For many people, a cancer diagnosis is a source of anxiety and insomnia. For me, it was just what I needed to sleep well and, even better, live well.
I did everything you’re supposed to do. I worked hard, really hard, to become a doctor and then an OB/GYN. I had an excellent job that fascinated me, challenged me and paid me well.
I was in the prime of my life. I had a terrific husband and an awesome kid. I was killing it, except I wasn’t. I was miserable.
My life was passing me by, and I couldn’t seem to slow down and enjoy it. I didn’t sleep well. I was always worried about something, and I didn’t feel well. I knew something was wrong but didn’t know what.
Then it happened. I got the call that forever changed my life. “You have breast cancer.” I was at work when I received that call. Within an hour, I walked out and never went back. I could not take care of other people; I needed to heal myself first.
Another thing became apparent in those first few days. Now that I wasn’t working, even though I had just received some of the worst news a person can ever get, I was able to sleep, sleep well even. With the weight of my stressful job now removed and the inkling that something was wrong, but not sure what, now known, I could breathe and start my journey toward feeling, living and being well.
While I will always remember that day as one of the worst days of my life, it allowed me to take the time I desperately needed to look around, see and appreciate what I have. I finally learned how to be healthy and well, something that the years of medical school and residency never taught me.
I became a doctor, specifically an OB/GYN for a reason. I loved the science and physiology of women’s health issues and found the knowledge to be so empowering for myself; I wanted to share it with other women. Somehow I always knew that a traditional, medical practice was not the right fit for me. Seeing patients in a setting that touched on their real problems but did not allow for real solutions, was a never-ending source of frustration.
But I didn’t see any other way. Or maybe I was just too complacent to take the plunge into the unknown. My cancer diagnosis forced me out of my comfort zone, into unfamiliar territory both personally and professionally. I am still charting my path, but I know I am on the right track.
Every day we are bombarded with information, which is often confusing if not conflicting. With my formal medical training as doctor as well as my informal self-education as a patient, I can sort through and recognize what information is useful and what is not.
I now preach what I practice, living well, feeling well and (usually) being happy in beautiful, midcoast Maine. I work with other women both in my office, in Camden, Maine and online, at www.drkatemd.com, so that they can live well too.
I empower you both with knowledge about healthy lifestyle habits as well as strategies to achieve those habits. I provide you with the information and the tools necessary to make and sustain changes in your life. You too can unload the burden of stress, be energized, lose weight and finally enjoy life.
Other stuff about me:
I graduated from Bates College with a Bachelor of Science in History. My senior thesis was titled Peculiar to Women: Obstetrics and Gynecology in nineteenth century America.
After graduating from college, I tried and more or less failed to be a ski bum at Winter Park in Colorado. It wasn’t as fun as I thought it would be.
I worked for four years before going to medical school, first as a receptionist – I was terrible – turns out being a receptionist is hard, then in a medical research lab at Tufts/New England Medical Center.
I went to Boston University School of Medicine and then the University of Colorado for my OB/GYN residency.
After residency, I moved back to my hometown of Rockport Maine where I practiced general OB/GYN for ten years.
Medicine is in my blood or so it appears. My grandfather, both of my parents and all five of my siblings are doctors. (One brother has a Ph.D. in physics, but works in medicine-radiation oncology, so close enough.)
My youngest siblings are triplets. They were born when I was in kindergarten. I brought them in for show and tell, so I could show my friends the cool, live dolls I had to play with.
I am a nursery school drop-out.