Pancreatic Cancer or Something else?

Posted by sgtgrl @sgtgrl, Sep 29, 2019

I’m a 36 year old female. Here’s a brief history:

Back in May 2016 I went for a routine physical and it showed elevated bilirubin levels at 2.1. I didn’t really have any symptoms other than an ache to the right side of my belly button into my back near my kidney Area. Abdominal ultrasound, colonoscopy and endoscopy revealed nothing other than acid reflux and Gerd My gastroenterologist said it was most likely Gilberts syndrome and my levels return to normal shortly after my colonoscopy

Fast forward to present day and I’m having a dull ache like stitch feeling in the upper portion of my left rib into my back near my bra strap and left kidney. I just went and had routine bloodwork and all of my levels are normal except a vitamin D I’m slightly deficient. My Lipase level was 20 which is within normal limits just on the lower end.

I have been beside myself for the past three weeks with worry and I have a doctors appointment scheduled for Tuesday to discuss this with my doctor. My bowel movements have been all over the place including green diarrhea

I have convinced myself this can be nothing other than pancreatic cancer. Any similar experiences or suggestions would be helpful.

Hello @sgtgrl and welcome to Mayo Connect, I'm glad that you will be seeing a doctor next week. Anxiety about a new health problem is very natural but it can cause a lot of unnecessary stress. I hope that your doctor can run tests to assure you one way or the other about your fears of cancer. Is there a cancer history in your family?

Will you be seeing a new doctor or is someone you have seen before?

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@hopeful33250

Hello @sgtgrl and welcome to Mayo Connect, I'm glad that you will be seeing a doctor next week. Anxiety about a new health problem is very natural but it can cause a lot of unnecessary stress. I hope that your doctor can run tests to assure you one way or the other about your fears of cancer. Is there a cancer history in your family?

Will you be seeing a new doctor or is someone you have seen before?

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No real cancers in the family. He is my PCP and the one who referred me after my elevated bilirubin so he’s familiar with my history. I know Given my age PC is unlikely but it’s hard not to go there mentally sometimes.

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@sgtgrl

No real cancers in the family. He is my PCP and the one who referred me after my elevated bilirubin so he’s familiar with my history. I know Given my age PC is unlikely but it’s hard not to go there mentally sometimes.

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Yes, @sgtgrl, I certainly understand what you are saying. Cancer is a fear that a lot of us have and it is hard (as you say), "not to go there mentally sometimes,"

It is easier, however, on your physical and emotional health to try not to let your fears interfere with your peace of mind. So until your doctor can diagnose this problem do your best not to go to the worst-case-scenario. (I know that this is easier said than done.)

Do you have any activities and friends that you can spend time with to get your mind off your current worries? What type of support do you have in your life now? Will you post again after you see your PCP?

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@hopeful33250

Yes, @sgtgrl, I certainly understand what you are saying. Cancer is a fear that a lot of us have and it is hard (as you say), "not to go there mentally sometimes,"

It is easier, however, on your physical and emotional health to try not to let your fears interfere with your peace of mind. So until your doctor can diagnose this problem do your best not to go to the worst-case-scenario. (I know that this is easier said than done.)

Do you have any activities and friends that you can spend time with to get your mind off your current worries? What type of support do you have in your life now? Will you post again after you see your PCP?

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I have A history of health anxiety and my fiancé is very supportive. I will Update after my appointment on Tuesday

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I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 5 years ago. My symptoms included weight loss, orange, greasy diarrhea and severe abdominal discomfort. I had a history of pancreatitis and was diagnosed as a Type II diabetic 5 years before being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My PCP finally ordered a CT scan. The CT scan showed a large growth (the size of a small grapefruit) on the head of my pancreas.

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@marvinjsturing

I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 5 years ago. My symptoms included weight loss, orange, greasy diarrhea and severe abdominal discomfort. I had a history of pancreatitis and was diagnosed as a Type II diabetic 5 years before being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My PCP finally ordered a CT scan. The CT scan showed a large growth (the size of a small grapefruit) on the head of my pancreas.

