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  • My struggle with health anxiety and lymphoma fears. Im new. Please Read! :)

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    Old 06-14-2004, 09:54 AM   #1
    Chelle80
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    My struggle with health anxiety and lymphoma fears. Im new. Please Read! :)

    I have had fears of lymphoma since I was 16 years old and read an article in a teen magazine about a young girl getting lymphoma. My fears over lymphoma increased when I turned 18 and found a slightly swollen lymph node on the back of my neck under my hairline. This lymph node never grew in size and I would only think about it when I got sick. I would always think, "The lymphoma is finally killing me!"

    When I turned 22 I wasn't feeling good and FINALLY had a doctor feel the swollen lymph node. Three different doctors told me it was nothing and that if it hadn't grown in size, it wasn't anything to worry about. It was small and below my scalp which meant it could have swelled years ago in reaction to a scalp infection, etc.

    My fears once again soared last year when I got mono. I thought the lymphoma was killing me again. Once again, my doctor told me I had nothing to worry about. At this point the lymph node had been there for 5 years and it hadn't grown one bit. It was still small, and only slightly larger then my normal nodes.

    Well, this April I came down with a viral infection and my HEALTH ANXIETY went through the roof. I convinced myself that I was dying of lymphoma and went to the doctor. My doctor knew I would NOT get over my fear of lymphoma unless the lymph node was gone. So he referred me to a General Surgeon who took the node out a few weeks ago.

    The pathology report came back showing NO LYMPHOMA or OTHER MALIGNANCY. It was a reactive swollen lymph node.

    One would think I would have been elated. At 24 years of ago now I finally had the lymph node that had been bothering me for years removed. Well, my worry is STILL through the roof.

    I have had a swollen lymph node behind my left ear since BIRTH. I swear it's been there forever. My mom took me to the doc for it when i was a baby and my doctor told my mom not to worry. My pediatrician even had one behind his ear too. The lymph node has not gotten bigger, but it has not went away. It has just grown and adjusted with my body. My doctor now has felt it and said it is nothing to worry about. It's been there since birth and it hasn't killed me in 24 years. It's not malicious.

    Now that the lymph node is gone, I am worried that I have lymphoma in some other part of my body. I have had numerous CBC's taken about 6 times over the last 2 months and it has always been normal. I have had a chest x-ray which was clean and a cervical spine x-ray which was normal. Nothing is showing anything.

    I have alot of various physical symptoms all of which my doctor thinks is coming from my anxiety over health. My symptoms are things like: shortness of breathing, numbness and tingling throughout my body, muscle tension, aches and pains all over my body, etc. All symptoms my doctor thinks are coming from anxiety.

    I had no other B symptoms of anxiety except I did loss 10 lbs in 2 months. My doc thinks this is because of Paxil [which he put me on and can cause loss of appetite] and anxiety/stress which can also cause weight loss. He does not think it is cancer related.

    I should mention that I am now on Buspar and it seems to be working better then Paxil and have just started therapy to get over my HEALTH ANXIETY. I am taking the steps to becoming better both mentally and physically.

    My question for all of you is this: Should I accept the results of the pathology report and celebrate?! I keep thinking I need a second opinion when I really don't. The only reason they took the node out was because I wanted it out. The doctors felt no cause for concern and it was there for over 6 years [and very small when removed....1cm x 0.5cm x 0.3cm]. Is there a chance that lymphoma is someplace else in my body?! It's like I want my doctor to give me a full body scan to check for swollen lymph nodes everywhere! Why do I have to be so irrational when it comes to health?!

    Can anxiety cause the physical symptoms I have listed above?! I find it never hard that anxiety can do that much to your body.

    Please, I hope you have taken the time to read this. I really need all the support I can get.

    -Chelle

     
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    Old 06-14-2004, 01:15 PM   #2
    shannon30
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    Re: My struggle with health anxiety and lymphoma fears. Im new. Please Read! :)

    my oh my can it ever cause those symptoms and so much more. I suffer from severe health anxiety as well as panic attacks. I am only 31 and have had it real bad for about 5 months. I get very dizzy almost daily, can't catch my breath, shooting pains in my head and tummy, i will get this burning sensation threw out my whole body including my tounge, i feel as if I am going to pass out alot, and the list goes on. I have had so many blood tests, ultrasound on my stomach, MRI on my brain, bone scan, cat scan of head and stomach, upper and lower barium, spinal tap, nuroligical exams up the ying ying, and everything has been perfect. Yes anxiety can cause so many weird things to happen top your body...

     
    Old 06-14-2004, 02:04 PM   #3
    ysco
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    Re: My struggle with health anxiety and lymphoma fears. Im new. Please Read! :)

    Well, to make a long story short: You don't have lymphoma. period.

