I am sure you must have noticed that a lot of my stories revolve around women who have breast cancer.

Part of the reason, I think, is because I am quite involved with these women and they stay in the practice for a long period of time. It is often a long process to accomplish what they are trying to achieve.

So, I saw this young woman, she was probably in her early thirties and she was living with her boyfriend, and neither of them had any work and they did not have any insurance so they had to apply for Medicaid. So she ended up in my office seeking advice on reconstruction.

One day when I was doing my office procedure she said, “Doctor, you have to be very smart to be what you are.” I told her that I don’t believe that that is the case. I did mention to her that I do like to work hard, and Thomas Edison’s saying came to mind… “Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.”

I said “if you put your mind to doing something, you can do it.” And she said, “No, no. I can’t. I’m not smart enough.” And I told her, “I beg to differ, I believe you can…it’s the human spirit.”

So that was it, just a brief conversation with her. However, after a couple months she told that she had made up her mind and that she was going back to school to try to get into nursing. I told her that that was very impressive.

A few months went by and she came to my office and told me that she was getting all A grades in her classes. I was thrilled just to see the happiness of success and her strong resolve that she was doing what she had set out to do.

She told me that her family was very upset because she was working very hard and they believed that she needed rest to recover from her reconstructive surgery. I talked to her family as well, and I told them that it was okay for her to study and work hard, that it brought a lot of happiness and she should be allowed to do that.

A few years later I got a card saying that she graduated with honors from nursing and that she had become a certified nurse. It was one of those moments that my heart filled with joy. I thought, “Yes! Perhaps I was able to make a difference in someone’s life to that extent.”

I wish I could do the same with my children…but do they listen? Well, you never know. To this day I feel so proud for those few moments when I gave my advice…and it worked! You never know when someone is listening, and when they really think something you say is a good idea.