The first thing I want to state to my brothers is ‘Thanks’ for giving me the opportunity to express and ask for help thru out the first 100 days . As I have I chewed Copenhagen snuff for 33 years, 1 can / day but the one thing different than the others that chewed tobacco I never spit, especially in the field that I work as a Paramedic, I considered that a disgusting habit and to have a spit cup floating around the ambulance was not a good thing either. After my 51st Birthday on the 5th of February 2010 I went to my Doc for assistance on quitting, I was prescribed Chantix to help but I did not ‘officially’ stop chewing until 6pm on Saturday the 20th of February that was the last chew of Copenhagen that I had and have not had one since. The next day started the rollercoaster of stomach cramps (intestines convulsing) and that started at my sternum, then the intense headaches that evening. The next day at work the cramps continued to get worse to the point I was sent home, the pain was so intense that it doubled me over to my knees, the intensity and how long the cramps persisted was terrible, and the intervals between cramps was about 15 minutes apart for the entire day, the next morning I started hacking up black tar from my throat and that lasted 3 days. My Doc warned me that it was not going to be easy since I was ‘one of those’ that did not spit and that the nicotine and chemicals polluted my system for so long that my body is going to crave for them, at 10 days since I “quit” and I had stomach cramps 3 or 4 times thru out the day and subside at night. I have been thru the sweats, chills, and at times my jaw would “ache’ for a chew, constipation then massive diarrhea, intense headaches, sleepless nights, kidneys “on fire” and for each day I went to work and exert myself as in lifting patients , washing the rig, or just walking thru the emergency department I would just run out of steam and “be in pain all over”, then the cramps would come back and I would have to be sent home. This was the worst day I had since I “quit” and when I was able to completed my shift the first time, then each day there after has been progressively getting better.
If I would have known what this crap was doing to my body 33 years ago when I took my first dip of Coppenhagan while on board the USCGC Hollyhock as Machinist Mate 2nd class working below decks for 3 years not knowing the end result that I would have to go thru or live with today, and back then no one knew but it was better than smoking cigs or pipes that was not allowed below decks.
For the past 3 years I knew that I had to quit sometime so I made my self buy one can per week on a Monday before going to shift, date the can and attempted to make the can last 7 days before buying another. That worked except for the high stress days, MVA’s, CVA’s, deaths etc then I would be back to a can a day.
At least I attempted to cut back and with this in mind I want to thank all of the KTC’s brothers/ sisters out there that has helped me to get to this point, people helping people without knowing who they are, Gentlemen and Lady’s all of you are in a league of your own and I am proud to be part of it.
Thank You, MedicDan…………………..