As I cruise at over 10,000 feet, my journey begins in the transition from Albany, New York to Omaha, Nebraska, I think back upon the past couple of weeks. It has been an emotional journey as I have had to say goodbye to the patients and families I have grown to know and love. But what has been more moving to me has been the rally and support from all my patients and families. All the letters, messages, emails, cards, hugs, from you all, have been dear and cherished in my heart indeed. In fact, after one of the patient families were roomed, there was a near-picketing organized effort in the family waiting area that I should not leave. I was overwhelmed by this feeling of love and support from you all, my patients and families.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and enhance the quality of your lives through my skills. Thank you for letting me a part of your lives and your journey. Thank you for letting me share in the joys, trials, and challenges that you have all walked during your difficulty journeys of birth defects, traumatic reconstruction, advocacy for health coverage, sending the kids to college, watching the babies grow, and so many more things that I cannot fully mention. The joy and pleasure have been mine to see us all come together as surgeon and patient along the difficult journeys of surgical reconstruction and to the achievement of form and function as you navigate the challenges of integrating into school, work, families, friends, peers, and this journey we call life.
When I came to Albany Med, YOU ALL were the motivation and driving force that made me go through the joys and trials as well as the obstacles and challenges of building a program. I knew the first-hand impact of having a multidisciplinary care team available for complex needs to children’s care, and the frustration for the families of navigating multiple doctor visits, getting tests fighting insurance approvals, missing days of school or work to get care, etc. Every child and adult deserves a chance at a normal daily life, as best as possible, in an environment of caring and cutting-edge care. These were my mission – to restore form and function to every child and adult, born with birth differences or recovering from traumatic injuries, for the children to be able to go through school with a restored face where a birth craniofacial difference does not prevent them from showing their best faces to the world, for adults who have worked with reconstructive challenges in early life to have the confidence to integrate in a world where looking different is difficult to navigate, and lastly to build a community where children and adults have support of each other and that of a world-class team dedicated to seeing them succeed. All these missions were accomplished, thanks to YOU and YOUR FAMILIES.
As my flight descends and we are ready to transverse the skies, breaking through the clouds as the beautiful rays of orange, reds, and hues of blue light up the evening sky in the amazing brilliance of sunset; I cannot but help reflect on how each of you has been a ray, contributing to the beautiful sunset of the lives of many patients, families, and our community at large. Thank you for the journey! I look forward to seeing you all do great things for others and continue to pay it forward. Thank you for a wonderful journey. You were all worth it.
Till next time,