We were lucky to catch up with Dr. Parul Dua Makkar recently and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Makkar, thanks for joining us today. Was there a moment in your career that meaningfully altered your trajectory? If so, we’d love to hear the backstory.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak with me. My younger and only brother, Dr Manu Dua, followed my footsteps into the field of Dentistry. He passed away in March 2021 due to Metastatic Oral Cancer at the age of 34. He battled the disease he was meant to diagnose in the time of the Covid 19. After losing him to cancer, it changed me and altered my course of life and practice. I started to change my interaction with patients. I started educating and writing articles to help bring awareness and push to have an earlier diagnosis and ways to prevent Oral Cancer by sharing my family’s story. I learnt to navigate through grief while wearing the many hats of being a business owner, dentist, wife, mother, sister, daughter, and a daughter in law. I learned that those who weren’t there in my time of need and sorrow didn’t need to be in my joys. I learnt the power of no, to say no and not feel obligated to be there when my heart wasn’t quite there. I learnt that our most precious asset is time. Time can’t be returned, refunded, or replaced. So, to spend time wisely with the people you want to, doing the things you want to and going to places you want to. I learnt that tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone, so to live a life with purpose and to help create a legacy so to leave the world a better place than you found it.
As Manu battled Cancer at the time of Covid, he wrote a series of blogs that I helped publish into a book. Manu was candid and open about his cancer journey, and I helped complete his journey posthumously. As he battled cancer, somewhere, amidst all the pain, loss, and despair, he found the peace and happiness that he had not attained while he was healthy. He learnt from his mistakes, fought fear, found beauty in small things, wisdom in parents, and never lost hope. These blogs are now a book “Life Interrupted, Dr. Dua’s Survival Guide” by Dr. Manu Dua.
Dr. Makkar, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I am a General Dentist with my own practice. I always wanted to be in the health field. I found Dentistry to be a good balance to have a career and a family life. I provide a wide range of services including fillings, extractions, checkups, cleanings, implants, root canals, crowns, partials and a host of other services. When patients come to me, I am interested to learn what is their chief complaint. What brought them to me. The ideal treatment plan may not something that is ideal for them. The end goal is helping the patient lead a better, healthy life and create a treatment personalized to their needs. I help in educating young parents how to help their children with their children’s oral care. I love to show and tell my patients what’s going on. I share internal pictures of their teeth so that I can educate them and give them options. Sometimes the ideal plan for them is to do nothing. I want to have open conversations with my patients. At times, I may not know all the answers, but I can help them guide them as needed. Our mouths are our gateway to our overall health, so I love to educate and help my patients attain the optimum oral health care.
Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?
After I lost my brother. Dr. Manu Dua, a dentist like myself to Oral Cancer. I wanted that his death not be another statistic but a way to help others prevent Oral Cancer. I could have taken a different trajectory and gone in a dark and dangerous place. However, I cannot change the past, yet I help others to create a better future. I helped publish the book and create the podcast with Dr. DP Harris, where I speak with various Dentists, Dental Specialists and Doctors who were friends of Manu. The podcast of an expression of unexpressed love that Covid stole from us. I reached for my inner strength, and I made it a mission to help complete the journey he started on sharing his Cancer story. Also, to help bring awareness, educate what causes, help bring prevention and push for earlier diagnosis. Due to the way things panned out for my brother. due to distance, covid, I couldn’t be there for him to save him. My hope is that with sharing and educating doctors and public alike, if I get to save even one life, I will feel accomplished in my mission.
Putting training and knowledge aside, what else do you think really matters in terms of succeeding in your field?
As Dentists and being owners of our practice, I feel that we should have more training and education on the business aspect of running a practice. A guide to being better, more efficient bosses and managing funds better. It is also important to learn about human interactions and connections. We need to learn to be better communicators to have healthy and mutually respectful relationships with our patients and staff.
- Website: www.pdmfamilydental.com
- Instagram: @pdmfamilydental
- Facebook: PDMfamilydental
- Linkedin: Parul Dua Makkar
- Other: Book that I helped publish and co wrote: Life Interrupted, Dr. Dua’s Survival Guide by Dr. Manu Dua https://www.amazon.com/Life-Interrupted-Duas-Survival-Guide-ebook/dp/B09D5QTCS4/ref=sr_1_2?crid=2LRS5T6DPI65J&keywords=manu+dua&qid=1658104489&sprefix=manu+dua%2Caps%2C113&sr=8-2 Podcast complimenting the book https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/life-interrupted-dr-duas-survival-guide-the-podcast/id1613820131
Dr. Vibhor Makkar