Cassandra Schamber, M.D.
I always wanted to be a physician. As a little girl, I imagined my future self as a female Marcus Welby. I imagined that life as a physician would be rather straightforward; patients would come to me with a problem and I’d fix it with a prescription or a medical procedure. But a few years into my medical training, I realized that my Marcus Welby fantasies were just that: fantasies. In real life, Western medicine is helpful, but many patients need much more than a simple pill or procedure. I began to realize that there has got to be more to healing, but I didn’t know what that was.
I also realized that the old way of practicing medicine was making me feel empty and unfulfilled. I felt that I was turning into a glorified mechanic, examining patients as though they were cars, figuring out what part needed fixing and doing what I could to patch it up. Patients kept coming back over and over again with the same problem, or I would get one thing fixed and they would come back needing another patch-up job. I felt like I was spinning my wheels trying to keep up.
I went on a journey to figure out how people could go deeper and heal in a more complete way. On this journey, I investigated all different types of alternative and complementary healing techniques and traditions. I also studied spiritual traditions and psychology concepts because I saw how important people’s spiritual and social lives were for their physical health.
As I studied different aspects of health and healing, I came to realize that there are certain aspects of our non-physical lives that are vital for physical healing. I started teaching my patients the concepts I found to be important. I also started applying these concepts to my own life. I started paying attention to the concept of energy flow. I took time to rest and feel my emotions. I worked on calming unhealthy intellectual messages that were keeping me in situations that weren’t healthy for me. Through my work, I found the inner peace I had been lacking.
I originally did a residency in family medicine because I planned to be a family physician like Dr. Welby. But I developed an interest in pain management. Eight years after I finished my residency, I did a pain fellowship and became a pain specialist.
For the first half of my medical career, I worked for the large health care systems in my community. But I found I couldn’t practice medicine in a holistic way in that setting. I didn’t get to spend enough time with patients and I felt too pressured to practice the traditional Western medicine way. So I started my own clinic.
I’ve had my own clinic since 2005 and I have been able to work on the concepts I feel are important. I still practice Western medicine. But I also do alternative treatments such as acupuncture and I teach mind/body/emotion concepts to patients who are open to them. I am much more satisfied with my life as a physician now, and I am able to help my patients more than I could before.
When I’m not working as a physician, I live a simple life. I live in Duluth, Minnesota and I love it here because I love Lake Superior and I love all the seasons. I love winter because I get to cross-country ski. In the summer, I spend a lot of time in my garden and walking by the lake. I lap swim all year around. And I spend a lot of time spoiling my cats.