Hi everyone: This post is going to be a bit different than most. I want to share with you a speech I recently gave at the Path2Parenthood Illuminations Gala. I am honored to have been awarded the Joyce M. Vargyas, M.D. Visionary Award.
Anyone who knows me understands how much I love what I do and the people who fill my days.
While accepting the visionary in fertility award I was humbled and grateful to share my perspective on fertility health.
What can we all do to make it better?
It’s a lot simpler than you may think.
A written summary of what I spoke about is below.
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Thank you for this incredible honor and the work you all do in supporting fertility health.
Whether you’re administering care in some way or sharing openly about the care you’ve received, thank you!
Tonight I want to start by talking about one thing we all know to be true; everyone is ‘amped’ and stressed to the max.
Today’s environment — physically and emotionally is a reproductive health toxin.
And everyone here can do their part in changing the environment for fertility patients.
Doctor, lawyer, friend, partner — whatever your role — if you have some interaction with someone who is going through the journey of wanting a family, you have a choice to play a positive role.
It’s time to change the environment — be a positive light that fertility patients need to feel loved and supported on their journey.
As a fertility doctor I make sure and lift pretty much directly from the medical texts I studied.
Case in point, just the other day I told a patient graduating from her 10 week pregnancy ultrasound this.
Think of me like herpes….I mean luggage. I’m always here. When you need me, you know exactly where to find me.
Joke aside, I meant it! There’s just something about using your words to make sure patients know how much you care about them.
Did anyone else remember that from medical school? The importance of making your patients feel loved and heard?
I thought so…
But I’m going to let you in on a secret. What I’ve found patients need — heck what we all need — is not a medical degree, but something much simpler.
From my perspective we all need three things in our lives:
We need love from people vs. technology
Is there anyone in the room who was proposed to via text message? (silence).
I thought so.
Did you decide what college to attend based on ONLY a Google search?
It sounds outrageous, right? It is!
Yet so much of our health is being left for people to figure out on their own, with technology, and often without any human support.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a tech advocate. I have an Apple watch. I’m cool like that. I’m trying to figure out how to do a pelvic ultrasound from my phone
I’m NOT cool with outsourcing the care that only humans can provide.
Every single one of my patients leaves my office knowing that Dr. Aimee is faster than Google.
A patient made a photo for me which I keep at my front check-in desk. It says:
Keep Calm, Email Dr. Aimee
Showing love isn’t showing weakness as a medical professional/any professional.
That includes loving ourselves.
Everyone here is busy. When is the last time you got a massage? Or took the time to make yourself a healthy meal? What about meditated, went on a long walk, or just took a second to freaking breath?
I mean, look — I’m in need of all of them. When my patients tell me they haven’t shaved I say don’t worry, I haven’t either!
Self care is the foundation for the best medical care.
Practice meditation, pick your mantra. Use that energy and educate your patients about the mind body connection. But if you don’t know what that is yourself, you can’t help your patients. Start with you — give yourself what you need. It’s the foundation for the best care.
We need humility — both as patients and as doctors to know that it’s okay to not be right.
I know this may be hard to believe but yes, even doctors are not always right. (Gasp!). MD doesn’t mean medical deity!
Let me tell you a quick story about one of my favorite patients who is here tonight.
(And I know it’s probably poor form to call a patient a favorite, but let’s get real. It happens.)
Mary Kennerly and her husband Wes, a bad ass fighter pilot, came to me a few years ago after years of misinformation from other doctors. None of them fertility specialists, but only one doctor she spoke to would admit it.
That doctor’s humility led Mary to me, and it saved her. It gave her a chance at parenthood, and today she has two children through surrogacy. But this journey didn’t only give her children; it illuminated her life purpose. Today she and her surrogate have launched their own agency to provide the emotional support and healing help to others through Delivering Hope LLC.
Finally, our lives need simplicity
The world is complex. Medicine is complex. But the first step to fertility health can be simple.
If someone asked you today how to get their fertility screened, what would you tell them? Would you have a quick answer to give them? Or would it involve a more complicated explanation?
I want to simplify that answer. And what better way than to do so through a good old-fashioned mnemonic device. I’ve chosen one that’s close to the subject matter of fertility.
I want to introduce the TUSHY method for fertility screening.
U= uterus (ultrasound)
H = hormones
Y= your genetic profile
How many of us have seen patients come our way after a year of clomid and missing their entire TUSHY! they’re TUSHY-less!
My make up artist today told me her story and I immediately responded with, “you’re missing your S! You’re only a TUHY! I recommended she get her partner’s sperm tested.
I hope you, sit with this information. Then share it, practice it, and look to hear more from me about it.
Remember that three things: Love, humility, and simplicity are all we need to change the fertility care environment.
Nobody wins when we pretend to know what to do. We can’t go about this alone. We must relinquish the need to protect our ego,or as doctors to justify the degree we likely have framed and hung on a wall in our office.
Be human, be loving and most of all love yourself. That’s going to change the face of fertility medicine.
It’s what our world needs, and it’s as simple as a warm smile and being yourself. Allow your words to help patients feel the love that they are looking for.