The Strong MD | Season 2 Episode 5

Holistic Health Secrets with Dr. Melissa Cady

Join Dr. Jaime Seeman on The Strong MD podcast as she sits down with Dr. Melissa Cady, also known as the Challenge Doctor. Dr. Cady’s mission is to inspire, challenge, and educate on the importance of challenging your mind and body for optimal health and wellness. With certifications in anesthesiology and pain medicine, Dr. Cady has dedicated her career to creating a community for those suffering from pain and the stresses of life in the medical system. She shares her journey from medical school to launching her podcast, The Changed Physician, and her innovative approaches to healthcare. Discover how Dr. Cady balances her clinical practice with personal passions, including her love for travel, gardening, and her unique perspective on pain management. This episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in holistic health, the power of personal transformation, and the joys of living a balanced life.

Published on
July 08, 2024

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Episode 5: Beyond the Operating Room: Dr. Melissa Cady’s Journey from Anesthesia to Advocacy

Strong MD podcast features Doctor Melissa Cady on today’s episode

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Welcome to The Strong MD podcast. I’m your host, Doctor Jaime Seeman, and on today’s episode, I’ll be sitting down with Doctor Melissa Cady. Her mission as the challenge Doctor is to ice. That’s inspire, challenge, and educate on the importance of challenging your mind and body for more optimal health and wellness. With certifications in anesthesiology and pain medicine, Doctor Cady has been working on creating a community for those who suffer or are challenged by pain with the stress of life in the medical system. She has launched the podcast the changed physician, focusing on the mindsets, skills, and strategies that are important for every human to develop. Whether Doctor Cady is trying to role model a healthier lifestyle or explaining approaches to health issues to her patients, she has always felt compelled to make a difference. I’m so excited to have Doctor Cady on today’s episode of The Strong MD podcast. Let’s get after it. Please enjoy.

Doctor Melissa Cady joins Strong MD to talk about her medical career

Dr. Melissa Cady: Thank you for having me. This is love. I love the name of it. Strong MD is awesome.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: It’s great to be here, and I can’t wait for our listeners to hear a little bit about your story. So give us, you know, give us your background and. And your journey in medicine.

Dr. Melissa Cady: Sure. Well, I think, a lot of people think that I just knew I was going to be a physician from the beginning, and that wasn’t the case. It was just kind of a second thought and went to college and couldn’t make up on my mind because I love learning. So I loved a lot of things. So I ended up getting good grades, and towards the end of college, I decided to apply to medical school. So, got into ut Houston, which I could have been an MD there. And then I got accepted into the osteopathic school in Fort Worth, and I just loved. I almost went into massage therapy. I just love manual stuff and loved to work out, played sports, and it just fell in line with my interests. So I went and became a do and did all of that and never could make up my mind what I wanted to do there either, because I loved everything. Because you spent, like, what, a month doing something on your clinicals? And I literally probably loved, like, ten things. but then kind of for complicated reasons and prior relationship, I decided to try for interventional radiology and got close. Didn’t get that, but I ended up discovering anesthesia. And I’ve always felt like I wanted to be that person that could handle. I mean, I know it sounds crazy, but, like, if you’re on a plane or you’re in the middle of nowhere and you want to handle an emergency. I wanted to be able to do that, and I didn’t like just giving orders to nurses. I actually wanted to know how to do some of the things that they did. And so I felt like it was a nice blending of nursing physician, and so I could care for one patient at a time unless I’m supervising, but I could do the actual manual work of that. I love procedures. So I decided to do anesthesia, but along the way, I couldn’t take a year off when I was making my decision. So, ironically, I ended up doing a general surgery year when I scrambled because I didn’t get into radiology. And then I did a year of internal medicine because I couldn’t take a year off to make up my mind. And so I ended up doing general surgery, internal medicine, and then went back and got the anesthesia position. So I did three years of anesthesia, and then I discovered pain along the way and dealt with my own pain things, especially as an athlete or doing anything physical. You’ve learned how to appreciate the body’s innate healing abilities and, yeah, how to pace yourself, and be smart. so I went ahead and just did a year pain fellowship, not knowing if I was going to actually do that, but I just figured I should do it right away and not go into practice and come back. So, I can go on to explain to where I’m at now, but.

Yeah, tell us what your day to day clinical practice now is

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Yeah, tell us what your day to day clinical practice now.

Dr. Melissa Cady: well, I have always, since I finished all my training, and I had gotten out of an unhealthy relationship. And so I think part of my mindset was non committal. So I didn’t want to commit to a job full time. I didn’t want to commit to a relationship. I just wanted to just kind of explore and be free. And I think really deep down I knew that even though we got used to working so hard, in our training, I felt like I didn’t want to give myself, like, five days a week to somebody. So I actually, out of all of my training, out the shoot, I only worked two to three days a week and just trying to find myself again and figure out what I want to do. And I was trying to figure out if I want to do pain. what I discovered through that process is that I didn’t agree with what was going on out there because I was learning more about modern pain science, which was not trained, you know, taught to us during our pain fellowship or in medical school. For that matter. And I found it fascinating, and


