My Life Is Constantly Consumed With Worry

Hi.. I'm new here.. my name is Faye, and i'm 26.  I just thought that maybe sharing my story and venting a little would help me feel better.... 

I was alway a worrier, even as a little kid, but in the past 1.5 years, it has gotten really, really bad.  I know exactly why i am a hypochondriac... Last june, i had a misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancy that led to emergency surgery and the removal of my right fallopian tube.. i went to the ER 3 times telling them i was concerned i was having an ectopic pregnancy, and 3 times i was ignored.  my tube ruptured 3 times total. Months after my surgery, all i could think about was how i could have died, how every night that i went to sleep, i could have never woken up, and that scared me SO much.  That was the first time in my entire life that something REALLY serious had happened to me, and i guess it made me realize that bad things DO happen, and they can happen to people like me.

This brings me to where i'm at now. i worry about EVERYTHING. every slight symptom that i have, i go on the internet, do hours of research (for days) until i am convinced that i have some deadly form of cancer...  I don't know if anybody else does this, but does it seem like once you read the symptoms of something you think you have, even though you may only have 1 of the symptoms, you make yourself believe and actually FEEL like you have more of the symptoms...? is that just me?

1st it started with me thinking that i had spinal cancer because my back started hurting and burning and i couldnt trace it back to why.  It hurt for about a week, but i was convinced that (no matter how rare it was)  that's what i had... It started out as a backache, but then when i read that w/ spinal cancer, you can experience tingling in your fingers, and pain that is worse in the morning, i 'suddenly' developed all of these symptoms too. next i thought i had hodgkins lymphoma because my glands were slightly swollen.  i researched hodgkins and the symptoms were nightsweats, lump in neck and armpits, fatigue etc... well, i then started waking up at night sweating, and i felt tired all of the time.. THEN i felt a lump in my armpit (and THIS was real) so i FREAKED... 

went to the DR, she said it felt like it was in my breast tissue, but it was probably nothing.. however to be on the safe side, she would send me for a mammo and ultrasound. Then came the researching breast cancer like CRAZY.. i was convinced i had some type.. i had my treatment plan all planned out... well, the lump turned out to be fatty tissue.  It is still there after 7mo and hasnt gotten any bigger.


so, this is kinda where i'm at in my worrisome life right now....

 one day i was showering, and i happened to look under my right boob, and i saw the ulgiest mole EVER.  It had always been there, but i never looked @ it up close.  So, since my mole was atypical, i started researching melanoma.. then i noticed 2 other moles on my back that i didn't like... i read w/ melanoma, your moles may change, become painful, itchy, bleeding... after that, i was convinced that my moles were changing and hurt and were itchy.. i seriously checked these moles at LEAST 50x's a day.. So i go to the dermatologist.. she tells me they are slightly atypical, but they looked ok.. BUt if they drove me crazy, she'd take them off... so i tell her take them off! i now have 3 sets of stitches on my stomach and back... i get the results from my mole removal on tuesday...i am praying everything is ok.

ALso, after my period came last month, my left nipple was kinda burning a little.. it seemed like it burned whenever clothing rubbed on it (which i remember it feeling like this many times during my teen years, but i never bothered even thinking about it). welll.. i get on the internet, do some research and i find inflammatory breast cancer. my nipple has stopped burning, but i am examining my boobs 1000x's a day i keep thinking 1 looks bigger than the other, and i keep thinking it's hot and rashy.. i have what i HOPE is a zit on my boob and i am so afraid that im gonna wake up and it's gonna be a full blown rash (IBC is an extremely rare and aggressive form of breast cancer that causes swelling, 'skin of an orange' texture,  rash, reddness, pain, & bruising of the breast, and it comes about so fast they say it could change in days..even hours) i am soo scared right now that i have this it is consuming my life!!! i seriously wish i could just go get a double masectomy so i could stop worrying about it... 

well, that's where i'm at now. im driving myself crazy. i hate this.! i know i'm a hypochondriac, but i always think "what is this time, im right?!" .... i try SO hard to be healthy.. i eat right, i maintain a healthy weight, i exercise, and i just want to LIVE MY LIFE instead of worrying about EVERYTHING..  ::sigh::    :'(

Thanks soo much to everyone who got through reading this whole post!  comments, and suggestions welcome :)

<3 Faye

faye82 faye82
6 Responses Mar 20, 2009

Hi. Im 24 and im really really related to your post as if I am the one whos I developed my anxiety because of migraine, then i started thinking brain tumor.. i experience chest pain and I think its heart attack..and now, I Am experiencing breast pain and convinced myself its breast cancer.. I had an ultasound but they found nothing, few drs checked me but they were not worried(sorry for my english) and now, my armpit and lymph system are aching a bit and convinced that its spreading.. How can our mind create some kind of this ****?? Dont know if I go to more tests and drs or should I stop being crazy! Advise pls? Tnx

I know how you feel, because I am the same way. I worry about my children more so than anything and it really consumes my life.

