Dare to Dream Physician Podcast

Ep 77: Made for More with Dr. Cheruba Prabakar

January 16, 2023 Episode 77
Dare to Dream Physician Podcast
Ep 77: Made for More with Dr. Cheruba Prabakar
Show Notes Transcript

Dare to Dream Physician Resources:

Dare to Dream Physician, Life Planning for Physicians
https://daretodreamphysician.com

Dare to Dream Physician on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/daretodreamphysician/

DreamPhysician on Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/dreamphysician/

Dr. Cheruba Prabakar's  Resources:

Website: The Fibroid Doc 
https://www.thefibroiddoc.com/

The fibroiddoc. Cheruba Prabakar, MD on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/TheFibroidDoc.CherubaPrabakarMD

thefibroiddoc on Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/thefibroiddoc/

Cheruba Prabakar on LinkedIn
https://www.linkedin.com/in/cheruba8900prabakar/

TheFibroidDoc. on YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyPUtuVimf7GpprOiuXVWaw

There's exciting news at the Dare to Dream Physician! For those of you who wish to get clarity on your own "why", and get energized as you explore, envision, and create your dream life, I am taking on a limited number of one-on-one clients for Life Planning! To get the complete details, visit my website at Dare to Dream Physician https://daretodreamphysician.com

Dr. Gray, Host:

Welcome back to another episode of the Dare to Dream Physician Podcast. So this week and this whole month and, and probably even more than a month, I have been just so excited by every interview because I am interviewing physician authors who are in the book made for more physician entrepreneurs who live life and practice medicine on their. So at the time of the recording, the book has not come out yet, but it is coming out January 17th, 2023. And so by the time you hear this, it is going to be out. And if you have not gotten the book drop everything you're doing, go online. You can go on Amazon or what, whatever bookstore you prefer, and buy this book cuz it is such a game changer. It is a book featuring over 40 physicians who are sharing their story. So the stories are by physicians and they're four physicians because we are all made for more. And if you ever feel trapped or resentful, or unhappy or burned out doing what you're doing right now as a physician, This is the book that you need to pick up because it really shows examples of so many physicians who have felt the same way, but who are doing something about it. And, which brings me to this guess this week, she is a rockstar, first of all, so she is. My first podcast guest who I have known since medical school, cuz we are medical school classmates. And I was really impressed with her in medical school. I have to admit she was a little bit intimidating cuz she's such a go-getter when she was in medical school and that has not changed. How, how long has it ha Let's see. 2005 when we started medical school. So it has been not quite 20 years, but over 15 years And anyway, she is just such an awesome physician. Awesome. Female physician. So her name is Dr. Shababa and oh, I'm gonna let her introduce herself more, but I will just say that she has. Totally been an example of someone who is now living life and practicing medicine in her terms and her journey. She has a, a really amazing story, but, that part of, practicing medicine on her terms only started. Not that long ago, and you'll hear this story, I'll let her tell it, but you're, you're gonna be so amazed at what, what she's done in this short period of time. So welcome, welcome to the podcast

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Thank you so much, Whaley, for all those nice things that you just said about me and. Gosh, I didn't know I was intimidating in medical school.

Dr. Gray, Host:

in a good, in a

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

I can see. Yes. Yes. I think I've always been a go-getter. But thank you so much for having me. I'm just so honored to first of all, I've known you. For so long and then just crossed paths recently. I think we've been in touch here and there, a lot more once in the last couple of years. So just so excited to have reconnected and so happy to be here and share my story.

Dr. Gray, Host:

Yes. So tell us, I don't think I even told people like what kind of medicine you practice, but tell, tell us like the big picture view of what you've been up to and know, tell us about your family and, and work and all of that. And then we're gonna get to the really good stuff when we hear all details of, of what's happening.

