Fear of cancer causing panics and depression

Posted , 6 users are following.

I am having an ultrasound and a biopsy soon to check on a small pea-like lump in my neck which my dentist found and sent a letter to the hospital about. I have gone into a state of terrible panic and can't stop crying and shaking, cannot eat and it's just hell. I had something similar 10 years ago when I thought I had bowel cancer and had a complete breakdown. Have been on 20mg Citalipram ever since but I have upped my dose to 40mg last week as I'm desperate and    feel a total wreck. I was so traumatised at the hospital I feel that I just can't go back. 

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14 Replies

  • Posted

    It's only natural to be anxious....it's a rotten time for you! I had double mastectomies 8 years ago....a dreadful experience
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  • Posted

    i can feel that you feel devistated, not knowing for sure whats going on with you. but, i can tell you i think you are a strong person, trying to take care of yourself. i admire you for going to the dentist in the first place! 

    i on the other hand, am not so responsible with my body. my fear is that "they" will find something wrong with me. so, i just dont go. which is stupid because i cant fix what i dont know. so then i live in constant fear....not recommended. i am truly sorry that you are suffering very much right now. maybe everything is gonna be okay. and if its not, then you will do everything you can to fight it. please eat something. i think if i were you i'd eat a huge container of rice pudding. that is very, very easy to eat. a little too easy. for me anyway. i eat it even when i feel fine.

    i wish you well. except for eating the rice pudding, i dont know how to advise you. just keep sharing. you need to relieve the stress in your body. you are a brave person. i wish you well. please keep your hopes up. i know that sounds impossible. but its the only attitude you can try to have right now.good luck, and god bless you!

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  • Posted

    What a horrible predicament to find yourself in. I don't think upping your dose of citalopram was a good idea. Citalopram is a potent drug that affects the neuro-chemistry of your brain. It could very well be making your symptoms of anxiety worse. This pea sized lump hasn't been causing you any pain has it? Is it red? Is it itchy? To be honest I think it is more likely to be a sebaceous cyst, or something similar of a completely benign nature. If it is proved to be a cyst, It can be drained and/or excised under local anaesthetic. There is a slim chance that it could be a small tumour. Once again there's a good chance that the tumour is benign. If by slim chance it is a cancerous lump, thank your dentist for finding it so soon. You said it was small, which would suggest, if it is cancerous, you've found it early. That's good, because it can be fully removed.

    I know you are in a horrible situation, of course you are anxious, anyone in your shoes would be anxious. However upsetting yourself and dwelling on the negative won't change anything for the better. All it is doing is making you miserable right now.

    My advice is try to be realistic about this. It is much more likely to be benign than cancerous. Please don't mess around with your citalopram, that really can make you very ill. Go and see your family doctor, explain the situation and tell him/her that your anxiety is making you ill. I'm sure your doctor would be prepared to prescribe some diazepam, Ativan or some other anxiolytic benzodiazapene to help you along until the specialist sees you and tells you what this lump is and what will be done about it. You shouldn't have to suffer such anxiety during what is already a difficult time. Please see your GP.

    my thoughts are with you.

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    • Posted

      That's a really kind answer because ive had experience of Cancer.  I'm 26 days into an increased dose of Sertraline from my GP.....so far I'm sleeping/eating well, gardening again, socialising.  Just waiting for that low feeling/ tension in the upper abdomen. And more motivation.  I suppose being on day 26 is early days tho.  I've read that low mood and lack of motivation are the last symptoms to lift. Is that correct do you know? Thanks. Iris
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    • Posted

      I'm new to this forum. I just posted a reply to your question but actually sent it to Dimity67 by mistake. Wow. I feel pretty stupid! Maybe you can read my response to you, it's misdirected to Dimity67.
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    • Posted

      Thanks so much for that, just can't stop weeping at the moment, I have it all out of proportion I know. I nursed both my parents when they had cancer and a year ago a neighbour. Yes, it's only small and I did visit my doctor before I saw the consultant and he wasn't really bothered about it. Is it routine for consultants (head and neck) to get ultrasounds done?He did say he saw loads of neck lumps. I just wanted him to say no it's definitely not cancer but of course he couldn't. I have to wait til 2nd June to see him again. Thanks for replying, I'm in such a state. It was actually me who pointed it out to the dentist, I think she would have missed it, it isn't visible, but I get twinges from it. 
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    • Posted

      I've just read it thanks!!! It seems you have a good insight into depression.  Have you studied medicine or pharmacology?  Mine is reactive depression, my brother died...I was in NZ and couldn't get back to UK in time to say goodbye.  I then suffered blood clots on my lungs mid-summer '15, leaving me very weak.  Then in November had a real big row with my daughter....we didn't speak for 3 months.  All is well now, but the stress us coming out.....just waiting for mood to lift. I think that helps with motivation.
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    • Posted

      My heart goes out to you. You've obviously been through some very hard times and terrible loss. I'm not at all surprised that having nursed 3 people with cancer you are in a perfectly understandable state of fear at the moment. I can assure you that it's quite normal for a consultant to order ultrasounds. It gives them some idea of what their looking at. I'm surprised you haven't been offered an MRI scan, or even a CT scan. You must have had blood tests. The doctors would be able to tell you from looking at your blood test results whether any tumour markers showed up. Please, make an appointment to see your GP. A good doctor will do all they can to help you through this horribly difficult time. I hope you're not facing all of this on your own. The horrible circumstances you find yourself in now has more than likely brought back a lot of the heart ache and distress of  the loss of your parents.