Dr. Melissa Cady: it fell in line with how I’ve been self managing, conservatively, a lot of things. So I decided I was going to share my voice and just put it in a book called Pandemic. And before the pandemic happened, that, was actually 2016, that finally happened, it went out and published. But through all that and deciding I wasn’t going to be part of the mainstream pain world, I just fell back into just general anesthesia. And then I ended up working four days a week for a group for almost ten years. And that’s where the. The golden handcuffs happened. So I ended up being. You, feel like you have to. You got all these benefits, and you just trying to change out of that and to try something new and go out on your own is just really frightening. I didn’t feel frightened, but it was kind of in the background. I was just being held to that, definitive amount of money. It seems secure, you know, and then all of those mind things that go on. And, at some point, we just decided we weren’t a good fit. I was huge patient advocate, and, we just decided to part ways. I went on my own, did locums from 2019, end of 2019 till the pandemic hit. And then one of the surgeons I used to work with, with a prior group reached out to me and said, I want you to do all of my cases. I need consistency, and I want for you to care for them. Well, he had another partner, and so I cared for two plastic surgeons at a surgery center every other day. There were opposite days, and that was my own business, and I loved it. And I created an experience that I felt like we, if we can do it, we should do it. Especially these elective cases, they’re spending a lot of their own cash, like, really exchanging value. They know what they’re getting versus, like, insurance behind the curtain and all of that. So I ended up creating, like, pre op virtuals online. I was going to do that regardless of the pandemic. and so I give them an opportunity to talk to me so that their nerves are better the day of surgery, better understanding. I can deal with things that maybe need to be addressed beforehand. I’m less stressed because I’m dealing with transitioning between cases. And I, you know, you feel rushed talking to the patient. So that was the business model I really enjoyed. And then I created, you know, something that you understand is just, like, if you say things over and over and over again, you might as well put it on video and let patients have access to it, right? So I educate before they see me in pre op virtual. We talk on a pre op virtual. I see them again. I feel like more like the surgeon where they’re like, hey, how are you doing? Versus like, by the way, you need to trust me and I’m gonna take care of your life. So, yeah, that’s what I’ve done. And there’s been some changes because surgery center and politics and other things, but I’ve, Essentially, I’m still with two surgeons, but now they conflict days. And I have a colleague that I’ve, After about a year for contemplating the same kind of move. she’s so much happier and she’s helping me, help cover those surgeons. And I’m about to go take a nice vacation because I have her to help me. I’m essentially general anesthesiologist, but, running my own business. And then I do a lot of playing online and trying to find my other little, educational. There’s a lot of other things I’ve done online, but that’ll.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: You’re still working part time clinically?

Dr. Melissa Cady: Yeah.

Tell us what you fill your time with when you’re not anesthesiologist

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Okay, so tell us what you fill your time with when you’re. When you’re not being an anesthesiologist.

Dr. Melissa Cady: Okay, this is actually gonna sound strange, but I do love being a physician, but I do love a lot of other things. And I. My husband will say that I’m just always finding projects. Like, I love being outside. I love. I’m learning how to garden. I’m, You know, I have a couple of pets and spend time with them and do some things, but I feel like I’m always searching for something that’s not always trading my time for money. And finding something that is more because I love so many things is to find something that is, That I can do long term, which, that’s the hard thing. I can get excited really fast about new things. But what is it you really want to spend your time on? And I feel like I struggle a little bit with that because I’m everywhere. But I think that’s part of the joy, is that you have the variety. so my extra time really is I do some back, back office work, obviously, for my business, and keep things organized because I don’t hire anyone at this point, which is probably mistake. But, for right now, I really enjoy being in control of it because I feel like I’m responsible for the quality of the business, and the communication with patients. but I would say my extra time is exercising, getting out, and traveling. I’m going to be taking a month off. we love to go to Australia, New Zealand. I’ve probably been there six or seven times. So I would say that’s where a lot of our time is, is more traveling. I don’t have children of my own. I have furbished babies. so I don’t, which, that’s another thing. As a physician, I never made it a priority, and we’re okay with it now, but that was, that was one of the things that we never really, or I would say I didn’t really push because I was so focused on my career and building a business.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Yeah, we talked about that a lot on this podcast with other physicians about, you know, family


Dr. Jaime Seeman: dynamics and pregnancy and breastfeeding. And it’s like, as professional, hardworking women, it’s something that we see a lot of people really start to kind of, you know, put lower on the priority list and, yeah. Ah.

What do you love about Australia? I’ve never been.

Dr. Melissa Cady: Oh, well, clearly it lights me up. Let’s just say that, Okay, this is going to sound crazy now. You know, I’m sure the whole world’s just going to know my crazy little story, but in fourth grade, I wrote a book report on what I call the duck bill platypus. They just call it the platypus. I love animals. I actually originally thought I was going to be a vet, but I was probably, like, influenced by other people around me. so probably if I went with my really deep down desire, I probably would have been a veterinarian. but I love animals. I found it fascinating. I think I like things that are different and unique. I’m not the kind of person that likes to gravitate to just people that are just like me. I mean, that’s great and all, but I really am intrigued by things that are different. And the platypus is, like, the perfect example of that. it’s one of the only two egg laying mammals in the world. The echidna is the second one, and it’s in Australia. and, there’s a lot of stories behind that, but I think I was drawn to go there. And when I met my husband, he had never been there, of course. and I hadn’t been there yet. It was gonna be our m first trip, and it was together, and I’m like, I want to go for five weeks. I’m finally free of training. Let’s go. And so we did that. And the culture’s different. it’s so remote. It is like a 17 hours flight to get there, but it goes really fast, I think. but it’s the wildlife, it’s the outdoors feeling. It’s the culture. they really, even, like, the malls, they close, like, at 05:00. Like, Thursday is the late night, like 07:00.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Interesting.

