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Thread: Armpit lumps? Maybe?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
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    Armpit lumps? Maybe?

    And it’s me again.

    So I am doing this thing where I have not allowed myself to touch my neck lymph nodes (see my previous threads) because the poking and prodding only fuels the spiral. I have made it a whole three days and counting. Woo.

    So guess what I did I instead? I casually glanced at my armpit and I visually noticed what looked like little lumps. I couldn’t help but touch, expecting to find yet another terror inducing lymph node but instead I felt..nothing? I think? So I almost have the opposite problem from my neck—unless I twist my neck, I can’t see my lymph nodes but oh boy can I feel them. This armpit looks like it has two little round lumps/bumps but when I touch them there’s nothing lymph node feeling underneath.

    So I have gone back and forth to feeling like well that’s nothing to hyper-obsessive over why it looks like there might be something raised or puffy or swollen there. My husband says it’s just the way my skin folds so then I started googling photos of normal armpits to see if anyone else’s looks like this. Yep. That’s how crazy I have become.

    So I get that I totally have a severe case of HA over nodes and try as I might I am still getting sucked into this spiral, but then also I am now freaked out that if these are enlarged nodes somehow that I have them in multiple locations so I must have lymphoma.

    I coughed a bit yesterday...lymphoma.

    My legs get sweaty at night sometimes..lymphoma.

    Sometimes I feel flushed or chilled...lymphoma.

    I feel an itch...lymphoma.

    I cannot stop obsessing over this :( :( :( :(

    I told my husband if it really is lymphoma
    I wish it could just be super obvious so I could stop going in circles analyzing stuff to see if it’s worthy of calling my doctor yet again.

    So I’m wondering if I call my doctor, preface that I am having a really bad spiral, go in for an appointment to see what she thinks of my neck (where I’ve gone digging and found new nodes), my armpit and my occasional random symptoms and see what she thinks and then if all is well, ask for a referral for someone who can help me with my HA (I saw two people previously, but neither are currently practicing)....or just do that last part.

    Or just keep trying to battle here solo.

    I am just exhausted with worry.

    Always appreciate any feedback—it’s so much easier to see a situation when it isn’t your own.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    290

    Re: Armpit lumps? Maybe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Worrywart84 View Post
    I told my husband if it really is lymphoma, I wish it could just be super obvious so I could stop going in circles analyzing stuff to see if it’s worthy of calling my doctor yet again.
    Worrywart84,

    If you had lymphoma, it would be obvious. There would be no digging, googling, or questioning if you should go to a doctor. Your HA is creating all of this. If you have previously received an all clear, then I would recommend that you request a referral to take care of your HA.

    Best Wishes.
    __________________
    I asked myself one day, "What if I actually don't have cancer? What if I'm not really dying? Then surely I'm alive and should be living."

    Not a doctor or a psychologist, just a guy who's been to a lot of them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
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    165

    Re: Armpit lumps? Maybe?

    Thanks for your reply. So I received an all clear in July on two of my larger neck lymph nodes, but I have since discovered more tiny ones on the same side. Then the armpit situation is new. That’s my biggest HA issue is that when I do get the all clear, my HA finds a way to reignite the worry with something “new” but “related” and it makes me feel like “well now I must go back and discuss this new finding.” It plays on the doctor’s “if it gets worse, give us a call” theme, you know?

  4. #4
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    Aug 2019
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    290

    Re: Armpit lumps? Maybe?

    I absolutely understand! It creates a vicious cycle that never ends.

    That being said, it does have to end at some point if you wish to move on with your life. Your body will forever be changing. New and weird symptoms and changes will spring up overnight. The important thing is learning how to regulate your interpretation of those changes.

    I'm going to go out on a limb and assume (correct me if I'm wrong) that the "more tiny ones" you "discovered" did not pop up like golf balls overnight. Rather you were poking and prodding to just be sure that nothing was amiss. Through the poking and prodding you "discovered" new ones. Additionally you saw what you thought were lumps in your armpits but upon further inspection you can't feel anything. Ultimately what's happening is your brain (which you have control over) is fixated on lymphoma so anything you see that is amiss gets tagged as lymphoma.

    If I were in your position with an all clear just 6 months ago, I would begin actively practicing challenging my thoughts every single time an intrusive, unhelpful thought comes in. For example, if I saw the "lumps" in my armpits, I might quickly touch them and realize nothing was there. Then when the thought "but what if..." comes into my mind I would, out loud, say, "I touched that area this morning and there was nothing there. Nothing has changed so I can move on." Then I would move on. If the thought came again 5 second later, I would repeat the same thought. This process would happen each and every time I had an intrusive thought. I coughed a bit yesterday..."It was just a small tickle." My legs get sweaty at night sometimes..."It's winter and I have a lot of blankets on my bed." Sometimes I feel flushed or chilled..."My body is constantly changing and that's just what it does." I feel an itch..."It's literally just an itch." Find what works for you and the practice, practice, practice. Given that you have an all clear the single best thing you can repeat is, "A medically trained professional has given me the all clear. There is nothing wrong with me. I can live my life." This has been my go to for all things lymphoma. The minute you believe you have no control is when you've truly lost it. You have control over how you react to your thoughts.

    My HA is fueled by lymphoma worries. But I've spent years practicing these things every day and I promise they work. You just have to practice!

    Best Wishes.
    __________________
    I asked myself one day, "What if I actually don't have cancer? What if I'm not really dying? Then surely I'm alive and should be living."

