How To Manage Your Next Doctor Visit

A Bit More Doubt Can Help Everyone

J. Andrew Shelley
8 min readSep 7, 2022


I was shocked last week when I heard my partner describe me as…

“…a little against medicine.”

Wow, I had never thought of myself as against medicine!

If not for the medical advances of the last thirty years, I would have died sixteen years ago or, at the least, faced a disastrous quality of life.

Medicine allowed my super-preemie brother to survive. Had he been born a decade earlier, he would not have lived to tell the jokes that kept my family going in the 1980’s.

I regularly celebrate the medical research done by my spouse and her care for children with cancer. I have pinned this request on my Twitter account:

Pinned tweet on author’s account.

I am not a scientist, but I like to think myself a scientific thinker when it comes to organizational processes. A scientist around getting work done well and efficiently. And in the last five years, a tinkerer about ways to better engage many people, bigger groups, and the broader society.

How could I be “against” medicine?

We had just brought my teenager into the dermatologist’s office.

My spouse had seen a small “intradermal” mark on a big toe. She didn’t like its looks. A standard mole or “nevus” is generally not cause for concern. But when they grow rapidly, change color, or change shape, we should have them looked at by an expert.

This spot was small and of a consistent color. One side of our family had no history of skin cancer — despite pale skin, a tendency towards excessive sun exposure, and a history of other types of cancer. The other side reported one case of a rare skin cancer in an indirect relative.

Before any observation was made by the dermatologist, my spouse described the situation. Our child had noticed the spot. My partner — given the wonder of the hand-held computers we still persist in calling “phones”— had taken a picture of the spot. A week later the next picture suggested the spot may have grown a little and may have changed color.

You and I know the reality of pictures.



J. Andrew Shelley

Battler for better. Top author in culture. More listening, more understanding, less outrage. Book: American Butterfly