2 Pages V  < 1 2  
Reply to this topicStart new topic
> Kicking The Habit
DeGroot
post Apr 16 2017, 08:27 PM
Post #21


Experienced Guitar Hero
*

Group: Members
Posts: 1.458
Joined: 16-January 12
From: Chicago, Illinois
Member No.: 14.899



QUOTE (AK Rich @ Apr 16 2017, 03:28 PM) *
Your story about your brother reminds me of something I noticed with the vape shop employees. Some of them cling on to those vapes almost like it is a vital organ or something of the kind. If I smoked cigarettes as much as some of those guys vape, I think I would be smoking 3 packs a day or more. It even seems like to some of them that it is a competition to see who can make the biggest clouds of vapor and some have a little routine of vapor tricks and such that they will perform. I am not sure how some of them can afford it since the cost of vaping is definitely greater than the cost of smoking when you vape the way some of these guys do. Some of the vaporizers are over $100 easily and the juice is $20 for a 12 mg bottle. Then there are batteries, chargers, modifications to the coils or replacement coils, custom tanks, customization's for the looks, hundreds of e-juice flavors etc etc. I can see it getting to be a pretty expensive hobby/habit if one was to get carried away.


I know a couple of guys that fit that description at work. laugh.gif

Also reminds me of when my brother dropped his vape pen into a lake off a dock. Never had much of a chance of finding it but he did search long and hard. Thats when I found out how much a vape pen could cost.


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
verciazghra
post Apr 16 2017, 09:19 PM
Post #22


GMC:er
*

Group: Members
Posts: 467
Joined: 10-July 13
Member No.: 18.475



I don't think substitutes like that really work. The only way to quit smoking for me was to build entirely new habits and reshape my whole life. I started first thing in the morning, instead of smoking, go for a run. After that I had to occupy myself with things which I didn't normally do so I didn't trigger a smoking habit. I started exercising a lot which kinda gives you the same release of chemicals as smoking does. After a few months of doing this I could still feel like I wanted to smoke at times. In fact I bought two packets at different times and smoked about half of a cigarette each time. But I always threw away the packs even before I started smoking. I expected to enjoy it but I didn't. I realized then that I wasn't really enjoying smoking at all rather I enjoyed the mental pause with deep breaths. So I started running even more and even meditating. Many small things added up and quitting smoking lead to me having a better life overall. I have since then gotten rid of the following Sugar, Alcohol, Caffeine, Aspartame, other types of sweeteners like Sucralose, and am living a complete straight-edge life filled with more pleasurable chemicals in my brain than ever. I feel better and I enjoy my life more. I still have addictions though, I'm addicted to skateboarding, running, exercise, memorization practice, and video games. Video games is something I'm working on limiting more as well...

Well that wall of text probably doesn't help anyone.... Sorry.


--------------------
"To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time." -Leonard Bernstein

"The only love affair I have ever had was with music." -Maurice Ravel

"There's no such place as dumb question." -Dose One
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
AK Rich
post Apr 17 2017, 04:40 PM
Post #23


Learning Guitar Hero
*

Group: Members
Posts: 2.994
Joined: 10-September 11
From: Big Lake, Alaska
Member No.: 13.839



QUOTE (verciazghra @ Apr 16 2017, 12:19 PM) *
I don't think substitutes like that really work. The only way to quit smoking for me was to build entirely new habits and reshape my whole life. I started first thing in the morning, instead of smoking, go for a run. After that I had to occupy myself with things which I didn't normally do so I didn't trigger a smoking habit. I started exercising a lot which kinda gives you the same release of chemicals as smoking does. After a few months of doing this I could still feel like I wanted to smoke at times. In fact I bought two packets at different times and smoked about half of a cigarette each time. But I always threw away the packs even before I started smoking. I expected to enjoy it but I didn't. I realized then that I wasn't really enjoying smoking at all rather I enjoyed the mental pause with deep breaths. So I started running even more and even meditating. Many small things added up and quitting smoking lead to me having a better life overall. I have since then gotten rid of the following Sugar, Alcohol, Caffeine, Aspartame, other types of sweeteners like Sucralose, and am living a complete straight-edge life filled with more pleasurable chemicals in my brain than ever. I feel better and I enjoy my life more. I still have addictions though, I'm addicted to skateboarding, running, exercise, memorization practice, and video games. Video games is something I'm working on limiting more as well...