    Not a doctor or a psychologist, just a guy who's been to a lot of them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    159

    Re: Armpit lumps? Maybe?

    Worrywart84,

    Just to let you know that I went through exact same thing with my armpits - went the very next day to the doctor , and guess what: that is how armpits look like. I also do the same pattern as you: when I get assurance , I am calm for a short time, and then something else comes up, and , so, I keep on going and going and going...I went this morning to the doctor about this " firm small bump" on my shin - well, it is my vein, it is not a bump. I am getting older and some veins become more prominent. There is also bluish shade to it, and the doctor said: Could you not see that this is a vein? Pathetic.

    Anyways, just to tell you that there is nothing wrong with your armpits. And good luck.

  6. #6
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    Nov 2018
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    165

    Re: Armpit lumps? Maybe?

    NotDeadYet, you are correct in your assumption that I went digging. It was an awful episode where I “unearthed” like 4-5 new ones and then I spent the rest of the evening obsessively touching them. Now I have forbid myself to even touch my neck but I still rehearse each and every one’s position and feel in my mind, almost mentally going through the motions of inspecting them. It’s..awful.

    My armpit, meanwhile, has been under siege with prodding and is now sore. So I am totally open to trying this thought challenging advice because I can assure you I do have thoughts every 5 seconds that need to be challenged. I will update you on how it goes...how long did it take for you to think/feel differently by using this technique?

    Lana, I’m glad you got the all clear and you can relax. I am so tempted to go get that reassurance (hopefully) too but I also want to try to challenge the need to go first and see how it goes. My fears in going are 1. Actually being diagnosed with something (which I know is technically something you would want to know but gosh how scary.) 2. Being sent for additional testing which almost gives legitimacy to the fear, leaves me in a nightmare of waiting worry, and could result in a random incidental finding that will lead me spiraling in a different direction. 3. Stupid covid. And 4. Letting my HA win with the reassurance.

    I am also tempted to post a picture of my armpit here, but I doubt anyone really wants to see an armpit.

    Thank you both again for your words and advice. It is honestly so nice to talk to people who really GET how this feels. I tried describing it to my mom and husband like this: “You know how awful it must feel a normal person to be diagnosed by a doctor with some super scary thing—the fear, panic, terror, stomach dropping, life changing feeling—imagine your mind putting you through that simulation all the time even if it hasn’t really, and probably won’t actually happen.” Or “you know how when you have a really bad dream and you are heart racing scared or totally crushed and devastated and then you wake up and you’re so thankful it was just a nightmare—imagine living through that stomach churning feeling and wondering if you are in a dream state or a reality state and you can’t ever wake up to find out.”

  7. #7
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    Sep 2020
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    71

    Re: Armpit lumps? Maybe?

    I went through a nasty lymphoma fear back in 2017. It started with me noticing my right lymph node under my jaw was very swollen. Followed by an outbreak of hives that lasted for weeks. I finally saw the doctor and was told she doubted I had lymphoma and was given prednisone for the hives which she said were likely either viral or random. They eventually went away and the node went down (but not to normal size and it still swells like crazy if I get sick). My fears have since changed to heart and breathing issues. But I know how it feels to try to explain it to someone who doesn't understand. "Oh you're fine, don't worry" Impossible lmao

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
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    165

    Re: Armpit lumps? Maybe?

    Kuraimoar I hear ya. I’m glad you were able to overcome the lymphoma fears but sorry to hear you’ve moved on to another. If I were to list every disease I thought I had and the timeframe I worried about it, well, it would just be sad and embarrassing. And yet, it’s only easy to laugh at after the fact.

  9. #9
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    Aug 2019
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    Re: Armpit lumps? Maybe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Worrywart84 View Post
    how long did it take for you to think/feel differently by using this technique?
    I began much like you with a rule not to check my known lymph nodes. I started by setting goals of how long I would go without touching my nodes. It began with one day, then two, then a week. Once the week was over I would allow myself to check them. I was ONLY checking to see if they had changed. When they hadn't, I stopped and set another goal to go another week. Eventually I got to the point where the week would end and I wouldn't have the desire to touch them because I would tell myself "they haven't changed in the last x number of weeks why would they have changed now." During the in between times when I wasn't checking the nodes, I would practice the thought challenges each time I had the urge to check.

    Overall this process took two - three months. Simultaneously, I was in therapy working through the underlying issues of my HA. I also added meditation to my practice which gave me greater resiliency to combat the thoughts. One final thing was that I read Happiness Trap by Russ Harris. Life changing!

    I still have moments of anxiety and have learned that HA will be a forever companion of mine however I can actively manage it.

    Best Wishes
    __________________
    I asked myself one day, "What if I actually don't have cancer? What if I'm not really dying? Then surely I'm alive and should be living."

    Not a doctor or a psychologist, just a guy who's been to a lot of them.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    165

    Re: Armpit lumps? Maybe?

    That’s so crazy that you said that because I did order that book over the summer after seeing someone mention it here in another post (could have been you??) and I just haven’t gotten around to reading it.

    I should probably dig for that book instead of lymph nodes is what you are saying...

    I tried doing this this morning, visually checking my neck and armpit and then saying I’m not coming back in here to do this again until tomorrow...we will see how it goes. There’s one puffy spot on my right side of my neck that’s never been there before and I can feel a node underneath...I am hoping that I just self-enlarged it by my previous poking spree from several days ago.

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