Smoking post treatment

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zeeredhed
zeeredhed Member Posts: 4
edited February 2019 in Head and Neck Cancer #1

He treated for P16-positive HNSCC/  mets to local lymph nodes. He had tonsil removed did cisplatin and 6 weeks of radiation treatments. He was "cured" they said in early 2015 . He has neglected to get follow up scopes done and has begun smoking on and off. I cannot belive he is behaving like this.

 

 

Comments

  • debbiel0
    debbiel0 Member Posts: 134 Member
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    I don't have words of wisdom,

    I don't have words of wisdom, but I can relate . I did 35 radiation treatments with two Cisplatin.  I stopped smoking 5 years before the "news" of tonsil  SCC Hpv+ 23 months ago.

    I still to this day, think about having just one more cigarette. Call it an addiction, a habit or just a straight up death sentence,  but I want it!

    maybe your husband is just trying to get back to "old normal".  For the most part I think most of us  try to adapt to the new normal, but I want my old life back! If that means ignoring the elephant in the room once in awhile,  so be it.  I can't change my saliva, swallowing, taste, and a whole laundry list of other annoying side effects.  Not saying smoking is ok, just saying it might be something familiar. I haven't tried the cigarette,  but I have pushed the envelope with different foods that I know I shouldn't eat , to try and find my old self. 

    I know you must be having a hard time and it's great that you are reaching out. Hopefully others here can give you advice that will help. 

     

  • wbcgaruss
    wbcgaruss Member Posts: 2,333 Member
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    Betsy Just Want To--

    Give you my overview and story of it. I smoked mainly cigars for many years and really enjoyed them. But after going through cancer treatment I don't want to add any risk to getting any more cancer or a recurrence in the same area.I'm thankful to God and my medical team that I am still living and have the abilities I have such as being able to eat and swallow, not having a trach, etc. I quit smoking right before I started treatment Jan. 2013. I know it's tough and I would have liked to have a smoke at different times but felt I was not honoring my side of the bargain if I was smoking again after all the good work the medical folks did on my behalf and getting rid of my cancer and getting me through the most difficult thing I ever had to tackle in my life. Also with the great cost that was incurred mostly paid by insurance but still it was a great deal of money spent on me to save me and I figgered I certainly wanted to be sincere and do my part. And lastly I was asked by my Radiation doctor-Doc Berkenstock during one of my follow-ups if I was smoking I joked that sure I was smoking again but apparently he couldn't tell I was joking as he said "You better not be this is a One Shot Deal" meaning if I get it again they may not be able to help me. I also understand now what radiation and chemo do to the body and to do the same area or near it isn't done or is done on a limited basis from what I have read. That was what he was talking about. Radiation makes tissue stiff and non-flexible and during treatment, our skin on the outside even gets a burning effect like a bad sunburn and we need to apply soothing topicals to help with the burn on our skin so another run of rads on or around the throat area and I probably couldn't swallow.

    Also, he should be doing his follow-ups just in case. Even though they are confident they got the cancer there may be an errant cancer cell or two that are there they can't see or he may get just a plain doggone recurrence that can happen and the sooner cancer is detected and handled the easier and less intrusive it will be to eradicate it. We are talking about saving and preserving life here. Here again, we have to do our part for us, for our medical team, and for our families and our loved ones.

    OK that's enough outta me I get started and it seems I always go longer than I HAD ORIGINALLY INTENDED. Not telling anyone what to do here or being judgemental just trying to give my story a bit and say how I feel about it-sorry for the long wind.

    God Bless-Take Care

     

     

     

  • tommyodavey
    tommyodavey Member Posts: 727 Member
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    Can't Stop Him

    My father in law had SCC and never did stop smoking.  He died 15 years later from something else.  One never knows.

  • Sonja.K
    Sonja.K Member Posts: 79 Member
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    debbiel0 said:

    I don't have words of wisdom,

    I don't have words of wisdom, but I can relate . I did 35 radiation treatments with two Cisplatin.  I stopped smoking 5 years before the "news" of tonsil  SCC Hpv+ 23 months ago.

    I still to this day, think about having just one more cigarette. Call it an addiction, a habit or just a straight up death sentence,  but I want it!

    maybe your husband is just trying to get back to "old normal".  For the most part I think most of us  try to adapt to the new normal, but I want my old life back! If that means ignoring the elephant in the room once in awhile,  so be it.  I can't change my saliva, swallowing, taste, and a whole laundry list of other annoying side effects.  Not saying smoking is ok, just saying it might be something familiar. I haven't tried the cigarette,  but I have pushed the envelope with different foods that I know I shouldn't eat , to try and find my old self. 