Well that wall of text probably doesn't help anyone.... Sorry.

Hey Verc! No worries man, it's an interesting story. It seems you have had a pretty rough time in quitting smoking. Hopefully we won't have as hard of a time as you seem to have had. I know it will be tough to quit and turn away from what really has been a lifestyle for a long time.
So far though, everything seems to be going pretty well and things are actually easier than I expected at this point. Stacie and I both are already feeling better from not smoking in the last week. The vapes have helped us eliminate most of the things that are bad about smoking almost instantly. The nicotine intake has already been cut in half and the time we spend using the vape is quite a bit less than the time we used to spend smoking cigarettes. Stacie tried to cheat yesterday and lit up a smoke only to gag on it and put it out right away.
Soon we will be out of the e-juice with 6mg of nicotine and we will try to cut that in half by getting some that has a 3mg of nicotine avg. Maybe we have a long way to go before we can be nicotine free but then again, maybe not. I remain optimistic that this will work and in some ways I believe that it already has to some extent.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
verciazghra
post Apr 17 2017, 11:56 PM
Post #24


GMC:er
*

Group: Members
Posts: 467
Joined: 10-July 13
Member No.: 18.475



QUOTE (AK Rich @ Apr 17 2017, 03:40 PM) *
Hey Verc! No worries man, it's an interesting story. It seems you have had a pretty rough time in quitting smoking. Hopefully we won't have as hard of a time as you seem to have had. I know it will be tough to quit and turn away from what really has been a lifestyle for a long time.
So far though, everything seems to be going pretty well and things are actually easier than I expected at this point. Stacie and I both are already feeling better from not smoking in the last week. The vapes have helped us eliminate most of the things that are bad about smoking almost instantly. The nicotine intake has already been cut in half and the time we spend using the vape is quite a bit less than the time we used to spend smoking cigarettes. Stacie tried to cheat yesterday and lit up a smoke only to gag on it and put it out right away.
Soon we will be out of the e-juice with 6mg of nicotine and we will try to cut that in half by getting some that has a 3mg of nicotine avg. Maybe we have a long way to go before we can be nicotine free but then again, maybe not. I remain optimistic that this will work and in some ways I believe that it already has to some extent.


That sounds wonderful man. Keep going strong! Really hope you can stick with it!

I guess my big problem has always been that I have an extreme addict-personality. So yeah for me it's tough to break any bad habit and I've had to go by it by force. I'm glad to say though that despite this I've been able to foster a life of mostly positive habits.

This post has been edited by verciazghra: Apr 18 2017, 03:20 PM


--------------------
"To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time." -Leonard Bernstein

"The only love affair I have ever had was with music." -Maurice Ravel

"There's no such place as dumb question." -Dose One
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
AK Rich
post Apr 19 2017, 03:59 PM
Post #25


Learning Guitar Hero
*

Group: Members
Posts: 2.994
Joined: 10-September 11
From: Big Lake, Alaska
Member No.: 13.839



QUOTE (verciazghra @ Apr 17 2017, 02:56 PM) *
That sounds wonderful man. Keep going strong! Really hope you can stick with it!

I guess my big problem has always been that I have an extreme addict-personality. So yeah for me it's tough to break any bad habit and I've had to go by it by force. I'm glad to say though that despite this I've been able to foster a life of mostly positive habits.

Thanks Verc! It's going pretty well so far. Yesterday I started using an e-juice in the vape that contains only 3mg avg of nicotine and I really haven't noticed a difference. No cigarettes at all for a week!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
AK Rich
post May 12 2017, 04:15 PM
Post #26


Learning Guitar Hero
*

Group: Members
Posts: 2.994
Joined: 10-September 11
From: Big Lake, Alaska
Member No.: 13.839



Well it's basically been a month smoke free now. I may have been jumping the gun on dropping the nicotine input down to 3mg from 6 as it resulted in a big increase in the amount of e-juice I used for about a week or so but as the days went by, I slowly started to cut that back and have since reduced the avg nicotine content of my e-juice to 2mg.
Stacie has been a bit slower in weening off of the nicotine as she just recently reduced her avg to 4mg but is still doing a great job in staying away from the cigarettes.
I am pretty surprised at how relatively easy this has been so far and now my old friend Mark has tossed away his Kool filtered cigarettes to join Stacie and I in kicking the habit through vaping.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Spock
post May 13 2017, 04:19 AM
Post #27


GMC:er
*

Group: Members
Posts: 1.295
Joined: 26-December 12
From: South Carolina, U.S.A.
Member No.: 17.265



CONGRATS!!!

