As an aspiring medical student in undergraduate, I knew that I wanted to be a dermatologist. I shadowed a family practice physician who treated a lot of skin cancer and eventually worked summers at a local dermatology office.
Then medical school started. I was never the perfect student growing up, but I was smart. In medical school, “smart” became average, at best. My dream of becoming a dermatologist (one of the most competitive specialties to match into) quickly became less foreseeable.
That’s when I started doing some research. My medical school offered a summer research program and I picked the opportunity that included working with both a surgeon and a pathologist to evaluate a method for detecting breast pathology. The moment I met the surgeon, I was inspired.
Dr. D was kind, caring, and had the Southern charm that I wanted to embody in my own future physician persona. She was a general surgeon who mostly worked with breast and endocrine diseases, but she also took trauma calls! With all of her professional balancing, she was always a dedicated wife and mother of FOUR. I remember sitting down next to her one day in the physician’s lounge waiting for a case. She fell asleep sitting up, likely exhausted from all of her daily duties. I laughed and thought to myself, “Wow. I want to be like her.”
From that day forward, I focused and made becoming a surgeon my goal. Today I am a Board- Certified General Surgeon with Fellowship Training in Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery. I sometimes think how different my life would be had I stuck with and tried to match dermatology. I am forever grateful for my time with Dr. D and I’m extremely happy with my decision. To this day, I still think back and think of how she would treat a patient.
Dr. Kandace Kichler is a Minimally Invasive & Bariatric Surgeon who has been in practice for 2 years in FL.