Chest Pain + Fatigue

Posted by jessicamt @jessicamt, Mar 14 11:19am

Hello,
I wasn’t really sure where to go to talk about this, but my current situation has been affecting my life dramatically and I have no ideas on how to make it go away. I am a 16 year old girl from Canada who eats very healthy and balanced meals, I am active, I am on no medications and have never had any issues before now. I struggled with depression in my childhood but I was able to pull myself out of it four years ago.

Over the last two years, I have always had an easy time sleeping. My friends and I would joke about it, but as time went on it became less comedic as it once was.
In the summer/fall of 2019 I started to feel an inconsistent pain in the middle of my chest. It would come and go randomly, not triggered or caused by anything I was aware of, and it didn’t really cause me any issues.

In January of 2020 this pain started to spread from the middle of my chest to the top and sides of my left breast, next to my armpit on my right side, and it would send pains down my left arm and up my neck. I had a sort of what I’m calling an ‘attack’, as it hasn’t happened often, one night in January as well. I was laying in bed at night, playing a game after finishing all my work for the week, and suddenly it pulsed and throbbed and I got a stabbing pain from every affected place in my chest. I was unable to move, and then after 30 minutes it went away. My mother blamed it on anxiety and I went to bed.

With the chest pain has also come an extreme amount of exhaustion. I sleep 8-10 hours a night, and by the time I get home from school in the day I am exhausted. I sleep for another 2-3 hours and I’m still exhausted after that.

In February something similar to my ‘attack’ happened again, and this time I went to the emergency room and I was there until 4 in the morning. They did blood work, I got an EKG, we did a thyroid test, and everything came back fine. The doctor says there is nothing they can do for me and send me home. I am a healthy teenager.

Recently I have had to drop classes in a vocal competition I was in because I haven’t had enough energy to practice my songs. I have needed to cancel social events, my intense chest pain comes out of nowhere and doesn’t leave for days. I’m missing school, falling behind, falling asleep in class, I cannot study or function properly anymore and it’s because I’m always so tired.

Last night I had my third ‘attack’ as I’m calling it, for lack of better words, but it happened whilst I was standing and mid-conversation I fell down. I went home and went to bed, and I have been in bed ever since. My chest hurts to touch, hurts when I sneeze or blow my nose, lay on my side, and I haven’t been able to get out of my bed. My doctors say the earliest they can see me is May 27th but things just keep getting worse. I feel like I’m giving up my life because of some chest pain or because I’m tired.

Is there anything I can do to help alleviate the pain or something I can ask the doctors to check or give me? I have needed to cancel plans I've been excited or looking forward to because I’ve been too tired to go forward with them. I was invited to perform in Florida for a week in June, but all I can think about now is how my body is going to get through it.

Thank you for listening! I hope they can figure out what’s wrong with me soon.

Liked by lioness

So sorry to hear a young person like you is going through this. I would sure ask the dr to test for esophageal spasms.

Liked by lioness

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@cim37343

So sorry to hear a young person like you is going through this. I would sure ask the dr to test for esophageal spasms.

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Thank you! When I see him I’ll mention it and see what he thinks, but today has been a hard day for me in terms of pain. It is a bit better now and I can finally get out of bed, but I’m hoping it’ll go away for awhile before it comes back again so I can get a break. The chest pain I can sort of deal with, since I don’t have a super terrible pain tolerance, but the exhaustion is the worst part for me. Only having the energy to have 1-3 productive hours a day is difficult when there’s so much that needs to get done and I’m trying to stay normal and not let it completely stop and control my life.

Mentally I have been a little hard on myself because I keep wondering if this makes me lazy, but I try to remind myself that it isn’t laziness, I just don’t have the same amount of energy to produce as everyone else, and sometimes simple tasks will take more energy out of me than the usual person, and that it is okay for me to feel that way and to try and get better.

I’ve also had some fainting spells, which I somehow failed to mention. Nothing in my diet has changed and my doctor had put me on some vitamin drinks a few months ago to see if it would make me less tired, but I’ve found they haven’t done anything for me. I feel no different. I also keep losing weight and they continue to tell me to eat more but eating anymore than I always have is making me feel sick and nauseous. I’m kind of in a big boat of confusion at the moment until they can tell me more.

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@jessicamt Your symptoms sound unusual for such a young person. Are you sure they are not caused by anxiety or stress? I had a friend who was very stressed due to school and exams and actually went to the ER thinking he could be having a heart attack but it was diagnosed as stress, and sure enough when exams were over he was fine. Do you find that there is anything going on in your life at the times when these attacks occur? Are you having family stresses? Also, exhaustion is often due to depression, or perhaps it's from SAD (seasonal affective disorder). If that, it should improve now that the days are getting longer.

