Major Health Anxiety: GI issues

Posted by sarah60 @sarah60, May 25, 2020

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 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.

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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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@lilypaws

@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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@lilypaws my PTSD was from rape and almost being murdered in a violent situation when I was a teenager – 2 separate incidences.

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@sarah60

@lilypaws my PTSD was from rape and almost being murdered in a violent situation when I was a teenager – 2 separate incidences.

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@sarah60 Im sorry what a horrible experience for a teen ager . Did you get any counseling then . Help so much to talk to someone else . Hope your doing o.k. now

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The anxiety can be debilitating. I found out in 4/19 that I had an obstructing tumor in my sigmoid colon. Prior to that I was an extremely fit and healthy 52 year old who ran 5 miles per day and did barre class daily. We started our family late so I have two young kids (10 and 12 at time of diagnosis). I am a stay at home
Parent and super involved. My surgery was anticipated to be mainly exploratory while also removing the obstruction. I met with the first surgeon and he wanted to remove my entire colon (I’ve had ulcerative colitis for over 25 years). I got a second opinion and then a third. Finally was accepted at MD Anderson and had my surgery which Was a 6 hour ordeal. The tumor had made my colon attach to my right ovary and tube and appendix and cecum. All removed and two resections done. I was supposed to be in for a week, but shortly after surgery developed complications (blood transfusion reaction, anastomatic leak requiring second surgery) abscesses and a blood clot. I finally went home (one year ago yesterday) and assumed I was on my wait to healing. I started chemo and barely finished two rounds. It wrecked my digestive system and then I developed a bowel obstruction due to adhesions. After a week of an NG tube and lots of testing, I needed a third surgery to get rid of adhesions. I developed multiple abscesses and was in the hospital for another three weeks. The obstruction happened while my husband was out of town and I was transported by ambulance during the day while my kids were at school. My kids were alone until my husband flew home that evening late. That put me over the top. The obstruction came in suddenly with no warning. And every worst case scenario happened to me. I developed horrible PTSD and literally sat in the hospital and cried. I didn’t want my kids to see me and thought I would never get back to normal. But I did somewhat. I did develop a fistula which they wouldn’t operate on because it had only been a month since obstruction surgery. I was in the road to recovery and then on November 6, I woke up in the middle of the night with horrific stomach pain. I was transported again and they discovered my bowel had perforated so I was whisked into surgery. I was starting to recover but then about 6 days in, my drainage tubes stopped producing. It was over a weekend so not much contact from doctor. Long story short, I turned septic and things went from bad to worse. I had to be intubated and placed on a ventilator. My body was failing and my husband brought the kids up to see me as requested by the doctors. By the Grace of God, I pulled through and after five long weeks I was released. I wasn’t allowed to eat anything by mouth for two months. I survived that and learned to walk and am now doing some running and walking five miles a day. BUT, a few months ago I started having constipation issues and also a bulge in my belly button. That turned out to be a hernia. I was scheduled for a colonoscopy on April 1 but it cancelled due to covid. I’m having one this Friday finally but have been having bright red blood and really can’t get anything out poop wise. I’m scared to death it’s another tumor. I told my husband I just don’t know if I have the mental strength to do it a fifth time. It’s so incredibly hard. The mental anxiety can get you down. I started taking my Xanax again and pray a lot. Prayer got me through my darkest moments.
Feel free to message me if I can be of support. I tell you my story only to show what is possible. I wouldn’t consider myself a strong person and definitely not a warrior

