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mkl8425
@mkl8425

Posts: 12
Joined: Oct 19, 2018

Pancreatic cancer or overreacting

Posted by @mkl8425, Fri, Oct 19 9:34am

I have been experiencing weird abdominal pains for over a month now and it is causing me so much anxiety. It has been a dull pain that has moved around, on and off, in my mid/upper abdomen over the last few weeks (5-6 weeks or so) I have felt the pain in the kidney areas too and originally the first episode was on my right side. Before this, I had experienced excessive burping on and off for months that would be bad on one day and be gone for a few and come back. Now I am at the point where the abdominal pain is more prominent in the upper center/left part and still is on and off, but I have also developed a dull back pain directly behind that. On top of the burping, I also have been passing more gas from the other end as well. I went to my GP and she thought it was my IBS that I have been diagnosed with years ago, but the symptoms I used toe experience were different than what I am experiencing now. She put the stethoscope to my gut and said she heard a lot of gas. She said normally you hear one or two sounds every minute, but she was hearing one or two every second. I mentioned that I was worried about other things like pancreatitis or pancreatic C so she ran some bloodwork testing all the normal stuff, and a few others like lipase and amylase (pancreatic enzymes) as well as a urinalysis. All was normal. The only abnormality was a glucose level of 112 which they used fasting as the reference time even though I had a full lunch the hour before so I assume that was a mistake and those levels were normal. Another thing I have noticed now is that every time I eat a meal, I get the burping more frequently. On the bright side, I have not experienced any weight loss, jaundice, nausea, appetite changes. In terms of digestive health, I have been passing smaller, thinner, infrequent bowel movements, but no color changes.

A little more background that may help, I was diagnosed a few months ago with GERD that was giving me a nasty cough every morning. I was given Prilosec to take before bed, and I take it occasionally after a big meal. Another thing is that I have always had horrible anxiety and at one point I had convinced myself that I had a brain tumor but after over a year of being miserable and experiencing many weird neurological symptoms, I had some sort of epiphany and realized it was all my anxiety playing tricks on my mind and body. I was also in the hospital once for a very bad and painful case of constipation.

I will be visiting my GP again for a follow up in 4 days. She advised me three days ago to try and eat more fiber, lay off the dairy (I am lactose intolerant, still eat dairy for years, but in moderation with no problems), and to use Miralax to loosen any possible blockages. I have been using it for three days, but have not passed a normal BM to my own normal standards. What other things should I ask her?

And I know I am very young (21) but I can't shake the thought that there is something more sinister going on inside me. Anyone have any similar stories or encouraging thoughts? Thanks!

REPLY

Hello @mkl8425 and welcome to Mayo Connect. I am sorry to hear of your new symptoms. Your concern is certainly understandable. At Mayo Connect we cannot diagnose medical problems but we can encourage and support you as you look for answers.

I see that your GP is running some blood tests, etc. and that is a good thing. If nothing is discovered from those tests, I would encourage you to visit with a GI specialist who might do more sophisticated tests to see if there are any other problems to be discovered.

You listed your symptoms in your post and wanted to know if others had similar problems. Along that note, I would encourage you to read some of the Connect discussions about Gastrointestinal problems. You can find thhose at this link, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/digestive-gastrointestinal-problems/.

If you read through several of these different discussions you might find more information related to your current symptoms. You can click on "reply" if you would like to ask anyone about their post and thereby gain some more information.

Have you seen a GI specialist yet for endoscopies (both upper endoscopy or colonoscopy)? Have any CT scans been done yet? These are all things you might consider when you talk with your GP next time.

Will you post again and let me know how you are doing?

@mkl8425

I have had both pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. This is what I experienced.

I have had several episodes of pancreatitis. Each time, the pain was excruciating – starting in my abdomen and going all the way through to my back. It has been several years since I had it, but at that time, the way to diagnose pancreatitis was to test for elevated levels of amylase in the blood. I spent 4 to 10 days in the hospital when I had pancreatitis.

Four years ago, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My symptoms included nausea, orange diarrhea, weight loss and elevated blood sugar (above 200). My doctor finally ordered a CT scan. The scan detected a mass about the size of a small grapefruit on the head of my pancreas. Within a month, I spent two weeks at Mayo – one week for testing and another week for a Whipple procedure and recuperation from my surgery.

I hope doctors can diagnose and solve your issues.

Hello @mkl8425

Since you feel concerned about pancreatic cancer, I thought that you might be interested in a webinar scheduled for this Monday, Oct. 29, all about early detection of pancreatic cancer.
Here is the link where you can sign up and join the webinar and also post questions, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/webinar/video-qa-about-the-early-detection-of-pancreatic-cancer/

@hopeful33250

Hello @mkl8425 and welcome to Mayo Connect. I am sorry to hear of your new symptoms. Your concern is certainly understandable. At Mayo Connect we cannot diagnose medical problems but we can encourage and support you as you look for answers.

I see that your GP is running some blood tests, etc. and that is a good thing. If nothing is discovered from those tests, I would encourage you to visit with a GI specialist who might do more sophisticated tests to see if there are any other problems to be discovered.

You listed your symptoms in your post and wanted to know if others had similar problems. Along that note, I would encourage you to read some of the Connect discussions about Gastrointestinal problems. You can find thhose at this link, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/digestive-gastrointestinal-problems/.

