I had the opportunity to see my niece graduate from the UT Southwestern Medical School here in Dallas. It was a bittersweet experience. On one hand it was rewarding to see her and her classmates show their excitement and pride as they celebrated hard earned academic accomplishments. On the other hand, it's difficult for me to believe how fast the years have gone by; just yesterday one of my professors was handing me my medical diploma and I was looking forward to my residency at St. Paul Hospital and the promise of career I had dreamed of since I was a little girl. Now I am watching someone I held as a baby heading off to Seattle to start her internship.
Listening to commencement speeches can be really dull. Graduations can drone on and on leaving one bored and impatient for the ceremony to end. This evening was different. I was pleasantly surprised at the speaker for this graduation event, Doctor George E. Thibault, President of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. His commencement address resonated with me on many levels. Coming from a family who immigrated to America from France by way of Canada, Dr. Thibault learned first-hand what it means to be a doctor. His father was a physician, and had his office in the home where the whole family was observant of the importance of serving the community. During the times his father practiced, payment could come in many forms instead of money. People offered, and doctors accepted, what they had - chickens, vegetables, or bartered services if they had a strong back or a special skill. Doctors were the linchpin of many small towns, and when Dr. Thibault's father suddenly passed away at the age of 49, it left the community with a difficult hole to fill because their Dr. Thibault knew them, loved them, respected them, and served them person to person.
Dr. Thibault's message to the graduates - you live in an unprecedented time of science and technological discoveries. Drugs, instruments, procedures, all kinds of new and exciting medical advancements become available almost daily. Their ability to practice medicine would not be limited by medical devices or their access to new information. What no medical school can teach is what people have to have inside themselves; the ability to care, to help heal, to serve in a way that makes people feel like they matter. Every individual wants to feel their physician knows them, their situation, and truly wants to make a difference in their lives and not just to write prescriptions and move on to the next patient.
When I first opened the doors as Connie Casad MD, it was my objective to use my education and training to really connect with my patients personally. That's why I chose Obstetrics. I wanted to be there to share some of the most joyous moments families would ever have. When the schedule became physically taxing for me so that I could not serve my own family as well as I wanted, I left OB and opened Park Cities Aesthetics. Experience had taught me that women can feel better about themselves when they look their best. My patients wanted to know how to age gracefully; so did I. My retraining in the field of aesthetics was another step in the journey to my most important challenge. Learning how to help women use Bio-identical Hormones in ways that made them feel better, perform better in the workplace and at home, and improve their health to the point where we were not treating disease; instead, we were teaching people how to be well.
That journey, hopefully, will not be over anytime soon. I feel poised to help my patients in many exciting ways in the coming years, ways that I never dreamed of when I started out in medicine. For my office, for my practice, and for me personally if at the end of the day we help our patients lead active, healthy, beautiful lives regardless of age, then we have done what I set out to accomplish when I graduated with a medical degree. Not only did Dr. Thibault's message speak to me, it challenged me once again to stay focused on what matters most. I am glad I was there, and I am very glad I listened. It reminded me again of my calling and how important it is to have that at the core of how we interact with the people who trust us with their wellness.