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@lisag03

The anxiety can be debilitating. I found out in 4/19 that I had an obstructing tumor in my sigmoid colon. Prior to that I was an extremely fit and healthy 52 year old who ran 5 miles per day and did barre class daily. We started our family late so I have two young kids (10 and 12 at time of diagnosis). I am a stay at home
Parent and super involved. My surgery was anticipated to be mainly exploratory while also removing the obstruction. I met with the first surgeon and he wanted to remove my entire colon (I’ve had ulcerative colitis for over 25 years). I got a second opinion and then a third. Finally was accepted at MD Anderson and had my surgery which Was a 6 hour ordeal. The tumor had made my colon attach to my right ovary and tube and appendix and cecum. All removed and two resections done. I was supposed to be in for a week, but shortly after surgery developed complications (blood transfusion reaction, anastomatic leak requiring second surgery) abscesses and a blood clot. I finally went home (one year ago yesterday) and assumed I was on my wait to healing. I started chemo and barely finished two rounds. It wrecked my digestive system and then I developed a bowel obstruction due to adhesions. After a week of an NG tube and lots of testing, I needed a third surgery to get rid of adhesions. I developed multiple abscesses and was in the hospital for another three weeks. The obstruction happened while my husband was out of town and I was transported by ambulance during the day while my kids were at school. My kids were alone until my husband flew home that evening late. That put me over the top. The obstruction came in suddenly with no warning. And every worst case scenario happened to me. I developed horrible PTSD and literally sat in the hospital and cried. I didn’t want my kids to see me and thought I would never get back to normal. But I did somewhat. I did develop a fistula which they wouldn’t operate on because it had only been a month since obstruction surgery. I was in the road to recovery and then on November 6, I woke up in the middle of the night with horrific stomach pain. I was transported again and they discovered my bowel had perforated so I was whisked into surgery. I was starting to recover but then about 6 days in, my drainage tubes stopped producing. It was over a weekend so not much contact from doctor. Long story short, I turned septic and things went from bad to worse. I had to be intubated and placed on a ventilator. My body was failing and my husband brought the kids up to see me as requested by the doctors. By the Grace of God, I pulled through and after five long weeks I was released. I wasn’t allowed to eat anything by mouth for two months. I survived that and learned to walk and am now doing some running and walking five miles a day. BUT, a few months ago I started having constipation issues and also a bulge in my belly button. That turned out to be a hernia. I was scheduled for a colonoscopy on April 1 but it cancelled due to covid. I’m having one this Friday finally but have been having bright red blood and really can’t get anything out poop wise. I’m scared to death it’s another tumor. I told my husband I just don’t know if I have the mental strength to do it a fifth time. It’s so incredibly hard. The mental anxiety can get you down. I started taking my Xanax again and pray a lot. Prayer got me through my darkest moments.
Feel free to message me if I can be of support. I tell you my story only to show what is possible. I wouldn’t consider myself a strong person and definitely not a warrior

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@lisag03 Good grief you have been through it. I am so sorry. It has to be hard and I feel sad for you. How do you keep from not being depressed? I have never heard of anyone having that many surgeries. I will pray for you that you will get better and be healthy again. I hope you have help at home to take care of you. It's just to much to think about for me. I'm having a simple fusion on my spine, just on my back. They usually do the front to,but after all the test I went through the surgeon said he just needed to go through the back. What I'm having is nothing what you have been through. Bless your heart. Jeanie

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I honestly went through a dark period in August when I had the obstruction. For some reason, that hospital stay was very traumatic for me, probably compounded by how awful I felt from the chemo. I remember wanting to lay in my hospital room with the lights off and just sleep, but my husband wouldn’t let me. When I came home, I felt defeated and very fragile. I think all of my feelings were tied to a feeling of being unable to be sure that my kids were physically and emotionally safe. They went to school thinking I was fine and then I was in the hospital and Daddy was in another state trying to,
get home. I rely on my strong faith to carry me. God really blessed me and I know that if I was meant to die, that would have been my time And I’m so blessed with a huge network of friends who stepped in. My husband is a rock (he’s also a firefighter) and I relied on him so much. I left all of the medical stuff to him, and he fought for me. I really did have a LOT go wrong (allergic reactions to multiple medicines, abscesses, etc) and he was always there to step in and make sure I didn’t fall through the cracks.
Spinal surgery is brutal. I’m glad you are able to have access through the back. Surgery is scary no matter what. I pray that yours will be a success and get you back to fully functioning

REPLY
@lisag03

The anxiety can be debilitating. I found out in 4/19 that I had an obstructing tumor in my sigmoid colon. Prior to that I was an extremely fit and healthy 52 year old who ran 5 miles per day and did barre class daily. We started our family late so I have two young kids (10 and 12 at time of diagnosis). I am a stay at home
Parent and super involved. My surgery was anticipated to be mainly exploratory while also removing the obstruction. I met with the first surgeon and he wanted to remove my entire colon (I’ve had ulcerative colitis for over 25 years). I got a second opinion and then a third. Finally was accepted at MD Anderson and had my surgery which Was a 6 hour ordeal. The tumor had made my colon attach to my right ovary and tube and appendix and cecum. All removed and two resections done. I was supposed to be in for a week, but shortly after surgery developed complications (blood transfusion reaction, anastomatic leak requiring second surgery) abscesses and a blood clot. I finally went home (one year ago yesterday) and assumed I was on my wait to healing. I started chemo and barely finished two rounds. It wrecked my digestive system and then I developed a bowel obstruction due to adhesions. After a week of an NG tube and lots of testing, I needed a third surgery to get rid of adhesions. I developed multiple abscesses and was in the hospital for another three weeks. The obstruction happened while my husband was out of town and I was transported by ambulance during the day while my kids were at school. My kids were alone until my husband flew home that evening late. That put me over the top. The obstruction came in suddenly with no warning. And every worst case scenario happened to me. I developed horrible PTSD and literally sat in the hospital and cried. I didn’t want my kids to see me and thought I would never get back to normal. But I did somewhat. I did develop a fistula which they wouldn’t operate on because it had only been a month since obstruction surgery. I was in the road to recovery and then on November 6, I woke up in the middle of the night with horrific stomach pain. I was transported again and they discovered my bowel had perforated so I was whisked into surgery. I was starting to recover but then about 6 days in, my drainage tubes stopped producing. It was over a weekend so not much contact from doctor. Long story short, I turned septic and things went from bad to worse. I had to be intubated and placed on a ventilator. My body was failing and my husband brought the kids up to see me as requested by the doctors. By the Grace of God, I pulled through and after five long weeks I was released. I wasn’t allowed to eat anything by mouth for two months. I survived that and learned to walk and am now doing some running and walking five miles a day. BUT, a few months ago I started having constipation issues and also a bulge in my belly button. That turned out to be a hernia. I was scheduled for a colonoscopy on April 1 but it cancelled due to covid. I’m having one this Friday finally but have been having bright red blood and really can’t get anything out poop wise. I’m scared to death it’s another tumor. I told my husband I just don’t know if I have the mental strength to do it a fifth time. It’s so incredibly hard. The mental anxiety can get you down. I started taking my Xanax again and pray a lot. Prayer got me through my darkest moments.
Feel free to message me if I can be of support. I tell you my story only to show what is possible. I wouldn’t consider myself a strong person and definitely not a warrior

