Ill since week 4 of quiting smoking - but it isnt gonna stop me

The gloves are off and it nearly had me…

After much deliberation I have decided to share my experience with this forum. I am never one for spreading negative vibes and if you look at all my previous posts they have been very positive.

I have been ill for a while and have decided (my doctor disagrees) that the root cause of this is smoking. Please note I am not blaming quitting.

I am now on day 53 of my quit. Week 1 – hard. Week 2 and 3 – easy. Week 4 – things started to change. I developed a cold, this turned into flu, this turned into pneumonia and a stay in hospital. Now I have studied the affect on smoking cessation and everyone is very different. I am one of the many people I have found on the internet that has been nothing but ill since about week 3. White blood cells down, immune system down and feeling pretty poor in general. Week 3 I felt like I had a permanent cold, week 4 on off symptoms of flu and chest pain – week 5 to 7 have been awful with feeling pure ill and just being completely depressed about it. The reason I disagree with my doctor is the fact that google paints a very different picture if you do certain searches. Now after recovering from the Pneumonia and having a reflection I know I haven’t helped myself and many of the people who have experienced similar may not have either…

This is why I wanted to share.

I have quit smoking cold turkey from probably the peak of my smoking habit – not cutting down just jacked them in. I also didn’t change my diet which if truth be told wasn’t a good one. I also work in a stressful job and didn’t find anything to replicate the escape the smoking gave me and finally I was very reluctant to get help with my sleeping which was at one point - less than 2 hours per day. I now know that when I put it all together I have put my body under a lot of stress and not given much back. I suffered as a result. Well know the penny has dropped and I have got my head back on and I am coming out fighting.

I can’t blame stopping because if I hadn’t smoked in the first place I wouldn’t have had to stop. I can’t start smoking again to get back to how I was because that would be fatal (we all know what smoking does do). What I can do is help myself. This week I have changed my diet. Wasn’t hard to do as I have been eating nothing through illness so replacing this with a healthy diet is easy. I am also taking some vitamin supplements as recommended by my GP to promote the immune system. I have changed a few things at work (back this week) and have also decided to take some herbal sleep remedies. Result is after 4 days I feel so much better. I am going to introduce some exercise next week once I have built up some strength this week (seriously didn’t eat anything meaningful for a fortnight). If I get ill again I am not going to let it beat me and get down about it. I am going to accept that I might have to put up with a few bugs this winter but I will have many more healthy winters and xmas days with my kids as a result.

So my point or advice if you can call it that :–

If I had to do it all again I would cut down for 3 months, start the healthy diet prior to stopping and make sure my diary was free. I am sure if I had done this and built up my core strength and got my body to a healthier point (as healthy as it can be sucking all that shite in every day) I wouldn’t have had any of these problems. I quit 10 years ago and was sleeping, in an easy job, playing football and eating well and I didn’t have any of these issues.

If anyone has experienced similar please share.

19 Replies

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  • Hello ican

    Good to see you back on the scene.

    My word, you have been through the mill by the sounds of it.

    I was worried when I starting reading your post when I saw the word negative!! ... I wondered if I should carry on reading....

    Glad I did as even though you have been up to your neck in muck and bullets you still sound positive! That, my friend, is fantastic!

    I can completely relate to everything you say about your situation and can easily see how you may have got so ill because of all of the factors involved.

    I am or was as guilty as charged when it came to "abusing" my body!

    I too have a stressful job (isn't all middle management? the poo comes from all directions!!), I drank too much, I didn't exercise, I smoked, I ate badly! Sounds quite similar doesn't it?

    However, selfishly, thank goodness I haven't had the problems you have had!

    My quit started well before my quit date, if that makes sense.

    I was diagnosed with high blood pressure after my wife made me visit a "well man" clinic so something had to change!

    I started exercising about 3 months ago when I caught the cycling bug. My wife has watched the professional cycling for years and I got in to it because of her. One day I was hit by a train of an idea when I thought "Hang on .... maybe this could be quite fun!"

    I bought a new bike and off I went.

    The weight began to literally fall off me. I lost a stone in about 6 weeks! (I was 12.5 stone)

    The cycling was really fun, I was loving it!

    I started visiting the Livestrong website for cycling tips and soon ended up on the diet sections.....hmmmm...some of these food ideas sound really good.

    So my diet was next to change!

    As the weight dropped, the belly fat was starting to get on my nerves :o so I had to do something about that! the beer was the next thing to get drastically reduced...I used to enjoy a glass or three every night to get over what was usually a stressful day! I knew this wasn't good for me so I cut it out through the week (still have a drink at weekends and really look forward to it I must say, my little treat!)

    The last thing to go and yet THE most obvious to improve my life and wellbeing was the smoking!

