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    Old 10-13-2007, 07:45 PM   #1
    kerry4's Avatar
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    Uncertain about possible acute panic attack and anxiety -- Any input?(long)

    Thanks for reading! This may be a bit long, I appologize. I would just like some input, assistance in figuring out exactly what I experienced.

    I am male, 26, happily married with 2 children, house, yard, fulltime job, etc.... Basically the ideal situation?

    Well, throughout my life, I have been raised to avoid docs, so up until june, i could probably count on one hand how many times i've ever been to a docs in my live, (after infantcy, of course). Basically, i never found the need to go to docs or take prescription meds.

    I have also never really experienced real anxiety, or depression.

    Well, something happened to me beginning in JUNE of 2007 and I am still puzzled about what it was. So are the docs i have paid to help.

    Here is the story and I will try to minimize as much as possible.

    In mid-June, around fathers day, I began feeling a bit ill... I began losing my appetite and getting nauseated after a few bites of food.

    I did use sleep meds at night for 5 years or so prior to all of this. I also depended on caffiene on a daily basis for years.

    I admit, that around this same time, I had experienced for approx 2 weeks some abnormally elevated levels of stress.

    Well, i began losing weight, having vertigo, etc... I had lost about 8 lbs in a couple weeks, then my wife finally talked me into seeing a doc. I went to a family doc that she recommended. My appt was on June 28th...
    The doc diagnosed me with allergies and prescribed me Allegra and Rhinocort. Also my gut had been hurting with diarrea.

    I was suprised as I never had anything that resembled these feelings in my life and i never had allergies to anything other than cats.

    Well, I took my prescription and left. BTW, my blood pressure was 124/79.

    June 29th, i get off work and go with my wife to pick up my niece that lives approx 30 miles north of us.

    We stop and grab some food on the way back and i found it odd that i had a bit of an appetite and I ate all of my food. BTW, we ate at Taco Bell and I had plenty of hot sauce..

    On the way home, I suddenly feel a sudden pinch sensation in the left side of my neck and in the middle of my left side. Then immeditly, my heart began pounding very hard. I couldnt hold still. I had a difficult time breathing and my face was pulsing. I thought i was going to have a stroke or die.

    We made it home and I layed down to try to calm down.

    This is something that I have never experienced in my life. I told my wife to take me up to the local walmart to use the blood pressure monitor. I took my BP and it was 173/92. My heart was pounding so hard and I couldnt hold my hands still.

    I told my wife to take me to the ER. While there, i was having almost bursts of attacks. they would peak, then slightly subside then grow severe again. They finally got me in and checked my vitals. My blood pressure hit 218/116 and my heart rate hit 130-160.

    I NEVER had any issue with high blood pressure.

    Long story short, I had urine and blood tests, ekg and laid there in the ER bed for 5 hours to be told that I had GERD and that my esophegus was having a spasms causing the elevated blood pressure and palpitations. I was prescribed protonix and sent home. I asked if could have been stress and I was told no.

    Up to this point, I had never been to the ER before in my life.

    I ended up going to the ER July 1st with the same issues. I was basically told that if i had something seriously wrong with me, Id be dead. My blood pressure never did come down. I was given antivert and sent home.

    Well, I had bad stomach pains and diareah throughout this ordeal. I visited another general physician in regards to my sore abdomen and inability to calm down. I felt as if I had constant adrenaline rush.
    He thought i might have an ulcer and an anxiety problem. I dont know what anxiety or an ulcer feels like.
    I was prescribed ativan

    About a week after my last ER visit, my wife had to go to the mall. She asked me if I wanted to come with. I said that I was feeling better and that I wouldnt mind. I went with and BOOM, in the middle of traffic, i felt as if i couldnt breath again, anxious, heart racing. I almost jumped out of the car in the middle of the road to a patch of grass on the side so I could lay down.
    I ended up going ot the ER a 3rd time, this time to a different hospital.

    I had urine, blood tests, ekg, and xrays of chest. All came back ok and docs thought i might have an ulcer and anxiety also. I was given pepcid instead of protonix. I couldnt eat.

    I found a cardiologist to get some help to figure out my sudden high blood pressure issue. I had another EKG and was told to have a urinalysis for pheochromocytoma.

    Long story short, i didnt have a pheo. I did get prescrived 160mg of Diovan.

