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Waiting Anxiety
OhKay
3 Posts

Hi folks, I'm Kayte! I am hoping for some collegial support. I have generalized anxiety disorder which had been improving, but I am now spiralling due to health anxiety. I am about to write a books worth of rambling..

I naturally have some slight nipple inversion, and have my whole life. A year ago, after a 40 lb weight loss, one side began inverting more (but still responding normally). No noticable bumps or other changes.

Despite a normal physical breast exam, I sought a second opinion via telemedicine and was referred for an ultrasound (as I am under 35 with large, fibrous breasts). The ultrasound result was considered "normal" - with 2 cysts in the breast of concern, and 1 in the other. One cyst had some debris but was not considered complex, only complicated (if I'm getting my words right). Due to the debris, it was recommended that I have a follow up scan for comparison at 12 months. Since then, I've been unable to shake the feeling of "if it's normal, why do you need to monitor it? It's like I'm waiting for them to find cancer".

I just got back from the follow up ultrasound, and I am panicking. The sonographer took so many pictures of the breast I am worried about (with the 2 cysts - one including debris), I walked away feeling sheer terror.

On the same side of my body I have been having muscular pain issues with my scapula and rotator cuff on and off for months, which I am addressing with a physiotherapist. He believes I have stress-related tightness and too much repetitive motion as I'm an avid exerciser. Of course, I am now convinced it's a sign of cancer spread. I am SPIRALLING.

I was previously a caregiver - with my father having passed away just a few days before my 2021 ultrasound. He had liver cancer that was terminal at diagnosis, after having trouble pinning down confusing symptoms and diagnoses for many, many years (15+). He lived about 3 years post diagnosis, but really had no interest in living.

As you can imagine, these things are all tangled in my mind and I just needed to get them out somewhere safe and supportive.

UPDATE: I want to update for those like me, who may stumble across this post, as so many folks don't return to close the loop.

I received my results today. My monitoring ultrasound was benign and considered stable in most regards, with some cysts decreasing in size, and another growing very slightly. It seems my previously complicated cyst no longer has debris. I have been downgraded to BI-RADS 2 (it was a 3 last year).

I hope this gives some comfort to those with health anxiety and concerning symptoms (I had new nipple inversion that led to my initial scan, and ongoing rib/chest/scapular pain) that there are diverse outcomes.

6 Replies
Boby1511
1035 Posts

@OhKay

Hi there

That does sound stressful. I am sorry to read the loss of your father. My condolences.

I have read that large dense breast can be harder to read. I could be wrong.

I think its really great you advocated for yourself and got an exam/ultrasound.

Lots of times doctors talk about baseline. Your first CT is your baseline. So there may be things in there that are of possible concern but need a repeat to see if things have changed at all. I get a CT every 3 months.

When you do get your results?

That shoulder sounds painful. Good to read you are taking care of this.

Share as comfortable.

Sending you best wishes.

OhKay
3 Posts

Thank you @Boby1511! Results can take up to two weeks, but have been typically quicker.

Cynthia Mac
3929 Posts
@OhKay (great username, btw) your reactions all sound very normal. Very. For some reason, our brains are always all-too-willing to lead us down the dark path rather than the light path. It sounds as though you might benefit from having a few tools to help your mind “shift gears.”

There’s a woman who’s written several books about using affirmations, and the power of positive thinking. One of her “mottos” is “A thought is a thought, and a thought can be changed.” Her name is Louise Hay, and she believes that affirmations are a way we can help change the physiology of our bodies. How effective that is depends on the person, but I figure they’re just thoughts, so it’s worth a try.

Another author I rely on is a meditation specialist out of Massachusetts in the US. His name is Jon Kabat-Zinn. He works mainly with patients who have chronic pain, and he’s written a couple of books about using meditation to try and keep us in the moment, especially when we feel our life is falling apart. The two titles I’ve read are Wherever You Go, There You Are, and Full Catastrophe Living. I have the former in both hard copy and audio format, bookmarked to my favourite meditations.

One of the things we advocate here on the site (a lot) is to try and focus only on what you know for absolute, 100% certain. That’s hard, again because of our mind’s inclination to go down the dark path.

I hope you find a way to get through the next few days until you have your results. You HAVE found a good safe place to talk about this, and I hope you’ll come back and let us know how you’re doing.

(Btw, I don’t think your choice of username was accidental... I think that deep down, you do feel that you’re ok.)

OhKay
3 Posts

UPDATE: I want to update for those like me, who may stumble across this post, as so many folks don't return to close the loop.

I received my results today. My monitoring ultrasound was benign and considered stable in most regards, with some cysts decreasing in size, and another growing very slightly. It seems my previously complicated cyst no longer has debris. I have been downgraded to BI-RADS 2 (it was a 3 last year).

I hope this gives some comfort to those with health anxiety and concerning symptoms (I had new nipple inversion that led to my initial scan, and ongoing rib/chest/scapular pain) that there are diverse outcomes.

ACH2015
2306 Posts

@OhKay

Glad the results turned out the way they did. And you are right, thank you for sharing, and closing the loop where many do not.

Keep well

ACH2015

ashcon
2181 Posts

@Bailey11

Hello! I thought I'd bring you into this discussion, knowing that you are waiting to see and hear from a gynae oncologist. I hope these words from others who have shared the anxiety you're feeling right now may be helpful!

I know, your situation is not the same as others, but as @Trillium and others have said, don't get ahead of yourself. And definitely stay away from Dr Google. (S)he should be sued a million times over for misinformation!

I'm not a doctor at all, but having had cancer, I am immediately thinking that a lump that goes away, then returns later is typically not a cancer thing. And night sweats? Never heard of that being a symptom of cancer.

What you could be witnessing here is the due diligence by the amazing health care system we have here in Canada. It doesn't hurt that you are so young. Docs go to the nth degree for younger folks to explore and rule out all possible causes of what you're experiencing!

So take a deep breath and know that your case is being looked at by many eyes and there's nothing you can do today, maybe even tomorrow, until more tests are done and more results come back.

TIP: even if all comes back clear, get and keep copies of all your test and imaging results. It's incredibly helpful to know your medical history for later years when you really start aging and your body starts falling apart!

#Prediagnosis #anxiety #anxietysucks

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