Tuesday, September 15, 2015

So I get these episodes every so often of what are probably panic attacks. It starts as a feeling that I've suddenly been stabbed in the back and spreads from there to feeling like I'm in labor simultaneously to being brutally tortured. My muscles in my back and abdomen spasm and I can see them all tight. There's a myriad of specific symptoms but let's just say, it is the most excruciatingly painful experience beyond which I can even fathom when it isn't happening. When it IS happening, I don't understand how I'm possibly living through the pain. It's brought me a new perspective on the atonement which almost makes me question the reality of it because it's incomprehensible to me that pain beyond that is even possible.

Always these attacks happen out of the blue when I'm minding my own business, doing something happy or calm or neutral. Almost never have they occurred during a time when I have any special stress in my life, and not even usually immediately after anything particularly stressful. They just come, it lasts about half an hour, it ends, I go into post-traumatic-stress mode for an hour, and after a few days it's mostly forgotten.

About a week and a half ago I had an attack that would start to cease, then flare back up. It lasted like an hour and a half.  I'd intended to call my physician about this before, but that day really motivated me.

Today I had that appointment. I described the episodes, but my Dr. isn't 100% convinced it's a panic-attack. He (and I) feels it's the most likely explanation, however what I describe doesn't really fit in to what panic attacks typically are like.  Dr. R said he didn't think it is a case of Pheochromocytoma, but had me read about it and consider it so as not to rule it out completely. Basically, it's a condition of a tumor in the adrenal gland or something. He also looked up a cousin condition, also involving tumors. Again, it wasn't what he suspected may be the case, but wanted to consider the possibility since my symptoms don't fit panic attacks. Or anything for that matter. They don't fit these tumor conditions either. Dr. R had handed me a giant medical book to read about pheochromocytoma while he visited with his next patient before returning to me. I spent several minutes reading over it and although my own attacks really didn't match up, it got me thinking for a few minutes how scary that would be to be diagnosed with something like that. The statistics said that the 5 year survival rate is 95% for benign, but only 40% for malignant (less than half!) and that women are 3 times more likely to have malignant tumors. Yikes. The treatment is surgery followed by chemo. It sort of hit me, sitting there reading these things, how totally frightened I'd be going in for surgery on my adrenal glad and undergoing chemo. Thoughts like that don't put a damper on one's day at all. ;-) Anyway, we agreed the panic attacks are the MOST likely explanation.

But I had blood work done today, and got a prescription for Valium. Hopefully the former checks out and the latter works swiftly.

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