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Author Topic: A Hypochondriac's Dilemma  (Read 310 times)

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Offline PantsyAntsy

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A Hypochondriac's Dilemma
« on: September 02, 2014, 04:54:44 PM »
So, I have had palpable lymph nodes at the same place in both armpits for over a year and a half now. They first showed up during a pregnancy. I have had them monitored periodically and they have always looked benign on ultrasound. Mammograms are also clear. The largest node is 1.5 cm and the radiologist doesn't really consider it clinically enlarged.

OK, so something unexpected happened at my last checkup. My doctor, despite feeling like everything is probably fine with these nodes, decided to refer me for a PET/CT scan. This is to try and see if I have any chest masses that can't be felt or seen, and also to get some more info about the possibillity of lymphoma.

Here's my dilemma. I have an 8 month old who is pretty much exclusively breastfed and does not take bottles. Because of that, I am pretty close to being her sole provider in terms of eating and sleeping.

Getting the scan will make me radioactive. I will not be able to be near my baby for like a day, they tell me. My husband is up to the challenge, and we will have to work on bottle feeding before the actual day. But, I would be lying if I said I don't worry about making myself radioactive and possibly harming her. I also wonder what exposure to so much radiation might do to me, especially since I have little fear that this will turn out to be anything but benign nodes.

I'm not sure if I should keep the appointment, but then there is another side of me that thinks it would be good to know nothing is cooking inside my chest cavity and/or that this doesn't look like lymphoma (although pet/ct misses 25% of lymphomas). Just need to talk it through with someone.
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Offline anxiouskathie

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Re: A Hypochondriac's Dilemma
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2014, 05:40:17 PM »
Hi Pantsy...sorry you are struggling in trying to make this decision.....here's a question I'm tempted to ask though....Did your doctor actually recommend this or did you kind of push him into doing this for you to relieve your own mind?   If this is something your doctor does not feel is urgent right now and really feels you are fine, you may want to just consider postponing this until your baby is done breastfeeding?  Or perhaps there is some other less radioactive test they can perform for now, and IF it were to show something, then move on to a PET scan? 

Just trying to help you think outside of the box! 
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Offline PantsyAntsy

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Re: A Hypochondriac's Dilemma
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2014, 05:48:07 PM »
Anxiouskathie.....No, this was not me pushing AT ALL. I had completely lost all anxiety about these things and almost fell over when she suggested this. I expected another pat on the head, see you in 6 months.

While i was at the appointment, I did ask if pet scan was all that great given it's not 100% on lymphoma, and she said the other  thing we could do is biopsy. She called the radiologist who said there's not an obvious node to sample. So, it doesn't seem like that's the better option at this point.

I guess I can put it off, but I really don't know when I'll finish breastfeeding. I went years with it with my other kids. I am considering stopping at a year, just ti see if these nodes go away. But, I have also never stopped so early and can't even imagine having a baby and not breastfeeding. I mean, how do you even get them to sleep  :sprachlos020:
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Offline kcg13

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Re: A Hypochondriac's Dilemma
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2014, 05:58:38 PM »
What made your Dr decide for this test?  Is this the same dr who said all was well all that time before?  What made her change her mind (did you ask her?)?
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Our thoughts dictate our emotions .... in other words, how you think is what you will feel.

Offline PantsyAntsy

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Re: A Hypochondriac's Dilemma
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2014, 06:08:08 PM »
The last time I saw her, my baby was one or two months old, so it was immediately post partum just about and all those hormones would have still been working through my system. At my last appointment, she told me she would have expected/ hoped the nodes to go away in the six month period sincecInlast saw her. But, since they didn't, she doesn't want to send me on my wAy because, in her words, " she's not god" hasn't been wring often but has been wrong ( she said 3 times in ten years she found cancer that she expected to be nothing). And, no,  I did not push for a scan. I went there assuming ultrasound imaging was sufficient since this is what I have been getting all along.
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Online fishmanpa

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Re: A Hypochondriac's Dilemma
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2014, 08:42:07 PM »
From what I understand and from everything I read, the scan itself doesn't will not present any issues in feeding your child even with contrast. Who told you this? I would confirm this info. Concerning your doctor ordering the test, it appears to me that she's doing what a good doctor should be doing. If she wasn't being thorough you would be questioning that right? ;) the fact that a trained radiologist that sees these things day in and day out feels there's nothing sinister bodes quite well.