It WARMS my heart when people give up cigs and switch to vaping. I quit smoking almost 5 years ago. Did it just like you - went and purchased my first mod and gave away 3 packs of cigarettes.

I figured since I spent $100 on the mod I better get my money's worth. Then I found a flavor that tasted exactly like Captain Crunch and I never looked back!!! My flavor for the past 3 years has been a sugar cookie - I really don't even taste it anymore but I still love it. Now people say my car smells like pancakes and they love it.

I started at 18 mg nicotine and have been at 3 mg for about 3 years now. I just love vaping - that oral fixation thing that comes with years of smoking.

It's a little different but after about a week it starts to feel normal. The lure of cigs will stay for a while so be strong and determined - just think about the money saved and the money invested. No more hacking morning coughs. No more smelling like you narrowly escaped a crematory.

You got this - try a lot of flavors and find one that makes you swoon and you'll have this thing nailed and never look back.

Attached Image

This post has been edited by Spock: May 13 2017, 04:23 AM
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
AK Rich
post May 13 2017, 06:45 PM
Post #28


Learning Guitar Hero
*

Group: Members
Posts: 2.994
Joined: 10-September 11
From: Big Lake, Alaska
Member No.: 13.839



Thanks Spock! Yeah vaping seems to be a great way to quit. For the first few days I maybe smoked a cigarette a day just taking a puff or two at a time but since then it has been all vaping to satisfy my cravings for nicotine and it feels great! I used to smoke a pack to a pack and a half a day of full flavored cigs like Camel Filters or Marlboro Reds.
I am curious as to why you haven't cut out the nicotine altogether after 5 years. I am going to give it another week or two and I am going to reduce to 1mg of nicotine and see how it goes.

The first flavors I tried were tobacco based, turkish black honey and tokenello which is a turkish flavor with vanilla, and then I asked myself why I was using a tobacco flavor when I wanted to quit tobacco. Now I am using a flavor called clown tears which is basically just a mixed fruit flavor. The shop where I buy the e-juice mixes their own flavors as well as carrying other brands. What I have found is that the other brands that they carry leave a weird aftertaste similar to an artificial sweetener taste, yuck! And also the nicotine in the other brands is a bit harsh tasting and maybe not quite the quality of the nicotine my local shop uses, it's weird how I can taste nicotine now.

The tank on your mod is huge! I just picked up a couple of the Smok Alien 220 watt kits for Stacie and I. We are pretty happy with them so far.

[attachment=46142:IMG_2017...3_093635.jpg]



This post has been edited by AK Rich: May 13 2017, 06:50 PM
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Spock
post May 14 2017, 12:02 AM
Post #29


GMC:er
*

Group: Members
Posts: 1.295
Joined: 26-December 12
From: South Carolina, U.S.A.
Member No.: 17.265



Great man, yea those should work really well. I just like this particular tank because I already had one - so same coils, tank, etc.

As well I have a local vapor store that mixed their own which I purchase. The is a great flavor and I can't remember who makes it but it's called "Poundcake". If you ever run across it give it a try.

However if fruit is more your thing you may not like it. My first flavor was blueberry.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
AK Rich
post May 15 2017, 05:03 PM
Post #30


Learning Guitar Hero
*

Group: Members
Posts: 2.994
Joined: 10-September 11
From: Big Lake, Alaska
Member No.: 13.839



QUOTE (Spock @ May 13 2017, 03:02 PM) *
Great man, yea those should work really well. I just like this particular tank because I already had one - so same coils, tank, etc.

As well I have a local vapor store that mixed their own which I purchase. The is a great flavor and I can't remember who makes it but it's called "Poundcake". If you ever run across it give it a try.