Jump to this post

@lisag03 I’m so sorry to hear about all of your surgeries and health issues all happening too fast, too much in a short amount of time. Xanax helps me, but I’m finding it wears off to quickly and I’m back in an anxious state all over again. When your life takes an unexpected turn, yes there’s trauma from that. Please continue to post here so we can all support one another.

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@lisag03

I honestly went through a dark period in August when I had the obstruction. For some reason, that hospital stay was very traumatic for me, probably compounded by how awful I felt from the chemo. I remember wanting to lay in my hospital room with the lights off and just sleep, but my husband wouldn’t let me. When I came home, I felt defeated and very fragile. I think all of my feelings were tied to a feeling of being unable to be sure that my kids were physically and emotionally safe. They went to school thinking I was fine and then I was in the hospital and Daddy was in another state trying to,
get home. I rely on my strong faith to carry me. God really blessed me and I know that if I was meant to die, that would have been my time And I’m so blessed with a huge network of friends who stepped in. My husband is a rock (he’s also a firefighter) and I relied on him so much. I left all of the medical stuff to him, and he fought for me. I really did have a LOT go wrong (allergic reactions to multiple medicines, abscesses, etc) and he was always there to step in and make sure I didn’t fall through the cracks.
Spinal surgery is brutal. I’m glad you are able to have access through the back. Surgery is scary no matter what. I pray that yours will be a success and get you back to fully functioning

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@lisag03 The only thing I don't understand is when you were in the hospital you just wanted to sleep, but your husband would not let you. You may have needed to sleep. I'm glad he is a rock for you for that's what you need.
I know I depend on my husband a lot too. He's 69 and still works full-time out of our house. I'm concerned how he is going to take care of me after my surgery. Luckily at Mayo they are having us go to a class to help him know how to help me as I recover from the Sping surgery. I'm counting down the days!
I also have much faith in God. He carries he through each day when I have the pain. So, I am so glad you have God in your life. My thoughts and prayers will be with you.

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@lilypaws

@lisag03 The only thing I don't understand is when you were in the hospital you just wanted to sleep, but your husband would not let you. You may have needed to sleep. I'm glad he is a rock for you for that's what you need.
I know I depend on my husband a lot too. He's 69 and still works full-time out of our house. I'm concerned how he is going to take care of me after my surgery. Luckily at Mayo they are having us go to a class to help him know how to help me as I recover from the Sping surgery. I'm counting down the days!
I also have much faith in God. He carries he through each day when I have the pain. So, I am so glad you have God in your life. My thoughts and prayers will be with you.

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Thank you so much. Mayo Clinic really does think of everything. You will be in amazing hands there. I hope your surgery is a success and brings you relief. My husband had a four level cervical fusion in 2013, so I know recovery is challenging. Hopefully your husband can find a good balance.
I think the way I worded things came out incorrectly. My wanting to sleep all the time was definitely depression and not a need for sleep. He is my biggest advocate!

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Sorry about all the anxiety and gi problems. Ive dealt with anxiety forever, have ptsd as well. Have you tried Atavan? Its last longer than xanax. Its been a life changer for me. I also have gi issues and have had a colectomy on my mind for a year. Ive been worried sick about it, and having a very hard time dealing. Im 34 , I have different opinions flying everywhere and just want to start my life again. Like you, ive had a hard time with pinning problems down, my issues are functional, but severely debilitating. If you ever want to chat, let me know. Good luck with your colonoscopy.

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