If not you definitely need to be more insistent about seeing the doctor. Are your parents concerned? Could they advocate for you? Unfortunately, they would probably be taken more seriously than a teen would. I would definitely not want my daughter to be going through this. Please make your parents more aware of just how serious these attacks feel and ask them to help you.
JK

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@contentandwell

@jessicamt Your symptoms sound unusual for such a young person. Are you sure they are not caused by anxiety or stress? I had a friend who was very stressed due to school and exams and actually went to the ER thinking he could be having a heart attack but it was diagnosed as stress, and sure enough when exams were over he was fine. Do you find that there is anything going on in your life at the times when these attacks occur? Are you having family stresses? Also, exhaustion is often due to depression, or perhaps it's from SAD (seasonal affective disorder). If that, it should improve now that the days are getting longer.

If not you definitely need to be more insistent about seeing the doctor. Are your parents concerned? Could they advocate for you? Unfortunately, they would probably be taken more seriously than a teen would. I would definitely not want my daughter to be going through this. Please make your parents more aware of just how serious these attacks feel and ask them to help you.
JK

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As much as I hope stress and anxiety is the problem, I would still like to continue pressing the doctors to look at more than my blood test. In every moment I felt like I was having an attack or when my chest started hurting, it was always during a time where I was feeling completely fine and happy with what I was doing, and not once worrying about anything.

I’m sure stress and anxiety could be adding to it, but my fainting spells began over a year ago, the fatigue earlier this fall and chest pain more towards the winter months. I have had a rough time recently in these last two months, as my best friend has recently been diagnosed with cancer, but my symptoms began way before she was diagnosed and have only recently worsened to the point they are at now. Hopefully it is just stress and anxiety, and my worry for my friend could most definitely add to it, but things started far too long ago for me to think that it was caused by her diagnosis.

My parents are concerned for me, and my mother does continue in trying to get me to see the doctor and they’ve put me on a cancellation list, but it doesn’t look like I’ll be getting in any time soon. I find it difficult to talk about it all with my parents because I think that it scares them or makes them upset. I often feel bad for being so tired, because it definitely doesn’t really make me a pleasure to have at home. I understand it isn’t very fun to live with someone who is always sleeping or in pain. But they do know what is going on, and even though their reactions always seem to be negative and it does make me feel bad about feeling sick, I know they want me to let them know.

It also seems that when people find out my best friend has cancer, they stop taking me seriously. I understand why, and I hope everything has just been increased by the amount of worry I am under, but I don’t like how they shrug me off and stop trying to figure out if there is anything wrong once they hear I could be stressed. I try to tell them it started before her diagnosis, but it’s almost like they don’t listen.
I don’t think I am being taken seriously much at all, and I’m not a doctor so I don’t know what could possibly be wrong or what to ask them to look for. I just wish someone could help me in a time where I am unable to help myself.

Currently I feel better than I did this morning, but my chest is still super tender to touch. I can’t really see anything just looking at it, though it does look a tiny tiny bit red. It isn’t a nice feeling.

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@jessicamt

As much as I hope stress and anxiety is the problem, I would still like to continue pressing the doctors to look at more than my blood test. In every moment I felt like I was having an attack or when my chest started hurting, it was always during a time where I was feeling completely fine and happy with what I was doing, and not once worrying about anything.

I’m sure stress and anxiety could be adding to it, but my fainting spells began over a year ago, the fatigue earlier this fall and chest pain more towards the winter months. I have had a rough time recently in these last two months, as my best friend has recently been diagnosed with cancer, but my symptoms began way before she was diagnosed and have only recently worsened to the point they are at now. Hopefully it is just stress and anxiety, and my worry for my friend could most definitely add to it, but things started far too long ago for me to think that it was caused by her diagnosis.

My parents are concerned for me, and my mother does continue in trying to get me to see the doctor and they’ve put me on a cancellation list, but it doesn’t look like I’ll be getting in any time soon. I find it difficult to talk about it all with my parents because I think that it scares them or makes them upset. I often feel bad for being so tired, because it definitely doesn’t really make me a pleasure to have at home. I understand it isn’t very fun to live with someone who is always sleeping or in pain. But they do know what is going on, and even though their reactions always seem to be negative and it does make me feel bad about feeling sick, I know they want me to let them know.