However if fruit is more your thing you may not like it. My first flavor was blueberry.


Right on! Yeah I prefer a bigger tank that I don't have to fill as often and not have to carry extra juice around with me when I am out and about. Lately the fruit flavors are working for me but I am sure I will try some other flavors as time goes on. The poundcake flavor sounds like something Stacie may like. smile.gif
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
AK Rich
post Aug 9 2019, 04:24 AM
Post #31


Learning Guitar Hero
*

Group: Members
Posts: 2.994
Joined: 10-September 11
From: Big Lake, Alaska
Member No.: 13.839



Hey GMC peoples! It has been almost 2 1/2 years since I started this thread and way past due for an update on a story that has taken some unexpected and serious twists.

The vaping to get away from cigarettes ended up not working for me. Probably not long after my last post, I started to get some strange side effects from the vaping which included some pretty bad headaches as well as the top of my head and parts of my face feeling numb after hitting on the vaporizer so I stopped using it and picked up cigarettes again for a while and the headaches and numbing went away.
After that though I started feeling fatigued and had this nagging creeping crud kind of thing going on in my throat where I was hacking up flem. IDK maybe it was nicotine withdrawals that caused the headaches and numbness because I tried to ween off of it pretty fast.

The hacking up crud went on for at least a month I guess before I started seeing a bunch of different doctors starting about the beginning of 2018 to try to figure out what the problem was. First we tested for strep and things like that but came up empty and while I was trying to get that figured out I started getting some pretty severe acid reflux and heartburn so I went to see a specialist about that.
After doing a barium swallow x-ray, the doctor stated that he saw some nodes that were suspicious and suggested that I allow him to do an upper endoscope and biopsy.

All of that came back clean so I was back to trying to figure out my fatigue and hacking issue which actually turned into me loosing most of my voice and having no breath control to the point that I could only get a few words out before I had to take a deep breaths to continue speaking so I went to see an ENT doctor. They looked at my throat and determined that one of my vocal cords was paralyzed.

Before that I had a few visits with my General Practitioner and had some blood work and chest x-rays done and asked if he would refer my for a CT with contrast of my throat area to look for thyroid or any other throat issues.
I shared those with the ENT doctor who told me that he spotted something in the upper part of my chest that was barely and only partly in the range of the scan and discussed it with the Radiologist and together they thought it would be a good idea to do a full chest CT with contrast.

The results of that scan showed a mass in the upper part of my left lung as well as 2 swollen lymph nodes, all of which were in the same general area of my chest. One of the swollen lymph nodes is located near the aortic arch of my heart but that didn't seem to be an issue, however, there is a nerve that runs through that area called the Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve. There are 2 actually but it is the left one I believe that was being pinched by the swollen lymph node which was causing the paralysis of one of my vocal cords.

The ENT doctor referred me to a Thoracic Surgeon that ordered a PET/CT scan and a biopsy of the mass in my lung and one of the lymph nodes. The biopsy came back as Adenocarcinoma (Non Small Cell Lung Cancer) and the PET scan showed that it was indeed active. I was then referred to a Radiation Oncologist and a Medical Oncologist and was finally diagnosed with stage III B Adenocarcinoma.
Normally cancer that has metastasized from the main tumor to other parts of the body would be Stage IV but since the lymph nodes that the cancer had spread to were pretty close together in the same area of my chest they called it stage III B which is basically just saying it is between stage III and IV. I finally got that diagnosis in July, almost 6 months after I started seeing all the different doctors.

My Radiation Oncologist said I needed to quit smoking right away because it would hinder the treatment so I got on the nicotine patch and quit right away. As of the end of July I have been smoke free for a year. I really had no choice at that point.

Treatment was to start right away but first I had to a an MRI of the brain to see if anything had spread to there. Fortunately that scan came back clean so I was prescribed 6 months of daily radiation treatments except weekends and 2 rounds of Chemotherapy. One on the first day of Radiation and another dose halfway through the radiation treatment 3 weeks in. After I finished that I started a years worth of Immunotherapy infusions every 2 weeks which are administered just like the Chemotherapy through a port in my chest that connect to the jugular vein in my neck which takes about an hour. My Medical Oncologist gave me a 20 to 25% chance of beating it with curing the cancer being the goal.

