How ​One​ ​D​octor ​B​egan ​L​iving her ​D​ream to also ​B​ecom​e​ an ​A​uthor

Archana Shrestha

From defeated to dreaming big: the unlikely route that brought me to become a published author
By Archana Reddy Shrestha, MD

From the time I was a school girl I wanted to be an author. I remember writing and taking very seriously a book that I had authored in elementary school. It was written in one of those blank hard cover bound books with white pages inside. I wrote the story and of course was also the illustrator. When I completed it, I dreamed of one day becoming a real author selling lots of copies of my book. But somewhere along the line in my adulthood I stopped dreaming or perhaps more accurately stopped believing my dreams could come true.

Ironically what brought me back to believing in my dreams was my fitness journey. Four years ago, I was at a breaking point with my health and fitness. I was overwhelmed by the stress from my intense job working in the ER as an emergency physician and also by the stress of mommy life with two small children. After we finally got the kids in bed, I would stress eat and dig into a big bowl of ice cream, my reward for making it to the end of the day.

I was low on energy, crabby and out of shape because I also couldn’t find the time to go to the gym. For the first time in my life I was falling into an overweight range and my cholesterol was creeping up and I was dangerously close to going on medication. My knees and back would ache due to the extra weight I was carrying around. I was only 35 years old but I was starting to see that the lifestyle I was leading was taking me down an unhealthy path. As I realized this, I decided to make a change because I knew my kids deserved a happy, healthy mom who could run and play with them and who was also a role model for them. Having a little daughter who was watching and modeling my every move made me realize I must change.

That day I decided it was time to just start somewhere. I dug out the workout videos my brother had sent me for my birthday (I had let them sit in the box for a few months) and pressed play. The first few days and weeks were tough, but the motivating trainer on the videos kept me showing up and I started to see results in a few weeks. I also joined an online fitness accountability group that kept me motivated and showing up each day. The workouts, nutrition plan and the fitness community helped me to feel amazing and lose 35 pounds and a ton of inches. The most important thing I gained was confidence and belief in myself to go for all my dreams again. I saw that if I could transform my body, my mood and my energy so dramatically that I could transform my dreams into reality too.

About a year ago I wrote down “Become a Published author” on my vision board. The wish stayed there for some time awaiting the right opportunity to bring it to life. When a friend told me about an opportunity to be a contributing author to a book called “The Women in White Coats” I knew it was my chance to make that dream come true. I submitted my chapters in February and this past May my dream of becoming a published author came true when we launched our book!

What a great experience it has been to be a part of this unique book of stories from 20 different women in medicine and dentistry. We are women who practice in different fields – emergency medicine, pediatrics, orthopedics, nephrology, family medicine – in various stages of our careers. We are women of all different ages, nationalities and ethnicities, but what ties us together are the hurdles that many of us had to overcome to make our dream of becoming a doctor true. In this book we share our stories of training to become a doctor as well as what it is like to be a woman in medicine. We share the ups and downs, the obstacles we had to overcome, and the lifestyle of a doctor who wears many other hats as well — wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend.

So many people outside of medicine enjoy the show “Grey’s Anatomy” or “ER,” because they are curious to know what it’s like to be in medicine. Our book not only takes you to those raw and real moments of medicine but also gives readers insight into our honest thoughts and deepest emotions as we navigate the life and death cases that we partake in as well as some of the inequities we faced along the way. The book inspires readers to rise above obstacles and use them as an opportunity for growth just like I had with my fitness journey. This book is not just for people in medicine but for anyone looking to be inspired by real stories from real women who rose up despite adversity.

Our book launch was a dream come true. We had a photoshoot, media interviews, book signing and Q and A. It was remarkable how during the Q and A, it was as if the group of 20 authors had already known each other for years. But the reality was that launch day was the first day that many of us had ever met in person.

In fact, we had all met online in a group for women physicians. In this groups we discuss the trials and triumphs of being a woman in medicine, but we decided we needed to bring these stories to the world and not just keep them in a private group amongst ourselves. And that is how this book was born.

As I read the book for the first time I was impressed by how the narratives of the stories flow from one story to the next like a string connecting us all together. It’s the same connection that brought us all together knowing that our collective stories would be so representative of those that so many other women in medicine go through.

But this best-selling book is so much more than a collection of stories, it’s become a movement of women empowering women to gain equality in the field of medicine. The field is still dominated by men with 70% of physicians in the U.S. being men and inequalities and disparities exist and need to be overcome.

I hope you will read our book and if you are a woman who wears a white coat will join the movement. And for everyone who reads this book, I hope it inspires you to believe in your ability to achieve all your dreams in life.

To purchase your copy of the book, please go to WomenInWhiteCoats.com.

Archana Reddy Shrestha, MD is an emergency physician and co-author of “The Chronicles of Women in White Coats.” She is also an online health and fitness coach who inspires people to live their mighty life.

Her website and blog is called MightyMomMD.com. Follow her on Instagram @MightyMomMD

Leave a Reply