    I know you must be having a hard time and it's great that you are reaching out. Hopefully others here can give you advice that will help. 

     

    One More Cigarette

    I smoked for 30 years and quit when I got my diagnosis four and a half years ago.  I also think about having another cigarette, I miss smoking.  I am 57, I always joke that I am going to start smoking again on my 80th birthday.   It makes my husband furious.   

  • zeeredhed
    zeeredhed Member Posts: 4
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    wbcgaruss said:

    Betsy Just Want To--

    Give you my overview and story of it. I smoked mainly cigars for many years and really enjoyed them. But after going through cancer treatment I don't want to add any risk to getting any more cancer or a recurrence in the same area.I'm thankful to God and my medical team that I am still living and have the abilities I have such as being able to eat and swallow, not having a trach, etc. I quit smoking right before I started treatment Jan. 2013. I know it's tough and I would have liked to have a smoke at different times but felt I was not honoring my side of the bargain if I was smoking again after all the good work the medical folks did on my behalf and getting rid of my cancer and getting me through the most difficult thing I ever had to tackle in my life. Also with the great cost that was incurred mostly paid by insurance but still it was a great deal of money spent on me to save me and I figgered I certainly wanted to be sincere and do my part. And lastly I was asked by my Radiation doctor-Doc Berkenstock during one of my follow-ups if I was smoking I joked that sure I was smoking again but apparently he couldn't tell I was joking as he said "You better not be this is a One Shot Deal" meaning if I get it again they may not be able to help me. I also understand now what radiation and chemo do to the body and to do the same area or near it isn't done or is done on a limited basis from what I have read. That was what he was talking about. Radiation makes tissue stiff and non-flexible and during treatment, our skin on the outside even gets a burning effect like a bad sunburn and we need to apply soothing topicals to help with the burn on our skin so another run of rads on or around the throat area and I probably couldn't swallow.

    Also, he should be doing his follow-ups just in case. Even though they are confident they got the cancer there may be an errant cancer cell or two that are there they can't see or he may get just a plain doggone recurrence that can happen and the sooner cancer is detected and handled the easier and less intrusive it will be to eradicate it. We are talking about saving and preserving life here. Here again, we have to do our part for us, for our medical team, and for our families and our loved ones.

    OK that's enough outta me I get started and it seems I always go longer than I HAD ORIGINALLY INTENDED. Not telling anyone what to do here or being judgemental just trying to give my story a bit and say how I feel about it-sorry for the long wind.

    God Bless-Take Care

     

     

     

    you are a wise man!

    you are a wise man!

  • zeeredhed
    zeeredhed Member Posts: 4
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    I guess there are no answers

    I guess there are no answers why a person does what they do! I too smoked but knew I'd be in big trouble is I didnt quit. Sometimes 3 packs a day.... That was years ago almost 30. I have no desire to smoke again ever. I was hooked , really hooked and quiting was hard. He hadnt smoked in years when he got his DX... almost 20. I just dont get it.

    Seems like the perfect storm for more CA.

  • debbiejeanne
    debbiejeanne Member Posts: 3,102 Member
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    Please, please try not to

    Please, please try not to judge your hubby.  I smoked 2 pks a day for 45 yrs before my diagnoses.  When I was told, i did everything in my power to quit.  I finally quit after seeing a hypnotist.  Well, that only lasted 2 months and I was right back at it.  I felt like the biggest loser to ever be born.  I hated myself and sometimes, did not want to go on.  Well, long story short, 2.5 yrs after the first diagnoes and 35 rad treatments, it came back.  I had to have a complete and total laryngectomy.  That was the hardest thing i've ever been through in my life!!  well, it made me quit smoking because if i want to smoke now, i'd have to smoke through a hole in my neck and that is OUT OF THE QUESTION!!  i mean, GROSSSSSSS!!!  but i still miss smoking and i honestly don't know if i would be a non smoker if i could smoke through my mouth.  Smoking is an addiction that is every bit as strong and hard to quit as any drug.  So, please don't judge, pray for strength and will power for him to be able to quit.  It is not easy and he probably feels like sh*** knowing he can't quit.  ITS AWFUL!!!  prayers for both of you.

  • wbcgaruss
    wbcgaruss Member Posts: 2,333 Member
    edited March 2019 #9
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    One Thing

    I forgot to add is the doctor's tell me if you continue to smoke or start again it is more likely of getting a recurrence. I don't know if this is true I never researched it or they just want to give you a little extra incentive to not smoke. Anyway, there is a lot going on in the head and neck area so I don't want or need any extra risk at this point and I am just thankful I came through treatment with as much functionality as I have.