Every 3 months or so I had a CT scan to monitor the size of the tumor and lymph nodes to gauge progress. After The scan I had in February my chances of beating it went up to 75% because the main tumor was not visible anymore and only scar tissue was observed. I had another scan in June that showed that not only was the tumor not visible anymore , but the lymph nodes had returned to normal size.

This coming Wednesday on the 14th will be my final Immunotherapy infusion and 1 month later I will have another PET scan which will give a more conclusive look at the size, and more importantly the activity, or hopefully lack of activity that is going on. My doctors and I are very optimistic that my scans will come back clean and I will have beaten this thing.

It has been a long hard battle and unfortunately the side effects from all the treatments have left me unable to work for the most part for over a year now but once I am done with treatment and the more time goes by afterwards, I should start to loose the chronic fatigue and get my endurance and stamina back. I am looking forward to becoming active again so I can get back to work but also to get back on a stage as well, hopefully next summer which will leave me plenty of time this winter to woodshed, knock off some rust and get my chops back. Oh, and I also need to drop about 40 pounds that I have picked up in the last year from lack of proper exercise. biggrin.gif It shouldn't be a problem though once I can become fully active again.

A few words on Immunotherapy.

It is still a relatively new treatment for certain types of cancer. When I started it, it had only been approved for a few certain types of cancer for a couple years and for my specific type and stage of cancer it had only been approved for about 6 or 7 months. I believe it has been approved for even more types and stages of cancer since I started treatment.
The type of cancer that I was diagnosed with and maybe even all cancers, I am not exactly sure, release certain proteins or chemicals that mask it from our immune systems. The Immunotherapy drug, called Imfinzi in my case, blocks the release of those proteins which basically unmasks the cancer cells so that our own immune systems can identify it as a threat and attack it. The ongoing study of the results of this treatment have been very promising and largely successful with this drug and another drug called Keytruda.

So, kicking the habit turned out to be quite a bit of a different story than it started out as.
If any of you reading this are smokers, do whatever you can to quit as soon as possible. I smoked a pack to a pack and a half a day for about 35 years and this is where it got me. It almost killed me and I guess it still could but I believe I will be one of the lucky ones and win my battle, but trust me, it is a battle that you don't want to fight if you can avoid it.

I would be happy to answer any questions that I can about my battle.

Rock on!! Rich...

This post has been edited by AK Rich: Aug 9 2019, 04:38 AM
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
yoncopin
post Aug 9 2019, 02:26 PM
Post #32


Experienced Tone Seeker
*

Group: Members
Posts: 740
Joined: 26-September 09
From: USA
Member No.: 7.667



That is incredible...... Thanks for sharing, I hope your experience can inspire others to quit too. Glad to hear your optimism, I bet it was a pretty rough ride.


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
klasaine
post Aug 9 2019, 04:01 PM
Post #33


GMC:er
*

Group: Members
Posts: 3.471
Joined: 30-December 12
From: Los Angeles, CA
Member No.: 17.304



Right on Rich!
Thanks for the update.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
jstcrsn
post Aug 9 2019, 05:34 PM
Post #34


GMC:er
*

Group: Members
Posts: 3.036
Joined: 29-March 08
From: kansas, USA
Member No.: 4.733



that 's a rough story , man .. I need a cigarette ... come on , You know I kid . Godspeed brother
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Todd Simpson
post Aug 9 2019, 07:39 PM
Post #35


GMC:er
Group Icon

Group: GMC Instructor
Posts: 18.628
Joined: 23-December 09
From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Member No.: 8.794



I can't believe that was 2 years ago!!! It seems like just yesterday I remember seeing your first post. Having lost my Mom to cancer I hate to see it impacting other people. Please know that I have been praying for your recovery and sending good vibes your way. I don't know if it will help but I've never known it to hurt and hopefully your recovery will be as painless as possible. We are all here fo ya. You've been a part of this community forever. When you beat this, it will be a great story that you can tell people.

Todd
QUOTE (AK Rich @ Aug 8 2019, 11:24 PM) *
Hey GMC peoples! It has been almost 2 1/2 years since I started this thread and way past due for an update on a story that has taken some unexpected and serious twists.

