General Question


What was your (or someone close to you) biggest health scare?

Asked by MRSHINYSHOES (13956points) June 6th, 2011

Recently, I had a fair amount of bleeding from a certain area of my body, and it came and went, then came back again two more times. I went to the doctor, thinking it might be something insidious like cancer, but after much worrying the diagnosis was inflammation and breakage of delicate blood vessels within me, from an old injury. What was alarming was the amount of blood that came out of me, and the fact that it was painless and unexpected. The doctor said there’s still a chance that bleeding can occur again, but I’m relieved knowing now that it is nothing really that serious. Have you or a loved one ever encountered a big health scare? How did you deal with it, and what was the outcome?

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22 Answers

Bellatrix's avatar

Glaucoma. I was diagnosed very young at a routine optometry visit. The guy basically said you have to go and see this specialist right now! Freaked me out and I thought I was going to go blind. Luckily, I haven’t and I was put in touch with two of the best specialists in the world and I have actually got very, very good sight now following eye surgery. It was quite a frightening time to think I could have gone blind and not have seen my children grow up. If I had lived in a country without such a good health system, who knows.

Even if glaucoma doesn’t run in your family, have a pressure test when you get your eyes tested. Even young people can be diagnosed with glaucoma.

shrubbery's avatar

When I was younger my little cousin was diagnosed with a large brain tumour and everyone feared the worst. Even if they removed it they were expecting there to be side effects, but everything went swimmingly and he’s now grown up to be a perfectly normal happy 13 year old.

Roby's avatar

Recently diagnosed with emphysema I thought my lungs were done for..not yet I am breathing normal without inhalers so far. But they are on the way to me..just in case I do need them.

meiosis's avatar

My mother has Alzheimer’s. It’s not a health scare, it’s a terrible fact. The slow hollowing out of her personality is painful to observe.

augustlan's avatar

I had two serious health scares when I was younger, but didn’t know how serious they were at the time, so there was no real coping involved, just surviving. I almost bled to death when I had my tonsils out at age 4, and almost died from thyroid storm at age 15.

Hodgkins disease: One of my uncles has had it three times, and when I was a teenager, I had a giant lymph node in my neck that was suspicious. I had a biopsy, and had to wait a week for the results. Longest week of my life! I thought I was handling the wait pretty well, until my dad took me to see Terms of Endearment, where (SPOILER ALERT) the main character dies of cancer. :/ Results were negative, though, so a big sigh of relief was the end result.

Kidney disease: In my first pregnancy, I started losing protein in my urine, started swelling up like a puffer fish, and when my blood pressure started climbing, I was told I had preeclampsia. They said the baby had to be delivered asap to save my life. That was scary enough, but in my second pregnancy, it was determined that what I’d had wasn’t actually preeclampsia, but kidney disease, again requiring an early delivery. My bio-father had died from kidney disease during this pregnancy, so it was a pretty big blow. The scariest, though, was in my third pregnancy, when it was finally explained to me that pregnancy + kidney disease is very dangerous, gets more dangerous with each pregnancy, and could kill me. A little late, no? Anyway, all sorts of emergency provisions were made, I was crazy scared I was going to die and leave my other two children motherless, and baby number three was delivered earliest of all. She is 13 now, and we’re both doing fine. Luckily, my kidney disease hasn’t progressed at all since then, and is still manageable with medication and lifestyle changes.

Vunessuh's avatar

A few months ago, doctor’s thought my father had muscular dystrophy and after much testing they determined it was mild dystonia instead (a much lesser evil), something brought on by his Parkinson’s disease. Years ago he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but they caught it early enough to remove it completely with surgery and nothing has returned since.

Last week my mom got the results back from a mass on her breast that turned out to be benign. Yay!

Glad you’re doing alright @MRSHINYSHOES.

jrpowell's avatar

My mom had a lemon sized growth removed from her brain on my birthday in 2008. They removed about a quarter of her skull and now she sets off metal detectors. I posted about it here when it was happening.

laureth's avatar

A couple years ago, my husband’s leg was painfully swollen. He went to work on it for a few days anyway, trying not to be a wimp and tough it out. He finally made a doctor’s appointment, and the doc sent him straight to the local ER where he was admitted and hospitalized for a week. Turns out he had massive blood clots all up and down his leg. If one had gotten loose and worked its way to his heart or lungs, he would have died. They drilled out the clots and put a temporary filter into the major vein leading back to the heart/lungs, and he’s had to make major diet changes.

My grandma died of breast cancer, and my grandpa’s now on the way out from lung cancer, but they’re old and you expect that sort of thing eventually. I didn’t expect my husband to be so close to death for a long, long time.

Aethelwine's avatar

Nine years ago I received a call from a co-worker of my husband’s. He told me Jon was being rushed to the emergency room with severe abdominal pain. After much testing, he was told he had diverticulitis.He had a hole in his colon and needed surgery to remove part of his colon.

