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I know I'm dumb...

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Well I quit smoking cold turkey after my MRI since I knew how bad smoking is for your spine. At that time I did not think I was going to have surgery. I had been smoking 1/2 pack/day. I did really well for a couple of weeks..I didn't have a lot of withdrawal symptoms & felt pretty good about quitting. Then I had the episode where my leg collapsed & the next day my surgeon decided I really needed to have this fixed. On the way home from his office I bought a pack of cigarettes. I was so freaked out about having surgery, my anxiety level was through the roof...I know excuses,excuses. Since then I have been smoking 2-3 cigs a day. Sometimes I'll go 3 or 4 days not smoking thinking I HAVE to quit NOW but I always end up buying another pack. I am now a week away from surgery. I'm constantly disgusted with myself for smoking so close to surgery & of course working myself up to more anxiety which makes it even harder. I know I will not smoke after surgery...the stats on fusion failure have put the fear of God in me. Plus my sister is coming & she thinks I am still quit. She'll turn around & go back to Canada if she finds out.

Sorry, I'm rambling & don't really know where I'm going with this but I am so embarrassed. I'm a nurse, I know better & the thoughts of telling the anesthesiologist that I've been smoking this close to surgery mortifies me. With the amount I smoke & the fact I will not smoke for a couple of days prior to surgery what's the chances of me having problems related to anesthesia? I know no one can really tell me that but maybe someone could share their experiences. Thank you.


  • I cut down to 2-3/day before my surgery. I had ACDF on level c5-6. I remember during a nurses phone call as pre op registration telling her I still smoke, but very little. I don't think it will harm you in any way....I can't recall the anesthesiologist asking...
    On my 1st office visit after the surgery, my x-ray showed that I was already starting to fuse. This was 4 weeks post op. Again, my Dr. didn't even ask if I was smoking. I quit anyways, due to the fact that I know I needed to. Like your situation, I got stressed out after 2-3weeks, and bought a pack. I now am to 1 pack every 3 days...
    When I went to see my PM Dr., I told her that I didn't quit prior to surgery and the surgeon didn't even ask me to. She told me that if I were to have lumbar surgery (I might eventually),that I definitely would have to quit at least a month prior and 3 months after.
    I am not a doctor, so remember that this is just my situation. Good luck, and just be honest.
  • Just cracked up into itty bitty pieces the pack of cigs I bought today. I'm gonna be a success story!!!!
  • Thanks for your reply. I was writing mine when you posted. I figured that since I was stressing out so much about smoking I was kind of defeating the reason I had for smoking. I actually broke out in a rash tonight from stressing. I have allergic angioedema & stress can trigger it. Not good. Hopefully I won't run across the street tonight & buy another pack! Darn things are so expensive now! LOL

    I hope you don't need another surgery. Good luck to you as well!
  • Good for you!! Of all the times I quit, the urge never goes away. Watch out for stressful situations...they always get to me. What I was once told was that "a craving only lasts 7 seconds." I figure I can handle that!
  • I quit smoking 22 years ago this coming July and it was one of the hardest things I ever did, period. I smoked 2-3 packs A DAY! That was back when they were a little less expensive, but still not a cheap habit.

    There is really only one answer when you get to the point you are at. Don't smoke! Sounds dumb I know, and it is hard, but that is the only way to get there. The craving/habit will hang around for quite a while. I was not prepared for that, finally one day I stopped thinking about and reaching for them. You can do it, If I did it anyone can!
  • I tried Zyban several years ago & it made me crazy. I have quit before not using anything & the fact that I'm only smoking 2-3/day makes me think I shouldn't need anything to help. I quit for 3 weeks before I found out I needed surgery so I should be able to make it the next 6 days. Hopefully! I'll probably gain 20 lbs in that 6 days!!!
  • Both times I quit before I used Zyban. It worked for me. I'm dumb also, both times I had quit for almost 2 years!! Now I feel really guilty for even smoking now...maybe I should quit now, too.
  • Have you tried Zyban? Have you asked your primary physician to help you to quit? I think there are different degrees of addiction. I don't think you can quit just willing yourself to quit. Don't be embarrassed.