The vaping to get away from cigarettes ended up not working for me. Probably not long after my last post, I started to get some strange side effects from the vaping which included some pretty bad headaches as well as the top of my head and parts of my face feeling numb after hitting on the vaporizer so I stopped using it and picked up cigarettes again for a while and the headaches and numbing went away.
After that though I started feeling fatigued and had this nagging creeping crud kind of thing going on in my throat where I was hacking up flem. IDK maybe it was nicotine withdrawals that caused the headaches and numbness because I tried to ween off of it pretty fast.

The hacking up crud went on for at least a month I guess before I started seeing a bunch of different doctors starting about the beginning of 2018 to try to figure out what the problem was. First we tested for strep and things like that but came up empty and while I was trying to get that figured out I started getting some pretty severe acid reflux and heartburn so I went to see a specialist about that.
After doing a barium swallow x-ray, the doctor stated that he saw some nodes that were suspicious and suggested that I allow him to do an upper endoscope and biopsy.

All of that came back clean so I was back to trying to figure out my fatigue and hacking issue which actually turned into me loosing most of my voice and having no breath control to the point that I could only get a few words out before I had to take a deep breaths to continue speaking so I went to see an ENT doctor. They looked at my throat and determined that one of my vocal cords was paralyzed.

Before that I had a few visits with my General Practitioner and had some blood work and chest x-rays done and asked if he would refer my for a CT with contrast of my throat area to look for thyroid or any other throat issues.
I shared those with the ENT doctor who told me that he spotted something in the upper part of my chest that was barely and only partly in the range of the scan and discussed it with the Radiologist and together they thought it would be a good idea to do a full chest CT with contrast.

The results of that scan showed a mass in the upper part of my left lung as well as 2 swollen lymph nodes, all of which were in the same general area of my chest. One of the swollen lymph nodes is located near the aortic arch of my heart but that didn't seem to be an issue, however, there is a nerve that runs through that area called the Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve. There are 2 actually but it is the left one I believe that was being pinched by the swollen lymph node which was causing the paralysis of one of my vocal cords.

The ENT doctor referred me to a Thoracic Surgeon that ordered a PET/CT scan and a biopsy of the mass in my lung and one of the lymph nodes. The biopsy came back as Adenocarcinoma (Non Small Cell Lung Cancer) and the PET scan showed that it was indeed active. I was then referred to a Radiation Oncologist and a Medical Oncologist and was finally diagnosed with stage III B Adenocarcinoma.
Normally cancer that has metastasized from the main tumor to other parts of the body would be Stage IV but since the lymph nodes that the cancer had spread to were pretty close together in the same area of my chest they called it stage III B which is basically just saying it is between stage III and IV. I finally got that diagnosis in July, almost 6 months after I started seeing all the different doctors.

My Radiation Oncologist said I needed to quit smoking right away because it would hinder the treatment so I got on the nicotine patch and quit right away. As of the end of July I have been smoke free for a year. I really had no choice at that point.

Treatment was to start right away but first I had to a an MRI of the brain to see if anything had spread to there. Fortunately that scan came back clean so I was prescribed 6 months of daily radiation treatments except weekends and 2 rounds of Chemotherapy. One on the first day of Radiation and another dose halfway through the radiation treatment 3 weeks in. After I finished that I started a years worth of Immunotherapy infusions every 2 weeks which are administered just like the Chemotherapy through a port in my chest that connect to the jugular vein in my neck which takes about an hour. My Medical Oncologist gave me a 20 to 25% chance of beating it with curing the cancer being the goal.

Every 3 months or so I had a CT scan to monitor the size of the tumor and lymph nodes to gauge progress. After The scan I had in February my chances of beating it went up to 75% because the main tumor was not visible anymore and only scar tissue was observed. I had another scan in June that showed that not only was the tumor not visible anymore , but the lymph nodes had returned to normal size.

This coming Wednesday on the 14th will be my final Immunotherapy infusion and 1 month later I will have another PET scan which will give a more conclusive look at the size, and more importantly the activity, or hopefully lack of activity that is going on. My doctors and I are very optimistic that my scans will come back clean and I will have beaten this thing.

