Unabridged Perspectives: A Journey of Healing and Rheumatology
Kara Wada, MD: Welcome back everyone to this episode of Becoming Immune Confident. If you are a longtime listener, you will know the name of our guest this week. If you are a new listener, and then goodness, we have a treat in store for everyone listening. I'm so excited to introduce you to Dr. Isabelle Amigues. She is a amazing human being who also happens to be a rheumatologist. And we have shared just really, and I don't say this lightly, but life changing conversations together that we've happened to hit the record button on, which is so exciting. And we are going to talk all about the concept of perspective today, which I'm really excited about.
Dr. Isabelle Amigues' Background and Journey
Kara Wada, MD: And I'm going to let Dr. Isabelle explain a little bit more about her background for those who are just meeting her and need a little refresh as well.
Isabelle Amigues, MD: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much, Kara. It's always such a treat. I love coming on those with you. It's just a, such a treat. And I think you and I see really eye to eye when it comes to medical care. So it's always a treat. So yeah, I'm a rheumatologist. I cannot hide I'm French. I did my residency fellowship, everything in France.
And then I moved to New York city at Columbia university where I repeated, it's not a repeat really. I extended my residency and extended my fellowship. And actually I loved it so much that I extended my fellowship to do more research. So, I consider myself a researcher, although right now it's a little bit on pause.
But I have the mind of a researcher for sure. And I love it. And I love rheumatology. So I did rheumatology in France. Love it, love it, love it. And so when I had the choice to choose whatever I wanted, I was like, "Yeah, well, I love rheumatology, so I'm going to keep that," and it's just such a pleasure. And I moved from New York City to Denver when I had twins and it was a little tricky to have twins in a one bedroom apartment.
Kara Wada, MD: I can't even imagine.
Isabelle Amigues, MD: Uh, well, as a Parisian and New Yorker, you're like, "Oh, this i s doable. It's not a big deal." But at one point you're like, "Okay, maybe they need a little bit of space". And even when small, they needed a lot of space. And so then moved to Denver, Colorado, and after being five years on faculty at National Jewish Health, which is a really good center especially of lungs. So I learned a lot on lung disease and rheumatology. So I find myself an expert in interstitial lung disease from the rheumatology perspective.
Dr. Isabelle's Personal Health Journey and Perspective Shift
Isabelle Amigues, MD: I had my own health journey, which kind of allowed me to go back into what do I want to do if I am given the choice of staying and if I am given the opportunity of staying and leaving.
So I had stage four cancer for those who don't know. And it's really was what I needed at that moment to put my life in perspective and to see life as a gift. And I really do think it's a gift. And I think that it's really helped me as a person, but it's helped me also as a physician.
Shift from Academic Medicine to Personal Practice
Isabelle Amigues, MD: And I decided to get out of academic medicine, not so much for the academic part, cause I love that. Mostly because of the insurance. I thought that the insurance, like basically it came down to my institution is a wonderful institution, but at the end of the day, they have to work within the frames of what's working in the US, what's not working really in the U S and that's insurance.
And I just had this feeling like, not this feeling, but I wanted to be the best rheumatologist that I could be for my patients. And I wanted them to be able to be who they are with me without having to constrain themselves in, "Oh, this is only rheumatology" or "I'm not sure if I should tell this to my doctor" and so really see the whole of the patient and them seeing the whole of me. And so I call my practice on average MD and it's not just a practice. Really, for me, it's just a way of living. So I don't take insurance. Honestly, I would take insurance if I felt that that was the way to do it, I just, I don't want to use my energy as a physician to discuss my work with insurance.
And so that's why I was like, "No, I'm not doing this." And my contract is with my patients. And I will work with them to get their medication. So I do all the prior authorizations and all this, but I was just like, "I need to make sure that my patients know that they are paying me and that's why they can call me.
And that's why they should call me and they should text me. And I have to tell this all the time to my patients because they feel guilty or they are so used to have the nurses being like, "Oh, why are you calling?" or something? I don't know if that's really what it is, but there's so much burn out right now in the community.
I think that they are feeling guilty that they are calling and I'm like, "No, you're paying for this. You're paying me for this. So please call me." And I really love it. And it's been less than a year now, but like we're coming to a year. And I just it's like my love of rheumatology. I've always loved rheumatology, but I'm loving it even more now that I can do it on my terms and the terms of my patients.