    I smoked for 20 years on and off, and have not smoked close to 4 months. I was able to quit because I was in pain and later found out how bad it is for the spine. For me, the pain itself stopped me.

    I hope you won't get judged. Best wishes!
  • I appreciate the support. Yes amybug..it's those stressful situations. They always pop up when I quit. For a while I told myself I wasn't going to try anymore cause something REALLY bad happened every time I quit. Not just day to day stress...loved ones dying kind of stress! I thought I was jinxing things!
  • Hi, saw your post and had to jump in. I had similar quitting issues, not for fusion surgery, and had my doc prescribe Zyban. Long story short, it worked great, didn't have the urge to smoke, none of the constant thoughts about smoking between cigarettes, then I had the seizure. It is one of the listed side effects. Only had the one seizure, quit the Zyban, and eventually quit smoking when I was laid up from knee surgeries, dear wife wouldn't buy me smokes, bless her!

    The seizures are not common so you may want to give it a try. Also, there may have been some aspect of drug interactions in my case. If you do, have your doc prescribe welbutrin, which is generic for the Zyban and much cheaper. I will say it was working great and I was within a couple of days of quitting, down to 3-4 per day and I actually had to remind myself that I hadn't had a smoke in hours, if you can imagine that.

    Good luck with your fusion. It looks like I will be having one L5-S1 sometime early in May, pending workers comp approval.

  • I've heard anything you do for 30 days can become a habit.
  • You really can quit on your own! I did, lots of people do!
    I did not put down how long a time I had the urg for a smoke as I did not want to scare you away. It was like 1.5-2 years, but eventually it does go away.

    I know, nothing worse than an exsmoker telling you that you can do it! Sorry, but you can do it!

    I started smoking when I was 14, I built up to that 2-3 pack a day by 24. I quit on July 14, 1987. I got married on August 15, 1987! I had many people tell me there was no way I could make it through the wedding without smoking. I did it! If I can do that, well, hey the marriage even lasted! :)
    22 years in August!
  • I didn't mean to make anyone else feel bad about smoking. It is sooooo darn hard to quit!
  • Another simple logic is just don't anymore cigarettes. That was a difficult habit to break. ;)

    Also...it helps that almost everyone that I know don't smoke including my husband.
  • I've already changed my smoking habits so much I didn't think it would be so hard this close to surgery. I gave up coffee when I quit in Feb & have not had a cup since! I don't smoke 1st thing in the morning which was my fav cig of the day. I don't smoke at work. The only time I smoke is in the evening. We'll see how the next few days go.
  • i planned to give up smoking for my fusion surgery, and i was easily smoking 20 a day, especially with the stress and worry leading up to the surgery.

    I had my last cigarrette outside the hospital on the eve before my surgery, but kept the pack with me 'just in case'

    I woke from theatre the next afternoon, and havent smokes a single cigarrette since, 19 days now...my partner smokes in the evening and most of my friends do, and ive been fine sitting with them and not smoking myself...

    I did get Alan Carrs Easyway to stop smoking book ,and if i feel the urge i read a few pages of that, it tells you how very stupid smoking is in a very obvious way, but i find it has helped me.

