I just want to say that I love and feel for you SO MUCH because you sound exactly like me. I feel and have felt everything you're talking about. I have had over the past ten years more EKG's than I can even count, got to know everyone at the ER department pretty much where I used to live (all the docs names and some of the nurses), had at least 4 echocardiograms (one was a mild stress one when I was pregnant), 5 treadmill stress tests (regular, not nuclear), tons of bloodwork, seen a pulmonologist and had a pulmonary function test which showed I have GERD (reflux!), barium swallows, EGD (the scope down the throat which showed my throat and stomach inflamed and mild hiatial hernia), sigmoidoscopy (for my IBS), tons of chest x-rays (am I glowing yet??), Holter Monitors (at least 4 times I wanna say), a cardiac memo (to catch my harmless PVC's), and a 30 day cardiac monitor thing where you put your thumbs on it and record your pulse and call it in.
EVERYTHING has been fine save for a few instances where I had isolated inverted or flat T waves which more than one cardiologist has said is not a problem and happens sometimes to people for various reasons (lots of benign reasons for it.)
I have felt: chest pain in various areas, varying degrees, lasting from seconds to minutes to longer. I have had it every area of my chest left right, center, high, low. I have had back pain all over up down and all around. Jaw pain (I grind my teeth and clench my jaws in my sleep and have a mouth guard because I used to wake myself up from cracking the back points off my teeth!). I have jaw pain now and then because I also play with my teeth with my tongue which screws up my jaw and causes aches and pains. I have had pain in my ears, pain up my neck, in my shoulders (ESP. the LEFT shoulder which I have right now in fact!). I've had shortness of breath, palpitations, felt choked, smothered, hyperventilating, vertigo, pain in my teeth in various places in upper and lower teeth (one time I thought it was my heart and turned out it was a nerve in my tooth dying which eventually abscessed and I had a root canal.) Pain in my left forearm and wrist and hand and fingers, elbow, you name it. It can be shooting, sharp, throbbing, dull. Endless stomach pains, burning in my esophagus, spasms that make me feel like I'm choking and smothering. Weird sensations that come and go all on their own for no reason.
I have felt chest tightness, squishing, burning, fluttering (my PVC's), aching, gnawing, sharp, shooting, discomfort, you name it. When I hyperventilated at age 16 I felt like an elephant was sitting on me!!!!! I was 16 years old then and I'm 40 now. The anxiety has come and gone, but my OBSESSION with my heart doesn't end.
I have seen so many doctors, therapists, psychologists, tried so many therapies. I'm obsessed. Zoloft helped my mind some, took away a lot of the everyday pain I was feeling, but I gained 35 lbs on it because it made my appetite bad and I was already overweight. I am terrified of pills and side effects.
I have anemia as well and that has caused shortness of breath, extreme fatigue and weakness to the point where I could hardly get down the street walking slowly without resting and catching my breath. My heart was pounding 100 bpm constantly for months til it went away on its own. (I had my heart tests during that time but no one checked my IRON. normal starts at 15 but in early 2011 mine was 5. Last time I checked it was about 11.)
I feel so much for you because I have these things and feel them all the time. When I was pregnant I had a hard time with all my fears and I couldn't even get certain tests because some you can't have when pregnant. They did an echo was I was pregnant and EKG's and all that. There have been times when I went for an EKG I think THREE times in one week. The place was sick of me. I felt so stupid showing up all the time, always terrified.
I see my cardiologist today because I am again having fast heartbeat and fatigue and weakness and can't catch my breath, but I am now thinking it might be related to dehydration since I had the flu for a week and haven't been eating or drinking much since (in the past 13 days I have lost almost 10 lbs.) I am now sipping Gatorade.
I also have family who get tired of me, a husband who tries but sometimes yells at me and makes me feel worse about it all. It is harder when you're a mom as well because you don't want your child to see you like that and also pass on the anxiety to them.
I am seeing a new therapist now but I feel like I know more than she does, so I'm not happy.
There are a lot of other things but that's the SHORT story. I just want you to know that you ARE NOT ALONE. I want to hug you so bad and help you but I can't even help myself. But I can say this, I have been worrying and scared for so many years and I'm still here.
P.S. I have also had many neurological things like smelling stuff that wasn't there (had brain scan), sinus migraines, ocular migraines (eye specialists), other weird symptoms, tingling and numbness, and I had this weird thing happen once where out of the blue I started having a tremor and it lasted for a couple of months before it went away on its own. The tips of all my fingers were numb for a couple of months, too. This was in 2005. No one could explain ANY of it except that it was.....ANXIETY.
I think just like you do: it can't be just anxiety! But seeing as how there's no evidence of anything but pretty bad GERD (reflux) and IBS (mind gut reaction), I have to say it's probable that your pain and my pain and all of this is anxiety. It seems completely nuts, I know. But I started with anxiety at about age 14, had my first panic attack at 16 (when my dad died), and it has escalated from there. I'm 40 now.
I have not always taken my prevacid, I have not always been able to see a therapist ($100 an hour or more is tough when you need it once a week.) I have not been on an SSRI since October. I don't exercise because I'm terrified to even though the cardiologist keeps saying that's what I need to do and to IGNORE the little pains and things and walk every day for 30 mins. He says that brisk walking is the BEST cure for all my ills. But like you, I feel like if I do it, I will croak.
The fear is just beyond reason. It is vicious, vicious!