The past few weeks have been a bit stressful filled with doctor visits to UIC Family Medicine Center. I have never really had any health issues my entire life except for being diagnosed with “sports induced” asthma in my early twenties (whatever that is…). During my yearly visit to my female clinic, the nurse practitioner who saw me noticed a new mole that I had noticed maybe in the last year or so. I have tons of birth/beauty marks all over my skin, but they aren’t raised on the skin so I was a bit concerned when this new one popped up and was clearly raised. They say if something new pops up, that you should always get it checked out to be safe. My nurse practitioner reminded me of this and also referred me to the UIC Dermatology Center. I figured I’d give them a call since I am lucky enough to have CampusCare and can easily have it figured out. That was my initial thought. Then as I was leaving, she caught me in the hallway and asked me to sign the referral and make sure she covered it all with me. Well, I tucked the referral in my purse and decided I’d read it on the train. When I took it out later, I saw the info she already gave me and up in the corner it asks to specify the reason for referral. It said “Serious/Potential Malignancy.” WHAT? THAT part was not mentioned to me. Or maybe she implied it when she said I needed to get it looked at. Or maybe there was no other option available to describe the situation. I’m not exactly sure but as I was on the Green Line heading west, I definitely was freaking out. I was heading to work and had to somewhat compose myself.
When I first called the Dermatology Center, they said they couldn’t get me in until June. Two months? Are you kidding me? Well, I called my mom to ask her advice and she said just to make the appointment and try not to worry. I called back and was able to somehow get in the next week which made me feel much better. They asked if I had a referral and I said I had one from my nurse practitioner from my female clinic. I guess I was under the assumption it could be taken care of immediately.
The next week was my appointment. My mom took the morning off of work to come with me only to find out when I was being called to check in that my “referral” wasn’t a referral they accepted and would need to see my primary care physician first. OK. So, that office happened to be the floor below the Derm center. I walked down there and had to make an appointment for the next day.
The next day, I went back and saw my PCP and finally had the first bit of relief. He told me it looked more like a skin tag than anything and he would put 2 orders in the system for me; one for a consult with Derm and one for removal. Then I had to make ANOTHER appointment back up with Derm which was the following week. At this point, I felt a bit better but thought I’d go just to see what they said. The first doctor was great, nice and pretty much said the same thing my PCP said. However, he told me I had to come back again to have it removed. I asked him to double check because clearly my PCP put in the two orders because of the first misunderstanding with the referral paperwork. That’s when the other “main” Dermatologist came in. She was very short with me and as I tried to explain the situation, she shushed me. I mean…I…had…no…words. I thought, “Well, I will be complaining about THIS to someone later miss sassypants.” Anyways, turns out when the receptionist checked me in, she clicked the “consult” not the “biopsy.” So, I had to make ANOTHER appointment to have a biopsy.
Thankfully, I had two different Dermatologists for the actual procedure. They were both so nice and comforting. I was a bit nervous when they brought me in the procedure room and I had to put a gown on. They also gave me some relief in telling me it does not look like signs of malignancy but they’d send it in just in case. I was in and out in 15 minutes.
After all of the paperwork and scheduling misunderstandings, I still have to be grateful for the last couple doctors I saw AND that it was covered under CampusCare. When I received an email to take a survey, I made sure I complimented the doctors that deserved it and gave a comment about the other doctor who shushed me, a grown adult in her late twenties who was nervous and confused about what was happening. Two weeks later, I’m doing ok and the mole is gone and the site is healing.
Again, I feel very lucky, even through the hiccups, that the UIC Family Medicine Center took care of me.