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What practices can patients use to help their mental health through the stages of their AML journey?

Melanie Stachelski

March 21, 2023

In preparation for AML World Awareness Day 2023, Know AML spoke to Melanie Stachelski (Colorado Cancer Counseling, US), a cancer counselor, psychotherapist, and an AML survivor. She was initially diagnosed with AML in 2009 and went through her treatment, including a stem cell transplant, in 2010.

Melanie discusses which practices she recommends to patients and carers to help manage their mental health during different stages of the AML journey. She believes that focusing on the trauma and experiences is the best way to manage mental health, and the first component to dealing with trauma is to let go of the past and the cancer memories — “over time, cancer should feel like a chapter in your story that is clearly in the past.” To help with this, Melanie suggests talking to a counselor, therapist, or social worker. The next component is connecting with others who have been through the same experiences, for example via a cancer support group, one-on-one peer support, or online virtual group. Finally, Melanie emphasizes that any physical activity or wellness practice that makes someone feel safe and healthy in their own body is a good way to manage mental health.