I was born into a middle class home with a very hard working father who never completed college, and a loving mother who was a housewife and highschool graduate. My parents desired nothing more than to have their 3 children be successful and most importantly, complete college and have a meaningful career.
I wanted to be a doctor since I was 8 years old, motivated by such influential shows as Trapper John MD, Quincy, and Mash during my childhood. I made straight A’s throughout my undergraduate years and graduated summa cum laude in college as well. I completed my medical degree at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 1993 and completed my residency at Dallas Children’s Medical Center in 1996. I am certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and am a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
I was married during my residency and changed my name from Dr. Deborah Zebold to Dr. Deborah Z. Bain. If you are wondering why I kept the “Z” as my middle initial, it is because my great, great, great grandfather was a doctor back in the 1890’s, the only doctor in my whole lineage. He was at one point held by gunpoint by one of Jesse James’ brothers to have him take a bullet out of Jesse, and lived to tell about it!
I worked for Cook Children’s Physician Network hired right out of residency and served as a corporate pediatrician for my first 10 years. During that stressful time of working in a corporate-compliance model of medicine, I had some very unfortunate life-altering medical problems including herniated discs in my neck and back over a several year period requiring multiple surgeries, as well as breast cancer at 39 years of age, requiring a leave of absence and treatment with chemotherapy and radiation.
During my journey to get well, definitely a steep uphill climb, I had a fire stirred up in me that could not be squelched. It was a completely different philosophy of medicine. I thought to myself, “How can someone as young as I am already have 9 neck/back surgeries and breast cancer.” There has to be another way. I sought out alternative doctors for an explanation and new approach to my care after I was pronounced cured by my oncologist, yet feeling chronically fatigued and ill all the same.
With my new passion about holistic and integrative medicine, I made a commitment to expand my education in this field by studying and achieving certification through the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine (ABIHM), as well as the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM). I became the first Pediatrician to successfully certify with the IFM. I became a Gluten Certified Practitioner in 2016. In 2021 I also became board certified by the American Board of Integrative Medicine and certified in homeopathy and homeoprophylaxis.
I am the sole owner and originator of Healthy Kids Pediatrics Center for Health and Wellbeing for the past 16 years, after 10 years of practicing traditional medicine, and I have never looked back. I have coined the type of practice I have developed as Functional Integrative Pediatrics.
My Philosophy: Life is a Journey
I used to think life was about the destination, but I am now convinced that it is more about the journey and what people we touch along the way. In my journey to recover from nine neck and back surgeries and breast cancer, all in my 30’s, I found myself initially lost in the system. I blindly followed the doctor’s advice to fuse this and that area of my spine. Ultimately I was subjected to chemotherapy and radiation all in the name of the cure for breast cancer. In my medical training, I was brought up to believe a compartmentalized model of medicine. That everything had a diagnosis and treatment or medication assigned to it. But since my treatment, I found myself questioning the very principals that I lived by in my previous practice of medicine. I found myself turning to a whole network of alternative medicine providers to find the path that made sense to me to help me find true wellness, not just Band-Aid fixes of my health problems. For me, it was turning to chiropractors, naturopaths, and nutritionists to get me well. Whatever the path we follow to find wellness, I think we have to be actively searching, not just blindly following. I have gained respect for so many different ways to get someone well. I do not have all the answers to get someone well as a pediatrician. It is something that I have accepted over the years. I think pride gets in the way of so many good doctors, and prevents them from being great doctors. If we just all work together and open our minds to many ways of treatment, and focus on the needs of the patient, then we would all be doing what is right. As I have opened my mind to these paths, I have continued to find wellness in its most comprehensive sense – mind, body, spirit.
As I have also journeyed down my own path, I have encountered so many people who are on their own path to become well. I found myself compelled to reach out to them to show them the way. Not in the same way as I practiced medicine prior to my medical illnesses, but in a very different holistic way. I wrote the book, “How the Chiropractor Saved my Life, My Journey to Wellness and Beyond” as a way for me to help those who are lost, confused, who have been wronged by the very system of medicine that was supposed to heal them.” The book was, in a sense, part of my ministry of healing others and is part of God’s ultimate will for my life. It was meant to open the minds of others to alternative possibilities to treating illness and was to serve as a tool to motivate people to become their own health advocate as I have.
There is another way. Finding the root of disease, or better yet, preventing it from happening at all, is so much more effective than picking up the pieces later and trying to do damage control. It’s all about healing disease, not just treating it. Until doctors understand this link and become more integrative in their treatment approach, the patient will be no more than “well managed” with Band-Aids on the real problem that is trying to rear its ugly head.