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

All right. Yes. So, I, I went to medical school at the University of Connecticut where we met and did all my training in ob, G Y N in the East Coast, actually in New York. After which I did a fellowship in minimally invasive So finished that up and got married during residency. And at that point my husband. Actually grew up in the West coast and is in tech and all tech startups, are in Silicon Valley. So he wanted to come, come back to the West coast. And at that time, it's interesting, I was applying for a lot of jobs out here. know, I didn't really know anybody here in California and um, I didn't have a network of doctors here like I had in the east coast. So I was trying to apply for a lot of jobs and there just, you know, weren't a lot. Available. And it was a little surprising to me because in the east coast, right when I was a senior practices were approaching me trying to see if, if I would wanna join them. A lot of private practices around. And then when I was coming to the West coast, it was like, oh gosh, where are all the private practices? There, there, there weren't any jobs. It was, it was all big corporate and, which is something I wasn't used to, but. Anyway, so came out here got a job as an employed physician at a big institution, and then practiced there for seven years. it was a great exposure to a lot of different things. I, practiced in Oakland in California, so it's a very, very diverse population. Reminded me a lot of New York actually. And so I saw a lot, I learned a lot. I operated a lot. Got to meet, a lot of cool people. So it was a really, Really great experience. And in that time I also had three kids. So when I know, right? So juggling a lot. A full-time job, a marriage, three kids. So it was very stressful and I was. I, I think constantly, felt like I was walking a tight rope, a little bit here, a little bit there, and I'm gonna fall. Like I just had to maintain a very perfect kind of balance of doing it all and also taking care of myself. We talk a lot about self-care and wellness and medicine, but I was like, man, where's the time for that? Right. So that's, that's the big, big picture. And through it all, I have, been able to travel, take some trips go back to the East coast to see my family. so we've been here in the East Bay in California, and I think about a year and a half ago, I really started thinking, gosh, is, is this, what I wanna do for the rest of my life? And that's, that's when I started to think, this can't be it, working here is great and all, but I really felt. Somewhat constrained and didn't really feel like I was living up to my full potential. And felt like I didn't have the freedom to do the things I wanted to do. And being told by somebody else, what to do and how many patients to see and all of that in what amount of time. And so I, I. Pretty soon I was gonna be failing at, one or more things like either my marriage or my, my kids or my own mental and physical health. And so I felt something really needs to change. And I think that's when I embarked on this journey of entrepreneurship that, that we both are familiar with. Embarked on together a couple years ago. And I, I then decided to start my own private practice which I've always, always dreamed of. And so, I, I felt like this was the time to do it. And it was, it was, it is an interesting time because like I said, private practice. Didn't really, there's not a lot of private practice out here in, in this area of the Bay Area. It was a lot of, a lot of these big corporate medical groups, but private practice in the true, true sense as I saw on the East Coast, wasn't just, wasn't here. And a lot of people thought I was crazy and probably still think I'm crazy for doing it, but I was like, no, I've, really spent a lot of years. Honing my craft and serving patients like, I wanna do this for a lot longer. Like, I, I don't wanna leave medicine. The pandemic came about and we heard about how a hundred thousand doctors left medicine, and I was like, I'm not gonna be one of those. I'm not gonna be part of that statistic. I can't, I, I don't have energy to start a whole career. Are you kidding me? I I just, I just spent, a decade and a half, becoming an ob gyn and a surgeon and all of that. And I love what I do, so I had to figure out how am I gonna do this for the rest of my life in a way that suits me. And so that's, that's been my journey, the big picture of the last several years.

Dr. Gray, Host:

when I think of the title Made for More, you are someone that just comes to my mind just because, like I said, I remember you in medical school and how you always were seeking more, like even in medical school, I'm sure you're a great student. I Not that we like shared grades with each other, anything but. there was no doubt in my mind that you were a great medical student, academically, you also were in a lot of activities. You did, I remember you did a lot of engagement with am s a and you were always someone that, in my mind, just was obvious that you, you wanted more, when you said, you seven, seven years in or so into your attending practice when you're like, I wasn't feeling like. Living to my full potential To me, that doesn't surprise me at all. Because in corporate, there, there's not even really talk of our potential. You get your board certification, you get your credentials to, do whatever procedures and whatever surgeries that you can do in your field. And there's not really a lot of other it's not, it's really not part of the culture, right? Like you said, the culture is how do we crank more out of you? How can we squeeze, more product productivity? Meaning, how many more patients can you see, you know, in an hour? and so I, I think that feels quite dehumanizing to a lot of doctors in general, and I'm especially not surprised that, you had that moment when, when you were like, wait, this is, this is not the best that I can be. and I love that I'm kind of surprised that it took you seven years. That being said, you were also busy in those seven years, right?

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

I know, I know. You know that. I'm so glad that you said that because I was thinking the same thing myself like a couple weeks ago. I'm like, wow, it really took me seven years. But, thinking back medicine is a fairly linear path, right? And we tend to follow the examples of what's before us. know, you did the residency, you did the fellowship, and then, thought I would go into a private practice with a group of three or four people and run my practice how I wanted. And that's what was modeled to me, in re in residency and fellowship. And then when I didn't find it, I was like, okay, well I guess I'll join this institution and I'll start this job and. know, Becoming a good doctor, becoming a good surgeon, takes a little while, which is another one, another thing, you can't just come out of a fellowship and be like, okay, I'm great. I've learned everything. Right. Uh, For me, I really felt like it took about five years to, to deal with, to feel pretty confident with what walks through my door, what walks into the, or what walks into the ER and feel like, yep, I can handle it right. And so I think it. It took me a few years and I had my three kids, and so I was like, okay I guess that's where the seven years went.