'Cause it really, it's a symbiotic relationship. And I have this podcast called 'UnabridgedMD'. I also have a YouTube channel called 'Rheumatology 101' because I'm an educator. I cannot, I could not stop doing this. And I think the reason I share all of this is that it's really not just the practice. It's just this movement. And I think that that explains more why you and I get along so well, because you are doing this. I think you're doing it in a way where you're still in the academic practice. Your academic practice is allowing you to expand in things that you love, like mast cell disease and all of those things.
And for me, I was just like, "I need to get out, out of this so that I can see what I can do on my own" and expand from there, but it's just a different path. I know that you and I have the same exact, it's probably not exactly the same cause it cannot be, but like we share those core values of autonomy for our patients and love for our patients and wanting them to be involved in their care and wanting them to not feel gaslit at any moment of their journey.
And so, yeah, I'm super excited to be here and I know I'm talking a lot.
Kara Wada, MD: It's so important.
The Power of Reframing and Perspective in Patient Care
Kara Wada, MD: Yeah, and I think it provides so much perspective as we launch in to talking about that in all the different ways that concept shows up.
Isabelle Amigues, MD: Yes. Yes.
Kara Wada, MD: So let's jump in. I'm looking at my current perspective. I'm trying to just be in this moment of looking at the sun, which is beautifully bright today, but a little bit brighter than I anticipated. So I may be moving around a little bit, trying not to have too much glare. But also the perspective of my office slash dining room.
Isabelle Amigues, MD: Yeah.
Dr. Isabelle's Personal Experience with Reframing Perspective
Isabelle Amigues, MD: I think that this idea of perspective and that was really the TEDx talk. We were talking about this before we hit the record button. I did this TEDx talk, and I really wanted to share this big idea that came during my cancer journey. When basically, there was this moment of, it's not a fight. It's not a fight for two main reasons. Number one is that it's my body. So my body and my cancer at the time, right? 'Cause hopefully they're gone. But like, my cancer cells are the same DNA than my regular cells, right? Like they were not perfect, but they had the same DNA.
And so to me, it was just like, "Okay, number one, it's not a fight because then I would be fighting me. And that's a problem." And number two, I don't want to live the rest of my life in a fight. And that's this change of perspective. Like really when you think about it, I'm just saying at that moment, I'm gonna lean in and learn as much as I can from this experience and I'm absolutely gonna do everything that I need to do to make sure that my body is healthy, right? And like the chemotherapy made sense. The biologic agent made sense. Actually the biologic agent made the most sense, honestly. So the cancer cell had a receptor called HER2-positive. So they were HER2 and the biologic agent attaches exactly under HER2 and basically flops the cell and then poof, it goes away. Thanks to your body that gets rid of it, right? And so for me as a rheumatologist, I was like, "Oh, that makes total sense". I was imagining the cancer cells with a target on their back and just the HER2, but never mean never in a mean, just, "Hey, I'm helping you get out. I'm helping you." I know you're here to help me. I know you're here to teach me something. I'm going to learn this experience. And the only way to get to this for me was to come up with the worst case possibility. And so I had to come up, I had to come to, even now it's very, it's also, it's very emotional because I had to come to terms with my life may be over.
But my journey may not be. And let me learn as much as I can from this experience. And if I see, so I think this is actually what Carpe Diem is about. We all know that we are finite. We all know at one moment, or like at one moment, we don't know when we are going to be done, right? Like our life will be done. And then we believe either in another life or something or reincarnation for some. But like in the moment in our, what we call our vessel and our body, at one moment, it's going to be over, right? And I don't like the term, but we're going to pass.
And so once you come up with that term, you start realizing what's really important. And then even your own health, you start realizing, "Hey, why am I fighting? All of this energy instead of healing." And so that's really where it came down to. It's, wow. As a physician, I've always seen diseases.
I was starting to change my mind actually, but as a young student, at least, and even as a fellow, and even as a fellow at Columbia University, so my second fellowship, I used to think of, "Oh, we need to get rid of this so that," it's there's an before and an after our patient and let's get back to the before.
But then you start talking to people and you start realizing that their before was not perfect either. And that's in a way, a lot of them have an after that's better than their before. You have to be very vulnerable and they have to be very vulnerable to really go into those discussion. For example, I have a friend who had brain cancer, and he will say that that was the best gift that life gave him.
