Why I Became A Doctor

stetascopeDo You Know Why Your Doctor Became A Doctor?

Each month as I sit down to write my blog, I often contemplate what I want to write about that will impact at least one person. Sometimes I will pick topics based on that month’s medical research, or disease of the month or just topics I have talked about in the past.

As I was staring at the blank computer screen for this month’s entry, I was drawn to  share my story and how I got to be the physician and person I am today. We all have a story and here is mine.

After graduating residency in 2001, I spent one year working in the ER at St. John’s. My dream was to always be in an outpatient practice that allowed for continuity of care. I landed my dream job in 2002 at The St. Louis Medical Clinic where I still am today. It was here that I became a real doctor but more importantly, a real person.

Being in Family Medicine offers me the amazing opportunity to meet and engage with a diversity of cultures.  It was during my first year in practice that I realized what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be the kind of doctor that would be remembered long after the illness has passed, the kind of doctor that could uplift her patients when the body was weakened, the kind of doctor that could help strengthen her patient’s soul when the disease became stronger than the will.

Medical school and residency does a great job training their students on the science of the human body. We were drilled with endless tests and hours of sleepless nights making sure we understood every pathway of the body and how the systems ignite together to make the body come to life. We were challenged, pushed and guided into understanding with pride of being a physician comes a greater responsibility to serve.

When I entered practice, I thought I had my groove down. After all, I spent ten years being told I was a doctor. I carried around all of my nifty medical references because I knew that’s where all of the answers were.

2007 served to be a year where 10 years of medical school and residency couldn’t have prepared me for dealing with my own health crisis. Already being diagnosed with hypothyroid in 2002 and maintaining good control, I had severe exacerbation of symptoms (unbelievable fatigue, mood changes, severe hair loss, weight gain, mental fogginess etc etc etc) that gripped and paralyzed every aspect of my life. No need to worry, remember I had my handy medical manual with me that gave me my next step in the algorithm to the perfect health.

For the next three years, combing through pages and pages of medical books, research articles, blogs, specialist consults left me back to where I first started. No answers and declining health.

This wasn’t how life was supposed to be, right? I mean I survived medical school and residency and nothing can get worse than that. Well when life brings you to crossroads, you can either accept the path that has already been paved or lay the foundation for greater things to be built.

It was at that defining moment where I accepted my responsibility as a doctor. I pledged to understand the human body and the human soul so that my contribution to my patients can offer a small reprieve when the physical body couldn’t stand on its own.

I started by LISTENING to my symptoms. Every symptom your body has is a way of communicating that it needs help. The symptoms will start out mild, like a whisper and if we continue to ignore it, it will slap us upside the head. It is usually at this point when we seek help. DON’T WAIT!

Listen to what is being conveyed to you. THERE IS NO INSIGNIFICANT SYMPTOM.  It may not make sense at that time, but it is a piece of the puzzle that will find its place later. Don’t try to make sense out of every symptom. If you do that, you get lost in the big picture.  Your body is on your side, so why make it your enemy?

Once I started to really hear, I understood what I needed to do to start my own healing. With each symptom I experienced, I accepted that as being awakened to another piece and…..Oh…. how the picture unfolded so perfectly.

I wanted that same experience for my patients. I want to give you the pearl of my experience. It doesn’t matter how mild or severe your symptoms or disease may be, suffering is one. But when the body goes through illness, it is nothing more than a way to get us to slow down and smell the roses.

The name of the disease may be different but the emotions are the same. A good diagnosis comes from you! All of the modern medical testing only confirms what your symptoms have already been telling you.

As your doctor, it is my duty to help you understand your symptoms, evaluate and validate them through testing, render a diagnosis and then together we begin the treatment process.

Making a diagnosis is a process, but healing is life long.

As I apply silence to all parts of my life – my health, my fitness, my nutrition, my family, my career, my goals, my failures, and my struggles – true healing starts at the crossroads of stillness and patience.

Your health starts with you and ends with you, I am just there to share in your journey!

My best to all!