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Surgery Thurs the 6th. C6/C7 ACDF - I can't stop smoking!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,607
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am so VERY VERY dissapointed in my self. I started the Chantix, and stopped smoking for one week. The Chantix was giving me horrible symptoms such as really, really itchy skin and making me extremely agitated with everything. I was being so cranky with my 6 year old son for absolutely no reason.

I stopped the Chantix last Wed. and by Friday I was bying a pack of cigarettes. I bought another one this morning with the full intention last night of quitting just before my surgery.

God, what is wrong with me - I am so addicted to these things and I don't want to quit, but I know I should, but do I really HAVE to? I mean, I see others on here who smoked and fused with no problem, then others who didn't fuse. I'm kind of freaking out about this. Someone please give me some advice.

I'm 39 year old female with no other health problems - cleaned for my surgery during pre-op with absoultely every blood test and EKG came out normal.

I think my Dr. IS prescribing me the bone stimulator, but will that allow me to smoke while I am healing?

Please for those of you who don't agree, I don't need to be reminded:) I know it's not good that I am smoking ;)

Thanks everyone!



  • I had my surgery on Oct. 21 and I too am a smoker. When I had my pre-op at the hospital,I had a conversation with the internist who looked at my bloodwork. He is very, very against smoking, but said that #1 you have to want to quit and #2 during all the stresses associated with neck surgery, it is a bad time to quit and said he would talk to me early next year about quiting.

    I guess what I'm saying is that you can still fuse if you smoke but don't put so much pressure on yourself during this tough time. ACDF surgery is very difficult, so just concentrate on healing and do what you can about smoking - cutting down, taking smaller puffs, whatever.

    Good luck to you. I know you will do well and if you keep a positive attitude it will help you recover much quicker.

  • You really don't need to be stressed this close to your surgery. Every doctor tells me to quit smoking. LIKE I DON'T KNOW THAT ALREADY! Everyone wants a successful fusion but right now is NOT the time to stress out over it. Even if you quit after your surgery you still have a fighting chance. Right now get focused on the surgery and recovery. Oh and stress and smoking go hand in hand in most people. Me included.
  • I was in the same fix as you...wanted desperately to quit, but the stress of upcoming surgery made it impossible! I went for my 4-month check up a week ago and he showed me where the fusion was beginning to set in!

    As for the bone stim...what kind will you be given? The one I have is like a steering wheel in the middle of your back and has velcro straps coming around to the front. I wear mine for 30 min. each day. The directions say not to smoke when you are wearing it...it might damage the unit.

    Anyway, be good to yourself and concentrate on how good you're going to feel after recovery!
  • THANK YOU you guys! I am stressing over it way too much I know. I am sitting here at work scouring the internet for GOOD stories of smoking and fusion. I seem to just bypass the bad ones. Anyhow, again, thank you for your insight and you guys are right - I need to just say I will do it when I am ready. One thing I am thinking of doing is having them give me a script for Zyban right there as I leave the hospital and start on it right away when I get home (within a week or so). At least I'll have "something" to help me get started. I could quit if I could use the patch, but alas, I cannot, that has nicotine in it too :(.

    I feel so much better. Thanks.
  • Is Zyban the same as Welbutrin? When I was on that medication for depression (after my DH died), I really cut down on the cigs...it's supposed to be one of the side effects of the med.

  • I think it is the same thing. Just you have to be careful when you get the script. Zyban is strictly for quitting smoking - the Wellbutrin is suposed to be used for depression (it's all in how insurance can bill you). But if you find the loophole, you can get it covered by insurance ;)