      A little reassurance I can give you is that it seems clear to me you don't have a tumour or tumours as that would have shown up quickly in your blood tests.

      My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  • Posted

    Low mood is often the last noticeable symptom to be relieved by many antidepressants. Sertraline is an effective and reliable antidepressant. In my experience,  lack of motivation which is often one of the most pronounced of depressive symptoms can be one of the most difficult to overcome. If a person has been depressed for a long time, apathy may have become something the person has had to get used to. Whilst an antidepressant like Sertraline is very good at addressing the neuro chemical imbalance in a depressed persons brain it can't break a persons habits. Learning to deal with apathy in depression is a survival technique and for that reason it can be hard to let go of. I found I needed to push myself a bit to find my self motivation again. It was difficult, but once I got it back it had quite a healing effect.

    i think you're doing everything right. Don't push yourself too hard. Depression is a devastating illness, surviving it and conquering it requires tremendous courage and tenacity. Be proud of yourself for getting this far. Everyone who survives depression has good and bad days. When the depression is in remission the good days outweigh the bad days. Then one day you realise you haven't had a bad day for a month or more, that's when you really rediscover that spring in your step.

    you are obviously a strong person, to have survived cancer and to be overcoming depression. Be good to your self, you deserve it. Hold on to hope, the  world actually is a beautiful place and there are good people, just like you everywhere.

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    • Posted

      Jack, can you rationalise this for me please? All day I've had that horrible feeling in my upper abdomen, but as soon as I started eating my dinner tonight it disappeared and my arms started feeling shaky, as if anxiety was coming over me.  Can't understand this
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    • Posted

      I think what you are describing is perhaps anxiety induced post prandial hypoglycaemia. Which is just a fancy way of saying that your anxiety is severe enough that it is physically affecting your stomach and digestive transit. (People often describe anxiety as a feeling in the pit of their stomach). Anxiety really can affect your stomach and if your anxiety is causing a delay in gastric emptying it could be contributing to low blood sugar, which can be particularly bad immediately  after eating. This is a horrible complex of symptoms related to anxiety. I think this might be what you are experiencing. I have found that this is something GPs often over look, particularly as it's something that can be difficult for the sufferer to articulate. In my experience this eventually petered out, but it can become a horrible vicious circle. I can't say definitely that this is what is happening with you, obviously. In my experience however having some glucose lozenges available and taking 2mgs of diazepam 4 times a day helped. Take the glucose if you get that sensation after eating again, it won't do you any harm and if you find it helps then you might have anxiety induced post prandial hypoglycemia. I hope these symptoms begin to diminish for you.
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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply.....strangely I go to the loo regularly....always have done....3 times a day in fact and I have to sometimes run quickly! Sertraline also makes it worse....half an hour after lunch.....run! I do bowel cancer tests and all well, and they've always been negative! Sorry about this type of discussion. My GP has given me some propranolol today 10mg......that seems to ease the tension. Of course anxiety can be tied in with depression
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    • Posted

      Anxiety is definitely a feature of my depression. Can I ask, are you asthmatic? The reason I ask is because my mother is asthmatic and told me one day that her GP had prescribed her Inderrel (a beta blocker).  This was a lazy mistake by her GP. Beta blockers are contra-indicated with asthma. She should have been prescribed a calcium channel blocker like verapamil or cynirazine. 

      In my opinion GPs are now over cautious when it comes to prescribing benzodiazepines. I'm not advocating a return to the days of 'mothers little helper', but in my opinion too many people are left to deal with anxiety that is severe and absolutely warrants pharmaceutical intervention. GPs won't prescribe in these cases out of sheer laziness. A patient prescribed a benzo will need some close monitoring and Drs don't want the extra work. This is an issue I have strong opinions about. I almost feel like the current medical consensus on benzodiazapines results in persecution of patients that suffer with anxiety disorders. I know GPs who use benzos when they are anxious. I believe that in many cases it is simply laziness and arrogant hypocrisy that stops them prescribing a very effective medication for a patient who is clearly suffering.

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  • Posted

    Then go to another hospital or doc.  Being frightened and anxious can cause more harm than what they are looking at!  Your whole body and mind are freaking out and it could all be for nothing.  Try to calm yourself (like do something nice for someone else...) and not obsessing about this.  Whatever it is, it is tiny.  That has to calm you somewhat.  I went for a CT scan of my lungs and the imaging place wouldn't let me leave until my doc called.  She called and in a very serious voice informed me that I had a blood clot in my R lung.  I went to the ER, per her instructions, on 3-21-16 and when several docs and nurses came in to talk to me and mine, they said, "you have a life threatening condition".  My first reaction was relief and my reply was, "well, thank goodness I already sent out my Easter cards!"  They all looked at me like I had 2 heads but my husband and I cracked up.  Some people are just too serious too much of the time.  When it is our time, hopefully we will get the chance to do it our own way, surrounded by love and peace.  Laughter is the best medicine and I believe it sends your brain and body a message that there is always hope even when your end time is near (and yours isn't!). Smile at someone who needs it And hand out a few extra I love your and heart felt hugs and settle in for the test results.  There is no reason to go to a dark place when most stuff that is found is truly nothing at all to worry about.😸
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