Avatar universal

First time here and need advise, please

I'll try to keep my story brief but I'm hoping that you all can help me figure out if my symptoms are due to anxiety or are something that should be investigated.  In the last two years I've had two friends (both a year younger than me - I'm 34) diagnosed with cancer.  One of those friends only lived a year after her diagnosis and left behind a one year old and three year old.  The 2nd friend is currently in her second year of fighting stage four melanoma and her chances of beating it are very low.  She is a mother as well of a four year old little girl.

I found a lump in my throat in June of this year. Of course after my friends diagnosis, I freaked and was sure I had cancer.  It turned out my thyroid was enlarged and I had two large nodules in it.  I had an ultrasound in June and unfortunately didn't find out until the very end of August (after biopsies) that it was not cancer.  So, from June until August I was in a panic.  Every ache and pain that I had during the wait I convinced myself that it was cancer that had spread from my thyroid.  It was awful.  At different times, I convinced myself that I had lung cancer, breast cancer (even had a mamogram done), ovarian cancer, and colon cancer - all due to one minor symptom or another.  Even after I found out that my thyroid nodules were benign, I was having abdominal pain in Sept (galbladder area) and had an ultrasound done b/c I was sure I had liver cancer.  Turns out I do have a polyp in my gb and need a follow up in 6-8 months to make sure it's not bigger but I guess polyps in your gallbladder are not a big deal, supposedly.   I still have intermittent pain in the area but not like it was when I had the us done.

Then, we come to my current symptoms.  About three weeks ago, I started having dizziness (more like vertigo).  Turns out my husband had the same thing so I tried to convince myself it was a virus.  But, of course in the back of my head I was thinking I had a brain tumor.  Since that time, I've developed pain on the side of my head.  It seems to move around from right above my ear to just under my temple to sometimes in my cheek.  I went to the doctors and they thought I had a sinus infection (I had one a month prior and they thought that it maybe had not cleared).  So, that made me worry less for only about a day but when the antibiotics didn't seem to help, I was back to the thought of a brain tumor.  So, I've had this intermittent pain for about two weeks.  After researching the symptoms, it almost sounds like a tension headache except for the fact that it's only on one side.  And, doesn't explain the dizziness that I'm having.  I don't have the vertigo any longer - it's just general dizziness.  I DON'T want to go back to the dr's again b/c I'm really starting to feel silly.  I've never gone to the dr's for much of anything.  I can count on one hand the number of times I've been to the dr's for health related issues (other than my pregnancy) in the last 15 years.  However, since June I've been to multiple appts for my thyroid (which is actually a legit health issue) but I've then been in for a mammogram, an abdominal ultrasound, and my head pain.  I'm now thinking about requesting a ct scan or mri for my head.  

I've never been a worrier of my health and it all seems to be triggered from the scare I had with my thyroid nodules in June.  I'm now constantly feeling myself for lumps and I know this is not normal.  I'm trying to convince myself that the head pain I'm having is all due to my anxiety but of course still worrying that I have a tumor and my days are numbered.  I'm a mother to two year old toddlers so I have a lot of responsibility to be around to care for them.  I'm sure seeing my friend leave her two kids behind doesn't help.

So, if anyone is still reading after all of that - sorry! - do you think what is going on is anxiety related or should I investigate it further with requesting an mri or ct?  My husband thinks it's totally anxiety related and I wish I could believe him and move on!  I just want to feel like myself again.

