I lost an uncle to cancer.
The woman I was dating left me for another man.
And then there was me, the doctor who was giving medical advice, suffering from the same chronic health problems I was supposed to be treating.
At the time, I had fully embraced the chaotic, stressful life of a physician. I was working long, stressful hours, which meant a lot of caffeine to keep me going. Then at night, I took prescription sleep medications in order to fall asleep on time. In between these ups and downs, I was constantly on the go. I ate food that wasn’t conducive to my well-being, often eating to keep me awake.
Consequently, this high-performance lifestyle took a heavy toll on me in short order. The more overweight I became, the more tired I felt when I ate. I compensated with more caffeine and food to try to keep me going, yet I couldn’t sleep at night because of my stress and poor habits. My weight continued to rise, making everything worse until eventually, I ended up with diabetes. I spent my busy days bouncing from fatigue to fatigue, feeling worse as each day wore on.
My story was unraveling and I was becoming another statistic on America's chronic disease tally.
I partly became a physician because I wanted to help people, but the truth of the matter was, I became a physician to be respected. The mask of the white coat was meant to hide the “not-enoughness” I was feeling inside – not rich enough, not tall enough, not “American” enough,
not smart enough.