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Thread: Palpable Lymph Node in Neck - How normal is this?

  1. #1
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    Feb 2021
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    Exclamation Palpable Lymph Node in Neck - How normal is this?

    Hi all! I'm new here and I'm pleased to see that I'm not alone in this lymph node/lymphoma fear. I'm 21 years old with pretty severe anxiety: I have convinced myself that I have had various cancers, diabetes, tetanus, swollen tongue etc; have had worries about my family, my home, etc. you name it! The whole pandemic as made my anxiety even worse. It's awful, and luckily, I've always been ok in the end. I'm blessed to have good health but not blessed with this severe anxiety!

    Anyway, my recent fear is palpable lymph nodes. To start off, I can feel several... if I look for them. The one I'm worried about is the one on my neck - right side. It's small, invisble (can't see it, only can be felt pretty easily), I would say it's about 1cm as I can fit it in between the tips of my index finger and thumb although I know it's not always accurate to measure something from the outside. I would say it's soft (feels softer than a bean but definitely feels solid and squishy but not super squishy if that makes sense). I can't feel it by simply brushing my fingers down each side of the neck but I can feel it when I start pressing around and since I know exactly where it is. I can feel another node on the opposite side in the same exact region but it doesn't feel raised, although I have been giving it a poke and prod for at least the past three weeks since I've found it (and yes, there have been times where I've spend a few hours poking at it in one session - I'm trying to stop but it's so hard). Both seem to be the same size about 1cm (kind of like a kidney bean or small edamame bean) however, the right one seems raised (probably from me poking and squeezing it). Though, I'm still freaked out. I will say that I am very thin; 5'8 and 133lbs and I read that it's easy to feel in slim individuals.

    Otherwise, I feel completely fine, I have had normal CBC and I have seen two doctors: my original pediatrician (about three weeks ago) and a new adult GP (a week ago) - who is great btw! - and they both felt it and have said that what I'm feeling is normal and they aren't concerned in the slightest. Words from my adult GP: "That lymph node is not concerning at all! I'm not worried about it!" - and she gave me after visit report stating that it was a "normal sized, soft, movable lymph node". My anxiety has gotten in the way despite these reassurances and I have wondered whether or not she was feeling what I'm feeling or if she was feeling a palpable vein that is right next to it - however I have to remind myself that I have seen two trained doctors who have been doctors for decades and if they were concerned, they would've sent for more tests. I was surprised by the way they felt it compared to the way I feel my neck. They lightly pressed around while I seem to press with a bit of pressure and dig around. I can also feel two other nodes each side on my neck and one tiny pea sized one in my submandibular region.

    To be honest, I feel like I may have never even noticed these things unless I looked for them. I'm honestly not sure how long they've been palpable because I simply don't prod around my neck the way I do now (anxiously!). They're not visible except for the right side one that I can only see if I bend my neck far (and even then it's hard to see - I've taken a photo and can't see it) but other than that, can't see it only can be felt. Despite having reassurance from my doctors, I just still can't help but worry. I was fine for a few days - but then, the anxiety picked right back up. I seriously don't know what to do at this point.

    Can poking/pressing/proddng nodes make them more defined and swell? I feel like during the days I was fine, it felt small, softer and even non-existent, but as soon as the anxiety picked up - it feels HUGE! I hate anxiety so much.
    Last edited by tsmc223; 16-02-21 at 05:07.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Re: Palpable Lymph Node in Neck - How normal is this?

    tsmc223

    Wow, this sounds just like me when I began my lymph node journey. This is just so relatable.

    It sounds to me like you have received a 100% clean bill of health. Now the next step is to work on adjusting your thought patterns. Instead of asking, "What if", instead remind yourself that you've been given the all clear and that everything is fine. It takes practice but it is possible to change these thought patterns and get out of this cycle.

    In answer to your last question, yes, you can cause your nodes to swell by poking and prodding. Stop touching them and move forward.

    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
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    Re: Palpable Lymph Node in Neck - How normal is this?

    I'm a H&N cancer survivor. If you do a search, you'll see my replies. They all apply here.

