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  1. #1

    Unhappy HA (breast pain) taking over my life...

    Hi,'s taken me a while to build up the courage to post on here, so here goes:

    I'm 31 and have always been a worrier (never before about my health though). I have had pain in my left breast for years and had been to the docs a couple of times expressing my concern, each time to be told that it's hormonal and nothing to worry about.

    Approx. 3 months ago I went back as the pain had got worse and was starting to affect my right breast and also my armpits and sides (affecting things like stretching or reaching for something, hugging somebody or lying on my front)-the doc had a feel around and found a small lump in my left breast (queue panic stations!!). This extra pain coincided with an extremely stressful time at work. My doc referred me to a breast specialist (I'm lucky enough to have BUPA, so it's all been done in a private hospital).

    To cut a long story short, I've not had about 5 breast exams by my consultant, countless biopsies and two ultrasounds, the last of which was yesterday. Everything has come back clear and, common sense dictates that, I should be massively relieved. However, I cannot stop worrying and keep asking myself "what if they've missed something?".

    Today's worry is that the radiologist didn't scan over a particular area of my armpit, despite her asking me where it was painful. I know that she would have done, otherwise she wouldn't have asked, but as I can't specifically remember (everything merges into a big blur at the moment) I can't stop worrying.

    In my heart of hearts I know that I could have 100 ultrasounds and examinations, and I'd still find something to focus my worry on. This is so hard to explain in family and friends have been amazing and have put up with my anxiousness over the past 12+ weeks, but I'm conscious that they are starting to get annoyed with me and I feel like I'm going insane!

    I've been put on Propanolol (10mg 3 x a day) and its been recommended that I get some CBT councelling (which I shall be doing when funds permit). At present it feels like this will NEVER end. I don't feel like I'm living at the's as if I'm going through the motions in my own little bubble. I can't sleep properly, have no appetite and can't enjoy anything.

    I'm not sure what I'm looking for by posting this. I guess some advice in how to break this cycle and some reassurance that I'm not the only one going through this. Has anyone else had similar worries and if so, does this ever end!?!

    All I can think of at the minute is calling the hospital to get ANOTHER ultrasound...but I'm reluctant to do so as it feels like giving in to my 'anxious head' and I know that even if I did go for a re-scan I'd come out and start worrying about a different area (I know this from the appointments I've already had, where I go about a particular worry and come out with a new one!).

    Sorry to ramble...think I just needed to write that all 'non anxious head' realizes how silly it all sounds....anyone else feel like they have 2 heads that constantly argue with each other!?!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Re: HA (breast pain) taking over my life...

    Hi Welcome to the forum - I have the same thing about being torn between 2 heads! Some days I am rational and barely give my anxiety a thought(mine is heart) but some days and today is one of them, it takes over and I can hardly think of anything else, convinced I won't make it through the next hour......Sorry if this isn't much help. Just wanted to say I understand.

  3. #3

    Re: HA (breast pain) taking over my life...


    This is the first time I've posted anything on here too but have been visiting it quite a lot over the past few weeks and reading your post was almost like reading my thoughts out loud so thought I'd take the plunge and post and maybe try and help a little bit too.

    I too am 31 and have always been a worrier, generally not about my health, but much more so since having my two children who are 1.5 and 4. my biggest fear is being diagnosed with cancer and being taken away from them and at the moment i am fixated on breast cancer. since this fixation began a few weeks ago i have looked into health anxiety a lot and realised i most definitely have it. In itself this has made me feel a bit better as i try very hard to attribute my symptoms and anxious state to the HA rather than allowing myself to believe its cancer however i am finding this very difficult.

    I empathise entirely about how you are feeling and in some ways am slightly envious that you have been through these tests and had that extra reassurance (my doctor has reassured me on numerous occasions that I don't need any tests as there are no symptoms to test) however I know full well that, as you say, in our heart of hearts We know that it doesn't matter how many tests and examinations we have, convincing ourselves that we are ok is about more than that.

    My doctor has prescribed me with fluoxetine which I have yet to take as I am really apprehensive about starting down that path and he's also said they could make me more anxious in the first week so I have avoided so far but am seriously considering them again as I went for my first session of CBT today (free on the NHS) and the counsellor told me that taking the fluoxetine or any other SSRI's can actually help the CBT as it helps make you less anxious and depressed and therefore aids the CBT methods.

    I too have amazing friends and family and they've been great but I feel like I'm making their lives miserable by putting my anxiety onto them all the time especially my poor fiancÚ. The problem is that no amount of reassurance from them can make us feel any better but we constantly seek reassurance because that's part of the HA and so it goes on. One of my other main symptoms is the dreaded doctor google, I google everything and anything in the hope that I will find something to reassure me and the exact opposite always happen and I am even more anxious than when I started. I feel trapped in my mind and very much feel like I have a constant battle of logic vs HA and because I cannot allow myself to stop worrying as I think it's tempting fate, the logic never gets a look in and the HA wins every time.

    I am currently considering going for a thermal imaging scan as apparently this can detect problems (like breast cancer) years before they are even a problem but I am petrified in case they find a problem and I just keep asking myself whether I'll really believe them if they say nothing is wrong anyway. I think I will and I tell myself it's all I need just to get me out of this mindset but I think deep down I know my HA could take over again and make me focus on something else or, like you did about your ultrasound, worry that they missed something. It's already started really as I only ever wanted a breast scan and now I'm thinking 'well should I just get a full body scan in case there is something wrong elsewhere' where do you draw the line?

