14
   

What it's like when you quit smoking

 
 
Lash
 
Reply Fri 29 Mar, 2013 12:27 pm
I thought controlling my desire to smoke was going to be the primary challenge to quitting cigs. I had no idea. I am (hopefully) coming out of the other side of one of the strangest, most debilitating bullshit illnesses I've encountered.

I'd love to talk to others who've had similar (or different) experiences quitting. How long did you smoke? What happened to you as you quit?

A few days after I quit, I developed a concrete-block headache that kept me awake at night. My throat became so sore that I couldn't teach - I missed two days of school with the painful throat, fell into some abysmal fatigue that made me have internal conversations regarding the severity of my need to pee juxtaposed with the energy I'd have to summon for the walk from the couch to the bathroom. This fatigue is only subsiding now (at month one). I've had chills and fever for a period of two weeks. In order to sleep, I've medicated with Nyquil for most of the past three weeks.

I've experienced vertigo.

For added fun, I've had night sweats for the past two nights.

I finally called the doc today - afraid I'm burning my liver into oblivion with these OTC meds.

Do you have a quitting story?
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Type: Question • Score: 14 • Views: 6,361 • Replies: 32

 
View best answer, chosen by Lash
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Mar, 2013 12:56 pm
@Lash,
I just re-read the first dozen or so pages of Occom Bill's quitting smoking thread. I'd forgotten that I ever smoked at home.

Are you sure that the symptoms you're having are strictly related to quitting smoking? there have been two nasty bugs going around AND it is the front end of allergy season. You could be having a combo of 2 or 3 things going on. Hopefully the doc can help you sort it out.

I was a pretty heavy smoker (3 packs a day) for a bit less than a decade. Then I was an occasional smoker (a pack a day every couple of months) for another fifteen or so years. I was always a chain smoker. I could never do 2 or 3 a day. It was always a pack at a time. It's been about 6 years since I finished my last pack - maybe longer.

I still like the smell of a freshly lit cigarette. I hate the smell of stale cigarette smoke on anything. I hate it when Setanta has touched the computer mouse after smoking. The smell makes me gag. I am the Queen of the Lysol wipe.

How'd I feel when I quit? A bit twitchy for a couple of days when I did the big quit. The other times - nothing. I just finished the pack and went on with life.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 Mar, 2013 01:06 pm
I started when just a kid. At age fifty, twenty years ago, I quit. I had tried several times, but lacked will power. I hated cigarettes but I "needed" tobacco. So I settled on cigars. When I went to work at the apartments I was given a rough time for smoking them. Eventually I had involuntarily tapered off to the point where I forgot to buy tobacco for about a week. That was when I knew I had quit. I never experienced anything like you are describing. I wonder if as has already been suggested it is caused by other factors.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  3  
Reply Fri 29 Mar, 2013 02:00 pm
@Lash,
Yep, sounds more like the bug that is going around, and a lot like the symptoms that BBB had with her version of it. The first day it was like the beginning of a head cold then turned into a raging strep throat where she couldn't swallow, drink, eat or even talk. After 4 days of antibiotics that was done but then she developed a bacterial pneumonia and pleurisy which had her hospitalized for 3 days with even more antibiotics. It took another 10 to 15 days for the nagging cough to finally go away.

If you haven't already done so, you might want to get tested for strep throat.

As for smoking, some of it could be withdrawals from nicotine. Your lungs and sinuses need to begin the healing process and a lot of that involves mucus.

You'll know you're over the hump when you suddenly can't stand being around anyone else who smokes and can't stand the smell of any of your possessions because they reek of cigarette smoke.

It took a good year for me to get rid of that smell in my clothing, and sometimes I still run across something from long ago that still has a lingering smell of cigarettes.


Also, Nyquil doesn't do ****. What you need is an expectorant to loosen up the mucus. The doctors recommended Mucinex to BBB and it seemed to be the only brand that really helped. At night she used a Mucinex cough suppressant to help her get some sleep.
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 Mar, 2013 02:42 pm
Smoked for years.
After an operation I did not feel like smoking any more. Had cigarettes along to the hospital - no interest what so ever.
Don´t mind others smoking, even enjoy the smoke, but do not want to smoke at all.
Sometimes I do miss it, but not phycically. It is more wanting to be all alone for a little while. Be away from stress and other people. Just get into a corner were noone else is.
Did not gain weight or start eating funny things or anything like that.
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 Mar, 2013 02:49 pm
Thanks so much, everybody. I can't believe how easy it was for you guys to quit re symptoms. I can understand why you may be skeptical that quitting smoking could cause this crazy malady. I thought I was sick too - and there may have been a touch of a respiratory illness at the beginning, but then I looked in to it because the symptoms lingered so long.

