hey everyone. I want to go ahead and apologize if this is too much writing. It all started about 3 years ago. I was randomly driving down the road and all of a sudden my heart starts racing, i get swimmy headed, i can't breath, i go numb, and my chest starts hurting really really bad. I was in traffic, so i had to pull over on the side of the road and walk around a little bit. i went into a gas station and asked the attendant to help me, and i could barely get the words out. She got me some water and i leaned in front of the desk for a few minutes bit and it went away slowly, leaving me with a shaky feeling. Immediately after that incident, i went to the emergency room to see what was going on. THey did an ekg and a chest x-ray and told me everything was fine. They gave me some ativan and told me it was anxiety and to get an appointment with my doctor...i went to the doc, and they gave me some medicine called zoloft..then lexapro...then jolessa..and so on. I took something else at some point as well although i can't remember what it was called. all of them just made me feel depressed and sleepy all the time...plus they didn't help my "anxiety" at all. I was still getting the rapid heart beat and the chest pain and all the other symptoms in short bursts. When i didn't have the acute attacks, i was checking my pulse. SOmetimes it would rest at about 90-100 bpm, and sometimes it would be resting at about 40-50. i took several trips to the emergency room, and each time they told me all the tests were fine and i just had anxiety. After that, i decided to self-medicate. I started eating very healthy and exercising every day. I started doing tai-chi and followed some self-help thing to calm my supposed "nerves" ...after about a year, it worked and for the next good while, everything was fine. Then about a year ago, i noticed a hard lump on my chest on the left side..toward the center near my sternum. It was very sore, and just sort of poked out there. I talked to a surgeon i knew at the time, and he said that it was probably costchondritis (i think thats how you spell it) ...but i still don't really know what it is so...yeah. It doesn't make me nerovous or anything..i have learned to live with it. For the first few months i was nervous about it, but i eventually got over it. Later...this was about 6 months ago, i randomly had another "attack" where my heart beat super fast...except this time it was just rapid heart beat and light-headedness...i laid down for a few minutes and it slowly went away. Around the same time (about 8 or 9 months ago) i started getting this feeling in my throat like a lump. It's kind of like someone is poking me right below the adams apple in that "dip" i guess you would call it and pushing down. It gets worse when i'm nervous, and is better when i first wake up..and gets worse in the evening. I read it was some sort of spasm and nothing to worry about, so i didn't worry about it. Here's the wierd part, though. I noticed that it gets worse when i lay down...like when i'm up, it feels annoying and disturbing, but when i lay down, it gets "tighter" and almost painful. I have some discomfort breathing when this happens as well...it's not like i "can't" breath, but it's rather uncomfortable...it's kept me up at night before. Usually, though, the lump slowly goes away the more i relax...it usually takes about an hour. I read on the internet that this is a serious problem and to see a doctor immediately, but i just don't know. I have been to the doctor too many times and i feel like they're just going to tell me it's my nerves again, and then try to give me some kind of medicine.
i read somewhere that st. john's wort helped with those "spasms"...i started taking it, and it helped...then i stopped taking it after i was convinced by the internet that it wasn't doing anything...then the lump came back. I'm going to start taking it again after i finish this needless to say. Lastly, i have been feeling pressure in my head...like sinus pressure and dizziness...but it only happens when i'm driving....and sometimes when i'm watching tv. This has been happening for about 2 weeks or so.
I'm a fairly healthy individual...6'2", about 170lbs, i run about a mile every other day, and eat fairly healthy (I drink more soft drinks than i probably should) ...This lump thing is really starting to drive me crazy and i'd like an expert's opinion on what it might be.
Also, i have a slight curvature in my back (throacic kyphosis)..it's not really bad, but it causes me some minor discomfort. My upper back is always kind of tight and sometimes i get some lower back pain, but not much. Don't know if this may be part of it, but figured it might help. Recently, i have been stretching my pecs (like holding my arms out and pushing my body through a doorway).
i have a history of cancer and heart disease in my family as well.
