The Entrepreneurial Life Chose Me

I was trained  to be an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician, but the life of an entrepreneur chose me.
My employee mindset changed as a result of an interview during residency. The interview was with a private practice physician, who I had known during my training. He had first-hand knowledge of my assets as a physician: surgical skill, sound judgment, physician-patient rapport and superb communication skills. Despite my positive attributes, his job offer for my annual salary was significantly less than the price of the Porsche 911 he was driving and much less than the MGMA (Medical Group Management Association) standard for physician compensation. MGMA is the resource leader for healthcare salary compensation.
This experience left me baffled and humiliated but I realized something very important… I didn’t have the employee mindset that most physicians do.  I wanted the freedom  to create and design my own practice and there was no reason I couldn’t do that. I thrived on risk to experience a greater reward. I despise rules, structure and predictability. I wanted to change the world, not just have a job. Failures in my mind were setbacks and an opportunity to learn. Despite all the challenges I have faced over the years, starting my own practice was the best decision of my life. I was able to build a team and office culture of stellar employees.  I was able to tailor my practice to the aspects of ENT that I enjoyed most – minimally invasive procedures to treat chronic sinusitis and improve nasal obstruction. My patients are so thankful to be offered minimally invasive solutions to avoid the downtime, healing, and expense of more aggressive surgical alternatives.
Once my ENT practice was successful, my next venture was adding a Medical Spa to my practice. So many patients would not consider cosmetic rejuvenation procedures because of artificial and unnatural looking results. My goal was to achieve a well- rested youthful appearance without the obvious tell-tale signs that a procedure was performed. This difference in approach allowed me to attract patients that were looking for intervention that appeared natural, not artificial.
Things were going so well for me until I was diagnosed and treated for Thyroid cancer at the age of 34.  I had surgery to remove my entire thyroid gland and I had radioactive iodine treatment. Because the exact cause of thyroid cancer is unknown, I suspected that my diet and choice of personal care products I used could be a contributing factor.  I decided to detox my life by eating better quality food and avoiding pesticides. I reviewed my personal care products that I was using; like shampoos, lotions, deodorants; and eliminated chemicals as much as possible.
I reviewed the ingredients in the skin care products I was recommending to my Medical Spa clients and I was appalled that some products didn’t clearly list their ingredients and all of them contained chemicals that I didn’t approve of.  I was appalled when I found out that there is no federal regulation of ingredients to protect the consumer from dangerous chemicals.
From my frustration with the cosmetic industry, my next entrepreneurial venture was born.
I set out to create a skincare line that addressed common anti-aging issues such as dark spots, loss of elasticity, blemishes and more. The ingredients would be plant and mineral based, contain no harsh ingredients or chemical preservatives. The ingredients needed to work synergistically to provide superior results. KalVera Skincare was created to provide consumers with healthy skin care and to support my mission to educate consumers about hazardous ingredients found in personal care products and empower them to make safer choices.
My journey as an Entrepreneur has been euphoric but it is not the lifestyle for everyone. Entrepreneurship is often a lonely, risky, anxiety-provoking and ever humbling expedition. It can also be addictive. Although KalVera Skincare is my most recent creation, I doubt it will be my last entrepreneurial endeavor.
-Dr. D

That Smell!

Breakfast on the griddle, jasmine in the garden, your lover’s favorite perfume – No doubt each of these conjure a particularly pleasing emotion. After all, our sense of smell, more than any of the other senses, is psychologically linked with memory and can have a profound effect on the ways in which we connect with the world around us.
Common Reasons for Olfactory Loss
So, imagine for a moment, that you’ve lost your sense of smell. Scary, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s an all-too-common occurrence. Among the top direct or indirect contributing factors to a partial or full loss of the ability to smell are:

  • Nasal obstruction
  • Degenerative nerve disease
  • Exposure to hazardous chemicals, such as pesticides or solvents
  • Head and neck cancers and related radiation treatments
  • Chronic respiratory infections
  • Oral disease
  • Radiation therapy
  • Dementia, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s
  • Traumatic head injuries
  • Hormonal disturbances
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Certain medications or drug abuse
  • Advanced age

