I'm worried that I might have Pancreatitis

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I am a 21 year old male and I'm worried that I might have pancreatitis. I am bit of a hypochondriac so my anxiety acts up periodically whenever I take notice to my symptoms. starting 1 year ago after I left school I started using my computer very frequently without any proper ergonomics, never left my house much or exercised. Afterwards I've I started having back and chest pain(sternum and popping sound) which I ignored for sometime until I visited a public hospital and spoke with a nurse. Along with those issues I had sciatic pain in my left leg, heart palpitations and pain in my lower left rib.

I was told by the nurse to use proper computer ergonomics around while using computer, limit my time sitting and exercise. I took her advice and several weeks after all my musculoskeletal reduced and the anxiety went down. However the mild back pain and the dull pain I felt in my upper left quadrant had me googling till I came across pancreatitis. Although the pain in those areas I described only act up when sitting or standing for a lengthy period and I don't seem to have the other symptoms described for pancreatitis I'm still concerned.

The sensation is right under my lower left rib(like a bit towards the surface) feels quite dull in a sense and gets a bit painful when sitting or standing for a lengthy period(Icing the area does help relieve the ache). This goes along with the back pain which calms down after supporting my lumbar region. My pain areas are the ones I've seen described for pancreatitis and I realize that I can feel the pain more if I curve backwards. Despite my age I don't drink alcohol, smoke or do drugs. I did a hemoglobin test about a week ago and it was 4.9 but I do plan on doing a full blood and urine test. I was told to also told to treat my anxiety and spend more time outside my house as my symptoms could be anxiety related. How do I know if my pain is pancreatitis or muscle related?

*Please feel free to ask me anything more If it will help... Thank you.

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  • Posted

    I forgot to mention that my lower left rib seems bigger than the right one.
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  • Posted

    Anxiety can create many symptoms and as you discovered after speaking to the nurse and doing as she suggested most went away.  Pancreatitis causes digestive issues, severe abdominal pain sometimes going through to the back, and ghastly stools as well as severe nausea/vomiting for many and you say you don't have those symptoms.  Most people also lose a lot of weight due to malabsorption issues.  

    You could ask your doctor to order lipase/amylase test but my advice would be to 'change channels' so to speak, focus on healthy pastimes that relieve your anxiety levels, preferably out of doors, and have no further contact with 'Dr Google'. You're very young don't let anxiety rule, find a good therapist to help you with it if you have difficulty controlling it.

     

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your taking your time to reply, I've been told many times to avoid google searching my symptoms and I've now officially decided to stop, I do think my pain is musculoskeletal as I'm not feeling any severe or constant pain but I tend to second guess a lot after reading the horror stories on google. My job had me indoors for a very long time since I've been working online, I believe that is responsible for my anxiety as I find myself worrying about a VERY wide array of disease without any of the symptoms described and possible financial cost. I will be changing channels as you described as I don't want this anxiety to consume my soul.

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  • Posted

    I'?m very pleased to hear it Miller, good luck.  A little trick to keep in mind:  Make an effort to smile, keep it up until it becomes natural you'll be surprised what a difference it makes biggrin

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    Bellow is my home page I wrote on my site. Thought it might help you. If. You have Pancreatitis you will know it. It's not difficult to diagnose. You said you are a bit hypochondriac. That tells me a lot there but doesn't tell me for sure if you have it. Maybe what I pasted may give you some insight about the disease. If I were you I would get a good checkup and whatever makes you feel you may have it I would get your Dr. to rule it out. I do think you would know it if you had it. I don't mean to sound rude, but if your mind is on your health a lot, you might want to see a psychologist and find out why and what to do to lessen it. Good luck. 

    In 2009 I began to lose weight.  Everything that I ate went straight through me.  My stools were very foul smelling and floated.  The teaching institution in Birmingham, (UABH) where I worked as a Cardio/Thoracic RN is one of the best in the country.  My Dr. ran every test imaginable on me and all of my blood work came back normal.  The CT and MRI were unremarkable as well.  Finally I saw a GI Dr. who did a EUS on me and repeated the CT scan.  The ultra sound showed that I had gallstones as well as something questionable in my pancreas.  I was somewhat afraid because I lost my dad to pancreatic cancer at the age of 59, and his mother passed from complications secondary to Pancreatitis.  They attempted to do  an ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde-CholangioPancreatography) on me but was unable to.  I had 4 stones embedded in the head of the pancreas, and one 8mm one obstructing the main pancreatic duct.  No enzymes were making their way to my small intestines to break down fats, protein, carbs etc.   The stone was just too large to remove.  I saw a surgeon who recommended that I have what's called a Whipple Surgery.  I want go into detail about this type of surgery other than to say it is extremely radical and includes the removal of part of the stomach, small intestines where they have to bypass part of them and join them to the pancreas, transplant islet cells, remove the gallbladder, spleen etc. at times.  I had a friend who I met back in the 80's while doing his residency and knew that he was head of the department at the Mayo Clinic in MN that specializes in lithotripsy and ERCP.  I told the surgeon that I thought I might be a candidate for it and he adamantly told me that I wasn't.  I called my friend at the Mayo nonetheless and he asked that I send my films/records.  About a week later he called me back and said he thought that he could help me.  I booked a flight to Rochester and flew up.  On a Monday they did lithotripsy to the stone in my pancreas.   After three hours the Dr. was about to give up and the tech doing it asked him to give her 15 more minuets.  After 3 hours and 10 minuets the stone finally shattered.  Afterwards I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach by a horse.  The next day they did an ERCP on me, removed all the shattered fragments and put in a temporary stint that would dissolve on its own in a month or so.  Before all of this I was taking 30 plus Creons (enzymes) a day.  4 before each meal 2 during and 4 afterwards, and with snacks.  I regained the 50 pounds I had lost in no time and after the lithotripsy and ERCP never took another one.  17% of people with chronic Pancreatitis doesn't experience much, if any pain.  Luckily I was one of them.  I have occasional flareups but never severe enough to be hospitalized to treat the pain.  I think I've taken two rounds of a weeks worth of Dilaudid and that's it.  PLEASE get 2 even 3 different opinions and ALWAYS follow your heart.  Had I had that Whipple Surgery I honestly don't know where I'd be today.  And, had I not been an RN and knew of this alternative procedure I doubt I would have ever had it.  Dr's and surgeons don't know everything.  Even though many feel they do.  I still have 4 stones in the head of my pancreas that they check with an MRI every six months and monitor my enzymes.  My chance for developing pancreatic cancer went up 20 to 40 fold given my Pancreatitis and my family history.  But, its seldom that you will catch your enzymes go up because when they do spike, it's only for a very short period of time.  Many people think that elevated enzymes is what you will see in both acute and chronic Pancreatitis and this is not always the case.  Fortunately the 4 stones that are still in me have not grown in size or migrated.  If you suspect that you might have Pancreatitis, do your homework, educate yourself and ALWAYS get a 2nd, even 3rd opinion.  If your case sounds anything like mine, check into having lithotripsy and an ERCP even if one tells you that you aren't a candidate.  And, make sure that both your endocrine and exocrine functions are indeed functioning correctly.  Monitor your glucose and have your A1C checked at least twice a year.  Good luck to all of you.  I hope that you will share your stories here and give everyone some helpful tips/info to go by.  

    DJRN

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