5 ways to get through your melanoma diagnosis
Last post was about feelings you might experience after receiving your melanoma diagnosis. This post looks at what you can do to better deal with the emotions your melanoma diagnosis might bring about.
1. Allow yourself to react and have feelings about your melanoma diagnosis
Everyone’s response to difficult news is different and your way of dealing with your melanoma diagnosis is likely to be different everyone elses. And that’s okay. You might experience one, some or all of the emotions in the list above. Or none. These feelings might be steady or come and go throughout your day/week. Lots of people tell us they’ve felt the same way and hopefully knowing that, will make you feel less alone.
2. Talk to someone
One of the best things you can do is to find someone to talk to. A friend, a family member, your Dr or perhaps even a support group.
Even talking about it on an internet forum can help you express your feelings. Research has shown that people are more honest and open about their feelings when they perceive they’ve got the degree of anonymity that being behind a screen can afford. Don’t be tempted to take medical advice from people who aren’t qualified Australian medical doctors though. And yes, the internet is full of that too.
3. Take someone with you to your ‘next steps’ treatment meeting
It can be hard to take in all the information you need about what might happen next when you’re still in shock from your diagnosis. Prepare a list of written questions that you and they can ask. Then have your meeting partner write notes that you can both refer to later when the ‘overload’ subsides. If there’s anything you don’t understand, look it up or ask your Dr for clarification.
4. If you need help after your melanoma diagnosis, ask for it.
Let your doctor know if you’re distressed following your melanoma diagnosis, having trouble sleeping or have pain – particularly after surgery. If you’re feeling very negative about life and that feeling lasts longer than 2 weeks, you might have depression. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They can help.
If you need help at home keeping up, tell people. They can’t help you if they don’t know what you need. Try wherever possible to be specific. One of the things that stops people from helping is they don’t know what you need them to do. So tell them.
5. Look after yourself every step of the way
Whilst looking after yourself can seem selfish, it’s exactly what you need to do now. So do whatever you need to do to look after yourself. If you feel like having a good cry, find the tissues and watch a teary movie. Or if you want to keep your spirits up, find something inspiring.
Make sure to nourish your body to keep your strength up by eating good healthy food and possibly drinking a bit less. And research has found that exercise, even just a gentle walk done regularly, has amazing benefits on mood.
If you feel your body has ‘betrayed’ you, one of the things that psychologists often suggest to stay in touch with your body is massage. It doesn’t have to be of the paid variety (although that’s great too). Just giving your body a bit of extra attention after a shower with some lovingly applied moisturiser can do wonders to patch things up between you and it. After all, your body got you this far, and it’s likely to get you past this point too.
So, if you suspect a spot on your body might be skin cancer, please get it checked out as soon as possible. The earlier skin cancer is detected, the earlier treatment can begin and the better the outcomes. You can call us on 9999 0336 (Northern Beaches clinic) or 9223 1608 (Sydney City clinic) or you can pop your details in the form below and we’ll get back to you shortly with our next available appointment.
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