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Health Anxiety

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chemgirl

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I had a long post written out and my phone restarted itself!!!

Instead of getting into the long and boring details, I have major anxiety surrounding anything medical. My mind goes to worst case scenario for any little thing.

DH has a doctor's appointment tomorrow to go over test results and I'm losing it. Making myself sick to my stomach I'm so worried.

Can anyone relate or am I a nervous weirdo?
 

PintoBean

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Yup. My DH gets cray cray when it comes to doc appts. How I've tried to handle this is to schedule as much of our General doctor apptts together, and find a new doc with a good bedside manner. He's been going bonkers lateLy bc he's got a follow up blood test and appt solo a month from the last appt. he may have rescheduled them :roll: . He's been really good lately with the appointments and taking his meds regularly so I'm not going to argue with him. I also try to explain to him that everything is manageable that he is dealing with. And not surprising... High BP runs in his family, so he takes bp meds now. Just like I've been testing high for cholesterol since I was 10 and my cousins on my moms side have it too. So no big surprise when I had to be put on cholesterol meds this year.
 

december-fire

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Chemgirl,

I'm so sorry you're going through this stressful situation.

Yes, I can relate.

Serious health issues, or waiting to find out if a diagnosis is of a serious health issue, will naturally cause a great deal of anxiety. Especially if it affects a loved one.

We want everything to be fine but we have no control over the matter. It can be terrifying.

I hope your DH is OK. I'm glad the appointment is tomorrow. Waiting to find out what's going on is awful.

You said you have major anxiety over anything medical. In this particular situation, are your feelings in line with the possible diagnosis and implications? Would confirmation of a suspected disease result in a treatment plan that is known to have positive results?

I'm not asking you to reveal confidential medical information, just want to point out that it can help to think in terms of 'IF-THEN'. For example, if diagnosis reveals disease x, then we start the treatment plan. It might give you a sense of some control and a plan of action moving forward.

The other thing that can help is to remind yourself to take one step at a time. Your DH hasn't been given the test results yet. Being anxious won't affect the test results. Try to take a deep breath, take one step at a time, pray if that helps you, and think about whether it would be better for your DH if you were able to put on a strong front.

I believe there are times that its good to be open with certain people about our true feelings. Generally, a good way to be.

But sometimes I think its best for our loved one if we can put on a brave face and let them feel that they don't have to be strong, but can lean on us.

Not sure if any of that helps or is applicable in this case.

I'm sending prayers and thoughts for strength and comfort for you and your husband, and for good news tomorrow.

Hugs
 

distracts

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I had had a number of health problems over the past year and a half or so, starting with my concussion last year. I didn't feel really particularly anxious about any of them but then I started getting panic attacks out of the blue and often and I'm prettttty surrrrrre that they are due to anxiety over health things. Fortunately nothing is life-threatening, really, just persistently annoying and exhausting, but it's upsetting because I have no control over it and there have been multiple times when I started to improve, thought things were fine, and then got knocked back down into something worse. At least with the panic attacks I have managed to bring them down to a manageable level with therapy and will hopefully be able to get rid of them entirely.
 

chemgirl

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Thanks! Glad to see I'm not alone even though it's not really a good thing.

DH had a weird tight feeling in his neck for about a month and I made him get it checked out. Ultrasound showed a few enlarged lymph nodes, report says they appear to be reactive. Doctor said we would have to follow up with another scan to make sure it isn't lymphoma. He haf the second scan last Monday and I was so happy when Friday came and we hadn't heard anything. Because they rush the serious stuff right? Anyway DH called to follow-up and apparently he was on a list to be contacted and the doctor wanted to see him. He asked if he could go in Friday and was told they were full, but if it was anything urgent he would have been seen right away.

So on one hand that's probably good right? Like maybe the nodes just didn't totally shrink down to normal so maybe there is something to discuss. Either way it's not like we find out anything definitive tomorrow. It would be biopsy etc. DH says he feels totally normal now and the doctor poked around for 20 minutes and couldn't feel anything suspicious. So all of that together has him thinking it's ok and he's looking at me like I'm crazy lol.

I do get like this about any tests. My mom had cancer when I was 7 and a lot of my childhood was her treatment and testing.

I'll cry over wonky bloodwork haha. I need to chill. Worrying just messes up a nice weekend.
 

december-fire

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Chemgirl,

No wonder you get anxious about medical tests given that your Mom was diagnosed with cancer when you were 7!

I'm so sorry about your Mom having cancer and you going through that as a young child.

When you get anxious about medical stuff, you might want to remind yourself that the anxiety is probably amplified because of your childhood experience and try to put things into a realistic perspective.

Easier said than done, of course!

My little brother died at seven weeks of age.

