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Freezing Nails

I am a 5th generation Californian.  My Grandmother (who has passed away) was in the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake as a young girl and was one of few women who attended Berkeley (University of California at Berkeley) in the 1910’s.  I was born and raised in Southern California.  This was before it was one big concrete jungle.  We had fields to pay in and went sailing quite a bit.  My family moved to Evergreen, Colorado when I was in the 9th grade.  Evergreen is a small town in the mountains of Colorado about a half hour west of Denver.  The nearest paved road was miles from our house.  Quite a change from Southern California.

While always an outstanding student in elementary school and junior high, I did ok in high school.  I was bored and didn’t always go to class.  I worked in construction starting at 16 and always worked after school and holidays.  I started as a laborer and worked up over the years to framing houses and doing most everything short of electrical and plumbing.  During one of the economic downturns, the company got down to just the owner of the construction company and myself.  We did mostly remodels and fixing fire damage.  For a while, I thought I would just do this type of work the rest of my life.

One freezing Christmas holiday I was helping frame a house (making the wood walls that go on the foundation).  I don’t think it got much above zero degrees that day.  It was so cold that the metal nails would stick to my fingers when I touched them.  I thought this is crazy.  I don’t want to spend the rest of my life doing this.  I had also seen co-workers seriously injured and almost loose fingers with the saws.

I decided it was time to get serious.  I actually opened a book and studied.  I received straight A’s that last semester.  I continued to study hard during college, although I was not really sure what I wanted to do.  I liked people and I liked helping people.  At first, I thought I would become a psychologist later changing my major to teaching school.  I spent half a year as an Exchange Student in Japan.  I learned a lot about the world and life in general.

I was fortunate to have maintained outstanding grades during my first four years of college so that I could change to pre-med my senior year.  I applied to various medical schools and was fortunate to get into Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.  It was not easy to get into an out of state school, but I had done well on my MCAT’s (national entrance exam for medical school) and I guess did ok on my in-person interview’s.  I was so excited and honored to get into Baylor.  It was one of the best medical schools in the country and was one of the largest medical centers in the country with outstanding surgeons.  There were about 4,500 hospital beds at the hospitals associated with Baylor and the world famous heart surgeons and pioneer’s Drs. Michael DeBakey and Denton Coley in addition to many other surgeons and physicians.  One surgeon/physician that I would eventually meet and work with was Dr. Robert Franklin, one of the grandfathers of endometriosis.

Dr. Franklin is an amazing surgeon, physician and human being who demonstrates the kind of compassion for his patients that is so rare in physicians.  He is truly a gentleman and scholar.  My time with him would profoundly change my life and the patients that I treat.  At that point in my life, I remember thinking “It is time to make a significant change in my plans for my future”.

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Freezing Nails
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Freezing Nails
I am a 5th generation Californian.  My Grandmother (who has passed away) was in the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake as a young girl and was one of few women who attended Berkeley (University of California at Berkeley) in the 1910’s. 
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Vital Health Endometriosis Center
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  1. Wow! wonderful Dr. Cook. So impressed with the way you changed your career and became a successful and dedicated surgeon ! Looks like your education system offers lot of flexibility for students..quite impressive. God bless!

  2. I am enjoying your posts, Dr. Cook. Thank you for sharing of yourself. God bless you and your staff.

  3. I am so glad that you decided to change careers and become the doctor you are today. You helped me so much and can never repay you for giving me my life back. God bless
    Love Diane Grant

  4. Wow what a small world! I was a student at West Jeff elementary school in Conifer at the same time you were a high school student in Evergreen! Even though I’m a 4th generation Bay Area native I spent large portions of my childhood in Colorado–4 of those years we lived in Conifer! And we went to Evergreen at least a coyple times a week to attend church and go shopping. And to think my future doctor (who would do so much to give me my life back 30+ yrs later) was living in that very same small mountain town. Amazing!

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