Hiya, i really hope this is not insensitive to anyone on Hiya, i really hope this is not insensitive to anyone on


i really hope this is not insensitive to anyone on here as i haven't actually been diagnosed with anything yet, but I'm very worried & just wanted some advice really, or even a stern word if i am overreacting!

For about the last 3+ years i have experienced pain after drinking alcohol. I can have 1 sip of any alcohol, beer, wine, vodka, baileys and within less than a minute i get a very uncomfortable dull aching almost cramping sensation that spreads through my kneck into my armpit and down my arm on the right hand side that subsides after about 20minutes. I rarely drink anyway, but when i have i have mentioned it to my mum, partner and friends who have all just thought i was being weird! and as i so rarely drink its never been a cause for concern for me, so ive just got on with it.

I have also had a dull ache in my armpit on the right hand side since September, i know it was September as went abroad and i assumed i had pulled something whilst lifting my son out of the swimming pool, but could never remember an exact point i felt pain if that makes sense, it just came on and hasn’t gone away ever since. But as it is only a dull ache and is only tender if i press firmly there then i have just ignored that too. I have felt around and cant seem to feel any lumps.

This may be minor but i am always exhausted, i have put it down to having a 2 year old and working 50 hours a week for the last year, but i get 7 – 8 hours sleep minimum a night, and my little one is a brilliant sleeper so my sleep is plenty and not disturbed. I have mentioned this twice to my nurse when i have gone for my 3 monthly contraception injection and she too has put it down to work and my little one. I have been taking multivitamins daily, drinking lots of water and eating more fruit to try and combat this but i still have no energy.

I get short of breath very easily, even just going up the stairs at home. i put this down to smoking, so i quit in October and now only have one cigarette in the morning. When this didn’t improve, i tried to be more active, so i make a conscious effort to go for walks on my lunch break and do as much light exercise whenever i can, but this hasn’t improved at all over the last 4 months.

Lastly i went to my local doctor in the summer as i had bruising on my legs without any cause. The bruises covered my thighs and were about 20 – 30cm tall by 5 – 8cm wide. They would appear like normal bruises and fade like normal bruises with another batch appearing week after week. My doctor just said he didn’t know what was causing them, ran some bloods and said they were fine and it was nothing to worry about, but i still get them regularly, and more recently i have realised that i itch my legs at night when im in bed, i didn’t put two and two together as the bruises are much larger than the area i itch, but that is the only reason i can think to be getting them.

I have booked another doctors appointment for Monday the 19th , and after looking on the internet the only thing that is linked with my alcohol pain symtons is Hodgkin’s disease, i know you probably hate people who diagnose themselves on the internet! And i haven’t diagnosed myself, but i have known for a long time now that something is not right with me and i just have a gut feeling, im not an ill person and i hardly ever go to the doctors, because i normally ignore everything, but i am so worried that i will go on Monday and he will tell me its nothing to worry about, run some bloods which will come back clear ( i had bloods taken all through my pregnancy and nothing got flagged up) and i will leave again being told that they don’t know what’s wrong with me.

Its all i can think about at the moment and just want to get answers.

Thank you so very much for taking the time to read this.

In response to hulla2012: I think it is wonderful you are being proactive about how you are feeling. We only have one body and we need to take care of it. I am recently diagnosed with Stage llA Bulky Hodgkins Lymphoma. I have a mass in my chest that is 14cm x 9cm x 14cm. UNBELIEVEABLE!!!!!! I had symptoms of low vitamian D, terrible sweats all day long, shortness of breath (which I thought was from smoking) and itching. I finally felt an initial pain in my chest that took me to my doc's office asking for chest xray. That's when the mass was found. I am not saying this is you. I am saying that taking care of yourself is what is most important. My blood work was pretty normal and my symptoms were not so bad. My doctor couldn't believe this. But I am now receiving treatment at a University and I have a Lymphoma doctor. An xray was first on my list, then a CT scan, then a Biopsy of tumor and then a PET scan. The biopsy was what showed the Reed Sternberg Hodgkins cells. So these are some of the tests that I went through to determine my disease. This may not be useful to you, but this is what I did to find and help myself. So continue being proactive, as we are the ones who know what is going on with our bodies. PS- quit smoking!!!!! Don't mean to be bossy or direct, but I quit because I heard I have cancer. I wished I would have quit a long time ago. I am new to this site myself. Please know that I do not have a lot of answers, but I have a listening ear. Thank you for sharing.

hi twizzles,

thank you so much for your reply, and I hope you are doing well? was your doctor responsive to your requests? im so worried to go in there and say this is what I think ive got, can you book me in for a chest xray just to be sure! Im not sure he will even take that seriously! but we will see, and hopefully he will see from my history that I very rarely go to the doctors or make a fuss.

thank you again for sharing your experience.


