name='p:domain_verify'/> Always A New Day : Dealing with Worry


Dealing with Worry

I'm taking a break from my Weekly Meal Plan post to share an topic dear to me. It's a long post, but it's one I hope you read.


Worry has always been a part of my life. I worried for my family, my friends, my life. I would at times be consumed by the worry even at a young age. When I suddenly lost my dad in 2002, I felt justified in my worry. See? Bad things happen; worrying is necessary. If I stayed vigilant with my worry, I wouldn’t be caught off guard like that again. So, I kept on this way. It wasn’t healthy, but it was my way to approach life.

In June 2011,  when my son was 2 ½, I learned I had early stage melanoma - the most dangerous form of skin cancer. In fact, when I went to the doctor to have the spot examined, I just had this feeling. I fretted, I worried. My husband said, “why worry until you have something to worry about?” Oh how I wish I could turn off those awful thoughts while I waited for an official diagnosis. Then, two long weeks later, my worries were confirmed - Melanoma In-Situ. Surgery scheduled for two days later. Again, my worries were validated. Life was too much. I need to be ready for the next piece of bad news, and the worry continued.

After the surgery, I learned in fact it was an early stage skin cancer; surgery would be the cure, and I would be okay. But, from now on, I needed to include sunscreen in my daily routine, be monitored every 6 months, and keep an eye on my skin. For the normal person, this would be no big deal; new protocol to live by, keep on keepin’ on. Not for the worrier. I became consumed with body checks - daily ones in fact. I would focus on one spot and hold on to this crazy fear that it was somehow missed. And, add in the random appointments I would schedule to confirm my fears. I couldn’t make it to 6 months. I was going almost monthly.

My anxiety and fear were out of control. I would go to bed at night convinced I was dying; this was it. Melanoma was going to get me, take me from my family. It was so awful. So much so that I had to seek counseling. That part is hard for me to admit publicly. My skin cancer drove me to seek help. I found someone to speak with previously about my worry and to help in my grief over my dad. But, I was feeling good and didn’t need to go back - until my skin became such an obsession. I couldn’t keep on like this - studying my moles, sneaking in appointments, losing sleep. I couldn’t do it anymore.

In counseling, I found reassurance. I wasn’t crazy; it’s quite normal, but we needed a way to get my mind off what could be. Yes, my dad died suddenly and not in a way I could ever comprehend. Yes, I had skin cancer, the worst kind there is. But, what did all that worry do? It took me away from all the goodness in my life. I had to work to see that, and to be honest, I work to this day to eradicate these fears of my skin cancer returning.

It’s been 4 years since my melanoma removal. I can’t even tell you how many spots I have had removed since - mainly by my pleading. This last week, I received yet another clean report. And when I sat in the parking lot after this appointment, I thought it’s time to share one reason my anxiety is high. Another reason why staying active has become my saving grace. It’s another way to view my body as something awesome - not something defective because of the skin cancer that consumed me.

I know now that worrying isn’t going to solve the world’s problems; it’s not going to prevent bad things from happening. But, it will stop me from being present with my family, and I am SO over it. I know my dad is over it for me too - this worried life is in no way how he wants his daughter to live. Am I free of worry? No way. Does it consume me on some days more than others? You bet. I just can’t let the worry of losing a loved one or another skin cancer scare overcome me. I need to be IN my life not floating around it, waiting in panic for it all to fall apart.

A year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to share this story. It was like talking about it out loud - to the world - made it more real. Scarier. This fitness journey I am on has affected me internally, and I vow to try and keep the worry away. There is so much I want others to take from this - to hear more of my story, to learn more about me, to have hope, to be present. Take care of yourself, take care of your skin - you’ve got one life to live, and I hope, like me, it will be one where we learn worry never solves a thing. I know I will keep working on living this way. I have to.

For more information about skin cancer screenings, please go to
And know your ABCDEs - early detection is key.

This post is dedicated to my dear friend, Lindsey, who has been fighting Melanoma for almost 3 years. Her beauty, her strength, and her faith motivate me daily. Lindsey, I love you. My heart and prayers are with you all the time.

With Love,

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