And that thanks to his brain cancer, he finally lived. And for my breast cancer, I think I can say this a little bit, which is thanks to this breast cancer, I really stepped on the brake and was like, "Hey, hold on. What is the life I want to live? Especially if it's going to be shorter?"
I've seen this in my patients as well, right? Like sometimes. So I think I'm going to tell a story cause I think that that's really a good thing. So I had a really So in rheumatology, we have amazing treatments, especially in rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis.
I feel like that we have incredible treatment and we've talked together about this, that the aim is for remission, even if it's with treatment, it's still remission, right? But sometimes we have patients where it's not... straightforward. Either they are having a ton of side effects, so you know how you have to switch. Either it just doesn't seem to work.
And I'm always wondering why is that? And after free like different treatment, I usually have a discussion with my patients because I always wonder at that moment, like what's going on? Like what's the reason why they can't handle those medication? What's the reason why it's not working?
And right. Because the other ones take the medication, it works. They are in remission. They cannot. They're like, "Yeah, great. Thank you. Bye." Not bye, live your life. It's great. I'm really happy for you.
But the truth is that I think that they are already, they probably are doing that work of, "Yeah, it's going to be okay, right?" And they're already like thinking, or maybe they are not, and I don't know because those are not the patients that I usually ask those question of what did it to you. But the one that are not as straightforward, I usually ask this question like, is there anything, let's take rheumatoid arthritis, "Is there anything that rheumatoid arthritis has brought to you?"
" Can you think of anything that this condition has brought to you?" And I use the word condition versus disease. Condition, it means you're working with it. You're working with your condition. So that it's healing and not a battle. And so, I've had so many patients where this question changed their lives. And it's really just a question. I tell them like, "you don't have to answer me ever. You don't have to answer me now. It's just think about this." Right? And I had this patient. I've had many, so the one that I talked at the TEDx was this patient who had 10 years of rheumatoid arthritis with severe destroyed joint and he wasn't even thirty.
And they're like, "Wow, like how can you be in so much pain and in so much deformities? And had seen 10 rheumatologists?" And basically I was like, "I know I can get you better. I know it. It's not me. It's the medication. I know they can get you better. So then the question is why are you not getting better and what's happening?"
And I think in his case is that doctors had completely given up on him. And we're not trying anything. And I think also he was not the most adherent to medications. So that was the first part, like first part of his life with RA, rheumatoid arthritis, he had not been compliant or adherent to treatment.
And then the second part, it's the doctors that had given up, right.? So I come in. I'm like, well, I have a treatment. I know I love it. And it's an infusion. So in my head, I was like, at least the adherence would be good because it's an infusion. And at the same time, I was like, I need to make sure that you're taking it and I cannot force you to take this medication. I Didn't say that, but in my head it was a whole talk in my head. And how do I convince him that one, I'm on his side and two, he deserves to be in remission. And so I asked him that, I was like, "Have you ever thought that this rheumatoid arthritis brought you something good?"
And he at me, like I was crazy. Like seriously, like already to begin with, I thought that he came into this room and he was hating me just for being a rheumatologist, right? And then, I think he was like, "She's crazy. She's actually crazy and she's not empathic at all. How can she out there she say something like that something like that, right? But he came back. He came back three or four months later. And I wasn't sure if he'd taken the drug or not. I wasn't sure, like there was no way for me to follow that. And he had no more joint pain. And he had I think just one or two like basically his, one of his hip was so destroyed that he had like osteoarthritis because of the rheumatoid arthritis and so he needed a surgery and he actually was convinced to get a surgery. And he's been in full disease remission ever since. And he told me, he was like, " I thought you were insane to ask me that question, but I reflected on it and yeah, it brought me so much. It allowed me to travel. It allowed me to realize my life was maybe going to be much shorter than I thought. It allowed me to realize that I wanted to be my own business person," and so on. And I think it's that realization like he switched. He framed it differently. " This condition has brought me so much. Now it can go. Now I don't need it. I've realized what it has brought me. Now it can go." This is me I'm not a psychologist. This is my personal experience. It's not scientific. But man, it's just this one example, but there's many other of them. Like I had this other patient where I asked her, she wrote me a story about. But it was also rheumatoid arthritis, actually.
And finally she was able to tolerate our medication and how powerful is that? Because it's basically this idea and we can take it with Sjogren, right? What or anything really, what is your Sjogren bringing you?