Dr. Melissa Cady: It’s just a different focus. not that they don’t have people that are. It’s. Especially with the World Wide Web and social media, there’s. I think there’s kind of a little bit of a blending of mindsets. It kind of, like, dilutes it out a little bit. But I still feel like there’s a different feeling, in that culture than in America. I mean, there’s a lot of great things about America. we do have our problems, too. but I really. Australia’s great, but actually, our deepest love is New Zealand, because they don’t have poisonous animals. They do have one spider. No one ever sees it, but essentially, all the poisonous, almost all the poison stuff is in Australia. Yeah. And New Zealand literally feels like serenity. It is. It is the epitome of I can lay on the grass and not worry about, you know, a spider or snake, you know, hurting me. And, it’s just. It’s just a beautiful country. so, I mean, other people may not, you know, find it favorable. It’s definitely beautiful. and it’s a socialized medicine, so it’s got, you know, some things that they are really struggling with for coverage, especially anesthesia.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: But I’ve heard of colleagues going to practice there.

Dr. Melissa Cady: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And some people just do it for, like, a year. There’s some people come back, like, ten years later and decide to live there. And we’re at an advantage. of course I love it to keep it as a little secret, but, we’re at an advantage. As a physician, you. You are deeply desired over there, and you can, you know, go do it like, a year. you have to go through these different steps, and I’ve done that.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: How does that work as far as, like, transfer of your, you know, medical training?

Dr. Melissa Cady: Yeah. So you have to get approval. well, like, for anesthesia, you have to get your approval through the college of, you know, it’s the Australia New Zealand College of Anesthetists. They call them anesthetists there. and they’re just physicians, not crnas, at least not at this point. And then there’s also through the, like, the. I forgot the name of the, entity. But you have to go through giving all your credentials. They basically centralize it, and then you have to get approved. Even like, work that. Before you can get to the college part, you have to get approval, but it’s just very tedious. You can do it. I’ve done it. I’ve got approval to go work in New Zealand. it wasn’t the right timing. I’ve already gotten approval to work in Australia. I got a job offer in Tasmania, the state of Tasmania in Australia. But we’re not quite ready. I mean, we don’t want to give up our house here. So, you make. You make less there. But, anyway, so, yeah, I love it for so many reasons. Now my husband’s hooked on rugby league, which is a different version of rugby in Australia.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: So where does one go in Australia to find the duck billed platypus?

Dr. Melissa Cady: Oh, so you have to go to southeastern Australia or Tasmania. The one in Tasmania is a little bigger. they’re a little smaller. They’re really struggling with some of the, the streams and, you know, especially with, you know, certain ways that we live in the city and they have problems with their environment, so there’s people that try to protect it and so, yeah, you can go there. So if you ever want to see it. This took me years to figure out. If you want to be in a tank, that they give you a little jumper thing to put over your clothes. You don’t get wet, and they’ll get. Don’t wear red nail polish. I made that mistake. They’re actually fearful of the red, yeah, so my husband got more of the attention when we got in that tank. But they have a little female platypus that you can give little black worms to, that they can eat out of your hand. It


Dr. Melissa Cady: is the most, like, amazing experience. And it’s in Heelsville, which is north, of Melbourne. And, that’s the only. Healesville sanctuary is the only place I know that you can actually be in a tank with a platypus. Yeah, there you go.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Put it on the bucket list, you guys.

Dr. Melissa Cady: If you have kids, like, I mean, you will. There’s no other place in the world. Now there are two platypus now in the San Diego zoo. They tried to bring them to New York in 1940s, I think, and they died. And there are two that are surviving in San Diego. so if you want to see them just, you know, swimming around, you can go there in the states.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Interesting. Yeah, well, that’s. That’s. That’s cool.

When I was in medical school, I had severe back pain

okay, so let’s back up to this, this pandemic book you kind of had mentioned. Like, I didn’t want to do the traditional pain medicine. I mean, kind of lay that landscape for us. What was it about it that you. That you didn’t like or didn’t really see eye to eye with?

