~Life goes on. And so do we.
Just how we do it is no mystery.
One by one, we fill the days.
We find a thousand different ways. ~
So go the opening lyrics to Empty Nest, a sitcom that came on in the 1980s. It featured Dr. Harry Weston, a pediatrician who had his grown daughters living with him. I focused on the pediatrician part. I remember imagining what it would be like to have my own pediatric clinic (like I thought Dr. Weston did). I imagined it would give my heart the warmest, fullest, most satisfied feeling to see young children in my very own adorable pediatric clinic.
I’ve always had a special love for children- they are my favorite kind of people, and they are always our hope for the future. I love the thought of having the opportunity to speak positivity into their lives, to help them put their best foot forward, and to boost their self-esteem. So, it was either be a teacher or be a pediatrician. I was not dosed with an abundance of patience, so being a teacher fell away from the top spot.
When I was in seventh grade and given the assignment to research my future career, I dove headfirst into all things pediatrician. I was well on my way, graduating Smithville High School valedictorian, graduating Millsaps College cum laude, then being accepted to the University of MS School of Medicine. However, my general pediatrician path took a turn after I was introduced to pediatric gastroenterology. This rotation included some of the general pediatric issues (i.e., reflux, constipation) as well as the more GI-specific diagnoses (i.e., Crohn’s disease, eosinophilic esophagitis). Throw in the opportunity to use procedures (fun work) to help make the diagnosis and I fell in love with it. After medical school and pediatric residency at UMMC, I went on to Cleveland Clinic in Ohio for my pediatric gastroenterology fellowship. It was a fantastic time, I learned a ton, and met some very wonderful and amazing people. But three years of that snow was enough for me.
Upon returning to Mississippi, I was all about a group practice when I first finished fellowship. It seemed smart and safe. And it was. But to everything there is a season. I realized that I wanted to spread my wings and do things my way. I wanted to create an environment that would allow me to present my best self to my patients, so they could receive the best GI care I could offer. Cue Happy Tummies Pediatric GI Clinic.
I began work on this clinic in January 2021, moving into a former family medicine clinic space and making it my own. And I quickly learned that there is way, way more to the practice of medicine than just seeing patients. The learning curve has been steep. But I am certain I am walking in my purpose in building this clinic and following my dream. I have said several times throughout this entire process that staying in line with God’s will might not always feel easy but it always feels right. And this clinic, my newest baby, has felt absolutely right.
We started seeing patients June 29. Any new patient age 0-18 is welcome to make an appointment to have their GI issues addressed. We see everything from reflux in babies to constipation in toddlers to vomiting in teenagers and any pediatric GI issue in between. I am under no disillusion that I will have the perfect answer for everyone; but if I can’t help you, I will do my best to point you in the direction of someone who might.
When you call for an appointment, you speak directly with a person… or you get an answering machine. A bit old-fashioned perhaps, but your call gets addressed promptly. You walk in the front doors, and you’re in the clinic- with its calming shades of purple, blue, and green, a few colorful little seats for my smaller clientele, plenty of books to read, and the sweetest staff ready to help make your child’s visit as smooth and as stress-free as possible.
Sometimes, my own babies visit me and make themselves comfortable in my office as they read, color, or otherwise entertain themselves with games. This does my heart good- I want them to know what their momma does. I want them to know they too have the option to build something of their own if they choose to. I want them to see that hard work pays off, in more ways than one. Hard work will help you get that difficult diagnosis and provide relief to a worried parent’s heart.
Hard work will allow you to take pride in what you do and go to sleep at night without regrets. And in my case, hard work has also given my heart “the warmest, fullest, most satisfied feeling as I see young children (and older ones) in my very own adorable pediatric GI clinic.”
Come see us on Old Fannin Road, just off Lakeland Drive. You can call for an appointment, 601-398-1949, or visit us on our website www.4HappyTummies.com. We are also on Facebook and Instagram. At Happy Tummies, helping tummies is what we do.