    My HA started this time with a simple itchy boob which I googled and it led me down this dreaded path. Now I know every symptom there is to know about BC and convince myself I have them which include marks on my breast, indentations on am areola when I lift my arm above my head (discovered that one today and am freaking out about it right now) one of my breasts was larger than the other at one point, pains in my breasts which come and go and random pains elsewhere in my upper abdomen area which I worry means there is a tumour and its causing pain in other places. I check myself constantly for lumps and in the mirror for any telltale signs. I am literally driving myself round the bend.

    I'm really sorry this post is soooo long and I'm not sure I've even helped you at all but I just wanted to try and tell you my story in the hope that you can empathise with it and realise you're not alone in how you're feeling. I can't offer you hope yet that this goes away but my CBT therapist did Say to me today that with HA it can go away all of a sudden and never return but everyone's different aren't they.

    I would persevere with the CBT, you mention needing funds to pay for it but can't you get it on the NHS like I have? My doctor just referred me. How are the proponalol working for you? Have you noticed a difference yet? There is really good book available from amazon called overcoming health anxiety I've not fully read it yet but what I have read has been really helpful especially in making me realise that I am not a total freak to be feeling the way I do!

    Write back x

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Re: HA (breast pain) taking over my life...

    Do you think the pain/symptom is causing the fear?
    It's the real symptoms that get me too :(
    If it was cancer it sure would show up on the scans and in the biopsy.
    Cancer is cureable too though so try to remember that.
    Are you still havibg pain? Did the doctors tell you what might be causing the pain?

    My hormones can cause my breasts to feel very tender, achy and bruised.

  5. #5

    Re: HA (breast pain) taking over my life...


    Thanks for writing back. You won't believe how much it helps to hear from others who feel exactly the same! I honestly go through moments where I feel like I'm going insane and that I'm the only person that's ever felt like this!

    I had my first hypnotherapy session on Saturday. If nothing else, it helped me to relax for an hour and my brain switched off temporarily (does yours feel like its on overdrive all the time from the moment u wake to the moment u sleep!?). I'm booked in for another session this weekend-she is going to help with my negative thoughts and my fear if being on my own...hopefully I'll see some sort of improvement after a couple more appointments?

    The Propanolol seem to 'take the edge off', but they don't stop me worrying. My little panic attacks are definitely less frequent on them. Ive been getting alot of strange dreams on them but the initial sickness i had has gone. My other option is anti depressants, but I'm really not keen about going down that line:(

    I had a really good couple of days last week (Thurs and Fri), but BAM it was back with avengence on Saturday and has been pretty much constant since!

    I had a docs appointment today as my last couple of blood tests have shown a dip in my iron levels-they are super low now, so I have some tablets and have to go back in a couple of weeks for a re test.

    Whilst there she asked how I'd been and I explained that I'd been getting a lot of rib pain on the left over the last two weeks...she had a good feel and said she's almost certain it's muscle strain but wants to send me for another scan. Whilst I'm kind of pleased I also don't want to go as I think it'll add more fuel to the fire!:( then I forgot to mention to her that I've been getting pins and needles in my left hand, so began panicking about that! Aargh, it never ends!!!

    I've decided that I have two brains-the sensible rational one that (at times) says "you're fine. Trust the doctors. It's not in their interest to have missed something" and the HA part of my brain that shouts "what if...". Unfortunately it's this part of my brain that's taken over.

    At the moment it feels like this will NEVER stop....on and on and on...I'd just like to rewind 17 weeks (yes, I'm counting!) to when I was 'normal'. I'm not even sure where this all came from...I didn't suffer a bereavement or anything traumatic...I think it's the result of massive stress at work!?

    I feel the same as you. My friends and family are very supportive, but I don't think they truly understand...I don't think anyone does until they've been through it!?

    Let me know how you get's honestly so nice to know that there are others out there experiencing something so similar!


  6. #6

    Re: HA (breast pain) taking over my life...


    Have also been there. Most recently a few weeks ago. Had very bad breast pain and rash so googled (:0) and what comes up? About 10000 searches for inflammatory breast cancer. Went into complete tail spin and rushed to a clinic to get advice. The chap I had seen previously was away so stupidly web to see someone else who told me all fine but ultrasoundex me on his portable device and told me I needed an MRI as I had Ber dense breasts. I panicked and rushed back to original place who did MRI and told me I was fine. They also did an US in the right breast where I had pain.

    Still not happy (have read that IBC does not show on imaging) I made an appt to see original breast man who happens to be world expert. I then proceeded to go back FOUR times as I still had rash and concerns and he was lovely. I think he as very concerned about my anxiety he even called my husband to talk to him! Thinking about his credentials I'm quite embarrassed but how lovely was he to care.

    Finally after my 4th visit in 2 weeks (i kid you not) he got his fantastic breast nurse to talk to me who calmed me down and said it would not hurt to leave it 2 weeks as if no better I can come back and she will call me to see how I am. She said park it as "I have a plan for that". So I have and it's nearly 2 weeks and I feel loads better. Rash and pain has gone as well.

    I have been lucky to get the very best care. The consultant says it's very common for hormonal breast pain and it can affect the whole arm - it does with me. He has told me to come back in 3 months so he can assess my anxiety and hopefully reassure me.

    Looking back I feel really silly now but at the time I was terrified. What the nurse said to me really did help though and taking the 2 weeks to park it has helped.

    Im aware I have huge health anxiety issues and am taking steps to sort but when you are in the thick of it it's horrid. I'm currently in another one (long story) but trying to sort.

    Anyway you are not alone.

    Hope my story helps - its very reassuring reading other people's accounts as it helps me to calm down! Xx

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