Dr. Melissa Cady: So I’ll say that being in sports and working out, like, you realize that a lot of teams times, things will heal. And, you. And in my osteopathic school schooling, even though they say do, is more holistic, I don’t find that necessarily true across the board. Like, I find some mds are more holistic than some, you know, dos. To me, it’s just, you know, it’s all about, like, how you’re seeing everything. But, there was some indication to me when I had really bad back pain in my school, in, medical school, and I went to this off site little thing where they’re teaching. One of my friends, her father was a do and did a lot of manual medicine, and I had severe back pain at the time, and I knew it was about a couple months after I’d done a single leg hack squat, which I was just pushing a lot of weight with one leg, and I felt a twin or tinge twinge in my back, and it got progressively worse to the point I couldn’t even tie my shoes. And so when I went to this off site little training thing, they used me as a guinea pig, and they had four or five people working on me. And I tell you, I. After that little session, they didn’t work on my back. They worked on everything that was, like, from the knees to the low back area, glutes it area, the whole. The whole nine yards between the knees and back. It wasn’t even though I felt pain in my back, they released tension in all these other areas. And I thought to myself, that’s like, I got up, and 80% of my back pain felt gone. Now, you could equate that to human touch. You could equate just, you know, there’s so many things that play into pain, but at that time, you know, I was just like anyone else, thinking, okay, this. You know, we do deal with pain with medication and all this stuff. So the fact that I got better, and then I would just, you know, I. I definitely had people tell me to go get more interventions done or whatever, but I just refused it because kind of an athlete mindset, like, I’ll get through it. I’ll manage, it. But then. So I got better. So that was that initial aha moment. Like, okay, this. This is not something I thought was going to help me, and it did. And then I get into, you know, all my training, anesthesia, get exposed to pain. Then I was learning all these things that the interventions I was doing for patients, I mean, there are definitely some bad, like, complications that can happen. So those things always alert me and worry me. Because you don’t want to do any harm to patients.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: You mean like injections? Like, I mean, what?

Dr. Melissa Cady: Absolutely. yeah. So I’ve seen, I. I know of some people that created someone, you know, made someone paralyzed because of an injection up in the neck. Like, there’s things that can happen that. That’s the last thing you ever want to happen to a patient, especially if they could manage it without ever getting that intervention. So I was always that fellow that all knew. I spent like, an hour and a half talking to my patients. I was like, the annoying fellow that.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Probably didn’t see them out of every procedure.

Dr. Melissa Cady: Yes. And I would just, you know, I wouldn’t do as many procedures because I was trying to convince other ways of helping them, and I would help. And then I had a surgeon, a general surgeon, send his daughter to the clinic to get help because I did the million dollar workup to figure out this, like, you know, abdominal pain. And I, you know, I don’t want to go into the details. It’s, confidential. But essentially, I ended up getting that patient, and I did my, like, osteopathic manual thing, and, did a few things, and she got up from the bed without any pain. And it doesn’t mean, like, I’m a miracle worker. I just happened to hit the nail on the head, and for whatever reason. So that was my other aha moment. Like, I was teaching people even how to do physical therapy type maneuvers, and tell them home exercise programs, things that have worked for me that I’d learned along the way, and they were getting better. And so it doesn’t mean every single person was, because some of these people are convinced they needed certain things, so I wasn’t going to be able to help them non interventionally. But through that process, I’m just seeing also that people are changing. I know this sounds bad, but sometimes things are being changed based on what insurance was paying for. So I was thinking, well, we’re supposed to do just what’s right for the patient. And I’m like, okay, so, not everyone does that. I’m just saying that sometimes


Dr. Melissa Cady: there was.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: people working the system.

Dr. Melissa Cady: Yeah, there’s working. So I started getting a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth. and this is not necessarily my fellowship, but seen on the outside, what was going on, too. And so I’m like, I’m not about that. I’m a patient advocate. I’m not a pocket advocate. Terms I use in my book. I’m like, we need to, like, really just help people understand. When I wrote that book, I wasn’t deep into pain science and all. I mean, by the modern pain science, it all comes down to a very simplistic version of it is pain is about protection. And there are people to give you examples, and I’ve done plenty of lectures on this where you show them they’re missing a leg, a portion of their leg, and they feel pain enough foot that’s not there. So how is that possible? Because people think, what hurts here? This is the problem. But we know that the brain constructs the pain experience based on inputs that are not just sensory at that location. They’re memories, there’s emotions, there’s thoughts, there’s people that can get, like, your child can get belly pain because they’re nervous about a bully at school, but it doesn’t mean they have an abdominal surgical emergency. So when you start thinking of it that way, I mean, true, there is a lot of sensory input in some things, and that could be the dominant force creating the pain experience in the head. But when you start realizing that some people, they may just look at an MRI. Oh, and this is. This is like a giveaway from my book. In one of the chapters, I list out my entire MRI that I didn’t need. I just did it for the book. It looks awful. And if I brought it to someone, they would tell me, oh, you need a medial branch block for this low back pain, or you need this or this and. Or surgery, believe it or not. And then I saw. Started seeing patients in my anesthesia world that had ten surgeries for pain.

Dr. Melissa Cady: They’re coming back for the next one because, oh, it’s the next level that’s a problem. I’m like, we’re just pulling the wool over their eyes. Because this is. Just because you see an abnormality like wrinkles, doesn’t mean it causes pain. Same thing in the spine. So I felt so compelled to push all of that information out there. I actually am planning on redoing the book.

Um, my husband keeps telling me because I feel like my first book was draining

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Like, a different perspective now.

