The ProspectiveDoctor Podcast

A Doctor’s Journey to Thriving with Lupus

Dr. Manisha Rayavarapu, a family medicine physician living with Lupus, talks about the relationship between medicine and sacrifice and the importance of self-care in medicine.

  • [00:34] Getting to Know Dr. Manisha Rayavarapu
  • [01:05] Dr. Manisha’s Journey Into Medicine
  • [02:15] The Biggest Challenges in Medical School
  • [05:12] Manisha’s Book: A Doctor’s Journey to Thriving with Lupus
  • [09:07] How Living with Chronic Illness Affects Every Aspect of Your Life
  • [11:54] The Importance of Self Care in Medicine

Biggest Challenges in Medical School

Forget all the glamour, excitement, and pomp you see in hospital drama series’ or movies, life in medicine is hard. Your first year in medical school will give you a taste of the rest of your life– a life full of sacrifice. Med school is, for all intents and purposes, a 24-hour commitment. Dr. Manisha’s life, for example, only allowed time for studying, going to class, studying, eating, studying, and hoping for 5 hours of sleep. Most students believe that life gets easier as years go by, but the truth is, life before and after medical school is only a primer for the real thing. Although Dr. Manisha doesn’t regret pursuing medicine, she does regret all those missed family vacations, all in the name of preparing for exams. So, as you journey through medicine, be ready to live a life full of sacrifice, but embrace this newfound responsibility that is now being placed in your hands.

Dr. Manisha’s Book: A Doctor’s Journey to Thriving with Lupus

Imagine having to go through the stresses of medical school while battling Lupus. It’s hard, especially when you think about the rat race surrounding the journey to becoming a doctor.

Lupus can sometimes be very hard to diagnose, and after many years of recurrent symptoms, Dr. Manisha was correctly diagnosed with the illness in her second year of residency training. Years later, armed with a passion for writing and the need to tell people her story, Dr. Manisha decided to write her journey through medicine while battling a chronic illness. She believes hundreds of medical students live with chronic illness and might want to quit midway through. The book describes the highs and lows of living with Lupus while pursuing the dream of becoming a doctor.

How Living with Chronic Illness Affects Every Aspect of Your Life

Chronic illness is a condition or a disease that can last years or a lifetime and is oftentimes not curable. Symptoms can vary in severity, with some people able to live supposedly ‘every day’ lives. Sadly, regardless of the severity of a chronic illness, most patients experience the following symptoms: extreme fatigue, pain, headaches, brain fog, and nausea. These symptoms, compounded with the fact that one has to juggle med school and doctor’s appointments, can be a little overwhelming. It becomes harder to sustain relationships, remain productive, and enjoy life in general. Although Lupus affected all aspects of Dr. Manisha’s life, it never killed her lifelong passion of becoming a doctor.

The Importance of Self-Care in Medicine

For most healthcare providers, self-care is never a priority as they care for others. It’s a natural instinct; patient needs come first while a doctors’ needs are a mere inconvenience. Although some doctors can survive and thrive with this superhuman behavior, it’s not sustainable and certainly not healthy. By continuously deferring your own physical and physiological needs, you’re harming yourself while providing subpar care to your patients. According to Dr. Manisha, the only way physicians can guarantee quality care is by prioritizing their own needs and doing the exact thing they tell their patients.

Links and Resources

Dr. Manisha’s Book: A Doctor’s Journey to Thriving with Lupus

Dr. Manisha’s Website

Dr. Manisha’s Instagram

Erkeda DeRouen

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen is a graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, followed by completing medical school at the Boston University School of Medicine. She then completed residency at The University of Maryland Family and Community Medicine Program. After that, she worked at an underserved community health center, and currently is an Associate Medical Director of a telemedicine company. She recently became one of the first 1,000 lifestyle medicine certified physicians in the world! Her areas of interest include: health equity and eliminating health disparities, service of underserved populations, HIV management, transgender care, mentorship, and lifestyle medicine.

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