Heroes Among Us: Interview With A Surgical Oncologist

It has been my great privilege to encounter so many interesting people in my life, and  I always have these questions in my head that I wish I could ask them…so finally, I did!

My first series in this installment is an interview with one of the country’s top surgical oncologists. I hope you enjoy it!


  • Do people ever really change?
I don’t think they really do, unless they experience a life-altering event..it might be a near death experience or another type of traumatic event but I really think it takes something of that magnitude to change someone.


  • What are your favorite qualities in a woman?
Intelligence, faith, character, compassion and definitely intrepidness


  • What was your best case?
Thankfully there have been several. I don’t think there is one that I could pinpoint, but I certainly think the best cases are those that you know will be a challenge- the surgery may be long, sometimes 6-8 hours and extremely complex, the disease has spread beyond a localized area- but once we get the patient through the operation, I know that if they can get through the chemotherapy/radiation regiment, which can be grueling but will work- we are optimistic about the outcome. These cases are hugely rewarding.


  • I hate to ask, but of course the follow up question, what was your worst case?
I think the worst cases are when we encounter frustrations in the course of the treatment, whether that be with a protocol or the course for treating the cancer-you’re doing everything you can to support the patient whether it’s trying to get their immune system to rally or support kidney or liver function and their system is just not coming around. Anytime you have to put the patient in a fragile position in order to cure the underlying disease and more unforeseen obstacles arise. Also, when we lose patients that are very young, that is the hardest to deal with, particularly two young girls who were patients of mine.


  • Are you similar to the person you were as a child?
Yes, I am very much the same person I was when I was younger. I always knew I wanted to help people and I’ve always had the same temperament. I’ve also always encountered the same challenge over and over in my life no matter what age I was or what stage of life I was in which is that people always mistake my kindness for weakness. It’s a pattern I’ve experienced since I was a child and that I still encounter today.


  • Do you have a life motto or philosophy ?
I really want to leave the world a better place and I’ve always wanted to impact the world in a big way. I know with my individual patients I treat-I can have a direct impact on their life and they go on to change other peoples’ lives and it’s a ripple effect, but I also want to impact a large number of people with medical breakthroughs which is what my research is focused on.


  • Best moment of your life?
Of course the birth of all my children and marriage is truly a special thing…and then there are the professional moments when we’ve had huge breakthroughs and discoveries

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