"The final diagnosis was that she had very heavy breasts, and needed breast reduction surgery. It was an incredibly brave choice that this young girl and her family made. This procedure ended up being life changing for her; reclaiming ownership of her own body gave her freedom and self-confidence."
“I think you write your own story with the choices you make. And when you’re passionate about your choice, you fight every hurdle.
Both my parents are doctors. Growing up I spent days in the hospital waiting for my parents to finish work. One day, at a very young age, I saw a patient’s family crying in front of my father, and thanking him. Thanking him for saving their son's life. That moment, I realized the role a doctor plays and that I wanted to be one.
I have always been a good student. So it was disappointing when at first, I, along with about 13,000 other students, didn’t get into the medical school of our choice, even after scoring the marks. My parents had faith and confidence in me and fought a court case in the Supreme Court against the incorrect allocation of marks. We won the case, all the students got the ranks they deserved based on merit and I got into my dream medical school, KEM hospital, Mumbai, an institution which trained my parents too.
In my first post at KEM hospital in General Surgery, a patient presented with electrical burns on his right hand. I had the night shift, and while attending to him, I saw a sudden uncontrollable bleed. It was due to a ruptured blood vessel near the wounded area. We called the Plastic Surgery team, who performed an emergency surgery and ultimately we saved his arm and restored mobility. That was my first experience with plastic surgery and I was mesmerized. Since then I've wanted to specialize as a plastic surgeon.
During my residency in Chandigarh, an 18-year-old girl came in with severe back pain and I could see her visibly slouching. We examined her and thought of all the possible reasons. The final diagnosis was that she had very heavy breasts, and needed breast reduction surgery. It was an incredibly brave choice that this young girl and her family made. This procedure ended up being life changing for her; reclaiming ownership of her own body gave her freedom and self-confidence. That was when I decided that I wanted to super-specialize in breast and body surgery.
Plastic surgery is a specialty from the head to the toe. We treat deformities, altered bodies and disfigurements and make our patients feel complete. Restoring normalcy and giving patients the confidence and self esteem they deserve, is the ultimate satisfaction. Women often seek the ‘Mommy Makeover’ to improve their post pregnancy bodies. The immediate change in posture, confidence and sense of body image is extremely fulfilling and inspiring.
Each path we take, each step and each decision along that path sets the tone for the future. We can choose our paths with an ultimate direction in mind but we can’t choose the challenges that come along. We have to be prepared to overcome the hurdles along the way.
I was a surgical resident in Chandigarh and my husband was a surgical resident in Vellore and we had to manage the stress of residency over late night video calls, since time off work was hard to come by. We also spent 3 years in Miami, USA pursuing our advanced specialized training, with a baby, away from family, with grueling schedules and diaper duties. But we lived and loved every minute of it.
Today, looking at how far we have come, how well trained that made us, how close that got us, seeing my son and daughter grow up, it all seems worth it. Leading by example and showing my kids that there is no substitute for hard work and when you believe in something, GO FOR IT; nothing can stop you - that’s the biggest accomplishment for me."