Waiting again!

Posted By
12/17/2013 3:02pm
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Replies: 5

I was recently diagnosed with a melanoma on Dec. 6th of this year.It was .30mm and 0 mitosis and no ulceration, but I still haven't had my WLE yet and am now in the process of waiting for 3 more biopsy reports to come in on some other areas I had removed yesterday. The doctor I am seeing now said he will definitely do the WLE on me once he gets my path report from the old doctor. He doesn't understand why they didn't follow up with me. He also said he believed that one of the areas he biopsied is Basal Cell Skin Cancer, but the lesion is really small and he believed the biopsy itself got 90% of it out. So the WLE will be small. And yes with Basal Cell you have to have a WLE. :( So the waiting is terrible. I don't know how much more of this I can take. My nerves got the best of me today and I had a full blown anxiety attack. It was horrible. Can someone give me some coping ideas here? I have tried to stay positive and I've tried to be strong for my husband and 3 kids, but really I just want to stay in bed and cry. This has really hit me worst than I thought and I don't think I can handle being diagnosed with another Melanoma. The one area he removed really concerned me because it itched and irritated me really bad. I keep trying to tell myself that it was only because of where it was located that my seatbelt and clothing rubbed against and that's why, but I can't keep my mind from going down the road of yes this is another melanoma and it's going to be worst than the first. Okay sorry for the long thread. I'm just trying to vent a little. Anyone please feel free to comment. It really helps for me to hear from others going through the same thing. 

In God I Trustsmiley!

Janner - (12/17/2013 - 3:55pm)

Coping is tough but pre-worry never helped anyone.  Concentrate on your family and the season and KNOW that this is just a bump in the road.  You have a great prognosis and that's a wonderful thing when it comes to melanoma.

Basal Cell is nothing - you don't need a WLE, you just need clean margins.  WLE means WIDE margins.  Basal Cell doesn't metastasize, so you just need to get it at the source and you'll be find.  Not even a bump in the road, just a little pebble.

The chances that your other biopsy is melanoma is small.  But even if it is something, it doesn't have to be bad or change ANYTHING regarding your prognosis.  I've had 3 primary melanomas - the first was in 1992.  I'm still here, still stage IB. 

It's hard to relax, but truthfully, you are in good shape.  Take a deep and just enjoy your family.  You're still here and imagining anything to the contrary is pointless. 

Best wishes,

Janner

POW - (12/17/2013 - 6:24pm)

Wendy, what you are doing is known as "catastrophizing". You are starting with one disquieting piece of information and, in your mind, you are imagining the worst possible outcome for anything and everything that could possibly happen in the future.  If 3% of Stage I patients get a recurrence, you will be one of them. Then you will be Stage II and then Stage III and then STAGE IV  and NO TREATMENTS WILL WORK AND YOU WILL DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH!!!! SOON!!!

Catastrophic thinking is very debilitating but, actually, it is a choice. Most people choose catastrophic thinking because they don't want to be surprised by bad news. Better to think about-- really believe-- that the worst will happen. That way, if teh worst doesn't happen, life is better than you thought it would be. If the worst does happen, you will not have been foolishly optimistic (how embarassing that would be!).

Since you are choosing catastrophic thinking, you are the only one who can choose to fix it. The only way I know of to fix it is to keep asking yourself, "How likely is it-- really-- that this bad outcome will happen?" How likely is it really that a Stage I (confined to the top layer of the skin) will progress to a Stage II (deeper in the skin). How likely is it really that a Stage II will progress to a Stage III (spread to local lymph nodes). And again to Stage IV and again to where absolutely no treatment-- now or in the future -- will work to stop it or even slow it down? How likely is it really that within the next couple of years you will be riddled with cancer, sick from treatment side-effects, and unable to care for your children or have any quality of life? 

Your mind is stronger than you give yourself credit for. It can imagine the worst possible outcomes for everything and leave you prostrate with fear and grief. It can equally well use rational thinking to get a grip on reality and allow you to go ahead and be a good wife and mother and enjoy your life. The best thing you can do to help yourself is when you start with the catastrophic thinking, FORCE your mind to away from that line of thought and into a rational, "how likely is it really?" line of thought. Changing your automatic thinking will take effort and practice at first, but soon it will become a mental habit with you.

Try it. I think you will be surprised at how quickly you can pull your head out of the catastrophic thinking mode.  

WendyD. - (12/17/2013 - 11:26pm)

Thanks to all who has replied. I appreciate the advice more than you'll ever know. I should have my results no later than Thursday so I'll update everyone then. My grandfather use to say 98% of what you worry about will never come to past. He said that in hopes of teaching people not to worry, but my mother took as I will worry as much as I can so I can fall into the 98% that never came to past. lol It's truly funny how different people has different ways of interpreting things. Thanks again. :)

In God I Trust!

POW - (12/18/2013 - 7:38am)

That is a very insightful observation, Wendy. What you are saying is that your mother was superstitous-- she believed that if you expect the worst to happen, it will not happen. That is as helpful as believing that if you throw a pinch of salt over your shoulder, bad things won't happen.

The problem is that you learned from her and now you are doing it, too. And this superstition is causing you needless stress and damaging your quality of life. And, of course, your children are watching how you handle bad news. They will learn from you and they will become superstitous, too. Is that what you want for them? 

I think that you are ready to let this approach go. You have the brains and the abililty to pull your head out of catastrophic thinking and back to a more rational and balanced approach to upsetting news. I hope you do it. Do it for yourself, for your husband, and especially for your children.

WendyD. - (12/18/2013 - 1:34pm)

Since my episode yesterday the Lord has really helped me. Today, though I'm still sick from a sinus infection, I feel alot more positive and am actually having a good day. My nerves are calm and I'm definitely less anxious than yesterday. I actually feel happy and am looking forward to spending Christmas with my family and hopefully taking in a Christmas play this Sunday Night. :) There is only one more thing I would like to be done before Christmas and that's my WLE for the melanoma I had removed. I want to be good and healed up by the New Year. I homeschool my youngest son and I want to be well and focused to get started back after the Holidays. Thanks again for the replies and the encouragement. This site has really encouraged me in many ways. The stories of everyone here has let me know that I'm not alone and that there is hope for all. And that right there is awesome! :)  

In God I Trust!