Convinced myself i have a terminal disease (Health Anxiety)

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This situation has been disturbing me for the past month. I never was afraid of having scary illnesses before as i had no reason to worry. It all started around a month ago. For some reason after i went to the bathroom i checked on my stool and it had a pale yellow color. I couldn't remember myself having pale stools before so i decided to check ok the internet, what was causing it. There i read that it could be a sign of very serious conditions like pancreatic cancer. I started panicking. This also made me more cautious of other symptoms. Everytime i feel something wrong with my body, I immediatly start thinking about having some sort of cancer. Even though my stool color normalised after 2 days or so, i started having thinner stools than normal and so I looked it up on the internet again and this time i read that it could be colon cancer. I went through the same thing again, thinking about the disease everyday. The anxiety became more apparent and so my dad decided to take me for a visit at the doctor. I had an abdominal ultrasouund done after I told my symptoms to the doctor. He checked everything from pancreas, stomach, kidneys and intestines, and he told me that there was nothing abnormal and everything was ok, and told my dad that those symptoms can be caused by anxiety. This visit was about a week ago, and I also had blood and urine tests, which turned up to be completely normal too, but I still feel anxious. I feel like an ultrasound is not able to detect cancer, or I feel like the doctor probably missed something. I don't like this feeling, I don't know what to do. My parents have tried calming me down, telling me that everybody can experience my symptoms, and it shouldn't necessarily be linked with serious diseases. I don't know, these words only calm me down for a day or a couple of hours, then i get back to thinking about my potential diseases.

I am a 17 year old boy, with no previous cancer-related deaths in my family. Both my mom's and dad's family have been very healthy, and only natural deaths have occured. I feel like I will be the first in my family to lose my life early, and these thoughts of having a terminal illness are destroying my life. I really don't know what I can do about it.

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  • Posted

    All your tests have been normal;  the problem for you is your anxiety which needs to be brought under control.  Try self help techniques first such as exercise, listening to music, concentrating on a hobby, going out with friends. If these things don't work, ask your doctor to refer you for counselling or ask for an anti anxiety medication.

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    • Posted

      You are probably right, but once it get's to your mind that you have something wrong, you can't stop thinking about it and it's really hard to do all of those things you mentioned when your mind just isn't there. We are about to go on vacations in a month or so and maybe that will help me a little a bit, but I really want to get out of this situation. Thank you for trying to help me.

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    • Posted

      The other thing that will help you, is to avoid googling health related topics. This will make your health anxiety worse.  My panic and health anxiety went through the roof when I googled my symptoms.
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  • Posted

    Ive been exactly the same for the last 3 months.ive had all my bloods and urine done even had pancreas blood test which was completely normal but still convinced I have pancreatic cancer.i suffer with severe anxiety.any little symptoms lead me to reading up on them and they all lead to the worst (cancer) it's horrible I've been in tear to my Mrs,my doctor I've seen 5 GPs in 3 months they all think I'm fine and there not worried but I'm convinced there missing something.

    We've just got to listen to the doctors

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    • Posted

      It comes to a little bit of a relief when i hear that other people have the same problem with me. I thought that I was about to lose my mind. Even my parents are starting to feel desperate now because they don't know what to do to calm me down. For some reason it's very hard to listen and trust the words of the doctor, and I don't really understand why as the job of a doctor is to diagnose your illnesses, and there is no reason for him to lie. The horrible things that i have read on the interent have worsened the situation and I have tried to stop looking up symptoms on the internet, but everytime i feel a new symptom on my body, I can't help it and start looking up the symptoms again and that makes me feel worse. I really hope I will get out of this situation soon, because what I have right now, it's a horrible feeling, which doesn't want to go away.

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  • Posted

    Hi

    Your situation sounds much like what I went through 3 years ago when all my problems started, and I started worrying that I had cancer. There was a point during my illness that I had very pale stools, but I can safely say that it does not necessarily mean you have cancer. I've had colonoscopy, endoscopy, abdominal ultrasound, head MRI, numerous blood, urine and stool tests, including the 5-HIAA urine test that looks for tumors and feacal elastase test to check for pancreatic function (I've probably missed a few other tests / examinations out). My liver function is good, my kidneys are fine, and with all the tests I've had done, there is no sign of cancer in me. The fact that there is no cancer related problems in your family, as is the same for me, is a good sign.

