Sanjay Juneja, MD
Occupation: Hematologist Oncologist
Wife: Lauren Juneja
Children: Ashwin, 6; Nayan, 4.5; & Paari, 18 months
Hobbies: Social media influencer/educator @theoncdoc, basketball, boxing, and soccer
Sanjay Juneja is the Baton Rouge General Chief of Oncology, a medical oncologist at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, and a local dad committed to being the best version of himself for his three sons. As a doctor, he is constantly reminded that life is fleeting and that you cannot take it for granted. As a father, he dedicates himself to raising compassionate and empathetic children that will create a kinder future. He’s also famous on social media! Check him out on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, @theoncdoc.
What does a normal day look like for you?
SANJAY: I wake up at 6:30, help get kids get ready for school, and eat breakfast. I get to the hospital around 7:30, and I see patients with cancer and blood disorders from 8:30-4:30. From 4:30-5:30, I usually have Zoom meetings for social media like partnerships with Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. Then, I get the kids at 6, and we go to GymFit before we come home and “play tiger” every night–I’m always the tiger. I read to them before bed, and when they go to bed, I post on social media.
What are the joys and challenges of raising your children?
SANJAY: The biggest joy is hearing them share things that I mentored them on; there’s nothing more joyful than seeing them be empowered, compassionate, and empathetic. I am constantly humbled and reminded of my own mortality as a doctor, so I’ve been able to teach them the things I’ve learned over the course of 34 years. Another joy is seeing them learn and adapt to some of their personal characteristics. A challenge would be learning how to address these unique personalities. I used to be torn between nature versus nurture, and I always favored nurture, but now I have three kids with different personalities. It takes a high degree of flexibility to cater to each personality effectively.
How would you describe yourself as a father?
SANJAY: “Committed” and “selfless” are two words of how I want to be as a father at all times, and I am supportive because I want them to feel my love, trust, and my gratefulness for them. I was 12-14 years old when I said I wanted to be a father when I grew up. I didn’t want anything to define me more than being a father; fatherhood needed to be the primary role, and I never took that lightly. I was ready to put everything second.
What do you like to do as a family?
SANJAY: We love to do physical things like GymFit where they can do acrobatic stuff; we also love swimming, going to the trampoline park, or going on “adventures” to the zoo where we listen to bird sounds and pretend we see tiger prints. Every Friday, we put on a Netflix movie and get pizza.
What has parenthood taught you?
SANJAY: It’s taught me how important it is to be aware of your own actions, thoughts, and behavior. As a generation, we have to be vigilant of being the best version of ourselves for our children. Children perpetuate what they observe. We want a world of compassion and kindness, and those things stem from what we show our children.
What are some things you hope to teach your children?
SANJAY: Kindness, compassion, and love for people, animals, and plants. If I could teach them one thing, I would teach them to be empathetic to the people around them. There are lots of stressors in the world, and the way people interact should not be one of them.
What has your job taught you about parenting?
SANJAY: Every day I am reminded of how short life can be. I meet strong, amazing cancer patients that inspire me every day to never take a day, interaction, or opportunity for granted.
What has been your biggest challenge in parenting during the pandemic?
SANJAY: Helping them understand the science behind everything, like wearing your mask and how coughing spreads the virus, is definitely a challenge, but it’s a productive one because I’m explaining why things are the way they are.
What has been your biggest challenge for your job during the pandemic?
SANJAY: It’s hard to see people sometimes receive very bad news or pass away in the hospital without any loved ones with them. Cancer is hard enough, but when you add on the unavailability of their support system, see it first hand, and see them stomach that at the end of their life makes it harder. I have also seen patients that may have been curable suddenly not be curable anymore because of something like late biopsy or not having access to a doctor due to the pandemic’s restrictions. Someone would be still around without these restrictions, and I hate that people have to endure that forever.
How do you make time to relax?
SANJAY: I’ve recently learned that relaxing does not necessarily mean not doing anything. I’ve made it a point to make tasks enjoyable. Playing with the kids and bathing them could be work, but now it’s relaxing because it’s something I find cathartic.
Do you have any advice for other parents?
SANJAY: Try to enjoy every moment. I know my kids are young, but because of my job, I have a constant reality check that makes me appreciate the things around me. Be patient, and always be aware of your behavior and the things you say. I noticed they’re aware of everything at a much younger age than I anticipated.
Before I go out, I always check to make sure I have…my credit card.
In my fridge, you will always find…Celsius energy drink.
My favorite dessert is…baklava.
My favorite food is…macaroni and cheese.
My guilty pleasure is…being a sneakerhead.
I’m always laughing at…myself.
My dream travel spot is…the Maldives.