Sadly I know exactly what you're going through. Here's my story, very similar experience. 3.5 years ago I went for a routine eye exam, and they took pictures of my eyes. They saw that my Optic Nerve appeared swollen, and the Optometrist said I needed to see an Ophthalmologist ASAP because I may have either a brain tumor, or condition called Pseudo-Tumor Cerebri (basically false tumor, it means there is an excess amount of spinal fluid which puts pressure on the brain causing "tumor like" symptoms; headache, vision changes, swishing sound in ears that sounds like a heartbeat, etc. ) This condition made most sense because it's most prominent in women of child bearing age who are overweight, which describes me to a tee. My biggest fear of course was that I'd have a brain tumor. I was FREAKING out and had my first real panic attack. To boot, I didn't have health insurance, so medical expenses would be very high. I found an imaging center that would allow me to make payments. The MRI came back normal, thankfully. But I was still wondering, what is it? Well I am a Canadian citizen so I decided to go to Canada for further testing since I have the health insurance there. The next test was a Lumbar Puncture. Worst experience of my life. They took forever to get the needle in my back, and all I could think was there's a tumor in my back or something and that's why the needle won't enter. I was thinking crazy things at this point, like anything could be possible, and my body was somehow different than everyone else's and more susceptible to "rare diseases." So anyway, we did the Lumbar Puncture under the Xray machine, but the Neurologists warned me that it's not very accurate that way, because the best way to do a Lumbar Puncture (otherwise known as Spinal Tap) is to be laying on your side in a fetal position, or sitting up curled over hugging a pillow. We finished the LP and it turned out that it was normal, no buildup of spinal fluid pressure. At this point, the Ophthalmologists were informed of the results of both of my tests, and they performed an Ultra Sound of my eye balls to look for small tumors in the eye, and explained to me that I'm perfectly fine and I have a phenomenon called "Pseudo-Pappiledema" Pseudo=false, Pappiledema=swollen optic nerve. Therefore, even though the pictures of my eyes show that my optic nerve was swollen, it really wasn't, it's just the way I was born, the outline of my optic nerve is not defined for some reason. It's so weird. Anyway, so I was relieved, but still cautious because I knew that the LP that had been performed was not desirable and it's possible they didnt get a proper reading, which means I still worried that maybe my spinal fluid pressure was high...even though the Neurologist assured me it wasn't, and that the test was accurate. BUT he did say that there's always an error margin, and its never full proof, but if I was worried I could opt to do another LP - which scared the living day lights out of me, so I avoided it like the plague. One thing that kept me going is that one of the main cures for Pseudo Tumor Cerebri is weight loss, so I promised myself I would lose weight, just incase it was this, and for other reasons too. Another thing that helped me convince myself I didn't have this disorder is that I didn't have any headaches or vision problems, so I was pretty calm. <br />
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After a few months, my husband and I decided to move back to Texas from Canada, so we packed our stuff, hopped in a car, and drove. Half way, I started to feel a weird pain in my chest. Everytime I'd move or breathe, I'd feel a sharp pain, and I started thinking "omg, I'm only 21 and I'm having a heart attack, and I'm driving!!" I called my husband who was driving our moving truck, and I told him what was going on. He told me to calm down, and that I was too young to have a heart attack - but my mom, and grandma, and great grandma have heart problems, so I was sure that I was developing a heart problem. We pulled over at a gas station and I bought some Bayer Aspirin, because I heard that it can stop a heart attack since it thins the blood. I decided to try it, just incase, even though I was trying to convince myself it wasn't a heart attack, I wanted to be sure My husband was getting frustrated with me at this point, because we were stopping every 30 minutes or so because my chest was in so much pain. He just didn't understand. Finally, we entered Arkansas and I said "that's it, I'm going to the ER." We pulled into this really nice hospital and I went to the ER, they checked me in and took all my vitals which were perfectly normal... also, I noticed once I was in the hospital and my vitals were taken, the chest pain miraculously stopped! I was amazed. My husband at this point had spoken to his father who is a behavioral health counselor in Pennsylvania, and he told my husband I was having an anxiety/panic attack. My husband came into the ER after speaking with his father and told me that he was getting in the car and going home because he's not going to spend thousands of dollars on an ER bill when I'm having an anxiety attack. Reluctantly, realizing that the chest pain had stopped and my vitals were fine, I checked out and decided not to go through with the ER visit. We started driving again. I didn't have any chest pains until about an hour on the road, when my mind started to wander again. We decided after all the drama of the days events, we'd pull over early to a hotel and try to get some sleep and relax. I tossed and turned all night with anxiety, worried that I'd not wake up because I'd have a heart attack in the middle of the night, and telling myself how stupid I was for not continuing with the ER visit. I finally fell asleep at around 4 am. I woke up in the morning, and I felt much better. We drove home, with no further problems. And that part is history.<br />
