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Old 06-14-2008, 07:04 PM   #1
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PLEASE - need some help regarding lymph nodes

So here's my story: 28 year old male. About three weeks ago I came down with an acute case of prostatitis (infected prostate). The symptoms came on QUICK - one second I was fine and the next I was hovering over a toilet. Well, about an hour later a lymph node popped up on my neck right below my ear. It was pretty big and noticeable. Went to the Doc, diagnosed prostititis, gave me antibiotics and sent me on my way. I was concerned because everything I read says that your neck lymph nodes shouldn't swell due to something going on "down there," but the doc said that he thinks since my infection hit so fast that it sent out a warning to my body in general. He even felt it and right off the bat said, "It's benign". The antibiotics knocked it down a lot, but I suffer from severe stress and anxiety and for the past three weeks have not been able to function with it there. Went back to another doc and he told me it was no biggie. Went back a third time to get a CBC and everything was fine, and this time the Doc started hinting that maybe I needed to get some psychiatric help.

So the lymph node is still there, kinda hard, maybe 1cm, and it goes up and down in size. Unfortunately I keep touching it; not only that, I SQUEEZE it...I just can't help it - I'M PANICKING! I'm sure this is helping to keep it enflamed.

I've also had severe weight loss the last three weeks, but it's hard for me to tell if it's from the stress/anxiety or symptoms regarding the node. In times of deep stress I'm known to overly worry and lose weight (lost like 7 lbs in anticipation of a presentation not too long ago). I have had night sweats but I've actually always had those in the summer (I live in Texas - very hot). I am very fatigued, but again that could be a "self-fulfilling prophecy" due to my anxiety - whenever I get anxious/nervous my body tends to just shut down. That's my dilemma - everyone is telling me that the node is fine, it's ME that's making me worse.

No fever, no itching, no headaches, none of that. Just my anxiety and this lymph node that even if benign will probably be there forever because I've abused the sh*t out of it.

Sooooo, reading all of that, is there cause for concern? Is the fact that it popped up the same night I got symptoms of a prostate infection too much to be a coincidence? Or maybe it's something else? If so, how long should I wait to have it resolved? I'm...going crazy. I've had a couple panic attacks (at work, no less). Don't tell me I need to get help for my anxiety because I know it, and I will.

It's just that I'm sooooo worried and everyone I know thinks I'm sooooo crazy (wife included, but she knows how I can get). Both her and the doc said point blank: It's all in your head. So how come I can't shake this obsessive behavior over this damn lump in my neck?!

PS - In addition to the infection, two days prior I got a really bad sunburn on my head that oozed yellow pustules and THAT SAME DAY (my luck) bashed my head on the corner of a metal rack.

PPS - My stepbrother died suddenly due to complications from acute leukemia, which I think lends to my anxiety.

PPPS - No, the gland is not noticeable to the eye.

Thanks for your advice.

Jason

Last edited by jason1979; 06-14-2008 at 07:22 PM.

 
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Old 06-15-2008, 12:01 PM   #2
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Re: PLEASE - need some help regarding lymph nodes

Hi Jason,

I think probably that your lymph nodes enlarged from not only your infection but also the sunburn and hitting your head. Sometimes once a lymph node enlarges it never does go all the way down. 42 years ago I had a severe case of mono and to this day still have 2 in the back of my neck and one on the right side of my neck.Every once in awhile I get a CAT scan and a MRI as I have a sister with non-hodgkins..I just kind of watch things....I also think it is human nature when something pops up on our bodies that we tend to think the worst and have to keep checking to make sure the thing has not grown or our legs are gonna fall off. But sit on your hands if you have to and stop poking at them as it will keep them irritated and make them bigger because they think they need to protect you so they just get bigger.
If in a month they have gotten bigger the just ask your dr. to check them out again. But don't make them bigger all by yourself by squeezing them. I hope this help to ease your mind.

Nana

 
Old 06-15-2008, 10:31 PM   #3
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Re: PLEASE - need some help regarding lymph nodes

Thanks for the quick reply. It's literally taken over my life. I can't think. I can't sleep. I can't eat. All I think about is if this little blip on my neck is going to end my life, and the casual response I get from everyone regarding it isn't helping. No one is going to biopsy the thing, and all the meanwhile I keep getting lymphoma-type symptoms that may or may not be a figment of my imagination.

