Living with metastatic melanoma is far from easy. But there are things you can do to get through.
Other people living with the disease say it is best to:
- Take one day at a time
- Be kind to yourself
- Take steps to ease your mind and feel more in control, whether that’s becoming more educated about the disease, connecting with other survivors or finding ways to relax.
Other Tips For Coping With Metastatic Melanoma That Might Help
- Build a network of support. It might be your family, trusted friends or neighbors, a professional counselor, other people living with the disease and/or faith-based support. Having positive, consistent people to lean on can be very helpful.
- Learn about your disease and what it means. It may be scary, especially in the beginning. But being in the know will give you the knowledge you need to make the best decisions for you and your loved ones.
“People who are educated and informed tend to do better and have a more relaxed attitude, which can serve you well when dealing with a serious disease.” – Catherine Poole, Melanoma International Foundation
- Remember it’s ok to express emotions. There may be days when you go from being angry, wanting to scream at the world, to feeling sad and reclusive to then bubbling over with gratitude that your treatment seems to be working. These waves of emotions are normal.
“I try to stay positive. But I have days when I have a good cry in the shower.” – Donna, 51
- Ask a trusted friend or family member to be your advocate. Bring this person with you to appointments, especially if you are getting test results or plan to revisit treatment options. This person can take notes, ask questions and give loved ones updates about your progress so that you can focus on living.
- Try to stay calm and connected. Mindful meditation, massage, yoga, exercise and journaling can help reduce stress.
- Reach out to regain hope. Join a support group to talk with people who have been in your shoes. No one else can truly understand what you are going through.
- Focus on today. It may be easier said than done, but try not to dwell on the “what ifs” or “if onlys.” Many people with metastatic melanoma say it helps to share their wisdom by educating others about sun safety, regular skin exams and following up on any unusual spots or growths.
“All we can do is live for today and go forward. Don’t blame yourself or be regretful of past decisions.”
- Know your body. Examine your skin and pay attention to and report any new symptoms.
“You have to listen to your body. A persistent stomach upset might be something more.” – Donna, 51
- Delve into hobbies or other activities. It may help you get your mind off the disease.
- Take good care of yourself. Try to eat well, get plenty of sleep, exercise, be sun safe and keep a positive attitude.
For more information and tools for coping or support, visit CSC’s resource page.
“There may be a time to give up hope, but when you are first diagnosed with metastatic disease – as scary as it is – that’s not the time. There is hope and I’m here to tell the tale.”— Mark