It has been a long hard battle and unfortunately the side effects from all the treatments have left me unable to work for the most part for over a year now but once I am done with treatment and the more time goes by afterwards, I should start to loose the chronic fatigue and get my endurance and stamina back. I am looking forward to becoming active again so I can get back to work but also to get back on a stage as well, hopefully next summer which will leave me plenty of time this winter to woodshed, knock off some rust and get my chops back. Oh, and I also need to drop about 40 pounds that I have picked up in the last year from lack of proper exercise. biggrin.gif It shouldn't be a problem though once I can become fully active again.

A few words on Immunotherapy.

It is still a relatively new treatment for certain types of cancer. When I started it, it had only been approved for a few certain types of cancer for a couple years and for my specific type and stage of cancer it had only been approved for about 6 or 7 months. I believe it has been approved for even more types and stages of cancer since I started treatment.
The type of cancer that I was diagnosed with and maybe even all cancers, I am not exactly sure, release certain proteins or chemicals that mask it from our immune systems. The Immunotherapy drug, called Imfinzi in my case, blocks the release of those proteins which basically unmasks the cancer cells so that our own immune systems can identify it as a threat and attack it. The ongoing study of the results of this treatment have been very promising and largely successful with this drug and another drug called Keytruda.

So, kicking the habit turned out to be quite a bit of a different story than it started out as.
If any of you reading this are smokers, do whatever you can to quit as soon as possible. I smoked a pack to a pack and a half a day for about 35 years and this is where it got me. It almost killed me and I guess it still could but I believe I will be one of the lucky ones and win my battle, but trust me, it is a battle that you don't want to fight if you can avoid it.

I would be happy to answer any questions that I can about my battle.

Rock on!! Rich...
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Mertay
post Aug 9 2019, 11:45 PM
Post #36


GMC:er
Group Icon

Group: GMC Senior
Posts: 4.237
Joined: 27-May 13
From: Turkey / izmir
Member No.: 18.294



Congrats!

I have relatives who dealt with cancer (some couldn't make it), its a very challenging process both mental and physically.


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Phil66
post Aug 10 2019, 09:48 AM
Post #37


Learning Apprentice Player
*

Group: Members
Posts: 6.609
Joined: 5-July 14
From: The Black Country, England
Member No.: 19.975



Thanks for the update buddy, really pleased that you seem to be coming out of the darkness and into the light.



--------------------
MY CURRENT REVISION FOLDER


SEE MY GMC CERTIFICATE



“Success is not obtained overnight. It comes in installments; you get a little bit today, a little bit tomorrow until the whole package is given out. The day you procrastinate, you lose that day's success.”
Israelmore Ayivor
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
AK Rich
post Aug 10 2019, 08:41 PM
Post #38


Learning Guitar Hero
*

Group: Members
Posts: 2.994
Joined: 10-September 11
From: Big Lake, Alaska
Member No.: 13.839



QUOTE (yoncopin @ Aug 9 2019, 05:26 AM) *
That is incredible...... Thanks for sharing, I hope your experience can inspire others to quit too. Glad to hear your optimism, I bet it was a pretty rough ride.

Thanks Yoncopin. Yeah it was pretty rough, especially in the beginning during the Radiation and Chemo phase. I had to take a trip to the ER at one point during that time. I had some shortness of breath, some chest pains, and a lot of fatigue but everything looked fine and I started feeling better after I got on a saline drip. I think I may have just been dehydrated.
I later had an Echocardiogram and that came back looking good and showing no issues.

QUOTE (klasaine @ Aug 9 2019, 07:01 AM) *
Right on Rich!
Thanks for the update.

Thanks Ken

QUOTE (jstcrsn @ Aug 9 2019, 08:34 AM) *
that 's a rough story , man .. I need a cigarette ... come on , You know I kid . Godspeed brother

Thanks Cursin

QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Aug 9 2019, 10:39 AM) *
I can't believe that was 2 years ago!!! It seems like just yesterday I remember seeing your first post. Having lost my Mom to cancer I hate to see it impacting other people. Please know that I have been praying for your recovery and sending good vibes your way. I don't know if it will help but I've never known it to hurt and hopefully your recovery will be as painless as possible. We are all here fo ya. You've been a part of this community forever. When you beat this, it will be a great story that you can tell people.

