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Anxiety, Waiting, COVID vaccine reaction?

Roccoriel Member Posts: 3

Hello Everyone!

A few days after my Moderna booster, the area about an inch and a half above my collarbone got swollen and sore, with a smallish lymph node present. The pain wore off in a week or so, but it's now been 6 and a half weeks, and I still have a small lump (I'm guessing 2-3 mm wide). It's soft-ish, mobile, not stuck to anything, etc. I *think* it's slowly shrinking but I'm not sure. It is definitely not growing. I imagine I wouldn't even notice at this point it if I were bigger (I am thin and have very little flesh in my shoulders). No other symptoms (no breast or other lumps, nothing abdominally, no trouble eating [except when anxious!], no weight loss, no breathlessness, nothing). Been exercising as normal - and I exercise pretty hard without problems...up to an hour of weights and intense cardio. After the second vaccine, my axillary node stayed sore for a couple of weeks and swollen for at least a month. So I definitely do get swollen nodes from the vaccine and they seem to hold on.

I didn't have this until immediately after the vaccine, and have had a breast MRI in the last 6 months (normal), mammogram/ultrasound in the last 7 months and a pelvic ultrasound in the last 8 or 9 months (normal - it was for my IUD, but the tech commented on how "textbook perfect" my ovaries looked! haha). And a colonoscopy in the last 3 years (digestive issues - turned out to be stress). My mother has breast cancer, but was diagnosed over 60. No genetic cancer markers or anything like that.

I've heard some folks' nodes stay swollen for months after the vaccine, especially women, and especially younger women (I'm 36). So I imagine like my risk for anything sinister is low. Unfortunately, I can't get a doctors appointment until mid-March (which will be about 12 or 13 weeks after the booster). I'm trying to calm myself down, but it's so hard. I want to use the information above to logic myself into calmness, but it's so hard.

I guess I just needed to get some of these thoughts out of my head and written somewhere. Thanks for reading if you do. I'm definitely talking to my doctor about health anxiety when I meet with her.


  • parakeetsrule
    parakeetsrule Member Posts: 605
    edited February 2022

    Writing also helps me process and download information from my brain instead of endlessly ruminating over it. It sounds like you're well aware that the bump is almost certainly nothing to worry about, so I hope your post helped calm your anxious thoughts! :)

    One thing that helps me is listening to podcasts. The outside stream of words seems to make it hard for my brain to come up with its own internal stream of words. Funny podcasts are the best!

  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857
    edited February 2022

    Good job, you! You've answered your own questions. ;) You're right, there is very little to be concerned about. It's good to get a persistent swollen gland checked, so you'll do that next month. But given all the other things you've said, your risk sounds very low.

    ParakeetsRule's suggestion to occupy your brain with other input is great. Find fun, interesting, distracting things to do, create good memories of something besides worry. And remember, Dr Google is not your friend.

    Good luck.

  • Roccoriel
    Roccoriel Member Posts: 3
    edited February 2022

    Thank you both for your replies. I wish I could actually logic myself out of worrying! But you're both right, I should try to distract myself until the doctor's appointment, do fun things, try to relax. I have a ton of work to do, so maybe I can get myself to focus on that, too.

    And double right that Dr. Google is not my friend. Trying to do better at not asking his opinion.

  • Roccoriel
    Roccoriel Member Posts: 3
    edited March 2022

    Finally got in for an appointment this week. Doctor is not worried - says they (she felt 3) are very small, that the timing and location suggest vaccine reaction. She wants me back in May to check, but stressed that she isn't worried.

    At my request, she referred me for some health anxiety counseling. It's going to be a bit expensive, but I've been struggling with this for years, and probably once or twice a year, I go a month or more on the anxiety struggle bus, where my productivity plummets and I spend a lot of brain power on whatever the issue is. It isn't healthy, mentally or physically (in the case of lumps and bumps I poke them to the point of bruising regularly). I'm finally going to get help with this. <3