Many thanks,
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Avatar universal
Hi Tracy, i know how you feel, I do the exact same thing, if someone gets sick with something, I start thst what if feeling, it's hard to get rid of the thoughts. I have sufferd from anxiety for 6 years now, I hae continuos dizzyness, I have had all the tests known too man and they all come out fine, it's the peace of mind that helps you move on. If you think it would help ease your mind by having an MRI or a CAT scan then go do it. I think about leaving my two boys and it scares the you know what out of me, A few years ago I bet I saw 5 different doctors to make sure they didn't miss something. LOL. Good luck. Mindy
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Avatar universal
Hi Tracy
Firstly, I am so sorry to hear about your friends. I am sure that you will find that a lot of your problems are down to worry. Losing people who you are close to at such a young age too makes one realise just how life can be taken away . I work as a nursing assistant at our local hospital. I am around death and illness almost every day of my working life. It is hard to deal with and I too  at times feel so ill. I  seem to have all the symptoms that come with either Cancer or a heart attack or even a brain tumour at times. I worry myself sick, consuming my life , my every thought with worry.
To a degree to worry about your own health after losing someone to Cancer  I feel, is a natural reaction. We can talk ourselves into being ill and it's so easy to do.
I Had to re-train my mind into thinking about other things, nice things and not wake up in the morning asking myself how do I feel? Do I feel dizzy today?.... Do I have any pains today?
I had to wake up and try not to think about me. It was quite hard having thought that way for so long but it worked . I still suffer with anxiety and the patch I have just gone through of feeling so ill was changing me as a person and I hated that. My husband even said that he could see the worry and strain on my face. I could see my life getting out of control.

Using the power of my mind , like I said above and a few days away from my routine in a different enviroment did the trick. I am sure it is not a cure but for now it makes me feel so much better.
Anxiety In it's self is so horrid and seems to mimic every illness under the sun.
I am sorry to ramble on but I can totaly understand how you feel but there is a way out.
Take care

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Avatar universal
Hello, Tracy!

sorry to hear about your friends and about the state you've been in ever since -having to wait for two months for medical results is hard as hell!

Second, I think you know the answer to your questions yourself, since you started your post by telling about your friends's illness. I think you know your fears are all triggered by that sad episode, and honestly, I think everyone would be influenced by something like that -two of your friends are diagnosed with cancer, and when you feel something wrong with your body, well, it's only too easy to jump into conclusions! i think what's happening to you clearly shows how big the power of self-suggestion is. We can make ourselves sick, anxious, unhappy, achy... but the good news is we can make ourselves happy and relaxed too.

Dizziness, located headaches, intermitent pain... are all very common with anxiety. In a state of high anxiety and extreme worry about your health, the least you could expect would be exactly that! You've subjected yourself to a lot of stress, tension and worry, it's only normal that your body reacts with ache and pain all over.

I think, on the long run, it's counterproductive to check with the doctor every single time our body feels funny. Usually, when I'm feeling anxious and I realize I'm worrying too much and I'm lost in my mind, it helps doing something for someone else, focus on what my family or friends might need at that moment and try to do something for them, or just spending time with them. Laughing and doing something funny is a great medicine too, helps to take your mind off things and to minimize your worries.

Ultimately, if time passes and you aren't feeling any better, maybe talking to a psychologist would help -God knows it took me many years of trial and error to decide to take that step, but it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Hope you feel better soon.
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Avatar universal
I'm only 19, but I've had those same feelings for years now. They started when I was...7, or 8. I watched a special on the Disney channel about a kid who had cancer; and then for years afterwards, I used to think I had cancer after every little ache and pain I got. Once I even convinced my mother to check me into a hospital due to a low-grade fever I had (due to a cold)! This happened until I was about 15, until it subsided for over a year. And then about a year ago, a friend gave me a copy of this TV show, House, M.D. Me, being an idiot, sat through pretty much the whole season of the show before thinking to myself "gee, this isn't going to bring back my worries of cancer and diseases, will it?" Well...it did. To this day, I have to fight going to the doctors almost every week for some new "symptom of cancer" I think I have.
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Avatar universal
Gosh - that you all so much for taking the time to read my post and respond!  It makes me feel so much better to know that I'm not the only one going through this.  I just wish it would go away!  I wish so badly I could rewind time and go back a year ago when I was blissfully ignorant of my "false" cancer symptoms...  when an ache and pain was just that - an ache or pain.  I guess the 2.5 months of waiting and worrying until I got my biopsy results did a number on me.  I just assumed that once I got the good news I would move on and not look back.  Unfortunately, that hasn't happened.  