Good luck and positive thoughts

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"Eat. Drink. Enjoy the work you do. Be thankful for the blessings in your life. Live. Love and seek out the things that bring your heart joy. The rest doesn't matter!."  King Solomon.

Offline PantsyAntsy

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Re: A Hypochondriac's Dilemma
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2014, 09:56:27 PM »
I called the Cancer Center that will be doing the scan, Fishman. They said I will have to pump and dump and stay away from her for a bit, which is not ideal but okay. We'll get through it. Or, I should say, they will. Assuming I get good news, I am planning a glorious day by myself as I de-radiate,  ;*)

I am definitely interested in more definitive answers, but I wish that radioactivity didn't have to be part of it. Sigh. BUt, you are right. It's the doctor being cautious and doing what she can think to get answers without cutting me open, which poses its own hazards. I would be lying if I said I'm not afraid that they will find something. But, I guess in the worst case finding out sooner is better than finding out later. Honestly, though, the rational me ( :action-smiley-065:) expects a clear scan. I will probably puke on the way there, though. I know you have gone through this after experiencing cancer, so I should bite my tongue.
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Online fishmanpa

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Re: A Hypochondriac's Dilemma
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2014, 11:27:03 PM »
Honestly Antsy, I've seen HA sufferers go through more scans and tests than I have and I have real health issues. Other than glowing in the dark, I have no lingering side effects (JK!!) You'll be fine. The toughest part is lying still and if there's contrast?... a funny feeling that you have to pee. I did a bit of research on your concern and some pretty reputable medical sites disagree with what you were told but better to follow their instructions. "pump and dump"? I never heard of extracting referred to that way. Sounds like something you do to a pool filter! ~lol~ Hubby and baby will be fine and so will you ;)

Positive thoughts
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"Eat. Drink. Enjoy the work you do. Be thankful for the blessings in your life. Live. Love and seek out the things that bring your heart joy. The rest doesn't matter!."  King Solomon.

Offline Slangevar

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Re: A Hypochondriac's Dilemma
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2014, 03:39:10 PM »
PantsyAntsy - do you have any other symptoms or results that suggest lymphoma (e.g. abnormal blood tests, night sweats, weight loss, fevers, etc.)?  If you do, then I suppose your doc's decision makes some sense, but if not, a PET scan seems pretty intense for what could just be shotty nodes or some chronic infection.

Whatever you decide is totally your choice and it sounds like you have a plan for the PET scan if it happens, but if it were me, I would get a second opinion. PET scans are wonderful when cancer is suspected, but that's a lot of radiation for what my breast doc would call a "fishing expedition."
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Offline PantsyAntsy

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Re: A Hypochondriac's Dilemma
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2014, 04:26:35 PM »
Interesting Slangevar. I have not had any blood work since I was pregnant- I was anemic then but probably pregnancy induced. I don't have the other symptoms. Yes, this is a fishing expedition, and I am wary of the radiation for baby and me, anx I also have other kids (although its easier to stay away from them). Now, gah, don't know what to do. Maybe I should just get a node biopsied and skip this scan.
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Offline Slangevar

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Re: A Hypochondriac's Dilemma
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2014, 06:40:18 PM »
It's totally up to you, but at the very least I'd quiz my doc about why he's suggesting the scan (Did he see something that worried him?), why he hasn't done any new bloodwork, and why he would prescribe that before considering a biopsy.
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