It also seems that when people find out my best friend has cancer, they stop taking me seriously. I understand why, and I hope everything has just been increased by the amount of worry I am under, but I don’t like how they shrug me off and stop trying to figure out if there is anything wrong once they hear I could be stressed. I try to tell them it started before her diagnosis, but it’s almost like they don’t listen.
I don’t think I am being taken seriously much at all, and I’m not a doctor so I don’t know what could possibly be wrong or what to ask them to look for. I just wish someone could help me in a time where I am unable to help myself.

Currently I feel better than I did this morning, but my chest is still super tender to touch. I can’t really see anything just looking at it, though it does look a tiny tiny bit red. It isn’t a nice feeling.

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Oh, @jessicamt I'm glad you are feeling a bit better tonight, but I am so sorry for what you are dealing with. I am a mother of a son and daughter, both in their 30s now. I have always hoped they would be totally up front with me on any problems, even now if it's something I can help or advise with.
You are a teen so your parents definitely need to know the full scope of what you are going through, and they need to advocate for you with the doctor. I always make sure that I am on a waiting list if I can't get in as soon as I want to, and very frequently I do then get in sooner. Is the doctor someone you have an established patient-doctor relationship with? That helps of course, rather than trying to get in with a doctor whom you have not seen before.
If your problems began before your friend was diagnosed with cancer then obviously that is not the cause, although it could exacerbate it.
I am hoping that when you finally do get a thorough workup it will turn out to be something quite benign that's more of a nuisance than a serious medical problem. I find there is always great relief in knowing what the problem is. That was even true when I went a long time without a diagnosis and when I did finally get a diagnosis it was pretty serious. At least I knew.
That has made me think too, are you going to a local doctor in a smaller town or city? I know that my diagnosis took a long time because I live in southern NH and the doctors here simply do not see as much as doctors in larger teaching hospitals. If you can possibly make an appointment at a large teaching hospital that would probably be the best route to take. I know nothing about healthcare in Canada, is that possible?
JK

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@contentandwell

Oh, @jessicamt I'm glad you are feeling a bit better tonight, but I am so sorry for what you are dealing with. I am a mother of a son and daughter, both in their 30s now. I have always hoped they would be totally up front with me on any problems, even now if it's something I can help or advise with.
You are a teen so your parents definitely need to know the full scope of what you are going through, and they need to advocate for you with the doctor. I always make sure that I am on a waiting list if I can't get in as soon as I want to, and very frequently I do then get in sooner. Is the doctor someone you have an established patient-doctor relationship with? That helps of course, rather than trying to get in with a doctor whom you have not seen before.
If your problems began before your friend was diagnosed with cancer then obviously that is not the cause, although it could exacerbate it.
I am hoping that when you finally do get a thorough workup it will turn out to be something quite benign that's more of a nuisance than a serious medical problem. I find there is always great relief in knowing what the problem is. That was even true when I went a long time without a diagnosis and when I did finally get a diagnosis it was pretty serious. At least I knew.
That has made me think too, are you going to a local doctor in a smaller town or city? I know that my diagnosis took a long time because I live in southern NH and the doctors here simply do not see as much as doctors in larger teaching hospitals. If you can possibly make an appointment at a large teaching hospital that would probably be the best route to take. I know nothing about healthcare in Canada, is that possible?
JK

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I have a family doctor and a paediatrician. My family doctor is new and I have only met him once, so we do not know each other very well, and my paediatrician I have seen 3 or 4 times in the last two years, as I’ve never really needed to see him any time before that. My town has a population of around 11,000, but there are a lot of smaller communities who live around us who also go to our hospital as it is the nearest one for 2 or 4 hours (depending on which one they’re going to).
I was told that I have vasovagal syncope awhile back? Which is just essentially meaning that my blood pressure is super wonky in between standing and sitting positions. There is more to it but they told me it wasn’t a big deal and that it just means my blood pressure and heart rate increases and decreases sort of randomly.

Our province had reported our first case of COVID-19 today, so I’m not sure how much this will affect me from seeing my doctors. Things are progressing very fast and I am unable to predict what is going to happen next. Yesterday they said they expected we would be fine for another few weeks, but now the first case is here and everything is changing. It’s a bit scary for me to not know what is wrong with me at this time.

Essentially I am hoping for the best, and preparing for the worst.
I agree and I think not knowing is one of the worst feelings for me. It’s saddening to see how my medical mysteries are upsetting the people around me, too.
I just hope it isn’t anything too bad, and if it is bad I hope they can catch it before it gets worse. My friend tells me they think she had stage 4 lymphoma without any symptoms for over a year until she was diagnosed. They only found it because she got pneumonia back in the fall and they did a CT scan and found there was a mass in her chest, which by the time they diagnosed it, had spread to her bones and 33% of her chest.