Hello again hulla,
It was nice to be at chemo today and see that you and Tony K responded. I am doing ok. I posted yesterday all of my info, but I think I did it wrong. This is actually very tough. Today was my 3rd chemo treatment. On my 2nd chemo treatment depression and reality set in that I have cancer. They say Hodgkins is sometimes curable, but my mind is extremely frightened. I actually spoke with doctor today about help and speaking with a psychiatrist.
My regular doc who found mass was responsive. I have truly learned how to be assertive with the medical field now. The one thing I practice, though, is kindness. Otherwise I might not get the results I need. I was like you, never made a fuss, that has all changed.
Like Tony said, keep us informed on how things go for you
Until then take care

hulla2012, welcome! Don't apologise for asking for help or advice, although as you have rightly spotted, this site is not meant for self-diagnosis. The important first thing to stress is, of course, that what you have may not be Hodgkins Lymphoma, nor indeed any form of lymphoma or cancer. It needs sorting out, though, and keep on asking until you get answers.

Having given that caveat, I think it is worth saying that Hodgkins does not always reveal itself easily. I have never had any reaction to drinking alcohol, beyond an inexplicable tendency to talk complete rubbish and become a nuisance after too much. I take it easy with the falling-down water these days, but enjoy the odd tipple or three now and again, always without aches or pains, even during my illness. This shows that you can't take one sign or symptom and generalise. Where my experience does follow yours - and Twizzle's - is in the shortness of breath. I was 10 years divorced from tobacco, but was overweight, and blamed that. Until, that is, I coughed blood - only a small amount, but enough to alarm me and to get the doctor to send me for an x-ray. Like Twizzle, I had a mass on my chest, and it was treated as lung cancer until the day we found it was Hodgkins.

I now know, and didn't then, that there are different forms of Hodgkins, the one unifying thing being things called Reed-Sternberg cells. If these are present, you have the Hodge, if they are not, it's something else. Problem is, there may be only a few, hidden in a mass of fat, scar tissue, antibodies, lymphocytes, and the first few tests may not find them. If it is lymphoma (I stress again that it might not be!), then the type must be found before treatment can begin, and in my case, that took 4 months. It all began with a chest x-ray, and that sounds an entirely sensible thing to ask for. Physical causes of breathing problems will almost always show on an x-ray, even if a CT or PET scan is needed later.

Fatigue was another big factor in my pre-diagnosis illness, as were night sweats and weight loss. I had no lumps in my armpits, although I was checked there on every review. It's difficult to do the check yourself as your arm needs to be limp and supported. It is best done by a doctor with the right experience.

Blood work does not show cancers unless you are looking for them, and there are many, including Hodgkins, that leave little or no trace in the blood so won't show even then. There can be useful data in past blood work, once the diagnosis has been made, where things that didn't raise eyebrows - cell counts, platelets etc - can be seen in hindsight.

Bruising without reason is something else that happens in some people with Hodgkins, but it also happens with a lot of other things. A Chinese proverb says that the longest journey begins with a single step. For a nearly-reformed smoker with shortness of breath, that first step could be an x-ray. That could show the next step, or it could give you reassurance. Let us know how it goes.

@Tony K

Thanks for sharing Tony

Cheer up Twizzles - by now, you might not have cancer! You could be going through the rest of the treatment just to make sure it doesn't come back. Sometimes curable? Most times curable, more like. I was told there was an almost 80% chance of a cure, so I immediately concentrated on the more than 20% chance that I wouldn't be cured, right until my first scan during the treatment. That showed the mass had shrunk by a great deal. I began to have faith then. 12 years later, I still have faith in the treatment.

Oh my goodness!!!! Thank you Tony!!!!! I have been concentrating on the 20% and my faith is there, but not as much as it should be. 12 years later is so wonderful to hear. I appreciate your positive attitude. I have been a positive person for years, but this cancer thing kicked my brain around and said don't be positive, be scared to death. I will try and concentrate on the 80%. I have one more chemo treatment then my scan to see if I stay on ABVD or do a clinical trial BEACOPP. This BEACOPP is very toxic if I need this. That has also been waying on my brain, but like you said I have been focusing on the wrong percent. Thanks for helping me smile today!!! I am so glad to hear you are well. Life is good.

Life: Part 2 - the bit that starts after treatment is finished - is even better!


I'm sorry I haven't replied sooner.....
I've been to the doctor who straight away refered me for bloods to which they did a full blood count, liver function, renal function, thyroid, glucose & bone test. My bloods came back okay in most but showed I'm aneimic & have a high white blood cell count. He then sent me straight for a chest X-ray which showed the lymph nodes in my chest are enlarged, along with the lymph nodes in the right side of my groin being swollen, but because it is under 2cm they are classing it as small. The doctor has sent an urgent referal to the heamatologist and has 'briefed' me on the watch and wait procedure (which is a terrifying concept.)
I don't quite understand what is happening & everything has happened so fast this past 2 weeks, but I suppose all I can do now is wait for the letter from the heamatologist & not let my head make me any more poorly than I am.

@hulla2012 Thanks for the update. I know there is a lot going on, but the good thing is that you’re getting test results & exams to help narrow down what is ailing you. Stay strong and take time to relax and do things to keep your mind off of this. Many blessings, JP