Dr. Gray, Host:

Yeah, that, that's a lot of achievement right there, Wow. Wow. Yeah, and, and also just as like you were saying, we didn't keep in touch, but like I was aware of the things that you were up to and. Even when you were in New York and when you were a resident, you, you did things like you were on TV and you gave some medical sources on tv and so I guess that's why I'm like, yeah, of course. I'm not surprised. Like of course Sure Rebut would do that. you, you've summarized your, your journey, thus far, like beautifully, know, you, you told us everything that's happened, but there's a lot of details in there that I'm sure the listeners would love to hear. I So we talked about how you were on tv before, right? Like, and so you were really interested in public speaking and communication. And then you started an Instagram,

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Yes,

Dr. Gray, Host:

us more about that.

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Yeah, I know that was a big move for me because I was one of those people, who was like, yeah, you're not gonna find my picture on social media. I was, That's so funny. Yeah, because I did do some TV work, but I wasn't about to put too many details about my personal life on social media. And I think being a doctor that was frowned upon anyway. When I was looking for jobs, they were like, oh, be careful. they can google your Facebook page and see what you're up to and stuff. So I just, I felt like I really didn't have time for that. I think times have changed. When we were in medical school we didn't have Instagram and TikTok and all of that. But times have changed and I think I realized okay, to really do that advocacy work, to really do that Outreach about my field, my specialty. Okay. I also need to change, and this is a great way to put myself out there. And yes, I started Instagram channel a year and a half ago, and since then I've started a YouTube channel as well. And I also have a TikTok channel, which hasn't taken off yet, but yeah, so that. If you asked me five years ago, if you asked me two years ago if, I would have all these platforms, I would've said, no way. If you want to reach me, you can email me. Okay. But here I am with, on all, all these social media platforms and it's actually been a lot of fun and I think has made me reinvent myself in some sense and I think I have become, MD version two point in so many ways and that that's, one of the first ways. And so, yeah.

Dr. Gray, Host:

Oh, I wanna hear more what, what is it like to, reinvent yourself?

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Yeah, mean essentially I feel like I've had to become a new version to succeed in this phase of my life and. If you ask me am I, can I, can I work somewhere? Can I pay all my bills? Can I have a great and a fine life? Yes. That is, that was like, so yesterday for me, I can do that, but that's not what excites me anymore. Now I'm on to a, to a different phase of my life where I want to be a speaker. I want to Advocate for women on the various, issues that we face. I want to be an entrepreneur. I want to own a business. These are all skills that I didn't necessarily think that I would need as, as a physician, especially after I joined an employee practice. But these are all exciting and I think especially after covid, I learned. Okay. You know what, maybe it's a good time not to just rely on somebody else. Let me figure out how to do my own thing going forward. And even my step of, starting a private practice took a lot of going against the grain. So many of my mentors, very well meaning even told me. That honestly I think is a silly idea. That is not gonna fly. What they were thinking about is a very traditional way of how medicine is practiced and how an office is set up. They would be blown away if some of my attendings came to my office. They'd be like, what? This is how you answer your phones. This is how patients contact you. Wow. This is like amazing. We don't need to have, know, 10 people working for a doctor. Right. It's just so different and so I think. learning all that. At this stage, I'm a mom. I'm, I'm a fairly seasoned physician, I'm not in school anymore, but I feel like all these skills that I've learned I've just learned so much in the last couple years. And so actually you mentioned that, mentioned the book Made for More my, the title of my chapter is becoming MD version two Point. That is, is, is, my title, because I felt yes, that was version 1.0 before, but in the last couple years, I've had to become version 2.0 to do the things that I want to accomplish in this next phase of my life.

Dr. Gray, Host:

Hmm. Wow. I, I love that so much. And. That reminds me, talking about opening your own practice and how, well-meaning people who wanna be supportive of you, but probably just wanted to protect you from possible failure, would say things like, oh, don't, don't, don't be silly. Don't do that, that, that, that would be crazy. so, tell us a little bit more about that. I you, you gave a, an idea of the timeline, What, it was a year and a half ago. You, you started, doing videos on social media to, to teach women about gynecologic issues and then, were you intending to open a, a private practice then? Like when did this idea come to you and then you started to act?

