Major Health Anxiety: GI issues

Posted by sarah60 @sarah60, May 25 11:54am

Hi – sorry for the long post! I’m a 58 yo female who up to the beginning of this year was athletic, fit, felt great and as far as I knew, healthy.

I had a 5 hour surgery late last year and one week after, I started to have upper GI issues which migrated to lower GI (I’ve been diagnosed with IBS yrs ago) and by the time January 2020 rolled around I really felt something didn’t quite feel right. By then, I was getting lower pelvic/back pain. I was also getting bright red blood occasionally after BMs. I have had this for years for hemmroids but this time I got scared. Fast forward to March, and I called a GI dr requesting a colonoscopy but covid19 prevented that, so I called again complaining of pain and they did a CT scan of pelvic/abdomen looking for a rectal access. The CT scan results came back with clear colon, stomach, lymph glands,small intestines, female organs and NO rectal access. etc but found. Liver lesion – noted as hemangioma but needs evaluation and a pancreatic cyst. This started into fast descent into major health anxiety and absolute depression. Also, in addition to the pelvic and lower back on the left side I developed groin pain on the left side in the last 3 wks. I did see a colorectal surgeon right after the ct scan and He diagnosed me with a fissure.

Since the ct scan, I have turned over the care of the pancreatic cyst to a specialist at Stanford hospital I’m scheduled for a follow up mri is sept. This Dr reviewed my images and said this cyst is precancerous.

In order to address the continuous pelvic/lower back now groin pain I called another GI dr and begged for a colonoscopy which is scheduled for this Friday.

I’m absolutely terrified at this point. There is colon cancer on my maternal line. I’m not sure I’m mentally equipped to handle cancer from my colon, especially after being told I have a precancerous cyst and I have a hemangioma that requires further evaluation. In mind, I’m dying by the minute. I can’t eat and I have stopped working out. I sit in my room all day and ruminate over my health issues. I’m currently seeing a psychotherapist 2x a week, started meditation and breathing exercises. I take .25 Xanax in the afternoon and another at night.

Anyone else dealing with / dealt with major health anxiety issues?

@sarah60. I am so sorry. You have gone through a lot and still going through a lot. I wish I could help you. I feel bad for you. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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Hello @sarah60 and welcome to Mayo Connect.

I can certainly understand your anxiety. You have had a lot of health problems since your surgery last year. You do not mention the type of surgery, but since you are having a lot of digestive health problems perhaps the surgery was GI related?

It seems that are doing all of the right things now. You are following up on the physical issues with your physicians and also dealing with the anxiety with a mental health professional. I admire the good work you are doing!

We do have others on Connect who have discussed anxiety. Here are links to some of these discussions,
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/living-in-the-present/
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/nervousness-and-worry/
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/anxiety-and-depression-3/
I would like to invite some other Members to this discussion such as @jimhd, @gailb and @gingerw and @georgette12.

Have you had bouts of anxiety prior to this, @sarah60?

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@hopeful33250

Hello @sarah60 and welcome to Mayo Connect.

I can certainly understand your anxiety. You have had a lot of health problems since your surgery last year. You do not mention the type of surgery, but since you are having a lot of digestive health problems perhaps the surgery was GI related?

It seems that are doing all of the right things now. You are following up on the physical issues with your physicians and also dealing with the anxiety with a mental health professional. I admire the good work you are doing!

We do have others on Connect who have discussed anxiety. Here are links to some of these discussions,
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/living-in-the-present/
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/nervousness-and-worry/
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/anxiety-and-depression-3/
I would like to invite some other Members to this discussion such as @jimhd, @gailb and @gingerw and @georgette12.

Have you had bouts of anxiety prior to this, @sarah60?

Jump to this post

Thank you @lilypaws and @hopeful33250 The surgery was unrelated to GI / digestive issues.

I suffered from major depressive disorder, PTSD and GAD since my early 20s. I also get the occasional bad panic attacks. I’ve been off of antidepressants since 2005 and sort of managed things through cbt, diet exercise etc. so medication wise, I take a beta blocker and Xanax.

