When I was a little girl–the words “become a professional and don’t expect someone else to take care of you” were gently and repetitively etched into my head. I think that is why I aspired to become a doctor. I didn’t want to do law, I have no passion for rules. A business owner seemed too processed for me. I wanted to help people.
When I was in college after already committing my life to become a doctor, I became terribly ill and landed a spot in the hospital. My doctor at the time told me “You are not going to die” That phrase I will never forget because at that moment–I felt like I might. I was then forever indebted to becoming that person who would reassure a patient that their darkest hours were not at hand. I studied hard and abstained from activities my peers were engaged in only to persue my dream. Eleven years ago my dream came true and I was finally the doctor starting practice and ready to change the lives of many. I was trained to treat every disease with the best of medicines and could conquer any patient’s complaint. Unfortunately, those concepts drastically changed as I continued to evolve as a person and was touched by each patient that I met. After ten years of medicine I could feel myself beginning to change but I wasn’t quite sure just what the change was. Then the day Susan came in I began to have a greater focus.
A few years ago, Susan, a popular vet in the local community with 4 boys, came to me tearstricken and upset. She had developed an autoimmune disease seven years before that had debilitated her to the point that she was unable to function as the woman, mother, and wife that she had once been. Tears welled in my eyes during that annual visit as I noted her spirit and life’s luster being eroded by the burden of her disease. I told her … “I am no superwoman, I have no answers for you.” We could only pray together that things would change.
The following monday morning she called and said “My pastor pulled me aside after church on Sunday and told me he had dreamt I got a second opinion and was healed.” I immediately called a physician who I had not seen since residency. He was leaving for a mission trip to Haiti the next day and the only way he could see her was if she could be there in thirty minutes. Ironically, she had no patients scheduled that day, had a babysitter for her kids, and was already having lunch in the area. He told her that it wasn’t a disease, it was an allergy. He hadn’t a clue as to what she might be ingesting that would cause this severe reaction. Eventually, she discovered that she had to eliminate red dye # 40 from her diet and she is 100% healthy now.
I have spent countless hours walking in the woods and enjoying my own family. Yet, I continue to watch many other patients struggle with their inability to share the same pleasures in life. I have now realized that I have been on the wrong track. We dont need to cure and treat disease–we need to prevent it!
All the years of training to to heal people have proven that I have been coexisting with them. I must shift my role to help them before the diseases takes hold. I must help my patients change themselves. I realize that the best way to change the world is to change yourself.