I'm trying so hard to get back to that place.  I've started researching natural ways to combat anxiety with diet, exercise, etc.  I also try to rationalize with myself to make sense of my worry and understand that the chances of cancer in a healthy, young adult are extremely low.  I just happened to know two people that it has happened to, unfortunately.  But, I know an enormous number of people that it HASN'T happened to, and that's what I should be focusing on.  I'm trying to get there.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond and tell me your story.  It really helps a lot. I'm going to skip the additional tests and hope that over time if I can reduce my anxiety, the aches, pains and dizziness will go away as well.  Anyone know why dizziness and anxiety seem to go hand in hand?  I guess we're making our brains dizzy with worry, huh? :)

Many thanks again,
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212753 tn?1275073111
Get your thyroid checked. A malfunctioning thyroid will cause this anxiety.Especially you heyman with your nodules. they could be causing your tsh to fluctualte.
Love Venora
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Avatar universal
Hi Venora - you know - I was just thinking that this morning!  I have a follow up with my endo in January and was going to ask him to check my levels to see if all is ok since I've been feeling so bad lately.  They were checked when the nodules were found and TSH was ok at that time (T4 was a little low) but who knows what they may look like now.

Thanks for the reminder!
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366811 tn?1217422672
Good grief! Terrible news about your freinds. I admire you for being a friend to them both and now especially the one whose prognosis is so bleak.

I don't know who you've seen about your anxiety, but your common-sense seems to be completely in order. To begin with, you've had symptoms checked as they've occurred, and have, in fact found some things that need attention -which they are getting. And so, if these symptoms had occurred in a vaccum (forgetting all your other experiences) would you have them checked? Of course!

The anxiety symptoms you have described are, no doubt,  "enhanced" by the medical scenarios in which you find youself -yours, and your friend's. But you also have a life outside of that, possibly with its own set of issues. Work, family -whatever. Its just my opinon, but I am going to write a prescription here:

1. a course of talk therapy, 6 sessions initially, togther with whatever meds are indicated by a psychiatrist (probably pretty mild, because you really have a grip on what's going on).

2. a weekly dinner out with your closest friend -the one to whom you can tell ANYthing. This may continue long after the formal therapy is done.

3. continued contact with this group with updates.

Setting all this aside for the moment, it is also true that there are times of our lives when we just seem to be spending more time in the doctor's office, even though we think of ourselves as being "healthy." I cut timber, carry logs on my shoulder, split firewood, dig and haul dirt, plant, maintain and harvest a garden, clear land -and I'm almost 60. I'm phsyically strong and too damn old to be intimidated by much. I think of myself as being "healthy." And then I look at the pills I take each morning: the one for blood pressure, the one for allergy, the one to keep the vampires away... and I realize that I do have conditions, weaknesses, challenges, that do require outside "help." And in the past year, I've been in to see the doctor more times than in the preceding 5 years. Its just that time of my life. Happens to all of us, so allow for some of that -regardless of what else is going on.

Please stay with us, I look forward to reading more.
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Avatar universal
Please dont go down that road of obsessing too much about your health.If you have been cleared by a doctor accept it.If you believe more examination is needed then go ahead, if that helps alleviate your fears.If nothing physical comes up then you must accept anxiety as the cause.If you keep obsessing over symptoms you will definitely be worse off for it.I have been to hell and back because of my hypochondria.Every doctor that I saw reassured me that I was fine but couldnt convince myself the symptoms were anxiety related.I am only now starting to feel some relief.This place has been great, and as JSGeare said please stay with us.We are here to help eachother.Best regards,
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Avatar universal
I totally sympathise. Since being diagnosed with benign heart ectopics 3 years ago I have gone through periods of great anxiety about my health - and my family's. I am past the stage of agoraphobia and panic attacks, but still generally anxious - all because I cannot accept what the doctors tell me or what common sense dictates. I have lost all logic about my health. I would say to get your thyroid checked as my GP told me this can cause anxiety/depression, improve your diet, cut out all caffeine. I read some cognitive therapy books which helped quite a bit - you need to do the exercises in them too. David Burns 'Feeling Good', also the Anxiety and Phobia Workbook' by E. Bourne. Robert Leahy 'Stop Worrying, Start Living'. I found 'Self Help for Your Nerves' by Claire Weekes dated but very reassuring (kept it by the bed and on the sofa). It is possible to overcome health anxiety but you have to work hard to get your perspective and logic back. Best wishes.
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