As many of us know, in today’s fast-paced, live-by-the-moment culture, it can be very easy to lose sight of the big picture. More specifically, it can be very easy to choose a particular path in life and then, at some point in time, entirely forget the original inspiration for taking that path. I know that at several points in my life, I personally have been a victim of not pausing for at least a moment of brief self-reflection, and it’s something I’ve regretted. After all, moments of pause and self-reflection can, among other things, bring renewed energy and focus to one’s career, as well as to other broad pursuits.
It’s for this reason why I thought it would be very worthwhile – both for my own benefit and perhaps for those who are considering entering the medical field – to reflect on the inspirations that propelled my desire to be a medical doctor, and, more specifically, to be a dermatologist.
In my case, my decision to become a doctor, to become Dr. Paul Lubitz, wasn’t a simple one in the sense that it was born only by one factor or inspiration. No, it was a combination of factors and a myriad of inspirations that contributed to my eventual choice to enter medical school and pursue a career in medicine. I know that at the very young age of ten years old, I was struck with an interest in medicine and I can imagine that it was around that time when the seedling idea of becoming a doctor was first planted in my mind. But, like many people who eventually become doctors, this wasn’t an overnight thing – it wasn’t like I had the idea of becoming a doctor one morning and then from that point forward that’s all I focused on. Quite the opposite was true. As a child and young adult, I had the good fortune of having a very curious mind and my intellectual interests were very widespread, ranging from music to the sciences to the visual arts, the latter of which is still a very big passion of mine.
Some would think that, with all these different interests I had as an adolescent, it would obscure my eventual pursuit of becoming a doctor. But, it was the opposite. Rather than blurring the pursuit, I believe my varied interests made the eventual choice to follow the medical path that much richer and more dynamic. I was fortunate enough to have earned strong grades throughout my time at school, and when the time came for me to decide what kind of advanced education I wanted, medical school was the clear choice.
Indeed, as soon as I stepped onto the path that would one day lead me to being called Dr. Paul Lubitz, I knew that it was the right decision for me. I’ve always been a healer. Already as a child and young adult, the act of bringing comfort to another person was something I found very profound, even if it was through simple things like giving a hug or smile or listening quietly to someone who needed to talk. It’s no wonder then that, when I began my rounds in medical school and began being a part of a patient’s care and treatment, I found the communication between myself and patients so enjoyable and fulfilling. After all, I was not only helping to relieve another human of their suffering and discomfort, I was also helping to heal them. The magic of the act – so obviously fundamental to the practice of medicine and sometimes so clearly forgotten – never grew old for me.
What about my eventual desire to enter the specialization of dermatology? What inspired this ambition? Well, as it were, the pursuit also had its roots in a number of inspirations. I’ve always had an interest in the visual arts, particularly in the subjects of photography, painting and sculpture, and I know this had a fundamental influence in my decision. Later, when I traveled to Africa and South America to help with their health care system, I witnessed horrible disfigurement caused by skin diseases, and I saw the pain and discomfort that these diseases caused, both physically and psychologically. It was seeing this – and seeing an opportunity to try to heal these people, or at least to make their lives a little more comfortable – that confirmed my desire to enter the dermatology field.