I think I held my breath and watched my children 24 hours a day, including the few hours they slept, under they passed the seven weeks of age mark.

I knew that my little brother's death was not genetic, not crib death, nothing that would cause concern about my own children, but my normally logical brain could not shake the fear that something might happen to my babies.

Get some rest and may you and your DH receive reassuring news tomorrow.

Hugs
 

diamondringlover

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I get super anxious, I went thru the same scare as your hubby back in March and I had to have a lymph node removed, it turned out to be nothing :appl: but dang the anxiety was unreal!! and now every time I have something I get a little freaked out. My doctors advice is stay off google lol.....I had me dead in the grave because of googling and thinking of every worse scenario. My advice is try to relax and and not stress about it. Good luck with it all...and sorry about the cancer with you mom...that really stinks.
 

missy

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Hey Chemgirl, just want to chime in and offer support and comfort. I used to get just a bit nervous before a doctor's appointment (you know the term white coat anxiety) because I don't find the visits too pleasant (waiting in the waiting room for more than a few minutes only exacerbates that) but it was just minor nervousness.

However now after a few not great diagnoses I am a little more anxious before medical appointments for my dh and me so I totally get it.
And I am so sorry your mom had a cancer diagnosis and you and her went through all that stress when you were just a little girl. :cry:

Deep breaths, think good thoughts and also know you are on it and by being proactive you can deal with any diagnosis to the best of your and the specialist's ability. The fact that you are not ignoring symptoms (yours or your dh's) and acting to find out if it is anything that needs treatment is key.

Sending you and your dh lots of good luck dust and healing vibes and hoping the results are innocuous and easily treated if it is anything at all. (((HUGS))).


December Fire, I am so sorry about your little brother. :cry:
 

chemgirl

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diamondrnglover|1471854931|4068551 said:
I get super anxious, I went thru the same scare as your hubby back in March and I had to have a lymph node removed, it turned out to be nothing :appl: but dang the anxiety was unreal!! and now every time I have something I get a little freaked out. My doctors advice is stay off google lol.....I had me dead in the grave because of googling and thinking of every worse scenario. My advice is try to relax and and not stress about it. Good luck with it all...and sorry about the cancer with you mom...that really stinks.
Sorry you had to deal with all of that! I haven't Googled much beyond the steps to diagnose lymphoma and which hospital in my area would be the one for biopsy and treatment if we need to do that. I find that our doc always sends us to the one down the street from us, but it's not really somewhere that specializes in anything.

So beyond asking for the bigger hospital 20 minutes away and questioning why she wants an fna instead of excision (she mentioned this in last appointment but didn't really get into it) I haven't gone down that rabbit hole.
 

chemgirl

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December -fire: wow I'm sorry about your brother. I can imagine you'd be stressed about your own kids. Childhood trauma can make us a bit irrational, but better to be safe.

Missy:. Thanks! It helps to know that others have similar reactions. I'm trying to stay calm at work this morning and distracting myself.
 

azstonie

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I get anxious over health-related encounters. I frequently take half a Xanax for a medical appointment. Xanax is a benzodiazepine NOT a sedative---I'm still fully functional just not amped up or overly stressed.

Wait to get upset until the results come in and if the results are indeterminate or not good, and then you get a second test/opinion before you press the panic button. I worked for Mayo Clinic for almost 10 years and back in the bad old days a lot of the patients were there for second opinions and it was a good thing they did that.

You can always post here when you're feeling overwhelmed or just need some support.
 

chemgirl

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Calmed down now. Our doctor is great. So it really wasn't that big of a deal and that why we weren't seen last week. She said if it's ever urgent we'll know because she'll call us herself at 8:00 am and get us in before the office opens.

The two nodes on the last scan have shrunk, but the report lists a new enlarged one. She thinks it was always there, but no in the field of view on the last test because he was originally in to get his thyroid checked and the enlarged nodes were a secondary finding. Since the two shrunk quite a bit and they all appear reactive she thinks it's just an infection that is taking a while to clear. They are all too small for an excision biopsy (policy is excise over 2.5 cm)so now our only real option is a needle aspiration. She put this up to us for peace of mind more than anything. Our other option, the one she said she'd do, is a recheck in one month. She suggested not rechecking at our local hospital, but offered to refer us to one of the bigger cancer centers. So another set of eyes and a direct line to specialists if it does turn out to be something.

She is very confident that it's nothing to worry about so we are leaning towards the recheck at the cancer center next month. Less invasive and nice to have a second opinion.
 

december-fire

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Chemgirl,

Wonderful! That's a relief!

Hopefully this experience will help lessen your anxiety a bit in the future. You might be able to look back at what you put yourself through only to find out that your fears were unfounded. At least, I'm hoping it will help ease your anxiety in the future.

