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Author Topic: Former smokers experience  (Read 10050 times)
fredjeang
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« on: December 29, 2011, 01:46:48 PM »
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Hi guys, this is I think the appropriate forum for this topic.

I'd like to have, if there are some here in Lu-La, former heavy smokers testimonials.

The short story is this:
I've been a heavy smoker (2 - 3 packs a day) for more than 20 years and a serious coffee drinker too.

I've never visited a doctor since my childwood, not ill one time. Not kidding.

Recently I've decided to stop coffees and passed from at least 60 cigaretes a day to 5 - 6, not because I was ill but, you know, because
I was thinking that this crazy consumming would end to kill me although I was perfectly fine.

And then problems started to araise just coinciding with the period I stopped. Instead of feeling better, the body's reaction has suddenly turned crazy:
low pressure, cardiac rythm suddenly unstable, low, then high, headaches (never happened to me in the past), sensation of breathing worse, lack of concentration, and I'm starting to catch colds easily...
I also had sort of dizziness sensations that come and go from time to time, and a form of anguish.
I'm really having bad time those days, and my social life is affected; it's not my style to complain or feeling physically bad, but the sensation in fact is that it seems that when I decided to take care of my healph, the worse I'm feeling !

If you've been a serious smoker in the past, I'd like to hear from your experience.

Thanks.  
« Last Edit: December 29, 2011, 02:16:05 PM by fredjeang » Logged
Guillermo Luijk
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2011, 01:56:00 PM »
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I've never visited a doctor since my childwood

Just do it now. He will probably tell you this is just withdrawal syndrome symptoms.
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jeremypayne
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2011, 02:01:35 PM »
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It gets better ... I promise.  Give it some time ... Probably a few months.  Stick with it ... Quitting smoking is VERY hard.  It took me a long time and many attempts.  Mark Twain said it well ... Paraphrasing ... "quitting smoking is one of the easiest things I have ever done - I've done it thousands of times!"

When I used to smoke I used to drink a coffee or espresso with almost every cigarette ... There is a cross tolerance between caffeine and nicotine.   Now that I no longer smoke at all, I find I consume FAR less coffee - but I still drink it.

Your body is used to processing poison.  It is a bit of a shock to stop pushing so many toxins around and your body will react in funny ways ... Your brain will also try and trick you into smoking again.

Find a healthier distraction ... I used lolipops ...
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fredjeang
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2011, 02:08:35 PM »
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Many thanks guys.

Yeah Jeremy, I'm with you on your description. I've noticed that the brain tries to fool me and let me think that if I smoke back like before, the bad symptoms will disapear.

But in fact it seems that the cure is starting first with not very funny moment.

I'm sticking with it.

Best regards.
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Riaan van Wyk
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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2011, 02:38:55 PM »
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Can't help with the smoking part Fred seeing that I smoke and only once tried to give up and gave up on giving up since then. I had a simmilar experience when I gave up drinking Coca-Cola during the day though. Used consume about four litres of the stuff daily and always wondered why I had no energy in the evenings. An athlete described to me one day why I had the problem with Coke and started drinking bottled water and fruit juice- had a serious reaction to it for a few weeks ( headaches and the like as you describe) but lost 15kg's.

 I still drink Coke though, but only because rum isn't drinkable with anything else. Thank heavens I don't drink coffee, it's an addiction all by itself.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2011, 02:42:11 PM by Riaan van Wyk » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2011, 03:22:08 PM »
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I used to smoke quite a lot, as did my father-in-law. He owned an office building and I had a top apartment as my first studio, and his own offices were ground floor. He used to come on up and see me now and again, just to see how business was going - save his daughter's neck, more like it - and he thought he'd like to stop smoking. I thought about that, about the way I used to light one just before starting a long run of prints that I couldn't stop working with with wet hands... so those cigs would burn right down to my lips, fill my eyes with tears of both smoke and pain, and then I'd finally poison myself with developer/fixer fingers when I couldn't take any more. Then the long time spent spotting ash marks on those bloody prints from the same messy cloud at the enlarger...

At the same time, my wife's uncle died of throat cancer.

I noticed that I used to get regular sore throats; I'd stop for two weeks or so and feel fine. Then I'd start the entire cycle all over again.

My father-in-law's wish to stop seemed a good idea. We made a bet for more money than I wanted to lose about who'd give up first. We both kicked it!

