Who Am I Without My Profession?

Without my profession; I am a woman, friend, mother, giver, learner, teacher, and Christian. It took some time for me to remember that I am all of those things and more after the loss of my job.  I realized that while the profession for which I dedicated many years has changed, my purpose has not. God has blessed me with many talents, and I am just now using more of them to serve, support, and love my family and my community. 

After devoting more than half of my life to becoming a surgeon, I was devastated when I lost the physical ability to practice medicine. 

I had fallen off of stairs at work and needed three wrist surgeries, bilateral knee surgery, and a left ankle surgery.  Even after the surgeries and recovery, I was left with a permanent right wrist injury that led to my medical retirement.  Depression set in.

No longer was I my normal self, and I painted a smile on my face so no one would know my pain. I ate my feelings and withdrew from the activities I used to do. I cried when people were not around to hide my feelings, and I did not reach out for support because that would have been a sign of weakness. A good friend recognized that I was struggling and she pulled me out of my depression and motivated me to seek help.

The road to me becoming a physician required me to overcome many challenges, so a new path was jarring.

I was raised in Compton, California by my maternal aunt, who became my legal guardian when I was two years old.  Both of my parents struggled with drug abuse. I never met my father. I observed my mother’s poor choices, and they served as an example of what I did not want for my life or my future children.

As the child of two drug addicted parents, the probability of me becoming a physician was highly unlikely. Throughout my childhood, my mother floated in and out of my life, however her presence remained. She shared with me that her and my father broke up when I was an infant, and that she attempted to keep tabs on him, although he was homeless. 

She said he had taken a “bad drug” that destroyed his mind. This knowledge caused me to have extra compassion for those living on the street.  While serving the homeless with my church, I thought I could possibly be helping my own father. 

My aunt, who I refer to as Momtie, was a hard worker and believed in community service. She instilled those values in me. 

In middle school, I volunteered with in various capacities with my church.  I not only thought about possibly serving my dad in our outreach to the homeless, but I also developed a desire to become a physician. Riding in our church outreach van, I witnessed people who were hungry and sickly. I wanted to make sure those who were hungry had a steady supply of food, although I realized that was impractical for a child. 

who am I

Given my love for math and science, I began to consider medicine as a professional career as a way to help the homeless. /Then and now, I thrive on giving back to the community and serving others.

After many years working toward becoming a physician and over 20 years serving others as a physician, the devastation for my inability to continue in that was extremely challenging. 

This crisis made me look inward and led me to start writing as a release.  My book, “FloweTry: A Collection of 108 Poetic Flows on Life, Love and Liturgical Issues” is the result of such writing.

I began to write how I felt, regardless of the time of day. In the middle of the night, when I could not sleep, I would write. My emotional outlet became writing, it was very cathartic for me. 

Since writing the book of poetry, I have begun working on two other books.  I am still able to serve my family and my community through my writing, medical advising, and counseling.  I am grateful for the opportunity to encourage others through each of these aspects. And I am still learning that there is more inside of me that I can share with others.

This guest post was authored by Tiffanie Tate Moore, MD

Dr. Moore works in Riverside, CA and specializes in Obstetrics & Gynecology. Dr. Tate Moore is affiliated with Kaiser Permanente Riverside Medical Center.Instagram. She is on Facebook @drtiffanietatemoore

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.