Dr. Melissa Cady: Yes. I think. I think I almost feel like I don’t push my first book because I’m like, I need to put it in better messaging, and there’s some great people doing it out there already. but, I just want to elevate that more to the public. but I don’t necessarily see pain patients. It really is not draining in a bad way, but I care so much, and I don’t want to. You have to make them responsible for their own care, too. Like, they have to help themselves. It’s like everything else, medicine.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: They get stuck in just that victim role and.

Dr. Melissa Cady: Yes. Yeah, yeah. And you don’t believe it until it happens to you. Like, sometimes it really takes, like, even me, when people put their hands on me and I got up, like, how’s that gonna help my back? You’re not even going where my back is. But I didn’t understand.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Yeah.

So for people listening, that maybe are dealing with something that don’t want to go the traditional pain route, like, what kind of therapies? I mean, are we talking, like, you know, massage manual therapies? Like, what do you feel like are better alternatives to our.

Dr. Melissa Cady: It’s so hard.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: It’s probably different on a case by case basis.

Dr. Melissa Cady: Yeah. We’re so unique, and I think they’re like. Like, I feel like there’s certain providers in all kinds of fields, like, there’s psychologists that understand, like, pain science. There’s, There’s people that are physical therapists who are McKenzie trained, which is very mechanically oriented. But the reality is you probably have to have an entry point. If you find an entry point with somebody that understands some pain science and they have another skill set, what happens is that all these variables that can contribute to the pain experience, you’re probably getting them to some extent in more than one way. So you might go to a mechanically trained person, like a McKenzie trained physical therapist, but if they understand pain science, they can present the environment where you feel safe, where you get manual or connection with a human being, and don’t feel like you’re just on a assembly line. there’s some follow through and helping you reassess, because part of it is also trial and error. You’re trying to figure out what. What is it your body’s trying to tell you with this, you know, experience there? It could be that you have extreme anxiety, never stop going. You never break up your days. I mean, you hear it all the time. People go on vacation and they get out of their routine and their, their back pain’s gone. Like, one guy told me, I asked him what changed, because he’d been through like, ten interventions, and it’s in my book. I literally, he said, I fell in love. He was lonely, isolated, getting. Getting more and more out of shape and overweight and eating badly. I mean, there, all these things are like, you know, it just kind of culminates, and sometimes it shows up as back pain or headaches or, you know, so I think it’s really, it’s really hard to say, like, exactly who that person is, but I think there are


Dr. Melissa Cady: actually, I should send you the link. Maybe you can add it to notes. But, there’s some really good pain science, like educational things down in Australia that can be kind of like a guidance in helping you. And they have some books that really kind of help you wrap your head around this, but when you’re in pain, you don’t necessarily want to be educated. You just want it to go away. So, that’s the struggle, people, in trying to market that. I’ve done this. I had a pain out loud. Community did interviews with professionals, people who had suffered and found ways that weren’t always just interventions. And you just find that people just want the quick fix. And so it’s really hard to, you know, for me to have a business.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: A longer healing process, it’s so hard.

Dr. Melissa Cady: And I was just pouring money into that website. I still keep it alive just paying for the site. I just keep the interviews there for free. But I’ve just. I haven’t totally given up. I still. I just feel like I’m just kind of an advocate for people to believe in your bodies and, and in yourself, to help yourself, because there’s so many positive things you can do for yourself. But I think our environment, our society or community is setting us up for failure in some ways. If we fall into the trap of, you know, the nine to five and not figuring out who you are and what really makes you thrive. And so that’s why I think being part time for me has. Even though we’re always trying to figure out what we want, I don’t feel like I’ve figured out the whole, you know, mystery, about everything. I feel like I have time to decompress in ways that other people, I just don’t know how they do it without it manifesting some way physically or mentally for them. Yeah.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Ah, yeah, no, that totally makes sense. That totally makes sense.

M tells us how you take care of yourself

so you kind of, you gave this example of this guy, like, fell in love and his back pain went away. And, ah, I think that we don’t realize sometimes how even emotional stress and things like that can manifest as physical symptoms, just like you described. Can you tell us, you know, you used to be an athlete, or you probably still are. You look, and this is totally judgment. I mean, you still in good shape. M tell us how you take care of yourself. Like, give us, like, an idea. Like, do you work out? What’s your diet? Like?

Dr. Melissa Cady: I’m not perfect with my diet, I’ll say that, but I always try to.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Anybody that is ever,