Here's a question: would the symptoms for this disease come on strong in a short period of time, like a week? Case in point: I am feeling none of the classic "B symptoms" until I start researching my node and then within a week I've experienced every single one: night sweats, loss of appetite, loss of weight, coughing, fatigue, tingling in extremeties, etc. I keep telling myself that it's no coincidence that, A) the node popped up the INSTANT that I started feeling symptoms from my prostate infection, and B) that none of my symptoms started until I started freaking myself out on the internet, but there's some disconnect in brain: either I'm letting my anxiety get the best of me or I'm aware of something happening in my body that no one else can yet see.

I just need to get through this. If the node doesn't grow, will the doctor do anything? I mean, it hasn't grown (it was huge during my infection and got smaller after it passed) and has stayed constant, but I'm sure that it's not going to go away anytime soon due to the harrassing I've been giving it. Just reading on here the people that say they go two, three years with swollen nodes makes me want to faint. It's been three weeks and I've had multiple panic attacks. Hell, we won a screening to the world premier of WALL-E tonight and I had a panic attack in there. Got to the car and broke down.

So, do your opinions mirror those of my two doctors, my wife, my dad, my in-laws etc? That it's all in my head and I'm just making myself sick? Or could it be that I truly could be fighting something? It's just so hard because the symptoms of my severe anxiety and stress and those of a more serious disease are cross pollinating: I keep touching the node due to my anxiety so it won't go away, but I don't know if it won't go away because it's something or because I keep messing with it. I keep losing weight which could be a result of my anxiety or something worse, but I don't know which. And it's not something that's going to clear up for me, I know. I'm just...lost.

Last edited by jason1979; 06-15-2008 at 10:33 PM.

 
Old 06-16-2008, 09:48 AM   #4
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Re: PLEASE - need some help regarding lymph nodes

Hi!

Sometime it can take up to 6 months for a node to shrink. If you keep poking it the irritation WILL keep the node enlarged.
I can appreciate your concerns because I too have the same but have had them for 2.3 years. I am still fine and alive. I have 2 nodes that I can feel and feel for them daily. When I don't touch them they get a lot smaller.
The other thing I do know is that once a node enlarges it may NEVER go back to its undetectable size.
Please try to relax it sounds like you are going to be just fine!

Deb

 
Old 06-16-2008, 01:12 PM   #5
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Re: PLEASE - need some help regarding lymph nodes

I know that I need to relax - it's just so hard! A couple questions though: can the symptoms come in hard in a short period of time, or are they gradual? For example, I've gotten a majority of the B-symptoms within the last two weeks...is that normal? Would it come on that quickly? Secondly, about the size and consistency of the node: how big is it to become a concern? I know people say 1cm, but that's kind of hard for me to gauge. What I'd like to know is how the node acts when it's something more sinister: does it grow? Harden? Just not go away?

And one final question to those of you diagnosed with lymphoma: what were your symptoms like beforehand? Did they come on strong? What were they?

Thanks for your concern and assistance...
Jason

 
Old 06-16-2008, 09:05 PM   #6
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Re: PLEASE - need some help regarding lymph nodes

As someone who has recently been diagnosed stage 4 I will tell you that I had no symptoms to speak of. I am not a worrier either but I doubt that would have made a difference as my tumors were very aggressive. Take the fact that all your doctors are telling you that you are fine and quit worrying. ENJOY your life, be thankful you are healthy!!! Someday you may actually get sick then you will regret all the time you wasted obsessing about being sick when you weren't.
Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.
Kari

 
Old 06-17-2008, 08:25 AM   #7
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Re: PLEASE - need some help regarding lymph nodes

As long as your nodes are not growing you are fine. If they stay small, maybe wax and wane a bit but not get big then you are okay.
In regards to the 'B' symptoms, sometimes these can be caused by your stress. I know I went through this.
Try to stop messing with the nodes and only lightly touch them if you must once per day. I bet you will notice that they will begin to decrease in size.

Are you feeling good in general? How is your level of energy?

