Hi everyone. I'm new here, and trying to keep myself occupied before my doctor appointment this afternoon (I'm sure you all know how that can be). For background info, I am a 34 year old woman who has been struggling with generalized anxiety and depression most of my life and health anxiety for at least 5 years. I've been seeing a therapist for the last 3 years, and while therapy has been helpful with my depression and my generalized anxiety, it seems like my health anxiety has been steadily getting worse. I just looked at my medical records for the past year, and I've been to one doctor or another at least monthly. This past spring I had some vague abdominal pain that would come and go on my right side--eventually my doctor did a CT scan and all was normal. That pain has now mostly disappeared, and I thought I could maybe have a good stretch of being relatively not worried, but of course my brain won't cooperate.
About a week and a half ago, while on vacation, I noticed a lump in my cheek, near the hinge of my jaw. There is a much smaller lump on the other side in the same place, so I thought maybe it was an enlarged lymph node. Of course, I then pressed on the lump a lot and it was very tender the next day, and I had some tingling/numbness on that side of my face for a few days afterward. I hoped that it would go away, but it's still there and I believe I have some other lymph nodes swollen on that side (one behind my ear, one or two in my neck). I also feel like I'm having trouble swallowing, although that is a common manifestation of my anxiety so it's hard to say if it's related. I made an appointment for this afternoon with my ENT who has seen me in the past for swollen lymph nodes. Today I made the mistake of googling parotid (salivary) gland cancer, and I'm now sure that my lump is a tumor.
I'm not sure what I'm looking for here, except support from people who know what I'm going through. My husband and mother are beyond frustrated with me because I am always certain I have cancer and it always turns out to be nothing serious. I have an appointment with my therapist later today, and I am going to tell her that we need to try something different. What we have been doing isn't working, and I'm tired of being terrified most of my waking hours. I had been resistant to taking medications again (was on Zoloft for about 10 years), but now I am thinking I may need something, at least short term while I work on this more in therapy. Even just writing this out makes me feel a little calmer.