  • joannaw81
    joannaw81 Member Posts: 185 Member
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    my mom had cancer not me

    my mom had cancer not me and I smoke.She used to smoke long time ago but quit and then got diagnosed approx. 10 years after quitting.  I thought abuot stopping many times after she was diagnosed but wasnt able to. I feel guilty when someone asks me: your mom had throat cancer and you smoke?????

    I feel terrible but I feel like smoking is the one thing that no one can take away from me, I mean I dont drink, I dont really go out much, work all the time.... I really want to quit becasue I do have a small daugher (10 years old) and feel like I should be quitting more for her not for myself...how do I quit?

  • accordiongirl
    accordiongirl Member Posts: 63
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    joannaw81 said:

    my mom had cancer not me

    my mom had cancer not me and I smoke.She used to smoke long time ago but quit and then got diagnosed approx. 10 years after quitting.  I thought abuot stopping many times after she was diagnosed but wasnt able to. I feel guilty when someone asks me: your mom had throat cancer and you smoke?????

    I feel terrible but I feel like smoking is the one thing that no one can take away from me, I mean I dont drink, I dont really go out much, work all the time.... I really want to quit becasue I do have a small daugher (10 years old) and feel like I should be quitting more for her not for myself...how do I quit?

    Do it for your daughter

    i would tell you, as a daughter of two smokers - one who is now dying of throat cancer and one who died 7 years ago from lung cancer - to think of your little girl every time you want to light up.  Imagine telling her that you chose cigarettes over being healthy and choosing to be there for her........if that doesn't help you stop, then i don't know what will. 

    A disclaimer:  i am not, nor have i ever been, a smoker, so i DON'T know what the physical addiction feels like and i don't pretend to, either.  Somehow, someway, you have to make something else MORE important than the cigarettes.  As for techniques, patches, meds, etc. - i'm not qualified to answer that as i've not dealt with it. 

    KUDOS to you for asking - and wanting - to find a way to quit!!  Good luck - YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!! 

  • wbcgaruss
    wbcgaruss Member Posts: 2,333 Member
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    Don't Buy Em, Don't Have Em Onhand

    If you don't have em you can't smoke em. I know of a number of people who quit cold turkey. Seemed to be the only thing that worked for them. Any nicotine gum or other helpers or slowly cutting down on the amount they smoked seemed to just keep them hanging on and they would start smoking again. I know this won't work for everybody so you just have to try different methods till you get it done. An older gentleman one of my dad's friends always wore the dickie's style work shirt with a pocket where he always had a pack of cigarettes. One day he just said I don't need this and quit smoking but he told me for the longest time he was reaching for that pocket many times a day out of habit till it finally wore off. He eliminated one more risk in his life, that of smoking and lived to 95.  Back in those days, everybody smoked and he had a brother that died of lung cancer many years earlier. These days I don't know of anyone I know my age or any older ones that smoke anymore. They were either smart enough to quit or had to quit due to breathing and health problems that smoking aggravated. I know of several older folks that are using the puffers every day to help their breathing, they lived to be older but in later years seems to be when little problems add up. I know where you're comin' from I enjoyed smoking about as good as anyone. I've probably said nothing here that is a help but if you don't have em you can't smoke em. Who knows if I hadn't gotten throat cancer I might just still be smoking.

  • tbret
    tbret Member Posts: 71 Member
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    Absolutely True Story

    I smoked for 40 years.  The last 25 or so I was smoking what was the lowest tar and nicotine cigarette available at the time.  They were so much like pulling air through a straw that they had a lot of brown sugar in them (so the smoke was more acrid and irritated your throat more so it "felt" like you were getting more smoke than you actually were).

    As they got harder and harder to find I had to have someone local order them special for me.  I went through one carton per week almost to the hour.  They got to be almost $80.00/carton. When I tried to switch to save money I would always go back to the expensive cigarettes. 

    There was more nicotine in one piece of gum than in an entire pack of cigarettes.  The last stage of patches had more nicotine (by like twice) than a full pack of my cigarettes and you were supposed to simply be able to stop once you got to this last patch dose.

    One day I told my wife, "This has got to stop and the only way I am going to be able to stop it is to quit smoking completely."  I went to the store that ordered my cigarettes for me and told the manager not to order any more.  I smoked the cartons they had.  I had weaned myself down a lot.  I had two packs of cigarettes left when I was diagnosed and I smoked on the way to the doctor's office.

