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stroke and chewing tobacco

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Old 03-07-2012, 10:16 AM   #1
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stroke and chewing tobacco

Hello. Please let me know if I should leave this alone or intervene.

My mother is two months post-stroke, and has now in the last 2-3 weeks just begun to ask for her chewing tobacco - she's 72 and has had this habit since she was 3. It is sooo hard to see her ask for it, beg for it, plead for it - constantly, but I was hoping that somehow the stroke would have totally wiped out her memory for it - she has memory problems for almost everything else - even who I am at times - her only daughter - but not her tobacco. I just saw my dad sneak her some - he's an emotional wreck, so sees this as as something that's not so bad. I don't want to delude myself that chewing tobacco is not like cigarettes, and from the research I read, is pretty bad for you. Should I let him know NEVER to give her any despite her begging for it? She begs constantly, and was told by her rehab doc that the withdrawal would go away but it has not - we've given her gum - and it's not enough. Her main dr's nurse said the dr said we could give her a little but that made me wonder about him a bit. Any thoughts? Would this only make it worse? She's a different person with it - more focused, can concentrate, etc, but not worth all that if it makes things worse for her. I also don't want to bash my dad and make him feel even worse. SOS!

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Old 03-07-2012, 11:51 AM   #2
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Re: stroke and chewing tobacco

Wow CDB,
That is a tough one and one I haven't heard of yet. I am sure the tobacco had something to do with her stroke. I am not a doctor and don't know, but from my experience and a major stroke, it sure means possible. One of the first scenes of a stroke are cigarettes. The nicotine is also in tobacco. The fact that she is addicted to it makes it worse.

In my humble opinion, I would take her some type of re-hab for the nicotine. Don't take it away from here, it will make it worse. She needs to wean off that firt and then go to a hospital to support her stroke. Maybe just the hospital would be better, I really don't know. I am just making some suggestiosns. but she needs to get some help and get off the tobacco. It sounds like her husband helps her addiction. I know he loves her and doesn't know what to do.

So that is what I think. I wish you goodness and happiness in your life.
God Bless,

Old 03-07-2012, 03:19 PM   #3
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Re: stroke and chewing tobacco


This sounds like a very difficult situation. I think you are handling it well. From an outsiders perspective, you may want to determine what would be best for her. She is 72 years old and has had that habit for some time now. It doesn't seem as though this habit will be broken. I think it would be best for you to do your best to make her happy. If she is miserable without it and has a difficult time with memory and focus then maybe it would be better to give it to her. I really don't know if there is a "right" or "wrong" thing to do. I wish you the best and I will keep you and your family in my prayers.


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Old 03-09-2012, 02:20 PM   #4
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Re: stroke and chewing tobacco

Hi ceedeebee, I like your name by the way...

First, I would like to thank you for reaching out to others here on the board. We are all here to support one another and there is nothing better than the family members of stroke survivors to meet up and share their experiences with each other. Thank you for that...

As far as your mom and her chewing tobacco goes, I would keep her happy at this point. At 72 years old and having just survived a stroke, taking away her tobacco just seems like too much. If you can find a way to keep it a minimum, that would be preferable, but having her begging for it is just too much.

Whether tobacco was the cause of her stoke or not, I doubt anyone can be sure of that. Whether it is harmful, we know that it is, but after a lifetime with it, I am sure the act of stopping cold turkey would be very stressful, and for that reason alone, the last thing she needs is added stress in her recovery.

There is enough stress in the fact that her life has changed in a matter of minutes, and all that is entails to recover. I also wouldn't want your father to feel all alone in this, so I would take him aside and you two make a plan for how much and how often.

It sounds like you are a caring and kind family, and your mother needs you love and support more than ever right now and in the months to follow. What ever you feel is right in your heart, I would follow.

Funny, I just had a little visual of your mom as a three year old chewing tobacco with her dad, sitting on the porch in his lap...Cute

Those were the days!

Old 03-09-2012, 03:13 PM   #5
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ceedeebee HB User
Re: stroke and chewing tobacco

Thanks! This helps a lot. I find myself on researching everything on the internet - and looks like I can find a number of reasons for her stroke - atrial fib, diabetes, high blood, low inr and now maybe her chewing tobacco (seems like it raises blood pressure and sugar?!? Ugh! I'm also so on pins and needles as "recurrence" seems to penetrate every thought i have and with every sneeze, cough, shiver, of hers means a panic attack on my end, so I am erring on the side of caution. She had not asked for it for about a month after the stroke - it was like she forgot she ever was on it - due to cognitive issues post-stroke she also does not seem to get that she ever had a stroke - we thought we were in the clear. Now almost 8 weeks later, she pines for it after every meal. Maybe cold turkey is not the way. It would make all of us feel much better!! DEEP SIGH!

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