I am so glad that I am not alone with this. I had a beautiful baby boy 14 weeks ago. He was born at the end of the summer holidays just before the children returned to school so they were extremely bored, to boot my husband (2nd marriage and not father of two elder children) was off work studying for an exam - you can imagine the tension in the house. What started as a tension headache soon became in my eyes a brain tumor. After that there was a little bit of numbness in my feet - due to the swelling of my feet in latter pregnancy but obviously self diagnosis told me I had multiple sclerosis or some other awful illness. Then through sleep depravation I slipped and fell down the stairs and then obivously the pain in my back was due to cancer of the spine. Now I have some other aches and pains down below and I am trying hard not to imagine that it is ovarian or some other "ladies" cancer. (Someone I know is very poorly with this). I never for one minute think that it may be my body settling back down after having the baby - I am an older mum being 43 and constantly forget that fact. I have never stopped since I came out of hospital, in fact I was back at home 3.5 hours after he was born "getting on with things". My doctor has diagnosed post natal depression and I am currently taking Cipramil which seems to be taking the edge of things but I am so fed up with the constant worry - I spend ages on the phone talking to friends and getting there "perspective" on my various pains and nothing they say can convince me to slow down and stop worrying. Even full blood count tests have not convinced me so I am off to see the doctor tomorrow. I feel such a nuisance, none of my friends or relations are worriers to this extent so I feel quite alone with this one.
This is actually a pretty common fear, which is just a outlet of hypochondria/anxiety. This is also one of my biggest problems. You can't really get away from it. Every time I turn on the television, radio, anything. I can't seem to get away from the word cancer. It really bothered me that cancer was so prevalent in the media. It all started for me when a close friend of the family died of breast cancer after 10 years of battling it. Any symptom you look up on the internet will somehow come up with cancer in the search engine. Best way I found to combat it is don't search the internet for symptoms. Religion was also a good tool. I managed to rack up more medical tests and bills in one year then most very sick people. I finally had to say I can't live my life like this. You could die at any time, why waste it worrying about the what ifs.
I had itchy skin on my shoulder a few weeks ago ... so what did I do? That's right, I looked up the possible causes on the internet. Now, I have always had this cancer phobia, but with this itchy skin I was not even thinking of cancer - just something like dry skin or allergies or even hives. Well, when I looked up the possible causes, the internet seemed to think it was probably cancer.
Rarr! For once I wasn't even thinking of something pointing to cancer and what happens? The internet tells me I probably have it. What a trick!!
Another time, I went to the doctor for a yearly check up thing and had my urine test come back with some traces of blood. My doctor's nurse called me and had me come back to the office. When I got there, she told me about it and it scared me (because really, if you use the internet much for health issues, that type of news would cause a million different horrible disease diagnoses to pop up in your head). I asked her what could cause that, hoping she'd say something like "oh, it's probably nothing at all!" Instead, she answered, "well, a lot of things. Usually kidney cancer."
At that point, I think I probably went into shock, but I don't remember because I later tried to block that memory!
It ended up being nothing.
But gosh. It's always nice when the doctor/nurse who already knows about your anxiety issue first and foremost jumps to conclusions of cancer at every slight irregularity!
I am 43 years old. Although I've had depression most my life and occasional anxiety attacks, I've really never been sick, and until the last year never thought of any illnesses, but now it seems like that's all I do. Both my parents have become very ill in the last year and a half and it almost seems like I've mimicked their symptoms. It sounds crazy, but my mother was diagnosed with COPD (lung disease) last year, and then I started having trouble breathing (at least it feels that way). My father has had numerous health problems, and the more I am at the hospital and see news reports about illnesses, the more I think I have. I've never been a hypochondriac, just the opposite, yet now I feel like everything is wrong with me and more. I obsess at every little ache and pain and then I get chest pain. I had x-rays, did a stress test, and other tests and they all came out normal, but the fear remains. I plan to get more tests done just to ease my mind because as much as I believe I am doing this to myself, the pain doesn't go away at any consistency. It's the pain I have that makes me obsess and then I know that makes it worse, but I can't seem to find a way to stop it. I am thankful for all those who have posted on this board because it does give me some peace to know that I am not alone in all this. When I read the list of symptoms at the top of this message board, I thought, yep, that's me! I have nearly every symptom at one time or another, and I've noticed every setback with my parents makes them worse, but it's still hard to believe that nothing is really physically wrong. I don't know how to stop obessing, but it does help to read all your messages. My whole life has turned upside down in the last two years, but for some reason I feel like that shouldn't affect me so severely. My husband and friends tell me my reaction to it all would be normal, but it's so hard to believe that you can get all these symptoms with nothing really physically wrong. But, I guess you can, huh? Anyway, I feel for all of you!