    Positive thoughts
    __________________
    "Eat. Drink. Enjoy the work you do. Be thankful for the blessings God gives you in this life. Live, love and seek out the things that bring your heart joy. The rest is meaningless... Like chasing the wind." King Solomon

    The best help is the help you give yourself! http://cbt4panic.org/

  4. #4
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    Re: Palpable Lymph Node in Neck - How normal is this?

    Thanks for your response. It’s honestly so hard to not think about it and not poke it at it. I’ve done well today at not poking at it, I’ve had a few feels today but I’m trying to limit myself.

    I guess you’re right in that seeing doctors who are not concerned is a good sign. I can’t help but think about the what if’s.

    How are you doing now? Have you had palpable lymph nodes in your neck, and how do they feel? The one In freaking out about feels like a smooth, soft but firm bean. (Probably would be softer if I didn’t spend three weeks poking at it.) This is definitely one of the worst anxieties I’ve had thus far.

  5. #5
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    Re: Palpable Lymph Node in Neck - How normal is this?

    Hey there - thanks! I've actually been lurking the forums for a while and seeing a lot of your responses have calmed me down - but then the anxiety picks right back up! I know my doctor wasn't concerned, and she even said my nodes were movable and soft but to me the feel firm and not movable! I guess these trained physicians know exactly what soft and moveable means compared to an untrained individual like myself.

    Idk why it's so hard to find comfort in two doctors saying there was no need to worry.

  6. #6
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    Re: Palpable Lymph Node in Neck - How normal is this?

    Remind yourself that you actually do have control over your thoughts. It takes practice but you have control over what you dwell on and allow into your mind.
    __________________
    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.

  7. #7
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    Re: Palpable Lymph Node in Neck - How normal is this?

    Thank you. Is it true that obsessively poking at it can cause it to swell? Iíve been poking at it for 3 weeks straight and there have been times where I spent hours poking it.

    Iím trying so hard to stop. And like I said - I wouldnít have noticed it if I werenít feeling for them.

  8. #8
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    Re: Palpable Lymph Node in Neck - How normal is this?

    Yes, like I said previously, poking them will cause them to swell and could eventually cause them to never go down. This is called a shotty node and is normal. The nodes that I initially found and obsessed over became shotty and have not gone down to their original size. Don't be like me. Take control and rest in the assurance that medical professionals have given you the all clear.

    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.

  9. #9
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    Re: Palpable Lymph Node in Neck - How normal is this?

    Quote Originally Posted by tsmc223 View Post
    Thank you. Is it true that obsessively poking at it can cause it to swell? I’ve been poking at it for 3 weeks straight and there have been times where I spent hours poking it.
    1000% YES! In fact you can make them go shotty (permanently enlarged). There was a member here that for years was convinced he had lymphoma. Day after day, week after week, month after month and yes, year after year, he would post about his nodes and how they were swollen. He had seen countless doctors, had countless tests and scans and nothing was wrong. He remained unconvinced. He poked and prodded endlessly to the point that he had shotty nodes in several places. He was told they were shotty but was still unconvinced. He finally found a doctor that performed an invasive procedure (biopsy/node removal) from his groin area. Wanna guess the result? He STILL remained unconvinced. He hasn't posted in a couple of years but suffice it to say, I'm quite sure he's alive and well and who knows if the dragon is still breathing fire down his neck I have a feeling it still is :(

    The bottom line is that you have to gain control over the HA behaviors that are keeping you in the rabbit hole. Real life professional help and/or meds are something to seriously consider if you want to get yourself out of this pattern of self destructive behavior.

    Positive thoughts
    __________________
    "Eat. Drink. Enjoy the work you do. Be thankful for the blessings God gives you in this life. Live, love and seek out the things that bring your heart joy. The rest is meaningless... Like chasing the wind." King Solomon

    The best help is the help you give yourself! http://cbt4panic.org/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
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    Re: Palpable Lymph Node in Neck - How normal is this?

    Thank you. Your response gave me some assurance. Like who new one could feel these things in the neck and cause us to freak out. Anyway, after many weeks of poking it and this morning... ... I will try my absolute best to stop poking at it.

    My poking has definitely made it a little more firm but perhaps that's my anxiety. Thank you so much.

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