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  1. #1

    Globus / Swallowing Anxiety / Cancer Fears

    I can't seem to overcome the fear of head/neck cancer. All other cancers, my health anxiety has actually improved over the past year or so, but I just can't shake this one. Every little tiny symptom convinces me that I've got it, even though I've never smoked and never drank and am only 31, so I know my chances are somewhat slim. I watched my grandfather struggle with tongue cancer (which eventually killed him, although he was in his 80s by that time, so the treatment was obviously very, very rough on his body). And I keep telling myself that there's not necessarily a genetic link (he was a chronic smoker for most of his life, and smoking is a risk factor of course), but I can't stop worrying about it. It's preventing me from living my life, and I hate that! I feel like I'm dying already to some extent.

    Lately, I've randomly had the lump-in-your-throat feeling. It's only been going on for about two weeks, but it came out of nowhere and then I started obsessing over it and freaking out. People keep saying it's anxiety-related, but I wasn't particularly anxious when it happened. I also don't struggle much with allergies or reflux (I've been scoped several times; two endoscopies, one of which was within the past two years, and two of the nose-scope things, the last one back in 2015), so I'm terrified that this is it -- this is the moment I find out it's cancer.

    Every time I try to dismiss the thought -- usually based on the fact that it would be unlikely for me, in my age range -- I find some reason to convince myself otherwise. For instance: it's far more prominent when I turn my head to one side. That's unusual, right? It makes me think that there's something THERE, as opposed to it just being a muscular thing (because wouldn't I feel it on both sides if it were muscular?). I also read that head/neck cancer rarely presents as the globus feeling; in my grandfather's case, that was true -- he had a patch of suspicious white cells on his tongue which were spotted during a routine dental visit. But then I Google and I read "lump in throat" as a symptom, so I know it's not impossible -- and I'm back to square one. I keep asking myself, "well, is the sensation present ALL the time or just SOME of the time?" and then I keep convincing myself one way or the other; some days, I feel distracted enough that I don't notice it -- but then I turn my head to the side, dry-swallow a few times, and it comes back. I keep trying to find evidence that globus is worse for people when they turn their heads, but nobody seems to share that experience, so I convince myself that it's NOT actually globus.

    I've seen my GP, who felt my thyroid and my lymph nodes (all normal) and then said it's probably anxiety-related, but she referred me to an ENT anyway. I haven't made the appointment just yet -- partially out of fear that it's for real this time. Every time I got scoped, I was convinced I had cancer, only for the doc to say that there wasn't even anything wrong. The gastritis I thought I had? Didn't exist. When I thought my tonsil was enlarged? ENT said my tonsils were, "small and boring." They didn't even find much evidence of reflux -- no damage or anything. So now I'm thinking, "welp. This is the dramatic irony of your life. This is the time."

    It's exhausting. I'm exhausted and discouraged. I lurk these forums often because it feels like a place where people actually understand what it's like to live with health anxiety and no one -- not even my doctor -- understands how debilitating it can be.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2017

    Re: Globus / Swallowing Anxiety / Cancer Fears


    first of all i do want to offer some big hugs because i know how awful it is to go through a patch of convincing yourself you have something, you kind of feel like you're right but crazy at the same time?

    it defo sounds exhausting and i think it will be helpful to just take some time to listen to your fav music, read a good book, watch a funny show, make a cuppa or a nice drink and treat yourself. I know its hard to actually distract yourself from it and sometimes i can't, but its still nice i feel x

    I am a chronic sufferer of globus, and yes sometimes moving my throat to the side or slouching in bed can make it worse for me, sometimes i get throat spasms so its not impossible. it could very well be globus and as the doctors have ruled other things out i think its likely x

    Have you talked to anyone about this? not necessarily a counsellor, but really anyone, any family? partners? friends? because it can be helpful to have some people around you x

    I think as this is really plaguing you then maybe it might be good to make the appointment as one last check, and if everything comes back clear you will be able to work on it and build resilience to say "no, i know i don't have it, so i'm not going to choose to worry"

    This reply might really be a big mess as its late but i really just wanted you to know that i understand the struggle in a sense but not yours personally because it can be different for everyone, and we are here to listen and support you through this x

    final hugs
    - Laine

    "Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn."

    "Be gentle with yourself, you're doing the best you can"

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