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Author Topic: ALS/MS/Brain tumor fears  (Read 577 times)

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Offline k20

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ALS/MS/Brain tumor fears
« on: December 28, 2012, 09:36:19 PM »
Hi,

I am pretty sure I am hypochondriac. I am 31 years old male with history of being scared of brain tumor, HIV, and ALS several times.

My recent ALS fear (about half a year ago) which caused actual weakness in my arm turned out to be pinched nerve in my neck, which resolved by itself.

Recently, I started having doubts again about my right arm and leg. My symptoms are: subjective feeling of weakness in both of them, they seem to be wobblier/shakier than the left side (and they feel weird). Whenever I try to measure their strength objectively in the gym they perform equally. I get tingly sensation all over the body in various parts and even on my face/lips (more so on the right arm/leg though of course)

Since ALS doesn't usually manifest in 2 limbs simultaneously and doesn't have tactile symptoms I slowly migrated my fears to possibility of brain tumor and MS. I paid a visit to neurologist 2 weeks ago and told him about my fears of ALS and he did some tests and said I don't have any upper/lower motor problems and that my reflexes and strength are normal.

Since then I started thinking that it could possibly be MS or brain tumor. I have gone through this in the past, I know how powerful our minds are and how they can create these symptoms out of nowhere, but I just can't seem to fight it. I wake up and it is my first though: maybe this time I am not imagining it, etc. I went through break up recently so I am a bit more vulnerable psychologically so it is not helping to fight this.

Anyone has gone through similar symptoms? Where you're so sure one leg/arm is weaker than the others? It seems better in the morning and seems to get progressively worse as the day goes (and maybe as I have more and more time to dwell on this).

Maybe it will help me to hear other stories or how to fight this ::)
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Offline my919

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Re: ALS/MS/Brain tumor fears
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2013, 06:21:18 PM »
Hello there k20 i have been going through the same thing this nov- dec 2012, initially had fears of hiv, then felt symptomps associated with pn/ms/als/, now i am a total wreck,body starts tingling for a 2 weeks then has been twitching for a week now, i am so scared i cant do anything, i feel depressed and anxious everytime, checking my body always if i see or feel something unusual, been symptom hunting for the last month and it is giving me sleepless nights from what i have been finding out, can anyone help me please?
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Offline gcalex

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Re: ALS/MS/Brain tumor fears
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2013, 09:00:38 PM »
The way you fight this is by making the effort to challenge your fears with evidence.  Write down all the objective evidence that you have one of these illnesses.  Write down all the objective evidence that you don't, including that no doctor thinks you do and that OBJECTIVELY you have the same strength on both sides.  Look around the forum and see how many people who don't have any of these diseases think they do.  Think about what that means for you.  Think about what happened with all your prior fears -- they turned out to be nothing didn't they.  So why isn't this episode just more of the same old thing, your mind playing tricks on you? 
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Offline rideclimbsleep

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Re: ALS/MS/Brain tumor fears
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2013, 12:42:48 AM »
I have been haunted by the same fears for the past two months. I keep going back and forth between ALS and MS and it has seriously affected my life. I am to the point where I haven't done anything that I once did for weeks (I have been either at a doctor or sitting at home reading some ALS forum... or giving myself strength tests). I have slept a maximum of 4 hours every night and wake up to multiple dreams nightly usually starting around 3 a.m. This leads to constant fatigue and so the circle continues.
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Offline sixpack

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Re: ALS/MS/Brain tumor fears
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2013, 08:16:55 AM »
k20

what do you know about anxiety disorders in general? what are you doing daily to combat your anxious over thinking?  what behaviors do you engage in that increases your anxiety disorder?  what behaviors can you adopt to get on your healing path?   How fed up are you feeling so out of control and what are you willing to do to get better?  As we all know doing the same ole same ole never gets us to feeling better.
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MOST anxiety happens at the subconscious level.  JUST because you don't feel consciously anxious or had a day or two of calm doesn't mean your mind & body are relaxed.  It can take months of reduced anxiety before a body goes back to a more non-reactive state. 

Offline k20

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Re: ALS/MS/Brain tumor fears
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2013, 09:09:06 PM »
Hello there k20 i have been going through the same thing this nov- dec 2012, initially had fears of hiv, then felt symptomps associated with pn/ms/als/, now i am a total wreck,body starts tingling for a 2 weeks then has been twitching for a week now, i am so scared i cant do anything, i feel depressed and anxious everytime, checking my body always if i see or feel something unusual, been symptom hunting for the last month and it is giving me sleepless nights from what i have been finding out, can anyone help me please?

Interesting, because mine started with fear of HIV (I find it embarrassing to admit it, but I was afraid of having acquired it through kissing someone I didn't know well)..

I am not in position to teach you much, but what I try to do is remember my previous bouts of hypochondria and how I thought they were real and I do not google symptoms anymore. Twitching/Tingling can easily be caused by anxiety and you should know by now that if you have twitching without underlying weakness then it is not ALS.

