Hello SOTGC community,
Many people over the years have asked me a handful of questions regarding my personal decision to become a physician and how I manage to have a career in medicine while maintaining work-life balance. Why did I decide to become a physician? What do I love the most about medicine? Why did I become interested in Integrative Medicine? Why did I start AmoraMED Institute? Why am I so passionate about helping women? So I thought I’d share my story with you.
I was raised with the value of education. My parents felt that encouraging me to pursue a professional career in medicine would not only allow me to have a job that was intellectually stimulating, but as a woman, would provide me the financial independence and therefore freedom in life-freedom to pursue hobbies, freedom to have choices, freedom to really stand in my own space with something I had achieved that I could call my very own. Interestingly, I always wanted to be an artist or a designer of some sort, and growing up, it was an ongoing struggle to accept the vision that my parents had for my future when it wasn’t completely aligned with my vision in that moment.
While not being able to pursue my creative pursuits in the manner I had wanted caused friction during my early adult years, I see now how beautifully arranged this journey has been for me. The path to a medical degree was extensive. I was accepted to a 7-year combined BA-MD program at Boston University. While other college classmates were having fun during the summers, I was in a classroom taking organic chemistry. When I turned 21, I recall vividly, staring at a cadaver dissecting it in preparation for the upcoming anatomy exam, while my girlfriends were celebrating their 21st birthday at a swanky restaurant toasting with friends. When I started my internal medicine residency at 24, I worked 80+ work hours weeks, was always on call, never had enough time off to take a vacation, travel, or do many of the things that twenty-something year olds do. I planned my life out 3-5 years in advance. Completing an internal medicine residency at Boston University, and a rheumatology fellowship at Northwestern, weekends and summers passed me by because there was never the concept of a break in my mind. So I just accepted, like many of my doctor colleagues going through this process that I was going to put my life on hold.
Fun, spontaneity, creativity, and play slowly began to disappear from my daily routine because I was too busy doing, rather than just being and creating experiences all too crucial to living a truly healthy life. As a result, I was subconsciously resentful of the two letters after my last name, yet not really knowing the reason. They were earned after a grueling long path with time and financial investment, done at the expense of all my creative outlets being put on hold. Placing my inner dream of being creative on hold was a lot like having a flower wilt due to lack of hydration and nutrients. But one day, after practicing medicine the way I thought I was supposed to, I had a light bulb moment. I woke up, and realized what a gift the medical degree is to me. What an honor to have this opportunity to pursue such an education that opens doors for endless possibilities. How many are afforded this opportunity in their lifetime? When I was able to step outside of the box, see the degree in a new light, my attitude and approach changed. I asked myself, what can I do with this degree that is in alignment with my personal values and all that I wish to have in my life? Rather than resent it, fight it, feel like it was a burden, or feel like it should be done at the expense of inner soulful desires, I took it as a precious key to unlocking the gateway, permitting me to bring into the field of medicine what I feel is important to healing and health while honoring all that I cherish.
The challenge and the gift in my life as a physician is creating a way to have both a career along with creativity and self-expression. How can I bring art into medicine and healing? How can I be creative in my lifestyle medicine educational endeavors for individuals achieving their state of wellness? How can I help people manage their stress using fun and play, two things we often give up as adults leading busy lives? How can I impact a person’s life as a facilitator of healing, and empower and inspire that individual to create their personal reality of health, healing and self-care? And how can I have fun doing all of this and nurturing my spirit at the end of the day? It was then, that I decided to practice medicine in a very personalized way, hence the vision and creation of AmoraMED Institute, an integrative lifestyle medicine practice that honors heart-centered doctoring for heart-centered living.
Join me in my next blog to hear what inspired me to transform my medical practice from a conventional approach to one using integrative holistic principles, how I manage to create joy, fun, and play in my daily life, why I am enthusiastic about helping women using a mind-body-spirit approach, and the top 5 things anyone can begin right away to creating a lifestyle of health and joyful living.