I appreciate your comments, and those of Missy, concerning my little brother. Thank you both.
 

ihy138

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Yes, this is a very real thing and I also have it! I developed it in college after a health scare (which was actually a panic attack) when I thought I was having a heart attack. I've done some research, and the way it presents for me is actually a form of OCD believe it or not. I go through episodes every couple of years where I'm convinced I have a different disease and it takes hold of my life. The beginning of this summer was actually one of the worst for me. I once again thought I had heart issues because I was having a lot of strange symptoms, all of which can be attributed to anxiety. I ended up seeing a therapist, started exercising religiously, also changing the way I ate and making sure I got enough sleep. I'm feeling much better but still have meh days. I found a place called anxietyzone.com to be helpful. They have a section on health anxiety. I wish you and your DH wellness and peace!
 

chemgirl

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ihy138|1471917600|4068826 said:
Yes, this is a very real thing and I also have it! I developed it in college after a health scare (which was actually a panic attack) when I thought I was having a heart attack. I've done some research, and the way it presents for me is actually a form of OCD believe it or not. I go through episodes every couple of years where I'm convinced I have a different disease and it takes hold of my life. The beginning of this summer was actually one of the worst for me. I once again thought I had heart issues because I was having a lot of strange symptoms, all of which can be attributed to anxiety. I ended up seeing a therapist, started exercising religiously, also changing the way I ate and making sure I got enough sleep. I'm feeling much better but still have meh days. I found a place called anxietyzone.com to be helpful. They have a section on health anxiety. I wish you and your DH wellness and peace!
Yes this is it! And I have a good friend who has heart issue and my brain says meh whatever there are meds, cancer is the real scary thing. Which is crazy. It's just like that's my anxiety and your's is heart issues.
 

chemgirl

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ihy138|1471917600|4068826 said:
Yes, this is a very real thing and I also have it! I developed it in college after a health scare (which was actually a panic attack) when I thought I was having a heart attack. I've done some research, and the way it presents for me is actually a form of OCD believe it or not. I go through episodes every couple of years where I'm convinced I have a different disease and it takes hold of my life. The beginning of this summer was actually one of the worst for me. I once again thought I had heart issues because I was having a lot of strange symptoms, all of which can be attributed to anxiety. I ended up seeing a therapist, started exercising religiously, also changing the way I ate and making sure I got enough sleep. I'm feeling much better but still have meh days. I found a place called anxietyzone.com to be helpful. They have a section on health anxiety. I wish you and your DH wellness and peace!
Yes this is it! And I have a good friend who has heart issue and my brain says meh whatever there are meds, cancer is the real scary thing. Which is crazy, heart stuff is a huge issue. It's just like that's my anxiety is cancer and I don't really focus on anything else.

Edited to add: don't know why both posted. Weird
 

Alex T

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Chemgirl, big hugs to you. And hooray at the positive news for your hubby :appl:

I couldn't read & run on this one. I have suffered health related anxiety since I was a teenager. Mostly it would be under control as life gets busy, but on occasion it had really got hold of me to the point a teeny niggle will, in my mind, become an inoperable tumour & I would lie awake until 2 or 3am deciding what to put in the memory boxes for my small children. Really!!! I eventually went for hypnotherapy at the encouragement of my husband, as I became very low after my youngest was born. I spent all day (stay at home mum) stressing about health woes with my idle mind, and became far from the woman he married in that sense. No happy go lucky anymore, no sir! My therapy really helped. I still suffer, but have learned to recognise the symptoms (dizzy, nausea, restless, pins & needles, insomnia etc) and now have the mental tools to deal with it. On occasion it means a bit of downtime closed in my room with an mp3 from my therapist, but I cannot tell you how much better my life is.

I had a total of 8 sessions over 8 weeks, and since then (4 years ago) I have checked in for a "top up" session each October. My life is much calmer & positive as a result, but I can still spiral. It's for me, just knowing how my mind works & how to rationalise & deal with myself, which I can now do. I also got myself a little job at a local High School this January, which is only 2 hours each day, term time only, which for me has been brilliant. It engages my brain, keeps me physically active, helps me sleep better & just gives me focus. I still get to take my daughters to & from school each day & have all school holidays off with them. I feel very lucky & remind myself of that when my brain wanders!

Health anxiety is no laughing matter & can take over your life. I hope you can find something that works for you & would seriously consider talking it through with a professional. They will help you put things into perspective, teach you to learn to listen to your body more & quiet your mind. It's all very useful :))

Good luck & try to focus on the positives.
 

missy

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Thank you for sharing that wonderful update with us Chemgirl. :appl: So happy and relieved for you! Great advice from PSers and hugs to everyone going through life's challenges. (((HUGS))) and healthy dust being sent to everyone.
 
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