I was fifteen years of age when I made up my mind as to what I wanted to do with my life.
And the way it happened was: we had a little girl in our neighborhood that was born with a very large hairy mole on her cheek. This girl was beautiful, but she was so shy that she didn’t play with other children. She always had her face covered with a scarf, and when she would go to school her gaze was always fixed on the ground, no eye contact with the children around her. Everyone in the neighborhood felt very sorry for her. Some children did make an attempt to go and make friends with her, but they were not very successful.
Then I heard that there was a plastic surgeon visiting from South Africa and that he was going to do some reconstructive work on this young girl. Where I grew up there was no plastic surgeon available, so to have a plastic surgeon was quite the excitement in our area. Well months went by and I did not see that young girl.
But one day when I stepped out of the house…what an incredible scene. The young girl was joyfully playing with the children, she had a huge smile and sparkle in her eyes. Everything was the same, except now the mole was gone. Seeing her so happy and joyfully playing with other children and interacting with them, running, laughing, left a deep imprint on my mind.
At that very moment I said, “Yes this is what I want to do when I grow up. I want to help people just like that.” Even to this day when I treat my patients my philosophy has remained the same. I want to see that spontaneous smile, the happy glow in their faces. And so far I’ve been very successful. I really love my job, and I would do it all again, if I had to.