They sad I probably had cancer. Turned out it was mono. Is this normal?
posted by djpyk to Health & Fitness (30 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
In January of this year, I had a few strange symptoms--night sweats, extreme fatigue, flu-like symptoms without a runny nose, swollen lymph nodes. I ended up going to my universities health clinic, as I'm a graduate student. Anyways, it was a Friday, and I told the doctor my symptoms. I had a few tests taken (including a "quick" mono test, which apparently is horribly inaccurate), as well as an x-ray of my chest.
Well, the clinic doc took a look at everything and got really worried. The mono test was negative, and she didn't seem to see any problems with my throat. She consulted with another doctor, and sat me down. Basically laid it out to me: you either have lymphoma (bad), or sarcoid (pretty serious). I was to get a CT scan the next day, to make a better diagnosis and see if anything was spreading. I was blown away of course, but I had her call my parents and talk to them about the situation to make sure I or her wasn't crazy.
Anyways, I went in for the CT scan that Saturday, and she wanted to schedule a biopsy at a local ear nose and throat (ENT) clinic the coming Monday. After a traumatic weekend with some of that nasty CT scanning liquid, I went into the ENT. The doctor there sat me down and said plainly, "I don't do biopsy's based on other doctor's orders." He basically thought I was nuts, and a bit confused by the CT scan. He took a look at my throat and after about a minute declared, "Yup, mono, almost 100% sure of it." He also took a look at my CT scan "readings" and they all, of course, came up nearly clear, with just a few blotches where some of my lymph nodes were big. I ended up getting a "real" mono blood test, which, of course, came up positive for being a recent infection, and several months later I'm fine, but a bit poorer.
So my (open ended) questions: Was this normal procedure? Does mono get misdiagnosed for cancer often in people of my age (early 20s)? Should I contact the health center to let them know that one of their doctor's is a bit of a sketchball? Do people trust health clinics like this (I am much much more cynical of them nowadays, for obvious reasons)?
I ask this because yes, I do have health insurance, but I'm a pretty poor graduate student. My family helped me out since after coverage, all of this ended up being around $10000 before insurance, and $2000 out-of-pocket (all I have to say is... CT scans are mighty expensive, ENT checkups are comparatively cheap).
I also ask this because I forwarded my file during the "you have cancer" weekend to my friend's doctor-dad, and he took a look and noticed that the tests suggested that there was a very small chance I had lymphoma whatsoever. Also, the wary nature of the ENT doctor made me wonder that the clinic doc was... wildly misdiagnosing me. I also have no (that me or my father/mother knows of) history of lymphoma or even cancer within my family, which would seemingly improve my odds against having cancer.
Thoughts? Similar experiences? I've taken a few months off from it all, since I was a bit frustrated by the whole experience. But recently I'm thinking of seeking some sort of closure... The clinic doctor did call me the following week after everything to apologize profusely, but also tried to justify her position at the same time (annoying to hear that of course).
Anyways, (very) long post... thanks for reading!