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Thread: Extreme itching over for 3 months, normal blood tests, alcohol pain? Lymphoma?

  1. #1
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    Extreme itching over for 3 months, normal blood tests, alcohol pain? Lymphoma?

    Hi,

    I am looking for info from people who have dealt with this.

    I am a 39 year old female with no health issues, I am not overweight and I do not drink or smoke. I take no regular medications.

    I have been itching for 3 months - with no relief. It started with my thighs, but quickly spread to my back, hips, collarbone, lower belly and right arm (not my left) - and occasionally, my lower legs, and the sides and back of my head. I have never had a rash or bumps or dry skin. It gets worse at night, and will wake me sometimes 4-5 times. I have tried oral Benadryl, and Claritin - no relief. I have tried every anti itch cream and lotion I can find. Nothing makes it go away. And I don't mean it's kinda itchy, I mean - it feels like I need to itch on the inside - to the bone. I have made my arm, back, legs, belly and hips bloody from itching.

    I thought it could be allergy to something, so I cut out everything I could think of food/drink wise for at least a week. But I hadn't started eating anything new, or recently changed anything with my detergents or personal products, but I switched those too, just in case. It progressively got worse.

    I had not been to a doctor in over 10 years, because I don't want to go if it's not something serious. And most of the time, they will say, "I'm not sure what's wrong - but here, have a pill." But my scabby/bloody body and lack of sleep got me to make an appointment.

    About a week before my appointment I noticed that I had a small, but hard lump in my right armpit. But it wasn't very easy to find and not very big (about the size of a pea). So I didn't think I would mention it to the doctor.

    But the day before my appointment I started have severe pain in my right arm/shoulder that was searing and was making it impossible to sleep. I took ibuprofen, but it didn't go away. I almost went to the ER - but didn't, because I hate doctors. By 6 am it was just achy.

    The next day at my appointment, I mentioned all of this, including the lump, to the doctor. She didn't ask to see any of the areas that were itching me, felt my belly, through my clothes, and quickly felt my armpit, through my sweater.

    She told me that she thought my shoulder pain was caused by my lymph node fighting off a cold (I haven't had a cold in about a year). I told her that this kind of pain was definitely not from that. She brought in another doctor to assess me. She came in and said that it was nerve pain probably caused by me "messing with" the lump in my armpit. I was not impressed by this assessment, but my arm wasn't badly hurting at this point so I let it go. Both of them said that they were pretty sure my itching was caused by a liver issue, since most of the time, it is.

    My doctor ordered blood tests:
    CBC WITH DIFFERENTIAL, COMPREHEN METABOLIC PANEL, O BILIRUBIN DIRECT, LIPID PANEL, HEPATITIS C AB, HEPATITIS B SURFACE AG.

    That night, my pain was back, just as bad as before. It subsided a bit throughout the next day, but also came back that night too. It was pretty bad and I could barely sleep.

    My doctor called 2 days after the appointment to tell me that my bloodwork was all fine EXCEPT for the Hep C screening. And that I would need to go back into the lab to get a more conclusive test, but that if it was positive, that would explain my itching (which I later researched and found out that my kind of itching was very unlikely, until much later in that disease). I told her about my pain, and she told me to go get an x-ray on that shoulder.

    The next few days my arm/shoulder was my better - just a dull ache. Then I drank a kombucha, and within 30 minutes my arm/shoulder was hurting again. Then I remembered the symptoms that I had read about for lymphoma and alcohol pain. I drank kombucha (at least 2 of them) every day that I had severe pain in my arm/shoulder. But I had not had any for the last few days. I don't drink at all so I didn't pay much attention to it, and I didn't think that the tiny amount of alcohol in kombucha would be enough to do anything.

    After 5 days(!) I had not heard back from my doctor, so I called the office and she called me back. She said that my hep C test was negative and that my x-ray was fine. So she was going to prescribe me an anti-itching pill since she doesn't know what else to test me for. I told her about the kombucha, and she said that I had normal blood tests, so it wouldn't be lymphoma. But she could refer me to a dermatologist. I told her that I didn't think this was a dermatology issue. So she said that she could set up an appointment with a different doctor for a 2nd opinion. I said yes please and ended my phone call.

    Since then I have not had any severe pain, but my shoulder/arm still aches and gets pain surges once in awhile. I have had a few kombuchas since then and it has made my arm/shoulder more tender but nothing like it had been when it first started.