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@sarah60 Let me add my welcome to you, for finding Mayo Connect. We are all fellow patients, family members, or caregivers, and share our experiences and support.

Thank you @hopeful33250, for tagging me! It must be so scary to hear all the information you have received recently, and knowing you already have experienced anxiety in your life, it is easy to fall back into that. Exercise is a big help to change your mindset with anxiety. Minimal to no alcohol is also good. Have you done any journaling, that is, writing down your concerns and worries. I have found for me, that it is very valuable to "get it out of my head". You can simply write everything down, or write yourself a letter expressing your concerns. Is there a good friend or a family member to share your concerns with? It's easy for anyone to say "wait until the recheck and/or further tests, before getting worried" but it sounds like that is not your nature.

I hope that wherever you are today, you can get outside, go for a walk in the sun, and feel the fresh air on your face. This truly will help to calm you.
Ginger

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I am 74 and been through tons of health problems, cancer, heart disease, precancer,etc til I developed an anxiety disorder or so I was told, I seemed to get on with things even though it was one thing right after the other for 30 years then I started having terrible vestibular problems, going to the Er thinking I was having a stroke, finally after keeping at doctors to listen to me they found a brain tumor but now I am too old for surgery so it was a wait and see thing, after a year it doubled in size so was scheduled for radiation treatment this month but with the virus things got put on hold so now I have had more time to stress, REALLY stress. I am in NC and was going to try to make it to the Mayo for a second opinion but not strong enough to make the trip and then covid stopped flying anywhere. AS long as I have to stay inside I don't have to face gamma knife surgery so I do whatever I can to stay busy without ending up flat in bed as I have vestibular migraines and have been having black outs. I take the same dose of Xanax but some days two tablets bring me more relief. I have had 11 colonoscopies, same with precancer in my esophagus, cancer runs in my family so have to get checked all the time. I could go on but I think you get the idea. I am petrified most of the time but I am an artist and when I am able to be in my studio I am in another world so I try to spend as much time as I can in there so if you have a hobby or an interest in something don't give up on it because it is your bliss. Bless you

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@gingerw

@sarah60 Let me add my welcome to you, for finding Mayo Connect. We are all fellow patients, family members, or caregivers, and share our experiences and support.

Thank you @hopeful33250, for tagging me! It must be so scary to hear all the information you have received recently, and knowing you already have experienced anxiety in your life, it is easy to fall back into that. Exercise is a big help to change your mindset with anxiety. Minimal to no alcohol is also good. Have you done any journaling, that is, writing down your concerns and worries. I have found for me, that it is very valuable to "get it out of my head". You can simply write everything down, or write yourself a letter expressing your concerns. Is there a good friend or a family member to share your concerns with? It's easy for anyone to say "wait until the recheck and/or further tests, before getting worried" but it sounds like that is not your nature.

I hope that wherever you are today, you can get outside, go for a walk in the sun, and feel the fresh air on your face. This truly will help to calm you.
Ginger

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@sarasally2 thank you for providing your experience. For me the shock and uncertainty is something I’m having a hard tome with. The waiting game for tests etc is just awful

REPLY
@gingerw

@sarah60 Let me add my welcome to you, for finding Mayo Connect. We are all fellow patients, family members, or caregivers, and share our experiences and support.

Thank you @hopeful33250, for tagging me! It must be so scary to hear all the information you have received recently, and knowing you already have experienced anxiety in your life, it is easy to fall back into that. Exercise is a big help to change your mindset with anxiety. Minimal to no alcohol is also good. Have you done any journaling, that is, writing down your concerns and worries. I have found for me, that it is very valuable to "get it out of my head". You can simply write everything down, or write yourself a letter expressing your concerns. Is there a good friend or a family member to share your concerns with? It's easy for anyone to say "wait until the recheck and/or further tests, before getting worried" but it sounds like that is not your nature.