I have been haunted by the same fears for the past two months. I keep going back and forth between ALS and MS and it has seriously affected my life. I am to the point where I haven't done anything that I once did for weeks (I have been either at a doctor or sitting at home reading some ALS forum... or giving myself strength tests). I have slept a maximum of 4 hours every night and wake up to multiple dreams nightly usually starting around 3 a.m. This leads to constant fatigue and so the circle continues.

You should probably see a doctor to alleviate your fears at least a bit? I know from experience that lack of sleep will only add to your stress and make you even more miserable and more likely to have more "symptoms".

gcalex, in my case what freaks me out is that I feel weird in leg/arm on the same side... It happened to me one time ten years ago and I also thought brain tumor, but it was so long ago and I can swear this feels more real. That time (ten years ago) I also had constant headaches though.

sixpack, I read some brochures about it, but I feel like I am so stubborn. It is like until I get an MRI I won't calm down (and I know it is not practical to get MRI every time). However, I must say that your signature is absolutely spot on "MOST anxiety happens at the subconscious level.  JUST because you don't feel consciously anxious or had a day or two of calm doesn't mean your mind & body are relaxed.  It can take months of reduced anxiety before a body goes back to a more non-reactive state.". This is what I experienced in the past. Whenever you dwell on something for months, you don't get out of it right away: even if you feel relieved after doctor's visit it still takes time for your mind to relax. I remember it freaked me out in the past: I feel happy: why do I still have symptoms?
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Offline sixpack

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Re: ALS/MS/Brain tumor fears
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2013, 07:25:09 AM »
repeat med tests, just like any other form of reassurance, never gives lasting peace.  It never fixes the problem.


I'm going to post my well worn link that I post to peeps who are spinning their wheels in the ha cycle.
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MOST anxiety happens at the subconscious level.  JUST because you don't feel consciously anxious or had a day or two of calm doesn't mean your mind & body are relaxed.  It can take months of reduced anxiety before a body goes back to a more non-reactive state. 

Offline sixpack

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Re: ALS/MS/Brain tumor fears
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2013, 07:27:59 AM »
forgive the cut and paste.

but here are the usual things I suggest to people when they are struggling.

first and foremost you should do things that distract (completely) from your fears.  I have some suggestions within the link and then the other 'bolded' text.


Quote
within it has other links.  One is common anxiety symptoms)  I want you to read them and see if you can find some info helpful to you. 
 
http://www.anxietyzone.com/index.php/topic,60476.0.html



another message I sent to a member a while back may have some helpful info:

it is pretty easy to let the symptoms scare the crap out of you and easy to attribute all manner of horrors to these things.

one of your questions was: "so what, just because you feel these things at least they are not life-threatening",    I would look at like this:  if the symptom actually, physically prevents you from doing things, then you need to look at it as something a doc should check out.  IF it is something like twitching or sore muscles or muscles feel weak or fatigued but they still carry you around then, you should just say "hey this doesn't feel good but it can't stop me from doing my daily tasks or job or hobby or what have you. And say "I will not let my fear of these symptoms stop me".

As I alluded in a post earlier today about my first fall into the pit in '97, I had to do that to get myself out of it.  I had all the med tests and was seeing a therapist.  They wanted to put me on meds but I was nursing my daughter and, at the time, SSRIS were not given to nursing mothers.  I finally decided that I had two choices:  1. sit around in fear waiting for MS (that was my fear at the time) to slowly remove my life from me or 2. TAke charge of this anxiety.  So what I did was delve head first into a huge gardening project.  Turns out it helped a great deal because it REALLY took my mind off of my bodily sensations.  This allowed my mind to calm down and thereby allowed my body to relax.  It wasn't over night.  It took several weeks.  During that time I didn't monitor the symptoms that I had been having NON_STOP for months---ie twitching, face pain, arm pain, leg pain, numbness, tingling, shooting pains, jerking limbs.....   there were many more but you get the idea 

What is your thing?  IDK.  I didn't know gardening was my thing until I tried it.  Turns out I'm damn**  good at it AND it was so engrossing to me that I didn't even have time to think about my symtpoms... which, imo, is key....

I eventually got into some other things:

volunteering.  I got heavy into several things at my church... social responsiblity sorts of things---helping the sick (AIDS person), the poor, those who suffered miscarriages or other woman issues dealing with children.  I also got every envolved with our neighborhoods homeowner's association:  ie the welcome committee, social concerns committee, neighborhood socials (helped with planning parties for the 'hood) and I served on the board.

we've since moved so I'm not so involved where we live presently.  However I do volunteer with a dogrescue...

So my suggestion for things to do are:

hobbies----crafting, gardening, scrapbooking, jewelry making ( I had a douzy of a headache last week that advil didn't help----made a couple of pair of ear-rings and the tension headache went away)
volunteer work..... lots of organizations you could help out in
exercise:  I walk my dog 1 1/2 miles----to 2 miles a day.  today was rainy and I was running my kids all over so not much of a walk today... poor dog
eat right-----yeah I SUCK at this one, myself.  Although I did have a nice shrimp bisque which only had about 300 cal today...


