Melanoma

A support group for anyone affected by melanoma to come together, share experiences, and ask questions.

Melanoma 1a and coping with fears

Saomi
Posted by
Hello all,
I’m in my mid 30’s and I was recently (in April 2019) diagnosed with stage 1a melanoma and currently experiencing soul-tearing emotions, fear and panic. And although my friends and my sister try supporting me, I still feel completely alone and broken. I haven’t shared it with my parents as I don’t want them to panic and loose their sleep...
I also never had an experience of any cancer type in my family, but I lost two friends, who passed away from different cancer types, which adds more to my anxiety. 
My dermatologist seems to be a very good doctor, who very clearly explained what’s next and what I should expect, but my brain is playing mad tricks with me that I can’t overcome by myself...
after all tests and surgery I went through my doctor told me I should try to calm down, but these thoughts like  “what if... not all cells were cut out, or what if it spread but was not yet detected it test, etc etc” just make me go totally mad...
i will be so grateful for support and experience exchange!!! 
i am wishing all a strong health and peace in mind and heart!
latchbrook
Posted by

Hi and a very warm welcome to the online community although I'm sorry you've had to find us.

I can remember only too well had shocked I was when I was told I had melanoma (Stage 2a) two and a half years ago. You're in the very early stages of this diagnosis so try not to be too hard on yourself. You're allowed to feel scared but I can promise that one day melanoma will not be the first thing on your mind when you wake up and the last thing you think about before you go to sleep.

I'm presuming that you've yet to have a wide local excision (WLE) which will take away a further margin around the excision site to make sure that no stray cells have been left behind. Hopefully, once you've had that done you'll feel more confident that it's all been taken away.

I won't lie, I can't pretend that it never crosses my mind that it might come back but I think as time passes the more comfortable you'll feel. You'll be having 3 monthly follow ups for at least a year and also have the contact details of a skin cancer nurse specialist (SCNS) who you can contact if you're worried about a change to your skin in between check-ups. One phone call to your SCNS and you'll be sitting in front of your consultant a few days later to have whatever's worrying you checked.

x

 "Never regret a day in your life, good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience"

What is a Community Champion?

KTatHome
Posted by

Hi , as  says don’t be too hard on yourself, it’s early days for you and we all have a wobble and embrace the dark thoughts it’s a bit like an elephant in the room, then you get used to it just sitting there in the corner quietly, but you’ll have trigger points when it’s hard to ignore. If you later still find it hard to get to grips with the anxiety, you can ask to be referred for counselling or ask your skin cancer nurse if they have any local courses about coping with uncertainty. 

I found it very reassuring to think that feeling anxious and a whole host of emotions is normal, you might want to read the Macmillan section on coping I found it reassuring. 

https://www.macmillan.org.uk/information-and-support/coping/your-emotions/dealing-with-your-emotions

I find there’s sometimes I can distract myself and others when I need to acknowledge how I feel before I can feel positive again. It helps to plan in some nice things ahead so that you can concentrate on the nice things instead of melanoma. Sometimes it’s good just to either talk things out with friends or put it down in writing on here, like you’ve done, sometimes just reading things back can take a load of your mind, you can sort out exactly what’s bothering you and take one step at a time. 

Ive had my scan results today so I’m very lucky no measurable disease, again, people fear a recurrence or spread, and at one time I wanted to be a great example of hope, stupidly when I had a recurrence I found I was really disappointed that my experience no longer showed hope. Today I had the news of someone I knew passing away from melanoma, so I am mindful of how dangerous it can be, but today with my results I’m ok for some time to come. [little edit inserted here as I might next year be clear and off treatment for a very long time] The uncertainty will still lurk when making certain decisions but it will become a thought process rather than an anxiety. 

I went to the melanoma patient conference last year, and this talk by Rebecca on prevention and management of anxiety brought tears to me and several others at the conference as we identified so much with it. The link is below if you want to watch it, it might help your friends understand some of the anxiety your experiencing. 

https://youtu.be/n-cYnYDWuZc

I hope you find your best way of coping soon, the Wednesday wellness tips from Macmillan in the community blogs I have found really useful to remind myself of staying positive through the hard times.

best wishes 

KT 

Katarin36
Posted by

Hi im stage 1a too 0.67 depth ;im 3 months after diagnosis..how depth was your melanoma?

Saomi
Posted by

Hi Katarin36, mine was 0,46 mm. I already had a wider excision 2 days ago. How are you feeling after undergoing all required procedures and coping? 

Greetings!

Saomi
Posted by

Dear KTatHome and latchbrook,

Thank you so much for taking your time to respond my message and for giving me some comfort, as well as sharing helpful links! Really appreciate your advises and support!

Katarin36
Posted by

HI SAOMI,I HAVE STILL ANXIETY ABOUT SPREAD....We have good prognosis 97% positive and in 3% people is spread but we have to think positive...

Katarin36
Posted by

17th of may i have got my first epoytment follow up;im feeling fine but still ve got anxxiety but they gonna find some bed mole  or anythin in my lyph nodes....(hope ll not happen)...sorry for my engilsh :)im oryginally from Poland

latchbrook
Posted by

Hi and welcome to the online community

I'm sorry to hear that you're still anxious that your melanoma might spread. Hopefully with the passing of time you'll learn to manage your anxiety. If you feel it might help you could speak to your GP or your SCNS to get a referral for counselling.

I'm interested to know where you got the figure from that 3% of people with Stage 1 melanoma find that it spreads.

When you have a minute it would be really useful if could pop something about your journey so far into your profile as it really helps others when answering or looking for someone with a similar diagnosis. It also means that you don't have to keep repeating yourself. To do this click on your username and then select 'Edit Profile'. You can amend it at any time and if you're not sure what to write you can take a look at mine by clicking on my username.

x

 "Never regret a day in your life, good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience"

What is a Community Champion?

Katarin36
Posted by

Hi latchbrook;thanks for replaying ;about the prognosis told me my Skin Cancer Nurse;i think she set about the 3% of people it can spread in this stage