Early Diagnosis Questions and Testing

Hi All,

Many thanks in advance for reading this and taking the time to share your insight.

I recently noticed a few strange symptoms that mirror lymphoma (swollen lymph nodes after drinking alcohol, slight nausea, and two recent evenings of night sweats). The alcohol effect is usually very noticeable (24 hours after 2-3 beers) however my primary doctor has never heard of this symptom and consequently I wanted to see where I could turn next for answers/tests. Its possible that the later two symptoms could be just my nerves due to thinking about the first symptom. The night sweats was mainly in the neck area and did soak the top part of my t-shirt that I slept in and not my entire body. The only other symptoms I can recall are a slight stinging in the axillary area that sort of comes and goes.

I went to my PC this past Monday to request a CBC and ultrasound. The ultrasound tech came back into the room after visiting with radiologist and said nothing looked out of the ordinary. I am still awaiting my CBC results however I wasn't sure what other forms of testing I can do to put my mind at ease? MRI or CT Scan?

My concern is that the lymph nodes where not swollen on the day I visited the ultrasound and therefore they may not have observed what I typically experience when things are different. I was debating requesting a second ultrasound scan just to be safe.

Can you please share your NHL and HL symptoms prior to getting a firm diagnosis and what tests your doctors performed to validate?

Cheers, JJ

Comments

  • vinny59
    vinny59 Member Posts: 1,032
    Hi JJ
    Hi JJ, I had cancer twice, the reason why I'm telling you this is because the first time I had a lump on my neck the size of a egg appear out of no where, it turned out to be squamous cell cancer, it was easy enough to see, the second time I had no visible signs that anything was wrong except a annoying cough. I got dizzy a few times and my yearly visit to my oncologist saved my life. She ordered a P.E.T. scan and found I had stage 4 NHL. If I never had the scan done, it would have been to late for me! It's a tough call,have you experienced any weight loss? I think your blood work will help to see if anything is not right in your system. Ask your doctor about getting a CT scan to make sure. You know your body, and if something feels off get it checked out. Sorry for the long post, good luck Vinny
  • violinist1
    violinist1 Member Posts: 33
    lymph nodes
    Hi,
    I may be mistaken, but i believe that lymph nodes that are an active part of lymphoma don't just go away. I would hop to another doctor asap. Doctors want it to from an infection, and they may suggest that to you until they figure it out. I think it is better to checkthings and to try and keep yourself under control until it is decided. In addition, symptomsandthe degree to which any particular doctor lists tham about you as positve symptoms varies from one doctor to the next. A few days of night sweats may beething and it may not be.
    That first cbc is very important, but in my case, nhl follicular, the cbc wasn't elevated. They won't keep testing you unless you need to be. The presence of a swollen lymph node in the office is the next trigger. A doctor would be rash to suggest that you might have cancer unless he were pretty suspicious.
    Let's hope that you don't.
    I have not heard of any connection between drinking alcohol one night and then experiencing the symptoms of lymphoma.
  • jimwins
    jimwins Member Posts: 2,107
    Hi JJ
    From reviewing your profile, I see you had an issue with
    thyroid cancer which apparently was corrected by surgery?

    Based on the fact you've already had a "dance" with cancer, I
    strongly suggest you see an oncologist and get all the appropriate tests
    to be on the safe side. I'm not a doctor but I don't believe
    swollen nodes go away with lymphoma.

    It might be a good idea to refrain from drinking for awhile until
    you get this all sorted out.

    I found this conversation thread regarding swollen nodes and alcohol.
    Don't use this to rule out cancer, just wanted you to know there
    are others out there discussing swollen nodes after consuming alcohol.

    http://www.steadyhealth.com/swollen_neck_glands_from_alcohol_consumption_t79092.html

    Please keep us posted and good luck with all of this!

    Jim
  • bluerose
    bluerose Member Posts: 1,104
    jimwins said:

    Hi JJ
    From reviewing your profile, I see you had an issue with
    thyroid cancer which apparently was corrected by surgery?

