Ina Gilmore MDFor many years Ina Gilmore, M.D. defined herself as “Dr. Gilmore.”

After college she went straight to medical school, earning her doctor of medicine from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.  She went on to complete a residency in Internal Medicine, and practiced primary care adult medicine for several years.

While working in a multispecialty group, she developed a passion for Infectious Diseases.  So, she went back to train as an Infectious Disease specialist.  After completing her Infectious Diseases fellowship, she became an Assistant Professor of Medicine at an inner city medical school’s HIV Clinic.

After three years she left to assume more care of her ailing elderly parent—and to take a much-needed break from inner city subspecialty medicine.  She combined Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases in a rural practice, later moving to a suburban Infectious Diseases practice.

After 9-11, she realized the full impact and stress of combining a demanding career with primary caregiving. Especially noticeable was the isolation of caring alone for a parent while working odd hours, with the nearest family four hours by car.  It affected her life professionally—and personally.

Taking charge, she made some changes including leaving active medical practice.  She moved closer to family.

There she found solace in knitting and other crafts.  She realized most of her life has been spent as a caregiver—both informally for family and professionally as a physician.  Finding herself without losing herself to the burdens of caregiving became her mission.

In the depths of the darkness of caring for a dying loved one with a seemingly unconcerned health care system she found her voice. She and her family realized without her medical expertise they could not have navigated it.  In the dawn of realization and recovery from this experience she found her mission:

Helping others more than survive—to thrive—in caregiving.

Yes, you can find joy and personal growth in assuming a sometimes thankless but increasingly necessary responsibility for acute or chronic care of your loved one. If life is a journey, this is one leg of it.

While you may feel like you’ve been traveling without a map or a compass, you can change that starting now.