Dr Bilge Gregory of Vital Connection MD: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Doctor

An Interview With Luke Kervin

Luke Kervin, Co-Founder of Tebra
Authority Magazine

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…Nobody is interested in BLOWING YOU UP but you! In the beginning, I tried to make so many collaborations with people with the expectation that they would “blow me up”. Ultimately, they walked away with a life-changing and body-transforming procedure, and I would receive very little PR in return. I made poor choices in my collaborations. I didn’t understand the concept behind negotiation, such that BOTH parties benefitted, not just the patient. I am much more careful with how I choose to trade services now, and it now rarely involves trading my surgical services.

As part of my series about healthcare leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr Bilge Gregory.

Dr. Gregory is a cosmetic surgeon, and she’s also an expert in personal development and mind/body healing. She is passionate about her career, because she feels she makes a tremendous impact on people’s lives both inside and out. Dr. Gregory sees herself as the bridge between allopathic medicine and holistic healing. She also performs a very unique type of high-definition liposuction, called Fun Sculpting, that gives people of all body shapes and sizes their incredible results.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! What is your “backstory”?

I was a board-certified Emergency Medicine physician for 18 years. The stress and the schedule took a profound toll on me as well as my health. I went through some major life events, including two hospitalizations in one year. The universe gave me a tremendous wake-up call. I recognized that I was suffering from burn-out, and my hospitalizations also connected to that. I chose to make a big change, but I didn’t want to stop being a physician and healer. I had the fortune of learning new skill sets in cosmetic surgery and injectables, and I realized that I had found my new calling. I have always been artistic, but was never able to bring it to my work space, until now. I feel so blessed every single day that I can provide a service for others that is impactful, valuable, and allows my creative energy to flow. With years of my own research in personal development, I have also been blessed with the freedom of customizing my medical practice in a way I would have never imagined previously. I can now offer tools of mind/body healing to my patients.

Can you share the interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I did a liposuction consultation on a middle-aged woman when I first opened the facility. She never booked surgery, but months later, she called and left a frantic message about her daughter. Her daughter, in her early 20’s was suffering severe depression and had expressed suicidal ideations to her mother. Because I make it a point to talk about personal development in my consultations, the patient felt that my insight would be able to get through to her daughter on a level that she couldn’t. Her daughter flew in from out of town, and I took the day off to spend some time with her. We started the conversation in the clinic, where I gave her some sound therapy, and I taught her healthy stress-relieving activities. We then went for a hike up the famous mountain here in Phoenix called Camelback. The fresh air and physical activity had a positive impact on her. Our conversations focused on problem solving and taking a new perspective on recent events she experienced. We continued our conversation at a beautiful resort restaurant overlooking the desert. By the end of the day, she was smiling, hopeful, and able to create positive solutions for her future that she was actually excited about implementing. I have never had the luxury of helping someone in this capacity in the ER.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

We are very careful when we publish images or videos of our patients. We make sure to hide tattoos, nipples, or any photographs of the pelvic region. We decided back then to do a video of my body showing some results I had after doing injectables on my abdomen. It turns out that one of my nipples had been captured in the video without our knowledge. We published the video on social media, having no idea that it displayed inappropriate body parts, mine!!! I was fortunate enough to receive a private message from one of my plastic surgery colleagues, and I immediately remedied the problem. It taught me to be extremely careful when publishing any image or video of the body and that sometimes even with careful review, things can get missed.

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?

Indeed! First, I am very excited to announce that we are moving! The new space is not only bigger, but the operating room is top of the line, and the space is much more amenable to allow for other disciplines to join us in helping our patients achieve wellness! Secondly, we just began conversations with an expert esthetician, who will be joining VCMD in the near future. She plans to create and implement protocols on medical esthetic therapies, build the patient roster, and eventually create an opportunity for other estheticians to work at VCMD. We also plan on launching more events this year to invite people to learn more about meditation, energy healing, intermittent fasting, and much more.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Nobody fits this bill better than my husband, Bo Gregory. He’s a paramedic firefighter. When he learned that I was ready to leave the ER and start my own cosmetic surgery business, after being trained, he jumped in with both feet. He learned how to run a business with me. We had lots of trial and error. He became integral in organizing our financial and patient data, paying bills, acting as head of human resources He was contracting with vendors, initiating our IV therapy and managing patients clinically, maintaining our hormone therapy, and so much more that I can’t even count. It’s not uncommon that he will work a 24hr shift, have a sleepless night of 911 calls, come home in the morning, shower, and go straight back to work, but this time, at our clinic. It’s also not uncommon that he works six days a week trying to handle his full-time job as a medic and running our family business. There is literally no way I could be where I am today without his help and support.

Is there a particular book that made an impact on you? Can you share a story?

