Letter to an Aging Barbie

Letter to an Aging Barbie

The following letter is written in response to a recent encounter with a patient of mine. It's kind of long, but maybe some of you will find my story entertaining. 

Dear L, 

 I love Barbie dolls, but as a little girl, you were not the kind of doll I played with. My aunt (who was a nurse by profession) sewed me a doll out of the most precious fabrics she could find, and voilà—I had a doll! My doll could shapeshift; but I mostly found her to be weird & plain, but my aunt said she was a princess, capable of playing the part of a coy bride who also possessed magical powers!

 I don’t know how you heard of me, but today I would like to share my story, of how I became “the beauty doctor”, whom you allow to  micro-manage your Botox doses. 

 Medical grade, Anti-aging of your skin, that leads to the preservation of your overall perception of self through time , doesn’t stop at micro-managing of your forehead crinkle with a Botox routine; it merely starts there! Your anti-aging code must also contain  other anti-aging medications and energy device treatments as you begin your journey into the menopausal stage of life. 

 Let me tell you how I became who I am today! Your favorite antiaging doctor. As a little girl, my mom and aunt always told me that I could be a doctor; they believed in me because they thought I was smarter than all the other girls they knew.

 My dad, however, was unimpressed by my attention deficit and anxious, rebellious nature, but thankfully, he allowed me access to the best books and educational institutions and got me tutorials in pre-medical subjects like biochemistry, biology, physics, and organic chemistry, which allowed me to blossom in the field of pre-medical science, and I was inducted into a medical school in a national ranking system! This was a big deal in my country (because we are a conservative, patriarchal nation where women are mostly subjugated to the will of the resident male and mostly not taken seriously).

My country of birth is what’s these days known as Pakistan, a small slice of land located right next door to India. Once upon a time, just less than a century ago we were one country. But then our forefathers fought a battle of religions, incited by the British Empire, which had been ruling us for a few centuries (but had recently lost its empire after the Second World War!) In 1947, A bloody partition didn’t just create a new nation-state; it also stripped us of our trademark of ancient heritage, culture, and identity.

 Anyway, I was born near the ancient civilization of Gandhara. My mother’s family had settled around the ruins of Moenjodaro, over a hundred years ago. I can safely say that, in a patriarchal, male-dominated family, I was the first woman in my family to do well enough in science-related tests on national & regional levels that I got admission into the med school of my choice along with scholarships!

 As a female student of human biology, I knew that I needed to reproduce before all my eggs aged and died. In my country, being married grants women a little extra access to freedoms like travel with a man and have sex. Therefore, since dating is not allowed in Muslim households, I agreed to marry as I pursued my medical studies.

The first two of my arranged marital efforts failed, but then I decided to pick a man with perfect Ivy League credentials and an impressive verified resume & home in NY, and married him, had a baby girl child, and applied for immigration (my attorney advised me not to go back to my country to finish medical school because it could jeopardize my green card, so I had to wait for 2.5 years to get legal status before I went back to my country to finish my final year of med school’s remaining tests and credits).

I graduated in 2001, a few years after my classmates had already graduated! Even though I came back and completed my MBBS (which stands for Bachelor of Medicine and bachelor of Surgery and is primarily based on British methods of medical education) most of my friends and fellow doctors had gone to England to specialize. But I had married an American, and my destiny led me to learn a different method.

 Even though I desired a medical degree for as far back as my memory goes, once I got it, it was no longer meaningful for me anymore. I had already decided to raise my daughter in NY, and I needed to gain access and right of passage to medical training in NY. So amidst my marriages, immigrating, and becoming a young mother, I realized that I needed to relearn medicine in the American way to join the field of medicine and healthcare in the United States.

 As a young mother living my life as a housewife in an upscale Westchester neighborhood of Scarsdale was not an acceptable option. I once again became super focused on getting my medical license in the US, and the universe guided me to learn family medicine and primary care! I took my USMLEs, did research, trained at local doctor’s offices, and got a residency position in family medicine in a New York Medical College program in Yonkers, NY, and later on also got board certified in family medicine!

 The department of family medicine that I trained at was a magical space, where I got to learn medicine beyond any specific fields. I was taught to learn all things about everything that can impact a mind-body complex while proactively solving and preventing issues.

 Family medicine is a unique field in the United States that allows you access to any human organ you desire to pursue.

15 years ago, I could have never imagined a concierge practice  around women’s health, with gynecology & integrative primary care for weight management! 

But before I became a concierge doctor, I chose to also train in geriatrics and managed a nursing home with a rehabilitation center in Scarsdale, NY. I worked there for six years as a medical director. After learning the intricacies of healthcare in the form of Department of Health protocols and various legalities of the geriatric field, I stopped believing that we can solve “the aging problem” for our patients with just routine medical care. Since I had no interest, time or patience to enter any ethical and moral battles on this topic,  I just decided to take steps to pursue training in skills related to anti-aging while simultaneously also  learning the required skills to work in the beauty & longevity industry.

Beauty is an asset class by itself. As a body dysmorphic in recovery (for those of you who haven’t read my book, published in 2019, “Do We Really Need Botox?”—a handbook of anti-aging, where I tell my story of dysmorphia), here is a small background: my BDD was a trauma response to adult-onset psoriasis with symptoms of arthritis. I wrote about how I navigated the journey of my own recovery, through the wonderland of beauty and longevity studies. 

I started my process of education early in this rapidly evolving field, and I must say that it has been so truly rewarding in so many ways. Not only is it enlightening but it’s filled with marvels of modern medicine! 

In hindsight , I have zero regrets in spending my time and resources to learn the details of the craft of aesthetic & anti-aging medicine.

It has allowed me to become a skilled skin tailor; who takes the art of dermatology to its next stages of life span revolution! Allowing you to keep your skin and brain intact for much longer than its original design will prevail. 

Dear L,

I know your story, you already definitely exist as a doll in my wonderland of life.