Saying Yes When I Should Say No

The other day, I almost forgot to practice what I preach. Well, technically, I didn’t actually forget but I allowed a doctor’s office staff member to dismiss my concern when I knew better.

I know how to advocate for myself

Let me back up a bit. If you’ve had any interaction with me on our site, whether in reading some of the articles I’ve written or when I’m moderating the site and having a conversation with you, you may have noticed that I’m a big fan of reminding people that we are our own best advocates when it comes to our skin cancer. Notice I said “our” skin cancer, because that is true – your skin cancer is yours, and you should absolutely have a say in your treatment. When it comes to skin cancer, I have no difficulty advocating for myself, whether it’s choosing to get a second option, or asking my doctor if there are other treatment options available, or even saying no if it’s something I don’t feel is best for me.

When appointments overlap

I recently needed to see a chiropractor. The day I went for my first appointment, the chiro took x-rays. I then went back several days later so the x-rays and a treatment plan could be discussed with me. The second appointment happened to be a few days before I was having an excision to remove a basal cell carcinoma from my chest. After going over the x-rays, the chiro recommends that I go there three times a week for three weeks, starting the next week, and then we’d see how things were. I mentioned to the scheduling person that I was going to have surgery on Monday and would have stitches so I didn’t want to start treatment that week.

I should have known better

Her response was that the chiro "knew how to work around that" and could do treatments that wouldn’t bother the stitches and I’d be fine, and we should go ahead and schedule for Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday of that week. And for whatever reason, I didn’t protest. I know how I feel when I have an excision. I’m fine for several hours while I’m still numb, but about four hours after the surgery I start feeling pain. The last thing I needed to do, as the numbness was wearing off, was to go to the chiropractor. And the very last thing I needed to do was to rip open fresh stitches.

Why didn't I listen to myself?

For the rest of that night, I was mentally kicking myself about why I gave in and agreed to schedule a chiropractic treatment on the day of surgery. My guess was the scheduling person had probably never had a skin cancer surgery and had no idea what it was like. So why, then, did I let her talk me into scheduling a chiro treatment for the same day that I had surgery? Why did I not listen to the advice I give others, in that we are our own best advocates?

I finally stood up for myself

The following morning, I called the chiropractor’s office said I would not be coming in the next week for treatments but would wait until the following week. I would still have stitches the following week, but the wound would be starting to heal and I knew from previous experience that it wouldn’t be as sore as it would during the first week.

It's ok to say no!

I’m glad I stood up for myself, even if I didn’t do it immediately. I’m glad I remembered that I am my own best advocate. I wish I had someone reinforce that to me as I was agreeing to appointments that I knew I shouldn’t go to, so in case you need the reminder, you are your own best advocate. You have the right to say no, or to say not yet, or to say let’s talk about other options. Take good care of you. You are worth it.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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