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Old 09-30-2012, 01:04 PM   #1
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Lung cancer fear? I'm 23.

Hi! My names Ashley, I'm 24 and obese (195). Before your ead on, I want to make note that I have a big chest and most of my weight is in my mid section. In January, 2012, I started having worse back (low/mid/upper)pain and IBS issues, which I was seeing a chiropractor 3x a week for about 5 months. He helped SOMEWHAT but didn't really fix the issue, per-say. I kept having subluxations in my thoracic spine, which he couldn't exactly figure out why. He thought it was PERHAPS because of my sleeping positions (I tend to flip flop around a lot) and because I kept subluxating, it was causing me muscle spasms and such. I was overweight at the time (226.8) and I've so far lost 30 pounds (started my healthy lifestyle change June 3rd, 2012). My IBS has gotten under control and my back doesn't hurt as nearly as bad as it did 30 pounds heavier, though for the past 4 1/2 months I've been dealing with right shoulder aches that come and go. There was a point in between those 4 1/2 months that my shoulder pain was at bay, but until recently it's been bothering me a bit more, but not with increasing pain. Of course I wanted to try to self diagnose the culprit behind my shoulder pain, and all I kept getting was "the first signs of lung cancer is right shoulder pain". Now I've been freaking out for almost a week thinking for sure I have lung cancer, as I also have random (not as often though) aches in my right knee and I've always kinda had a chronic cough (I seem to have nasal drip a lot, especially after I eat, regardless if it's hot or not.) I got so nervous the other day that instead of going to my vocal lessons, I went straight to an immediate walk in clinic, where they took blood tests (they came back all fine) and scheduled me next week for X-rays of my shoulder and lungs. The doctor didn't really calm my nerves when I asked him "could this be a sign of lung cancer" as he looked at me and said "yeah, it can be". My face literally dropped and he asked me to lay on my stomach (to check for gallbladder issues). I couldn't stop myself from asking him "Do you think that's a possibility for MY shoulder pain" and he said "No, I highly doubt it". I kinda just wished that after he said it could be a sign, that he would of followed up with the "I doubt you could have it". He did tell me that my shoulder seems to have muscle spasms (I also have mid back muscle spasms, and any type of ache I get in my body usually is right sided) and that could be because of the back issues I deal with. I'm just hoping I don't have cancer. I'm scared to death about taking these X-rays and them telling me I have a mass or something. If anyone has ever had a scare like this or has unfortunately happen to been diagnosed with lung cancer, could you tell me more about it? If you had shoulder pain, was it a constant pain? What type (dull, aching, sharp)? Were there any times that the shoulder pain went away for a few days and reappeared? For those that have read this, thanks for taking the time out. I hope I can get some answers.

 
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:50 PM   #2
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Talking Re: Lung cancer fear? I'm 23.

Hi Ashley, I am answering your question and concerns only because it all sounds so familiar. First and foremost, do not read into this more than you need to. I know from recent, I mean recent experience from all you are talking about. However, I want to touch base on the lung cancer scare.

You never know, things happen to the best of people, but put that aside and remember, it could be so many other things. Ok. I had this really bad pain in my chest and I ached all over. I have Addisons Disease that is treated among some other autoimmune disorders. I am familiar with pain and live with it daily although I am on Morphine and many other meds for pain and my illnesses. Yet, when I started hurting and could barely breathe at times, runny nose at times, not all the time, out of breathe, etc. and not to mention the pain in my shoulder and lung areas. I saw this doctor and that doctor. I would end up swelling to 220 lbs from a 180 start. All the gain was within about 3 days. Went to emergency rooms, doctor after doctor. Treated badly by most of course. Cried quiet a bit surprised I did not dehydrate myself. Some doctors should not be doctors. Anyway,

I had xrays, mris, cscans, you name it. I finally saw a Neurologists and he had a Cervical Spine Xray conducted, explained a lot of pain I am suffering. However, this did not concern my lungs and the breathing etc. So, I saw a well known and very good Pulmanologists, lung doctor. He did all the tests just as well. I also had the breathing test into the tubes, which actually were pretty good. To make a long story short. The MRI of my lungs showed a mass or nodule in my right lung. Girl, I was scared to death of lung cancer. Really scared to death. I started making arrangements for my pets and my children. Lung cancer is fast to kill. It has no preference who you are and what age you are. Does not matter if you smoke or not. It just happens.

