The right doctorOct 07, 2022
I don't want to make you uncomfortable talking about random bumps on bodies, but I'm already this far into it...
There was a bump on my arm.
I noticed it about three years ago.
It could have been an ingrown hair or a mole or (gasp) a pimple. On the top of my forearm. So I noticed it a lot. Like, a lot a lot.
I'd pick at it, scratch it, squeeze it. Nothing came out except a little blood sometimes.
For about 6 months straight, I had to put a bandage over it so I would stop touching it. This bump was just so interesting and worrisome. But not worrisome enough to get checked by a doctor. Just worrisome enough to make me rub it a couple times a day.
Cut to a couple months ago. I finally asked my internist about it. I visit this doctor a few times a year because of a medical issue that has been in my life for a dozen or so years. We are pretty chatty and talk about all kinds of things—especially owing to the majority of his patients are over 75 years old and I am fairly younger than those he visits with most often. And he likes to give me advice on parenting teens. It's fun.
Really, it's a good time when I visit this doctor.
I finally show him the bump on my arm. He asks how long it's been there and was a bit disappointed to learn it had been so many years without me mentioning it.
He seems concerned and tells me to make an appointment with a dermatologist.
Which I do.
A month later, I finally get to meet the new dermatologist. Emotionally prepped for whatever he will tell me, I show him this bothersome bump on my arm.
He looks at it, presses on it, and in 10 seconds flat he says it's basically scar tissue.
He said, "You probably had a small mole forming and scratched it so much that there is now scar tissue above the mole."
"Yep, that's it. Looks totally normal to me. Stop touching it and you'll be fine."
Three years it took me to find out that this was not only a small mole, but that I had made it worse by my picking and worrying. Not skin cancer or skin mutation. Just a little normal skin change and my own doing.
As I drove home, I thought of how quickly he knew what it was. 10 seconds. Maybe less.
My regular doctor had seen it. But he's not a dermatologist.
My friends who are nurses, radiologists, heart surgeons, aestheticians, all kinds of medical professionals saw it and told me I should get it checked out. But they aren't dermatologists.
How often do we go looking for an answer from someone who isn't an expert?
Why do we spend (slash waste) so much time asking opinions from people who aren't specifically trained and experienced? Go to the "dermatologist" for a "dermatological" question.
Go to a Google Ad expert for a Google ads question.
Seek a graphic designer for graphic design.
Find someone who has expertise in the question you have. Stop wasting time with the worrying and picking and guessing.
Find the expert.