Worried I Have Pancreatic Cancer ( I have Health Anxiety)

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I'm not sure if I'm on her for reassurance, a diagnosis or just to vent.  So please bare with me.

I'm a 38 Year Old male. I suffer from health anxiety and OCD.  I have most of my life.

About 8 months ago my latest episode started with a pain in my upper back.  Since then I have thought I had Lung Cancer, Lymphoma, Skin Cancer and now I'm scared I have Pancreatic Cancer.  I also think that my Doctors have given up on my and think I am just one big hypocondriac.

My Symptoms over this time:

Upper back pain - Has subsided now and is only there every now and then

Lower back pain - More of just a dull ache that's always there

LHS Abdomen pain - Again as above

Nausea - On and off, pretty bad ATM

Muscle Twitches - Mainly when resting

Reflux and tightish chest - Under control now after Endoscopy

General Weakness

Small amount of yellow in poo -  This has been recent. Only happened 1 or 2 times

Bit of yellow at the very edge of the whites of my eyes 

Bit of a yellow tinge on face (I think) - I sometimes feel its there and sometimes not

(It does make me sound like a hypocondriac)

Tests so far:

Chest Xray - Normal

Chest CT Scan - Normal bar some Osteoarthritis in Thoracic spine

CT Scan Neck - Normal

Bloodwork - All normal

Surface Marker Blood Test - Normal

Endoscopy - Gastritis, Acid Reflux, Hiatis Hernia

Colonoscopy - Banded of 2 hemorrhoids

In the past 8 months, I feel like I'm really letting my family down as I've been consumed with my health and have been a real mess sometimes.  I know they support me, but how long can I expect them to pick up my slack??

The funny thing is, after my Endoscopy and they found some issues and with some medication to rectify them, I started to feel better within myself, physically and mentally.  But after I had my Colonoscopy and I had some issues in recovery, (lots of pain and drop of blood pressure)  my worry and symptoms really seemed to kick back in.  Then the small amounts of yellow in my poo and I hit rock bottom again.  I'm just so scared.

And my doctors seem to be finished with me.  My last appointment which was yesterday, basically told me after I raised my concern for PC is that they have done everything they can for me and I need to get my health anxiety under control. (which I know I do).  He said that I had a CT scan of my chest which was able to see the upper abdomen organs and the report said they were fine and the surface marker test was normal so I shouldn't worry.  But I still do. I know these aren't the correct tests for PC.

I just don't know what to do.  Do I see another Doctor?  Do I ask for them to do an MRI on my abdomen?  I'm just at a loss.

Sorry for the long post and ranting, but I just needed to get my thoughts out to some other independant people.

Sorry again and thanks.


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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello Adam.  Firstly a little personal background.  I have been diagnosed with Auto Immune Chronic Pancreatitis.  Secondly I have a 7 year old family member who has been diagnosed with Health Anxiety and is OCD.  He is on the Autism Spectrum.  He's also a very gifted artist and brilliant in some areas academically.  He requires a lot of help to deal with his issues.  The help is working, he no longer cleans until he bleeds for instance but any bump or tumble still becomes a major medical crisis for him causing terrible anxiety.

    I share that because I want you to understand that his siblings and parents, his extended family and teachers all try to understand how crippling his anxiety is for him.  There is never a thought that he's imagining something or being a hypochondriac, but sometimes it's difficult to respond appropriately, or at all. 

    Don't be so hard on yourself, you're so fortunate to have such a supportive family.  Taking your doctor's advice to seek help for your anxiety should be high on your list of priorities, for yourself first but also for them.

    OK, so to your list.  

    Some people have little reactions after procedures, I did after my endoscopy and had to stay in hospital overnight.  Everything was fine I went home the next morning with no follow up.  Sounds like it was similar for you after the colonoscopy, it happens sometimes.

    The Gastritis, Acid Reflux and Hiatis Hernia:  The hernia and reflux are a package deal, the hernia pushes up causing the reflux and gastritis can be caused by an infection or something like alcohol or a particular food perhaps that irritated your stomach or you may have had an infection.  The meds will help. 

    Your yellow stools were caused by your anxiety I suspect.  You became anxious and worried after the colonoscopy.  When anxious your food goes through the digestive tract too fast for the Bilirubin to do it's thing, the result being it doesn't have time to turn brown as it should and out pops some yellow poop.

    The yellow tinged face and eyes:  If your doctor saw that you were jaundiced yesterday he would have immediately addressed the issue.  You aren't jaundiced Adam, trust your doctor.

    All of your other symptoms (except the Osteoarthritis and haemorrhoids) can be attributed to anxiety.  The tests you've had pretty much rule out Pancreatitis, your doc was thorough.  

    Adam there is little in your post that suggests an issue with your pancreas.  The tests you had would have shown if there's an issue, absolutely, definitely. 

