It was just an ordinary day in 1999, I was watching TV with my children and husband, went to bed early as I felt little tired, when I woke up one day and sensed something strange in my body. I had noticed few bruises, went to nearby urgent care where basic blood tests were conducted and I was sent back home. I received a call within few hours requesting me to call an ambulance to go to nearest hospital. I was shocked to hear this and called my husband immediately, who said he would take me to one of the best hospitals in the country. He promised to drive with extreme caution, as we were strictly instructed not to drive due to high risk of intracranial bleed from very low platelet count of less than five percent. Needless to say I was admitted to the hospital, surrounded by numerous doctors and students, due to the rare nature of the case. Doctors told us that I had fifty chances of survival, and my next few days were critical to my survival. My husband being a nonmedical person was appalled to hear the news of my survival chance and questioned doctors. I requested him not to let anyone know about it including my parents. My husband sat in the hospital chapel and prayed alone without anyone to share his emotions with. While at on the hospital bed, my mind overflowing with thoughts and emotions about my life and future of my family. I had made so many future plans with my family and career and could not fathom the idea of being taken away so early.
I am now pleased to say that diagnosis was more than 20 years ago. And now I am stronger than I had ever been, as a result of one philosophy that I have adhered to all these years ‘I took control of my health’. Therefore based on my struggles and experiences if I could share one life lesson with you, it would be that ‘Your health is in your hands, it is never too late to take control of your health’. Upon surviving my acute illness, I had reflected on my purpose in life, and why I had put on this planet. I had realized that my purpose in life was much greater than simply living. I was to make profound positive impact in other’s lives and wellbeing.
After my discharge with the diagnosis of ‘Acute autoimmune thrombocytopenia’, which means my immune system could not recognize my own platelets as ‘self’ and attacked them with antibodies as a ‘foreign’. We had theorized that, I could have caught the illness from fungus I may have likely inhaled from fungus infused tulip bulbs that I planted in our garden. Upon further reflection I had realized that I had autoimmune thyroiditis when I was pregnant with my first child and had several miscarriages prior to my having second pregnancy. All these conditions were from a common root cause ‘weak immune system’ that overreacted. I condemned myself for an unhealthy lifestyle, and for not being cognizant of my food intake and exercise, while preparing for competitive medical exams and around-the-clock residency program. I thought my tendency to treat stress and emotions with unhealthy food alternatives was the main reason for ill-health.
Since then I have been on a journey to restore my health and improve wellness. Without any knowledge in functional medicine, I thought all my issues could have likely originated from stress, nutritional imbalances, and a poor lifestyle. I did some research online and stumbled on finding American Board of Holistic and Integrative medicine, leading me to discover Integrative and Functional Medicine.
As a primary care physician I have been fortunate to work in a setting where I have the ability to engage in chronic medical conditions prevention and management, not only in clinic but also had opportunity to educate others in community gatherings. I have been working near the greater Boston area for over twenty years at various practices, but had always had to the passion to make a difference in others lives through functional medicine. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to specialize in Integrative and Functional medicine, nutrition and obesity at a time when these specialties just started to gain momentum and credibility. I consider myself a trailblazer in exploring a path not quite mainstream but yet essential on a person’s health and wellbeing.
Being born in India and having spent nearly 25 years there, grew up in a family where my mother would treat all of us with several natural remedies including herbal medications for common illnesses. While I loathed taking the decoctions at the time, little did I realize how effective those natural treatments were to my well-being.
Upon completing medical school in India, I got married to my husband and immigrated with him to Boston. During my residency training, while I received some phenomenal training at St Elizabeth’s hospital in Brighton, I felt a void in my knowledge in preventive care and realized that a focus on nutrition was minimal. I sought to learn how nutrition affects our body and began independent research in nutrition by studying the concepts of integrative and functional medicine. Through my stumble upon functional medicine, I buried my head in countless journals and focused on specializing in fields of my interest obesity medicine, culinary medicine, Integrative and functional medicine.
With the knowledge that I have acquired and through my near life-threatening experiences, I believe my purpose is to make an impact in others’ lives through functional medicine.