First Forum Ever Posted- Need Advice
I am almost (in 2 weeks) 24 years old. I have always read the forums but had yet to make a post. For the first time I am seeking advice, as this seems like a very supportive network. Whether or not cancer is my diagnosis, I do feel that some of the posters in these discussion boards may help me remain positive while seeking diagnosis. I have a health journal that I am going to be posting my information from, it is lenghthy so I will try to sum it up. Here is an overview of the things I have faced in the last year.
First of all I have always been relatively healthy. I had tonsils and adenoids removed at the age of 5 and remained healthy until the age of 14, when I wound up with mono. It took me years to recoop and feel 100% again. I went on to have two beautiful children. After they were born I began to have issues that were chalked up to IBS and endometriosis (clinically diagnosed, but not confirmed). I did not go on to concern myself... (note history with Mono..or.. EBV which raises the risks of lymphoma for myself slightly.
My weight has always been approximately 120-125 pounds. The summer after my 2nd child was born I remained between 135 to 140 lbs and was not making any drastic changes to lose weight as I felt secure with myself.
Around July I began to have pain so severe in my stomach radiating from my ribs down into my pelvis, hips and back. I thought it might be caused by my birth control (mirena) and was informed it could take time for my body to get used to it. I wrote it off for awhile. I began to have itchy skin all the time. No lotion helped with the itching, I even checked for bed bugs or other sources but it was a rashless, nagging itch. I then began to lose my hair and had lumps in the crevice between my jaw and neck just below my ear. I was informed that the hair loss could be associated with having a baby in the prior months. I had been alarmed that I had never lost that amount of hair after my first child. I wrote these symptoms off after speaking to a nurse on the phone even thought I didn't feel right about my symptoms.
In August after persistent pain in my stomach, persistent itching and still losing my hair, I called to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics women's health unit where I had delivered and had my mirena inserted. They asked me to get my mirena checked to ensure it had not moved or perforated anything and assured me these symptoms could be from post partum or birth control that my body was "sensitive" and the hormones were causing my symptoms. I went to a family planning clinic and had all of the tests preformed for a routine screening and the pelvic exam revealed that my mirena was in the proper position. My results otherwise were normal. They prescribed a precautionary course of antibiotics for urinary tract infection and sent me on my way. I still occasionally had abdominal pain under my ribs which I associated with indigestion.
In January while working an overnight I began to have a sore neck again. I noticed my throat itself did not hurt, just my neck where the lumps began to appear. I was working 12 hour shifts and assumed I was just getting run down. After arriving home not feeling well, with pain in my lower back and stomach cramps were so bad, I couldn't leave the couch. I took my temperature and it was up to 102.5. I took tylenol and ibuprofen to fend off the fever. The sickness took 2 weeks to completely go away before my swelling significantly declined. After the illness went away I was always cold. I would still work overnight 12 hour shifts and had to come to work with several layers on or I would find myself fighting shivers and chills all shift until I could go home and cover up. There were days it was hard to leave the couch due to feeling so cold all the time. I occasionally and infrequently would wake up sweating, thinking it was just a fever that had broken in the night and it would be followed by extreme sensitvity to cold. This persisted until Feb 6 when my daughter went in for surgery.
February 6th my daughter had her tonsils removed and I had family to stay and help out during her recovery. I took this time to go buy some new clothes for myself, now having some much needed time off work. A few weeks after purchasing the clothes I noticed they weren't fitting me right anymore. After a few more rounds of buying new clothes it was well into the month of March and I had went from squeezing myself into a size 5 or 7 to trying to shrink my size 2 and 3 clothes to fit me. I shrugged this off and thought, "maybe this is the baby weight falling off." I also noticed I had gotten so skinny that my coats and jackets were twice the size of me. I could no longer wear a bracelette I had for 5 years due to my wrists being so small. I finally stepped on the scale to see the numbers dropped from 135 (consistent weight since March/April 2014) down to 120. I still thought nothing of this. I continued to shrink my clothes in the dryer with all of my efforts and they would fall off me within ten minutes of putting them on. I spent a few days in May where I was so cold that I had the goosebumps for almost an entire 12 hour shift. It was nearly 75 degrees on this day. I consulted to friends and family who hadn't seen me in awhile who reassured me that it was probably just a thyroid issue and I should have it checked soon.
In June of 2015 I became ill after my kids passed their germs over from an upper respiratory virus. It started with my neck hurting. I thought i slept wrong when i woke up. After I arrived home from work that night I noticed a red mark on my thigh. I touched it and noticed it was painful to the touch and it was hard and pea sized. The following day I woke up with a full blown cold. This illness consisted of fever, neck pain, sore throat, stuffy nose, cough, and ear pain (on the right side where the biggest lump was located), and multiple lumps in my neck and groin. I had random infrequent heart palpitations that caused me to feel dizzy and short of breath while they occured. I stepped on the scale the beginning of that week thinking I had eaten pretty well, despite being sick and wanted to see if I had gained much weight from the last time. That's when I hit my bottom. I weighed 110 pounds, weighing less than I did as a freshmen in highschool I got very concerned as did my loved ones. As I realized that symptoms faded away but the lumps remained and my weight had dropped down to 104.8, I finally took myself to urgent care to be checked out.
At my visit with urgent care they took down notes about my medical history and my current infection. I informed the dr that I had not felt as run down and had so much neck and stomach pain since I had mono. She decided to check for palpable lymph nodes, which she found in mutliple areas of my body. She also ran a CBC and mono spot to see if I had any signs of infection. They called later to say that my blood count came back showing no signs of infection or anemia and referred me to my GP. I made an appointment for the following week.
I went to my GP who we had just switched to a few weeks prior. They weighed me and I still had not gained any weight. I informed my GP that my symptoms from the cold were gone my nodes were only decreased in size, but not gone. She ran more blood tests and a urine culture. My urine culture showed no signs of infection and no signs of sugar (diabetes). She told me she would call me in 2 days with my blood results. When she did get back to me about my results she informed me that they checked my thyroid function and my blood counts again and everything was checking out normal. She indicated that she would like to run 1 more test- a T4 test for thyroid. Those results checked out also.
I could still feel my nodes up to this point in time, they were not noticeably LARGE throughout June into July. On July 12th I began to feel pain in the oppoisite ear that I had felt with the initial illness in the begninnging of June. The lymph node next to the opening of my ear on my jaw was enlarged, hard, and rubbery feeling. Simultaneously the lymph node in my right groin (next to where a previous node had swollen in June) was a large as the tip of my thumb and rubbery feeling also. The ache in my ear was shooting down into my neck and causing my throat to feel sore. I had a low grade fever from July 12-15 of 99.1-99.5. Taking tylenol and ibuprofen every 6 hours as needed for fever and pain and is helping a little bit. But I am still feverish and feeling very tired today.
I am so sorry for the extremely long post, I just want to be thorough. Can someone advise me as to what the best step is to take next? Is there anyone who can sympathise with these symptoms and reassure me that they had a confirmed diagnosis of SOMETHING. I just want to know why I cannot gain weight or keep it on and why I keep getting sick with the same symptoms.
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