I'm wondering if someone could give me some reassurance/advice. I have been struggling with health anxiety for some time. It all started back about 4 years when my dad was diagnosed with a severe heart condition (cardiomyopathy). They told him he had 5 years left, and I didn't deal so well with it. I went into a depression and suffered from panic attacks and health anxiety, etc. I convinced myself I had the same thing as my Dad and would drop dead from a heart arryhthmia. I eventually saw a therapist for this and got better. Then, in 2005, my mom was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer and it started all over again. I got very depressed about it, thinking I was going to lose her and that I also had breast cancer. Again, I saw a therapist and got better.
In July, my mom was diagnosed again with cancer, and it was found to have spread to her liver, lungs and bones. She passed away at the age of 47 in October. My mom was my best friend and it has been devastating to lose her, but I thought I was dealing rather well with it. However, a few months ago, I started having a hard time sleeping. I haven't slept well in porbably 2 months. Then, just before Christmas I started having a really upset stomach. Bad upper abdominal pain and I actually threw up once. I had bad problems with constipation too. And I have also lost 5 lbs in the last month, I just haven't felt like eating. I went to the Dr and they sent me for bloodwork to check for my gallbladder and pancreas and also a CBC. just before that, I also started sweating at night, though not every night and it seemed like it was the same time every night too (just after I fell asleep). I started getting very afraid again that I had cancer, this time lymphoma. I started searching the internet high and low for every symptom I had. I knew I shouldn't be doing it, but I still did, and I couldn't stop. Over the last week, the sweating at night seems to have gone away and my stomach is better but on Monday, I noticed my groin hurt and I felt it and there was a small lump about the size of a pea. Of course this completely freaked me out. I am scared to death that I actually do have lymphoma. I was too scared to get the bloodwork done and I just got it done yesterday so don't have the results yet. Today, the lump seems a bit smaller, but the pain is gone (which I thought was a bad sign with swollen lymph nodes). The only thing I can think of is that I had an ingrown hair type thing in that area that got infected I think, so maybe that's why they are swollen in that area?
Anyways, I am noticing a pattern, the same as the last time I convinced myself I had breast cancer. I start thinking about it constantly, search my symptoms, get terrified, thinking I am going to die. But I also notice that I'm missing my mom terribly, and overwhelmed with everything and taking care of my dad, our family business, etc and I just feel sad in general and I'm wondering if all of these symptoms are likely depression or something more that I should be concerned about. I don't even know if the lymph node is swollen, I mean I have never felt there before and I can only feel it if I press fairly hard, though it was painful before and is a little bit bigger than the other side though not much.
I am sorry if this all sounds crazy, I wish I could get a hold of myself. Waiting for the tests results is torture. If they come back OK, is that enough to say I'm fine? When I was at the Dr. I didn't have the swollen lymph node, so I didn't show her, I wonder if I should go back? Do you think this is all in my head or could it be something more serious.
Anyways, thanks for listening, I would appreciate any advice.
Hi Erin and welcome to the community. I'm very sorry for your losses. It must be very difficult for you. My mother has CLL and it's out of remission, so I do have a sense of what you went through.
You are not alone in your worries. So many of us with relatives that have/had cancer tend to think along those lines, watching for any little bump to send us to the doctor.
Most lymph nodes are normally about the size of a pea. If it enlarges to more than 1cm, they will look into it. I have a swollen lymph node - in my groin - kinda next to my uterus but near the surface and it's a little bigger than a pea. It's nothing. The night sweats associated with lymphoma are constant, every night, and drenching - as in - you need to change your sheets.
Blood work doesn't generally show lymphoma. After reading your post, I'm pretty sure your symptoms are stress related. Keep in mind, I'm no doctor, but I do know a lot about lymphoma. Any lymph node that enlarges then shrinks is not usually of any concern. And, painful lymph nodes are way better then very enlarged, painless ones.
Many times we think we're "dealing well" with something, but in reality, we're unintentionally ignoring our emotions and that can cause a lot of health issues - most predominantly digestive.
You are more than welcome to keep posting here about what you went through with your mom, and how it effects you. This forum isn't just for people looking for answers, it's also here for support to patients, friends and family members. I'm around quit a bit. My mother is a breast cancer survivor, but like I said, she also has CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia) out of remission. She is dealing with the night sweats but refuses to believe they are a B symptom of her illness. It seems my sister and I know more about her illness then she does or cares to know. Anyway, I'm around if you need to talk.
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