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Rufee 10-12-2003 09:30 AM

what could possibly be wrong with me?
 

Hi there,

I am a 21 year old Male and I have been having some health problems recently that have completely taken over my life with worry. Every disease I look into, I seem to have half the symptoms for! My mum says that I am just worrying too much about nothing, and that I should just get on with my life - but it really feels like there is something seriously wrong.

Let me explain my symptoms. I have been quite a heavy drinker for the past 2-3 years (2-8 cans of lager a day) and I have smoked for the past 6 years or so (since I was 15), and I quit both Smoking and all Alcohol about 6 months ago when I started getting sharp pains running down the back of my throat. These soon went away, but the Lymph nodes on the right hand side of my neck started to swell, and are still quite large and very hard to this day.

I began to fear the worst (having researched on the Internet what swolen lymph nodes can mean) and was convinced that I had lymphoma (Cancer of the Lymph nodes) so I went to the doctor about it. He assured me that nothing was wrong, and sent me home.

Some months later, when they were still large I decided to get it checked out by a professional (Otolaryngologist) and he too said that there was nothing wrong, and that it was most likely some low grade Tonsilitis. He did offer to take a Biopsy sample, but said that he was not recommending it.

A month or so later still, I decided to return to the Otolaryngologist and asked him to take a Bioposy sample of the largest of my lymph nodes. The results came back saying that nothing was wrong, but that has not put my mind at rest at all.

Together with the swolen lymph nodes, I am now feeling nauseus (though never actually sick) almost all the time, tired, depressed, and weird sensations in my chest (sometimes painfull, sometimes just weird). My mum says that these symptoms are simply down to the amount that I am worrying about my lymph nodes, but nodes THIS HARD and for THIS LONG cannot be normal!!! Can it!? I might also add that I cannot stop feeling my Lymph nodes, I think this started at first with me constantly checking to see if they had shrunk yet - but now I just do it out of habit, I dont suppose this is helping them either.

Another side effect of feeling this way, is that my social life is non existant these days. I just dont feel like going to the pub and watching other people drink and smoke (I dont intend to do either of those things ever again to be quite honest) and so Im caught in a vicious circle where going out might be the only way to get on with my life, but its also something that I find very difficult due to the way I feel at the moment.

Finally, It might be worth noting that I have NOT lost my appetite at all - If anything I am eating more at the moment because it takes my mind off things slightly. I myself will admit this is strange because I am feeling nauseus yet able to eat lots - and this is very unusual. I am also eating very well at the moment, lots of Fruit, Salads, Vegetables, Nuts and most kinds of meat... Together with vitamin supplement pills each day.

I am going to book another appointment with my regular GP tomorrow, but I am really interested in your opinions on this. Any of you had similar symptoms? What happened?

Im now convincing myself that I have some awful fatal infection like AIDS (despite the fact that I am still a virgin). I am going out of my mind with worry!!!

I would love to hear from anyone that has ever had similar symptoms, or anyone at all... Please reply! And thanks for reading this very long post, I am sure you have better things to do than listen to me, and it means a lot that you gave me some of your time.

Thanks a lot...

Rufee.

tracey2775 10-12-2003 09:42 AM

Hi Rufee. Never appologise for telling us all about your problems, we're all here to help you if we can. I myself feel like im being a pain with all the posts i write as well!
Well you've really changed your life around havent you? Appart from these awful symptoms your having, you really do sound healthy. Please try and believe your doctor when he's telling you nothing is wrong. I know thats easier said than done, but youve also had a second opinion, PLUS having a biopsy which came back normal. Theres not much else can be done to reasure you. I also have enlarged lymph nodes as well which are very painful to touch. Now and again they swell up and ive no idea why. Ive also seen my doctor about it but says nothing is wrong.
Im quite like you when it comes to worrying about having diseases. I can read a whole medical book and you can guarantee il have half of the symptoms for every illness. My mother has now hidden the book! Let us know how your next appointment goes and good luck!

------------------
tracey

bassie 10-12-2003 05:05 PM

Hello :)
I agree with all tracey2775 has said.
I suspect that you brief pain in the throat was a bout of tonsilitis or throat infection. This can cause the lymph nodes to stay swollen for ages.I don't know why some have that longer than others.

You probably think you have Hodgkin's or some such, but you sound quite healthy apart from your obsession with these nodes which I don't doubt are causing you nausea though the anxiety.
Anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of but if it takes over your life to this extent, ask the dr if you may please have something to relax you a bit.
Give yourself (mentally) 6 months (to the date if you wish) without touching the glands. Force yourself to do this.(What's the worst thing that can happen in that time ?)
I suspect you will have found that other matters start occupying your mind and life takes on a normal slant again.
I agree with your mother all the way. 21 is an anxious age believe it or not.