    I was scared stiff to let this go to be perfectly honest...in fact truth be told ... I still am!

    But as my cycling increased my body (legs) have got stronger and stronger but my resps could not keep up!

    Put on a sprint and I was gasping for air at the end of my 60-90 minute ride.

    This is probably my main quit reason!

    I knew it was going to be hard to do from an "emotional" angle as I "really enjoyed" smoking. It was a treat to me as I had cut down the booze and dropped the pies!! :) but I knew in my heart of hearts that I would not get any better at cycling until I kicked the habbit! I cut down from 25-30 to around 5 a day and before I knew it I had done my first day smoke free ... by mistake ... as my first post said!

    So, as they say, the rest is history.

    From reading your post you actually make my quit sound like "the perfect quit" ..... so can I ask why has it been so pigging hard so far! :rolleyes:

    Only joking :)

    I am really sorry you have had such a bad time of it lately but it does sound like it has strengthened your resolve, and I for one am very impressed!

    I hope you continue to feel better and stronger all the time and your quit keeps steaming ahead!

    Take care

    Greg

  • Sorry to hear about your problems and hope things look up from now on. Newcomers will find a lot to think about in your post. I went about my quit the same way and only sheer stubbornness has stopped me failing. I didn't eat properly either but then I never do. Lucky if I eat a proper meal once a week. I was stupid enough to think I had real depression and was even more stupid to take anti depressants which stopped me eating anything at all. I didn't eat for 6 weeks and have only started in the last few days. I wondered why I was so weak.:D Now I'm off the anti depressants and the anxiety has gone. I found that hard to cope with as I woke up with it. I don't know why I didn't succumb to pneumonia but I've always had a strong constitution and never been ill.

    Lets hope we have learned a lesson and that others learn by our mistakes.

  • Thank you for this post. I think that many people will have your experience. My friend stopped dead 2 months ago from a fifty year 40 a day habit. She has been ill ever since with stomach problems, ulcers and all sorts. But she is finally smoke free. I know other people who have developed immune system illnesses when they have stopped, and I also do believe that the depression some experience is sometimes a chemical thing rather than mourning for cigarettes.I am allergic to peanuts but only when I am not smoking Sometimes it seems that it is not allowed to mention any difficulties. You are right though that smoking causes these problems, not stopping, but some proper research would help people a lot.

  • The impression i get is that people in general believe that if you get "run down", you are more likely to catch cold, get ill or whatever. I don't know if any scientific studies have been done on this, but it certainly makes sense to me.

    It sounds from your post that you were run down already, before you quit, so I'm not clear what it is about stopping smoking itself that brought on the illnesses. What explanation does your doctor give?

    Certainly the steps you are taking to boost your general health (the main one being stopping smoking) are going to help.

    53 days is not far from 2 months, great, well done. :)

    Edit: I've just read Nutmeg's post, below, and see that you aren't saying that its quitting that caused the problems. I got that wrong, sorry

  • I have been ill for a while and have decided (my doctor disagrees) that the root cause of this is smoking. Please note I am not blaming quitting.

    If anyone has experienced similar please share.

    Steve

    I note you're not blaming the quitting on your illness, I think you're spot on there.

    I think you sounded very run down and the feckin cold, flu symtoms took hold more easily and unfortunately led to you being really down and out. You've been thru the mill and I'm so pleased you're feeling better and still quit. Well done:)

    From from my own experience, in my smoking days (get me!!!!) colds, sore throats, etc always developed into full blown flu, etc and the ability to fight off same took so much more time, especially in latter years. I think just generally the health of a smoker is just not in par with a non smoker.

    I have lived with a non smoking family (DH and two grown children for 30 years) and I'm the one who has had the most illnessses without the shadow of a doubt. You could set a clock by my chest infection in winter! Does that sound familiar to anyone?

    Fi x

  • Hey,

    First of all well done for not smoking during all that! Ridiculous as it sounds I think a spell of Pnemonia would have sent me running for the smokes....

    Secondly I'm so sorry you've had such a rubbish time of it!

    I remember in the early days you saying you were struggling with sleep and a lack of sleep can have a MASSIVE affect on your body and your general state of mind. I guess you'll never know if it would have happened anyway if you had carried on smoking, but you probably do know that it would have been even worse if you'd have been smoking as well!

    I guess its probably natural that most of us aren't that great at looking after our bodies in general - after all whats the point in the rest of it while your inhaling smoke everyday. The way I'm looking at it is that quitting was a big improvement on previous, now at least I'm not destroying all my efforts to look after myself better before I start!!!!

    If there are any newbies reading this, I read somewhere that fruit juices especially citrus help your body get rid of nicotine quicker, I don't know if its true, but it can't hurt you can it, and maybe the extra vitamins might also help stop your body recover quickly, and stop you getting sick.