    At my 2nd opinion appointment, the doc I saw was pretty friendly, but not very knowledgeable. She kept calling my itching urticaria (which is hives/welts) but it's actually called pruritus (no rash or obvious cause). And she said "there's 3 things that can cause a false positive for hep c, and one is lab error, two is being exposed but beating it, and three...I don't remember." Talk about confidence booster. ugh. She ran the same blood tests and a few more for my liver, all came back fine. She felt the spot in my armpit but said she didn't think it was anything. She couldn't figure out how to look at my x-rays... but said that it must be fine.

    The only positive thing that happened was she referred me to an oncologist. I have not seen them yet. But I am concerned that I will look silly going in there - do oncologists usually test for cancer or do they only treat cancer?

    I have since seen my x-rays (I requested copies of them) and they don't show much of my chest - just a small portion of it, since they were focusing on my shoulder.

    I have an appointment with my regular doc tomorrow and I think I should push for a chest x-ray, since I have been progressively feeling out of breath for the last few weeks. I thought it was because we have a lot of wildfires causing bad air quality, but it's cleared up and I am still out of breath.

    Any input is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Administrator Top User ChemoMan's Avatar
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    Hi

    Well from your post it does not seem that you have Lymphoma

    Everyone who has come here with the primary symptom of an itch has never stayed...there are no exceptions to that. Pain while distressing is not a symptom of lymphoma. I agree with the doctor that said your prodding of that node that you noticed is likely the cause of the pain. You could also be developing Rheumatoid Arthritis or another auto immune disease which could account for all of your symptoms.

    A little hard node is not going to get a doctor excited...they have to get bigger than 3cm before the docs get interested. What you found is probably a normal node that you have aggravated by prodding. Keep an eye on it and if it gets bigger then seek further advice. For your information I had nodes the size of small apples under my arm. I have also have a small hard node in my neck for years but as it is stable I ignore it.

    I also noticed a rather concerning air of superiority in your post...you really need to stop confusing your few hours of googling with the doctors medical degrees. A doctor spends most of their young adult years studying and studying hard to get their degrees. For you to assume you know more than them is not only annoying but arrogant. The doctors may seem disinterested but they know something that you do not.

    Scans are of little use in diagnosing Lymphoma. They can be useful when it comes to HL but next to useless for NHL. Get that X ray if you want as the rads delivered in an x ray are low compared to the big dose you get with a CT. PET scans are no use in diagnosis as they will give lots of false positives and they are used to monitor treatment progress only.

    I would cancel the appointment with the oncologist and if you need to see a specialist then make sure it is a heamatologist...these are the people to see when Lymphoma is suspected. I would also relax if I were you and just keep an eye on that node for a few weeks before seeing the doctor again. Once a week in the shower is the best way to check with out aggravating the node

    The usual course of events would see a doctor prescribe antibiotics and then watch that node and wait from anywhere between 6 to 12 weeks. If the node grows larger then further investigation is required. Obviously your node is so small the doctor does not think it is necessary. If it gets larger then the doc may decide further interventions are required.

    In case you haven't already done so please read this link : https://www.cancerforums.net/threads...mph-nodes-rise

    Please do follow this up if you remain concerned but at some point you have to trust what the doctors say.

    Our door is always open to you if you ever have a diagnosis of cancer. In the meantime stay away from this place as it will only drive your anxiety into over drive. See a doctor rather than posting here as we really cannot help you. You can let us know how it pans out as this is helpful to worried people in the future.

    Good Luck
    Age 60
    Diffuse Large B cell Lymphoma
    Stage 2a
    Finished six cycles of R chop 21 26th May 2008
    Officially in remission 9th July 2008
    Remission reconfirmed 1st October 2008
    Remission reconfirmed 17th June 2009
    Remission reconfirmed 7th June 2010
    Remission reconfirmed 6th July 2011

    NED AND DECLARED CURED on the 2/01/2013

    No more scheduled visits to the Prof
    http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=9620

    RULE NUMBER 1.....Don't Panic
    RULE NUMBER 2..... Don't forget rule Number 1

    Great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

    I may not have gone where I intended to go,
    but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply - I am definitely not feeling medically superior to any doctors that I have seen. I have no doubt that they have a lot more knowledge about medicine and the human body than I do. I just want to know what is wrong with me but none of the doctors so far, seem at all interested in figuring that out beyond what is easy for them. I have been nothing but patient and kind - but firm, when I see my doctors. But I also know that I have been given advice by many doctors that I found out later was horrible - and it's hard to forget that. The fact that my doctor keeps telling me that I have hives (when I don't), didn't know how to look at my x-ray (and then just gave up on looking at it) and couldn't remember the 3rd thing that causes false positive on hep c screens, was a not reassuring. Oh and when I've asked them questions they've both googled the answer in front of me! I don't think mentioning that means that I am arrogant, just frustrated.

