alt=a woman wonders if she needs to change her dermatologist

Dermatologist Dilemma – Time to Change?

Some of us get skin checks once a year. Some of us go every six months. Some of us go every three months. And some of us don’t schedule regular skin checks with our dermatologists (if you are in this category, make an appointment soon for a skin check!)

I used to be in the every-three-month category then graduated to an every-six-month check. I was satisfied with this amount of time between appointments, and my dermatologist told me at every visit to call her and come in between those six-month appointments if I needed to. I had recently been seeing comments on her Facebook page about people saying it was taking a while to get in to see her because her practice is getting so busy, but fortunately, I had always been able to get in every six months, like clockwork.

Hard to get an appointment

Until now. I have an appointment scheduled for three days from today but the area in which I live has blizzard conditions predicted for three days from today, and I decided it would be best to go ahead and reschedule the appointment instead of being a no-show that day. I called the office, thinking maybe I could be rescheduled in a month or so, but I was told they were scheduling in August. August, as in eight months from now.

But my dermatologist knows me well

I have been going to this particular dermatologist since shortly after she opened her practice. I like her, I like that she understands my lengthy history with skin cancer, and I like that she lets me be an active participant in my treatment plans. But what I don’t like is having to wait eight months for an appointment. This makes me uncomfortable, especially since my last skin check was six months ago, which then puts me at 14 months between skin checks. It makes me very nervous to go for more than a year between appointments.

Searching for a new dermatologist

But it also makes me nervous to think about having to find a new dermatologist. I have had a really good dermatologist previously (unfortunately she moved out of state). I have had a really awful dermatologist (she wanted to do surgery on an area that was healing from skin cancer surgery, because she wouldn’t listen to me that I was in the healing process and had just had an extensive surgery to remove skin cancer; my surgeon called her to set her straight and suggested I find a new doctor). And I have had a dermatologist who told me upfront that skin cancer was a very small part of what she learned in medical school, even though she advertised “skin cancer treatment” on her practice page.

Basically, one out of three of my dermatologists was good. I was thrilled that when my daughter recommended her dermatologist and I went to see her, I actually liked her!

Do I stay or do I go?

For five years, I have had this dermatologist, but I think maybe that is the problem with such a good doctor – many people want to have that person as their doctor. So many, in fact, that I now can’t get in for another eight months. I think that in the meantime, I may try to find another dermatologist. Best case scenario, I find a good one and can get back on schedule with my skin checks. Worst case scenario, I don’t like the doctor but get a skin check and can then see my regular dermatologist for my next skin check. And as a bonus, it might not be a bad idea to have a “fresh” set of eyes checking my skin.

Please share with me, what would you do if you were in this situation?

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