Kara Wada, MD: For me, in the last few months had a patient who I'd been seeing for some time, happened to see my blog. And expressed her "I'm sorry that you've had to deal with this." And I said, "Honestly, it's only, yes, it isn't a disease I would wish upon anyone, right?
And yet, along with that, I have met some of the most incredible people. I know that my practice of medicine has changed immensely. I don't think it was terrible before, I think that that's grown and my ability to be vulnerable with my patients has grown. My understanding of caring for myself and the how vitally important it is that I take care of myself and how that is only going to help my kids lead healthier, happier lives. The list goes on.
Isabelle Amigues, MD: Yeah, yeah. Was she able to, your patient, did she pause and did she think of her own? Oh, she, or he, sorry. Did they think of their own because I think that that's really when it's cool. When you say this and suddenly you see in the eyes of your patient.
Kara Wada, MD: I think there was. Yeah, so I'm like, Oh, yeah, I could maybe see where that. And it really is, it's just this It's the shift in how you see your world.
Isabelle Amigues, MD: Yeah,
Kara Wada, MD: And sometimes it doesn't feel quite right right away, right? There absolutely is like a grieving process, and there are days where I still will have a bit of a pity party for my, pity party for one, like this really sucks. And that's okay too.
Isabelle Amigues, MD: Yeah, absolutely. I think it's just this changing perspective. Oh. So this is really interesting. So I get still a PET scan every six months and it's always stressful. Honestly, it's stressful. It's gonna remain stressful. I think that it'll be very strange if it is not stressful.
But I always try to imagine that I'm talking to myself as if I were my own physician. I cannot be my own physician, but I can start talking to me and I imagine that I'm talking to a patient. And I was just thinking about this. I was like, like in a way, this PET scan reminds me of the gift that I have, right? And so I have the pity party. I am feeling like, "Dang! I'm so upset that I need to go for a PET scan. And I don't want to do it." Of course, like as a patient, I'm like, I would much rather live my life and not have to deal with this. Yet, I switch it and then I'm like, hold on. Yes, I could think that and I can also see this as this gift that it reminds me how lucky I am. It's not luck but it is luck too. How lucky I am to be reminded of this gift that is life for me. And then I come and again, I told you, like I have, I don't know if it's for everyone, but for me, I have to go in the worst case possible scenario so that then it's not eating me alive, right? Because it's in my mind. Let's be honest, right? So I'm like, "Okay. What, Isabelle, let's think. What's the worst case scenario? The PET scan is showing something. Okay, fine. Well, all right. So what will happen? Well, they will change the treatment. Is that a big deal? Yeah, it's stressful. It's annoying and all this, but at the end of the day, it's not the end of life." And so then I come to terms with, okay, well, we are doing the PET scan to see if there is any recurrence. And if there is a recurrence, there is an action plan after that. It's okay. It's fine. Right? And so then I can go back.
Okay. Well. Yes, it sucks and I have the PD on me and also this allows me to see the gift of life at every six months. Every six months when the PET scan comes back and is normal, I am so relieved. I am so incredibly happy and joyful and grateful for this life and for the people who are around me.
I always ask all my friends to think of me, all my family to think of me. I think I sent like maybe 50 emails and texts, "Think of me! My PET's coming" and I'm grateful for them. And so I think that that's. Again, this power of reframing of yes, you have Sjogren and yes, some days it can be really challenging and it's also allowing you to go deeper into this relationship with your body. It allows you to, as a physician, to see and as a mom, to see life differently. And I think that that's what I'm calling reframing to just, to realize the gift that this experience is giving us.
Kara Wada, MD: And to play around with it, to get curious about it, I think this is a couple of really great kind of tools from our like a coaching toolbox of the idea of asking yourself and what else to keep your brain going of generating ideas and in ways that that may show up and also getting curious and playing around with how our thoughts do have a big impact on how we see the world.
And it may feel uncomfortable or weird to start off with, too, and that's part of it. But in doing so, there is immense power in turning that pain into something that has more purpose. Yeah.
