Still freaking out!

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Still freaking out!

Postby JennyMK0908 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:02 pm

Three months into this diagnosis and I'm still having such a difficult time! When does it start to get easier? Maybe after the first exam after the initial diagnosis is over? I have my 3 month check in a couple of weeks and I'm already having panic attacks over it! I'm terrified of the derm finding a new spot. I'm terrified of her checking my lymph nodes and possibly finding swelling. I'm just terrified in general.

What exactly are the odds of a stage 1A melanoma spreading with a .43 mm, no ulceration, 0 mitosis lesion, and clear margins with the WLE? What are the odds of getting a second melanoma? And it being worse the next time? I hate that this has taken over my life. Even though I've begun therapy to talk about this and I'm starting to dabble in mindful meditation, my mind races every second of the day. I feel like I'm losing my mind! I wish I could believe the positive things I see on here, but why am I always waiting for the other shoe to drop?

I apologize for the whining. I just feel like I can vent here and no one on here will judge me. I know there are so many others in worse situations than mine, and I should be so grateful to have found it early, but dang it...this is TOUGH!! :x :oops:
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Re: Still freaking out!

Postby Bella4444 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:44 pm

Hi Jenny,

I’m only just a couple of months into my diagnosis of 0.75mm no mitosis no ulceration and my derm has said constantly that I will most likely die when I’m 70+ of something unrelated. I then went to my gp as well...said the same thing...I then came on here and had Catherine say it’s very low risk. I have had three people who know melanoma tell me I’ll be fine.yours is even smaller than mine.

I’m going to a melanoma centre in a couple of weeks to get mole mapping done and although it’s recommended every 3 months I will be going every 6 weeks because that’s what it will take for me not to worry about missing anything.

Do whatever you feel you need to do to get your mind in a comfortable place. Mine is having checks every 6 weeks so there is no chance those suckers are getting missed and they will be found early if there are anymore which I now know there probably won’t be.

Do not look at google. Do not join other melanoma groups. I say this because I found so much misinformation about stage 1a...people tell their stories without understanding their pathology which can cause panic in others. The melanoma groups I had joined were quite depressing and it seems misery loves company they all seemed to want everyone to be down instead of positive and we can be positive as we got it so early, even the late stages have more positivity due to the amazing breakthroughs in the melanoma field.

I understand what you are going through I still have my moments and I’m on this forum everyday reading past posts because that’s what I need to do. I too freak out about every pain, ache and spot and I’m sure that won’t disappear for a while so until then I’m turning it into a positive and thinking if I’m this aware of my body then anything will be picked up early.

Im sure things get better, look at Catherine she is I think 28 years out! Vent all you want there are many people on here that completely understand what you are feeling and going through.

Xx
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Re: Still freaking out!

Postby readabook » Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:37 pm

i had possible melanoma in situ removed by wide excision almost four weeks ago. As incision is on my shin I have kept it pretty well wrapped whole time and it is almost completely healed.Though pretty red still and def dented!
I don;t think I will do the mole photography thing. I don't really have many moles to start- so think I will get checked every 3 mos for now. We'll see, but after initially freaking out then listening to Catherine and others I am calmer.ther stuff in my life tends to take over... More annoyed than anything as the time taken to heal a leg wound is hard. But I feel informed and hopefully prepared and will be ever observant. Take care. Hopefully as more time passes and you see your doc you will better. Let us know.
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Re: Still freaking out!

Postby Catherine Poole » Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:28 am

I also highly recommend Jon Kabat-Zinn's meditations. You can now put them on your phone in an app. He talks a lot about living in the moment and clearing your brain from overthinking. It is super helpful during stressful times. I posted it on our Facebook. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q ... EdcqDXlAq2
Catherine M. Poole, President/Founder
Melanoma International Foundation
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Re: Still freaking out!

Postby JennyMK0908 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:41 am

Thank you everyone for your encouraging and positive words. I'm not sure why I still can't process the positive aspects of finding this thing early. I am so focused on the negatives that it's taking over every thought of every waking moment. I have seen my therapist twice and she tries to put things in perspective for me (like the odds of getting into a car accident are probably greater, or the odds of having a heart attack with my familial history are greater). She has given me mental exercises to do to help with the calming of my mind, but as of right now...it hasn't kicked in yet. Why is the bad so much easier to believe?