Drinking. I hardly drank at all in Scotland - it was too risky because as a one-man-band, I was as vulnerable as a taxi driver to the result of losing a driving licence. But, once we came to live in Spain, it all changed. That was totally inevitable because of the social life out here. G&Ts became very pleasant to have at around 11am with something nice to chew; invitations to pre-lunch cocktails would wipe one out until late afternoon. And I was supposed still to be working. We eventually gave up the social whirl but still killed a minimum of a bottle of chilled white every lunchtime and the best part of another at night. As one would, when one could... could, because along came a heart attack and I was told that a single glass of red, which neither of us liked much, was my limit because of the effect of alcohol on the heart. Apparently, the red contains anti-oxidants that help cleanse the blood, but more than one glass goes the other way and causes more direct problems than it solves.

Coffee. That, too, was limited to a single cup a day. Until my next attack, I obeyed it all religiously. Then, after that, I lost my wife, and now, though I still stay within the restrictions regarding wine, coffee – decaffed – has become maybe four cups a day minimum. And I’m not giving it up, either. Why? Because I feel precious little wish to knock myself stupid with alcohol and lose even more of the day than I do now to housework, but as far as the coffee goes, it takes me out into local café/bars and life. I see and chat with folks on a superficial level and as best I can in Spanitaliano and we get along just fine. If I take that away from the total act, then I may as well save everybody a lot of time and let the kids inherit tomorrow.

But Fred, the body is always changing. My wife seldom ever had even a cold – but that didn’t save her. I was always sniffing in winter, but the worst flu’ I ever had was after I was shamed into having an anti-flu’ jag one year! Never again! Light heads?… join the club; fainting in restaurants? - I have a record now. Hard to hold focus when using a viewfinder? Talk to me.

And you know what - losing my wife stopped me having any fear of death. I still fear pain and possibly being incapacitated, of course, but when your life’s already pretty well effed’ why would you care anymore?

In the end, the older I get, the more I believe that it’s all mapped out for you before you pop out into this world. I look around at some of the useless people that I know who have become so successful, and I see no other explanation.

Rob C


 
« Last Edit: December 29, 2011, 09:33:48 PM by Rob C » Logged

jalcocer
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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2011, 03:45:20 PM »
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Well, I've been a semi heavy smoker (1 and a half packs a day) for 15 years, there was a period, about 2 years ago, that I tried to quit smoking, and have to tell you, I felt horrible, besides the anxiety, I started to have head aches and also caught the flu two times in that period, when before that I've only have like 1 cold a year at the most. The final of the story was me going back to smoking and ever since then everything is ok. I know I should quit, that at some point I'm going to end up with lung or some type of cancer, but the truth is, that's the last thing on my mind.

The same happened when tried to reduce the coffee, I usually get around 7 or 8 cups a day on a regular basis, sometimes even more.

This you are experiencing may be your body adapting to the new scenario, and only that, if you want to keep it this way just give it some time for your body to settle.
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KLaban
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« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2011, 04:48:02 PM »
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Fred

I was addicted by my early teens, smoked up to two packs a day for 40+ years.

Five years ago I was working on a blob of rock in the middle of the Aegean Sea when I suffered a heart attack. Several days later I remember all too well lying in intensive care having just been brought back from the brink by a defibrillator and skilled doctors and thinking if I get through this I'm going to change, or rather I'm going to have to change.

I have.

Please, do so while you can.

Best

Keith
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langier
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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2011, 05:45:33 PM »
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A friend in the 1960s smoked like a chimney. Next thing you know, he was in the hospital, diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Smoking wasn't the cause, but he decided one strike was enough and took in smoking money and bought a nice camera which he shot until recently. In the mean time, his wife at the time continued to smoke for the next 25 years. First, she lost half her jaw, then part of the esophagus, then her life...

In the mean time, my friend is doing well and is fairly healthy now in his 80s. All the money he saved not smoking bought the camera, film, traveling and a lot of enjoyment and so far, a long life.

However if you are in California, please keep smoking. It helps save the children through the tax revenue and "big brother" programs (let Uncle taxpayer raise your children;-) and keeps the tax man out of my pocket, LOL!
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Larry Angier
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Justan
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« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2011, 06:38:08 PM »
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I smoked up to 3 packs of cigs a day (Camel filters, and also liked to roll my own with Three Castles, Drum and some other more exotic stuff) and also drank pots of coffee daily. I quit smoking “cold turkey,” as they say back in the summer of 1992, and never looked back.