The book that made the biggest impact on me was “Biology of Belief” by Bruce Lipton. He is a cellular biologist who taught in medical schools and has been researching cellular development and its relationship to quantum physics for over 40 years. He is considered the father of epigenetics. His book, using the scientific data that he has collected, shows how the body has the capacity to heal in many ways outside of allopathic medicine, and it starts from within. Our belief systems have an impact on our healing, but they also have an impact on our diseases, if not the greatest impact. I have been teaching my patients ways of becoming aware of how their dis-ease is connected to their disease.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I do a weekly Vlog called “Meta-Moments”, which I post on both IG and Youtube. I share my own personal stories, which are related to wellness, challenges I have faced and solved, or experiences I’ve had that could help others because they are common to many, if not all people. I also review books and summaries of books related to personal development. My ultimate goal is to have my voice heard by a bigger audience, and my biggest impact would be if I did it in person or on video. My passion is to show others to make choices out of love and faith, rather than fear and doubt.I aim to enhance their well-being in such a way that they feel an abundance of self-worth and abundance in life.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story about how that was relevant to you in your own life?

I have so many favorites, so this is a tough one. I’ll have to go with this one…” If it doesn’t make you glow, you have to let it go and go with your flow.”

This is a lesson in boundaries. As much as I have pursued personal development over the years and have made great improvements, I would say that boundaries continue to be a challenge for me at times. When I was a child and even in adulthood, I had a powerful “need” for approval by those I felt to be in authority. This could mean certain members of my family, colleagues at work, etc. In fact, I needed their approval badly enough that I was willing to sabotage my integrity and self-worth by lowering my boundaries. I would then make choices in my life based on the authority figures’ words, not based on my own experience. This means I closed a lot of doors that were meant to be open for ME (and that person of authority was expressing their need to control based on their own opinions and past, rather than assessing the situation specifically for me). I would also agree to performing tasks, meeting with others, and many other activities, out of obligation, not out of authentic interest because I convinced myself that saying yes to these things would bring me the approval I felt I needed so badly. I went through a very traumatic rupture of relationship with my family of origin back in 2016. We were estranged for a few years. In that time away, I had to make new choices. I began to rely on myself more and more for comfort, support, love, or whatever it was I needed. I recognized, finally, that nobody could give me more love and approval than I could give myself. I turned my journey inward, and I found ways to build my self-worth by making small changes every day. It came to a point in my life where I finally could say the word “no”, but do so with empowerment and without guilt. I had a confirmation of these experiences when one day, I met with my intuitive coach, Bianca, and we discussed boundaries. We came up with this saying, or personal mantra…” If it doesn’t make you glow, you have to let it go, and go with your flow”. So now when I’m faced with a choice, which is pretty much every day, I have a much more intentional response. I no longer have to have experiences where I feel resentful for saying “yes”, because I did so out of obligation. The clearest technique to use is to be completely aware of your body and energy when faced with a choice. Do you feel the excitement? Are you smiling? Giddy even? Or, did you pause once the question was posed and think about your reply? Did your shoulders drop a bit? Did you start weighing the pros and cons of saying “yes”? If you answered yes to the last 3 questions, recognize this “yes” will be out of obligation. And to be honest, sometimes that type of “yes” does have to happen too. Life is so much more joyful when we consciously choose to live our days with intention and with self-love.

Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that will help people feel great?