Isabelle Amigues, MD: And that, I think that that's that purpose thing, that purpose piece. You can live your life without purpose, not even realizing, right? Like having lived from external basically externally, like external how do you call that? There's a word I can't remember, but like basically external stimulus,
Kara Wada, MD: Yeah. I feel like before I was just on the treadmill just
Isabelle Amigues, MD: Exactly. Your parents expect something of you. Maybe it's your teachers that are expecting something of you. The coaches are expecting something of you. The worst is you are expecting something of you, right? And us, physician, high type A personalities, high achievers, there's a reason why there's so much burnout in medicine.
And usually it happens not so much when you're a resident or fellow, when you're working a lot more hours, but later on when you're starting realizing like, "Oh, this is going to be for the rest of my life here? Like what?" And then you realize you're like, "Wait, where's my purpose? What's the goal? What do I want to do?" And I think that that's what it is, the treadmill, because we're working so hard, we don't stop to say, "Hey, what do I want? What do I need? Who am I for real? Who am I?" And having a life experience that's uncomfortable because it's never comfortable.
Like having something that's uncomfortable allows us to see and to see who we are and to see what we need and what we want. And I think that that's really, yeah, that's really where it's at. And I think that that's really like the power for me of talking to patients and the power of reframing. And sometimes it's not the right moment to say that and some other time it is. Yeah. But no matter what, I think that this is where I love being a physician because I feel like we see
that, we see that and it's always so powerful to see. Yeah, to just be in the lives of our patients and see them switch.
Kara Wada, MD: Yeah. I'm thinking about a few of my patients I've had and been seeing since I was a fellow because I stayed at the same institution. There are some people that I started seeing during my fellowship and were coming on close to 10 years. So I started fellowship in 2014 and so, there are a few that have stuck with me that whole time.
And it's really neat to see our growth each, and together in those relationships to. A few of those folks were I say just babies, but still in school. Still in high school and are now young adults. I'm thinking of a particular person. She's expecting her first child.
It's just, it's really, I have to say that's one of the things in particular I like about allergy immunology. And I would think with rheumatology too, we still have that ability to have continuity over the longer term and watch that longitudinal growth in so many different aspects of our lives.
The Role of Journaling and Facing Fears in Healing
Isabelle Amigues, MD: Yeah. I love that. That's one of the reasons I became a rheumatologist, I became and continue to be a rheumatologist. Yeah. So, I'm thinking about this, like I'm thinking if there are auditors. And if you allow me, I think I'm going to put this episode or so on my own platform because it's just so good, right? I think it's because we've seen each other several times that we can dig deep into this question, because we're not talking about rheumatology. We're really talking about, as physician and patient alike, I think that we have this perspective, you and I, where we're like, "Yeah, we are physicians, but we're also patients." And we're also, I don't consider myself a coach, but really we are coach. I know you are, and in a way I am too. And so I just think, if there is like a couple of things that I would tell if you have just been diagnosed with something, or maybe it's difficult and you're feeling defeated, I think that journaling and putting down the fears that you have are very, it's very powerful because you will find that your right brain, the ones that's writing, will find solutions. And that's actually really cool. So you start writing and you start sharing your fear. So for example, I would share my own example because it's just, it's very personal, but I was afraid of dying. So I was like, I'm afraid of dying. I'm afraid. It's funny. I never said that I'm afraid of suffering, but I think I said, I'm afraid of dying.
That's anyway, since I can remember, I'm afraid of dying. When I rock climb, I'm afraid of dying. When I fly, I'm afraid of dying. I don't know. There's like this fear of dying when I know it's happening at one point, I just, I'm afraid of it. So I write this. And then what's really cool is as I'm writing this, then there is this question that the right brain takes over and is, " Well, we're all dying and it's okay. Now that you know this, what are you going to do next? What does that tell you?" And so this journaling, this is, this journaling for me is really powerful.
When I have a fear, I write. And that allows me to put my fear next to me and to say, "Hey, I get it. You are afraid and I completely get it. And I'm going to surround you with love because absolutely this is scary and this is annoying. And I'm very sorry for this fear, but here it is." I want this fear, like now that I'm recognizing the fear and I'm putting this next to me, right?
Like, "Now that I'm recognizing this fear, I want you to allow me to live my life." And that is when this reframing gets, "Okay, well, what does this life needs to be? Like, what do I want?" And so I think for my patient, that's exactly it. It's yeah, maybe what you want is to not have pain. Okay. Well, work with your rheumatologist.
