Scared and waiting please help



 My name is Shane. I'm 30 and literally terrified on a daily basis. I'm literally always finding something wrong with myself and after a quick Google, headed to the doctor thinking the worst. 

 ...this time is a bit different.

I've been having this odd feeling every time I swallow, like something is in my throat. Similar to the "knot" experienced when people cry. I've had tonsil stones in the past, and I'm now having a similar feeling when I swallow. So, after inspecting my throat, I notice a little white dot on each tonsil, and a few tiny bumps scattered toward the back of my throat and 2 near my right tonsil. At first, I'm thinking that these white spots on my tonsils are more "tonsil stones", which with a little pressure from a q- tip , usually come out. Not this time..

I go see my GP which refers me to an ENT. While at my ENT appointment I am trying to relay all of my concerns to the doc. He seemed a bit rushed, he takes a quick look in my nose, then quick look in my mouth, poked at something and said: "you have a growth in your right tonsil, we need to remove your tonsils." I respond with: "what kind of growth, is it cancerous?" To which he says: "I can't say anything until after we remove the tonsils and send for biopsy"

I asked him about the other little bumps around the throat and he said: "did you have chicken pox as a child?" I said"yes" he said: "that's all that is, no worry, stress makes them come and go."

So he sends me to the next room over to schedule the tonsilectomy. The earliest they have is Feb 2nd. Almost a month away!


I am literally freaking out right now and have been depressed the past few days. I have a wife, and children. I don't want to leave them! I've literally been looking at funeral costs, trying to figure out life insurance and trying to figure out the amount my family will need in the worst case.


I'm sorry, I feel so selfish complaining without an actual diagnosis yet, I guess I'm just hoping to hear from people who've experienced this. I'm just so scared!


What do I do? What can I expect? If it is Cancer, what does my future look like/procedures? What is life expectancy? Should I get a second opinion? I'm so scared. I just want to watch my children grow up.


I'm 30, I've been dipping tobacco for over 3 years.

I live in Tennessee. 

I just woke up yesterday and my submandibular lymph nodes (under each side of jaw), I've been tired all the time and have a stiff neck with intermitant headaches and ear aches. 

I called my Pcp about the swollen nodes and he said not to worry, they're probably not related.  He said I'm probably fighting an infection. I don' have any other symptoms though. No cold symptoms or sore throat symptoms. 


I'm freaking out. I have a wife and 7 children and I want to watch them grow. I'm now a little over 2 weeks out from the tonsilectomy. I'm so scared.


  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,722 Member
    edited January 2018 #2
    all aboard the welcome train


    Welcome to the H&N forum, you are not official but what the heck.

    Doctor google is likely to over diagnose you, surf at your own peril .

    I am not familiar with your symptoms, I had only a swollen lymph node as an invitation to stage IVa, scc, bot, 1 lymph node, hpv+ (surgery, rads & Erbitux).  I had no pain, no white  spots.

    To be “real here” you need a positive biopsy, you do not (that is good).

    Don’t freak out, your wife is not losing you.  You probably just need a tune-up.

    Complain all you want, if you are a true H&N member you will have ample opportunity.

    I can tell the future of those who follow the standard path, dry mouth, sore mouth, tongue & throat, no taste, hard to swallow, tired, nauseated, etc…there are a bunch (look around).

    Yeah, get a second opinion.

    See if you continue to dip tobacco after this.

    You woke up, that is good.  My lymph node was my indicator. No pain, no stiff anything.

    Swollen nodes are one of the big indicators, ask 100 people on here.

    Still freaking out, have a chew, have a beer, leave Dr. Google alone, take a tranquilizer.

    Your family is not going to get rid of you, face whatever it is, take care of it and get on with your life.

    You are interesting.



  • OKCnative
    OKCnative Member Posts: 326 Member
    edited January 2018 #3
    I'd say all you really need

    I'd say all you really need right now is to take a few deep breathes.

    Tonsils in adults can cause all kinds of problems - one reason mine were removed as a child.

    Like Matt said, easily 80%+ of people here got their first indication from nothing more than a swollen lymphnode in their neck - no spots, no stiffness, just a small lump.

    It's true SCC most often materializes either at the base of tongue (BOT) or a tonsil. But, lots of other infections can happen in adult tonsils too.

    Regarldess, you're on it, you didn't ignore it for years, so the odds say that even if you get a cancer diagnosis, you'll be just fine. A few months of treatmeant that is absolutely no fun. But, when it's over, you often have a hard time recalling how bad it really was and you simply go on with a better appreciation for life.

  • Tonita
    Tonita Member Posts: 197 Member
    edited January 2018 #4
    I think you're getting way

    I think you're getting way ahead of yourself and you might benefit to chat with your doctor and some anti anxiety meds.  It might help to slow down your brain so you can think rationally about your current situation. Right now, how can you deal with anything while you are hysterical.  Slow down and get a grip.

  • patricke
    patricke Member Posts: 570

    Hey Shane,

    It's time to stop the train, you are wrecking yourself.  Freaking out does not help, so I first suggest calming down, take some slow deep breaths, and tune into WDVX (Knoxville) for some great musical diversion.  Second, getting a second (see what I did there) opinion from an ENT who specializes in head and neck cancer is a good idea; a second opinion saved my life.  Third, stop googling.  Fourth, stop dipping, why bait the Beast.  I sincerely hope that you do not become a member of our Beast Warriors, but if so, you just do what needs to be done.  I had my BOT (base of tongue) surgery battle with the Beast in September of 2000, and yes, I've had plenty of ups and downs, but overall, I'm surthriving, and lov'in life.  So, stop getting ahead of yourself, and catastrophizing, but rather, stay focused on the here and now, taking one day at a time, and keeping your zeroing in, on your near term game plan  actions.   I hope that you get a NED (no evidence of disease) report. 


  • Chicklette
    Chicklette Member Posts: 225
    It’s not cancer until it’s cancer

    Don‘t get ahead of yourself here.  I lost several months of my life to anxiety when going through an unrelated health scare a few years ago. It does no good to worry.  It is what it is and worrying just makes you miserable.  Chances are, you are fine.  Even if it is cancer, you will likely go through a few weeks / months of unpleasantness and come out fine on the other end.  Keep your chin up!

  • aak16
    aak16 Member Posts: 24

    It's hard to relax when you think you might have cancer, but here's the good news. If you do get a positive cancer diagnosis, treatment will most likely get rid of it. Don't continue looking at funeral costs!!! While treatment could kick your butt, you'll most likely make it out alive! I get the frustration with the waiting- even after I got a diagnosis, I didn't start my actual radiation treatments until like 2 months later. If you do get a cancer diagnoses, they'll tell you to stop chewing. With this scare, it's probably not a bad idea to try to stop now anyway. Your chances of survival are probably super high (in the 90% - 98% range) so I think you need to take some deep breaths and relax. Good luck!