  • The impression i get is that people in general believe that if you get "run down", you are more likely to catch cold, get ill or whatever. I don't know if any scientific studies have been done on this, but it certainly makes sense to me.

    It sounds from your post that you were run down already, before you quit, so I'm not clear what it is about stopping smoking itself that brought on the illnesses. What explanation does your doctor give?

    Certainly the steps you are taking to boost your general health (the main one being stopping smoking) are going to help.

    53 days is not far from 2 months, great, well done. :)

    Edit: I've just read Nutmeg's post, below, and see that you aren't saying that its quitting that caused the problems. I got that wrong, sorry

    I didn't think icanbreathe was looking for something to blame, I thought it was just a sharing experiences thread...hope my post didn't sound judgemental? :o

    Cheers

    Greg

  • Iconbreathe sounds like you have really gone through the mill of illnesses as of late, and to be fair reading your post it sounds like a multitude of things leading to your downfall, which to be is my reasons too..

    I've also been full of cold, chest pains since wk3, but put it down to working long hours, being run down, tiredness etc, I went to Holland and Barrett the other day and mentioned to them that I was feeling crappy and the lady said that when you quit smoking your immune system takes a battering as your whole body goes into recovery mode, like you I also have a crap diet, I.e hardly eat, drink to much tho have cut back now, so she advised me to take multi vits for a bit to give my immune a chance, and I have to admit i've started to feel slightly better :D

    Well done for sticking with your quit :D

  • The bodies way of getting rid of gunk is by being ill. When you have a cold, you sneeze the gunk out. When you have a tummy bug, you are sick until it clears up. With me stopping smoking means getting a cold for a few days and this time my mouth has been really sore but I used this to help with my quit. We all get run down and we all get sick. I think that with not smoking we will be better able to deal with the illness we get.

    What I did notice, which was very encouraging, is that you went through a process of elimination in what was wrong with you. If this had been early in your quit you would have more likely blamed the quit. If you were still smoking you would have likely been puffing away and blaming your colleagues. It's amazing the way we llok at things when we don't smoke.

    Hope every thing is back to normal for you and that you can get back to your positive self.

  • I didn't think icanbreathe was looking for something to blame, I thought it was just a sharing experiences thread...hope my post didn't sound judgemental? :o

    Cheers

    Greg

    Personally I don't think your post is judgemental. I was commenting on my post in which I was mistakenly implying that ican was blaming the quit for the health issues when, in fact, he expressly says in his post that he is not doing that! (whoops)

  • just trying to help

    Thanks for all the responses and so good to see you all doing so well. Don’t worry Greg I didn’t feel judged. It’s good to get someone else take.

    I was just sharing the experience just in case anyone else was worried and felt it was just them. I will be honest I was really concerned that something was seriously wrong with me at one point. I was so relieved to find loads of other people that have been through the same. Just knowing this picked me up no end. Sat in a hospital bed gave me plenty of time to study - hence why I disagree with the doctor (I forgot to say she was a young locum). She said it was probably just a viral infection and to come back in a few weeks if i still hadn’t eaten. Just take paracetamol and get over it basically. Since then I got pneumonia and got treated for high levels of paracetamol in my blood (the called it unintentional OD – liver flush required and I only took a couple over but for a good few days).

    Una i can relate to that. I was sooo low. Never been so low. I stopped eating for about 4 full days. I was beginning to think i was depressed but never have been in my life.

    All - I am seriously not trying to put anyone off stopping and if anyone reads my previous posts I have been nothing but positive but do think that the whole point of this forum is sharing and I wanted to say I could have helped myself and hopefully make someone feel better if they felt the same as I did. Being totally honest when I was feeling so shitty and low in hospital I was desperate to relate it to smoking as if it wasn’t then it meant I was actually ill. I don’t do ill. Well given I had loads of time to google I felt soo much better when I found I wasn’t alone and I am sooo grateful lots of other people going thing through the same shared their experiences on other sites. I could relate it to smoking and then I can prove in my mind that I am not just ill and there is nothing underlying more serious. All I needed to do was get over myself, get my arse out of the CDU ward and start to look after myself a bit better. It was like a shot in the arm. That’s worked so far. Hopefully someone one day will be feeling really low and not knowing why and through google find my post along with the hundreds of other similar posts and think - "bloody hell, thank god for that. I am not on my own with this".

