I took my report card home and my mother simply said, “We don’t get C’s”.  My mother, who never went to college, explained to me that you got good grades in school, you went to college and you got a good job.  You did your best and strove for “A’s”. She taught me to strive for excellence in all I do. 

As a single mother with six children, she produced children with a total of 3 masters degrees, one medical degree and one law degree.  We were not any smarter than the other kids.  We had just been raised to expect and strive for excellence.  Being mediocre wasn’t an option.

My mom was there to celebrate all of my achievements with me.  She was there when I gave the graduation address in college, finished medical school and completed residency as chief resident.  I wanted my successes to be her sucesses because she was so instrumental to all of my accomplishments. 

She was able to travel around the world and join me as I performed surgery in far away places.  Because of the commitment to excellence that she gave me she was able to share the rewards including visiting the Hawaiian islands, Canada, Mexico, Africa and Europe .

My mom passed away, destroyed by the disease we call breast cancer.  It has taken her body, but her strength and spirit have survived.  Her instruction to me is what keeps me going, “We don’t get C’s”. There’s nothing wrong with a C if that’s the best one can do. But, what she was telling me was to always do the best that I could do.  That philosphy has pushed me to pursue a career in ophthalmology and to acquire a set of skills that allow me to provide the best eye care possible.

This week’s advice isnt to just get an eye exam, but to make sure that you are doing all you can to keep your entire body healthy.  Some cancers can be detected with screening: such as breast, prostate and colon

Please, do what you can to maintain a body of health in all you do.  Thank you for reading the story of the most remarkable woman I have ever known.  A woman that would be just as remarkable if she weren’t my mom.