Everyone has 5 lobes in their lungs. The MRI revealed that I had 3 of those 5 lobes collapsed and my lungs were full of fluid. The mass was determined, after my lungs were cleared up, to be just a calcification nodule. Common! Not cancer. My right lung is scarred now but this is due to the fact that no doctor or hospital I saw detected that I had a horrible almost life threatning case of pneumonia with 3 collapsed lung lobes. Sad. You MUST be your own advocate and do not PANIC. It does not help.

See a Pulmanologists immediately to help determine if you could have any infection or viral lung thing going on. This could lead to terrible pain and worry.

I was sick, very very sick for 6 months. It was viral so antibiotics would have not done anything to resolve my issue. It is just sad that it took so long to be diagnosed. I was called an addict to a liar, although all the signs were there now that I think about it. Swollen so much I have a ruined body with marks all over it.

I know this from very recent experience. It is extremely painful and very very scary. Possibly not lung cancer by a long shot, but you must see a Pulmanologists who specializes in the lungs. The only bad thing is they love to push sleep studies on you, which I have yet to do.

Do not smoke and stay away from smoke. Watch your daily ozone layer on the news for outside breathing, this will impact your pain and the way you breathe. Request a rescue inhaler if one is not prescribed anyway. This will help clear your lungs out and help keep your breathing tracts open.

Do not worry without warrant. Be proactive and assertive. You know your body. Make the requests to find out or rule out certain illness and disease. You are the boss.

I hope I have helped a little. I know your scared and you are in pain. Take motrin for inflammation, will make you feel better too. Take warm baths for the achiness and pains. Get rest and plenty of fluids and set that appointment up with the Pulmanologists.

Good Luck Sweetie, I know you feel horrible, but don't scare yourself until it is time to do so. I did and that just adds anxiety on to your pain. Not fun!

Your Friend,
Elizabeth

Last edited by mod85; 09-30-2012 at 05:29 PM.

 
Old 10-06-2012, 12:41 PM   #3
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Re: Lung cancer fear? I'm 23.

A lot of what Elizabeth says is good information, including the "don't panic".

DO find a board-certified internist or pulmonoloist as soon as possible. Be prepared for them to tell you to lose weight. Being heavy hurts your whole body, as I am sure you know. It causes muscles and ligaments and tendons to carry far more weight than they are designed for, and that causes spasms and pain and tenderness. I am morbidly obese, and I know what I am talking about here.

If you can, try mild exercise every day. Sometimes getting the joints to move gently help the spasms. A nice soak in a warm tub is great too, but getting some gentle exercise is also good. Keep your joints moving so the muscles don't get weak and out of shape.

Watch your diet and reduce the amount of fat in your diet. Fat can cause diarrhea and diarrhea causes lots of unhappy things. A high fat diet can cause cancer.

It is unlikely you have cancer at your age, but not impossible. Being your own advocate is good advice, so be your own advocate by taking better care of yourself, getting a good doctor, lose weight and change your diet. Be proactive, not reactive.

Good luck!
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:10 PM   #4
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Unhappy Re: Lung cancer fear? I'm 23.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lollypat View Post
A lot of what Elizabeth says is good information, including the "don't panic".

DO find a board-certified internist or pulmonoloist as soon as possible. Be prepared for them to tell you to lose weight. Being heavy hurts your whole body, as I am sure you know. It causes muscles and ligaments and tendons to carry far more weight than they are designed for, and that causes spasms and pain and tenderness. I am morbidly obese, and I know what I am talking about here.