Deb

 
Old 06-17-2008, 12:52 PM   #8
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Re: PLEASE - need some help regarding lymph nodes

Quote:
Originally Posted by DebM412 View Post
As long as your nodes are not growing you are fine. If they stay small, maybe wax and wane a bit but not get big then you are okay.
In regards to the 'B' symptoms, sometimes these can be caused by your stress. I know I went through this.
Try to stop messing with the nodes and only lightly touch them if you must once per day. I bet you will notice that they will begin to decrease in size.

Are you feeling good in general? How is your level of energy?

Deb
As far as physically, so-so, but like I said this could just be a result of my mental health (which everyone is telling me it is). I don't think I've said this before, but I had not been to the doctor in 10-15 years before this; I am (was) not a hypochondriac. Really bad anxiety, yes, but regarding my health? Not so much. This seems to have taken me by storm. Let me explain. I get the symptoms of my prostate infection and immediately I know what it is and am okay with it...kind of amused actually, seeing as I've not been sick in a long time. Then that same night I get the lymph node pop up in my neck really big like, and a bit of worry and doubt creep in, but I read on the internet that my neck lymph nodes should not be popping up due to something happening down there; it should be my groin lymphs. So I keep searching and searching, becoming ever-so-more worried and anxious. I keep feeling at this node (and the much smaller one underneath it). I go to the doc, he feels it, says it's benign and nothing to worry about. But I do; very much so. I go to get a second opinion and this doc is horrible, kind of like, "It's either from your cut or your sunburn, here's some antibiotics" and looks at me with disdain. Go back to Doc #1, who is much more sympathetic, and he does a full body check on me and says that there is nothing he can find that worries him...says he believes it's all anxiety related. He takes a CBC count just in case, then says if I'm still stressing over it to come back and we'll deal with the anxiety (I'm guessing through meds, as my anxiety has never been treated). So I go home and all I've been doing is obsessing. Looking on the internet about signs/symptoms of lymphoma and cancer probably 4-5 hours a day (I'm a teacher so I have the summers off to do this). I keep touching the nodes. I keep getting more and more anxious and more and more depressed, and the B-symptoms start popping up: no appetite, rapid weight loss (8 lbs in two weeks), chest pains, coughing, fatigue, pains all over my body. I get back in touch with Doc #1 and he still believes that I'm MAKING myself sick either through my stress and anxiety or by self-fulfilling prophecy. My node is still there and it's not going to go away, I know this, and I don't think it'll get bigger because it hasn't in almost 4 weeks, so what am I supposed to do? I'm going to continue slipping into this depression as long as it's there. I know it sounds mental of me to do so, but I can't help it. I'm convinced I have cancer/lymphoma, and I know no doc is going to go through a biopsy just to convince me that everything is okay. Meanwhile, my depression has worsened: I sleep 12 hours a day. That's all I want to do. I'm just...at a loss. I NEVER would have expected that I could have such a response to something like this.

So please answer me a couple questions if you would:

Does it sound acceptable to you that the combination of a prostate infection, bad sunburn and head-gash would account for the swollen node on my neck? Do you believe it is a coincidence that it popped up the instant I started having symptoms of the infection?

Is it acceptable to think that my weight loss, no appetite, chest pains, body pains, etc. are a result of my anxiety/stress/depression?

Is it acceptable to just go with the opinions of the doctors, even though they were so dismissive of everything? Should I just say, "Oh, they know what they're talking about" and go on my merry way?

Should I push for a biopsy no matter what, just for peace of mind (or sanity)? The lump in question is longer than it is wide, and about the size/shape of the top of my index finger. The one below it is just a couple millimeters big.

Thanks a bunch guys. Your responses and expertise are what's keeping me going (I know I sound like a weakling and all, but I can't help it!).

Jason

 
Old 06-17-2008, 09:14 PM   #9
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Re: PLEASE - need some help regarding lymph nodes

An update: wound up in the ER tonight. Started coughing up blood. After chest x-rays and blood tests it was determined that I have a upper respiratory infection. Given the ol' trusty antibiotics and sent on my way.

 
Old 06-18-2008, 08:53 AM   #10
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Re: PLEASE - need some help regarding lymph nodes

jason1979,

I am sorry to hear about the ER but that can explain your symptoms of coughing, chest pains & even weight loss.