  • From my experience I took Wellbutrin. I never quit smoking but I was a really happy smoker. :D
  • OMG, that is hilarious! You are too funny ;) THANKS - yes, if anything, I might be even more happier than I am now (setting aside my daily pain) LOL!
  • These long grueling recoveries are often very depressing, so maybe if you get on Welbutrin you will two things for the price of one :D Good-luck, Sue
  • I too am a smoker, and I had my surgery on Sept 15th, a fusion of L5-S1 with donor bone and a rod and screws. The day my ns told me I had to have surgery, I was also dealing with the fact of having to get my Mom signed up with Hospice, so I flat out told him, now was not a good time to even think about quitting. :O You would thing that after 2 days in the hospital would be the opportune time to take advantage of not having had a cigarette and quit but noooo not me :S So then I had even more added stress, when 2 weeks after my surgery my Mom took a turn for the worse and we knew she didn't have but a couple days to live. So then I had a 12 hour trip to make to get home and be with her before she passed and then the funeral. If any one thinks I'm gonna give up my bad habit during that time they are silly. :))(
    Please don't stress over it, just go with the flow right now, and deal with each day one at a time. Hugs and positive thoughts are sent your way. >:D<
  • I am very sorry about your mother. What a very stressful time for you, wow. Thank you though for making me understand it's not as stressful as I'm making it out to be. I hope your recovery is going well for you. Yay, Thursday is the big day.....starting to get a little nervous. I was trying to explain to my 6 year old son tonight why mommy "has to get fixed up" and he was crying because he couldn't understand why I had to wear the neck brace. He thought I wouldn't be able to walk or talk. Poor kid - he's so sad when I left his bedroom and said good night. I think he'll be ok though.

  • cindylouwho said:
    Thank you though for making me understand it's not as stressful as I'm making it out to be.
    Sandra, not to put a damper on this, but my opinion is that you need to speak with your surgeon about this prior to having your surgery in a couple of days. Smoking is a big deal when it comes to spinal fusions, and while it is true that some people have no problems, there is enough research to prove that it does inhibit the success rate. I'm not qualified to tell you yes it is okay or no it is not, but I have gone through a revision surgery for a failed fusion, and it is not easy, especially if they do the revision posteriorly. (I am not a smoker, so at least I can't blame my failed fusion on that.) I have no problem with people who smoke, we all make our own lifestyle choices. I'm not going to beat you up for smoking. however, I do think you need to follow your surgeon's advice and be proactive in your own care. You could have the best surgeon in the world who does everythign perfectly, but you are still a part of the formula for success, and if you don't do your part, it may not matter how good the surgeon is.

    That being said, I wish you well with your surgery in a couple of days. Please remember I am here if you have any specific questions.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • I wish you much success! I'll be thinking of you. Good luck and here's to a great recovery.
  • I know we've all talked about the smoking issue with regard to fusion. However, it is also an issue when you are put to sleep for the operation.

    Maybe you should try to cut down today and tomorrow prior to surgery...just to be on the safe side.

    Your surgery to tomorrow, right? Well, all the best to you girl...post back with us when you feel up to it.
  • Yes, I am cutting down today. I've only smoked about 4 today so far. I'm trying......to do better. I only brought in the office with me for my afternoon break. Then I'll have one after supper and that'll be it. THANKS again! Yup, tomorrow's the big day. 6am check in time and 7:30 surgery. YIKES! I'll check in when I can!
  • thank you for your comments. I do agree with what you say. I do appreciate your post. I am really going to try harder when I get out of the hospital. I am going to ask for Zyban or Wellbutrin whichever to help me not crave so much. I also still have my herbal cigarettes (6 packs) waiting at home and when I get desperate I'll smoke one ofthose. But I swear to you, I am going to try SO HARD to not buy (or smoke someone elses) regular ciggy's. If I get a craving, I'll just pop a pain pill....... you know I'm kidding LOL! Or smoke a herbal cig.

    Take care neck of steel! I'll post back in a few days after my surgery.
  • I have no advice as to how to quit but I wanted you to know I'll be thinking of you tomorrow and I'm hoping you'll be a success story! :)))
  • I too smoke. The difference is, my surgeon is going to make me urinate in a cup 3 months prior to surgery to make sure I don't have any nicotine in my system. :''(

    Just relax, and I'm sure you will do just fine. And soon you will be on the road to recovery.