Dr. Melissa Cady: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I have moments where I was, like, I went vegan for, like, a few months, and then I. And even vegan, you could be unhealthy, too. but I, like, I did all plant based diet, and I think what I feel and what seems right to me, I’m. I’m trying to learn to make my own food. like, my favorite things that. It’s hard for anything to survive in Austin, by the way. but chives, like, chives come back. I have chives that I cut. I have some fresh cilantro. my husband loves peppers. Like, hot peppers. So I have, like, ten of those plants. I have, ah, asparagus, by the way, comes back for ten to 15 years. I’m like, that’s crazy. And then you can just let it grow out and let it kind of grow bigger underground, and then it’ll make a bigger, you know, more produce later and a beautiful fern. So what I eat, I try to add greens, the healthy stuff, things that, if, I’ll just put it this way. I love animals. I’m not, like, on the far end of things. I do eat meat occasionally. but if I had to make my own food, I wouldn’t want to kill an animal. So I need to, like, make sure if I could have chickens, I would have chickens. but my hoa doesn’t let that happen. but I always try to get some greens, and that’s an important part. Even if I eat some bad stuff, like some sugar. Caffeine is a little bit of my, struggle right now. I’ll be transparent about that. Probably about 200 milligrams a day, which is not terrible, but, my sources of caffeine could be better. I’d like to love green tea, but I haven’t gotten there. so as far as working out, I love being active. I don’t feel right if I’m not active, at least every few days, but we take almost a walk every day. We have a dog, we walk. We have a great neighborhood that feels fairly safe to walk. So at least 20 to 40 minutes of walking a day and very light stroll. But then I’ll do, I have some workout things here, and then I have a membership at a gym that’s an anytime fitness, so I can do it anywhere in the world when I travel. It’s really important to us. We love to actually work out when we’re on vacation. and I, do weights a few times. I would say the last few months, because of the change up in my business, has kind of softened that, a little bit on intensity. But I’m really excited to, to get stronger. I love being strong. I just, I don’t have to be big. I just love being strong. And I love, I think I fell in love with it in college.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Because what kind of athlete were you? What, what sport?

Dr. Melissa Cady: so was never professional, but I played anything without a racket. So basketball, volleyball, soccer. I did do select soccer. and I wish I’d done tennis. I told my husband I feel like I missed my calling.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Like I do pickleball.


Dr. Jaime Seeman: I haven’t.

Dr. Melissa Cady: I know I want to try it.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Sure. It is enough.

Dr. Melissa Cady: I’m sure I’ll get into that at some point. But, I love competition. I love sports. But I think when I’ve gotten older, I recognize that when you are put into a sport environment or even a group class, you pay attention to your body less and you’re not really adapting it according to what your body’s prepared for. So I hate being injured, so I prefer to have structured exercise or it’s just me doing something new, because I am less likely to get hurt. And I don’t like off time, so.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: I don’t do well with idle time either.

Dr. Melissa Cady: Yeah.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Thank you for your plug on The Strong MD podcast. We like people with muscles and strength around here.

Dr. Melissa Cady: Yes. Yeah.

You’ve been somewhat of an entrepreneur outside of just being a clinician

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Good m. Okay, so you’ve been somewhat of an entrepreneur outside of just being a clinician. do you have any advice for people who are kind of at that path of, you know, maybe wanting to start their own practice or go out on their own or give us, give us everything you’ve learned in that journey, man.

Dr. Melissa Cady: Actually, this past year, I’ve shared a lot of that knowledge with my, my best friend who’s joined me in this journey. I, think it’s okay not to know for sure exactly what it is sometimes just something that you have, like a passion for or you’re curious about, I would say just start to work in that space or do some kind of creative work in that space. It’s amazing what your mind does and how it expands and is so much happier when you have something to look forward to other than the work you do every day, in and out, like with your regular physician job, it’s mind blowing how it just expands yourself, and then you start getting excited about all these other possibilities. And that’s what my friend’s going through as well, is just, there’s just so it’s like the world’s your oyster. Like, there’s anything’s possible, and it’s almost overwhelming. But I would say that, there are some things going from an employee mindset to an owner mindset, or like, if you go to a 1099 mindset, that’s a huge shift. So for me, I did them in small steps. I started my, I would say it’s nice to create your own LlC or just a name that kind of, like, symbolize who you are or kind of. It feels like it’s yours. And so starting with that, there’s so much you can learn from an accounting standpoint. And I’m not an accountant, so I probably shouldn’t say all the things that I do, but I’ll tell you, I’m my own business owner. I pay myself as an employee. I have my own self directed four hundred one k. I transferred from my prior employer. Basically, my business has its own 401k, so I can contribute to my, you know, my own situation. And that’s, that’s just really, freeing feeling that you, you kind of are controlling those things. you have the ability, when you self direct, you could invest in real estate. You don’t have to be part of the stock market. There’s just so many options. And again, it’s overwhelming. some people get caught up in those details. It depends who you are. I I love options, and so it gets me very excited. But anyone stepping out, I think the, first thing I would always say is, if you can cut back one day a week, it’s life changing. And use that time to explore other things or spend time with the people you care about, because I think you and I probably agree that as you get older, you realize that your relationships and the people you surround yourself with are incredibly important. And, you can’t make space for them if you’re always at work. Not to say there’s anything wrong with devoting your life, but I do feel like I have other things to give, other than just in medicine. and if it’s even just giving back to yourself or to your spouse, to your children, if you have children, or to the community, you could go volunteer and things that maybe you’re curious about, and you might find something, I think find a hobby or something just because you never exposed or you don’t know that. You don’t know you like it or love it unless you try it. So, I think that’s really the best, I think, place to start. And if that means going from a w two to a 1099 and lose your benefits, that’s up to you. but at the same time, I think there’s so much demand for physicians right now, I think if you really look at what your expenses are, you can always shave off other things and compensate for that. but I think you have to free up your time to even have a breath to even know what you’d want to do. but it’s. It’s amazing. Yeah.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: I’m in a private practice, and I would never trade, you know, being my own boss for a health system. And certainly there’s risks. I mean, the pandemic was really scary, being a business owner and being in medicine. But, I completely, you know, that resonates with. With me. Just, I come and go when I need to and when I want to, and I’m