The consequence was that I suffered from chronic fatigue for the longest time and had some of the problems you mentioned. I started walking daily (still do) and greatly reduced my caffeine intake by about 75% initially and it has gone mostly down since then. Currently I have about a cup or two o’joe week. It *really* wires you if you don’t drink it daily.

If I had it to do again, I would have quit smoking as I did but used something like a nicotine patch to help re-acclimate myself to lower levels of stimulants. That would have made it easier. There are a wide variety of options for aiding this process.

Your body has acclimated to the stimulants and so it’s used to getting is fix. It is complaining and maybe malfunctioning a little because it’s not getting what it wants.

I encourage you to contact a health care provider. It can be a doc (MD), nurse practitioner (ARNP), physician’s assistant (PA). These are titles known in the US; other places probably have different titles. Any of them can give you guidance and may suggest some goodies to help safely detox yourself.

Doctors really are excellent resources to be taken advantage of. Many people dislike going to them and some fear them. It is important to get over any objections you have. Docs can be a great aid during this process and everyone can benefit from an occasional blood test to make sure that everything is working okay.

Congratulations on putting a handicap behind you and in doing so you have gifted yourself the single best thing you can do to insure greater health and longevity!!!

Quitting is very difficult and you owe it to yourself to give yourself the best opportunity at success. It gets easier but probably not noticeably easier for a couple of weeks or so. Walking really, really helps. I started with 15 minutes a day and worked up from there.

Hang I there!
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fredjeang
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« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2011, 01:04:57 AM »
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Thank you all so much for your testimonials.

It's been really informative and helpfull.

After reading you, it gives me root for keeping my decision and accept the body symptoms as part of the process.
I'm very thankfull you took the time to share your experiences.

Best regards.
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Rob C
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« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2011, 02:54:06 AM »
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Thank you all so much for your testimonials.

It's been really informative and helpfull.

After reading you, it gives me root for keeping my decision and accept the body symptoms as part of the process.
I'm very thankfull you took the time to share your experiences.

Best regards.




Still see a medico first, Fred; don't diagnose yourself or from websites.

Rob C
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kikashi
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« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2011, 04:22:18 AM »
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Fred, smoking cigarettes is an unmitigated1 evil, for you and for those around you. I applaud your attempt to give up and I wish you well. I'm sure you'll feel much better in the long run.

A quick trip to a doctor for confirmation that all is as to be expected wouldn't hurt, though. I agree entirely with Rob that getting medical help from web sites (particularly photography web sites!) is a sub-optimal idea.

I'd be much more relaxed about coffee-drinking, though.

Jeremy

1unless you have one particular nasty bowel condition, which there is, or used to be, some evidence it assisted
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fredjeang
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« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2011, 04:42:40 AM »
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Of course, I didn't pretend getting a medical diagnostic from a website. But simply that people who have been through the process could share their experiences.

Best regards.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2011, 06:01:35 AM by fredjeang » Logged
RSL
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« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2011, 09:12:27 AM »
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Fred, I smoked for 38 years, starting when I was sixteen. Toward the end I decided to stop by switching to snuff. Went around with a wad of the stuff stuffed under my lip until my dentist told me my mouth was becoming pre-cancerous. Actually, I think my wife conned him into saying that, though he was heavily disposed in that direction before she said anything to him. Then I had to face the music and quit. I think I was getting an even bigger nicotine jolt from the snuff than I ever got from a cigarette or a pipe or a cigar, all of which I inhaled. Quitting was agony. Three years later I was still dreaming about smoking. But having that monkey off my back, finally, was worth the agony.

Get with an MD and find a way to struggle through the withdrawal. Believe me, my friend, it's worth it.

But enjoy your coffee. That's one thing I never backed away from, though I'll never go back to the kind of coffee I used to get near dawn on midnight shift at a radar site.
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GRHazelton
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« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2011, 09:51:11 AM »
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I would characterize myself as a "recovering smoker."  I still sometimes feel the urge for a cigarette, especially with coffee, even more than 15 years after quitting a 1 1/2 to 2 pack a day habit.  I haven't slipped once, despite a nasty divorce after 21 years of marriage (this was after quitting, no connection!), two years later the collapse of a long term relationship - begun AFTER the divorce, no connection - coincidental with job loss.

A chest x-ray a few years ago was clear.  I think I've dodged the bullet.

Please see a doctor.  While you've never felt the need for one, as we grow older things change.  Some of the symptoms you mention may be related to lowered nicotine intake, but perhaps not, and they should be evalutated.

