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Author Topic: After a long period of calm, my Health Anxiety has kicked into high gear  (Read 252 times)

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Offline Eric68

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Sorry for the long winded post.  Lots going on here.  Actual health problems enhancing my already anxious state.

Background:  I am self diagnosed with GAD, but most of my anxiety seems to surround my health. I'm 46.  I had testicular cancer when I was 28, and have had no reoccurance since, but I had health anxiety long before that.

About two months ago I was readying for a spring break road trip with my 8 year-old son.  I would awake in the middle of the night with anxious thoughts that we were going to get in an accident or at the very least have car trouble.  I feel like the only person who can be stressed out about going on vacation!

These continued anxious thoughts ended up giving me stomach problems; an acidy, gurgly stomach and reflux.  This led to chest pain which I was sure meant I was having heart problems, so my anxiety turned to me thinking I was going to be on the road alone with my son and suffer a heart attack and he was going to be alone and have to deal with it.  My primary care doctor assured me that it was only GERD and I felt better (anxiety-wise) immediately, but the thought of heart problems lingered in my head and, while they didn't ruin our trip for my son, they did affect my enjoyment of it.

A week after I got back I passed my first kidney stone ever which made me go to the ER.  I have that all sorted now with my urologist, but the anxiety from the experience made my stomach problems worse and I ended up with a lump in my throat feeling, which my doctor thinks is just the GERD.

But searching for a physical reason for the lump in my throat, I was feeling around on my throat a little over a week ago I noticed a lump next to my larynx, which my ENT diagnosed as a thyroid nodule and I had it evaluated via ultrasound and fine needle aspiration (biopsy).  They said I had several small nodules, but the one that they could biopsy was a little over 2 cm.  Their criteria is to biopsy anything larger than 1 cm, I think.

So long story short; in my head my stomach problems are really colon cancer and the lump in my thyroid is a metastatic tumor.

I had an abdominal CT scan in the ER when I was having the kidney stone issue, and I saw the report that said there was nothing remarkable about any of my abdominal organs other than the kidney stone thing.  And I keep telling myself that there are better chances of a tumor growing elsewhere first than in my thyroid, but it's driving me nuts.  The results of the biopsy (which I had done 3 days ago) will take up to 2 weeks because if the biopsy looks at all iffy, they will do genetic testing on the cells. 

And even if it is just normal thyroid cancer, which I know is easily cured, I fear a life of hormone replacement because I've read so many horrible stories.  For that part I try to reassure myself that people don't flock to the internet to tell their success stories.  They just go about their lives happily.
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Offline ObiLaws

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Hey Eric68, I see you're relatively new here. Welcome!

As for your problems, I myself am going through a similar situation right now involving stomach problems and the lump in the throat. I was diagnosed with GERD back in November, and have been taking Omeprazole for it since and it worked wonderfully until relevantly recently when I suddenly developed anxiety along with a host of other problems. After visiting my doctor and having a blood test done to check my thyroid due to my symptoms and familial history, my thyroid test came back normal but he did say I had high blood calcium. This worried me because I had had blood drawn the year prior and had high blood calcium then as well, and the note said that I would have to go back in for a PTH (parathyroid hormone) test to make sure the high blood calcium was not a cause of the gland's dysfunction. Following reading this, I decided to look up these issues and stumbled across hyperparathyroidism, often caused by one of the parathyroid glands (small, grain-of-rice shaped glands residing behind the thyroid) becoming tumorous. Reading the symptoms, I noticed that not only had I developed many of them over the past year, but one of them was GERD; often with no prior familial history or other cause, such as age (I'm 18). On top of that, due to hyperparathyroidism causing there to be a higher amount of calcium in your blood, many people can often get kidney stones from this issue. I personally haven't had that issue but it'd probably be more likely to occur in someone of your age along with the issue.

Most people who pass kidney stones completely naturally are a little older than you, in their 50's or older, so unless you've led a life with a high calcium diet, you may want to consider hyperparathyroidism.  You didn't mention that you got a blood test during any of this, so it might be a choice. If nothing else, it'll help determine whether the nodules on your thyroid are causing hyperthyroidism (which is similar to hyper*para*thyroidism but affects your thyroid gland instead and has different symptoms involving the metabolism).

Either way, to reassure you about your GERD; mine's been getting worse since the beginning of this whole issue I've been experiencing over the past couple weeks and I've experienced new symptoms similar to yours. At first, all I got was occasional heartburn and excessive gas buildup that led to nausea and sometimes vomiting. Now, if I eat anything even remotely close to what would trigger my GERD before (spicy, greasy, foods; carbonated beverages, etc.) I'll get excessive gas that leads to bloating that can sometimes move up into feeling like pressure in my chest and a lump in my throat until I expel it through belching or flatulence. I'm sometimes afraid I'm having a heart attack if I get the chest pains that GERD can cause but I keep in mind that I'm young, I got an EKG that said my heart was fine, and if I get any pains at all, they're usually on the side opposite my heart, more like near my gallbladder.

Another thing to keep in mind is the stickied list at the top of this forum labeled "This list is a lifesaver!!" It's specifically for people who suffer from HA and need reassurance of the *physical* symptoms that anxiety can cause. Sometimes I'll experience a real physical symptom that isn't dangerous and my anxious brain will run with it and have a field day and I'll start experiencing other symptoms that make me almost 100% sure I am dying but then I try and calm myself down and relax, and reading that list will often help me calm down because the feelings I experience are right on that list and I just keep rereading it until it sinks in that I'm fine and eventually those sensations subside.

Also, just a fun fact, if you do end up having a thyroid issue, most likely hyperthyroidism if you have nodules, that can often cause anxiety too!

I hope for the best for you on your adventure and make sure to check in every now and then. Like you said, people don't tend to go on the internet to tell their success stories, but it might be good to do so on this website as everybody could use an inspiring success story now and then.

Stay safe :)

Cody
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There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no death, there is the Force.

Offline Eric68

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Thanks for the reply, Cody

Yeah, my urologist did blood work that ruled out hyperparathyroidism.  I'm at a point where I don't know whether what I'm experiencing is anxiety or not.  I have read several posts here now that share that same sentiment of almost not being able to trust any symptom you have as being real and not just a product of anxiety.
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Offline ObiLaws

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Yeah, anxiety can be a little bugger sometimes. Sometimes it comes up with entirely new symptoms out of the blue, like a little kid trying desperately to get your attention.

Did the blood test you had done rule out any thyroid issues?

Cody
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There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no death, there is the Force.

Offline Eric68

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Yes, my TSH level was in normal range.
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