Dr. Jaime Seeman: only in clinical practice four days a week. I mean, I will. I will not lie. I’m an ob gyn, so I. Let’s be real. I’m there weekends. I was just doing a c section this morning, and today’s my off day. But, you know, I build those buffers in so that I can continue to do what I love doing, and I do love delivering babies, and I love doing surgery and. And, but you have to find that right balance, because at the end of the day, you know, you don’t know how long you have, and, you know, at the end of the road, you don’t want to. You’re right. Burn all those relationships, you know, along the way. And I think deep, meaningful human connection is really what we all find most joy in, and you don’t want to sacrifice that for anything. I loved earlier when you said not trading your time for money, because I think, you know, I’m in a place in my life where it’s just like, okay, time is money, time is money, time is money. Like, if I’m m not making money, I gotta be giving it up for something really valuable, you know? that just sounded so freeing when you said that.

Dr. Melissa Cady: Yeah. Yeah. Well, thanks. Yeah, I think there’s a lot of, I think there’s a lot of physicians out there that, they’re feeling things inside and they’re not acting on it. And I don’t think we always know why. To give an example, I think I worked out like a fiend, in my twenties because of a poor relationship I was in. I don’t consider myself an anxious person, but I’m a physician. I’m a hyper vigilant person. I’m very attentive to detail, and I notice everything, and it’s just part of our nature. I think, as we’re trained as physicians, too, to be like that. But I realize even though exercise is good, you can take it to an extreme. And I think I was compensating. I didn’t realize that all the tension and the unhealthiness of my relationship, I was. I had to go to the gym to feel okay. But I I didn’t think of it back then that way. But when I look back on it, the emotional awareness and my emotional intelligence back then was really poor. I feel like I was just on this, like, go, go, and can’t really understand and see. But this personal development arc in the last ten to 20 years has been really crucial for me to understand that that was part of why I was probably, and this is my impression, like, our attributions to things could be completely wrong. Our brain’s trying to make sense of the world. We’re trying to feel safe in the world. And I think, looking back, I do feel like that was my way of releasing tension in my body that was not being emotionally regulated well, or I was in an unhealthy situation where it was just coming out, it was staying in my body. And I just. When I worked out, I felt better. And I really think that was, part of it.

How sometimes the system in which you work can be toxic

So I say all that because I think that there’s. It’s insidious. How. How sometimes the system in which you work, if it’s not healthy or toxic, how sometimes we can make excuses for it and it can just kind of, like, simmer under the surface, and then you start having, like, anxiety or panic attacks, or you can’t sleep well or you’re having other physical manifestations and you’re not necessarily dealing with what it is and. And maybe the way you’re managing it or dealing with the situation, or just maybe you shouldn’t be in that toxic culture. most people shouldn’t. so I think that it’s really important for people to reflect on, you know, why is it I’m feeling this way, or what’s. What’s the circumstance do? Is this really good for me? Is this good for my family? and those are, I think, and sometimes it takes that extra day off and that feeling of kind of like a little bit of, you can see, I think you can see your life a little clearer when you’re not on the go all the time. And it’s not always easy, especially if you’re in a profession where you’re having to run around on weekends. And, you know, it’s. It really takes a lot of work to figure it out.

You run a website the challenge doctor. Tell us about that

Dr. Jaime Seeman: so you run a website the challenge doctor. Tell us about that.

Dr. Melissa Cady: well, actually, you know, I had this. This wasn’t even for this, but, so if you look at the word challenge and you look at the first three letters and the last three letters, you can see change within challenge. So sometimes we get very, you know, overwhelmed by the challenge of whatever it is in life. And if you realize that that challenge is okay, you actually can get changed through that challenge. It’s just like any lessons in life, it’s not failures, it’s lessons. And I feel like I’ve had challenges dealing with the medical system. I’ve seen patients have challenges with their issues or their pain. And I feel like, the reason I’m all over the place, because that kind of encompasses everything in life and in medicine. It’s just like, there are ways now I can’t change the construct of the medical industrial complex that is, like, nearly impossible. So I feel like I’m just shouting from the rooftops, and it’s not going to change anything. but I feel like if you can help people realize that there is hope and that there are possibilities of change despite these challenges, I, think that there’s. I’m


Dr. Melissa Cady: trying to inspire, challenge, educate people, and so it could encompass anything. And so I feel like the challenge, doctor, just. It’s just me. I’ve been told I’m a eternally optimistic person, but, I do realize that things are not always optimistic in this world, but I can’t control everything that goes on out there. I can only. I can only control what’s going on in here. So my perception of a challenge is that what can I make good out of that? And, you know, sometimes I fall flat on my face, but that’s okay. You just get back up. So I think I’m just trying to share a positive, you know, outlook and mindset and challenge people’s thoughts about pain, about maybe stress and anxiety are very much similar to pain. It’s another way of protecting you. So it’s, You know, there’s just different topics. Sometimes I’ll just pop on. On social media. I need to do better at that. maybe I should get a manager for that, like you do. but, yeah, so it’s just. It’s just a place where I share, like, what I’m up to, you know? I share about my pain out loud, the books. I’ve written a book called pain and simple. I like playing on words, obviously. and that was just a very. All my trips to Australia, I’m taking pictures, and I’m creating the next pain and simple book. So, and just. Yeah, it’s all tax write off. Every day I’m taking pictures, so. So I try to be creative.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: there’s the cheat code right there.