If you can, try mild exercise every day. Sometimes getting the joints to move gently help the spasms. A nice soak in a warm tub is great too, but getting some gentle exercise is also good. Keep your joints moving so the muscles don't get weak and out of shape.

Watch your diet and reduce the amount of fat in your diet. Fat can cause diarrhea and diarrhea causes lots of unhappy things. A high fat diet can cause cancer.

It is unlikely you have cancer at your age, but not impossible. Being your own advocate is good advice, so be your own advocate by taking better care of yourself, getting a good doctor, lose weight and change your diet. Be proactive, not reactive.

Good luck!
So Smart LollyPat! Can tell you, have lived in some painful times! So sorry to begin with, I completely understand and i am your friend sweetheart if you want to talk....Some very very great words of advice. I wish I had used the boards when I needed to prior now. People like you make a difference in peoples life that appreciate your suffering and experience, otherwise why are we here. I usually weigh about 180 lbs normally, since my pneumonia, I weigh between 191 and 220. 220 lbs being the highest when I was so swollen from the pneumonia. I take a diurectic every single day now, and still swell but fluxuate between 191 and 196 every day. Back in the day, yeah I worked, worked, raised 4 kids and a husband who drank (way too much in my opionion) who kept me busy, climbed the corporate career ladder, went to college learning seminars, had the american dream going on. Busy, busy, busy so the weight was never an issue. Did not eat,just worked and ran after 4 toddlers I chose to have every 5 years so every 5 years I would start all over again, kept me thin. Plus i took those "Max Fifty's", if you rememer those. They kept me circling around people. But believe me, I am paying for it now. I hurt 24/7. I am 46 and am disabled. Not Fair. I have been sick for 4 years now. Started with the thyroid, then the adrenals, then hypertension from the steroids.; The osteoporosis from the steroids! The steroids do make my immune system weaker, so the pneumonia, I am guessing the pneumonia took hold of my weakest point. However, during the pneumonia it was so hard to pinpoint because you HAVE to get to know your body, I had been ill with so many undiagnosed issues/illnesses that I was in a tailspin.

I actually thought I had a broken rib so the MRI's were ordered for that, not pneumonia. My bones are more fragile due to steroid use, so sneezing could put a small but very painful crack/fracture in any bone of mine. My shoulder hurt so bad, it had to be a broken I thought. All types of things run through your mind. AND reading the internet only makes thing WORSE because of the big C word, cancer that would just about come up on every single search.

Process of elimination is the key. You are so young, what could it really be?Does cancer run in your bloodline? Heridary perhaps would be the only possible true diagnoses (without a diagnoses) that it would be. Probably something that will be easily treated by a doctor. A doctor that is keyed towards the issues you are suffering. Do not confuse yourself with all the "possible" ailments the internet or your imagination can unbelievably come up with. Believe me, please, it is suffering you do not need to put yourself through. I was even calling, not just searching, but calling and thinking about arrangements when I thought I could possibly have lung cancer. It was so definitely ending and sad for me in my life. I was so scared of leaving my two teenage boys alone with the fact that I would not have the last word in the rest of their raising into young adult men. I want to see my grandbabies babies. I understand now, that that might never be a possility. This has left an imprint on my soul that makes me love my daily, every second of my life. Even through the terrible pain I suffer and do not know why I suffer every day. I am still struggling to figure it all out.

So far though, NO CANCER! so far, but I take nothing for granted. Just found out I have a "Almost 1 cm tumor/nodule on my adrenal glands. I am now left wondering if that has something to do with the "Addison's" label they have given me. I just wonder which doctor to ever believe. I have no use for the hospitals down here, they are worthless and know nothing about acute illness's like my own and mine can take my last breath if I do not get the correct shot of cortisone, which has happened many times and I guess I was lucky, was not my time, but they knew nothing so I suffered badly during their ignorance.