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Yeah, so I, I actually always wanted to open a private practice when I graduated medical school, that was actually my dream. I was like, yeah, I'm gonna, I wanna finish residency. I'm gonna open my own practice. know, I was thinking about the doctors that I saw when I was in medical school in Connecticut. Their kids were working in the front desk, Leaving at four o'clock to go to the game. And when I started practicing, I was like, man, that is not the reality of what I'm living. We work in such a corporate situation, my kids wouldn't be allowed just to come and hang out with me or I barely even saw my kids cause I was at work at seven 30 in the morning. And if I had to make. Event or anything I had to like, it was just so much planning and moving patience and making up. At that time, I, I looked at myself and I was like well, this is not what I really wanted. And so that dream of having my own practice was always there. And then a year and a half ago I joined the Entre Empty Business School where I met you, we met again, and that Yeah, exactly. I'm so happy to see you there. And actually you told me about it, and encouraged me to join. And it's a school, full of physicians that are as the book says, wanting to live and practice medicine on their own terms and. And this was really inspiring to see a lot of physicians doing really cool things. Despite the odds, despite the struggles. And I thought, Hmm, I know people are leaving private practice here. No one's really starting a private practice, but why not me? And I thought, I think I'm ready. Like this has always been of a smoldering of flame inside. To wanna start my own private practice. know, I'm in this community of really cool doctors who are doing cool things, a lot of them owning their own practices. They can do it. Why not me? And yes, I'm in an area where it's not the most common way to practice, but, people need doctors and let me try this.

Dr. Gray, Host:

Oh.

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

so that gave me the little oomph that I needed to just, plow forward and

Dr. Gray, Host:

love that. And, I remember when you sort of, was putting these thoughts out there and saying, yeah, I'm, I'm thinking about this. It's a little scary thinking about it. To me I'm like, it's a no-brainer. Of course she can do this, but, but what's I think is so funny is, you here, you're in Silicon Valley, which is the land of innovation and, and yet that's the opposite for medicine. Apparently, from what you're describing of this area, like there is no innovation it's, it's all corporate and large but what you are doing very well goes with the spirit of where you're living, but you're just bringing it to Madison.

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Yeah, that's a great point actually. I didn't think about that. You're right. There's a lot of tech innovation, but when it comes to healthcare, we're. we're still a little bit behind and, why is that? Especially in, in this area, in the Bay Area where everything is so technologically advanced. And yeah, and I, thought about myself as a patient. I, I think you can probably relate to this. I. get the care I need because I have friends in probably every specialty that I can text Hey, I need to see you A S A P, and because they're my friend, they can get me in and some of them will say to me, yeah don't call my office. Just text me. If you call my office like, forget it. You're gonna wait online and blah, blah, blah. And I don't know when you'll be seen. And I thought, yeah, that's great for me because I'm a doctor, but that shouldn't be. The average patient who wants to get in and who wants to get great care, why should, why shouldn't there be so many barriers? And so, that I think really sparked further interest in up this kind of practice.

Dr. Gray, Host:

Yeah. and I definitely want to hear more about the setup of your practice, but I was just checking out your website before we started talking today, and I just loved it so much. You have a blog, you have, you have all this information on there. And one of the articles that you wrote on your website is what Patients Really Want Lessons from my first month in practice. So I, I would love for you to share a little bit of the content that's in there cuz I, I think that goes along with what you, you were just saying now,

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Yes. That's funny. I I have to look up the blog to see what I wrote, but I think but I think the gist of. What I wrote was, patients want a doctor who is on their side, who really cares for them, who is paying attention to them. I think one of the things that is happening in healthcare today is that we're falling through the cracks. And unless you have something life-threatening and very emergent that the doctor is, is taken care of right away. If you have a little abnormal blood test, a little, maybe an abnormal. I can tell you how many times, patients are notified of these things and we've, patients are falling through the cracks. And I think more and more I'm hearing from patients that, yeah, we want somebody who really cares and somebody who's paying attention. And that's what I really saw that first month of practice, because I was nervous as heck. Here I am in the Bay Area paying all this crazy rent, and starting a private practice. I have no idea if anyone's gonna call. But what really kept me going after that first month is exactly that. The thing that I learned the most was patients are actually looking for this kind of care. And, were some, were very happy and some were, some were patients who I had before who followed me, but many were just new patients. And they said, we don't, we don't want. to be on a phone tree for 10 minutes. We want an office where somebody picks up. And they were so happy to, to have that kind of care. And so it really encouraged me to keep going. And I said, you know what? I just need to reach more people. There are people who are looking for this and there are people who will benefit from it. And I am that person to provide that care, and I just need to, keep pushing. And that was important for me during the, beginning because, any little thing would just, could, would discourage me because I was just starting and I was like, oh man, maybe those people were right recently distort but I, I found all these little reassurances, reasons to keep going.