Dr. Melissa Cady: Yeah, I did that in residency, too. Whenever we got money to go to conferences, I’d find a place where my friend was that I want to go visit. And then, you know, so just be, resourceful. You know?

Dr. Jaime Seeman: I’ve been thinking about Greece, but now I’m gonna have to figure out how to do business there.

Dr. Melissa Cady: Yes. Oh, yes. You have to. You know, you have to do an annual meeting. If you do an LLC, technically, to be within, you know, the guidelines or the rules, you have to have an annual meeting or annual meeting notes, which I tend to do in my sunroom. But, you could travel, and there’s a certain. You have to check with your accountant. But you can do an annual meeting in Greece and. And make your plans for the year. And, yeah, I mean, there’s. Yeah, you can even, like, lease out your own house.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: We need to put a tax account in you guys.

Dr. Melissa Cady: Yes, yes, there’s. There’s some good stuff out there, but I learn a little bit all the time, so I don’t know everything, but.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: For our entrepreneurial doctors. Yeah, I know. I know my limitations. And. And, I do have my own llc outside of my private practice, and. Oh, my gosh, you know, I lean on those professionals to tell me what to do, because it’s a whole. A whole nother world. A whole nother world.

Dr. Melissa Cady: Yes.

Do you ever see yourself practicing in Australia? If your husband wants to

Dr. Jaime Seeman: so, what’s in the future for you? It seems like you’ve gone a lot of different directions. Do you love where things are at? Do you ever see yourself practicing in Australia?

Dr. Melissa Cady: If my husband wants to work there as well, which is a possibility, no, not at all. He’s working on his podcast right now. You want me to plug that in? I’m kidding.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Interest us. We don’t know.

Dr. Melissa Cady: I mean, it’s basically on rugby league, so he’s just. He is a passionate, passionate, rugby league fan since he was introduced in 2010 when we first went. So if he has a. To me, he offered. I mean, we have our home here and we. He’s not quite ready to make the move. He’s willing to let me go over there for a year, but that doesn’t. That doesn’t make me happy. I want him to be with me. So if he and I are both excited about an opportunity over there, which I have till April 2025, to start a job, because I already got the approval, it’s possible that. Yes, that would be a possibility. Now I’d have to do ob anesthesia with tendon forever, and so it would be a little bit of a, you know, back to the learning curve again. but, you know, just like you learned them before, you can learn it again. So, a little bit more stressful just to get back in the swing of that. but if not that, we’ll, still travel there. But, yeah, I mean, if we stayed there for four years, we could be dual citizens, so that’s kind of neat. Yeah. yeah, you get a four year visa, and then at the completion of that, you can apply for citizenship, too. But. So, as a physician, there’s a lot of Australia or New Zealand. You have. You have great options. but for future, I think it’s still wide open because, you know, I don’t plan on doing anesthesia till, like, I’m 70 or 80. but there are so many different things. As a physician, you have so many skill sets that you don’t even realize. I mean, we even forget the knowledge we have sometimes. Until you talk, someone’s completely not knowledgeable, and you’re like, how do you not know that? so it can be applied in so many ways. So I’m open, to all kinds of things out there. I’d love to work with animals, at some point. So whether it’s volunteering my time or being part of some big project, maybe I can hook up with veterinarian and I can be like, an assistant, but not, you know, I don’t have the veterinarian training. Yes. Apprentice. so it’s all wide open. But I love that. I love adventure, I love travel, and I love animals and nature, and I think we need to take better care of each other in the world. And however I can do that, with my husband by my


Dr. Melissa Cady: side, yeah, that’s where it’s going to go.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: That’s amazing. That’s amazing. That’s a great perspective. Well, doctor Cady, it’s been such a pleasure. Where can people find you find your work if they want to?

Dr. Melissa Cady: Sure. Well, or comma, either one will go the same place and you can keep up there. You can sign up for a mailing list. But I’m on Instagram. I need to post a little more frequently, but you know, be patient. I’ll come around. but that’s probably the best places.

Thank you for listening to today’s Strong MD podcast

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Awesome. Well, we appreciate you guys listening. Thank you guys for listening to today’s episode on The Strong MD podcast. I hope you enjoyed Doctor Cady and everything she had to share with us. If anything, I’ll be booking my vacation to New Zealand and doing a little more research on the duck filled platypho us. But if you guys could just help us out by leaving your comments likes please subscribe to this podcast and leave your comments. We appreciate it so much. We will catch you on the next episode.