    The key message for me is if I could go back, I would change the way I stopped but I would not change the fact that I stopped.. Even if I have to be ill again i would still do it. Short term un-comfort now for hopefully what will be years more with my kids. It’s a no brainer

    As an update to how I am feeling (and sorry Karri but I am going to have to disagree with you –hope its ok what with the mugs and all lol x)) I have been back to the doctors to get results from my bloods. My white blood cells are still a bit low, Hence the reason my immune system is a bit off. Viral infections can cause this as can many things but rather interestingly it has been proven that smoking cessation can. He said this could be the case but he does think it is more likely just because my body is in recovery mode (Sian - well done to the Holland and Barrett lady) and is clearing out. My really sore throat is down to the post nasal drip I have as a result of my body producing extra mucus to clean all the crap out. He thinks this PND is the route of all my evils. Thank god for that.. I am not dying, I haven’t got some mystery virus but in fact I am recovering from the illness that was smoking. I wish I could explain how much weight was lifted off when he told me that.

    I might be snotty but I am a snotty none smoker! That will do me me.

    Roll on Sunday because that will be 8 weeks. (you can’t be far off that too Laura)

  • Iconbreathe that was a great post along with the 1st,

    I don't think u sounded snotty at all but agree with the non smoker,

  • I'm sure there will be lots of people in future who will read your post and say thank god for that:D

    I got off all the pills and staying with the vitamins and my bp is back to normal. Last week it was 180/120. This week it's 140/80. All of a sudden food tastes great and tomorrow I'm going to the supermarket and buy all the expensive things that I fancy.

  • Hi

    As many ppl no iv not had an easy ride quitting.

    But it's bin 7 months now and iv still got a stuffy weird fluy head.. I'm sick of waking up feeling flued up. I'm always dizzy with my ears feeling blokes my nose is either running or blocked.. When I first told my doctor this he said it was a virul infection. After a month a new doctor said it was sinuse problems..

    I also had an ECG witch flagged up something so I have a cardio app in new year.

    My chest gets tight to the point where I feel like I'm gonna pass out. Mostly when laffing hard. Or feel tired. My circulation is worse than it was when I was smoking.

    All this started a month after I gave up smoking.. The dr says its a coincidence:o

  • When I saw the nurse on Friday she told me all the things that she went through. She got all the things we got but she said by the time shed been quit for a year they had all gone. Looks like there's hope for us yet:D

  • When I saw the nurse on Friday she told me all the things that she went through. She got all the things we got but she said by the time shed been quit for a year they had all gone. Looks like there's hope for us yet:D

    I hope so as some days I just think is it all worth it. Iv bin reading a lot of other forums to. And it seems we are defo not alone. A lot of ppl have had ECG tests and there heart rhythm have change. I read that someone went see the spe******t and they told her. Her body like gone into a 24/7 panick attack. As her Rhythm has changed.

    Just hope there will be an explanation for mine.. As I'm tired of it now.. Even the constant flu is doing me head in

  • I've looked at other forums to and there's certainly a lot of others in the same position. We'll get there eventually.

  • Updated - i feel great and was slightly wrong (only slightly Karri)

    Hi All. Just to update.

    It turned out I was having a reaction to some tablets i have been on since April. The dose was put up in September. The body clearing out from smoking and the reaction to these tablets caused the issues. Basically the way i was producing fluid was all to cock. I forgot to take them for a couple of days and felt better then was ill again when i took them. I stopped and have been on the mend since. Still have some slighter symptoms more consistent with just quitting, cough and a bit bunged up but nothing like as severe as they were.

    So really in part i was wrong but i will never know if i would have been as ill if i hadn’t stopped at the same time my body was getting used to a higher dose of the blood pressure pills. Doctor thinks the combination could have made the symptoms worse when considering had symptoms worse than anyone else he had seen in his year practicing. How much was the body detoxing and how much was pure side effects is going to remain a mystery.

    Anyway totally on the mend now. Blood pressure that was high as a smoker is now normal so I don’t even have to take an alternative. My health today feels better than it has in years. I went out hill running this weekend and felt like I did when I was cross country running as a teenager. I did a 3 hour run which is about 2 hours longer than I was doing before I stopped. I had to stop only because my dog was tired and wet – I could have done a few more miles. I also plan to take up mountain biking in the new year and all this is due to not being a smoker. Funny really that I have removed a danger to my health by stopping smoking but need some danger in my life so am taking up something that will probably kill me sooner (I am not one to go half-hearted at anything so steeper and faster the better). I am in a great place at the minute and feel like I have crested the hill. I don’t think I will be posting on here too much as I am planning to be throwing myself down steep hills with all my spare time but will pop on just to check how everyone is going on.

    To all the members who have helped me though the difficult stage – thank you and well done on your own quit. To all the new quitters – keep going as it is so worth it.

    jschultzdanmark.files.wordp...

  • Oh and i forgot to say..

    I am a stone and a half lighter than i was when i stopped smoking. About half of that through illness and the rest through change of diet and lifestyle.

    Who says you have to put on weight. By proving i can stop smoking i have given myself belief that i can stop eating crap also - easy in comparison :D

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