Dr. Gray, Host:

Yeah. One of the things I really like that you put in in the, the blog is that, doctors, we, by nature were highly caring or empathetic and we want to provide the best care for patients, but, but that, as you were saying, when you work for these big organizations where there's very little input from the frontline workers. that kind of becomes less and less important as far as the organizational goals. And as a result of all the other goals that they have, these metrics and things that they have for us, we start to find it difficult to, be the caring and empathetic doctors that we want to be, that we feel like patients deserve. and so I I I love that this you are offering a solution to. Problem. And tell us a little bit more about, how how, how can you do that? Why are you able to, spend on hurry time with the patients and, how, how is, how, what are, innovative solutions that we have to this problem that we all see in corporate medicine?

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Yeah, you, it is exactly right that doctors. By nature, we love to talk to patients. We're thought to take these detailed histories. In medical school. We love to spend time with patients, but the environment that a lot of us find ourselves in, we can't really do that. We have to be on the clock and we have to see our next patient. And so in my practice, I decided to actually be out of network with insurance. this enabled me to be able to do what I need for patients the way I see fit and spend the time that I. And this is because, I don't have to rely on, okay, what is this insurance paying for this type of visit? Okay, to make it worthwhile. I

Dr. Gray, Host:

not paying. That's the problem.

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

exactly. Either. Either they pay or suddenly they deny, your visit and say, well that was unnecessary, or whatever. After you just spent an hour with the patient. And I felt. By practicing in the very traditional model that a lot of my, attendings did before me. I would, back to running the rat race. I was back to seeing, if I did the math, I'd have to back to seeing 15 to 25 patients a day, really quick really fast visits. And I, I feel like I'm managing a factory again, and that's exactly what I was trying not to do. But again, business is, in order to make that work, I had to say, okay, well I'm gonna have a different model where I'm, I'm out of network. And so when patients come to see me, they pay cash for the price that I've determined for that type of visit. And then as a courtesy, I actually have hired a biller. Who will then bill the patient's insurance for that visit. And for some patients, they actually have good out-of-network benefits and they're surprised that they get a portion of it actually reimbursed. And they're super happy that they got to spend an hour with me, plus they, ended up not even spending that much money for other patients. Depending on the insurance, they may not get anything back, but, They have realized that, okay, wow, that was so high value. I got so much from this visit, had all my questions answered. I don't need to make another appointment to come. Because I didn't have time to go through my list. And this is how I'm essentially able to, Function this way. And so instead of seeing 20 patients, I can actually see eight. And that's a full day for me and I'm spending 45 minutes to an hour and I get to learn, learn about the patient and her life and her kids and what happened over the holidays and how I think medicine, should be practiced. And yeah, that's my model right now. And I'm, I'm, and I'm loving it.

Dr. Gray, Host:

Hmm. and I would add to what you're saying there which is, if, if you immerse yourself enough in the corporate rat race, medical culture, that sort of idea of let me just. Have a little chitchat with the patient, like ask 'em about their life. It's, it's almost looked down upon. They'll be like, oh, but you're inefficient and you're wasting time. There's somebody else who you need to see. And I would add that that's not, that, that may be now the culture and, and corporate medicine, but I think if you go back to sort of the, the essence of the physician patient, relationship. Those parts are really important because when you have someone and you I see sleep patients, you see patients with fibroids and other gynecological issues and, and they come with a problem. They're not just that problem, right? You have to think of the context of what, what, how is this affecting their life? And, you help them make the best decision, find the best treatment plan. and that's really the, the. Have an informed discussion, like you were saying, highly personalized plan because you have to understand them and you have to it, it is a very ideal way of practicing medicine, unfortunately, even though I. I am, in a more traditional clinic, I still get to do that with my patients. But I agree, like for me, that is the essence of practicing medicine. And if you, if someone, over my head is saying you can't do that that's wasting time. I'll just tell 'em to beat it. it's, it's, it's it that may be, what they think is true. But for me that is how I'm always, always gonna see, my role as a doctor is to. Get to know the patients and to try to personalize their care so that it, it, you understand where they're coming from and, and they can make the best decision for, for what they need.