If it's a rheumatology, work with your doc. Because we have ways to remove the pain. Maybe it's you don't want to itch, maybe you don't want to have a rush, maybe, whatever. Just write what do you want? You want to be able to live life without fear? Okay, well, let's work on that.
And I think that that's really like this two, almost a three step process. One, sharing your fear, fears on a piece of paper, on a journal. Second, Accepting that there is fear or discomfort and being kind to yourself and to the fact that there is discomfort. And then the third piece is what do you want and who can help you get there?
I wasn't alone in my cancer journey. I'm still not alone in my cancer journey. And even as a person, I feel like I have 1 million coaches around me. It's not 1 million, but it's,
Kara Wada, MD: Probably close.
Isabelle Amigues, MD: believe in the power of. Yeah, exactly. I just find alone, first of all, alone is sad and so that's what I'm thinking.
Kara Wada, MD: I think one of the things that I have taken an aspect of that into my clinical practice is I've started asking patients, especially if they're coming in for some kind of immune system issue that's less understood or, second, third opinion situation, maybe don't have to ask this for the run of the mill runny nose situation.
But what are you, is there something that you are most scared of that you've come across on the internet or that, me weighing in on, ruling out what have you would help. And I've started doing that more regularly and I think it does help at least ease some of that. And I think that that has evolved from our prior conversation of also as a patient, when you feel safe in these very human to human relationships with your physician or other healthcare professional you're working with, that you're able to unburden some of that onto them. And it's our role to take that on and use our expertise to help with that.
Isabelle Amigues, MD: This is exactly what I tell my patients. I'm always saying like there's two jobs for a physician. The number one is to prevent anything that's preventable. Right? Like we prevent complications. That's our job. Right? And that's the sort of the technical part of it. The second, we're here to reassure you.
And so I used to say this, even when I was a medical student, I would be like, "I want you to ask me all of the questions that you have, and to share all the fears that you have, and then know that the medical team, including me, will take care of this so that you don't have to deal with it." And how powerful is that, right?
If I had a physician who would tell me this, but I tell them that that's how I see it. It's just, you don't have to be a physician for you. And for me, it's definitely something that I do on purpose. I'm telling myself, I am not the physician for me. I do what my doctors tell me to do, but I will not stress out on me.
I don't want to be the one that stresses out. Because it's I don't have the expertise in oncology, for example, right? Like I have the expertise in rheumatology. And in rheumatology, I always tell my patient, I'm like, rheumatology is like the happiest specialty ever because we have amazing treatment.
So there should be no fear. There's no fear from my end as a rheumatologist. So if you're afraid or if you're concerned, just let me know and I'll take care of it. But I love what you just said. It's exactly it. It's exactly it.
The Importance of Finding the Right Physician
Kara Wada, MD: The only thing I will say is the caveat that does stress me, is that knowing so many within healthcare are hurting, that I don't, I know that not everyone is able to fully take that on all the time, right?
Isabelle Amigues, MD: So this is very compassionate of you and very empathic. I do think, I really do believe this, that as a patient, you are the most valuable player in your team.
Kara Wada, MD: Mhm.
Isabelle Amigues, MD: And if, and I see the physicians as coaches, and if the coaches don't get your team to where it needs to be, you change coaches. And it's just business. And it doesn't mean that the coach is not good. It doesn't mean, it doesn't matter.
It's just that the fit is not right. And look, there's more and more doctors that are doing direct care. There's more and more doctors that are going part time. And the truth is that you find the doctors that's right for you. And I think that they exist and we shouldn't. I switched my oncologist, I had the incredible oncologist first and then the insurance changed. So I couldn't follow her. That's actually one of the reasons I was like, "I'm so done." And if she had not been, if I had been able to continue to see her in any way, shape or form, I would have paid out of pocket to see her.
Absolutely, right? She was with Kaiser, she's still with Kaiser and I didn't have insurance with Kaiser. And unless you have Kaiser, you cannot see her. But then I switched and supposedly, the best oncologist in town and whatever for breast cancer. And it just didn't click. It just didn't click. And it's okay. She's amazing, whatever. It just didn't click with me. So I switched. I switched and I love the oncologist I have. And I think, yes, doctors hurt, but not all of them. And also that's not the job of a. As a patient, you are the one that needs help, you're paying your doctor and we get paid to see our patients.
