I was inspired to become a healer because of my mom. She was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 6 years old. I remember the conversation we had as a family and the frank discussion about how the doctors thought my mom only had 6-12 months to live. But they were going to do everything they could to extend that timeframe. Thankfully, she was in my life for 10 more years before she died when I was 16 years old. During those 10 years, I went to many of my mom’s appointments, from her long chemo appointments where we would talk with many of the other patients sitting in those big chairs to her many surgical follow-ups to one of her numerous hospitalizations. I saw the caring and healing nature of those nurses and doctors and thought that was what I wanted to do, I wanted to give people hope and help them heal or at the very least feel better even for a few minutes. It was also during this period that I learned more about my mom’s diagnosis which has formed part of my identity as a healer. My mom was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer at the age of 31, but her diagnosing physician stated that by the time she received her diagnosis her cancer had been growing and spreading for at least 3 years. She confirmed this because she and my dad had noticed a lump that just felt different when she was 28 years old and so they went to the doctor. He told them the 'usual stuff' about how she was too young and there was no family history, so not to worry about it. Several months went by and the lump was now bigger and so they went back and again he said don’t worry about it and “you’re too young” and sent her away without any tests or referrals being given. So again, trusting this advice they left but after another year and a half had passed the lump felt harder and larger and so at one of my siblings' pediatric appointments my mom and dad asked the pediatrician his thoughts on it. And it was this pediatrician, who was in the late stages of his career and hadn’t really had very many (if any at all) adult patients for many years, that really listened to my mom. He listened and examined her when he didn’t have to. He referred her for testing and to a specialist when he didn’t have to. And he took time to explain the process that was likely going to unfold and offered to see her again after her tests and specialist appointment. It was this physician’s caring and open nature that I have incorporated into how I try to treat and heal patients. Listening to what a patient is experiencing in their body is so important to me because while I have a lot of knowledge about medicine and the body, I’m not living in their body and not feeling or experiencing what they are and no matter how many algorithms or guidelines I know, not every patient will fall neatly into them, and if I’m not listening I will miss the subtle clues.
2) Describe your dream clinic/practice/workspace/job:
I would like to have kind of a hybrid practice. I would want to see some ‘typical’ family practice patients, have OMT (Osteopathic Manual therapy) patients, and have sports medicine type patients (from weekend warriors to competitive athletes) for a few days a week. Then I would like to teach a class at a college/university/medical school (whatever I’m close to) one or two days.
3) Describe your dream life:
I want to live in Utah, that’s where I feel most at peace and most centered. I always thought I wanted to move away and only visit occasionally but I’ve found myself really pulled back to my home state. I’ve lived all over the country and spent some time in other countries and have enjoyed my time and the people I’ve connected with through these travels, but nothing comes close to the feeling of being home in the mountains close to my family. My dream life is finding something to be passionate about again. Through the hustle of going through undergrad and medical school, I lost focus on what I enjoy and lost touch with hobbies and passions. I want to discover and explore hobbies with my loved ones and just spend more time with them.
4) What book are you most excited about and why?
Your Money or Your Life
It would be nice to have a different relationship with money other than what is presented to us that you need this and that, as well as you will never get out from under your student loans
5) What are you hoping to take away from this course?