  • he wouldn't do my surgery if I smoked, he said the chances of the fusion not working would be very high. By the way, I don't smoke.
  • I smoke as well and I hate to say it, I've been smoking some since I got out of the hospital, all those pain meds seems to make Me want to smoke. I was prescribed the bone stimulator because i am a smoker and I wear it 4 hours a day. if You smoke, make sure You ask your doctor for some kind of bone stimulator as it is proven to help bone growth by like 60%.
  • Good luck with your surgery tomorrow. I hope that you called your surgeon and he understands your still smoking in the case he wants to change what he is using as the fusion. Doctors don't plan to have failed fusions and don't like have wrong information. I sure hope the stimulator helps the bone fuse. As someone with a non-union and have gone through multiple surgeries to correct the non-union. If your that worried about a acdf think about what happens when they have to do a posterior fusion to correct the non-fusion. Good luck hope everything works out.
  • I wish you all the best and success for your surgery tomorrow. I will say a prayer for you. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Cindy, I really do wish you all the best with your surgery. I have never been a smoker so I don't know hard it is to quit. I pose a question tho: I wonder which would be harder? Giving up smoking or living with a failed fusion because your bone did not fuse? I am not trying to scare you, but am trying to put things into perspective.

    Spine fusion surgery is serious and major surgery and you need to do everything in your power to give yourself the best chance of success, because the consequences of failure could be a lifetime of pain and/or more surgeries.

    The evidence is out there, why take any risk at all that could reduce your chance of a successful surgical outcome.

    Good luck and all the very best... Bruce.
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • Best of luck to you tomorrow! We'll be thinking about you. Post when you can and let us all know how you're doing.
  • Yes be sure You tell Him. I was still smoking about 5 cigs up until My surgery. when I went to the pre-op visit My NS asked Me if I had quit and I told Her the truth and said My nerves and stress was making it hard. The more You tell Your Dr the more they know on what they need to use to make Your surgery a success.
  • You will be in my prayers, sweetie, for a fast recovery!
  • Cindy,

    I found out today that the American Cancer Society has a very good stop smoking program. Call 800-227-2345--that is the main number. They made it sound like there would be a ton of support.

    I am going to be a volunteer, so I found out about lots of programs that the public has no idea about!!

    BTW, don't beat yourself up. I don't know how anyone could have quit, while anticipating this surgery.

    Linda MI (a former smoker)
  • I am a smoker too, I was scheduled for surgery on the 10th of Dec. but was canceled after a big misunderstanding, I just went and seen him today and I am having it rescheduled now, and I have been going back and forth about the smoking thing. My surgeon is also ordering a bone stimulator, I ran into the guy who will be hooking me up and I said to my hubby "Look hunny, it is my stimulator guy!" he he
    But I agree with the comment of needing to be ready, I have tried to quit 3 times before, once for 3 years, and was only able to when "I" was ready to, after gaining so much weight I went back to it. I am not ready to quit right now, but could easily cut down through it all. I appreciate all the comments on Cindy's Story. My name is CindySue and I have been teased with "CindyLou Who" :))( almost all my life LOL
    *HUGS* to all! >:D<
  • the Chantix did not work for you. Our son took it and quit smoking immediately, literally within days. He had some headaches, but didn't last long.

    I've never smoked but have had a failed fusion and the pain and emotional trauma of that is really tough. (Had a second fusion and it did take, thankfully). I truly hope you can quit for not only the obvious health sake, but also so that you don't waste all this time, trouble and money for an operation with much lowered chances of success due to smoking.

    My best friend smokes and just can't quit. I wish it were easier for you guys. Good luck tomorrow.

    ( (HUGS) )

  • And take care of yourself so you can take care of your son the way you want to.

    I know nicotine is a powerful addiction so I admire your desire to quit and know you can do it, if you are really ready to make that choice. I'm sure you will quit smoking as soon as you can.

    My dad did it and I thought he never would-but he valued his life more than the cigarettes and he finally did it. Thank God us kids were long gone from the home, but my poor mother went through he!! I know you'll be kinder to your young son :)

    Take care!
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