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:
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.
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.