Today, I’m excited to welcome a unique guest to Made to Create. When I started MTC over a year ago, my dream was to inspire people of all crafts, passions, and occupations to find the creative depth in what they do. Artists and writers and musicians are not the only creative people. So I’m always searching for new occupations to explore. My brother Dorvan Byler is in medical school, studying to become a doctor. His passion to help people in the best way possible has always inspired me. Join me to learn his story.
Sheri Yutzy: Hi Dorvan, welcome to Made to Create. So, when did you know you wanted to be a doctor?
Dorvan Byler: I don’t really remember a specific moment when I decided to become a doctor. It must have been in early childhood, because it has always been my plan. Obviously, my dad being a doctor was the primary influence in that decision. Something about his job drew me in, before I really even understood what it was about.
SY: What scared you most about being a doctor when you first pursued it? What helped you overcome it?
DB: I don’t think many people realize how many steps there are to become a doctor. I certainly didn’t. When I started to learn in undergrad how many years of my life I would be in school watching innumerable hours of lecture, doing endless standardized tests, and plenty of intimidating interviews, it was daunting at times. It still is! But I’ve learned to enjoy myself at each stage. I try hard not to view it as suffering through school until I get the reward of being a doctor. (Okay, the standardized tests are suffering only. There’s no joy in those, only weeks of studying and angst.)
SY: That’s admirable. 🙂 Describe the greatest way you think God can use your skill in medicine.
DB: This might seem obvious, but I think the answer is helping people stay healthy. Health is always taken for granted by all of us until we experience an illness. Being sick can be devastating. I think there is a reason Jesus often physically healed people when he was here beyond simply showing that he could. His spiritual healing was more important for people’s eternal future, but helping someone walk or see changed their entire lives here on earth. With the miracles of modern medicine, I can approximate that by helping someone avoid the complications of diabetes or giving them medicine to maintain their heart health.
SY: So true. Sickness and healing are two ways God grabs our attention. How fantastic that you get to be part of that! In what ways do you have to think creatively when working with patients?
DB: The doctor-patient relationship is fraught with so many emotions and social taboos. Some patients expect doctors to tell them what to do, others want a partner who works with them to figure out how to care for themselves. Issues like sexuality, addiction, weight, and death are often important in a doctor’s care for patients. Figuring out how to talk about tricky issues with each patient is a creative process every day.
Also, figuring out a treatment plan for each patient is always creative. Two patients with diabetes might respond differently to the same medication, or have a job that makes side effects from their medication unbearable. Doctors always have to work with each patient to figure out what works well for them.
SY: What would you like to be doing as a doctor in ten years?
DB: I have lots of ideas that change pretty frequently, but right now I’m interested in practicing family medicine in an urban underserved area. I would be especially interested in working for a non-profit organization with funding to allow for patients without insurance to have access to care. Chronic disease can be a huge part of the cycle of poverty because it keeps some folks from maintaining jobs and requires money for medicine. The sad thing is that people in poverty are also the worst equipped to fight chronic disease because they have so many other things going on that they can’t care for themselves. Add in the difficulty they have in acquiring healthy food, plus addiction struggles, and it gets worse and worse. I would like to be a part of the solution for this problem, if possible.
SY: I love your vision. Who has inspired you most in your journey to become a doctor?
DB: My dad is always going to be first on this list. His passion for his work and dedication to his patients will always stick with me. I remember him missing one of my birthday parties when I was 9 or 10 because he had to deliver a baby. I was disappointed, but told myself it was good that baby had a doctor who cared. Moments like that stuck with me. I want to be the doctor who cares someday.
SY: What piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue medicine as a mission?
DB: Find a doctor or two you can shadow, and spend more than one day with them. You want to make sure you love it, because this is a hard path. Once you start, though, I think the best advice is to find ways to enjoy what you are doing at the moment. A balance between work and play is so tough to find, but it is important. Finally, if you are married or planning to get married one day, make sure your spouse is on board with your vision for the future and the sacrifices you will have to make to achieve it. My wife makes all of this so much easier!
SY: Yes, it’s so important to learn to enjoy what you’re doing at the moment. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us!
DB: Thanks for having me!
Thank you, readers, for stopping in today. Do you have any questions or encouragement for Dorvan? Do you work in a job that most people don’t realize requires creativity? We’d love to hear about it! Leave your thoughts in the comments below.