    You do have a serious problem however and it's the anxiety disorder you have.  It's time to address that.  I hope you do.   I wish you the very best of luck.  

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your reply.

      I didn't put it in my original post as I had babbled on long enough, but I am seeing a psychologist and am on meds, but it is just so hard to break out of the mould. I am lucky that I have people in my life that care enough to want to see me get better, but I just feel such a burden on them sometimes.

      I just can't shake that there is something physically wrong. Yet my rational side of me says it's your anxiety that is making you feel this way.

      Again though, thank you so much for your reply, writing and venting a bit was a bit of a release for me.

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  • Posted

    Hello Adam, r u ready up on symptoms online? If so STOP! Easier said than done, I know... my mom is a web MD junky, n it elevates her anxiety so I'm constantly arguing with her to relax cause self diagnosing doesn't help. Are u getting help for ur anxiety? That's the first step, because u will need to have coping skills if u have issues with ur pancreas (it sucks!)

    Now, have u had an EUS or any specific test for pancreatitis? My husband got diagnosed with CP about 4 years ago by an EUS. The only reason I'm up is because I just came home from the hospital due to my husband having a flair up (I would never wish this illness on anyone not even my enemy). U need to get tested n officially have a diagnosis before u stress ur self with any pancreas illness. Please try n relax enjoy ur family!

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  • Posted

    Sorry to bother you all again, but I need some advice.

    I've had a bad weekend. My symptoms haven't seemed to have got worse, but my anxiety has. I just am so scared there is something majorly wrong. I have spent most of the weekend in a room upset because I don't want my kids to see me the way I am. But they know and I'm worried I'm ruining my families life with me being the way I am. In my head, the only way I know that will fix this is if I ask for the Dr's to look at my pancreas. But no one will listen. Even my sister who has been so supportive over this time has just told me that she will only help me sort out my anxiety now and will not facilitate my medical tests anymore. I know I need lots of help with my anxiety bit I can't get past my medical symptoms. I am at a loss of what to do. And due to the fact Dr google has shown me scenarios where Dr's have missed diagnosis, that just feeds my fear. What can I do?

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    • Posted

      Your anxiety is getting the better of you Adam. You do not have a medical issue.  Adam you don't have a medical issue.  You hear me, you hear everyone say it including your doctors but your OCD/Anxiety has overwhelmed you, tricked you, that's what it does.  

      You have to let those who love you step in.  You have to let go, exhale, be still.  Have your family read your posts here?  Perhaps that might be an idea and then allow them to make the next move for you.

      Your rational self has to take charge for that minute when you ask for help from your family Adam.  Let them make the arrangements for you to see someone with experience with your type of anxiety disorder/OCD, urgently.

      Rationally you know your current anxiety is unfounded, you told us here so trust that your family want to help you and let them, please.  

      The treatment you need isn't short term, it might always be necessary as the type of anxiety you have isn't cured it's managed using tools you learn along the way that you have to practice constantly.  

      Your anxiety is your illness Adam and it's serious.  Take the steps to sort it that you would for any other problem in life.  Pushing for more medical tests will not help you, getting help for your mental illness might.

      You're allowing it to sabotage you, that's what it does, it's made you believe a lie.  Please let your family help you take the first step which is getting the right help NOW. 

      I wish you well, I wish I could help more.  I look forward to hearing you say you're in treatment for your anxiety/OCD, don't make me wait too long Adam.

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  • Posted

    Hello Adam, find a new GI Dr explain ur symptoms and see if they can do an EUS. My husband was sick for years before he was diagnosed 4 years ago, CP is HARD to diagnose without proper test. Try to adapt a low fat diet not eating red meat n definitely not drinking alcohol n see how u feel.

    Now, I will be very honest with u coming from a wife that is very invested on my husband's health n has seen what this illness can do to someones moral! Trust me we r always tested in our own ways him with the bad pains n me with the helplessness of not being able to stop it.....

    In my opinion before u get some life changing news (I pray to God u dont) U NEED TO BE MENTALLY STABLE!!! at least more control then not. My man is 6"7 use to play sports, so he was a strong guy, to curling up in a fetal position screaming for help asking to die... u quickly realize how IMPORTANT mental stability is.

    Why? Because u will get judged as a drug seeker, it Will never get better, n every day u will have to find a reason to get up n TRY to enjoy family time/life, since u feel bad often. You NEED to find a way to stay away from the internet I don't know how, but u need to work on it with ur doctor, If u don't... doctors will not want to help u, they will feel like ur a liability.

    Any illness is HARD to cope with and I see ur facing some of ur own, but self diagnosing will not help u with any path u will face now or in the future, so put ur health anxiety first.

    Good luck Adam I hope u find a technique that will help u fight for life not putting u 5 feet under before ur time.

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