Todd

Thanks Todd. I believe it helps and certainly can't hurt. I'll take all the help I can get. As far as the pain goes, I have been very fortunate. In fact, as bad as this journey has been , I know it could have been much worse because I have seen the pain that some people have had to endure with some other more serious situations and I feel very fortunate that I have been spared the worst of what could have been.
I haven't had much pain at all and most of it was from the radiation. Since it was targeting my chest, it affected my throat and made if difficult to swallow for a time. I took a doctors concoction that would numb my throat before eating sometimes but most of the time I just beared the pain because I didn't much like the cocktail which was basically liquid Lidocaine mixed with some other ingredients. Also I only ate soft food during the radiation therapy. I had a little pain from radiation burns on the skin again, that wasn't bad enough for any strong medication, just some slightly stronger equivalent to extra strength tylenol.

I had to skip a dose here and there during the Immunotherapy treatments mainly because it just knocked me down so much sometimes but one time was kind of strange. I have this old rib injury that sometimes I re-aggrivate. One morning when I woke up it was like I had injured them again somehow, I thought that I must have done something in my sleep although I had never injured them like that before. Usually it takes something more severe than whatever I could do in my sleep. I was sent for some x-rays to check my ribs but also for fluid around the lung but everything came back looking good.
It turns out that one of the side effects of Immunotherapy drugs is that it kind of puts your immune system into overdrive and sometimes it can go after things it shouldn't which can be dangerous. I was prescribed some steroids for a few days and after taking them the first time, the rib pain was gone in a few hours. Pretty wild and strange I thought.

QUOTE (Mertay @ Aug 9 2019, 02:45 PM) *
Congrats!

I have relatives who dealt with cancer (some couldn't make it), its a very challenging process both mental and physically.

Thanks Mertay and sorry to hear about your relatives. It's challenging for sure, not only for the person with the cancer but for everyone close to them as well. Stacie has been my rock through this whole thing and I honestly don't know how things would have turned out without her support and taking care of me. It has been very tough for her mentally and emotionally it has been especially tough.

QUOTE (Phil66 @ Aug 10 2019, 12:48 AM) *
Thanks for the update buddy, really pleased that you seem to be coming out of the darkness and into the light.

Thanks Phil, I definitely feel like I am winning.

There are a couple of other things that happened during this journey that I forgot to mention. I talked about the paralyzed vocal cord above. I went on like that for about 8 months which really sucked. Not only did I not have much of a voice. My breath control was so limited that I could only get out a few words before I needed to take a deep breath to continue speaking. Trying to talk on the phone was the worst.
Also, our vocal cords are one of the things that helps keep things from going into your lungs when you swallow, so with one vocal cords stuck partially open, there was a bit of a risk there.
After 8 months, mainly because my doctors wanted me to wait for various reasons, I had a procedure done where the paralyzed vocal cord is pulled closed and injected with a gel to keep it closed so that the functioning vocal cord can come into contact with the paralyzed one which greatly increased the strength of my voice and eliminated the breath control issue. My voice is not 100% but it is far far better than it was.
This is a temporary fix and lasts about a year. The hope is that as the pressure on the nerve from the swollen lymph node is reduced, the nerve will heal and I will regain control of that vocal cord. I have a follow up on that at the end of the month.

The other crazy thing that happened, and my doctors say that this is not related to the cancer or the treatment but I am not so sure, is that I had a vitreous separation in my left eye which resulted in a detached retina and macula. I had surgery to repair it but there were complications and I was in some pretty serious pain for a good 6 hours after even though they had given me everything they could for pain. It turns out that I had coughed a bit after the surgery while in recovery and that resulted in bleeding in the eye as well as a lot of pressure which was causing the pain. I had to have another surgery 3 days later to clear out that blood. I don't know why but the thought of losing, or going blind in that eye actually scared me more than fighting the cancer. It's healing well now but I will need a new eyeglasses prescription since the vision in that eye is not quite as good as it used to be.
Hopefully I am done with things falling apart for a while. biggrin.gif
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

2 Pages V  < 1 2
Reply to this topicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 


RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 17th September 2019 - 06:04 PM