I don't smoke (although i do chew)
as far as heart problems are concerned, my grandmother died when she was in her late 20's of what i was told a "mitral valve prolapse" or something. That scares me a lot...
Do i need to worry? are my symptoms something to really worry about? What is the most likely cause? Is there a good chance of a connection between my back problems and the anxiety/lump in throat symptoms? Do these symptoms sound like a possible heart problem? Other than seeing a doctor, what could i do to possibly help with my symptoms.
I'm fairly convinced that some of the symptoms are nerves, and some of the symptoms are something else. It's trying to figure out what's my imagination and what's part of a problem...that's a dilma for me and any help with that would be greatly appreciated.
another thing...right now my chest is not hurting where the lump is. It comes and goes nowadays...it used to hurt all the time.
My BIGGEST question, though, is about the lump. According to my symptoms, is there any reason why the lump would get worse when i lay down? Is there a name for this. Trust me, i have looked all over for my symptoms and i can't find it. There are things that are close, but nothing really fits.
if anybody can give me some feedback, i would greatly appreciate it. :)
And here I thought War and Peace was an epic tome! LOL
To go through your post point by point would take hours, so I'm just going to cut to the chase.
You have quite a lot of issues that need to be dealt with and you say that you'd like an "experts opinion on what it might be." You do understand that we are NOT experts on this forum, right? We are not doctors and even if we were, we'd be really stupid to try and diagnose you over the internet.
I know you have grown weary of going to the doctors and being told that every symptom is related to anxiety. Most of us here can understand and relate to that because doctors DO have a tendancy, once they have picked up the scent of anxiety, to blame everything on that. They don't look any further.......dig any deeper. That is why we must all be very pro-active in our own health care. We know our bodies better than anyone. So if your doctor blows your symptoms off, then it's time to find another doctor.
ANXIETY SHOULD BE THE DIAGNOSIS ONLY AFTER EVERYTHING ELSE HAS BEEN RULED OUT!
I really can't stress that enough.
Since it seems this lump in your throat is bothering you the most, I suggest you make an appointment with an EENT for a thorough vetting. This doctor can also assess the feeling of pressure and dizziness in your head/sinuses. If it only happens while driving and watching TV, it could be something as simple as needing glasses.
Your back/neck pain should probably be evaluated by an ortho. I know nothing about throacic kyphosis, so you need a doctor to assess if that is contributing to your various other issues.
As for your grandmother dying from mitral valve prolapse, that may very well have been the case when your grandmother was 20. Back then they didn't have the means to dectect or treat MVP like they do now. You really need to put that out of your head. They would have heard an MVP when you were in the ER, or your doctor would have over the years.
As far as having cancer in the family, I don't think there's a family that doesn't have one form of cancer or another in it's history. It's good to know about that history, but you can't worry about it. Do what you can to prevent certain cancers and keep your fingers crossed like the rest of us for all the others.
I smoke, so I won't say a word about your chew. We both know the risks we are taking and what we should do.
As for the lump on your chest, your doctor friend said it MIGHT be costochondritis, whihch is an inflammation of one or more costal cartilages, characterized by local tenderness and pain of the anterior chest wall. This is not a medical emergency, but it's best you have it evaluated as well. Your doctor will refer to the correct specialist for this.
I may have missed a symptom or two, but I gotta go to work, so I'll end by saying that once the doctors are done, irregardless of what they may or may not find, I would strongly urge you to get into some therapy, as I believe, in my humble opinion, that you have some health anxiety and trust me, you do NOT want that in your life.
I hope you will keep in touch and let me know how your story unfolds. I'm sure you're fine, but you do need some answers.
I wish you the best
I would see a doctor (not through the ER) preferably and ENT (Ears, Nose, Throat) Specialist and have them scope your throat just to be safe. Chewing puts you at high risk for esophageal cancer and other issues (including heart problems). I strongly urge you to stop.
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