    I mentioned the shoulder/arm pain in connection with alcohol since I have read that some types of lymphoma can cause pain with alcohol. Did you have itching or alcohol induced pain?

    I don't think that the lump in my arm is that big of a deal - and I only mentioned it because of the possible correlation with the arm/shoulder pain. But I am concerned that there could be issues in my chest.

    I don't want to have cancer, I just want to know what it is so that I can move on with my life, since I cannot live with this itching. It has to be caused by something - it is severe - and has lasted for over 3 months now. I have been researching everything I can that has to do with my kind of itching, I have looked at diabetes (nope), autoimmune (nothing odd in my blood tests), kidney (nothing odd in my blood tests), liver (nothing odd in my blood tests), thyroid (I will be asking her to test that tomorrow- even though I have no other symptoms of thyroid issues), allergy (no rashes or other issues - and the doctor said that if it was an allergy it would almost always present as a rash or hives), nervous system issues (possible - but I have no other issues that are associated with them). I would very much welcome my itching being caused my something else - I am just not convinced that they have ruled lymphoma out. Being told that my itching is because "sometimes these things happen" (which is exactly what I was told more than once at my last appointment) is not acceptable.

    I am looking on the internet for answers because my doctor just wants me to take a pill to try to stop the itching - without knowing why I am itching. That is very distressing. I just want to know why I am itching, so that I can hopefully stop itching. Until then, I am a bloody mess - literally.

  4. #4
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    Your anxiety could be at least part of the problem. I was the Anxiety Queen but have found different ways to cope with it. I got through Irma with very little anxiety. Perhaps an anxiety med, meditation (I listen to Jason Stephenson spoken meditation on YouTube), walking,music,etc. Find what works for you. Don't go to Google. It will just further scare you. Like Chemoman said, unless you are diagnosed, stay away from here. It will only increase your anxiety. God bless......
    67 year old husband diagnosed with Periphial T Cell Lymphoma Feb. 2015
    5 rounds of CHOPE chemo put him into remission for 2 years....
    June 2017 Relapse....radiation planned
    Develops ITP, Low platelets....Hospitalized 3 days to be given Gamma Gloublin....discharged....gave prednisone but forgot to give scripts for that and Klonopin....results in steroid psychosis from Prednisone.....second time this has happened. Had one instance of it during previous chemo.
    ITP recurs....4,000 platelets
    New Oncologist called in that specializes only in Lymphoma. He changed Al to Decradon (Sp?), a steroid. Platelets went up to 173,000 but as of August 16 went down to 23,000. One more infusion planned in a week then PET scan and Dr. visit......
    Also caregiver to our 40 year old son who had a benign ependymoma tumor removed when he was 14 years old. 6 brain surgeries.
    Thank you God for all your blessings! 🙏❤️🙏

  5. #5
    Administrator Top User ChemoMan's Avatar
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    Hi

    After reading your second post here I can understand your concern better than I did 2 days ago.

    Pain after alcohol and severe itch can be the symptoms of Hodgkins Lymphoma (HL). HL Is easier to diagnose compared to NHL. because it frequently manifests as a large mediastinal mass and can be picked up by X Ray. HL is also easier to treat than NHL with survival rates at 5 years up in the 90% range.

    My initial advice to cancel the oncologist appointment and see a heamatologist still stands. Keep following this up until you get a satisfactory explanation for your worrying symptoms.

    Please let us know how you get on as this is important to others that will follow you with similar issues in the future. In the meantime try to relax a bit as Lymphoma is rarely an emergency that needs immediate attention.

    Good luck
    Age 60
    Diffuse Large B cell Lymphoma
    Stage 2a
    Finished six cycles of R chop 21 26th May 2008
    Officially in remission 9th July 2008
    Remission reconfirmed 1st October 2008
    Remission reconfirmed 17th June 2009
    Remission reconfirmed 7th June 2010
    Remission reconfirmed 6th July 2011

    NED AND DECLARED CURED on the 2/01/2013

    No more scheduled visits to the Prof
    http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=9620

    RULE NUMBER 1.....Don't Panic
    RULE NUMBER 2..... Don't forget rule Number 1

    Great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

    I may not have gone where I intended to go,
    but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

  6. #6
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    Doesn't sound like lymphoma to me. Normally lymphoma has pretty distinct features and gives abnormal blood counts . The lymph nodes from lymphoma are normally soft and rubbery and aren't painful to the touch. I would try to relax on this for now, and go back to the doctor if symptoms persist. Any pain in the shoulder caused by a tumor is normally caused by a tumor that would be big enough to be seen on an X-ray. I'm no doctor so this is by no means medical advice. I know it's tough but try and relax and Listen to your docs and let them figure it out.

 

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