I think maybe it's because I don't exactly have the most positive or encouraging doctors by my side. When I asked my dermatologist the odds of finding another lesion or having a recurrence, she told me that the survival rate of stage 1A isn't 100%, but the odds of finding another or having a recurrence are very low. I get that the survival rate isn't 100% for anything, but did she have to lead with that comment? Now that is what I tend to focus on. When I went to see my primary doctor, he told me the kinds of cancer he would rather have if given a choice. Then proceeded to tell me that his mother-in-law had brain cancer and didn't catch it until too late. Why do you tell a patient, who is struggling, a story like that? In other aspects, he has been positive, telling me that all the results are positive and I should take solace in that, but, again, I focus on the negatives of our conversations.

My therapist suggested I don't get on this forum for awhile, but honestly, it helps to be here, because I can vent and I get such positive feedback in return from people who know what I'm going through.

As for mole mapping, how do I determine if that's right for me? I do have a fair number of moles, not an extreme number, but I do have age/sun spots and some freckles also. I have tried to take some pictures with my cell phone, but those pictures are such low quality. I can tell location of spots, but not size, color or shape. I'm not even sure if my dermatologist office offers this service. I know my mind would rest easier if I had some guidelines of the spots that already exist on my body that the dermatologist has already checked a couple of times. I guess I will find all this out at my next appointment in a week and a half.

I do find solace from people like Catherine and your doctors, Bella, saying that these lesions are low risk and we can expect a normal life span expectancy. I wish I could learn to control my anxiety and not be on the edge of my seat every day. I guess it's a process that will come with time.
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Re: Still freaking out!

Postby JennyMK0908 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:44 am

Catherine Poole wrote:I also highly recommend Jon Kabat-Zinn's meditations. You can now put them on your phone in an app. He talks a lot about living in the moment and clearing your brain from overthinking. It is super helpful during stressful times. I posted it on our Facebook. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q ... EdcqDXlAq2



Catherine:
My therapist also suggested Jon Kabat-Zinn videos. I have watched one on youtube and plan on watching more. I don't know why it's so difficult to focus on the here and now instead of the unknowns and the what-if's of a future that hasn't happened yet or that we can't control. With practice, I guess, that will come.
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Re: Still freaking out!

Postby point30 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:27 am

The other replies have been really good, especially avoiding google.

Look to chime it have a read through my initial diagnosis- 1 year ago (I just had my 1 year followup and came back clear this morning!).

viewtopic.php?f=56&t=36389

I went through your exact same feelings of emotions. The best thing to do is knowledge. Catherine and the users on here are great people to listen to you, and I am back to help listen to others the same way others listened to me.

Finally, even though it's been a year I still think about the next 4 I have to through before I am pretty much told I am clear. You will have relapses of stress too but they will slowly go down over time and the more you become educated of your stage.

All the best- feel free to vent anytime :)
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Re: Still freaking out!

Postby JennyMK0908 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:44 am

Congrats Point30 on your clean check up! I have my first 3 month check next week. The nerves are already starting...actually they haven't subsided since my diagnosis on Aug 15! I have also made derm appointments for my sons (who are 22 & 23)...the first appt of theirs is the day before mine. I am so nervous for that too! I would absolutely hate for them to deal with the same things I am dealing with. They think I am being over protective, but this is something I need for them to do to ease some of my anxiety, even if it's just a small portion.

I try so hard every day to focus on the good. I have tried to educate myself on my situation. Logically, I know that a .43mm, non-ulcerated, 0 mitoses, clear margined WLE lesion is low risk. I don't know why I just can't accept that. I know the survival rate is around 98%. I know that the chance of spread is around 1%. I know that the chance of a recurrence or second primary is also low. I also know that the tests that I have had done (CT 5 months ago for unrelated reasons, blood tests, ultra sound) have all come back normal. But it seems that I focus on the glass being half empty instead of half full. I am also working on the fine art of positive thinking! :D

One day, one week, one month, one check up at a time I guess.

All the best to you! :)
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Re: Still freaking out!

Postby AngelaM1 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:03 am

I had a very similar diagnosis in 2011, except mine was slightly deeper. I had 3 melanomas in fact. I’m still here with no recurrence and no issues! Hope this helps...
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Re: Still freaking out!

Postby point30 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:15 pm

Thanks Jenny and yes yours is low risk. That is great!
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