Dangers of Olfactory Loss
Any of these conditions can negatively affect the functionality of not only our olfactory nerve cells (those responsible for your sense of smell) but also your gustatory nerve cells (those responsible for taste). That loss of functionality can affect not only your quality of life, but your safety, and perhaps your very life, as well. For example, the smell of certain gasses, smoke, or spoiled foods can alert us to danger, allowing us to act before it’s too late. And, research on the psychology of smell shows that body odor, produced by the genes which make up our immune system, can help us subconsciously choose our life partners.
While most people would report a loss of sight or hearing as a top worry, it’s clear that the loss of smell is a far underestimated misfortune. Fortunately, however, help is available.
Treatment Options
If you suspect you’re beginning to lose your sense of smell, a highly-trained otolaryngologist can perform a thorough examination of your head and neck to pinpoint signs of infections, inflammation, or physical obstruction that may be affecting your sense of smell or taste. Treatment options may include prescription or over-the-counter medications, including decongestants or antibiotics, or surgery to remove nasal polyps or other obstructions.

Skin Health – Can Vitamin and Mineral Supplements Help?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Dr. D joined WJXT to discuss Skin Health and how good vitamin and mineral supplements can really make a huge impact on your overall skin health.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=””][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Why are Female Physicians Paid Less than Male Physicians?

It’s no secret that women get paid less than men regardless of their profession. What you may find surprising, however, is that this gender pay gap even exists in medicine. Why is this?
Women are more likely to take off of work, choose lower-paying specialties, and tend to work fewer hours than men. But even when data was analyzed amongst the same specialty and the pay adjusted for working hours, women still took home an average of $12,000 less per year.
How can women avoid this payment gap?

  1. Women need to be better negotiators. Women tend to undervalue their abilities and shy away from risk more than their male counterparts. For women, receiving higher pay ranks as the 4th criteria tied to job satisfaction whereas men rank it first.  As a result, women will often accept the first salary they are offered whereas men will negotiate. Women make the mistake of negotiating salary based on need rather than what they are worth.
  2. Female physicians tend to rule out higher-paying specialties and private practice because the existing male-dominated culture often prevents them from doing so. This is a conundrum since there are so few women in these fields; therefore, the culture is unlikely to change until more women enter these specialties.
  3. Sexism is still prominent in the medical environment for women.  Women are referred to as “lady doctors” or nurses. They are often treated differently by patients and sometimes even by their peers.   

My own experience as a physician
When I started my practice thirteen years ago, I would always say that I had to be at least twice as good as any male physician to be considered equal.  Over a decade later, being female is still an obstacle that I have to overcome.  
In the town I live in, there is a society of male physicians who have known each other for decades.  When I first arrived in town, I set up meetings with these physicians to form a collaboration so that we can work together to effectively and efficiently treat patients. Some of the doctors were receptive but others would treat me as if I was a pharmaceutical representative or a young girl. Others would call me “Honey” and “Sweetie” and tell me I shouldn’t work too hard and concentrate on my family.
There were physicians who asked me why I started my own practice, since I could have easily worked for one of the male ENT physicians in town. I’ve even had patients who have become disappointed when they find out I’m not a man, and some were even upset that I wasn’t older.  
I am happy to report that these incidents don’t occur often, due in part to my reputation and also in part to my growing intolerance to sexism in the twenty-first century.  I personally am ready for a mindset change where the value women bring to this society is recognized and celebrated.  

What It's Really Like to be a Physician

Looking in the glass house, a physician’s life may look like a perfect picture.  A nice house, nice family and a successful career.  
What few people know is that this glass house can be easily shattered.  Helping people feel better may be alluring as a career, but few people understand the challenges a physician faces.  
Some scary stats
Many of us share the same strengths –  intelligence, perseverance, and confidence.  However, the top stressors of the job include lack of sleep, loneliness, 24-hour responsibilities and self- criticism which can lead to depression and even suicide.  
In fact, physicians are more than twice as likely to commit suicide than the general population.  Here are some other scary stats…

  • Depression is reported in as many as 30 percent of physicians
  • Forty percent of suicides are associated with alcoholism, and 20 percent of suicides are associated with drug abuse
  • Divorce rates are 20 percent higher than those in the general population  

Getting to the root of the problem
How can physicians properly take care of others if they can’t even take care of themselves? Giving into the pressures of working longer hours, the demands of the patients, and regulatory demands from the government can lead to angry and despondent physicians.  
The “normal” work week for a physician is 60 hours a week and a 40 hour week is considered part time.  This leaves little time for physicians to develop proper interpersonal relationships, fitness regimens, and taking time for hobbies.  
I hear patients complain about physicians that barely took the time to address their complaints or were short tempered.  As the demands on physicians continue to escalate in conjunction with decreased pay,  this temperament is bound to increase.  
The solution is not an easy one, but it has to start with the emotional foundation.  Physicians need to be mindful of their emotional and physical health.  They need to develop a strong family foundation for support and take care of their bodies.  Only then can the house of glass be transformed into a house of bricks to handle the stressors of this career choice.