There's a lot of info about debilitating symptoms of people who stop. I'll add some here:

RESPIRATORY

Sinus Congestion - This is caused by a clearing out of the sinuses. It is almost as if (for a short period of time) someone turns on a little water hose in your head. Take an over-the-counter medication until the "dripping" stops or use a Netipot to help clear things out. This symptom may last up to 2 months.
Cough, Throat Clearing - This is due to a cleaning and clearing of the reactivated cilia in the lungs; your body is clearing out the debris, tar and phlegm. We can't get our Oreck vacuum down in the lungs so coughing up the debris is a good thing. This may last a few days to several months.
Phlegm - This is also due to reactivated cilia. It can last a couple of months.

Hoarseness - This is also due to the fact that smokers are not "smoking" the soft tissues in the throat and the new non-smoker is getting some tender "baby" tissue almost like when a baby is teething. Basically, the tissue in the throat is regenerating. This may last several months. Use lozenges or whatever you would do for a sore throat. Hot tea with lemon and honey can help.

Gasping for breath - The feeling like you can't get enough breath. You do deep breaths and you keep taking deep breaths like you can't get enough air. This will last about a month and it will even out and you will breath normally again. You have been so used to deep breathing with smoke that you need to give it a little time to adjust.



CIRCULATORY

Dizziness - The dizziness is due to increased circulation of oxygen to the brain and the symptoms should only last a few days until your brain gets used to the extra oxygen. Give your body time to readjust to all the extra oxygen!
Stiffness/Leg Pains - This means improved circulation. Remember you are changing at a cellular and muscular level. You will have temporary muscle changes. This almost feels like when you were having growing pains as a little kid. Take a hot bath, get a great massage, rub on Tiger Balm or just put your legs up to rest. This process may take several weeks so give yourself a break!
Tingly Fingers & Toes - Have patience. This is also caused by improved circulation. This may last a few days to a couple of weeks.
Swelling/Bloating/Tight Waistbands - This is due to fluid retention. Drink a lot of water and cut down on sodium. People tend to gain 3 to 7 pounds of temporary water weight when they quit smoking cold turkey. For you men, this is the closest you will ever come to PMS!

That came from here:http://lelabryan.hubpages.com/hub/What-happens-to-your-body-when-you-quit-smoking-with-cold-turkey--Chantix-or-Zyban

It's like a re-emergence of all the parts of my body I've been killing - and it's making me horribly ill - but I hear the concern, and will follow up with the dr (haven't called back yet.).

I'll look harder for Bill's quitting thread, too.

And Butrfly, thanks for Mucinex tip.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 Mar, 2013 02:51 pm
I smoked for 20 years up to 3 packs a day. I quit twice, cold turkey each time. Each time it took, but I gave in at a boring meeting maybe 5 weeks after the first quit and smoked another bunch of years. Quit the second time, 1982, and it worked. No symptoms anything like what you describe.. Only thing was that now other peoples' smokes bothered me and if we went into a smoky beer and pizza parlor, I might start sneezing.

I agree with the rest that you probably had a coinciding bout with a baddy bacteria and or virus.
0 Replies
 
glitterbag
 
  3  
Reply Fri 29 Mar, 2013 03:10 pm
Thirty-five tears ago two people in my office made a bet to see who could quit smoking. Since they worked close to me and another co-worker (we both smoked) every time they walked in we would put out our cigarettes in support. As soon as the first two left, Buck and I lit up immediately and as smoke curled around his head he would say "you know....it's a filthy habit" and I would shake my head while I sucked down the smoke. He made other observations and decided we should quit too. I agreed, but told him I still had 4 packs in my carton so we could do it then. He said that was ridiculous, we would do it now, grabbed my pack and matches/lighter, locked then in his desk and left for the day.
My symptoms were mainly obsessing about cigarettes, restlessness and crazy notions like driving to a 24 hour hardware type store, buying a bicycle, putting it together myself and riding that baby like a crazy woman. Luckily, ther were no hardware stores open at night so that notion went into the bin. It's been a long time, I'm pretty sure I missed cigarettes like crazy at first, then less so every month.
I never had extreme physical distress like Lash is having, and agree with ehbeth that its more likely strep throat, pollen and sinuses trying to spring back in action. Check with you doctor soon, vertigo, fatigue ,chills and fever often accompany strep infection. The timing could be serendipitous, maybe nothing to with quitting. I do remember trying to quit years before I finally did and developing bronchitis twice, naturally I chose to resume smoking after it cleared up because "hey" I quit but still got sick. Made sense to me at the time.
Lash I hope your problems clear up soon and you don't get discouraged. Quitting smoking was one of the best things I ever did, and I saved a ton of money.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 Mar, 2013 03:37 pm
@Lash,
Lash wrote:
I'll look harder for Bill's quitting thread, too.


