Following God’s Path and Rejoicing in the Journey
Amie Holmes, MD, OBGYN, NaPro Fellow
My path to the Pope Paul VI Institute has not been an easy one, but it has been filled with blessings. I decided to become a NaPro surgeon when I was in medical school. I had started attending RCIA with my (now) husband, Jon, who was also a medical student at the time. I decided to convert to Catholicism during my second year of medical school. Although I was drawn to Obstetrics and Gynecology, when I decided to become Catholic, I thought “well, that makes my decision easy, I will just become a surgeon” (in order to avoid all of the ethical dilemmas present in the field of obstetrics and gynecology). Well, God had another plan as he planted me as president of the International Health Club and sent me to Cuba and Puerto Rico for a “Women’s Health” experience. In a valiant effort to help me follow the right path, Jon discovered NaPro and helped me to make arrangements to attend EP1 and 2 during my fourth year of medical school. I spent a few extra weeks with Dr. Hilgers after EP2. The care that the patients received at the Pope Paul VI Institute was outstanding and I decided to pursue residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology so that I could become a NaPro Surgeon.
Well, marriage, babies and life happened. I didn’t make it to the Pope Paul VI Institute for my fellowship as quickly as I would have liked to. We matched into residencies that were more than an hour apart. We purchased a home half-way and I was able to commute until my third year of residency, when my program merged and my commute doubled. After a several months of struggling with a long commute on top of an 80+ hour work-week, a complicated pregnancy and a financial crisis, I decided to resign and let my husband complete his residency. This was one of the most difficult decisions of my life, but I had a deep-seated trust that the Lord would provide. Later that week, I was offered a job as a general practitioner in an urgent care. I spent two years working in urgent care where I gained an appreciation for primary care and grew tremendously in my professional approach to medicine and scope of care. When Jon graduated from his surgical residency, an OB-GYN residency position opened up in Fort Worth, Texas. I was offered the position so we packed up the family and moved to Texas for 18 months. Jon took a position as a surgical hospitalist in California (our original and future home). He has been able to spend one to two weeks per month with us but his absence has been both a challenge and a sacrifice. I successfully completed my OB-GYN training in Texas and was extremely happy to accept a fellowship position at the Pope Paul VI Institute.
Looking back at the tumultuous course of my training, I see that we have been blessed by good fortune. I have had the opportunity to interact with countless co-workers, friends, neighbors, churches and patients. Our lives were enriched with the experience of living in different states and climates. My experience thus far in the Pope Paul VI Fellowship has made all of the challenges to get here worth the while. The office staff is amazing: they start every day with prayer and are extremely supportive. Dr. Hilgers, Dr. Keefe and Dr. Pakiz are excellent teachers and mentors. The patients travel from across the US and even across the globe to receive treatment. The surgical training is state-of-the-art and focuses on minimally-invasive laparoscopic techniques and robotic surgery. Most notably, the patients are treated as unique individuals and a true effort is made to restore them to health. The deliveries that I have been involved in are true “miracles” that are celebrated. Every patient is treated with dignity. I did not have much “pro-life” support during my residency training, so my experience in fellowship has been incredibly rewarding as I witness compassionate care daily. I am so thankful for this opportunity and look forward to practicing NaProTechnology in California where I plan to start my practice after I complete my fellowship.