    You do though seemingly have some kind of abnormal anxiety disorder. It sounds like you are overly paranoid about this disease for absolutely no reason...


    You see, you are young, so you better take care of this anxiety problem you have (or whatever the cause is) because if you don't the fears won't disappear by themselves (if they hadn't after so many years). You got many doctors opinions, plus a biopsy results (and yes, if they took the whole node out it's totally accurate) and you are still worried about nothing, that does not sound normal to me.
    You're likely to see more enlarged nodes throughout life... it's irrational every time you get a cold etc. you will go panic about lymphoma. There are hundreds of far likelier causes of enlarged nodes other than lymphoma. Note that lymphoma is also quite rare at your age.

    I suggest you consult a psychologist and continue from there and hopefully he or she could help you ease your mind, or at least refer you to the appropriate field.

    Good luck

    Last edited by ysco; 06-14-2004 at 02:06 PM.

     
    Old 06-14-2004, 02:17 PM   #4
    nyjt1000
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    Re: My struggle with health anxiety and lymphoma fears. Im new. Please Read! :)

    your lucky to have only those symptoms with anxiety there is alot more anyways go to the stress and anxiety board on here!

     
    Old 06-14-2004, 04:40 PM   #5
    Chelle80
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    Re: My struggle with health anxiety and lymphoma fears. Im new. Please Read! :)

    Shannon: Isn't the burning feeling the worst?! I am glad you understand what I am talking about. Anxiety is hellish. The physical symptoms are so real for a health anxiety sufferer that you think it can't ONLY be anxiety that is causing them. Good luck with your anxiety!

    NYJT: I have been to the panic disorders board briefly today. I plan on looking at it more extensively later!

    YSCO: My fears may seem abornmal to YOU, but to me they are very real. You wouldn't understand unless you suffered from health anxiety. The swollen lymph node I had removed was considerable larger then the rest of my nodes. My lymph nodes are NOT easy to be felt on my body. The fact that it never went down or went away concerned me. I was also not one to always touch it, so thats not why it was staying enlarged. It also always became a concern for me when I was sick because I feel most people focus on their glands more when they are sick. Anyway, I also have a friend that was diagnosed with NHL in 2002. A close friend. So young people DO get it. And actually according to my friends doctor, more and more young people are getting it as the decades go on. So, how do you think i felt when my close friend was diagnosed with it?! Yeah. It made the disease all the more real to me.

    Ysco, you also tell me to get help from a pysch, but if you read my INTIAL post you would see that I am already doing that. I go for session number 2 with the cognitive behavorial therpist tomorrow. I am also on Buspar for my anxiety. I've been on it one week today. Therefore, I AM taking the steps necessary to help myself with this anxiety problem.

    It's not easy to have such anxiety over your health. Especially for someone like me because I am not anxious about anything else in my life. I am a very happy-go-lucky 24 year old women when it comes down to it. This health anxiety is the only thing that has gotten to me.

    It's a REAL disease. I wish people understood that. As abnormal and irrational as my thoughts may seem to all of you.

    I shall get over my lymphoma fears one day.

    -Chelle

     
    Old 06-14-2004, 07:07 PM   #6
    hopi32
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    Re: My struggle with health anxiety and lymphoma fears. Im new. Please Read! :)

    Chelle, I have read your concerns on another message board, and I know you have had many replies on that board telling you the same thing that all these people are going to tell you. My advice is to go to an anxiety message board or one that deals with your problem. You do not have NHL. You are healthy, praise God for your health. You need to talk to people that have the same anxietys that you do.

     
    Old 06-14-2004, 07:39 PM   #7
    Chelle80
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    Re: My struggle with health anxiety and lymphoma fears. Im new. Please Read! :)

    It sucks to feel dismissed and like an outcast about my lymphoma fears. *sigh*

    I do talk to people who also have health anxiety. I am not here to burden anyone with my fears of lymphoma and I am sorry if it appears that I am doing this.

    I decided to post here because I saw 12,000 other posts about peoples concerns over swollen nodes. Some posts similar to mine.

    And about me being healthy, no I am not. Anxiety is a illness. I wish I DID feel healthy.

    I will just let this be because I really think it's hard for most of you to understand what I am going through and that is understandable.

    -Chelle

     
    Old 06-15-2004, 09:12 AM   #8
    nanci2539
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    Re: My struggle with health anxiety and lymphoma fears. Im new. Please Read! :)

    Chelle, listen to me. I set the tone for anxiety ridden health concerns!

    I am 58 years old, think I would know better! My fear is based on my past
    experience. My late husband had Hodgkins, a form of lymphoma. I know at least five people in my life, all living with Lymphoma. I found a pea size node last year which freaked me out even with the doctor telling me that it was a reactive node; even with taking a chest xray; even with the people on this board telling me it wasn't anything to be concerned about. However, the more I frequent this board, the better I feel.

