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Anyone still here and struggling with smoking after back surgery?



  • Read tellybeth & rusty's comments & can relate. I did quit smoking after about 40 years with the help of Chantix prior to my surgery which was supposed to be a success. I am now almost 4 months post-op & have returned to the nasty habit. After getting on this site, I am really worried that I am not recovering as well as I should but having a really hard time quitting. Plus, financially, I'm in a big mess & the Chantix cost about $150. Guess I should get a new script as I am realizing as I am writing that, in the long run it will be worth it.
    Rusty, now I am gaining weight AND smoking. I try to walk in a pool as often as possible but I just have too much unstructured time on my hands. I want to be "all better" yesterday & am so frustrated with this process!
    Would love some support from someone who can relate!
  • It sounds so familiar. You might be a little relieved to know that I saw my surgeon yesterday (6 wks post-op), and I confessed to him that I am still smoking. To my surprise, he didn't jump on me, and he said that there is actually no proof that smoking inhibits the growth of the fusion. Funny, I thought there was proof. Anyway, since I've gained weight, I'm worried about prediabetes. Since I'm looking at high blood sugar, plus smoking, he's going to get me a bone growth stimulator. As a matter of fact, the rep is on his way to the house now. I'm retired, and all of my time is unstructured. I have a pool in my yard, but I can't bring myself to get in it, and I'm not walking as I should. I'm changing the way that I eat, but I have no one to blame but myself for not getting the necessary exercise. I wouldn't say that I'm depressed, but I certainly have a lack of motivation, which is ridiculous. I'm still taking the Chantix, and I still plan to quit, but it's hard to make that leap when I'm in pain. Please keep me posted on your progress, and thanks for your reply.

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  • I am soooooooooooooooo happy your surgeon didn't "freak" when you told him about the smoking. Mine would! Also his response in saying that there is no proof that smoking will destroy everything!
    Since I got on Webmd & the smoking thing, I've been beating myself up! My PT did tell me not to beat myself up over it but he was the only one.
    I have been wearing a bone growth stimulator since I got home. Hope you have good insurance. They billed my insurance company almost $6,000 for it & my co-pay was $500. I called & offered them $250 & they settled for $300 & marked it paid. Don't know if it helps but I wear it religiously for 2 to 4 hours a day.
    Try to get in the pool. It feels good once you get in! Please keep in touch. It's nice to have someone who understands what this ordeal is like!
  • I relate completely with your situation. I am 5 1/2 months post op from my fusion and am STILL smoking. I went to the doctor and got a prescription to Chantix and started taking it today. I plan to quit next Wed so wish me luck. I get in the pool at my house and agree with you that it does provide some relief. So does walking on the treadmill. I feel a lot better after doing it. Of course, it has been over a week since I have walked due to out of town guests and bladder problems.
    You and me and Rusty can support each other and get through this together. I am here to listen anytime and will private message you with my personal email if you would like it. I check it on a daily basis and only come on here periodically. Hang in there!
  • You are way too young to be having so many problems! I was born with scoliosis but had a good pain-free life until I was in my mid 40's. During the last 10 years I had 3 surgeries, then in March of this year I had a complete spinal reconstruction (I think) it was T1 thru T12 & L1 thru L5 (not sure of the numbers) I am now 4 months post-op & did quit smoking for a few months before the surgery & about 2 after. Don't know why I started again?????? I just went back on the Chantix on Monday & am going to try & quit again next Monday. The good news is that I saw the surgeon yesterday & was told that I am healing well. So, hopefully I haven't done any damage but still want to get off the cigarettes! They can't be helping!The only exercize I am allowed to do at this point is walking & the pool. No treadmill for me yet.
    I like getting the support from others having the same problems. Only 1 or 2 people people know I am smoking again so I can't talk about it. I've been keeping in touch with Rusty too & really look forward to hearing from him.
    Yes, I'd like to get your email address. I don't check this often either. I was so bored with the internet (not easy to sit for long) but now I look forward to gettin on-line again.
    Good luck to us!
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  • Does anyone out there still have any problems? I check this forum from time to time & there are no new comments? Hope everyone is doing well!
  • I just had spinal fusion 7/20/09.Big sugery 7 1/2 hrs,not still real sure what dr really did (dumb huh),,but i can not stop smoking either :''( I am so afraid because my Dr. is very crude!! Every one stays on me which makes it worse!!I wear the patch for a whole day at a time with the best intent,then i wake up and say too bad!!! too bad for who??? Some times i feel so stupid.im 54 always worded hard now all i do is sit home listening to every one tell me whats best for me! I really want this sugery to work,it's my 2nd one. I feel for all who are in this boat. I just keep listening to all of you,by the way your all wonderful,and hope one of the trick i read can work for me! Thank You All!! By the way this is the 1st time ive use this Forum. I hope everyone has the best day possible and please keep the advice coming!!!!
  • Has anyone bothered to comment on your post? I haven't been on the forum but quite some time. I made a few friends & we now email each other. If you check the previous messages you will read about my surgery. I live alone, which has been rough, & although I have well-meaning friends & a brother who lives about 1200 miles away giving me advise. So, I can "Yes" them to death, but my life is my own. Only a few people know that I've started smoking again. I would like to quit again, but, with so much unstructured time on my hands I feel like I am deprived enough! It's been 5 months (feels like forever!) since my surgery &, so far, my X-rays consistently show that I am healing. It's all very frustrating, still being so limited!
    I went back on the Chantix but, this time it didn't work for me & when I was watching a TV commercial & heard the side effects of depression, etc I stopped taking it because I think it was contributing to my poor mental health.
    You are 52..............live your life & tell them to mind their own business!
  • I'm struggling too. I've got no choice but to quit. Doctor won't do the surgery unless I can pass a drug test for nicotine. Nice huh? I was already taking wellbutron to quit but it was just so annoying to be told pass a drug test. I already don't think I will be able to keep nonsmoking after the surgery but I'm going to try as long as I can.
  • Your surgeon is playing the odds. More for his sake than yours. He wants his failure rate as close to 0 as possible. Smoking, ie nicotine, is considered the worst offender. While I have yet to see real numbers posted by the AMA. The comments I have heard from doctors are 20% failure rate attributed to smoking that would have otherwise worked.

    More surgeons are on this bandwagon. Some warn you that your are flirting with failure and must stop. But they won't refuse your surgery. More are now flat out refusing to cut if you can't pass certain drug tests. Honestly, I don't blame them. It's in their best interest, but most importantly, it is in YOUR best interest.
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