And so I think that this is where I was when I left my institution. So I was like, I can either be here and being upset about the current state of affairs, or I can change it and offer the best of me and that's where I am right now. And I love it. And I think that a lot of, and like when I did it, I also felt, "What if I could show other doctors that it is possible to do this?" And I suddenly, I recently talked with one of my colleagues and they were like, "Oh my gosh, this looks so cool, what you're doing." I'm like, "Yeah, I know. I love it." And because you're seeing me succeed, that this is possible.
So that's going to allow you to enjoy the current job that you have even more because then you don't feel stuck where you are. And we're like, "Oh my gosh, that's exactly that." It's not that I wanted to leave, it's that they wanted to know that it was possible, like having that second, Sorry, I went on the tangent, but again, at the end of the day, I do think that as a patient, we are most vulnerable and it's not on us to feel sorry for our doctors.
And if it doesn't work, you switch. I really think that way. I really think that you need a good coach and there's no point of, "Oh, I'm feeling so sorry." And it's funny cause I'm the first person to say, I never get upset at other doctors except when I tell my patients that they're going to die 'cause then I'm like, what the heck?
So then I get really upset. But other than that, which doesn't happen often, other than that, I never, I always am very full of understanding, because I think that yes, the community hurts at the same time, you don't have as a patient to go with the people who are burnt out, of the people who are hurt.
And if you don't have, if it doesn't click with your doc, you move on. And maybe the doc is going to move on themselves.
Kara Wada, MD: Yeah, that's I think that's so important and it puts us as the patient back in that place of empowered.
Isabelle Amigues, MD: Exactly. Okay. I'm going to say this because I think that us women have this tendency. Oh, we're finding so many excuses, right? And sure. So many excuses. So many. Yet at the end of the day, your body, so it's not you, but your body deserves the best. And so, at the end of the day, you wouldn't see an okay only pediatrician if your kid had something that was not perfect, you wouldn't be okay with just an okay doc giving them excuses. I know this, right? As parents, we want the best, right? So why not for our bodies? I believe that our cells, our bodies are like kids. And for me since I am a mom, I've realized that. I was like, "Oh, I need to take care of my little kids. I have a million billions of kids on me."
And it's funny because it's for me that's reframed, like instead of being angry and upset and whatever, I'm like, "No, no, no, no. Those are all my little kids, and they deserve the best."
Kara Wada, MD: Some were just a little misguided and we're gonna get them back on track.
Isabelle Amigues, MD: Exactly. They needed redirection. They need direction, they need coaching. They need love. And so if the coach is not good, I'm like, "Hmm. Okay, whatever excuse. I don't care." Like at the end of the day, I need the best coach for my little kids.
Kara Wada, MD: I love that.
Where to find Dr. Isabelle Amigues
Kara Wada, MD: Well, can you share again where folks can find you? Either in practice or online or in all the places. And we'll make sure that all these are linked in our show notes as well.
Isabelle Amigues, MD: Thank you so much. Yeah. So it's 'UnabridgedMD.' So it's the non edited version of the physician that sees the non edited version of the patient. And I'm on social media @unabridgedmd. So I think X, LinKedIn now. I think LinkedIn is under Isabelle Amigues, actually, under my name, which is written Amigues. So LinkedIn, I'm on Instagram, Facebook under UnabridgedMD and I think I'm on TikTok. I just don't look, but I'm on TikTok too. And I tried to put a lot of information about rheumatology and mindset. Right now I'm doing 21 days program. Like I'm trying to do like meditation, visualization and so on every morning for 21 days.
And so I'm sharing this with everyone because It's actually a struggle to do this. It's not easy. Because when I had the cancer, it was like, "Okay, this is important. This is, I need this. I know I need this." But now that the cancer is not in my realm anymore, it's for me. And suddenly I'm like, "Well, I don't need this as much," but I actually know that I need it. So anyway, so that's just to share this but UnabridgedMD and then I have the podcast UnabridgedMD. And there's a newsletter, so you can look on the website and yeah, I think that that's it. Yeah. Love it.
Kara Wada, MD: Thank you so much. I can't wait till we get to chat again and one of these days we are going to be in the same geographic place.
Isabelle Amigues, MD: would love that. Yes. We need
Kara Wada, MD: that.
Well, thank you so much Dr. Isabelle and have a happy Thanksgiving and we'll talk again soon.
Isabelle Amigues, MD: Yes. Thank you so much, Kara.
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