Inside a clock face and surrounded by other clocks, a man stands and looks at a sunrise.

The Waiting Game

Day 1: I perform a self check and I notice something suspicious. I call my doctor and the earliest I can be seen is in two weeks.

Day 15: I see my dermatologist who decides to do a biopsy. He tells me that I should have the results by the end of next week. It’s only Monday.

Day 26: I call to get my results the next Friday but for some reason they are not in, yet. I decide to call again on Monday.

Day 29: The “lesion” looks to be melanoma. Another excision is required to clear the margins. The doctor is free in ten days.

Day 39: More surgery and more waiting to see if the margins are indeed clear and that he got it all.

Waiting around for skin cancer test results is hard

I could go on, but I think you get the point. One of the hardest parts about the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer is the waiting: Waiting for appointments, results, treatments and more results can be so unnerving and frustrating. I don’t like it a bit and I am not good at it. I don’t like waiting in line, or a stop light, or for my Amazon shipment. Most of all, I hate waiting for good health.

The anxiety can be debilitating

My mind plays tricks on me. When I have to wait, I tend to go to the worst case scenario in my head. I call it “preparing” but really it feels more debilitating than anything. I take “no news” as bad news, and I see silence as a negative. I wonder why no one has called me, yet. Don’t they know that I had melanoma before? I picture little, dastardly cancer cells multiplying each moment I have to wait.

I can't help but to worry

I worry. I worry over things out of my control and it is not helpful. Waiting becomes worrisome, which produces anxiety and stress and that only makes things worse. It takes a physical and mental toll. It hurts my relationships. I need a way to manage this waiting game. Skin cancer survivors live in this game.

Here is how I try to cope with the constant waiting:

Venting

I vent to others who understand. I have found others who get it. They know the waiting game and how to play it.

Mindfulness

I try to live each day to the fullest and discipline my mind to think about good things. This is a constant challenge.

Self-care

I try to eat well, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. I cannot emphasize enough how important rest is.

Hobbies

I have hobbies that get me out of the house and into nature. I love photography.

Gratitude

I serve others and try to focus my attention on helping people in the community. Compared to many, I have it really good.

Self-reflection

I journal when I need to get something off my chest. Sometimes just writing something down feels therapeutic.

The worrying is usually worse than the results

These are a few of the things that I try to do when I have to wait. In my case, the worrying is often much worse than the ultimate results. I understand that many in the skin cancer community deal with difficult realities on a regular basis.

So, I ask you (for my sake)

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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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