Music City Plastic Surgery - November 2018





So often, people get caught up in the chaos that surrounds the holidays and forget why they are celebrating in the first place. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, families brave the busy stores to shop for supplies, rid their houses of every speck of dust, and spend hours prepping the plump turkeys. This hectic schedule causes many people (myself included) to lose sight of what is truly important this time of year: gratitude. As I reflect on everything and everyone I’m grateful for, it’s hard not to be transported back to where it all started for me. I’ve known that I wanted to join the medical field since the day I started seventh grade. The inspiration fueling that decision came from one of the strongest women I know: my mother. As a registered nurse, my mom would emphatically recount tales of her experiences working in the operating room, and as an eager young man, I consumed those stories. When I started to seriously pursue my dream of being a doctor, I used my mom’s tales for motivation. I remembered them when I stayed up until 2 a.m. studying for chemistry finals, and I remembered them when I woke up at 5 a.m. for football practice during my years at Notre Dame. I also remembered them on my first day of medical school. The first class I walked into at Tulane University Medical School was an anatomy course, and the second I learned about dissections, I became confident I was going to be a doctor — and without a shadow of a doubt that I was going to be

a surgeon. This might sound strange to readers outside the medical profession, but I loved working with the cadavers. While some of my peers were initially frightened to examine them or got queasy stomachs during class, I felt as though I was accelerating my knowledge in a way that my textbooks never could. I could even eat a burger after class without hesitation! “THIS HECTIC SCHEDULE CAUSES MANY PEOPLE (MYSELF INCLUDED) TO LOSE SIGHT OF WHAT IS TRULY IMPORTANT THIS TIME OF YEAR: GRATITUDE.” While I knew I wanted to be a surgeon, I didn’t know right away what my specialization would be. Because football played such a huge role in my life and genuinely made me the man I am today, I initially planned to complete my residency in orthopedic surgery so I could work closely with athletes. While the idea still intrigues me, I knew that the injuries I would see each day would be too routine to maintain my interest. I needed a specialization that was more artistic and allowed me to be more creative in my work. Then, during my first plastic surgery rotation, something spoke to me. Even though the nature of surgery requires close physical proximity between a doctor and patient, Plastics is multidimensional in its ability to foster deep

surgeon-patient relationships. In order to help a patient achieve their desired look, their doctor needs to actually listen. To this day, I love my job for its authentically personalized nature. I am reminded of the love I have for my practice each time I see a patient. Getting to witness the way a patient’s eyes brighten when they come in for their post-surgery checkup is an indescribable feeling. It’s not just about the beauty aspect. These changes build up patients’ confidence, strengthen their relationships, and alter their overall perspectives in a truly positive way. Getting to be an instrument in that process makes me eternally grateful for the path that God led me on so many years ago. –Dr. Mike

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