Blog: Living With Myself & An Adrenal Gland (Adrenal Medulla) Tumor: Ph...
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Adrenal Medulla Tumor

I feel very relieved, albeit a little nervous about finally finding out there's an actual medical reason for all my complaints of the last few years. It's nice to know it's not 'all in my head', like I was beginning to think it was.

Date:   5/29/2008 2:02:25 AM   ( 12 y ) ... viewed 16876 times

I feel very relieved, albeit a little nervous about finally finding out there's an actual medical reason for all my complaints of the last few years. It's nice to know it's not 'all in my head', like I was beginning to think it was. At least there's a name for my condition: Pheochromocytoma. There's a tumor, about a centimeter in diameter, inside my right adrenal gland (the adrenal medulla), which can be held responsible for my ongoing, yet sporadic symptoms:

Heart palpitations
Moderate and sometimes severe chest pain
Headaches
Water retention
Right flank pain
Generalized abdominal pain
Sweats (Once, I broke out in a full body sweat and soaked my whole bed!!)
Anxiety
Depression
Lethargy
Fatigue
Weakness
Low libido
Lack of appetite

There are more 'symptoms' but those are the main ones.

With the above list of symptoms, I've gone to several doctors. I've been diagnosed with such vague syndromes as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, anxiety/depression, and one even figured I was bipolar, since sometimes I feel very well, but then, as if in cycles, I crash. Understandable, I guess, that most doctors would conclude I'm a headcase.

I'm very happy with my current doctor. I've been seeing him now for over two years and he's been a godsend. He doesn't fluff me off or rush me out of his office and best of all, he listens. He doesn't act like a know-it-all, and he isn't condescending. I'm very greatful to have found him and plan to keep him!

After an abdominal ultrasound came back 'negative,' I felt very discouraged. Something had to be causing my persistent right flank pain! My doctor decided to do an abdominal CT scan to see if that would show anything. To my shock, amazement and ultimate relief, it did. They call it an incidental finding, when they find an adrenal mass while looking at something else; namely at my gall bladder. I was impressed!

I went for a second CT scan to get a better look at the mass. Luckily, adrenal tumors are rare, and even rarer, is adrenal cancer. At this point, my doctor doesn't seem worried about it being malignant and told me not to lose any sleep over it, but being human, I've lost more than a little sleep over it anyhow. I'm still worried, since you can't tell from a CT scan if an adrenal mass is cancerous, at least not little masses like mine. But I've done some reading. Apparently, only 10% of adrenal masses inside the adrenal gland itself (the adrenal medulla) are actually malignant. Some of them don't even produce any symptoms at all. The person has no idea they even have one.

And others reak havoc with the whole body. The adrenal medulla is basically what's responsible for producing adrenalin. When a tumor is active, it can overproduce adrenaline and dopamine, causing all the above mentioned symptoms.

The danger with this kind of thing is that it can cause a heart attack. It can also cause strokes, due to high blood pressure. So even if it isn't cancer, it's still serious enough to make me loose sleep.

At this point in time, my doc doesn't want to do anything about it, which makes me nervous, but I trust him. In August, I'm going back for another CT scan to see if the mass has grown or changed, at which point, I'll either have it removed or continue feeling like death warmed over.

In the meantime, I'm just trying to educate myself about this. I really am glad it's not all in my head, but now that I've come down off the 'high' of knowing it's not, the reality of it is sinking in. I just want the thing OUT of my body, like right now.


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Comments (2 of 2):
Re: Adrenal Medull… LKKip… 10 y
Re: Adrenal Medull… quill… 11 y
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Adrenal Medulla Tumor  12 y

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