    Based on the fact you've already had a "dance" with cancer, I
    strongly suggest you see an oncologist and get all the appropriate tests
    to be on the safe side. I'm not a doctor but I don't believe
    swollen nodes go away with lymphoma.

    It might be a good idea to refrain from drinking for awhile until
    you get this all sorted out.

    I found this conversation thread regarding swollen nodes and alcohol.
    Don't use this to rule out cancer, just wanted you to know there
    are others out there discussing swollen nodes after consuming alcohol.

    http://www.steadyhealth.com/swollen_neck_glands_from_alcohol_consumption_t79092.html

    Please keep us posted and good luck with all of this!

    Jim

    Hi JJ
    I am surprised to learn that there can be a link between alcohol and lymph nodes but then I haven't really thought about it before but it makes sense when you realize that lymph nodes clean out the body so of course alcohol would affect them. Live and learn eh?

    I think that with you history of thyroid cancer this needs to be seriously looked at, your new symptoms but I would agree first that you abstain from alcohol to rule that stuff out first but also to just be able to have a look at your body when there are no extra stimulus rushing through it. I also agree that lymph nodes from lymphoma don't just go away, or at least I have never heard of that before. Do you by any chance have an infection somewhere else on your body right now that might explain the swollen nodes?

    Are your doctors checking sed rates (sedementation)? There are a few factors they check but that one was one that seemed to point to my diagnosis although its certainly only one possible indication and sed rates can also be up for normal infections too. A combo of symptoms will lead to doc's being able to figure it out.

    For me my night sweats were obvious. I didn't sweat all over either, it was really only face and neck but my pillow was drenched in the morning, not just a little damp. Also I was horribly tired all the time and slept alot. I did lose some weight too but had a little boy I ran around after all the time so I sloughed that symptom off. My swollen node appeared on the upper inside of my left leg and just came up overnight and was the size of an egg from nothing. It wasn't soft like you might think a boil say would be, it was rock hard. They say that if a lump is soft then it's more likely not to be cancerous but not always. Don't guess or talk yourself into thinking it's cancer, see a doc and get tested. Like someone said on here they probably won't test for things that they think are okay. You have to trust your gut too but with all the information in place first.

    There is nothing wrong with a second opinion too so I would go for that if you doubt the first findings.

    I am a 25 year survivor of non hodgkins lymphoma considered cured about 12 years ago. You will get there too, just hang in there, be vigilant but not paranoid. If you find you are having issues dealing with it all then most of us see counsellors to help us through our cancer journeys. They really do help.

    All the best. Let us know how it goes.

    Blesssings,

    Bluerose
  • JJ_2011
    JJ_2011 Member Posts: 14
    vinny59 said:

    Hi JJ
    Hi JJ, I had cancer twice, the reason why I'm telling you this is because the first time I had a lump on my neck the size of a egg appear out of no where, it turned out to be squamous cell cancer, it was easy enough to see, the second time I had no visible signs that anything was wrong except a annoying cough. I got dizzy a few times and my yearly visit to my oncologist saved my life. She ordered a P.E.T. scan and found I had stage 4 NHL. If I never had the scan done, it would have been to late for me! It's a tough call,have you experienced any weight loss? I think your blood work will help to see if anything is not right in your system. Ask your doctor about getting a CT scan to make sure. You know your body, and if something feels off get it checked out. Sorry for the long post, good luck Vinny

    Many thanks to everyone for
    Many thanks to everyone for the quick and kind responses. I have been holding off on asking for a CT or PET due to over exposure to radiation and the fact that I would like to keep the last 1/2 of my thyroid :)

    A lot of the message boards have noted an association between the lymph nodes reaction to alcohol and HL and NHL and have classified it as an early stage indicator.

    A few more questions:
    Assuming that the CBC came back normal I guess without any sign of a hard lymph node that I would need to resort to a CT, PET or MRI? Do you think they could do an ultrasound guided biopsy when my nodes are actually swollen?
    One other question on the night sweats - were these ever awkward enough to wake you up in the middle of the night?