I hope that wherever you are today, you can get outside, go for a walk in the sun, and feel the fresh air on your face. This truly will help to calm you.
Ginger

Jump to this post

Hi – yes I just started to journal recently. I agree getting stuff out of your head to paper is very therapeutic.

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@sarasally2

I am 74 and been through tons of health problems, cancer, heart disease, precancer,etc til I developed an anxiety disorder or so I was told, I seemed to get on with things even though it was one thing right after the other for 30 years then I started having terrible vestibular problems, going to the Er thinking I was having a stroke, finally after keeping at doctors to listen to me they found a brain tumor but now I am too old for surgery so it was a wait and see thing, after a year it doubled in size so was scheduled for radiation treatment this month but with the virus things got put on hold so now I have had more time to stress, REALLY stress. I am in NC and was going to try to make it to the Mayo for a second opinion but not strong enough to make the trip and then covid stopped flying anywhere. AS long as I have to stay inside I don't have to face gamma knife surgery so I do whatever I can to stay busy without ending up flat in bed as I have vestibular migraines and have been having black outs. I take the same dose of Xanax but some days two tablets bring me more relief. I have had 11 colonoscopies, same with precancer in my esophagus, cancer runs in my family so have to get checked all the time. I could go on but I think you get the idea. I am petrified most of the time but I am an artist and when I am able to be in my studio I am in another world so I try to spend as much time as I can in there so if you have a hobby or an interest in something don't give up on it because it is your bliss. Bless you

Jump to this post

@sarasally2 Oh, my heart goes out to you. Bless your heart putting up with all thoses illnesses, especially cancer and then the brain turmor. I feel you could have surgery for it. My 92 year old aunt had a knee replacement. She just had to go to a Cardiac doctor to have her heart checked out, it was strong enough to go through the surgery. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Bless you!

Liked by sarah60

REPLY
@gingerw

@sarah60 Let me add my welcome to you, for finding Mayo Connect. We are all fellow patients, family members, or caregivers, and share our experiences and support.

Thank you @hopeful33250, for tagging me! It must be so scary to hear all the information you have received recently, and knowing you already have experienced anxiety in your life, it is easy to fall back into that. Exercise is a big help to change your mindset with anxiety. Minimal to no alcohol is also good. Have you done any journaling, that is, writing down your concerns and worries. I have found for me, that it is very valuable to "get it out of my head". You can simply write everything down, or write yourself a letter expressing your concerns. Is there a good friend or a family member to share your concerns with? It's easy for anyone to say "wait until the recheck and/or further tests, before getting worried" but it sounds like that is not your nature.

I hope that wherever you are today, you can get outside, go for a walk in the sun, and feel the fresh air on your face. This truly will help to calm you.
Ginger

Jump to this post

@sarah60 Welcome, we are here for you, at least Mayo Connect has been here for me. I'm having surgery a Spinal fusion from T=10 to my pelvis. It's a big and long surgery, but I have done everything to now have surgery. My doctor told me I was healthy and that I needed it. The pain doctor told me there was nothing more she could do for me and that I had done everything. They tested me and I found out the surgery will work!
I have had a lot of support from being on Mayo Connect. Jeanie

1

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@sarah60

Thank you @lilypaws and @hopeful33250 The surgery was unrelated to GI / digestive issues.

I suffered from major depressive disorder, PTSD and GAD since my early 20s. I also get the occasional bad panic attacks. I’ve been off of antidepressants since 2005 and sort of managed things through cbt, diet exercise etc. so medication wise, I take a beta blocker and Xanax.

Jump to this post

Liked by sarah60

REPLY
@sarah60

Thank you @lilypaws and @hopeful33250 The surgery was unrelated to GI / digestive issues.

I suffered from major depressive disorder, PTSD and GAD since my early 20s. I also get the occasional bad panic attacks. I’ve been off of antidepressants since 2005 and sort of managed things through cbt, diet exercise etc. so medication wise, I take a beta blocker and Xanax.