    I located a gastroenterologist and ended up getting an endoscopy. I was found to have gastritis and duodenitis. I was prescribed prevacid and carafate. I still couldnt eat.

    I still had lower abdominal pains. I requested a colonoscopy and i was found to have some odd erosions in my colon. I had biopsy of EGD and colonoscopy and nothing was found.

    I saw my family doc again and he prescribed me XANAX instead of the ativan and lortab for the abdominal pain.

    I saw another doc that did a thyroid test. I was referred to an endocrinologist for a thyroid cyst found on a neck CT scan.

    Basically, i had two CTs of abdomen twice with contrast. CT of neck and MRI of head. ALL showed to be normal aside from the CD of neck with
    a thyrioid cyst which was ruled to be completely fine by endocrinologist.

    Also, endocrinilogist found that I had elevated urinary cortisol. 1-50 is normal range while my level was 115. I had a 2nd test a week later where my level was 54 and a 3rd test just last week where my level was 48.

    SO, here I am... i feel as if I have been through hell.

    TO summarize,

    I didnt go to work for 3 months straight (luckily i could work from home and my employer is awesome), I laid in bed for the majority of the time as i felt my best then. I suffered anxiety and depression. Also suffered from sudden high blood pressure, gastritis, mysterious colon erosions, and elevated cortisol. I had been prescribed Protonix, pepcid, prevacid, carafate, lialda, ativan, xanax, diovan, loritab and Paxil. (i refused to touch the Paxil due to the side affects i have read)

    So going from zero meds to all of the aforementioned had me freaked out.

    I slowly began to feel a bit better and then I stopped all of my meds. EVERY med. My blood pressure seems to have gone back to normal.

    I then pushed myself to get back to going to work. It has been a struggle.

    I have seen 3 general physicians, gastro doc, cardiologist and endocrinologist. They all have performed extensive diagnostics, blood tests and urinalysis'.

    I ended up losing more than 40 lbs in 3 months.

    I now feel about 90% normal.

    The symptoms I still have are I still get surges of these adrenaline rushes or verrrrry mild anxiety episodes. I have intermittant jaw tension and I feel my body pulsing. I get strong bounding pulsing sensations in the veins in my neck, legs, feet, hands... etc.

    After all of this, I am still uncertain that this is anxiety as it is nothing I have ever experienced in my life. I have always usually been laid back. I have had usual levels of stress and anxousness, but never to this extreme.

    My question is, Does this all sound like I had a panic attack and left with anxiety? This all was so sudden, so could it have been the stress I had been dealing with during the weeks prior?

    I have close friends/co-workers that have anxiety and i have been comparing symptoms with them and they seem to match up quite a bit.

    Should I go see a physiologist/psychologist? I dont want paxil, but I hear Lexapro or Celexa is good and helped my friends.

    Maybe I just have been in denial all along.

    Please give me any input. It is very much appreciated.

    Thank you so much!!!!!!! Sorry so long!

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    Old 10-13-2007, 09:01 PM   #2
    Pri Lily
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    Re: Uncertain about possible acute panic attack and anxiety -- Any input?(long)

    Well, you do have a bevy of symptoms there, don't you?

    I have had gastritis before. It is brutally painful. Pain will definitely increase your blood pressure. When your blood pressure increases, you get anxious, which in turn increases your blood pressure

    Gastritis is caused by stress. At least that's what I was told.

    The sleep meds...did you go off them cold turkey?

    The pain in your abdomen...was it excruciating, with profuse sweating and nausea? Intermittant pain, and then diarrhea?

    The you have diabetes, using a corticosteroid for any reason?

    The stress around Father's day, must have been pretty intense, to bring all this on......was it super bad?

    The anxiety is the easiest part...people who have never been sick a day in their lives, and then have a "mystery illness" are very likely to become extremely anxious. The fact of not knowing what's wrong, along with never really going to hospitals, or Doctors, can freak anybody out.

    I've given you more questions than answers, but it might be a number of things happening at the same time.


