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honkytonkist 08-11-2013 09:34 PM

Barrage of Chronic Unsettling Symptoms
For the past three years, I've been battling a recurrent onset of chest pain, numbness, severe discomfort...

August 2010 - Chest pain led to brief black out, this may very well have been a panic attack because no one wants to have a heart attack. I went to the ER, they did an EKG and everything was fine.

September 2010 - I remained concerned because the pains continued accompanied by what kind of felt like a lump in my throat. I also became dizzy at times. I went to visit a cardiologist who did a few tests including an ultrasound and everything looked fine. They thought it must be stress induced (I wasn't stressed by anything other than the pains) and prescribed Xanax.

May 2012 - Another serious bout against the chest pains accompanied by dizziness and a feeling of disorientation. Went to visit an urgent care facility who did a chest x-ray and EKG - everything looked fine. They suggested it was a GI issue so they prescribed Nexium.

November 2012 - Awful chest pains again... felt what could only be something like a heart attack... no sleep. Went to the lovely 24 hour urgent care place (that charges a billion dollars) and they did the whole EKG thing along with some stuff to quell any GI issues. Everything looked fine. They, however, sent me to the hospital in an ambulance. They did a CT scan at the hospital and everything looked fine. They sent me home - no verdict other than suggested GI stuff.

January 2013 - Went to GI and had an endoscopy done. More or less clean verdict. There was a small hiatal hernia, but nothing severe. Told me to come back in a year.

Later in January 2013 - Another visit to the clinic with chest pains and numbness. EKG. Same verdict. Nothing.

This leads to present day.

1) About 4 weeks ago, I noticed a pain in my neck... kind of like a sore throat, but below my Adam's apple - sort of where you would go to take someone's pulse. I went to the doctor after it lingered and he gave me antibiotics. It hurts when I swallow and sometimes it seems to amplify existing pain in my chest (weird, right?).

2) At about the same time, I noticed my regular run of 3 miles was taking a lot out of me - I was pretty out of breath after a mile and had to start cutting it short. I have since been out of breath fairly frequently and have to chill out for a while after taking stairs... (I'm 31, so that can't be normal) This is a symptom that was never present in prior 'episodes' and inspired me to go to the doctor again. Sometimes, even when at rest, I feel winded... almost like I forgot how to breathe correctly and it's much more of a labor to do it.

3) Chest pains on the left and right, primarily on the left side but they do seem to radiate to both sides at times. I am also sometimes experiencing off and on pain in my upper abdominal area immediately below my rib cage on both sides. The pain does seem to become more prominent when lying down, but it is not extremely dependent on my position. Overall, there is a feeling of tightness in my chest.

4) Left arm numbness. Mostly in the forearm it seems, but it does travel throughout the arm.

5) A feeling of bloating - but it does not seem to be that detrimental to my appetite. This could, of course, be partially because I haven't run in a month and I'm probably getting fat.

The pain is currently really awful... and unsettling. I am unable to sleep. I have a V/Q scan scheduled for Friday (that's in 4 days... it was the soonest I could get in to have it done)... and until then I guess I'm just sitting here being miserable. I have never had an 'episode' last this long and am going on about a month of uncertainty and pain.

If anyone has any ideas, please let me know. I'd really like to get to the bottom of this and feel normal again. I'm not sure I remember what that's really like.


ladybud 08-11-2013 11:18 PM

Re: Barrage of Chronic Unsettling Symptoms
Have you had any treadmill test through all this? That seems essential. I would insist on it and call the cardiologist today. Also, an echo should be done to check heart valves, etc.

honkytonkist 08-11-2013 11:33 PM

Re: Barrage of Chronic Unsettling Symptoms
I have not yet had one. I suggested that I'd like to give it a go last time I was in and he wanted to do the VQ test first - assuming there is nothing found this go around, that will probably be done next week.

ladybud 08-12-2013 09:47 AM

Re: Barrage of Chronic Unsettling Symptoms
The VQ test is a test for pulmonary emboli. Did they run a D-dimer blood test? Any reason to suspect blood clots? The discomfort in lower throat/neck could be from thyroid gland, which can become inflamed. Angina (heart pain) can radiate to throat too, but doesn't normally cause discomfort swallowing. If the thyroid is inflamed it can become "hyper" and that can cause breathlessness with exertion. That can be checked with blood tests for thyroid hormone levels and anti-thyroid antibodies. It can also raise your pulse rate, cause insomnia, fatigue. It seems the treadmill is very important, just to rule out angina. If that is ruled out, then the less serious things can be checked out, like thyroid. I would call and see if VQ scan can be moved up-maybe someone cancelled and a spot opened up sooner. Then the rest of this can be checked out to get to the bottom of it. Autoimmune diseases can cause pleurisy-sharp chest pain brought on by deep inspiration. Autoimmune testing should be done if your chest pain fits that description (done by blood tests mainly).

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