    I had a life change event happen to me so naturally, my fears are based on what I experienced in the past. However, I don't feel it's totally natural for me to have the same fears today that I had over twenty years ago. I not only have the fear with myself, I have it with my two grown kids and grandchildren. Most people I know don't look for things; I tend to look!

    So, I totally understand your fears but you don't have lymphoma. You're awfully young and have your entire life in front of you. Do you want to spend your years worrying about the "what if's" or do you want to enjoy life being happy that you are young and healthy. Go out, have fun and stop this worrying. If this persists, perhaps you should seek counseling to help you understand why you have this fear and what you can do to release it.

    I will say for sure, listening to some of the posters does help so listen, get on with your life and stop being consumed by this.

     
    Old 06-15-2004, 02:32 PM   #9
    Chelle80
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    Re: My struggle with health anxiety and lymphoma fears. Im new. Please Read! :)

    Greeneyes: No. I am an only child.

    Nanci: Thanks for your reply! Thanks for not judging me, as well.

    As far as getting help for the anxiety, I will mention again [hehe] that I am currently getting help for my health anxiety. I have went to two sessions of therapy so far and was started on an anxiety med last week. I am taking the necessary steps to help myself with this anxiety problem. I want to nip it in the bud NOW when I was young. I don't want it to fester and grow with me as I age.

    I am sorry for the loss of your husband. You understand what I mean then when I say my friends diagnoses made the disease all the more real to ME. If I didn't know anyone personally with the disease, I don't think I would have been so hypersensitive about the swollen lymph node.

    Thanks for your reply. Take Care!

    -Chelle

     
    Old 06-15-2004, 03:18 PM   #10
    nyxin
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    Re: My struggle with health anxiety and lymphoma fears. Im new. Please Read! :)

    Chelle,

    hello there. when i read your post it really got to me because i suffer from the same thing. i actually think that i have something different depending on what strange symptom that my body decides to throw at me. lymphoma happens to be at the top of the list right now.

    so here is my story, long story short, well kinda....maybe it will make you feel better.

    i am an only child too and have always been healthy. in fact from 19-26 i didn't have health insurance, and i only went to the doctors 4 times during those 7 years. at 27 i got married and got pregnant. everything was fine untill my 7th month. things started to go wrong, an infection started but no one knew that. 2 months went by with me feeling worse and worse, everyone including the doctors said it was just normal 3rd trimester troubles and a normal anount of being uncomfortable.

    i went a week over due and my water finally broke, but the doctor said it didn't because it didn't turn the PH strip test thingy the right color. so i laid there for 10 hours all the while the infection that was festering became out of control. all of a sudden my temp was 104.8 and my baby's heart rate began to speed up because of the heat. my labor would not progress, my contractions would last 4 mins a piece then nothing. i was too sick for a c-section because of the risk of becoming septic. i finally did everything my body would let me do to get that baby out, including separating my shoulder from pushing. my son was born blue and floppy and had to have life saving measures just to take a couple breaths. he was put on every machine you can think of and taken to the NICU.

    meanwhile i was getting sicker and put on IV anti-biotics. i was sooooo out of it. they then found a blood clot in my arm, scared me half to death that i was going to have an anurism (sp?) but then determined it was in a superficial vein and not to worry. yeah right. my son was in the NICU for 8 days and had to come home on oxygen.

    so i thought all was well. i thought that we were going to get past all of that and get on with our lives. i was wrong. 6 weeks later i got a stomach ache that was really wierd. after 2 days i went to the doctors and they pressed on my side. i almost went through the roof. he doctor said i should go to the er because he was sure it was my appendix.

    you have no idea how deverstated i was. all i wanted was to be with my baby and i was going to be in the hospital again. i really can't put it into words how awful this all was.

    i went to the er, they finally did a cat scan and thought that my appendix had burst because they saw so much irritation. so i was scheduled for surgery. friggin 12 hours later i finally get in there and i had a really bad feeling. the doctor said this was a simple thing and i would be home the next day.

    when i came out of surgery i was so out of it it seemed like a dream. all i know is they said it was NOT my appendix. then i fell asleep.
    when i woke up the next day the INFECTIOUS DISEASE team was in there and explained that my appendix was fine, they took it anyway and then proceeded to explain that my colon was infected with a rare condition known as typhlitis. it is most commonly seen in people with full blown AIDS or leukemia. they assumed i had an HIV test, which i did not. but i was so out of it i didn't realize that they didn't test me for HIV and said that although my WBC was high, it was not indicitive of leukemia. in other words they didn't know how or why. typhlitis has 70% mortality rate.
    it was a long road of IV drugs pain meds, crying, thinking i was going to die...but i am here.