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Yeah, I couldn't agree more and I think that's why that was a breaking point. I have a personality where I'm able to be very efficient. I can still, do what I need to do for the GYN patient while asking them about their kids and their summer and all of that. And, and so I was that doctor, but I really had to be a robot. To be able to do that and leave at 5:00 PM with my charts closed, you know, with my charts closed because I was not about to open, epic at night, at home and that's why I started my day at seven 30 so I could get through of those patients by 3 45, give myself, a good half hour, 45 minutes to finish, any excess notes that I, I still hadn't completed and. So I could do that, but it took a lot to do that. If I wanted just to go for a 10 minute walk, well no, I don't have time to do that, and I thought, gosh, what am I doing? I don't have time to go for a 10 minute walk. And it really struck me when I was pregnant. And because I had gestational diabetes with my pregnancies and one of the things I had to do was do like a 10 minute walk after every. To bring down my sugars and I was like, oh, I don't have 10 minutes after I eat breakfast

Dr. Gray, Host:

I hear you. You're an ob, g n, so this is the advice you would give patients

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Exactly. I'm like, go on a 30 minute walk, after every meal. I, meanwhile I'm like, okay, 10 minutes at least. Maybe more. Some lunches I made the 10 minutes, if a patient no showed, but I didn't even have time for that. And when I had my third baby in 2020, at that point I was like, I'm not really taking care of myself really to the best that I should be, doing. And that was another kind of wake up moment when I was like, oh, I don't really want to keep doing this, forever. And so that made me really change and pivot.

Dr. Gray, Host:

Oh, I love that that it's so insightful when you say, I could do this. I was able to do it like I show up early and then, I'm really efficient. I'm talking to them as I'm doing the, the exams and yet it just took a lot out of you. So it's every day you're being more drained and more drained to, to the point where you're like, now I don't even have, I don't have the time to do the 10 minute walk. And so, It, it's exactly that because that's the culture that, I am actively working against because there's, there's certain metrics or expectations, and the thing is doctors are high functioning, achieving people. So we can do it, we can absolutely do it, but what's the cost of doing it a long term?

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Yes. What is the cost? And I think we all have families, kids, other interests, even if we're, even if we don't have a family and kids, other interests that we wanna pursue, whatever it is, we want time for all of that. We just don't want to be beat up at work and then come back all tired and, exhausted. And we don. Time to practice any of the things that we tell our patients to do, like exercise and eat well, and sleep and, all of these things. And I thought, wow, that's so hypocritical. And I have to say, in the last four months, I'm sleeping eight hours a day. I work out five times a week, if not six times a week. I feel great. I spend quality time with my kids, I'm doing, the work that I wanna do. and I feel like I have control over my schedule. Like I am recording this podcast on a Thursday afternoon in my bedroom at three o'clock. That's pretty amazing, that would not be happening before. Any podcast that I would do was like 20 minutes during my lunchtime or, 20 minutes, right after work. And know, my life is dramatically different because of those choices that I made. And it's been, it's really been life changing.

Dr. Gray, Host:

Wow. And you just started what, like three months ago?

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Yes, I started my practice three months ago and the. Thing that I wanna mention about doing this and being my own boss is that, that part in this book about, really living life on your own terms. And that means when somebody asks me to be a speaker somewhere, or when someone asks me to perhaps consult for a startup, I had the option to say yes. I don't need to ask anybody. I don't need to get anything in writing from anybody. I don't need to get any permission. I just have to say, does this fit in with my life and my goals and my values? Yes. Great. I'm gonna do it. No. Okay. No, I'm gonna move on. But it's just opened my eyes and my mind to so many cool opportunities out there where I can use my knowledge and skills, and that's really mind blowing to.

Dr. Gray, Host:

And that was part of why you felt like you couldn't live your full potential. Cuz, while working in corporate medicine, even if there was a cool opportunity that you could co collaborate on you may not have gotten permission. or you may, you would have to get permission and they may not give it to you.

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Exactly, exactly. I'd have to go and find my contract and have a lawyer rewrite it and all this other stuff. And here I just, look at opportunities and say yes or no, and, do what fits my life. And that's really invaluable

Dr. Gray, Host:

Mm Oh, this

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

to me. Yeah. So, Yeah, it's been a really great, journey. And yeah, as you said, it's just the beginning. I'm on month four of my private practice, so I have a, I have a long road ahead of me and I really can't see what else is. Happen. And I think that's what's really cool. It's it's not a very straight path. and that makes it more fun to me because I don't know what's coming down the pipeline. I don't know what's coming down the road. And that's exciting to me. Versus, you when you're not an entrepreneur, when you're not doing your own thing. I felt like, well, I pretty much know what the next year is gonna look like.

Dr. Gray, Host:

Mm

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

See this many patients, do this thing, go to this conference. Okay, that's it. Check. And now I get to create my year however I want it to be. And that's cool.

