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Could I have lymphoma? I feel like I'm dying.
May 26, 2002

Hello Dr. Dezube, I am a female who has been HIV+ for 18 years. Appx. 11 months ago I began exhibiting a strange set of symptoms that come and go in cycles:Severe itchy rash (some were small raised nodules and others like a hive)from the top of my head to my groin, severe fatigue and tiredness, an armpit lymph node that is enlarged, and bad night sweats. I feel very "sick and worn down". I also passed a painful kidney stone (my first ever). These symptoms set in suddenly (together, as if related to each other) and last from a week to a month at a time. The frequency and severity has increased. A biopsy of the bumps showed nothing, my bloodwork showed anemia (while symptoms were active) and my doctor says I don't need a biopsy on my enlarged and sometimes painful lymph node. I have tried claritin and benadryl, but they didn't phase the rash/itching so I don't think it's an allergy. My doctor says it's disease progression (my cd4s were 202-the lowest they've ever been)and will not perform any other tests. I was on Ziagen, when these problems began, but quit because we thought these symptoms were related to a bad reaction to the Ziagen. I haven't been on any meds for months. But, it keeps happening. Could the Ziagen have created a syndrome? Could I have a form of Lymphoma? Could I have Human parvovirus B-19? What should I do, my doctors won't test me for any of these and I'm tired of HIV doctors whose only answer is to try to find which new med combination their patients should go on. We don't die from HIV/AIDS, we die from complications, infections, diseases and med side-effects. After managing to stay alive this long, I KNOW when something is WRONG with my body. Please help me. For the first time, I really feel like I'm dying.

Response from Dr. Dezube

Given the size of the lymph node in your armpit and the fact that you have systemic symptoms (bad night sweats,anemia,and rash), it is very reasonable to have one of the lymph nodes biopsied. I don't see any other way of getting at a diagnosis. Depending upon the severity of your anemia and upon the nature of your symptoms, a bone marrow biopsy may be needed to sort out whether you have something going on in there. Lastly a chest x-ray or CT scans may help. Are you able to discuss this with your doctor or other health care provider? As for could this be ziagen, it's hard to know based on what you write. Parvovirus B-19 is quite unusual. When it does cause anemia, it causes profound anemia. If you find out anything, please write back and let me know. Good luck.

Is it normal for lymph nodes to fight off common infections?
Abnormal papsmear and cervical cancer. I am soooooooooo scared

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