Nice that our brains can play such rude tricks on us, isn't it? Manifesting strange symptoms of diseases we don't have. Arg.
I totally feel your pain though. A few years ago my grandmother got sick with what she thought was stomach thing, but it lasted three days or so, so she went to the doctor and they discovered she had pancreatic cancer. A few days later, she had a stroke from it. A week later, she died. All of this in the course of a week where first she was completely healthy. After that, every stomach ache I had, every bit of nausea, everything was (in my mind) cancer too.
My dad died a few years ago too. Completely healthy but went for a run and his heart just stopped. Not a heart attack, it just stopped due to an arrhythmia no one knew he had which was caused by sarcoidosis which no one knew he had. He was 50. The next time I went to the doctor for a check up, she told me she heard something funny in my heart. Turns out I have an arrhythmia, but since everything else is normal about my heart, I am supposed to just not worry about it. Well, everytime I have a palpitation or everytime I get ready to exercise, I think of my dad and the palpitations get worse from the anxiety.
All I mean to say is, all these things around us effect us physically as well as mentally ... and then the cycle continues as the things effecting us mentally start to manifest themselves physically.
I know it's hard to believe you can get all these symptoms with nothing really physically wrong, but it happens to a lot of us, especially when someone close to us is going through these things.
I'm sorry for all you and your family have gone through, and the effects those things have had on your anxiety. My prayers are with you. Hang in there!
i am in the same boat as you.
when i was 10, my grandfather died of cancer.
when i was 11, my best friends mother died of cancer.
when i was 16, my grandmother .. who i was very close with and was with her until the day she died, died of cancer.
now that i am 17, my good friend ryan died of cancer (at the age of 16.)
now that i am 17, my aunt and uncle (married) have cancer. they have 3 kids in highschool/college.
i understand where you are coming from COMPLETELY.
There are MANY symptoms, looking back, after I was diagnosed with the "silent killer" Small Cell Ovarian Cancer (a fatal form that strikes women/young girls between the ages of 15 and 21) I was 21 years old and was having my 2nd baby when they delivered my 7 pound 1/2 ounce baby boy and the 5 pound tumor on my left ovary (YES, 5 pounds!!)- I was tiny all around except for my belly, which WAS HUGE - I was asked countless times if I was having twins...I used to get so upset when people I didn't know would walk up to me and ask - It's just that my belly was SO DAMN BIG and the rest of me was so little - from the back you would have never known I was pregnant until I turned to the side.
Anyway, it will be 15 years in Feb. 2006 since my diagnosis and yes, I am in remission and have been fro the past 13 and 1/2 years - The point I am trying to make here is that there were MANY things that were going on with me but I didn't think much of it at the time, who thinks of ovarian cancer at 21 - I was pregnant and I chalked up a lot of the things going on to my high risk pregnancy (high risk because I had lost a baby girl about a 2 years before at 7 months along).
Anyway, I truly understand the anxiety associated with living in fear of a fatal illness, after that diagnosis, every time I had so much as a pain, it had to be cancer. Just try to keep in mind that cancer is normally associated with many different things besides one pain and NO, I am not going to list my symptoms because you will have ALL of them after you are done reading this...lol - I am not making fun, I am simply trying to relieve your fears - cancer is nothing to ignore and no matter what, ALWAYS go and get checked out if you are thinking you have something going on, better to be safe then sorry. I DID complain through my pregnancy to my OB Dr. and he DID find a lump on my ovary but it was quickly dismissed as a fibroid - I got to 6 months and couldn't walk without a limp - I was in a lot of pain, again, dismissed. I was young and didn't think much about it.
Anyway, my advice is to try and NOT worry - worrying won't change a thing, it won't change the outcome of whatever is ailing you - go to the Dr.'s and make sure ALL of your questions ARE answered until you feel you can leave there with assurance that you are fine. Remember, we are the patients that are PAYING for the Dr. services, if they can't take the necessary time to make sure you are OK mentally, time for a new Dr.
Last edited by pillzpillzpillz; 12-19-2005 at 04:35 AM.
I am so relieved to be reading all these emails. My third child was born last year, and soon afterwards my oldest child started suffering horrendeous migraines that had him screaming that his brain was bleeding. I was terrified at the time and kept praying that if there was anything serious to be had (ie. brain tumour) then let it be me and not him. It turns out he is predisposed to migraines and they are nothing to worry about as he may well grow out of them, but since then I have been plagued by cancer fears and am continually having symptoms of all sorts of cancers.
My doctor has prescribed Zoloft as she seems to think it is a form of post natal depression and I have to admit it does help. I am wondering if anyone else has taken medication for this and whether it was helpful in controlling those anxious thoughts?