Dr. Gray, Host:

So the, yeah, and you talked a little bit about this, but I, I'd love to hear you speak more on this. for me when, when I first, when I first heard there were entrepreneurship I thought it was a dirty word, and I'm like, I don't wanna have anything to do with that. And then I learned that no, entrepreneurship is, is exactly what you're saying. Like You're going there to create your own thing. And the difference between an entrepreneur and, a academic or employed physician or. Someone who's an employee is really that the, the cost of having that freedom to go create something and pursue something is risk, The risk of whatever, risk of failure, risk of being made fun, of, risk of, people thinking you're crazy risk of maybe, not being able to pay the bills and, and all of those things. And I know you shared some of the struggles that even mentally, that you would have about this risk taking. So tell us a little bit more about that journey for you.

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Yeah, yeah. As you say there, the, the price is, is the risk and there can be a lot of risk. For me, my family was on my medical insurance, and so if I just. Decided to quit this job. What happens to medical insurance? And we have a family of five, right? So that's a lot. And we had really, really, really good benefits in my, in my practice. So, that was something to consider. And I have to say, I'm very lucky because, I have a working spouse who has benefits on his side as well from his company. They're not as good. Mine work, but still they, medical insurance, dental insurance, all the things that we need that we need to be taken care of. So I was able to go onto that for, for our whole family. And then I was like, gosh, the fear of failure. That was a big one. Okay, if, if I have to close my doors in three months, everyone's gonna laugh at me. Everyone's gonna be like, this is, I told you so this was gonna be terrible. And then I thought what's the worst thing that can happen? Okay, I just go back to working for some c. Job, whatever it's fine.

Dr. Gray, Host:

Exactly where you were

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

that exactly. So I got over that really fast. and I know that now going through it, like if for whatever reason I have to close my practice in a year or two, I know that the skills that I have gained from this experience, will not land me in a job like I had before. I will be able to negotiate a much better deal for myself in the future if I were to be employed. I think so while that was, that was definitely a risk, and that was one that was scary. I said, I'm a doctor. I have great skills. I have, a great reputation in the community. I'm gonna be able to find a job that is not, that's not, a big deal. And so once I got over that, and once I got over the benefits thing of how I was gonna take care of my family after that I was like, okay, what, what's there really? Let me just, let me just do it.

Dr. Gray, Host:

Yeah. That, oh, that's, that's so good. Yeah. So true. the, the fear of failure. And, and I think a lot of times what I love is you, you verbalize them and, and then you dealt with them. I think for a lot of people, Maybe what's holding them back is they have fears that's underneath, but they may not be acknowledging it. And so they're not going forward because they have this fear, but they're not speaking it out loud and then addressing it. And so you basically did that. You just said, okay, here, here, what's the worst that can happen?

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Exactly. And I spoke about that with my husband. I'm like, okay, what's the worst that gonna happen? He's like, okay, where's that gonna happen? Okay, don't make any money. Whatever. You have to close to practice. Okay? You go back to getting a job. And and I knew that that was always in my back pocket. And so that helped me move forward. And I think this whole journey, I there's this saying that we often hear, it's like the only thing that's constant is change, right? And. I think that is so true and the quick. We are to realize that and adapt to that, the better we are. And there's so many things in my life that have changed, yeah, the way I prioritize myself, my work, my business. I read a ton now. I read, just in this last year I read probably 15 books, before I used to read like one, right? The, the way I take care of myself the, my priority in my family, just overall my life is, Become so much better. And I attribute a lot of that to the ability that I had also to be nimble and change. And I think to be successful in this world, that is what we have to do at a fairly rapid pace. And I think this is where a lot of the doctors who I trained with, my attendings didn't quite see it because, they, some of them are still in the same practice that they started 40 years ago, change wasn't as rapid, especially in the medical field. Change was only for, the tech change was only for the computer people. But now change is for everyone. And even for me, I had to change from the way I grew up in medicine to the way I practice medicine, it's totally different. And that's only, 15 years. And I'm sure in my lifetime there will be more changes. I'll be version 3.0 and maybe version 4.0. And I. The more I reconcile to that and get excited by that, rather than being bogged or nervous or scared about that, the better off I'll be. And I, and I think the better off we, we will all be as, as physicians too.

