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Thread: Ultrasound for sore jaw, swollen lymph nodes and my HA

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    231

    Ultrasound for sore jaw, swollen lymph nodes and my HA

    Iím 53 and have had health anxiety (HA) for 20 years. Iíve had lots of therapy and am better than I used to be, but I still relapse eg. today.


    Iíve had a sore jaw on the right side for a couple of weeks. Not super painful but annoying and worse/stiff in the morning when I wake up.

    Saw my GP today and she had a good feel of my jaw and neck and says thereís some tender areas that are typical for TMJ and some that arenít.

    She asks if Iíve had a cold or flu lately and my heart sinks because I havenít.

    She asks if Iíve had thyroid issues in the past and checks my bloods and sees I havenít.

    She wants to do a neck ultrasound to check the lymph nodes and my thyroid.



    My heart rate picks up but I try to act cool and leave the office. (I do this every time! I must get better at speaking my fears to her)


    Walking to my car I give myself a pep talk about how Iím not going to read the ultrasound referral.


    But my health anxiety says ďDonít be ridiculous. Of course youíre reading the referral.Ē

    So I doÖ



    Ultrasound referral says: Right TMJ tender to press. Neck examination - right submandibal/angle of mandible area of fullness felt / ? Lymphadenopathy ? Thyroid enlargement


    I book the ultrasound. Itís in 10 days and I drive back to work telling myself Iím not going to go down the HA rabbit hole this time. What will be, will be. Itís probably nothing or nothing serious.


    But my health anxiety says ďWho are you kidding. Of course youíre GooglingĒ

    And I doÖ



    A bunch of scary things come up but I donít have those symptoms so Iím able to mostly discount them as likely outcomes.

    But my health anxiety tells me donít get complacent, it could still be one of those things.

    You need to be ready. You need to be prepared.



    A few less scary things come up, but they mostly have pretty good outcome.

    So I comfort myself that if I did have one of those, the survival rate is pretty high.

    But my health anxiety comes back to remind me I could have an aggressive form that might not have a good outcome.

    You need to be ready. You need to be prepared.



    A few not scary but unpleasant things come up. My spirits rise, but my health anxiety jumps right in to tell me itís not going to be one of these. Itís going to be one of the bad things and probably the worst of them.


    I try to counter my health anxiety by saying actually it might be none of these things. My ultrasound might be completely normal and my pain might go away on its own in the next few weeks.


    My health anxiety snorts and says ďAs if thatís likely. You canít afford to think like that. You need to be prepared for one of the bad things or maybe more than one bad thing.


    You need to know everything so when it happens, you wonít lose control and fall in a heap.


    You have to put on a brave face for your family and reassure them youíll be fine when you get this bad diagnosis.


    You canít do that if youíre not prepared.


    So Google all the things, learn everything, be ready with prepared notes to ask the doctors all the right questions.Ē


    And I say. ďI am so tired of feeling and thinking this way."

    And I remember why Googling is such a bad idea.

    Sigh!



    To be continuedÖ

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    2,064

    Re: Ultrasound for sore jaw, swollen lymph nodes and my HA

    Thank you for that wonderful description of our minds! Brilliant and oh so true!
    Sorry you are going through the mill at the moment. As carnation said on my thread you kind have to ride the wave and know that however bad it feels, it won’t last forever. My own bet is your jaw will self resolve before you get to your ultrasound. Xx

  3. #3
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    Aug 2019
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    Re: Ultrasound for sore jaw, swollen lymph nodes and my HA

    I just read your thread. I hope you're doing better JoJo and I relate to everything you wrote.

    Thanks so much for sharing that.

    I think this midlife mortality check is so common but people don't talk about it much. Lucky we can do it here

    Between 30 and 50 I was always so scared about dying and leaving my kids. Then since I turned 50 I've just felt like a ticking time bomb, not helped by my parents both passing away from pretty horrible things, family history of horrible things etc.

