March 2019

When you find yourself in a position you could never conceive, what happens next?

This is a question I asked myself throughout my journey with melanoma, but particularly at the start of 2019 when I was half way through my immunotherapy course of Ipilimumab and Nivolumab combination infusions.

I recently finished the series of four combination infusions and I've come through it pretty unscathed. I have some very good results and I have now commenced on a single drug infusion programme with Nivolumab, administered every 28 days for up to two years. So far, so good. 

My journey with melanoma started in November 2017, officially. Of course it started before that, sometime in late 2016 when the blemish that became a melanoma first made its outward appearance. 

I want to suggest taking account of where you are now and creating a pivotal point to consider how to go forward positively. At this point, (early January actually) I thought, "Well this is a very strange and unsettling place to be so what are the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ to deal with it"?

You might recognise the gradual dawning of the reality of what melanoma can do to you, the panic about the future. Are you as helpless as you think, or not? You have a challenge; do you have the will to work against it? How are you going to face it? What is the motivation to fight through it and where do you want to be? I'm sure these questions are common amongst anyone with malignant melanoma.

So, some key pointers – don’t look back and ask unanswerable questions. Accept that it is what it is, because this is your starting point. You can’t turn back the clock no matter how hard you try, undoing things isn’t always possible. Don’t torture yourself with ifs, buts and maybes. Instead it’s all about making decisions about what’s to come.

Believe it or not, you’re in charge of the choices ahead. I believe there are three elements that are interconnected and really important to help in this battle with skin cancer. They are:-

  • Diet
  • Fitness
  • Attitude – including small or large goals

I consider myself very lucky that after all my treatment I’m actually in very good shape. The body has an amazing ability to bounce back from illness and injury, but I believe you can help it further by your own actions.

Your life history – the good and bad, triumphs and disappointments, wins and losses – have all played a part in getting you to the point you’re at now. Whilst it has made you what you are today, it’s irreversible, so rather than dwelling on what could have been, move on to the next phase of your life and consider your next steps.

Control your life by your actions and thoughts, don’t be a passenger where the story is dictated for you. And good luck to you.

Tim Cain

Melanoma    What is skin cancer