    i had to go through a barium enema, upper gi series, 3 ultra sounds 4 blood panels, not to mention the 80, yes 80 vials of blood they took in the hospital, all post op over the months to see whay i got so sick. all results normal.
    you would think i would be elated, but no. this all happened not yet a year ago and i am still so messed up in the head. in october i was convinced that i did have HIV/AIDS, i was seriously convinced. i was tested and i don't. you would think i would feel better then, nope. all the tests i have had i never feel better. i keep getting more and more stressed that they are missing something, that i am dying. i have been on xanax on and off and let me tell you this anxiety has taken a big part of my life from me.

    i can not get over how sick i was, how did i get that? will it come back, is it just the beginning?
    everytime i feel somthing in my side i have a panic attack that the typhlitis is comming back, a headache is a brain tumor, my throat feel kinda sore and tingly, so i must have lymphoma. i think about this stuff all the time. i hate living like this.

    the only thing that has started to help is an amino acid suppliment. i have been feeling almost normal for almost a month. i mean i still have problems a coulple times a day thinking i am going to die, but that is so much better than 20 hours a day.

    i love my life so much ( i am 28 BTW) and i just can not bear the thought of getting sick like that again. i am sure this is way too long but the point is that you are not alone. i know i am sick, but it is with an anxiety disorder, not the illness i manifest in my head. i am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. the L-theanine has literally given me my life back. i hope this has helped you a little. take care
    __________________
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    Old 06-15-2004, 08:15 PM   #11
    ysco
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    Re: My struggle with health anxiety and lymphoma fears. Im new. Please Read! :)

    Hi Chelle,

    I did by no means meant to judge nor offend you in my previous post. I can understand what you're going through, I do know personally know several persons who are paranoid about their health in variable degrees. You are definitely not alone, I can also understand why you call it a "disease" too, even though it is not a physical disease. On the other hand I agree hopi32's last post, you might want to take this to another forum because by your description we all believe you do NOT have lymphoma! And health anxiety is not the topic of this forum. I'm sure you will find better support from people who have similar experiences at the appropriate forum.

    Take care

    Last edited by ysco; 06-15-2004 at 08:16 PM.

     
    Old 06-16-2004, 11:05 AM   #12
    nanci2539
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    Re: My struggle with health anxiety and lymphoma fears. Im new. Please Read! :)

    Chelle, I truly understand your fears but you have become the fear, if that make sense to you!

    Obviously, you're very scared and paranoid which doesn't necessarily make you a freak. There are tons of people in the world who react the same way.

    But, you are young, you got a clean pass from the doctor, you are dealing with your anxiety with medication and counseling. The next step, in my opinion, is for you to take Ysco's advise and join some kind of support group so you won't feel all alone.

    Coming to this board in the mindset you're in will give you more anxiety. It's okay to talk about this, you really should get it out but I think you need to be with people who have similar anxieties.

    The senior members here help people define, in layman's terms, what they may be dealing with. You already got your answer through medical people and I suspect this has been confirmed more than few times. And again, the suggestion to seek help on another board is not a dismissal statement. I truly feel that you need to talk to people, like you, who have a hard time dealing with health related anxiety.

    Listen, I came to this board a dozen times posting the same thing - do you think it's cancer! Even after my surgeon told me it wasn't; even after the xray told me it wasn't; even after my logical mind told me it wasn't. I was so consumed with fear that it had to be, I kept posting the same question several different ways. Finally, as easily as he (I think Ysco is a he) could post, he suggested I get some help to deal with my anxiety. I finally realized that being afraid of nothing is making me stand still; not everything in my life is cancer and what a waste of time! So, I come a few times a week to see if I can help others who have questions about Lymphomas and share my experience. What I did was turn my energy around to something more positive. Now that doesn't mean that once in a while I don't touch this little node and wonder why hasn't it gone away! It doesn't mean I don't poke around looking for others but I guess what it means is I won't let myself be consumed by unnecessary fears - there's enough going on in the world to worry about! Right, so get your rear end going and join a support board!

     
    Old 06-17-2004, 01:35 PM   #13
    Chelle80
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    Re: My struggle with health anxiety and lymphoma fears. Im new. Please Read! :)

    I won't waste anymore of your time with my lymphoma worries.

    All I wanted to say was THANK YOU to nanci for the last comment you just made. Maybe I am a "Hypochondriac". In fact, I am. However, I would rather say that I suffer from Health Anxiety and I do not think that this makes me any less of a person.

    In fact, I am a professional women with a college degree. I have a very important job and function just like all of you do. I just happen to have anxiety over my health.

    Anyway, thanks to those of you that have shown me support. I will no longer be burdening you all with my concerns, but will take them to the stress and anxiety section.

    Take Care,

    Chelle

     
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