Hello. I have been having the following symptoms for the past several months:
lump on right side of neck that is more evident when I turn my head to the left; sticks out more on some days than others
a hardness or knot behind my right ear, also more evident when I turn my head to the left; hardness tends to vary, once felt almost like bone, now feels softer but still harder than the same area on the left side
persistent pain in neck when I bend it upward or move it from side to side while bending it upward; pain seems to be mostly where neck begins at base of skull; pains lessens or goes away completely after messaging neck for a few moments, though it comes back either after several hours or in the next day
occasional neck pain and stiffness on right side of neck when I turn my head to the right
minor ringing in right ear, only noticeable when it's very quiet or when I plug both ears; got worse one day about a week ago but then went away almost completely, but it's still there a little
a cough, though that seems to have gotten better lately; sputum is almost always white or clear, though there have been occasions where it's more yellowish
some back and chest discomfort, presumably as a result of the cough; still there somewhat even though the cough seems to be doing better
mild breathing difficulty, i.e. it's sometimes be difficult to catch a full breath (leading to a need to cough)
a cloudy-headed feeling; I'm aware of my surroundings and my reactions to them, but it sometimes feels like I'm doing it all in a fog or cloud or something, like something's not quite connecting in my head -- if that makes sense
tenderness on some neck and upper back muscles, almost as though they were bruised; this happened more at the beginning, though, and doesn't seem to occur anymore
I have visited my doctor several times to find out what's going on. At first, he thought the lumps might be swollen lymph nodes and that all my symptoms were caused by some infection -- even though he said my lungs sounded clear -- so he gave me an antibiotic for the infection and a prescription painkiller for the neck/back pain.
The painkiller helped somewhat but the neck pain would still come back, and the antibiotic did not relieve the knots on my neck. So my doctor prescribed a different antibiotic and scheduled me for an ultrasound of my neck and thyroid, which apparently turned up nothing ("unremarkable," I believe was the term used). My doctor then attributed it all to allergies and gave me the Advair inhallation discus, which seemed to have helped the coughing as the day went on. But the lumps and pain in my neck are still there.
In addition, a few days ago I noticed some blood from inside my throat which I spat up after brushing my teeth. The bleeding stopped after I drank some cold water, though my throat has been soar yesterday and today as a result of whatever caused the bleeding. I know it was from my throat and not my lungs or mouth, but I'm not sure if it's connected to everything else. There has not been any bleeding since then.
What could all this be? Could it be cancer? :( Are there any other explanations? Has anyone else had similar problems? If so, what was the diagnosis and how was it treated? I'm just not sure what to do here -- do I have my doctor make an appointment for an x-ray? Should I get a biopsy of the knots in my neck? Do I make an appointment with an ear, nose & throat specialist?
Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!