    Old 10-13-2007, 09:10 PM   #3
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    Re: Uncertain about possible acute panic attack and anxiety -- Any input?(long)

    Hey Big Jim,
    It sure sounds like you are having anxiety and panic attacks. I'm sure your health issues only made your anxiety worse. I was on Paxil for a couple years for anxiety. I was also prescribed clonazapam and a sleep aid, both of which are prescribed sparingly and taken sparingly.
    Like you, my recent problems started in June. I had a friend die a horrible death from breast cancer. I work with her mother and we've been close friends for 15 yrs, so I came to know her daughter well and was there for her Mother thru the worst of the worst. The day of her funeral, I hit a parked car on my own street. Then my daughter, who had just graduated from college, found out she had a condition (female) and had type II diabetes. Same day she got that news, she was told that the internship she had worked on over a yr @ $15 an hour would be over at the end of August - leaving her unemployed. Also, my husband & I were the primary caretakes of his mother with alzheimers unril we got her into a nice assisted living place. All these stresses came crashing down on me. I became very depressed and my dr changed me from Paxil to Cymbalta. Well, I couldn't take the Cymbalta because I had every side effect listed - especially bad headaches.
    I did not realize how much hte Paxil helped with my anxiety until I went off of it. I'm being weaned off the Cymbalta and starting on Lexapro.
    When I'm having anxiety or panic attack, my pulse races, blood pressure soars, face turns red and I fell hot flashes. I cannot eat when I'm real stressed and have lost a good bit of weight also. I weigh about the same I was 20 yrs ago. I also had diahreah and stomach pain. Saw dr who said my problems were from depression, that's why I was swited to Cymbalt from the Paxil.
    Anyway, I just wanted to put my two cents worth in and say you certainly sound like someone who is suffering from anxiety, panic attacks and possibly depression. Since you are so against the Paxil, I hope the lexapro works. I have'nt been on it long enough to see if it will help me or not. I do know it can take up to a month for these type of drugs to kick in.
    Hang in there!

    Old 10-13-2007, 09:23 PM   #4
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    Re: Uncertain about possible acute panic attack and anxiety -- Any input?(long)

    I really appreciate your reply, Pri Lily,

    To reply....

    I have improved greatly since everything had transpired. I had horrible abdominal pains that increased in intensity after eating.

    I had been told that the blood pressure could have been related to pain. That is what I was hoping. As for the stress I had experienced, it was definitely some dough stuff. All of the things that I had stressed about have been taken care of.

    When I first began to experience issues, I stopped sleep meds (diphenhydramine) and caffiene cold turkey.. I think part of my issues may have been withdrawl of at least on of them.

    The Cortisol as explained to me by the endocrinologits is a stress hormone. It can be increased by stress and cause high blood pressure and a slew of other issues. Also, cortisol can cause stress and anxiety, so it was a question of chicken or egg?

    I have had so many tests and I have been cleared of diabetes. According to all docs, I am completely healthy.

    The anxiety is the easiest part...people who have never been sick a day in their lives, and then have a "mystery illness" are very likely to become extremely anxious. The fact of not knowing what's wrong, along with never really going to hospitals, or Doctors, can freak anybody out.
    You've got that right. I think that is also a part of my problem.. Going from perfectly fine to mysterious nervous wreck with loads of meds freaked me out.

    the biggest improvement I had was when i stopped every med. I now dont take anything but a multivitamin, vitamin C.

    You are right in the fact that gastritis is quite some horrible pain.

    Thanks again for the response!

    Old 10-13-2007, 09:37 PM   #5
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    Re: Uncertain about possible acute panic attack and anxiety -- Any input?(long)


    It seems that our experiences just solidifies the cliche "When it rains, it pours."

    I certainly hope that you are improving and things are getting back on track for you.

    I was just so dumbfounded that stress could have this sort of effect.

    I have yet to see a doc about anxiety/stress. Thus the reason I wanted to get some opinions on if that seems like what I need. The doc that prescribed me the paxil knows that I refuse to take it.

    I havent been in a docs office in over 2 months, while during my 3month hell ordeal, i had 2-3 doc appts a week.

    My entire goal was to try to get back to normal without the need for any sort of meds. As I had mentioned, I only have a couple of minor symptoms left over, other than those, i am feeling like things are back to normal..

    Thank you for your reply.
    I had suspected anxiety and panic during my ordeal, but i was in denial. I just wanted some opionions to somewhat help me validate my suspicions.

    Maybe if my improvements begin to reverse, then I can go to a doc that specializes in anxiety. I still find it hard to think i may have a sort of anxiety problem.

    You take care!

    Last edited by kerry4; 10-13-2007 at 09:39 PM.

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