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Thread: How to clear nicotine from system before surgery??

  1. #1

    Question How to clear nicotine from system before surgery??

    I have to quit smoking cold turkey (not patches, no gum, no nicotine at all) before my surgery on March 15. I plan to quit tomorrow (4 full days before surgery), and would like to know how best to clear the nicotine and carbon monoxide from my system. I have to be careful not to take anything that can thin my blood. I've heard that vitamin C can help with detox, but I don't know if it has any blood thinning properties at high doses.

    I'm having a discectomy with fusion and bone graft at C5-C6 on March 15th. I didn't know until a couple of days ago that I was supposed to stop smoking. I already have SCI (Cauda Equina Syndrome at L5-S1), and am terrified of surgical complications.

    My surgeon says he'll use a bone growth stimulator and that might help the with the fusion (he also said that even non smokers sometimes don't fuse right). Surgeon says I only have to quit for two days before surgery, but I want to be extra safe.

    I have a panic disorder, which has gotten sooooo much worse since the new neurological symptoms started in December. I've been working with my psychiatrist, and we finally found the right combination of drugs to (barely) control the panic. I was taken off my ADD meds 3 days ago because they might interact badly with the anesthesia, and that has made the panic and depression worse. I would love to know if there's anything I can do to mitigate panic when quitting cold turkey.

    Thank you in advance for your help. Any advice will be very much appreciated.
    Last edited by cassidy; 03-10-2012 at 08:45 PM.

  2. #2
    I had to quit for a month. My surgeon told me the only complications he had was w/ ppl that lied about quitting. He called it his worst nightmare.

    That worked for me. I didn't want to be any surgeon's worst nightmare, esp as I was having a tummy tuck and it is really invasive.

    Surgeon thanked me for not lying shortly after I woke up. I was suspicious "Did you give me truth serum??"

    He said he could tell w/ the 1st incision, as my blood was red and oxygenated. Don't cheat-odds are you'll regret it!

  3. #3

    How can I help rid my system of nicotine and carbon monoxide to prep for fusion?

    Thank you; you're right, and I do not plan to cheat. Surgeon told me I only have to quit for two days, but I plan to quit for four to be on the safe side.

    I really need to know how I can help nicotine and carbon monoxide leave my system as fast as possible without taking anything that can thin the blood. I know I need to drink a lot of water, but what else can I do? I drink a lot of camomile tea (Sleepytime) with honey, because it relaxes me. Is this good, bad, or neutral?

    This is an urgent surgery and can't be pushed back, so I have to prep the best I can with the time I have. Surgeon is especially concerned about carbon monoxide because it will not allow hemoglobin to bond with oxygen. Anyone know how long it takes to get carbon monoxide out of the system of a pack-a-day smoker?

    Any thoughts on how to quit cold turkey would also be very much appreciated. I've done it once or twice, but I was much younger and under a lot less stress then. I'm not sure how I'll do it this time, as I'm constantly in fear of a panic attack (I know, fear of panic causes panic, but there's nothing I can do about that right now. My psychiatrist has me very well medicated at the moment, but quitting smoking scares the bejeezus out of me and I haven't even started yet).
    Last edited by cassidy; 03-10-2012 at 09:35 PM. Reason: new information, highlighting most important info.

  4. #4
    Replace cigarettes with cinnamon sticks from the grocery store - they're the same size, you can suck through the hole in the middle, and it gives your mouth and hand the same experience as a cigarette.

    Every time you want a cigarette, take three deep abdominal breaths instead and tell yourself that you will refrain from smoking for 20 seconds after the deep breaths. It's a game you can play with yourself that takes the edge off.

    Also, keep this in mind: if you need a cigarette every 60 minutes, going 65 minutes represents breaking a link in the chain.

    I'm not aware of any way to speed the removal of nicotine from your system, but the effects of smoking a cigarette are immediate - the surgical risk is not so much an issue of the long-term presence of particulates and breakdown products in the blood, as the immediate constriction of blood vessels and lack of oxygenation which smoking causes in the short term. In that sense, you'll be fine if you quit for four days. And if you can quit for that long, you might as well keep up the momentum and see how long you can go without.

    Best wishes on your surgery!

  5. #5
    There is no way to clear the nicotine any faster. Drinking water will hydrate you, but doesn't make the effects of nicotine go away any faster. The suggestions above are good ones. If you are looking for a way to clear your lungs of the effects of the tar, you can try blowing up balloons, blowing bubles with gum or the liquid, or anything that will help you take deep breaths. That being said, 4 days is not much time to make a difference on that.

    If you feel the urge to smoke, use the suggestions above, or post on here. Anything to keep yourself occuppied.

    Good luck to you.
    CKF

  6. #6
    Senior Member feisty's Avatar
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    when I quit I kept celery and carrot sticks around too, to help with the oral fixation... it gave me something to munch on that helped my mouth feel super clean, and they're low in calories. good luck! you can do it!!
    An administrator made me remove my signature.

  7. #7
    Let us know how you do.
    CKF

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Way back in like..1981 I had the worst bout of bronchitis and my GP suggested a couple cups of orange juice a day would help get the nicotine out of my system in 3 days. I was an AB still and didn't listen. Finally quit in 1992. I agree with the deep breathing exercises and celery and carrot sticks.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by cassidy View Post
    I have to quit smoking cold turkey (not patches, no gum, no nicotine at all) before my surgery on March 15. I plan to quit tomorrow (4 full days before surgery), and would like to know how best to clear the nicotine and carbon monoxide from my system. I have to be careful not to take anything that can thin my blood. I've heard that vitamin C can help with detox, but I don't know if it has any blood thinning properties at high doses.

    I'm having a discectomy with fusion and bone graft at C5-C6 on March 15th. I didn't know until a couple of days ago that I was supposed to stop smoking. I already have SCI (Cauda Equina Syndrome at L5-S1), and am terrified of surgical complications.

    My surgeon says he'll use a bone growth stimulator and that might help the with the fusion (he also said that even non smokers sometimes don't fuse right). Surgeon says I only have to quit for two days before surgery, but I want to be extra safe.

    I have a panic disorder, which has gotten sooooo much worse since the new neurological symptoms started in December. I've been working with my psychiatrist, and we finally found the right combination of drugs to (barely) control the panic. I was taken off my ADD meds 3 days ago because they might interact badly with the anesthesia, and that has made the panic and depression worse. I would love to know if there's anything I can do to mitigate panic when quitting cold turkey.

    Thank you in advance for your help. Any advice will be very much appreciated.
    Hi, I hope that's not too late to help. I used licorice sticks (chew-able). I also had to quit cold turkey. I don't know if they have it in your local whole food store. I got mine from houseofnubian.com or something like that, they have flavors too. They give you the tingling in the throat and take the edge off. I did it (2 pack a day smoker), you can do it too.

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