Today, March 5, 2012, marks a very special day for me. Exactly nine years ago to date I obtained my business license. I know most people celebrate their 10, 25, and 50 year anniversaries, which I hope to celebrate. But, the nine year mark is of significance to me because I completed nine years of residency prior to my nine years of practice. Hence, being the math whiz that I am, today marks the 1:1 ratio between my training years and my solo, private practice years.
After my medical school graduation from Kansas City, I moved to Brooklyn, New York to embark upon my general surgery residency. At that time, I left my options open knowing that I wanted to finish my general surgical training with possible further training in either surgical oncology or plastic surgery. A sweet, little Mid-Western girl found herself driving down Brooklyn’s Belt Parkway taking exit 13 into Canarsie leading to East New York. Despite the rough terrain into gang-land and a culture completely different from my upbringing, I will never forget my excitement moving to Brooklyn and New York City which was my choice: I applied only to general surgery programs in New York. It was a physically, emotionally and technically demanding period of my life, but a time that was well spent in developing my endurance, judgment and skill. I feel blessed regarding my experience and felt Brooklyn’s love because I STILL LOVE YOU BROOKLYN….HEY, YO!!! HOW YA DOIN’?
After graduating from Brooklyn, I moved to Chicago to complete my plastic surgery fellowship. This comprised the last three years of my total nine year training gig. I trained at Cook County Hospital in addition to some private hospitals and practices. Now, I’m originally an Illinois-girl, so I enjoyed seeing the homeland (I’m actually from a very small town on the Mississippi eight hours from Chicago). It was during my Chicago tenure that 911 hit, and, to this day will never forget how a city as huge as Chicago was rendered a ghost town within an hour. Business’ shut down and the Chicago PD were everywhere. Very few places were open like Cook County Hospital which is where I was rotating at the time.Chicago is such a well-run city and absolutely beautiful. I’ve been sweet on Chicago since childhood, and I feel the love of my town that is Chi-town and, yes, I LOVE YOU TOO CHICAGO. Just don’t have any cute linguistics to exemplify the place like I do with Brooklyn or NYC in general.
To say that I moved to Silicon Valley because of the great weather does not justify the depth and value of my final destination. True, when I flew into sunny SFO from O’Hare that December day and loaded up my parka, boots, gloves, earmuffs, and hat off the plane, I enjoyed the warmth and glow of the sun. But, I had job opportunities all over the country, and as I familiarized myself with Silicon Valley, I was mesmerized by the fact that this is a place where if you have a dream YOU can make it happen. The whole state is just beautiful. The weather is great and if you’re a health nut like me, well, this is a health conscious area. In addition to the aforementioned, there are many great minds and resources that make any possibility or idea that you have a reality (if you have a good business plan). The nine years zoomed by……..zoomed!!! It wasn’t easy but I am so blessed and grateful to the many who have contributed to my life from a simple smile to words of wisdom. I love my friends, my patients and my Mission Santa Clara. With that, I conclude my 1:1 reverie feeling the love of my home (uh, hello,San Jose is the capitol of Silicon Valley). I LOVE YOU SILICON VALLEY.