My word here, although so long and I apologize, is that if you do not gain the knowledge and know your body, then no one else REALLY CARES. Your life could be over when it is barely beginning. I have learned through total and horrible sickness and wanting to die days and learning my body and obvoiusly in my case the Endocrine system and how it works or how it doesn't work and WHY. The doctors I have been to (23) perhaps, have always had something different to diagnose or say about the other 22. No kidding. Now when go, I take my entire medical file and I am the boss. I question them, then I know right away if they know their ******** from my adrenal gland. My mind unfortunately shuts down immediately upon deaf ears if I think they are indifferent to my life or my health. I have just been scared enough and had enough that I need the doctors for my scripts and testing. I request tests and I will read and research what each and everything that test should tell me and what I should see and what it means when something is out the High or Low value.

Sorry so long. Just want you to understand, being scared is normal. It is your body telling you to get busy. Something is wrong. Save your life, know yourself and never take no for an answer when yes it should be. Fight for your right to have quality life. Your illness or aches and pains may be an infection that will clear up with an antibiotic or steroids. But do you know that antibiotic or steroid (used for inflammation sometimes shortterm) and what it does to your body today and what it means later in life to your bones, your adrenal glands, your quality of life? Or do you just take it like the doctor says, feel better and move on in life. I know just being relieved you have no cancer is a big sigh of Thank You, but you have to start now being only 23. If I had only known why my hair turned white when I was 20, I would have known I had AutoImmune Disease and if I would of known, I could of saved my thyroid and adrenal glands, then maybe today I would be able to get out of bed and not take 27 different pills and wait an hour so I can walk into my sons room and get him up for school. Otherwise, I am unable to even walk. It hurts so very, very bad I cry every time I awaken in the morning. And I am still left not knowing exactly why. And I have good insurance and plenty of doctors thus far, but all careless and uncaring about my future or that my two children will be ultimately raised by me.

Sorry so long, very touchy and hurtful subject I would hate anyone with the age of 23 not having any experienced adviced afforded to her. I have experience through the awful pain and the many losses in my life in such a short time (my career, my quality of life, my spirit, my hope, my trust, my health and almost my life) that I would hope I could make an impact through my horrible experiences that may help prevent the same pointless and very painful mistakes i have made in the last 3 years.

I would trade this experience with anyone anyday, however I have no ill feelings towards anyone in this world so badly that I would allow them to ever trade my experience and go through what I have or am going through currently. Not even my enemies. And yes, I have some now since my illness has caused my 26 year marraige to end a year ago when I needed him the very most. No one believes you. It is invisible mostly. I am done. Could keep going, but I know you are now bored.

Take care of yourself and listen to people like us. We are survivors so far. Makes us stronger. If we can change a life, then maybe that is the meaning of all this suffering. Otherwise, what is the purpose of it all to begin with.

Elizabeth Thanks for listening, or reading. This is good therapy for people who hurt. It helps share and not keep it bottled up inside. I feel better anyway. I sure hope you are feeling better and I want to know what you find out. I hope you come back to the forum and play it forward. Let us know what you find out and what you did to find the problem. It helps all of us learn. You may save a life with the information you can share with us all. Otherwise, I would not share my story. I want to help you. Get treated now. So you don't worry for no reason or you can get treated in the early stages of whatever it may be. Have a wonderful weekend and again, so sorry so long.

Last edited by Navarresmom; 10-06-2012 at 09:27 PM.

 
Old 10-07-2012, 08:17 AM   #5
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Re: Lung cancer fear? I'm 23.

Ashley, I am so sorry, I could of sworn I read you were 23. How are you feeling today sweetie?

LollyPat, how are you doing? Just thinking about you both and curious how everything is going. It is cold here now. Feels absolutely wonderful. I CAN BREATHE, YAY!

Your Friend,
Elizabeth

See, I can make short posts also. LOL Hope You both have a wonderful Sunday. Hope I have not lost you both on the forum. Would love to see you guys stick around, not because your in pain of course, just because. Bye for now.....

 
Old 10-09-2012, 07:45 PM   #6
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Re: Lung cancer fear? I'm 23.

You state that there was a time when your shoulder pain abated. Lung cancer pain does not come and go; it gets progressively worse.

Take care

 
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