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Meet Dr. Riffat Qadir

My Story

​I always knew I wanted to become a Doctor.  I was the ultimate South Asian nerd, who studied day and night and graduated as valedictorian from high school, college and medical school. I was totally living the American Dream – working hard and succeeding.  
 
But I almost didn’t make it through residency because of a thyroid problem.  I stand before you today because I was able to get proper help for my thyroid.
 
An interesting thing happened to me during medical school; I was the dummy for everyone to locate the thyroid gland on a patient.  See my thyroid was so prominent that they used me.  
The professor would say, “OK, everybody come here and feel Riffat’s thyroid; see that bulge in her lower neck, that’s her thyroid.”  
 
As I am being poked & prodded like a cadaver I am thinking to myself, why do I have an abnormal thyroid and why doesn’t anybody think it’s a problem.  If it’s so abnormal, how could it possibly not be a problem.  
 
And so this led to a series of doctor visits for me.  All they would tell me was, your thyroid is borderline, there is really nothing that needs to be done.  Come back in 6-12 months.” Over and over again, that is what I would hear and I just kept moving on with my life.  
 
After medical school, I got married and started training to be a Surgeon at the Johns Hopkins Hospital; and then things changed.  I would come home from the hospital and be so exhausted that all I could do was sleep.   My energy got so bad that every step I took required a sheer act of will power.  That’s how little energy I had.  
 
My poor new husband got no time and zero attention.  Needless to say, this created problems for us and our marriage almost didn’t survive to the 1st anniversary.  This also had a hugely negative impact on my career.   In fact, it got to the point that they were actively looking to replace me.  
 
So I went to a doctor to have my new symptoms and still large thyroid checked but again I was told “your thyroid is borderline and there is nothing to be done.  You are having a hard time with residency because surgical residency IS hard, especially for women.  You might want to consider another specialty that is less demanding.
 
Fortunately, someone recommended I get a 2nd opinion.  I was put through a more extensive battery of testing and it was determined that I had an autoimmune problem with my thyroid and that even though my lab results had been ‘borderline,’ I was having enough symptoms that I should be treated with thyroid medication.  
 
Synthroid® was prescribed and at first it seemed to help but over a few months, the fatigue came back even though my TSH blood test was now completely normal – not borderline.  I continued to have a very hard time keeping up with my duties as a surgical resident.   
 
To my good fortune, a Professor of mine from Medical School had recently developed a revolutionary new way of treating thyroid problems.
 
Dr. McDaniel taught me how to optimize my thyroid hormone levels, and thereby my energy.  Very soon, I was leading the pack of residents on morning rounds at 5 AM.  I also had the energy to spend quality time with my husband in the evening and this saved my marriage. 
 
The ‘standard’ medical approach failed me altogether and my marriage nearly ended and my life’s dream of becoming a doctor was almost crushed.  This experience taught me the importance of really listening to the patient & going beyond the standard of care and always seeking out better ways.
 
I am grateful that my thyroid problem was properly treated and I have been able to live my life to the fullest.

Learn how I can help you improve your thyroid health >>

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