I had good success using nicotine patches.  As you probably know they feed a decreasing dosage of nicotine so that one can concentrate on finding some safer form of oral gratification.  I found munching carrots and other crisp veggies useful, YMMV.  A friend would fondle a rolled up piece of paper, about the size of a cig.  No one expects you to handle this without a crutch, why should you expect it of yourself?  There are groups analogous to Alcoholics Anonymous; while I didn't use them I imagine they could be really valuable.   http://www.nicotine-anonymous.org/

Give yourself a break!  Work on one habit at a time.  While caffeine is habit forming, it is no where as addictive as nicotine, which I've heard is more habit-forming than any other drug.  Give yourself a reward!  Here in Georgia cigs are close to $4.00 per pack!  At your stated 3 - 4 packs a day that's what, $84.00 per week?  Buy some film, donate to the American Cancer Society! Smiley

I lost a dear friend and professional colleague to lung cancer a couple years ago.  She died about 2 weeks after her 60th birthday.  While she was lucid to the last, the chemo courses had reduced her to a wraith, her hair was gone, as were her strength and vitality.  She accepted her responsibilty for 40 years of smoking and died at peace, but she should have had many more years.  We all miss her.

Don't end up a fond memory.  Keep at it.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2011, 12:10:56 PM »
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Russ, yes, I've kept one or 2 real coffees per day.

Like the one you described. I remember being in a radar air force station for a few days, in the countryside (the Landes forest). It was magic at night. I can picture your feelings perfectly.

In fact I've also been under heavy stress-pressure with motion to catch-up in small time and spent too much hours-day in front of the screens those lastest months. I just bought now glasses for that purpose and headhaches have disappeared as soon as they came. Too much excess of everything (except sex!!) in a short time.

Then, I didn't have any cough at all before quiting, nor previous breathe problems. I called a doctor and talked to my natural food supplier who also quitted and those are fortunatly very common symptoms.
Some people have had them for about 6 months.

It seems that the mistake I'm making is not quiting totally directly. Doctor explained me that when you decide to reduce drastically to a few, but not quit totally, the symptoms are way worsed and last longuer.

If you quit totally, it's in fact easier. I didn't know it.

  
« Last Edit: December 30, 2011, 12:13:47 PM by fredjeang » Logged
louoates
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« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2011, 03:42:48 PM »
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I conducted quit smoking classes for the Am. Cancer Soc. for a number or years. The symptoms you described are almost universal, starting within a day or two of quitting. The hacking cough is mostly due to the throat and lung tissues trying to break up the tar and other chemical coating the breathing system. The brain, being the devious organ it is, uses those symtoms and many others to convince you that all would be better by replenishing its daily doses. There are thousands of rationalizations to smoking. Any bodily affliction you suffer for months after quitting will be blamed by your nicotine-starved brain on quitting its supply. You've already discovered many such attempts to get you back using. As your abstinence continues many more will pop up. Just recognize them for what they are.

One of my close friends quit smoking about 20 years ago. Several times a year, usually after dinner,  I ask him why his fingers are fishing around in his shirt pocket. I ask him about it several minutes after the action and he swears he didn't reach into that pocket. Since our wives are usually watching this behavior unfold he can't deny the habitual behavior even after 20 years time.
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Michael West
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« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2011, 04:06:13 PM »
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Nicotine triggers release of endorphins...

Nicotine triggers dopamine release. It also disables the body's ability to create dopamine, so that lacking the nicotine responsible for the dopamine boost,,,we get very little of this feel good chemical.

I speak as a fifty year smoker who's not in the mood to quit just now.
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Rob C
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« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2011, 03:41:24 AM »
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Well, I can only assume, then, that quitting ciggies is different for different folks!

Once I discovered fear, it was the easiest thing, and I hate the very smell of a smokey room. Fortunately, Spain has finally banned smoking in bars - there was, for a brief while, the pathetic spectacle of people rushing outside mid-meal for a quick drag at their habit... now, even that seems largely to have drifted away. I think that many who did it were reacting to something they imagined they would feel driven to do, rather than their actually having to do it. Or simply doing/enjoying some street theatre of their own making ;-)

As has been said, the mind plays funny games with the body. I have actually had dreams where I was smoking again, could taste the horrid taste of tobacco on my tongue, and I was asking myself why the hell I was doing it again. The relief of waking up to a clean reality was enormous!

As for sex... what's that, Fred?

Rob C

 
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