She is doing well though, and her last round of chemo is in May. She is very strong and optimistic, and she sets an example for me and inspires me to keep pushing my doctors even though they keep saying nothing is wrong. I say that if nothing was wrong, why do I sleep for 14/24 hours a day? Or faint when unpacking a suitcase? Or fall to the ground from pain when I’m laughing with my friends?
I hope it is just stress and anxiety, or that maybe I’m just missing a vitamin. Whatever it is, I hope they can figure out something soon.

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Print what you wrote or tell MD exactly what you said here. Don’t censor yourself

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@jessicamt I have non-cardiac chest pains. Most of it is from having open abdominal surgery. Some is from esophageal problems.

Being you have had the pain for so long …. unless some kind of trauma… it is unlikely that it is Costochondritis (inflammation in your ribs). You would have to have an endoscopy, swallow tests and perhaps more tests to figure out if it is your esophagus or digestive issue.

My best advice is to keep a journal.. diary of your symptoms. What makes them worse? What make them better? How do you feel physically and mentally? Write it down. You might want to keep a record of your blood pressure too.

With the fainting is it sudden drop in blood pressure? .. for some reason even looking up vasovagal syncope and I am not understanding it (I blame it on antihistamines.. allergy season has hit again for me). I have had low blood pressure over the past year.. not as bad now since I gained some weight. January of last year I dropped down to 117lbs.. I am 5’5” tall and a good bit older than you at 68 years. My doctor told me this past November to eat, eat, eat and increase my salt intake. I gained 10lbs since the beginning of January.. I feel like I am constantly eating. I have the opposite problem with sleep even though I feel exhausted all the time I sleep 4-6 hours. I have been this way all my life though. I took care of my 92 year old mom until mid December of last year. I think some of my problem was stress. I started gaining weight when she went in the nursing home in January after she did a stay in the hospital.

To help with the chest pain.. no matter the cause.. breathing exercises can help. There are plenty of videos out on how to properly breath. My thoracic surgeon told me to simply pretend I was blowing out birthday candles. So I pretend every day is a celebration of my birth.. which it is. There are other ways to do the breathing exercises, but this one is the one I do. You might try some yoga exercises too.

Vitamin deficiency could be a cause of fatigue.. especially iron, b12, and vitamin D.

My best wishes,
ZeeGee

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@jessicamt

I have a family doctor and a paediatrician. My family doctor is new and I have only met him once, so we do not know each other very well, and my paediatrician I have seen 3 or 4 times in the last two years, as I’ve never really needed to see him any time before that. My town has a population of around 11,000, but there are a lot of smaller communities who live around us who also go to our hospital as it is the nearest one for 2 or 4 hours (depending on which one they’re going to).
I was told that I have vasovagal syncope awhile back? Which is just essentially meaning that my blood pressure is super wonky in between standing and sitting positions. There is more to it but they told me it wasn’t a big deal and that it just means my blood pressure and heart rate increases and decreases sort of randomly.

Our province had reported our first case of COVID-19 today, so I’m not sure how much this will affect me from seeing my doctors. Things are progressing very fast and I am unable to predict what is going to happen next. Yesterday they said they expected we would be fine for another few weeks, but now the first case is here and everything is changing. It’s a bit scary for me to not know what is wrong with me at this time.

Essentially I am hoping for the best, and preparing for the worst.
I agree and I think not knowing is one of the worst feelings for me. It’s saddening to see how my medical mysteries are upsetting the people around me, too.
I just hope it isn’t anything too bad, and if it is bad I hope they can catch it before it gets worse. My friend tells me they think she had stage 4 lymphoma without any symptoms for over a year until she was diagnosed. They only found it because she got pneumonia back in the fall and they did a CT scan and found there was a mass in her chest, which by the time they diagnosed it, had spread to her bones and 33% of her chest.

She is doing well though, and her last round of chemo is in May. She is very strong and optimistic, and she sets an example for me and inspires me to keep pushing my doctors even though they keep saying nothing is wrong. I say that if nothing was wrong, why do I sleep for 14/24 hours a day? Or faint when unpacking a suitcase? Or fall to the ground from pain when I’m laughing with my friends?
I hope it is just stress and anxiety, or that maybe I’m just missing a vitamin. Whatever it is, I hope they can figure out something soon.

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@jessicamt Great idea from @engelee and some good suggestions from @fourof5zs also. I wish I could add something but I think I have said all that I can think of. I really do hope that your parents will advocate for you in getting an appointment with your doctor sooner.
JK

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