  • As you being ashamed of smoking being a nurse yourself, i forgot to say what happened to the cigarrettes i kept 'just in case' at the hospital....i gave them to one of the nurses the day i left!! as he smokes the same brand!!
  • I am having TLIF onMarch 25th tomorrow, so scared.I quit cold turkey because of the pain and not only r they doing this on lumbar, I am getting this also done on cerivcal in 3-6 months so I have no choice Dr. won't touch me otherwise!!! I didn't think they could do this, but they can. So good luck to everyone, I had smoked for 23yrs and like it was said above from someone else if I can u can, be positive it does help. Also, find a hobby, computer books, chewing gum.Hell I chewed up to 2-3 packs of sugarless gum a day,it did help!! Lots of luck, Kellie
  • When I quit one of things that helped me was watching my "quit meter". Just google Silk Quit and you'll find it. It keeps track of your quit stats on your computer. Those first awful days/weeks when I thought I wanted a cigarette, I'd just look at my stats. A simple thing, but it really helped. And look at this: Seven years, eight months, two weeks, three days, 3 hours, 27 minutes and 57 seconds. 42257 cigarettes not smoked, saving $7,395.11. Life saved: 20 weeks, 6 days, 17 hours, 25 minutes.
    It worked! You can paste your stats into blogs and e mail if you want. Good luck. You can do it.
  • You never guess what my PM doc said to me when I told her I quit the last time...She didn't support me, but just said "now you'll be under extra stress, so your pain level will go up." She always suggested that I quit, & I was so surprised that she reacted this way! I think I kept that phrase in the back of my mind when I finally gave in & bought a pack. Support is EVERYTHING!!
  • Ignore those people! I had a very close friend who I had to stop seeing when I quit! He would constantly be offering me a cigarette! It started as soon as he learned I quit!

    He seemed angry that I had managed to quit! He was determined to get me to smoke. After a couple of visits with him pushing the pack at me I stopped going over... X(
  • Kellie good luck tomorrow. Twocat I'll check that site out. Thank you everyone for your replies & support. I feel good today so far.
  • Gum was my savior when I was quitting. I had at one point gone up to smoking 2 packs a day, but thankfully gradually cut that down to two cigarettes a day. I really clung to those 2 cigarettes a day for a long time, but when I decided to quit I did it "cold turkey." I don't know how many packs of gum I went through, but it was a lot. After 2 weeks of gum, my lungs felt so much better and I really didn't want cigarettes anymore.

    I was dumb also and started "casually" smoking again several years later--stress. Asthma actually saved my life in a way. I had one really serious attack and after that gave up cigarettes for good. I haven't had a cigarette in 6 years.

    Someone posted earlier about cravings--they last approximately 10 minutes. If you can get through the first 10 minutes, you will be ok. And the theory about breaking habits is if you can succeed for 30 days in a row, you have broken the habit.

    Just keep trying, you'll do ok. Good luck with your surgery!
  • I smoked for 14 years. I quit by using the nicotine patch 7 years ago, it worked in the sense that you cannot smoke at all while on it. But as I stepped down in the nicotine dose I had terrible withdrawls and ended up taking Wellbutrin.

    I held my mother's hand while she died 34 days ago of emphysema / COPD. She smoked for 50 years. You could not pay me to light up a cigarette again, ever. I pray for your success in this battle, it is not easy.

  • I smoke and i didn't realise how much added damage it must be doing to my DDD!!!!

    Sh#t! I smoke around 15 a day! I once quit when i was pregnant (the first day i found out) for 5 years! I know i can do it but i can also be extremely negative toward my self and say "What does it matter anyway, your back is crud,and probably will be for a long time, what do i have to look forward to anyway" THIS I KNOW IS SO BAD! I think the meds are part of it too maybe? does anyone think so? Depression that is.

    After reading these posts, I am going to try and quit! For good!

  • Thank you.... I have been trying to remember the name of that author and book! My friend used it and says it is amazing!

    Thank you again x
  • that thing about silk quit, with the meter, i looked it up and its awesome....i gave up the day before my surgery, nearly 3 weeks ago.

    This meter tells me as of right now ive saved £91.46, not smoked 348 cigarrettes and saved one day and five hours of my life so far, thats amazing!

    thankyou for putting this on
  • >:D<
    I quit for other reasons back in December and now I'm glad I did. <:P
  • I smoked for almost 20 years. I had PLIF on March 3, 2009, before my surgery I asked the surgeons P.A. when I should quit smoking and he told me that I could smoke up until the day of my surgery, the critical time was AFTER surgery. He explained the 80% fusion failure for smokers and that was enough motivation for me...no way would I want to do this again. I have not smoked since the night before my surgery. Being hospitalized for 4 days after my surgery gave me the time I needed to get past the physical craving since I was pretty much drugged the whole time. Thanks twocats for the Silk tip...its a great site and it will help keep me motivated during my weak moments.
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