Prince Tuesday, My doctor said that unexplained weight loss (at least 10 pound over a month without fasting, skipping meals, changes in diet, exercising more, etc.) and liver/pancreas functioning blood work are the early signs. He said that the CA 19-9 marker is only used after it has been diagnosed because the level is monitored during treatment, but it cannot screen for cancer. I think that you already know that all of your worrisome symptoms can be accounted for by anxiety. But, I totally understand that it is very hard to not know for sure. I went to a Generalized Anxiety group at Kaiser of all places, and it actually helped me realize that many of my symptoms were likely due to my excessive worry.
However, after exploring my abdomen for the first time, I actually pinpointed the exact spot of my pain, and began freaking out about an aortic anuerysm. I went back to the doctor so he could feel it, and he was still at a loss. He again pushed for a CT scan (which I only want as a last resort due to the large amount of radiation for an abdominal CT), and at my insistence, he relented to an ultrasound, saying it will likely not tell us anything. I had it today, and the technician said the pain is in my "intestinal area," and although she is not allowed to tell me anything, I got the feeling that she couldn't see anything because it is in the colon/intestines. (My doctor told me that ultrasound could not examine the colon.) I am now freaking out about colon cancer, especially since I have thought that I had diverticulosis with episodes of diverticulitis in my lower left (sigmoid) colon since my early 20's, and my current doctor is saying he does not think I have that either because it is not painful enough when he touches it. I tried to tell him that I have been treating it with multiple herbs and fiber that is suppose to clear it up, and prior to taking them for the past week, it was like a knife stabbing me there when I had a bowel movement, but he was not convinced that such remedies would clear it up. (Typical Western medicine philosophy.) However, now this new pain is up high in my abdomen, about an inch and a half to the left and inch and a half above my belly button. And, it is not going away with the herbal remedies, so I do not think it is another area of diverticulitis. My doctor said that I am too young for colon cancer, and have not had the unexplained weight loss. But, of course, my head just goes to, well what does one look like in the early stage, when YOU DOCTOR, aren't aware that they have it yet. That's my anxiety getting the best of me. I'm sure there are plenty of other benign explanations, hernia, abcess, ulcer, benign cyst, etc.
I get how hard it is to sit with the unknown. Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a control disorder, when I don't have control, I freak out. I am constantly monitoring for danger. I worry about so may things to avoid being side-swiped. However, the worry just causes more physical symptoms to worry about, and so the cycle goes on. I think we need to just try our best to think rationally. What evidence DO we have and not have? No worrisome test results. That's fantastic.
At the urging of my Primary Care Physician, I just started Celexa, which I was skeptical to start because you cannot go above 60mgs (due to complications it can have with your heart at higher doses), and often a higher dose is needed to treat anxiety. Lower doses of it work for depression though. Not all doctors know this, (especially physicians) but an expert Psychiatrist told me that. My physician had never heard that, no surprise. The psychiatrist also told me that Prozac can be "activating" for some people, meaning make the anxiety worse before it gets better. He recommended to begin with Zoloft or Paxil for high anxiety since they are less "activating" than Prozac AND you can go up into the higher doses if needed. He did say that if the higher doses are not needed, then Celexa is very well tolerated (minimal side effects). He also recommended starting at half a pill (5 mgs), then titrating up slowly to avoid "activation" and minimize side effects. My physician gave me 10mgs and when I said I was going to take half at first, he scoffed. Again, typical. I don't think he likes to be second guessed or challenged by a non-physician. (I'm a Psychologist believe it or not. Yes, Psychologist get GAD too :-)
Anyway, I think you need to calm down because you have had testing and multiple visits, and your doctors ARE actually just as worried about missing something as you are because their career is on the line. Also, your symptoms can be accounted for by your anxiety, and it sounds like your anxiety is so high it is crippling. It is no surprise you're having physical symptoms. What can you do to make yourself better? Healthy high fiber, low fat, low sugar diet, supplements, 30 minutes of aerobics or yoga daily, lots of water, therapy, group therapy, relaxation exercises, pleasurable activities, organizing your life, making small goals to accomplish for the day, etc. (I myself would also add Chiropractic care and/or Eastern medicine health care because they are more geared toward preventative care than Western medicine, though Western medicine is doing its best to catch up.) Try your best to shift your attention to these things. These are things you can control. Do not worry that your health concerns will be ignored in this process. Believe me, any new concerns will come to your attention. You do not need to devote time to looking for health concerns. This is automatic for us. If we DO end up having or getting something, we are ALREADY treating it by doing the things listed above. And, if we DO NOT have or get anything, then we are prolonging our life by doing these things. It's a win win. Let's try our best to change our "obsession" to prolonging our life.