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Thank you for sharing your story. So glad you are doing well. I am just so scared right now and am trying to be logical but I just don’t know given my symptoms what else besides pancreas could be causing my symptoms.

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After calling my doctor this morning and explaining my symptoms he advised I go to the emergency room. They ran all the blood tests and gave me a contrast CT scan and by the grace of God everything was fine. I have a small cyst on my left kidney but they believe this is G.I. related and have referred me to a rheumatologist and gastroenterologist

I truly appreciate the warm and insightful replies

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@sgtgrl

After calling my doctor this morning and explaining my symptoms he advised I go to the emergency room. They ran all the blood tests and gave me a contrast CT scan and by the grace of God everything was fine. I have a small cyst on my left kidney but they believe this is G.I. related and have referred me to a rheumatologist and gastroenterologist

I truly appreciate the warm and insightful replies

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@sgtgrl Sounds like good news! Are you feeling a little less anxious? Will you keep your Tuesday appointment? It could be good to talk to your doctor and get some peace of mind. Please stay in touch

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@sgtgrl

After calling my doctor this morning and explaining my symptoms he advised I go to the emergency room. They ran all the blood tests and gave me a contrast CT scan and by the grace of God everything was fine. I have a small cyst on my left kidney but they believe this is G.I. related and have referred me to a rheumatologist and gastroenterologist

I truly appreciate the warm and insightful replies

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I'm so glad that you found our replies helpful and I so appreciate the update, @sgtgrl! When you see the rheumatologist and gastroenterologist I hope you provide an update.

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@hopeful33250

I'm so glad that you found our replies helpful and I so appreciate the update, @sgtgrl! When you see the rheumatologist and gastroenterologist I hope you provide an update.

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Yes, you all are seriously amazing. I’m going to wait till the first of the year to do more testing. I need A mental break for awhile from this scare. Anxiety is a mother…well more like a bad stepmother and I plan on working through that as well. I will Be updating as things continue

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@sgtgrl

Yes, you all are seriously amazing. I’m going to wait till the first of the year to do more testing. I need A mental break for awhile from this scare. Anxiety is a mother…well more like a bad stepmother and I plan on working through that as well. I will Be updating as things continue

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@sgtgrl You’ve mentioned having anxiety. Can you tell me if you have any tricks to lessen it? I’d sure like to know so I can use them!

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@becsbuddy

@sgtgrl You’ve mentioned having anxiety. Can you tell me if you have any tricks to lessen it? I’d sure like to know so I can use them!

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I try And ground myself in FACTS not thoughts. I pray A lot and try to remember that my mental fear is not my reality it’s just temporary

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@sgtgrl

I try And ground myself in FACTS not thoughts. I pray A lot and try to remember that my mental fear is not my reality it’s just temporary

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I know you said you’d be updating us, @sgtgrl , but I just wanted to know if you’d been able to handle your anxiety. Waiting and high anxiety and the what-ifs seem to be our biggest problems! How have you been doing?

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Hello All:

I thought that all of you might be interested in learning more about signs that you might have pancreatic cancer from this Mayo Connect video. I'm just wondering, @marvinjsturing, can you relate to any of the symptoms mentioned in the video.

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@hopeful33250 I wish I was aware of some of these things before I found out I had pancreatic cancer. I would have pushed my doctors for earlier testing.

I had several bouts of pancreatitis in the late 1990s. Idiomatic is the term the doctors used at the time. It simply means that they had no idea what was causing my attacks. Then 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. I was overweight and not very active so that was the explanation at that time.I started exercising and eating healthier foods and lost about 70 pounds. A few years later I developed abdominal pain and diarrhea. After my Whipple the surgeon said that from the size of the tumor he estimated that it had been growing for 20 years and was probably the cause of my attacks of pancreatitis and the cause of my diabetes. As I said, if I had known that all of these things were early symptoms of pancreatic cancer, I would have insisted that I have a CT scan much earlier. As it is, I am very thankful that the cancer had not spread very far and that with surgery and chemo the cancer was removed from my body and I am still alive today. I believe that I am here today only by the grace of God who worked through a very talented and skilled surgeon at Mayo.

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