Appointment Anxiety? Go Anyway!
Tomorrow I have an appointment with a new-to-me dermatologist, and I have to admit, I’m a bit nervous. I didn't use to be overly concerned about upcoming appointments until I had a certain experience with a physician which changed that.
Why I needed a second opinion
In September 2015, I had a fairly extensive surgery to remove multiple basal cell and squamous cell areas. Post-surgery, my surgeon and I both thought I was healing well, and he referred me to a new dermatologist to visit for regular skin checks because the dermatologist who was in his practice had left.
My appointment with the new dermatologist was eight weeks after my surgery, and during that appointment, I relayed to the dermatologist the details of my recent surgery. I got the feeling she wasn’t really listening. She then said she wanted to take a biopsy of an area on my nose. She also wanted to refer me to another doctor who would perform Moh’s surgery on a couple of areas because she didn’t like how they looked.
Her comments shocked me, as I was still recovering from my first surgery. I told her that I would not be having a biopsy on my nose that day, as the surgical wound wasn’t even yet fully healed. I took the contact information for the other doctor but didn’t agree that I would be scheduling an appointment.
My second opinion relieved my anxiety
After my appointment, I called my surgeon’s office and relayed that the dermatologist wanted me to have additional surgery. Later that afternoon, my surgeon called me to tell me that he had talked with the dermatologist and told her that while I was still in the process of healing, I was healing well and he didn’t see a need for more surgery. He explained to the dermatologist the extensive surgery I had recently had, that there was no need for me to be referred to a doctor for additional surgery at this point in time, and that if additional surgery was needed in the future, he would be the one to do it.
Unfortunately, because of that experience, I am now apprehensive when I have appointments, but I still go to the appointments. The take-aways from my experience are:
- If you’ve been putting off scheduling an appointment because you feel anxious about going to see a doctor, it’s important that you schedule and go anyway – you need to take good care of your skin.
- Don’t be shy if you aren’t completely comfortable with your doctor’s suggestions or treatment plan; instead, let your doctor know.
- If you have a good doctor and good doctor-patient rapport, your doctor should ‘go to bat’ for you and be your advocate, which is extremely beneficial.
Here’s hoping for a good checkup!
Have you taken our Beyond the Cancer Diagnosis Survey?