Join Date: Dec 2001
Chronic throat problems
It started probably about a year ago. I was coughing up whitish yellow chunks and couldn't figure out what it was. After this happened numerous times, and several months later, I discovered that they were in fact, tonsil stones. This is when I first investigated my tonsils and discovered that my right tonsil was very enlarged, but there was no pain.
I asked the doctor about the enlarged tonsil and was advised that it was probably just allergies and not to worry about it.
A little while later, the right half of my uvula (I have a bifid uvula) began to really swell as well (still no pain). I inquired with a doctor again and again was advised that it was allergies.
After some time, my left tonsil and left half of my uvula became enlarged and swollen, at which point, I returned to the doctor again. I was asked if it was causing me pain, and I told them it wasn't. They said if it didn't cause pain, it wasn't something to worry about.
A few weeks later, I started feeling like I was choking on my tonsils/uvula and had this irritating feeling like I was trying to swallow something that couldn't be swallowed (presumably my very swollen glands). I went back to the doctor AGAIN, and was finally prescribed erythromycin. I took that for a week, and it didn't do anything but reduce the swelling just slightly. I returned to the doctor and was told again, that if it wasn't causing pain, there was nothing they could do.
So I went without seeing a doctor for an extended period of time after this. At the end of August, I travelled across the country where my tonsils and uvula blew up to the point where I couldn't breathe when I was laying down. I also had white junk all over my tonsils and was now experiencing pain (but not strep throat type pain). I went to the hospital and the doctor advised that I needed to have my tonsils removed. I told him that I couldn't do that because I was on vacation and there for a wedding. Blood work was done, and I was put on teva-clandimycine (sp?) as well as some steroids to reduce the swelling.
The drugs didn't work for the first 5 days, at which point, the swelling slightly reduced and the white stuff disappeared. However, I became violently ill with vomiting.
After a week of the drugs, and a week being back home, I could tell my throat still didn't feel right. I went back to the clinic and was told that since the swelling had gone down and I wasn't in a lot of pain (although some pain, especially when I yawned, and a feeling like something was stuck in my throat), there was nothing they could do.
A couple of weeks after this visit, the swelling returned and white stuff returned. I was urgently referred by the doctor to an ENT and was seen a week later. The ENT looked at my throat, told me that there was definitely something wrong, but he didn't know what, and asked me to come back in a couple of months. I persisted that something should be done, as this had been going on for an already extended period of time (8-10 months depending on when you consider it "started). He then begrudgingly gave me a prescription of penicillin and strongly recommended I get a physical done. He advised that he wanted to put me under "observation".
So I called around and found a doctor to get a physical done. Full blood work was completed, an x-ray (nothing) and an ultrasound (2 enlarged lymph nodes on the right side where I have the most swelling/pain), and a CT scan is currently forthcoming.
Blood work - T3 and T4 normal, but thyroid stimulation hormone low (0.17), and anaemic iron levels, everything else pretty normal. Negative on mumps, measles, HIV, syphilis, meningitis, mononucleosis, and some various others. Numerous throat swabs come back negative for strep and tonsillitis.
When I look at the back of my throat, my tonsils look ragged, swollen and red. I have lesions that are whitish in colour, particularly around my uvula and there is a lot of pain (which has developed since my hospital visit). If I were to describe the pain, I would say it feels like I have an open lesion in my throat (and it is particularly painful when I eat/drink anything acidic or too dry) and it feels very bruised. It does NOT feel like a regular sore throat - I can very specifically tell that the pain is coming from the tonsil/soft tissue around the tonsil itself, and it feels like an open wound. I have severe post-nasal drip to the point that I sometimes feel like I am drowning in it and it tastes/smells very foul. My sinuses otherwise seem clear (not stuffy or anything). I have had some ear pain, but that might be related to orthodontic work. When I wake up, my voice is very raspy and strange (lower pitch... sounds like I've smoked my entire life), but after showering and drinking water, it returns to normal. My sense of taste has completely changed (although, my doctor says this is a result of being on so many antibiotics), and my tongue has become "geographic".
My neck feels strange (the tonsils are firm and swollen to the touch), and I feel like there are little lumps... but it's hard for me to tell any more because I can't tell where my tonsil begins and ends. The right side of my neck is pretty tender.
I am a 26 yo female, never smoked and stopped drinking in 2009 (although I drank pretty heavily for almost every weekend from 2004-2008... hey, I was a University student!) My grandfather died of oesophageal cancer, and I have been previously diagnosed with hypothyroidism (was diagnosed back in 2001 and have been on Synthroid ever since, which is why the low TSH is strange since I have been on my current prescription for a long time). My doctor has reduced my thyroid prescription from .075 to .05 due to the recently discovered thyroid hormone change. My weight has been yo-yo'ing because I haven't been able to eat much due to throat pain, but when I have a day or so of pain relief (the pain waxes and wanes), I binge eat because I'm otherwise under-eating (yes, I realize this isn't good, but I am SO HUNGRY!). Anyway, I believe that's the only relevant information I have.
So... what the hell is wrong with me!? Do I have an infection from hell!? How do I get this fixed? I am waking up all night long from choking on my tonsils/post-nasal drip, I am not eating properly, I am exhausted and moody, my neck hurts, my throat hurts... I just feel miserable and it has been MONTHS! I have the CT scan booked for the 18th of this month, but I am worried they wont find anything. Then what? Drugs don't seem to fix it (fyi, I didn't take the penicillin because he didn't give it to me in good faith and I didn't want to interfere with test results). Do I just demand a biopsy? Do I demand a tonsillectomy?! ARGH! I am so frustrated!