I am not symptom-less.  When I experience anxiety/stress symptoms now, however, I don't look to disease X.  I look at what is going on in my life that is causing them.  At this point you are likely not able to find A stressor.  THis is, inpart, due to the fact that you are in the anxiety cycle of:  fear/stress/symptoms/fear.....  However once you are able to reduce your stress using a variety of tools, your mind will calm down and things will get easier and you will be able to manage this without BEASTY taking you for a ride.

you can get better though, you can.   

   


and again:

   adding to that some other posts to another member a while back:




I certainly don't have all of the answers.

however think about it-------------what causes us pain in our bodies?  I mean what controls how we feel pain?   It is our brain/nerves right?  When we fall and scrape our knee, we feel pain because our nerves send signals to the brain, the brain interprets it and says, "I'm hurt".   This a normal thing.  Our brain interprets stuff and tells the nerves to send a pain signal back to our knee and then we feel the pain.   Our brain and nerves are powerful buggers. 

Let's say there is a bear approaching.............  what happens---- we become hyper aware.  we get the fight or flight so we can survive.  We get all those lovely adrenal surges......  We have to survive.  That is all well and good.

now what happens if we have our thinking go awry?  What happens when we are stressed?  what happens if the stress isn't relieved or realized?  Our brains gets wiggy!!!!  THis causes fight/flight all of the time---sometimes at a high level and sometimes at a lower level.  but doesn't matter really cuz now we are "clicked" on the ON position.  We never are truly relaxed.  Our "fight/flight" brain is always switched on to some extent.  THis leaves a body sensitized----muscles are tight, nerves are over reactive (which causes burning/tingling/buzzing) our organs aren't running optimally (ie digestions slows or speeds up).

when these goes unchecked we get in that cycle of fear-------which came first the chicken or egg? 

bottom line our brains control our bodies.  If our brain is scared or stressed or whatever, it doesn't send out nice calm rational signals to our bodies.  Our bodies don't question the brain.  the brain is THE MASTER.....  Our bodies just react.  That is why the answer to feeling better doesn't come from treating the physical but the mental.

and why do you only have symptoms that come and go?  well some peeps have stuff all the time.  Some have them come and go and some have a combo of the two.  Guess it depends on the individual.





AND





sometimes anxiety symptoms are relieved when one is TRULY occupied.  BUT remember a body has to be relaxed for a while before a body calms down.  So one cannot expect the brain to say----oh I"m working now and I'll just forget that I'm a mess really and give up on the aches and pains."    anxiety doesn't really have an on/off switch.

Personally speaking:

back in '97 I got very involved in gardening.  I mean really involved.  It took about 2 or 3wks working up some new garden beds.  in the end I noticed most of my symptoms were either gone or diminished.  But I had an extended amount of time in which I wasn't monitoring.

I've also had times when I've been stressed and decided----Okay I'm going to get involved in something to get my symptoms to go away.  guess what?  it doesn't work then.  cuz, on some level I'm still monitoring.

a year ago I was having, what I knew were stress/anxiety related headaches.  THey were pretty bad.  Well one day I went to help out at a dog rescue.  I walked 7 or 8 dogs over a period of two hours or so.  When I arrived, I had a headache.  At the end I got in the car and drove away with the realization that the headache was gone.  Within 5 minutes it was back.  YEAH can you believe that.

Had the same sort of thing on Monday with a headache.  took my dog to her training class with a headache... left without one.  believe it or not taking my dog to obedience class relieved it.

I've even had gardening or exercise that has made me more shaky

YES I am a mixed bag of tricks like most people I imagine.


JUST like any physical malady, a mental malady needs REAL time to heal   Unlike a physical malady though, with the mental WE have to make the DECISION to heal by changing our actions/thinking/behavior and continue to work on it even when it is hard.    Personally I believe mental issues are more difficult than getting through physical issues   **although I'm getting pretty SICK of this toe thing I've had probs with since mid may.....  I'm getting tired of changing my usual routines to accomodate it***     



thing is there are no easy do 1, 2, 3 and off you go.  This takes time.  Even more than that, imo, there is no cure to anxiety but more of changing your reactions and mindset.  That doesn't mean one is miserable. It means that one must be cognizant that anxiety can, if allowed, take over during times of stress.  Then all it will do is sit back  and LIE and watch the spin.
   
     
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MOST anxiety happens at the subconscious level.  JUST because you don't feel consciously anxious or had a day or two of calm doesn't mean your mind & body are relaxed.  It can take months of reduced anxiety before a body goes back to a more non-reactive state. 

Offline k20

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Re: ALS/MS/Brain tumor fears
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2013, 05:15:31 PM »
sixpack, that's very useful. Thank you.

I also started the med the dr prescribed (hydroxyzine 25mg) for anxiety. He said I can be on it for a month and see if it helps and then stop using it.
I am normally not that hypochondriac (I can go without symptoms for years): only if I have trigger/stress. So far I feel nothing from the med, but I've read that effects are subtle and make take time and your body needs more time to relax as you mention.

I am going to try to distract myself (so far only getting tipsy works  :bigsmile: and hanging out with girls :angel-smiley-006:)
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