    But thanks to therapy and the support I've had here over the years, I'm much better now at clawing my way back from anxiety town. My anxiety episode are much shorter and happen less often, but relapses still hit hard.

    Documenting every time my health anxiety comes to nothing is helpful as proof that the worst usually doesn't happen. Of course every time it feels like this will be THE time, but I just write it out anyway.

    I also remember all the times I couldn't even imagine my medical tests having a good result and my utter certainty this would be THE time - only for it not to be.

  4. #4
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    2,064

    Re: Ultrasound for sore jaw, swollen lymph nodes and my HA

    Yes I totally get that. My HA really kicked off when i was 30 and my kids were babies -
    i just couldn’t believe i would manage to stay alive for long enough for them. Now i am in my late 40s i feel like im entering sniper alley - which carries a whole new set of fears. At least, that’s how it feels today. Like you, I do have periods of calm where i feel level and stable. The last few weeks have been quite a major blip though.

  5. #5
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    Re: Ultrasound for sore jaw, swollen lymph nodes and my HA

    I just read this, Carrie, and it feels as though you live inside my head.
    __________________
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    Sometimes, it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness. - Terry Pratchett

  6. #6

    Re: Ultrasound for sore jaw, swollen lymph nodes and my HA

    THANKYOU for putting into words how I feel yet again. Youvd captured if brilliantly. No I will not Google, yet I know I will be chilled at the Dr but also in total panic mode. Think HA always been around all my life but as a woman of 64 (and yes I should know better by now) I am heading down Ďsniper allyí and the Ďmad busí as I call it is in the fast lane with no brakes - worrying and catastrophising until am exhausted. Such a waste of time as worrying actually wonít change any outcome. Like most of you lovely folk Iíve self diagnosed with dreadful illnesses for years. Now itís ovarian cancer. Blood tests tomorrow. Am obsessing about all that now. This fab group of people here do help ground me and like most of us I am hyper aware of my body and itís not helpful.
    Good luck to us all and HA is just the pits.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    231

    Re: Ultrasound for sore jaw, swollen lymph nodes and my HA

    Sorry to hear you've been going through a tough time JoJo. Sniper alley exactly how it feels. I really like what Carnation said about self care during HA flares. I've never thought to do that. I'm always so hard on myself for not being able to master my HA. I hope you can do something nice for yourself today that helps a bit x



  8. #8
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    Aug 2019
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    Re: Ultrasound for sore jaw, swollen lymph nodes and my HA

    Sorry to hear this is all too familiar for you BlueIris, but weirdly I find it does help knowing you're not alone with having these thoughts.

  9. #9
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    Aug 2019
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    Re: Ultrasound for sore jaw, swollen lymph nodes and my HA

    Oh Lindy I really feel for you. HA is so exhausting isn't it. I relate so much to the mad bus. You are not alone x

  10. #10
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    Aug 2019
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    Re: Ultrasound for sore jaw, swollen lymph nodes and my HA

    I'm off to the dentist in the morning. They had a cancellation and it's a long weekend here so I'm grateful I can see her but it triggered another manic panic episode this evening. I'm always so much worse at night.

    I've got a bony lump on the inside of my upper molars that I had a CT scan of 3 years ago and was told it's just a bone overgrowth (apparently I have a smaller one on the other side as well). Of course, good old health anxiety has been chatty tonight about that, suggesting it's related to my jaw pain and pain in my molars.

    Then I ran a finger over the outside of my molars (why?) and I think one of them near the lump has moved inwards so for the past hour I've been fighting with my health anxiety about all the kinds of cancer it could be.

    I'm anxious the dentist will say tomorrow that I need more tests and also anxious she won't in case something is wrong and it doesn't get picked up!

    Anyway, I've mostly dragged myself out of it the panic now. Acceptance is how I do this, which is good, but also bad because I do it by accepting the worst case scenario which is depressing.

    I feel like I'll never overcome my health anxiety until I can be more optimistic, but any improvement is a step forward, I guess.

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