Doctors do like to shrug off these issues and blame it on stress. So you need to be the advocate and if you really do feel bad push for a biopsy to give you the peace of mind you need. Don't go on the anxiety meds. Your nodes in question are the same size as mine. I have had mine for 2.3 years. I admit that I do touch mine daily but I do it lightly.

2 years ago I went through some tough times in my life. I also became very obsessed when I found a small lymph node. I really had no business trying to find the node but did and never left it alone. I made it get larger on my own. I then found another on the opposite side of my neck and somehow this made me feel better that I had one on each side. That relief was temporary. I also went through a great depression and it affected every aspect of my life. It was not until I went to an ENT, went through a summer, and started exercising and running that I finally let it go in my head. Now I put my focus on training for a marathon, speed work for my running and lifting weights. I figure if I had lymphoma, that would be for over 2 years now, I would not be able to run like I do and have the stamina to lift the weights I do. I pray that I don't have it. I would think that by now my nodes would have gotten big.

Your situation reminds me of mine. Make an appt with an ENT. Talk to him/her about your concerns and anxiety over the nodes. Ask for a possible biopsy. (I was told they had to be the size of a grape in order to biopsy.) I honestly think you are fine. I really do. Please let me know what you decide to do.

Debbie

 
Old 06-18-2008, 12:13 PM   #11
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Re: PLEASE - need some help regarding lymph nodes

Thanks. Yeah, I dunno. The docs say the coughing was because of the upper respiratory infection and the weight loss due to my anxiety. I can accept that. As for the nodes? I'll keep an eye on them and try not to touch. I plan on seeing an ENT but have accepted the fact that, like you, they're not going to do anything unless they get bigger, because right now the main one I'm concerned about is not the size of a grape at all. What gives me a little peace of mind is that when I found it it WAS swelled up to the size of a grape due to my infection and has since subsided to its smallish size. I don't know for sure, but that to me sounds pretty good. I've also got the bloodwork done and a chest x-ray out of the way, which is also more encouraging. But that's four doctors in a month that have said for me to forget about it, so I guess for the time being I will.

 
Old 06-18-2008, 12:32 PM   #12
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Re: PLEASE - need some help regarding lymph nodes

Since, it did recede in size that tells me it is not cancerous. You are okay. Enjoy the summer! Get some sun! Don't stress. Worrying will only cause your immune system to become compromized and allow you to get sick.

Deb

 
Old 06-18-2008, 01:22 PM   #13
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Re: PLEASE - need some help regarding lymph nodes

Quote:
Originally Posted by DebM412 View Post
Since, it did recede in size that tells me it is not cancerous. You are okay. Enjoy the summer! Get some sun! Don't stress. Worrying will only cause your immune system to become compromized and allow you to get sick.

Deb

You are probably right. The doctor mentioned that my weakened immune system from my bout with prostatitis and with the increased stress level probably left the door open for me to get this respiratory infection. I'm working on it though. How have you managed to cope with your "little buddy" all this time? How can it not drive you mad???

 
Old 06-18-2008, 04:56 PM   #14
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Re: PLEASE - need some help regarding lymph nodes

It was driving me mad. I was certain that I had/have lymphoma. I was going on a cruise and kept thinking that it was my last vacation. I finally had to let it go. It had been so long that I had my nodes and nothing was happening. They were not getting bigger, I still had all my energy. Running for me has really helped. I have been running for over 1 1/2 years now. I run 40+ miles per week and am in a training program for an October marathon. This consumes me now. BUT, I do still stress about the nodes just not in the same way that I did. I don't have the time to allow it. I am up at 4:00 a.m. drive to work, run for an hour +, shower, work, then deal with all my other things. Bed comes early cause I am tired at 8:30-9:00. So, my days are taken up and I don't have the time to worry so much like I use to. I figure now if I do have lymphoma or if I did my nodes would have gotten bigger by now.
So, my suggestion is to take up a sport or hobby that can take your mind away. Let me know how you do.

Deb

 
Old 06-20-2008, 11:58 PM   #15
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Re: PLEASE - need some help regarding lymph nodes

could fluid behind the ears cause the lymph nodes to swell? i have found to lumps in my throat and doctor said with my past ear infections that could be why. i do have fluid behing one ear, the same side the lumps are on. could that be the cause? is fluid behind the ear and actual infection? some advice would be greatly appreciated.

 
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