http://able2know.org/topic/25937-1


the nasty viral cold thingy I had lasted just over 50 days - I was considered lucky by some of my co-workers
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glitterbag
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 Mar, 2013 06:13 pm
@Lash,
I'm sorry you are having such a difficult time, especially since it makes smoking even harder to quit. Please don't light up, because it may make you feel better for the short term which is the lousy part of quitting. I think it's more difficult to quit in recent years because of all the additives that have been incorporated into the contents of cigarettes. I smoked mentholated cigs and apparently that compounds the difficult. I no longer smoke, but I can always pop a sugar free Hall's cough drop. If menthol isn't your thing, they come in other flavors.

I'm sorry lash, I should have mentioned the cough drops. I like the sugar free because cough drops with sugar make my mouth/teeth feel a little fuzzy. The musinex is very helpful, and the liquid version can be taken every 4 hours and is quicker than the tablets. If I need them I usually use the tablets at night so I can sleep thru the night, but the liquid works better for me during the day. I really wish you all the best, hard to believe now but it will get better. I've never heard a former smoker say they wish they never quit.
0 Replies
 
Joe Nation
  Selected Answer
 
  5  
Reply Fri 29 Mar, 2013 07:53 pm
In the USAF I picked up the three pack a day habit. It was part of my persona to have a lit cigarette in my hand. At night, I played music and, again, ala Mississippi John Hurt, I could play blues with a lit cigarette stuck on one of the string ends of my guitar.
I tried five times to quit.
No dice.
Really bad symptoms not unlike what you describe. I also would wake up in the middle of the night. Completely awake, alert, conscious ......wanting a cigarette to calm me back down,,,,,,,,,
So, I turned to math. I cut down the number of cigarettes I could have by one each day for over two months. (I started with three packs, 60 cigarettes and cut down every day.) (Okay, today I can have 34 cigarettes, tommorrow 33.)
By chance, I was down to just five a day the week between Christmas and New Years day, so I timed it so my last cigarette would be at midnight on December 31st 1972.
I didn't have any cigarettes left so I borrowed a Silva Thins Menthol 1oo.

It was awful.

Joe(and I've only smoked a few hundred cigarettes since then, but that's another story.)Nation
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amygarside
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Mar, 2013 05:09 am
@Lash,
It can be a difficult task when quitting smoking but it will be good for you in the long run.
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glitterbag
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Mar, 2013 05:33 pm
How are you feeling today, Lash?
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  2  
Reply Sat 30 Mar, 2013 10:42 pm
I have been really appreciative to read you guys. I'm suddenly a lot better. The Dr never called back, so I'm making sure I'm seen Monday.

The headache is gone. The cough remains, but has reduced significantly. I stopped taking Nyquil, and I generally feel like I have a bit more energy. I feel like I have a lot more healing to do, but I really feel that I've made a great gain.
0 Replies
 
crank
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 12 Apr, 2013 04:17 am
@Lash,
I like to have more fruits or listen to music during that time, when I quit smoking.
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  5  
Reply Sat 27 Apr, 2013 10:05 pm
It's been two months and a couple of days. My lungs feel great, I have more energy, and I'm a fat pig.
Joe Nation
 
  2  
Reply Sun 28 Apr, 2013 01:40 am
@Lash,
Very proud and happy for you, piggie, now let's work on getting you some good jogging shoes.

Joe(you can join the running thread)Nation
0 Replies
 
glitterbag
 
  2  
Reply Sun 28 Apr, 2013 05:07 pm
@Lash,
That's great, but it's also great that you quit one of the most addictive habits we try to justify. I thought that I enjoyed smoking, but the odor that clings to people's clothes or my clothes if I'm around a smoker, makes me certain it's not as enjoyable as I thought. Plus, if you can quit smoking you can do anything you set your mind to. Be very very proud of yourself.
0 Replies
 
glitterbag
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Apr, 2013 05:14 pm
@Lash,
This tip might come in handy. If you are offered a cigarette at a party or with any place where smoking is allowed, don't say "thanks, but I quit", just say you don't smoke. People still smoking seem to insist that you share just one cigarette and you will be just fine. Please don't fall for that, it can definitely set you back. Enjoy your smoke free lungs. Congrats!!!!
 

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