tho my main caretaker is a smoker, he is trying to quit himself and he would have kicked my "A" big time if I lit up!)

I am still highly addicted to the 'tine tho, I use the new inhalers just as I would smoking. They have easily replaced the smoke, and I actually enjoy them. I feel like I am having the best of both worlds. I get the motion, the taste, the "hit" and the satisfaction from the drug as I would have with a ciggie, but am not getting the truely harmful bits in the smoke (heart issues aside) I will eventually quit the inhalers too, but at this stressful time, they are a big help to me.

I can use them anywhere, anytime (even in the hospital!) and no one will yell at me for stinkin up the place etc. It really is quite "releasing".

I truely don't miss the cigarettes. He won't either.

This is all still new to me as well, even tho I have been through a surgery and am now I am using them as my crutch. Sure beats the alternative.

Like DaveG here..I can see myself using the substitute for quite some time :wink: We have lots of company in this. I am not advocating it, by any means..but..it happens.

I don't know what your personal smoking history is, but I know as a smoker, I just ignored advise from a person who never smoked, (They do not understand) and perked up when I heard from someone who had successfully quit. Like most long time smokers, I quit several times with the help of ex-smokers.

Perhaps you can get a successful EX smoker to talk to him and bestol the personal benefits to him?

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Christina

You certainly have come to the right place for advice. I sure wish I had these great folks barking at me when I was trying to quite smoking. Maybe I wouldn't be in this fix today.

I'm just like Dave G (except my hair has grown back). I smoked for over 30 years and finally quit in 1997 after trying and failing billions of times. I finally had to pull out all the stops and used patches and Nicorette gum at the same time. Got hooked on the gum, had wonderful dreams from the patches, and have not smoked since. I don't think they had the inhalers then or I would have tried one.

Anyway, I chewed that gum for about 3 years and was finally able to stop but it took some doing just like Dave. So, in 2001 I was really angry when they found lung cancer. How could they???? I had quit smoking 5 years earlier. I had done the right thing and quit. Where had I gone wrong this time? I almost started smoking again. When I was first able to quit smoking I said if I ever was going down in an airplane or got diagnosed with lung cancer then I was going to start smoking again. After all, everyone dies from lung cancer anyway I thought so why not enjoy cigarettes again. Matter of fact, I thought I'd be dead by Monday. So, By God I was going to show them!. Now who in the world did I think I was hurting but me? Who was them?

Somehow, thankfully, I came to my senses and didn't start. I found out that you don't have to die from lung cancer. There are many who don't. Matter of fact, I have been in remission for over 1 1/2 years and counting.

Personally, I like what Kelly said above. Smoking is like adding fertalizer to the cancer.

Sorry to write so much but I guess this should tell you I am strictly opposed to his smoking and if I were in your shoes I would be raising all kinds of hell with him to stop.

Good Luck

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Hi everyone,

Thanks for all of the responses! I am still very worried about Chris. Sure enough, as soon as we got to the car after his first chemo treatment on Friday he lit up! I told him that it bothered me because I am doing everything in my power to help him and his smoking is in NO WAY helping the situation. He told me that he understands why I feel the way that I do but that he has been smoking for over thirty years and he is addicted and he is going to die anyway. (so why bother with chemo?!?). It is so hard being a caregiver to someone who is not putting in the effort. I have to struggle with him to get him to his appointments and I feel like it is a war trying to get him to take his meds. I feel like he is getting very depressed so I don't want to push the smoking issue too much. His oncologist hasn't mentioned anything about quitting and his primary doctor told me that it does not need to be addressed at this point. Chris has not been staged yet, but from all that I have read on the net he has got to be stage IV. He has a malignant pleural effusion and he had 2 liters drained last week. Obviously, smoking is BAD for lung cancer, but does anyone here know if it actually interferes with the chemo? I just don't want Chris to be in pain and to go through the motions of treatment if he isn't driven to beat this thing. I'm still trying my best to stay positive. :)

Christina

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Hi Christina --

My sister quit smoking cold turkey the day she was diagnosed with lung cancer. I quit cold turkey that same day - March 7th, 2002 and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

I do have another friend who was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer in October 2001. She has undergone chemo and also has had radiation to her head for prevention. She is in remission right now and just has checkups. She never quit smoking, smoked during chemo and still smokes to this day.

I honestly think Chris knows more than anyone that he needs to quit smoking, but I don't think all the nagging in the world will help. It is a decision only he can make and he has to do it for himself. Hopefully, he will come to his senses soon.

Good luck!

Kelly

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at his next appointment with the Oncologist bring up Chris' statement that he feels he is going to die so why should he bother with chemo. Perhaps his Oncologist will prescribe an anti depressant (Wellbutrin?) and that may help with the depression, the smoking cessation efforts. Just a thought... Fay A.

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