  1. Intermittent Fasting: I can’t say enough good things about fasting. I know it intimidates a lot of people, but if you think about it, you’re sleeping for most of the time you’re fasting anyway! The benefits include building your antioxidant levels (anti-aging), increased focus and improved neurologic connections, weight management, better insulin/glucose balance, more freedom in food choices when you are eating, and more. I always ask my patients what time they stop eating in the evening. Let’s use 8 pm as an example. From the evening on, they are asked to drink only water, black coffee or unsweetened tea (no artificial sweeteners either). They continue with that the next morning, and their first meal of the day would be at 12 pm. That’s a 16 hour fast, which is the most recommended time, although sometimes you can enhance the effects by doing a 20 or 24 hour fast 1–2x per month. This 16 hour fast can be done 3–4 days a week, or more if you choose. And remember this, the hunger spike is a signal, and in medical terms, it’s called a Ghrelin spike. That chemical, Ghrelin, runs through our system for a period of time, but then it dissipates after 30–60 minutes. I’ve asked people this question and they have all been able to relate to this scenario: Have you ever gotten hungry but you were too busy to eat? You went on with your task and once completed, you realized you were no longer hungry. Congrats, you just made it through a Ghrelin spike! It’s more about mindset than it is about biology, although some people still want to argue that point. You’ll never know until you try it. I used to be one of the doubters. I have made a total 180, now that I’ve actually experienced it for myself. It’s well worth trying, and it’s free!
  2. Meditating — Our bodies need exercise to stay healthy. Our minds need rest to stay healthy. Meditation is one of the most underutilized life hacks, in my opinion. It has a tremendous number of physical health benefits including lowering blood pressure, decreasing symptoms of acid reflux, improving sleep, decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety, reducing frequency or intensity of headaches and other types of pain, and more. In terms of personal development, meditation helps us gain a new perspective on stressful situations, it helps build stress management skills, it helps us focus on the present, it increases imagination and creativity, it helps increase patience and tolerance, and it increases self-awareness. I can’t stress it enough, meditation is an important commitment everyone should make in their daily practice, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
  3. Fight for your sleep. People don’t understand how important it is to have quality sleep every night. Not only that, many also underestimate the amount of sleep they actually need. What you survive on is not the same thing as what you thrive on, so be sure to get about 8–9 hours of sleep nightly. Sleep is when our body repairs itself. If we have issues with sleep, it’s often a sign that other aspects of our lives are struggling, and this can ultimately lead to chronic illness. So, it’s extremely important to turn your focus to your sleep when you are living stressful times especially. It is one of the most effective ways to heal inside and out. Our habits around sleep time are extremely important, and there are ways to train your brain to become sleepy to medication and side-effect free signals. Sound therapy and guided meditations are some key methods to use when looking for options on sleep inducing techniques. Melatonin, though most people consider a safe sleep aid, is actually very carefully released by the body in its natural state, and when you supplement it with over the counter caplets, you end up building a tolerance to melatonin in your body, which is counter-productive. It is much more helpful to teach your brain to respond to audio stimulation, which will ultimately put the brain into an alpha wave (pre-sleep) state. Once you’ve practiced this method nightly for a few weeks, you will begin to feel what it’s like to shift into the alpha wave state, then eventually, your body will drift off into the sleep states with delta and theta waves.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. By far, the first thing I wish I was told was that it was important for me to be proficient in business. Doctors don’t get any training on how to run a business when they are in medical school. This is a tremendous disservice because many doctors end up choosing to work for a larger institution such as a hospital system or a large group of practitioners because they don’t have the skill sets to run their own business. We thrive as healers when we have the autonomy to master our profession and have a say in our schedules and our reimbursement. I worked for a physician-owned ER group for almost 20 years. I’m very grateful to have participated in a physician-owned group, because I was able to gain a lot of experience in running a business, but the true test came when I left the ER to become a cosmetic surgeon, and I was the only physician owner. I’ve been tested as a business person in many ways, and I still make mistakes in the process. But I’ve learned many lessons, including when to delegate, when to say yes or no, and when to let go.
  2. I wish I was given more pointers on how to market myself in a most successful way for me. In marketing, I was taught that first your audience has to get to KNOW you, then they will eventually LIKE you, and finally TRUST you. I’ve never had any issues with patients liking or trusting me. I love what I do and I really care about my patients and their well-being. This is evident in my patient care and in my results. I wish I had a bigger bullhorn in essence. I’m still learning this lesson.
  3. Nobody is interested in BLOWING YOU UP but you! In the beginning, I tried to make so many collaborations with people with the expectation that they would “blow me up”. Ultimately, they walked away with a life-changing and body-transforming procedure, and I would receive very little PR in return. I made poor choices in my collaborations. I didn’t understand the concept behind negotiation, such that BOTH parties benefitted, not just the patient. I am much more careful with how I choose to trade services now, and it now rarely involves trading my surgical services.
  4. Take the time to market yourself organically. There are ways to create growth that don’t cost a fortune. Business owners, and doctors especially, are intimidated by doing their own marketing, but we have so much information at our fingertips, and all it takes is some focused research. We can build our brand by choosing to build our presence in one or two social media platforms. We can also have event nights and introduce our products or services to a targeted audience. We can also be on an expert panel or go to local events where we can offer our time and expertise to prospective patients. When I first started, a friend sent me a video of Gary Vaynerchuk. He started talking about building small businesses and Instagram, and he explained how simple it was to gain some knowledge on the algorithm and build a brand subsequently. I was so enamored with the idea I dove right into Instagram that day and started researching how to create posts, videos, edit photos, engage with the audience, and much more. In only a few years, I have been able to build my IG profile to almost 150k followers, and it has become one of my main sources of patient leads.
  5. Startups are a roller coaster. Be prepared for a bumpy ride, and don’t give up your dream. If I had known early on that I would have such a roller coaster trying to launch my dream business, I might have been too intimidated to try. In some ways, ignorance is bliss, but one thing I didn’t anticipate was the tremendous roller coaster I’d be living in the realm of business. There would be weeks or months where I barely had time to work, keep up on charting, and still make time for personal care and domestic duties. There were other stretches of time where I literally felt like a stay-at-home-mom (which I’ve never been), and spent hours wondering when I would be able to go back to work and do some surgery, which I loved so much. Words of wisdom on the startup game would have been extremely helpful, and may have soothed my worried mind on many sleepless nights.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

My ultimate dream is to have an Institute for VCMD. I am passionate about empowering people to become their best selves, which involves so many disciplines. I want to be able to offer it all in one space. I plan one day to have a facility with services such as cosmetic and plastic surgery, injectables, IV therapy, hormone therapy, nutrition, exercise therapy & personal training, acupuncture, Reiki, personal development seminars, and much much more. I also foresee doing seminars around the country or even world where I help teach people techniques in wellness and mind/body healing.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)

I have been a huge fan of Tony Robbins for years. I hope to one day meet him, feel his energy, and learn ways to affect my audience in a similar way that he does. What lights him up has the same profound effect on me.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

Instagram @vital_connection_md

Website www.vitalconnectionmd.com

Thank you so much for these wonderful insights!

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Luke Kervin, Co-Founder of Tebra
Authority Magazine

Luke Kervin is the Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Tebra