If you read through several of these different discussions you might find more information related to your current symptoms. You can click on "reply" if you would like to ask anyone about their post and thereby gain some more information.

Have you seen a GI specialist yet for endoscopies (both upper endoscopy or colonoscopy)? Have any CT scans been done yet? These are all things you might consider when you talk with your GP next time.

Will you post again and let me know how you are doing?

Jump to this post

@hopeful33250 my GP just referred me to a GI for an upper endoscopy and colonoscopy. She assured me that my blood work and urinalysis tests were all normal and that I did not need to worry about pancreatic issues (lipase and amylase levels were normal). I can't help but feel nervous because she doesn't know what to do for now and it could take time to see a GI specialist, however, I am trying to keep my hopes up because I tend to be very anxious about these sort of things.

@mkl8425

@hopeful33250 my GP just referred me to a GI for an upper endoscopy and colonoscopy. She assured me that my blood work and urinalysis tests were all normal and that I did not need to worry about pancreatic issues (lipase and amylase levels were normal). I can't help but feel nervous because she doesn't know what to do for now and it could take time to see a GI specialist, however, I am trying to keep my hopes up because I tend to be very anxious about these sort of things.

Jump to this post

Hello @mkl8425, anxiety is common when new health symptoms come up. That is perfectly understandable. but try not to let it consume your thinking. You might take a look at some of the discussions in our Mental Health group at how to control anxiety. There are some Members there who have gotten some control over their fear of the unknown. Here is a link to the discussions. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/mental-health/tab/discussions/?pg=2#group-88-activitystream

Do you know when you will see a GI specialist?

I would like to invite @gailb @gingerw @lioness and @mamacita to join you in this discussion about anxiety and health problems.

@hopeful33250

Hello @mkl8425, anxiety is common when new health symptoms come up. That is perfectly understandable. but try not to let it consume your thinking. You might take a look at some of the discussions in our Mental Health group at how to control anxiety. There are some Members there who have gotten some control over their fear of the unknown. Here is a link to the discussions. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/mental-health/tab/discussions/?pg=2#group-88-activitystream

Do you know when you will see a GI specialist?

I would like to invite @gailb @gingerw @lioness and @mamacita to join you in this discussion about anxiety and health problems.

Jump to this post

@hopeful33250 @mkl6425 Indeed, fear of the unknown can be so frightful. As I read your original post, I couldn't help but wonder. Being lactose intolerant for years, but continuing to consume dairy, may be a recipe for issues now presenting? At any rate, your doctor is being properly cautious, ordering the upper and lower endoscopies. Since you know you have experienced anxiety in the past, take time to be gentle on yourself. Call the GI specialist and ask to be put on a cancellation list in order to get in earlier if someone else cannot make it. Rest and distract yourself however you need to.
Ginger

@hopeful33250

Hello @mkl8425, anxiety is common when new health symptoms come up. That is perfectly understandable. but try not to let it consume your thinking. You might take a look at some of the discussions in our Mental Health group at how to control anxiety. There are some Members there who have gotten some control over their fear of the unknown. Here is a link to the discussions. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/mental-health/tab/discussions/?pg=2#group-88-activitystream

Do you know when you will see a GI specialist?

I would like to invite @gailb @gingerw @lioness and @mamacita to join you in this discussion about anxiety and health problems.

Jump to this post

I do not know yet. My worst fears have mostly subsided, I am just tired of feeling physically unwell at this point, but I am optimistic that seeing a GI spec. will help me greatly… just hope it doesn't take weeks to see one

There is no cancer in my family on either side…mother's or father's. However, my brother passed away in 2013 from pancreatic cancer. In researching this rare type of cancer, there are no clear cut factors that cause this highly undetectable disease. My brother just happened to have a very diligent surgeon who knew the gall bladder was not causing all of my his issues. With no family or genetic risks of cancer apparent, I am perplexed as to how this happened to my brother.

Hope you will be able to find answer to your questions with an GI specialist.

There is a page on Mayo site on how to prepare for appt about IBS, Even if do not have IBS or your GI specialist is not at Mayo, it has some good suggestions on how to prepare to see a GI specialist.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20360064
Look for section: Preparing for your appointment

The more prepared you are for your appointment, the more the GI specialist will know what test to run.

Good Luck
Laurie

@susiedost

There is no cancer in my family on either side…mother's or father's. However, my brother passed away in 2013 from pancreatic cancer. In researching this rare type of cancer, there are no clear cut factors that cause this highly undetectable disease. My brother just happened to have a very diligent surgeon who knew the gall bladder was not causing all of my his issues. With no family or genetic risks of cancer apparent, I am perplexed as to how this happened to my brother.

Jump to this post

Hello @susiedost
Welcome to Mayo Connect. I am sorry to hear of your brother's passing from pancreatic cancer. I'm sure his death was difficult for your entire family. Do you recall what his original symptoms were?

Hello @susiedost

I would also like to invite you to a discussion on Grief and Loss. While I understand that your brother died several years ago, your contributions to the discussions there might be helpful to you and to the others. Here is the link to the discussions on Grief and Loss: How Are You Doing?, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/loss-and-grief-how-are-you-doing/

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