The Importance of Hydration

Recently, a friend proudly announced that he drinks one glass of water every two weeks, and that his body composition scale shows his water content to be 70 percent.  His assumption was that he didn’t need to drink any more water than he currently does.  At that moment, I realized most people do not understand what it means to be properly hydrated.
How much water should you really be drinking?
Approximately 75 percent of Americans are in a chronic state of dehydration.  Dehydration can lead to vague symptoms such as constipation, headaches, light-headedness, loss of skin elasticity, increased heart rate, muscle cramps and excessive urination.  The requirement for men is three liters per day and for women it is just over two liters per day.  However, this number is not absolute.  There are other factors to consider such as where you live, your general health and your activity level.
Adults older than 60 years of age who drink water only when thirsty are likely only getting 90 percent of the water they need.  They are already in moderate dehydration which is defined by loss of 5-10 percent of the body’s fluid.  Loss of 10 to 15 percent of the body’s fluid is considered severe.  
Is it really that important to drink water?
Adequate hydration has numerous benefits.  Every cell, tissue and organ in your body depends on water to work efficiently.  Water reduces fatigue by improving the efficiency of reactions that take place on a cellular level.  
If that’s not enough to convince you, maybe this is . . .
Fat deposits increase in a state of dehydration.  Theoretically, this occurs because the efficiency of the kidneys is diminished and its functions are shunted to the liver.  The liver’s job is to metabolize fat into usable energy. However, since it is performing the kidney’s duties, it is less able to metabolize fat.  
Increased water intake can also decrease the risk of colon and bladder cancer.  
Generally, Americans consume more soda and coffee than water, but they believe they are well hydrated.  
As for the scale showing a water content of 70 percent, it is important to remember that these scales are not completely accurate and they are unable measure how much water a body needs to carry out its many functions. These functions include regulating body temperature, forming saliva, flushing waste through urination, and lubricating our joints, to name a few.  One glass of water every two weeks is definitely not enough to accomplish all those tasks.
If you don’t drink enough water, what’s your main reason for not drinking more?

Three Questions I Wish Patients Would Ask

Every time I step into a room with a patient, they will tell me what bothers them the most about their appearance. And, they immediately want to know how to fix it. Although I understand this completely, I find myself wishing they would ask me about so many other things. I like to take a thorough approach in my medical and aesthetic practices and I enjoy discussing prevention just as much as I enjoy giving people cures.
Here are the top three questions I wish my patients would ask . . .
What can I do to take better care of my skin?
Almost every patient I see in my medical spa is focused on Botox, fillers, and laser treatments. For some reason, they continue to use products on their skin that are ineffective in correcting skin tone and texture irregularities that occur with age. These patients may be worsening the appearance of their skin with harsh ingredients. Plus, their skin care methods may be the equivalent of washing delicate lingerie in Ajax. Not the best idea.
If I seek cosmetic interventions before the problem gets much worse, will I have a better outcome?
The answer to this question is a resounding YES! If you have small wrinkles, they can be erased much easier than large creases in your face. Volume loss is easier to correct before the skin starts to lose too much elasticity and before the skin folds over itself. You get the point – early intervention is key.
Does my health and nutrition impact my appearance?
In a medical spa environment, people tend to open up. They discuss their lifestyles and tell me they are too busy with life to eat right and exercise. Many of them take better care of their cars and pets than they do with their own bodies. I had one patient tell me she put the best gasoline in her high-end luxury car and bought the best gourmet cat food for her cat. However, she ate at McDonald’s at least once a day. To care for your pet or automobile than your own health is shocking to me.
What are you afraid to ask your doctor about your health? Leave your questions in the comments, and I’ll answer you openly and honestly!