Home Forums Melanoma Diagnosis: Stages I &II Coping Methods

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  • #20488
    LPLPLP
    Participant

    Im having difficulty coping. Some days are better than others of course. But the fear is always here. I’m seeing a psy once a week and taking Focalin for my OCD. What is everyone doing for themselves to manage their fears and anxieties?

    #55529
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster

    Counseling is a great thing but what I always preach is to try meditation, mindful meditation has scientific proof of truly helping folks especially those with pain or fearing disease. The pioneer from Harvard is Jon Kabat Zinn and he has many books/CDS to listen to and workshops across the country.

    #55530
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Catherine recommended mindfulness mediation to me and I’m eternally gratefull to her for that. Thank you Catherine.

    I can also recommend EMDR. It’s used extensively for PTSD and by the armed services. Rather than describe it, I suggest you google it but it works great for me and compliments the meditation. When EMDR is used by a good life coach, you could have rather speedy results.

    There is also praying. During this process my spirit has gained strength. I’ve combined my praying with the midfulness meditation, actually, it happenned rather naturally.

    Most importantly, talk to people who are willing to listen, even for short periods of time. That is THE best way for us humans to process this kind of stuff. Part of the talking is also typing, like we do here. Please post here often. Unfortunately, you have plenty of company but you’ll make some friends too. You are not alone here and you’ll be ok.

    Take Care:

    Jeff

    #55531
    wpatterson4
    Participant

    A lot of it depends on your particular coping “skill set,” so to speak. With time, assuming nothing else happens, your fear should become less intense and more manageable, regardless of what you do in the short term to deal with it. The first year is rough, and so is the second. That’s the reality of the situation. Your life won’t just get back on track quickly if you’re the type to worry about things.

    From my own experience, I can tell you that it’s not a good idea to indulge a lot of the impulses that result from your anxiety. Don’t check your lymph nodes every day, because this could lead to your checking them every two hours, which ain’t good.

    #55532
    LPLPLP
    Participant

    Yes, I do just that. Constantly checking. Driving myself crazy. Every ache or pain and I go into a complete panic. I feel like my mind is a record, playing the same song over and over again. I feel a loss of control in my life. Like this monster is waiting to pop up out of no where.

    #55533
    wpatterson4
    Participant

    It’s the same for all of us. We know how you feel. Some times, the checking itself can cause the aches, pains and minor swellings that cause us to check even more. It can be a self-sustaining cycle.

    After my diagnosis, I began noticing several of the moles on my body and looking at them several times a day. I had one on the outside of my right thigh, toward the back of my leg. Well, the twisting involved in putting my foot on elevated surfaces (enabling me to check) and pointing my knee to the left caused a pain on the inside of my thigh near my groin. As you can imagine, this caused a lot of anxiety. I had to stop doing that.

    Lymph nodes can swell if you put pressure on them often enough or for long enough. I have what I guess is a “shotty” node in my neck that would swell and ache when I felt it several times a day.

    My method of breaking the cycle is on the negative side, but it worked. Just remind yourself that if you DO have a node that is positive for melanoma but not yet big enough to feel, you’re probably not doing yourself any favors by constantly putting pressure on it.

    #55534
    LPLPLP
    Participant

    The meditation….. Where do I begin? Catherine suggested Jon Kabat Zinn. There is a ton of information. Any suggestions as to what product I start with. How did you start? What were your methods? I OCD over things and this has sent me into OCD hell. Spend hours a day looking and examIning, reading… Don’t know why… Nothing has changed from minute to minute. So I basically am a control freak, worry wort and live in fear. What’s your suggestion on where I begin?

    #55535
    LPLPLP
    Participant

    The post is missing from me thanking you for listening.

    #55536
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster
    #55537
    chrisjax
    Participant

    I don’t know how you feel about meds but there are about a dozen anti-anxiety meds out there. I had to try a few to get the right one. For the most part they will all work it is just finding the right benefit to side effect. Most docs are pretty open to this. my primary gave me his first choice. Once I told him which effects I did not like it he switched me. After a few tries we hit the one that worked for me.

    Side note if you are going to try something new do not drive or go to work or be responsible for anything too important. They can surprise you in good and bad ways. Also I use this around biopsy times really bad days. These things are quite habit forming if used too often. As always talk with you doc.

    All that being said this is a great second or third option. Nothing beats natural meditation if it works for you.

    #55538
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster

    Yes, and some antidepressents work for anxiety too. A nice warm bath is a good way to relax. Exercise (aerobic) helps the anxiety levels too. Massage is wonderful if you have a willing partner or can afford to get one. A combination of strategies can work well and you should not have to suffer this psychological distress without finding a remedy.

    #55539
    Mike19342
    Participant

    Hey LP :

    I used a combination of things to get me through. I have GAD am a control freak and don’t like when something does not go my way so this whole journey has been quite amazing for me. I am really not into taking medication so I try to avoid it.. however, When first diagnosed I asked my GP for something and he gave me 60 zanex pills.. That was 2 years ago this October and I still have 60 of those pills left… I was afraid to take them. I worked out, meditated, kept my mind busy and focused on other things.. work, family, child etc. I saw a psychiatrist and psychologist and finally decided on trying Lexapro… WOW the first 2 weeks were HELL..heart palpitations, massive panic attacks etc…. and DONT drink on it at all…but it did kick in and worked to get me to a normal level. The anxiety calmed down, i stopped worrying about every little thing and adopted a much better outlook on things. After about 10 months on it and gaining about 25 lbs… you eat a ton on it for some reason… I decided to stop and came off it gradually… I try really hard now to recognize my triggers and panic attacks as well as some other stuff and work through it. My wife helps a lot…I make her nuts I think…

    Bottom line, you have to find what works for you. Its hard because people that react to things like myself and you apparently don’t react well to having their mortality shoved into their faces because we can not control it….. … well life and my body had other plans… Now I play the game of trying to beat the feelings that may limit me from having a good time.. I have been back out boating, Kayaking, parks, beach etc… I just take safety precautions. I dont want my anxiety to make me miss out on life’s awesome moments.

    Good luck with your journey.

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