I had never witnessed a loved one in so much pain before. Jon can handle pain, he’s been through a lot of surgeries in his lifetime, but this time was very difficult for him. There was one good thing that came of this. When they were removing part of his colon, the surgeon found some polyps. The polyps were removed during the process. If this hadn’t happened, Jon would have never known about the polyps until it may have been too late. Jon lost his job a few months after his surgery. He hasn’t had health insurance since.

tedd's avatar

A friend of mine who is several months older than me (so 26) contracted melanoma earlier this year. She had never tanned a day in her life.

Thankfully the tumor and all the effected glands appear to have been removed, and she is responding positively to the treatment (well as positively as interferon injections can be responded too).

bkcunningham's avatar

First of all, @MRSHINYSHOES, I’m glad to hear you are okay and it isn’t anything serious. I suppose the longer you live, the more stories like this you have to share. It doesn’t matter how old a person is, disease and sickness are always devastating to experience.

The first thing that came to my mind when I read your question was the experience of a dear friend of mine. She was pregnant with her first child. Into her second trimester during a routine prenatal visit, she was told her baby was developing without a brain. Anencephalic Fetus. She was advised by two separate doctors that they would need to abort the baby.

She asked for another opinion and went to the University of Virginia Medical Center. The appointment took about a week and a half to arrange. Turns out the baby was fine. He’s now a freshman in college. It was a very surreal time in her life.

filmfann's avatar

In the middle of a rainstorm, I ran across the mall parking lot to get to my car. After driving back over to pick up my kids and my Mom, I got on the freeway to go home.
While on the freeway, I began coughing hard. I suddenly found myself completely blind! I am driving 60mph on the freeway with my family in the car, and I cannot see! My Mom took the wheel, and I started trying to figure out how to get the car off the road. After 15 seconds or so (and it seemed like an hour), my sight returned.
The next day I began going to doctors to find out what happened. I had an EEG to verify there was no brain tumor, and doctors began noticing I have a heart defect, which causes it to mis-beat after exercise. What I am told happened was my blood pressure dropped quickly, and my eyes went into spasm.
It was pretty scary.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I’m glad you are alright.MSS!
When I found out I had MS and diabetes, I just worked on accepting it.I read as much as I could,found ways to handle it and am doing fine.
I also get a yearly “start” when I go to get a mammogram and the eye doc thought I had glaucoma for awhile….turns out I have retinopathy instead…I have found that it is not worth being afraid of anymoreBring it on.I’ll show you how to handle it.:)
.Life is too short to live in fear

Mariah's avatar

Well I had that same thing happen to me, @MRSHINYSHOES, when I was 14, but for me, the diagnosis was ulcerative colitis.
My biggest scare would have to be the flare up I had when I was 16/17, it was just so severe and for so long, I think I had…maybe 7 blood transfusions over a three month period, and I was on IV nutrition, and then I got sepsis on top of it all. It was just ridiculous, I went to bed every night and tried to make peace with my death because I thought I might not wake up in the morning.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Two run-ins with cancer, second time was only 20 months after the first tumor was removed, it had metastasized . Went through five months of chemo, that was 29 years ago. I watched two other guys with similar tumors die, one about 14 weeks after I was diagnosed with the first tumor. The other shortly after I started chemo.

Rarebear's avatar

My dad had pancreatic cancer and died of it.

peridot's avatar

@filmfann—yikes!! O_o

About a year ago, I thought I was having a heart attack. There was no pain, but I all of a sudden felt truly awful, with a feeling of something terminal about to happen, cold sweats, etc. An ambulance ride, eight hours, and $10,000 later, I got a pat on the head and was told I’d just had a panic attack, sweetie… here are some chill pills. You scoot on home, now.

Still working on getting a more detailed answer as to what really happened that day. I know very well what a panic attack is like, and I’d never previously experienced anything like that. However, the imaging and bloodwork all came back negative re: any heart pathology, so I can’t really dispute that evidence. With my family history and a couple of risk factors of my own, though, I’m really anxious (hmmm…) to get to the bottom of it. I’ve already lost a couple of friends to heart disease they never knew they had, and that day I thought it was my turn.

bkcunningham's avatar

@peridot I had a similar incident about nine years ago. Two weeks and numerous tests later, mostly for heart problems, it turned out to be my gall bladder was so diseased it was adhereing to my pancreas.

tedibear's avatar

After my very first mammogram, I received a letter saying that they needed to take a more targeted picture. (There’s a word for it that I’m not coming up with!) They took that, then I had to have an ultrasound. It was still inconclusive, so they did a biopsy. Luckily it was just a benign cyst. That scared the heck out of me though.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Mine was 2002 when I contracted pneumonia bad enough to go into hospital for a few weeks on round the clock watch. It sucked soooo bad that I quit smoking for the next 5yrs.

My current partner had a series of health scares when I first met him a few year back to where he was at risk for stroke, heart attack and organ failure. I almost didn’t want anything to do with him because it all seemed so sad but here we are, him doing better & better and us getting married in the fall.

ColoradoMom's avatar

Had a lump removed in my neck two Decembers ago. Turned out to be very rare form of Cancer. Not a really fun holiday season for me.


@all who responded and shared their experiences, and for your kind words——a big thank you!

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