Dr. Gray, Host:

I couldn't agree more with that. I, I feel like that is one of the defining shifts that that all doctors can make so that they can pursue more. And the more may be different, right? Like you have, the more that you describe in your journey so far. And, other people I've interviewed have a di a different, more. But for everybody there is a more, and the, acceptance that things are going to change. And you're so right about the culture of medicine that we grew up in, because I feel like maybe up until. Two years ago, I always, I I, there, there was this term that was thrown around like the golden age of medicine. Oh, back when there was no insurance authorizations, and insurance compensation was really great, and doctors were revered and respected, and patients just did whatever we told them. And, and I grew up in that narrative, right? I grew up as a physician. I didn't grow up as a five-year-old, but like, you know, in medical school and, and so I think for the longest time I always unconsciously thought of change as a threat, as a bad thing. Like If things are gonna change, it's only gonna change for the worst for the doctor, and I am a doctor. So it's just, I, I couldn't embrace change with that. Belief that change was just bad. It's just gonna get worse and worse. And the shift that I feel like I made in the last couple of years it is exactly that too. It's like, Hey, change can be exciting. Look at all the changes that Dr. Shaba has made, that is, all the better, So change is, is an opportunity. And accepting change gives us this freedom because we don't have to have all these fears. To hold onto, to, to keep the status quo because we're fearing of losing something. Cuz even if, when you are doing nothing when you're standing still, it's still changing. We see that, right? Even if you sit in the same office every day, like your practice could be bought out by, venture capital or by another corporate system. So even if you do nothing, things are changing. It's just that you're not actually participating.

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Mm-hmm. .That's a great point. Yep. You're not actively participating, and that to me is scarier. Things changing around you, under you when you're not even having a say. And yeah, as you said, we grew up in medical school in the kind of the golden era of medicine. I think things were probably changing even when we were medical students, but still I think it was, it was definitely different than it is now. And I think change is inevitable and for those who embrace change, things actually turn out to be better. And so that's, that's a huge lesson that I learned.

Dr. Gray, Host:

And then the one last thing that I love that you said is you're like, Hey, even worst case scenario, I, I have to, for whatever reason, close my practice and maybe return to an employed position. I'm still not gonna be the same person I'm not gonna put up with what I put up with before. I'm not gonna sign the contract that I had signed before, and that is, So profound because whatever investment or self-development that we put in ourselves, like it's never loss, right? even if you know the thing that you're pursuing failed you, you've gained something and it, it's, you're elevating your self-concept. Which is why when you're, when you do enter a new negotiation, you're, you're not going to be the same person. You're not gonna have the same result in what you get because you're not gonna put up with that.

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Exactly. I I actually didn't realize it till I said it aloud to you, and I was like, oh yeah I was like, what would it even look like for me to be an employed position again? I would totally negotiate for totally different things, and yeah, how I did my work and. And what I would want in that contract would be entirely different. And that's very powerful to say. Yeah, I have that knowledge and I have that experience now to negotiate like a boss. Whereas before I'd be like, oh my gosh, great. Thank you so much for giving me a job. Where's the contract? Let me just sign it. Thank you, Lord that I have this job. That's, that's how I entered it anyway, and we were making peanuts as residents, so any type of salary, I was like, wow. I actually have a real salary now.

Dr. Gray, Host:

exactly.

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

And yeah, I think there's always a more regardless of, and it doesn't have to look the same for, two people but. There's, I think pursuing that more in life. for me, that's what makes it exciting and, worth living. And I love teaching my children about it as well. there's always, there's always more. And it doesn't always have to be the pursuit of, your career or money, but it could be, yes. The more in taking a walk after every meal, the more in sleeping eight. The more in spending 30 minutes with your children every day in the evening or reading to them, so the more it can be in, the more it can mean so many different things.

Dr. Gray, Host:

Mm. I love that. So you guys, you, you guys heard her loud and clear. We are all made for more and, pick up this book. It's, it's gonna come out, it's, by the time you hear this, it's, it's gonna be out. So go and click and buy it as a Kindle or hard cover or soft cover. It's all available. And, Treat yourself to the best year that you have yet, and get yourself, inspired about how you can be an MD 2.0 version of yourself.

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Yes.

Dr. Gray, Host:

Yes, yes, yes, yes. And then of course, okay, so that was the first pitch. And then I also, for, for people who are listening who you know, are probably like, oh my goodness, this is so amazing. What Dr. Sheba has been up to. Tell, tell our listeners how they can find you.

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Yes. So the easiest way to find me is on Instagram at the Fibroid doc T H E F i B R O I D D O C, the fibroid doc, and also have a YouTube channel with the same name, the Fibroid Doc. And you can email me the fibroid doc gmail.com and my website and the Bay Area is lamorinda gyn. Do. And if you're in the Bay Area, I'd love to see you as a patient. But you can check out all of those handles for more information.

Dr. Gray, Host:

Yay. And we'll put those in the show notes for sure. Thank you again,

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Thank you so much for having me. This was so great, great reconnecting, and I just love sharing my story and it's just giving me goosebumps all over again.

Dr. Gray, Host:

Yay.

Dr. Prabakar, Guest:

Thank you. Thank you so much.