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Once in Houston, we stayed with a friend of mine for several months. About a month and a half into staying there, I noticed at night, especially when I'd lay down, I'd feel this ENORMOUS pressure build up in my head. Like I was upside down or something, and I'd hear this pounding in my ears, to the same beat as my heart. Well I started to look this symptom up online, and found that it's a symptom of Pseudo Tumor Cerebri. So here I was, revisiting what I had just left Canada for, thinking "Omg now I'm getting the symptoms, it's starting and we just tested too early!!" I called my Neurologist back in Canada and we talked, and he assured me everything was fine, and that I should just lose weight and follow up with a Neuro in Houston. I tried to calm myself down and just put the symptoms away. I also read that this was a symptom of an anxiety attack, so since I was having similar problems with the chest pain, I figured my anxiety was just worsening and I was getting more and more symptoms of it. <br />
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Time went on. About a year later, all of the sudden on night, I start to feel extraordinary pain around my eyes, to the point where I can't even open them. I was freaking out. I immediately went to the Ophthalmologist and he examined me and said it might be some scientific word I don't remember, but he gave me these eye drops that paralyzed my pupil at night while I slept so that my eyes could rest. After about 3 weeks the pain finally went away, but then I started noticing things looked double at night. I noticed one night as I was looking at the moon that I saw 2 moons instead of 1. A ghost image its called. It happened in both eyes, didn't matter if one was closed or not, which was actually a good sign said the doctor, because that meant it wasnt neurological. My optometrist said it looks as though I have minor signs of Astigmatism, which he said may have been attributed to it - if my eyes were changing. Anyway, so even to this day, in the dark, things look double. It's kind of annoying, but I'm living with it. Glasses don't fix it either, which kind of freaked me out too. <br />
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A year after that, my husband and I moved to Florida. In our new house, I started noticing this ring, almost like the shape of my eye ball anytime I would look up down or to any side. And it especially happens if I'm laying down, or if I go upside down, or something like that. At first it looked like a half circle, but then as I became more aware, it actually looks like the shape of my eyeball, like pressure on any side, almost like I'm straining it and I can see the strain? It's REALLY hard to explain. I can even see it at night when my eyes are closed, if I move my eyeballs side to side or up and down, I can see this circle in the shape of my eye ball. This has been a big mystery, even now. No doctor understands what I'm saying, and they just keep telling me it's nothing. I can see it AND I can feel it, I can feel this pressure around my eye balls. Both of them, and no one can tell me what it is. I've had so many eye exams, its ridiculous. I went to see a Retinal Specialist, who told me that he thinks I DO have Pseudo Tumor Cerebri because he's not convinced that my diagnosis was correct, so now he's making my fears real.. and I'm not sure what to believe. All of this has made be not trust doctors, and I'm not knowledgeable enough in the medical field to say whos right or wrong! My retinal specialist wants me to get another Lumbar Puncture because he's not sure it was done properly, but when I sent all my records to him, he dropped it and said I'm fine. I'm so confused. And that's where I'm currently at. Oh, and now I've developed headaches, especially when I push, like if I'm going #2 or trying to fart, and I push hard, I get this pain in my head, all over. I read online that it's kind of like a "cough headache" which is ANOTHER symptom of Pseudo Tumor Cerebri, but I don't get a headache from coughing or sneezing, so my Neuro said that's not what it is. I accept. My neurologist is REALLY good, so I trust him. So anyway, as you can see, all of these stupid things that have been happening to me all SOMEHOW relate or can be a symptom of Pseudo Tumor Cerebri, so I keep coming back to this. I also should mention I had ANOTHER MRI and MRV of my head, just to make sure to rule out a Brain tumor, MRI and MRV came back perfect, except it showed A LOT of Sinus inflammation...maybe causing the eye thing? I've been checking and checking and rechecking my eyes, and anytime I get a cold, I obsessively look at my throat to check if I have throat cancer, I am always feelings my breasts to check if I have breast cancer, and the fact that I have Fibroid Tumors doesn't help the issue cause my breasts are lumpy!! I have moles that I'm always checking to see if they've changed. I'm a wreck!!!<br />
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Now my husband has this redness on his right eye, that is not an infection, Optometrist says its "episcleritis" and it's been here for a week and a few days now, and with the topical steroid (Lotemax) it's lightened in color a bit, but it's still red/pinkish. I am worried about an underlying illness. So now, not only am I worried about my own issues, I'm being a hypochondriac for my husband too! I am so fed up with this - I just want to be healthy so I can carry on with my life and live!! I'm in college, I have a great job, and I have so many goals and aspirations and I feel like my hypochondria is controlling my life. I hate this. So I feel you Faye, I really do. You can contact me anytime you like if you'd like to vent on me!

I could have written this. I got chills the whole time I read it. That is my story. I am sorry you are going through this. I know how you feel. I am truly sorry please feel better.

I could have written your message. Just seeing that other people are in the same situation brings tears to my eyes (at least I don't have to worry about tear ducs at this moment). I am consumed with the same worries, checking myself 1000x a day. It's like a prison. I don't want to be medicated for it although Xanax helps. I wish you the best--I am sending good thoughts your way.

I hear you. It seems that as soon as I start feeling better and put one symptom behind me, another one pops up. The symptoms are real, which makes the worries so real! My hypochondria was kind of a blessing at got me to clean my life up a bit. But it gets old, doesn't it? Good luck with everything! Stay positive!