    One of my jobs involved working with chemicals, and exposure to one particular chemical, without the proper resipatory and safety equipment, was known to cause cancer. I worked with this chemical, for 2 years, without any protective equipment, and it has not caused cancer, the worst it caused was an allergic reaction.

    Your tests to date have been good, so you should really take some comfort in this. I suffer from anxiety as well, and it will affect your mindset and your life. It is hard to get yourself out of thinking the worst, and for me, it was only the fact I had a very understanding doctor who was willing to send me for all the tests and examinations that has helped put my mind at ease.

    I wonder if you might have developed IBS, bought on by the stress, worry and anxiety of having pale and/or loose bowel movements. It can happen!

    I don't know if any of this is any help to you, but I do wish you all the best for the future, and try not to research every problem / symptom you get, it will only fuel your anxiety.

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    • Posted

      Thank you very much, because your words calmed me down a bit. The think is i may be doing a lot of harm to myself. As i said before I haven't had these sort of problems before i started checking symptoms on the internet. Now i just feel bad all the time, sometimes have a little fatigue, and different bowel movements almost every day. These things just worry me out more and probably this makes the situation worse. I don't know what other tests I can do to get myself convinced that I don't have cancer, because I don't really have much information when it comes to health. The doctor said that I should try to calm down, because anxiety can lead to health problems later, he tried to convince me that there was nothing wrong with me, and although I felt better for a couple of days, the feeling of having cancer returned and this time i can't make it go away. This has even had an impact on my studies, as my grades dropped down a bit, but since we are going towards the end of the semester it won't cause any problems, so I am focusing more on my health right now. 

      The problem is that occasionally when i feel some sort of discomfort or mild pain into different areas of my body (which go away quickly) I start thinking of other possible diseases. So i abandon the thought of pancreatic or colon cancer and start thinking of lung cancer or brain tumors, instead, and when these pains go away I return to the old ideas again. I am stuck on a cancer-thinking loop and I can't seem to get out of it.

      What I am right now is so much different from what I was 2 months ago. It actually feel surprised that I changed this much. I never thought that I would be scared so much of something.

      I really hope I will get past this situation and thank you for your words again.

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    • Posted

      It is a hard habit to get out of but you have to try and brak the vicios circle, and the tests you have had done should help a bit in that respect.

      Have you heard of referred pain? I have IBS, and from what you have said about inconsistant bowel movements you might well be experiencing IBS. IBS can cause referred pain. The bowels are a very complex network of nerves, and if these nerves are disrupted or aggrevated, they can cause random pains in different parts of the body, making you think that you have an unrelated problem. Also, CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia, which are known to be linked to stress, worry and anxiety disorders, can cause random muscle and joint pains anywhere.

      Personally, I would be trying to get your doctor to refer you for some tests as there is something not quite right going on, colonoscopy and endoscopy would be first on my list which are procedures not to worry about, as well as a feacal elastase test. But until then, do try not to worry, your test results have been good and they can tell a lot from the tests you have had done already.

      I wish you all the best and take care.

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  • Posted

    Hi arjol59938

    You mentioned you get fatique, various bowel movements and feel bad all the time. What you are doing is causing your adrenals to have to work harder on your phsycological stress regarding your health and this will cause you to get fatiqued and upset your bowel movements and make you feel unwell....

    You have to trust your doctors i'm sure if they thought that there was anything untoward going on with your health they would deal with it. You are a healthy 17 year old you should be enjoying your life with your friends and thinkng of your future..not spending your time thinking you have cancer when you clearly haven't....but if you keep on stressing and thinking on health issues you are going to make yourself ill......again there is nothing wrong with you......get on with your life and enjoy it!!......my very best wishes to you....

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    You seem very similar to me. I am 17 and I have terrible Health anxiety and most of the time it's involves the fear of having cancer. I always think of the worst case scenario and I literally convince myself I have a serious disease. I constantly google my symptoms and it makes me feel worse but I can't help it. I found reassurance only helps in the short term so you need to find a long term solution. I am still trying to find that long term solution maybe try counselling?

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  • Posted

    Been there. 1st thing I learned was Dr Google can't order labs. Lol

    Also understand that yellow stools more commonly indicates fast transit through GI tract.

    All of those negative tests are a GOOD sign. If there was anything serious it would have shown up by now.

    I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder mixed with PTSD. When I was dealing with a serious illness going to a therapist was the best thing to help me recover. That would be my suggestion.

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