This award-winning research definitely opened up the door to a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Wow! Another step and another door opened to an amazing opportunity. I mean, Johns Hopkins! This was arguably the best fellowship at the best medical school in the country. It had now been 14 years since finishing high school and leaving Evergreen. I had come a long way in my education and career as well as geographically!
At Johns Hopkins, I trained with many of the big names in the field, including John Rock, MD, Ed Wallach, MD, Howard Zacur, MD, Marion Damewood, MD, and Bill Scholf, MD. Dr. Donald Woodruff was walking the halls of Johns Hopkins. He was an institution in himself. He went through training so long ago that he had to do two residencies, one in obstetrics and one in gynecology (they had not been combined yet at the time he went though training). Johns Hopkins was full of history — famous influential doctors who had once walked the halls I was passing through.
The two years at Johns Hopkins went quickly. I was offered a job by one of my professors to go into practice with him, but I had already taken a position at the premier infertility practice with Dr. David Adamson in Northern California. I was so excited to have landed such a great position. Dr. Adamson is a great guy, fantastic physician, and great surgeon. He is a hard-working, ethical person. We hit it off, and I truly enjoyed my time working with him. Unfortunately, the economy took a significant downturn just as I finished my fellowship and it was not the right time to start a new practice location. After a couple of years, we parted ways, but he still remains a close friend to this day.
When my mentor from Wichita, Dr. Kelly, found out that I was looking for a job, plane tickets to come see him arrived at my door the next morning. He wanted me to come down to New Orleans (he had moved, but why there?) and work with him. I asked him if he was so busy that he had patients for me to see. He replied, “No, but I have a room you can use and a desk that you can sit at. You are good enough, you will build a practice.” I wasn’t excited about moving to New Orleans, I mean the heat and humidity! I did not realize it at the time, but this was, in reality, the next opportunity and next step in the life journey. He did not do IVF but treated endometriosis and pelvic pain patients surgically. We had a common bond in that he too trained at Wichita, and his wife used to be a nurse at Dr. Robert Franklin’s office.
Working with Dr. Kelly pushed me as a surgeon. He is an outstanding surgeon and was a great influence on me. But the practice was slow to grow. I was looking for ways to get the word out about what I had to offer to patients. In 1996 I started to examine the way websites looked and the source code for each website. I taught myself HTML and started writing code for my website on a notepad. My first web page was just that. One page, but it was the start of my presence on the Internet. I offered free 30-minute phone consults. I learned a lot about women with endometriosis and pelvic pain. Slowly at first, women started to fly out to see me for surgery. It turned out that I had a knack for healing people with endometriosis and pelvic pain. These are difficult cases, but I was successful in most of the cases where other physicians had not been able to help. The Internet is very transparent. You hear about the good and bad. Patients were grateful for my help, and word started to spread. Within two years, by 1998, I was the busiest doctor in the group, seeing patients from around the world and from across the United States.