PS Medical students and nurses are well known for have a "variety of diseases depending on what they are studying at that moment". You may think I am being light hearted but this is really true.

kiki9880 10-12-2003 06:58 PM

I am going through much the same thing. I have had a dry mouth for 2 months and I have convinced myself that I have an autoimmune disease because I read about the symptoms on the internet. I have been to every doctor imaginable, and had lots of tests. They are all negative, but I have convinced myself that I am ill. I am extremely anxious and depressed, and have lost interest in everything. I know that what I need to be treating is the anxiety and the depression, but the medications for them give you a dry mouth as a side effect, so I am caught in a viscious cycle here and I am miserable. Believe me, there is nothing wrong with you, but try to relax and treat your anxiety and depression, even if you have to see a doctor for them. Soon all of the symptoms will go away. Good luck!

bassie 10-12-2003 11:27 PM

[quote]Originally posted by kiki9880:
[b]I am going through much the same thing. I have had a dry mouth for 2 months and I have convinced myself that I have an autoimmune disease because I read about the symptoms on the internet. I have been to every doctor imaginable, and had lots of tests. They are all negative, but I have convinced myself that I am ill. I am extremely anxious and depressed, and have lost interest in everything. I know that what I need to be treating is the anxiety and the depression, but the medications for them give you a dry mouth as a side effect, so I am caught in a viscious cycle here and I am miserable. Believe me, there is nothing wrong with you, but try to relax and treat your anxiety and depression, even if you have to see a doctor for them. Soon all of the symptoms will go away. Good luck![/b][/quote]

Sympathy with you too kiki9880 <hugs to both of you>
I take prozac and never have dry mouth trouble. Have taken them for 10 years or more cause I *have* got an autoimune disease.
I assure you that _until_ you are diagnosed with something, you should make the most of your life. It slips by and the worry may have been all for nothing. Frequently it is. I am a Christian and believe firmly what Scripture says that a "smidgion" of worry can *change nothing* in our life. Get some assistance from the dr to get through the worst of the anxiety/depression and you will have a new perspective on life. Please do make the effort. It hurts me to see young people worry for nothing.
I do hope you will be very happy yet. Love from down in Oz.

googoo1 10-13-2003 07:50 AM

When I was in college, I finally got an answer about my enlarged nodes: a nurse told me that "sometimes nodes just do that: they swell in response to an infection, and never really go back down again." She told me that as long as they were rubbery and non-painful and don't make any sudden changes, they're nothing to worry about. This stopped my several years of obsessing about them and constantly feeling them, which I'm sure made me look completely insane. Of course, being sort of an obsessive person I probably moved on to obsessing about something else...

Then when my daughter was very little, I was giving her a bath and felt... enlarged, slightly hardened but rubbery nodes! EEK! Well, when I touched them, she didn't react, so obviously they didn't hurt her, but I checked with the doctor who said something to the equivalent of "Oh, look. Your child has an immune system. That's handy!" I felt like a dolt, but she told me that of course I had them checked -- I felt a lump in my child's neck! -- but they were completely normal and that if something abnormal happened, I would know all about it.

I would go with the "normal" test results and STOP reading SYMPTOMS! You can convince yourself that you have any and every disease that way. Keep an eye on your neck and let your doctor know if anything changes, Other than that, you should go out to the pub and have a Coke, laugh with your friends, enjoy, and don't worry!

kiki9880 10-13-2003 09:15 AM

Thank you Bassie for your wonderful advice! I fully agree and plan to change my life. Bless you!

Rufee 10-17-2003 04:17 PM

Thanks alot everyone for taking the time to read and write to me. I havent yet made a 2nd appointment. Things are slightly better in one sense (less nauseus) but worse in another (fatigue, aches etc). What with it being Saturday tomorrow (no work), I may well ring and make an appointment then.

Just another question that has been bugging me recently, do you think when they took the biopsy sample they would have checked for a range of possible causes? Or just the one that I was most worried about (cancer).
Knowing that it is normal practice for biopsy samples to be tested for more than one possible cause would take a big weight off my mind.
If anyone has a list of exactly what it is they might have tested for, that would also be appreciated.

And thanks again guys'n'gals, I really do hope things start returning to normal soon...

brightstar 10-17-2003 05:34 PM

I would keep an eye on those lymph nodes, and if they stay swollen, see a different doctor for a second opinion. My sister had lymph nodes (in her neck) that were swollen for about a year before she had them checked and it turned out she had Hodgkins disease. I really don't mean to worry you any more than you already are, but it's a possibility you need to keep in mind.