    I got a biopsy, etc.  I got a call from the doctor telling me the bad news that the biopsy did come back as cancer (we thought it would) and the good news that it was HPV+.  He asked me how many cigarettes I had left (I had just lit one).  I told him a pack and a half.  He told me "Make them last and enjoy them because those are the last cigarettes you will ever buy."  What's funny, of course, is that they really were the last cigarettes I was ever going to buy.

    I vaped AND smoked for a couple of weeks and my oncologist told me "No."  I vaped from that time until treatment started and I kept going for a few more days and then, frankly, the chemo got to me and I didn't *want* to vape anymore.  I threw it all in the garbage and never picked it back up.

    For a loooooong time, the smell of cigarette smoke would make me gag.  In the last few months, however, it's starting to smell pretty good again.  So I haven't had a cigarette or vape in about 2.5 years and sometimes (like last night after fried shrimp) I could have traded a month of life for just a couple of cigarettes.

    But I would never, never, ever trade a DAY of "week seven" throat radiation for all the cigarettes I could ever smoke.

    Fortunately, the urges pass, usually as quickly and unexpectedly as they come.

    I feel certain that I would have buckled if I hadn't had cancer and would still be smoking.  Nicotine is a powerful mistress with sharp nails.

    I have, however, been able to get a few people I care about to give it up.  They saw me lose about 40lbs and my beard and my ability to walk without help (for a while, I'm fine now, more-or-less) and they got all convinced and stuff.  I didn't even have to talk very much.

    My plan was to smoke until I was really really aged, then cough-up blood one morning and die the next week or so.  Fooled me, huh?

     

     

     

  • wbcgaruss
    wbcgaruss Member Posts: 2,333 Member
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    tbret said:

    Absolutely True Story

    I smoked for 40 years.  The last 25 or so I was smoking what was the lowest tar and nicotine cigarette available at the time.  They were so much like pulling air through a straw that they had a lot of brown sugar in them (so the smoke was more acrid and irritated your throat more so it "felt" like you were getting more smoke than you actually were).

    As they got harder and harder to find I had to have someone local order them special for me.  I went through one carton per week almost to the hour.  They got to be almost $80.00/carton. When I tried to switch to save money I would always go back to the expensive cigarettes. 

    There was more nicotine in one piece of gum than in an entire pack of cigarettes.  The last stage of patches had more nicotine (by like twice) than a full pack of my cigarettes and you were supposed to simply be able to stop once you got to this last patch dose.

    One day I told my wife, "This has got to stop and the only way I am going to be able to stop it is to quit smoking completely."  I went to the store that ordered my cigarettes for me and told the manager not to order any more.  I smoked the cartons they had.  I had weaned myself down a lot.  I had two packs of cigarettes left when I was diagnosed and I smoked on the way to the doctor's office.

    I got a biopsy, etc.  I got a call from the doctor telling me the bad news that the biopsy did come back as cancer (we thought it would) and the good news that it was HPV+.  He asked me how many cigarettes I had left (I had just lit one).  I told him a pack and a half.  He told me "Make them last and enjoy them because those are the last cigarettes you will ever buy."  What's funny, of course, is that they really were the last cigarettes I was ever going to buy.

    I vaped AND smoked for a couple of weeks and my oncologist told me "No."  I vaped from that time until treatment started and I kept going for a few more days and then, frankly, the chemo got to me and I didn't *want* to vape anymore.  I threw it all in the garbage and never picked it back up.

    For a loooooong time, the smell of cigarette smoke would make me gag.  In the last few months, however, it's starting to smell pretty good again.  So I haven't had a cigarette or vape in about 2.5 years and sometimes (like last night after fried shrimp) I could have traded a month of life for just a couple of cigarettes.

    But I would never, never, ever trade a DAY of "week seven" throat radiation for all the cigarettes I could ever smoke.

    Fortunately, the urges pass, usually as quickly and unexpectedly as they come.

    I feel certain that I would have buckled if I hadn't had cancer and would still be smoking.  Nicotine is a powerful mistress with sharp nails.

    I have, however, been able to get a few people I care about to give it up.  They saw me lose about 40lbs and my beard and my ability to walk without help (for a while, I'm fine now, more-or-less) and they got all convinced and stuff.  I didn't even have to talk very much.

    My plan was to smoke until I was really really aged, then cough-up blood one morning and die the next week or so.  Fooled me, huh?

     

     

     

    Thanks for sharing

    Your frank story, many here have similar stories I'm sure-God bless