A woman's reflection appears in a mirror many times, showing the progression of her topical chemotherapy treatment.

Powering Through Skin Cancer Treatments: Finding My Motivation

No matter where you look on social media, someone is getting motivated to do something. Someone you know is gearing up for a run. Others are looking for the motivation to start a new diet. The very ads that saturate your news feeds are filled with ideas, gizmos, and gadgets to help all of us get motivated to start this, end that, or change everything. Motivation is a big deal--this we know. Some days are harder than others, and chronic health conditions and their accompanying treatments can take a real toll on your body’s willingness to get up and get moving to do anything at all.

Efudex got you down?

If you have ever treated your skin with the topical chemotherapy cream, Efudex, you may know quite a bit about motivation, or the lack thereof. The side effects experienced by many Efudex patients can make it incredibly difficult to go about a normal routine with confidence, especially if the treated area is exposed. Staying inside and keeping away from friends and family may cross your mind on a daily basis. Efudex is one of those treatments that is more brutal in the final days and the week following the last application. It can truly seem to stretch on forever.

Staying motivated

I have used Efudex regularly since 2014 and have treated my face twice. Motivation was a difficult thing to come by indeed. With each passing day, the cream took a toll on not only the skin but my psyche as well. I venture to say that I did find myself experiencing signs of depression as the weeks passed and the burning and itching intensified and the skin became more raw and tender. It would be easy to give up, give in, and stay inside for a month or more, but life must go on. As challenging as treatment can be, I push myself to look for motivators in my everyday life.

3 things I tell myself during treatment

1. This will NOT last forever. Looking forward to the end result is a biggie for me. It’s easy to get caught up in the frustration and pain.

2. My kids need this as much as I do. I want my kids to see that I take care of myself, and part of taking care of myself is powering through some difficult days.

3. Treatment is an ideal teachable moment. If nothing else, getting up and getting out of the house during the worst days allows me to answer questions about my skin. I used to hide the fact that I was treating, but I have become much more motivated to share my experience.

Giving up is not an option

Skin cancer treatments of all kinds can be harrowing. The discomfort, pain, and physical changes make it so easy to just say "no thanks." I guess I could do that. I could opt for more biopsies and more scars, but I am hanging in there for now. The things that motivate me to keep going certainly won’t change. But you can be darn sure, my skin will--and for the better, I might add!

What motivates you in your most difficult days of skin cancer treatment? Who keeps you going? Tell us in the comments!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The SkinCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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