Jump to this post

@sarah60 I am so sorry you suffer from a Depressive Disorder. PTSD and GAD, yes panic attacks are the pits. I know I use to have them too. I'm more stable now. But we have mental illness in our family and my mom took her life at age 69 and I'm 67. My poor son got her disease and is Bipolar 1. We have no contact with him or the family. I feel his wife is controlling him. Haven't seen my 8 year old granddaughter since she was 3. Do skype with her, but only at her other grandmother's and she lives in Chicago and they live in NYC. She does send me pictures of her too. All I can do is pray that my son would come home. What caused your PTSD? Forgot to tell you many of my family also has mental disease.

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@sarah60 – Hi! I am another one who has waded through life with various health problems. I’m not going to talk about your anxiety- you have gotten very good advice. I’ll just focus on your symptoms and test findings.

The bright red blood is very scary. However, it usually means the source of bleeding is very close to anus, like hemorrhoids you have had. An anal fissure is also very common. You have IBS- many have periods of constipation and this causes straining etc causing a crack in the lining of anus.

I think it is very good that nothing was found in the intestines on CT.
You already have an appointment at Stanford to evaluate the pancreatic cyst and the liver hemangioma I suppose. If something is precancerous- they will deal with it! Hemangioma are not that uncommon , but they have to nail down more information.

Regarding lower back and groin pain- could be muscular. Have you had bone density testing yet?
Good luck in Stanford! Hope we hear from you after the visit.

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@sarah60 Stanford is a great place to go. My husband got his Masters and my son got his graduate degree. I worked in the children's hospital on the one that had cancer of young kids. I didn't have any kids then, but I don't think I could work there now. We are back in Iowa our home state, Although we lived on the west coast for 20 year. Mostly in the Seattle area, but 5 years in San Diego. I miss Seattle. I hope they find out what is really wrong with you. No wonder you have anxiety.
Take care of yourself. Have you seen a doctor or psychiatrist for your anxiety? You could use some medicine. My thoughts will be with you.

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@lilypaws

@sarah60 Stanford is a great place to go. My husband got his Masters and my son got his graduate degree. I worked in the children's hospital on the one that had cancer of young kids. I didn't have any kids then, but I don't think I could work there now. We are back in Iowa our home state, Although we lived on the west coast for 20 year. Mostly in the Seattle area, but 5 years in San Diego. I miss Seattle. I hope they find out what is really wrong with you. No wonder you have anxiety.
Take care of yourself. Have you seen a doctor or psychiatrist for your anxiety? You could use some medicine. My thoughts will be with you.

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Thank you kindly @lilypaws

I was born and raised in the Bay Area. Stanford is a great place for specialties like the pancreatic cyst that I have. Also, UCSF is great too.

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@astaingegerdm

@sarah60 – Hi! I am another one who has waded through life with various health problems. I’m not going to talk about your anxiety- you have gotten very good advice. I’ll just focus on your symptoms and test findings.

The bright red blood is very scary. However, it usually means the source of bleeding is very close to anus, like hemorrhoids you have had. An anal fissure is also very common. You have IBS- many have periods of constipation and this causes straining etc causing a crack in the lining of anus.

I think it is very good that nothing was found in the intestines on CT.
You already have an appointment at Stanford to evaluate the pancreatic cyst and the liver hemangioma I suppose. If something is precancerous- they will deal with it! Hemangioma are not that uncommon , but they have to nail down more information.

Regarding lower back and groin pain- could be muscular. Have you had bone density testing yet?
Good luck in Stanford! Hope we hear from you after the visit.

Jump to this post

thank you @astaingegerdm Also I have a colonoscopy scheduled for this Friday (I’m still part of the sutter system) to evaluate the blood and pelvic/lower back pain. I also have a an appt with a gyno specialist at Stanford next week to evaluate a non specific anomaliy found on the ct scan. Sorry I forgot to put that in my first post. It’s too much for me to handle mentally! I had such over the top anxiety this morning when I found blood again I had to take 2 .25 of Xanax.

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