Cha-Cha 10-17-2003 09:36 PM

I know when I read biopsy reports, the pathologist actually LOOKS at the TISSUE sample, specifically the cells...to see what types of cells are present. The actual tissue is examined to look for inflammation, cancer cells...dysplasia...and if abnormal cells are present..the types of cells can be identified and then the diagnosis can be either be confirmed or lead in a certain direction. I would assume that if your biopsy (path) reports can back normal..it's not that a "cancer test" was performed...but the NO cancer cells were SEEN, No pre-cancerous changes were SEEN, and NO other BAD things were actually seen by a pathologist. Good luck and I hope you can find something else in your life (besides you rOLD habit of visiting pubs) that will bring JOY into your life..you don't have to go to pubs to have fun...you're young...You hve the power to change your life...You are strong enough to control how you react to this... find a diversion that you enjoy..make yourself do it everyday...exercise..reading, a hobby....what do you really like to do..what sounds good? DO THAT!! force yourself to do it...then after awhile, you will want to do it everyday. You are not a quitter...don't let this bring you down! It is hard to quit smoking and drinking...if you can do that massive change, you can move past this and start to ENJOY life....Good luck and take care. You CAN.........

bassie 10-18-2003 04:48 AM

Hello
I am sorry brightstar about your sister's Hodgkin's disease. That is awful for you.

Yet I can reasure rufee that a diagnosis like that would have been picked up as a dysplasia or abnormal cells as Cha-Cha said. Without a doubt!!!

trixxy1981 10-20-2003 03:43 AM

Hi there
I shouldnt worry if the doctor has told you that there is nothing wrong with you then there isnt i think that you should just calm down a bit and try and relax i know that it dosent sound easy but try because if you doint you are just gonna make yourself worse believe me so try youe best out on your favorite music take a long hot bath and lye there and relieve your tension and sleep your troubles away

chrislvj 10-20-2003 04:53 PM

it sounds like you're now having anxiety, and depression is co-existing with it. i would talk with you're doctor about this, thiers alot of help for anxiety and stress. good luck

IcePrincess 10-22-2003 09:19 PM

Hi Rufee,
I am so sorry to hear what you are going through.I myself went through almost the same exact thing from 1997 until about 2000. It started with my Mom having open heart surgery,I had to take care of her when she came out, I am the only child.As I was taking care of her,I was not taking care of myself.She had surgery in March and in May I was diagnosed with walking Pneumonia.I was treated and after about a week I was ok...I thought.Pretty soon My glands were swollen,I couldn't eat,I would gag trying to swallow food and I was totally convinced I was dying.I went back to my Dr(who I have been using for 19 years)and he told me that I had lost 13 pounds since my last visit,which had been approximately a month.I told him I thought I had cancer,and he assured me that I did not..but he ran every test imaginable just to ease my mind.He was right....He put me on Xanax and Klonopin and told me to start eating slowly or I would end up in the hospital...After a week I was in his office crying and telling him I had an auto-immune disease and that my own body was killing me.He took my blood,told me to calm down and stop worrying...My iron was so low that it wouldn't even register,he gave me a B-12 shot...Zoloft..and told me to keep taking my anti-anxiety medications and that he would call me when the results came in.He called and told me my worst Physical Problem was Low iron, but that I was suffering from PTSD...OCD...anxiety and depression...But that I would be OK.It took me 2 years to come to terms with the fact that I was not dying, I was being ruled by fear and anxiety,and i started Praying for God to help me overcome this...I can now say that when I feel these thoughts and feelings coming back,I will take my medication...Breathe deeply and get through it.
By the way, My lymph nodes are still swollen after all these years...but from what I understand,they will probably stay that way.

I am sorry this was so long,but I just wanted to let you know there are others out there like us,and we can beat it...

Good Luck :)

Rufee 10-23-2003 10:15 AM

IcePrincess, Im glad everything is okay for you now - sounds like you went through something very similar, and it is very good to hear that you got through it! Gives the rest of us hope yet!

Thank you sooooooo much for all of you who replied, I have read and considered each of your responses - however I still feel that (like IcePrincess did) I should get a full medical examination just in case.

The problem I have is that I dont actually feel all that anxious, or maybe I dont really know I am being anxious, I dont know! Im definately depressed though, have been for years... :(

Im not particularly keen on the idea of taking drugs to treat depression, although if its the only way of getting my life back in order I might have to do it. Its just that anti-depression drugs mess with your brain chemistry (seretonin levels if I remember rightly) and Id really rather let my head sort itself out naturally (if possible).

PS - bassie, I have been trying not to touch my nodes over the last few days and its going pretty well so far!


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