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Thread: Right sided throat and ear ache, small but obvious lump/lymph node under jaw hinge

  1. #1

    Right sided throat and ear ache, small but obvious lump/lymph node under jaw hinge

    Hello,
    Just looking for a bit of advice, or maybe a reality check, I guess.
    In late February, over the course of 4 days, I developed an extremely sore throat on swallowing and my right tonsil swelled up very noticeably (the right side has always been a bit larger than the left, and still is, but only slightly.) I also had this weird horrible shooting pain in the inside right side, whenever I put food in my mouth, before chewing even, it only lasted about 5-10 seconds before going (until the next time I ate after a while.)
    On the 4th day I looked in my throat and saw a large white spot behind the swollen tonsil, I thought itís either a tonsil stone (had a few of these before, but usually on the front, not behind) or tonsillitis. Saw the practice nurse who confirmed it was a tonsil stone by getting rid of it! There was relief a couple of days later and it all cleared up.
    However, about a week later and still ongoing, I have a weird ache, bruising pain in my throat/neck on the right hand side only. Not like a normal sore throat, more like inbetween the tissues between the inside of my throat and the skin, somewhere in there, very hard to explain! It is there everyday but not all day, and tends to happen if I look right, look down or bend down. Itís like a hot, pressing, bruise ache, almost like there could be a lump inside and the movement is pressing on it and causing the pain. Iím not sure if there is or not though, thatís just what my mind tells me! And occasional ear pain in the right side only.
    I also have a noticeable lymph node about an inch below my jaw hinge bit, so about 2-3 inches below my ear I guess, in the place where my parents always used to feel when I had tonsillitis as a child. Itís been there for quite a while, I noticed it at least 6 months ago I would say, it could have always been there and I definitely knew it was there before this pain started. It did swell up 3 weeks ago, when I went back to the nurse who said my throat looked a bit red and put me on a weeks course of antibiotics. I thought that would be the end of all of this, but it hasnít changed anything. The node has gone back to the size I think itís been for ages, but itís always there and weirdly seems bigger in the morning until I press on it a bit. I try to feel it lightly and it feels like it moves a little bit if I press firmer, it feels harder and less moveable. Iíve also had some nasty itching, mostly in the evening but Iíve had this before in 2019, badly for a few months on end that drove me crazy, worried it was lymphoma, when it was most likely anxiety. It burns under the skin, but moves around, sometimes it goes, and comes back in a different place. Sometimes itís so deep in my tummy itíll make my foot jump! But it doesnít really concern me and seems to be improving.
    I saw a different nurse again at my doctors surgery last week (itís impossible to see an actual doctor, but any medical professional is better qualified than I, so I donít mind) and he was considering an ent referral over the phone, but then asked me to come in to have bloods taken. He checked in my ears, my throat, temperature, etc and said there was nothing obvious. Felt around my neck, said it felt fine, I asked him to check the particular place where I feel the lump, he said it didnít feel like a node at first, but then checked again and said it was (didnít fill me with confidence I must admit, but it was the afternoon when it feels a bit smaller! So weird.) He took the bloods which came back today, all fine except he said I have antibodies for Epstein-Barr but no current infection, but it means Iíve had it in the past. He said he tested for this as I admitted to being a bit tired when he asked me last week.
    Anyway, all in all, Iím worried this could be throat cancer from hpv as Iím only 34, or maybe because I smoked for 5 years from the age of 17 including when I wore metal and plastic braces for 2 years! Which I feel horrid about now. I quit when I found out I was expecting my first child at 22 and havenít smoked ever since and never will. (I lost my dad to lung cancer in 2014, and grew up in a family where everyone smoked, my mum apparently used to smoke while giving me my bottle as a baby! I canít put any blame on them, the dangers of smoking werenít as known then, but Iím digressing now!)
    The nurse said to try and put it out my head, if it continues over a few weeks or get worse, I can go back, but I do sometimes wonder if they think Iím making more of a fuss because I have known health anxiety and havenít yet had any of the things Iíve worried about. So a crying wolf situation really... Iím sure thatís not the case, they are professionals and they have a duty of care and all.
    Iím not one to be like ďoh no, Iíve had a sore throat and snotty nose for a week, it must be cancer.Ē But my symptoms do match up with those Iíve googled in the past (I donít Google anymore, but during my worse years after my dad died, I read a lot and unfortunately I canít unread it and I have the memory of an elephant) so Iíve resigned myself to all of this not going away over the next few months and me getting myself into a flap about approaching the doctors again, where it will turn out to be nothing again (probably after being referred to an ent) or this time, I may be justified in my concern. Iím quite scared, upset and also feel a bit numb - I know this process so well, but my signs and symptoms are so specific, itís so hard to not think the worst.
    Trying to remain positive in that lockdown is beginning to ease here in the UK and summer is on the way, but it just feels like thereís a dark shadow following me and stopping me being as positive as I want to be.
    I really wanted this to be short and to the point, and thought I had, but evidently no - thatís not my style!
    Please help if you think you can.
    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    22,492

    Re: Right sided throat and ear ache, small but obvious lump/lymph node under jaw hing

    The underlying fear here is cancer and that's a very common theme here. You have a history from childhood of tonsil issues based on your post but after all is said and done this applies....

    Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. It doesn't come and go nor does it stop once it starts.


    ​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/

  3. #3

    Re: Right sided throat and ear ache, small but obvious lump/lymph node under jaw hing

    Thank you Fishmanpa, youíre always a stabilising and sensible voice, and I appreciate your time in replying.
    Youíre completely right, the underlying fear is cancer - itís the at the heart of anything and everything Iím afraid of in life. Iím working on trying to change it, Iím speaking to a CBT therapist every 2 weeks (albeit by phone) and while there are some really useful practices, such as running a thought on, itís hard to change the habit of a lifetime - and Iíve always worried about health, even as a kid when I realised that one day we will all die. Even my therapist admitted to me that we can try and change our habits to a point, but our natural personality has a big influence over us and that itís ridiculously hard to change completely. But... Iím working on it.
    My current situation is proof in a way, the nurse said to wait and see, and so this is what I must do. Rather than phoning in a couple of weeks (or more honestly, a week or less,) Iím going to leave it 5-6 weeks and see how I feel then. I know Iím going to worry about it daily as the pain comes on and off, but who knows - it may all fade away. If it gets worse, I know I can always go back, but if it stays the same and doesnít progress in that time, itís likely fine and maybe a bit of hyper-focussing on my part.
    Again, thank you for your time in replying to me. I feel stupid worrying and wasting the time of a cancer survivor, and Iím truly sorry. If I could change one thing about myself, it would be this health anxiety as I know what a drain it is on myself, my family and the nhs. But I have to admit, itís pretty hard when I get symptoms of things Iíve read about in my darkest times. Iím better than I used to be

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    22,492

    Re: Right sided throat and ear ache, small but obvious lump/lymph node under jaw hing

    Don't feel stupid worrying and you're not wasting my time. Your reply indicates the progress and this is just a blip. As long as you keep taking steps forward, that's the key. And yes, give it some time and keep in mind allergies are really bad this year which may prolong things clearing up.

    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/

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