This week we reunited with a childhood friend, Dr. Bridget. She is an incredible dentist and fashionista! On this episode we talk about her journey into dentistry, pursuing her dreams, her personal battle with breast cancer, living life to the fullest and more! Behind every incredible woman there is an even more amazing story. CLICK HERE to listen to the episode now and come back here for the show notes:
Who is Dr. Bridget?
Dr. Bridget Glazarov graduated from NYU university with honors and a degree in dentistry. Her journey? At sixteen she took a summer job at a dental office as a summer job and realized that she really enjoyed it but initially she was on her way to becoming a pharmacist, following in her dad's footsteps. After her first semester she realized her passion was in dentistry so she switched colleges and shifted towards that. She completed undergrad in two and a half years (which she does not recommend for anyone) and applied only to NYU dental got in and completed her four years. After graduating she did her residency for two years (not just the standard one year) at Methodist hospital in Brooklyn, New York.
She was just about to jump start her career in NYC when she was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer. This put her career plans to a halt but since the diagnosis she lives her life differently. She is a true inspiration and is now also a breast cancer and mental health advocate.
She created an instagram channel in order to use social media for important things in addition to the usual fun stuff. This includes spreading awareness because as we all know, LIFE and other SH*T HAPPENS. In her case, we learn that cancer does not discriminate but also that
stress may really be the root of all evil.
In general, breast cancer screening typically starts at age 50 unless you have predisposing risk factors for breast cancer (i.e.: family history, BRCA mutation, etc.) which will require you to be screened earlier. The current research has not demonstrated this yes but in the clinical setting we notice that more and more people are getting diagnosed at a younger age without any family history. Bridget was diagnosed at 26 and here is her story:
Bridget felt a lump in her breast that she kept brushing off for months. One day she had a cancellation at work and looked in her notepad that read, "Check your lump". She was free for an hour and decided to call the doctor to make an appointment. After a month and a half she got in to see her OBGYN and they recommended for a sonogram. Another month went by before she got the sonogram and by the looks of the sonographer there wasn't going to be good news. The radiologist came in and informed her to cancel her day, call her whoever she needs to call and she will be undergoing both a biopsy as well as, a mammogram. The crazy thing was that she called her mom to see what she was doing and she was literally getting a mammogram at the same time.
Bridget recounts how she completed all of this by herself because she didn't want to be a burden but also thought that her doctor was crazy. Before leaving the office that day the radiologist told her, "It's 2018 and no matter what happens you will be okay". She was in denial for the first day diagnosing herself with a benign fibrous adenoma but on the next day she was convinced she had breast cancer as she waited for the call.
The following day she knew something was up again when she got off the train and had a voicemail from her job with the radiologist asking for a call back. She got in contact with the doctor who said, "it's severe and we need to start you on treatment immediately". The second he said that everything went black and Bridget was experiencing a panic attack. She went home and was sitting with her family when she got a call from one of her friends that suggested an oncologist at NYU. They went to NYU right away and when the PA walked in and told her she had breast cancer she finally processed what was happening.
Everything moved fast after that. The tumor was 10 cm in size with lymph node involvement. Surgeons didn't want to do surgery till chemotherapy was done in order to shrink the tumor. Dr. Bridget recounts that, "life was like a blur at the time, doing chore after chore". She started IVF the day after her diagnosis for two weeks. She was getting injected constantly, had to endure extra hormones, was feeling extremely sick and bloated. The Monday after those two weeks she underwent the egg extraction process, the next day she had the chemotherapy port placed and that Wednesday she began her first chemotherapy session.
Do breast self exams but know that they are not enough
Check out Feel it on the First (a blog Dr. Bridget teamed up with for breast self exams)
Instagram: Feel it on the First
It may or may not have a causal relationship but it definitely does not help and as professionals we lead very stressful lives so it is very important to take care of yourself. Try some of the following to help reduce stress and improve your mental health:
A Support system is key
Dr. Bridget was blessed with a support system and she gives an example of when she got sick having to be admitted to the ICU for a week and was unable to attend the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer walk. People chose to go on her behalf and walk in her honor.
Bridget found the light at the end of the tunnel. She is grateful for everything and everyone. She is a strong believer in positive energy. Dr. Bridget notes that if you put out good, you will get good back!
If you look at her instagram page you see that her world revolves around three things: teeth, fashion and breast cancer. She was always into dressing up and she wants everyone to know that her choice in fashion has nothing to do with her skills. She reminds people that they don't need to fit the mold.
I'm supposed to look who I look like and be who I am. If I want to wear heels everyday, I will.
Dr. Bridget remembers that people always challenged the way she looked or things that she did and how that has served as a driving force for her.
Her passion revolves around making connections with people, empowering and allow people to become more confident in themselves. She notes that dentistry for her is more of an art than a science so she utilizes it as a creative outlet. Dentists are more than just mechanics. With her IG page she wants people to stick up for what they want and hopes that everyone finds joy in any career they choose so that they can be happy when they go to work.
One thing she is struggling with (which a lot of us probably are) is finding out who she is trying to inspire? There are so many different avenues that an instagram page can take you to. Dr. Bridget notes that the bigger picture or the goal is to make people smile as well as to create powerful and meaningful connections. She notes that her page has given her the opportunity to meet people and now some of them have become her best friends!
We are doctors first, influencers second. With that said, we don't have to do this (instagram that is). No matter how big or small your IG may be you are influencing other people and the influence shouldn't only be about superficial things. When people start to grow too fast, that is how people lose sight of this whole platform and its purpose.
Pandemic and Dentistry?
At the time of this recording the industry was still figuring out how to come back to work in a safe environment for both the patients and the provider:
Currently, they are wearing face masks, sanitizing all surfaces and scrub life has largely taken over. All of these things are subject to change and the world reopens.
The one thing she brought up that we found interesting was that during the pandemic dentists were noted as nonessential workers. In her perspective this can create a larger divide between the patient and their dentist. Patients in general are reactive instead of proactive and in the case of dentistry aside from the cosmetic aspect preventative medicine is very important. So make sure you continue your required checkups and keep up with your oral care.
Secret Tips for Life and a Brand
The key focus is to be true with yourself and self aware
Don't lose sight of who you are in a world where everyone is constantly feeling like they are not doing enough
Be you and show up as your authentic self on the daily
If you are out there and want to do something don't let the haters stop you because there are so many people that need your message
Don't look at other people and what they are doing. It is not worth the instant gratification to buy followers so you can get that external hit of dopamine.
Remember that Instagram can be a drug so don't let it become one for you
If it's not serving you throw it away
Fun fact: She unfollowed 20-30 people that weren't serving her and Instagram thought she was a robot (what a world)
Where to find Dr. Bridget?
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Disclaimer: The Content on our podcast/website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.