by Catherine Durboraw, M.D.
People often ask me how I found my life’s calling. From my current vantage, as a doctor who absolutely loves what I do, it might seem like a clear and inevitable path. But hindsight has a way of making things seem easy, and sometimes it’s fun to think back on the journey.
I am lucky. I have incredibly supportive parents, who are themselves the embodiment of strength and hard work. Because of them, I knew I could grow up to be anything imaginable. I’m still in awe and learn from their tenacious spirit and enthusiasm for all that life has to offer. We went show-shoeing a few weeks ago … this is what 59 years of marriage, active aging and eternal love for adventure look like!
The Formative Years
While I’d like to say I was a natural born science and biology student, the only early sign of this was an ill-conceived predilection for hamster breeding as a child – an odd but true reality. Grade school and high school were rocky times (who knew expertise in hamster husbandry wouldn’t immediately rate on the teenage social hierarchy?).
As much as I hate to admit that the kids who called out my thunder thighs and the guy who noticed my ‘mustache’ had anything to do with it, there’s no doubt they planted a seed that turned self-doubt into a life’s calling. The realization that feeling good about your physical appearance is an important part of self-esteem gained emotional power for me – and stirred a resolve to help others feel great too.
Confidence can be hard to come by at that age – even for the proverbial football hero or prom queen. But for an awkward teen, who got unwelcome attention from the mean kids, it was tough – and it didn’t matter how many times my mom told me ‘they only tease you because they like you’ (because I am quite sure their favorite nickname of Du-bra-and-girdle wasn’t really meant as a compliment – but I do give those guys an A for creativity).
Here I am, age 16, a full-fledged nerd. Geekdom, population: me. Forever solving a puzzle and fully mesmerized by the challenge.
Turns out the winning ticket was someone who BELIEVED in me.
My passion for biology and medicine was ignited fully during my Junior year in college when I got hands-on lab exposure to neuropsychology. Until then, I had sort of floundered in college – perhaps those self-esteem issues from my teen years were now declaring themselves in an abundance of intellectual self-doubt. What changed the landscape was a professor who believed in me – someone who saw my talent – Dr. Smock. I will never forget the day he recommended that I go to medical school. I gave him a dumbfounded, perplexed look as he made the suggestion – but the lights immediately turned on and I found my calling because someone saw my potential before I could see it. The hands-on research that I performed in Dr. Smock’s lab for my remaining years in college helped me find my unique path. It fired up my passion to work directly in research, as an educator, and with patients.
I became a star student achieving things that I never would have believed I could do a year or two before. I became confident in my ability and actually relished in the competitive environment of medical school – something that earlier in my life I resolutely avoided. But the most important thing I found out about myself during medical school is that I LOVED being hands-on to help people in an immediate, physical sense. I continued to hone these skills through medical school, residency, and fellowship training. Now, there’s nothing more gratifying than being able to use them to help my patients every single day. Have I mentioned that I love my job?
I also studied psychology in college – that, combined with my technical medical skills, has helped me understand how best to help women and men feel great by achieving their own definition of beauty – inside and out. I really listen and hear people’s concerns, letting them lead the conversation, and am dismayed by the epidemic of arrogant, disconnected plastic surgeons, who offer cookie-cutter solutions and sculpt their patients to their own vision.
A unique approach to aesthetics care
These early life experiences have shaped my entire approach to aesthetic medicine. They sparked my feeling that there’s real beauty in the tiny imperfections that make us who we are (my nose for example, lol). That it’s not about turning back the clock so much as helping people look and feel great right now. And so importantly, sometimes it is the patient who is the last to see their unique beauty and potential (sort of like me and Dr. Smock).
I work to improve self-esteem as this is such a critical element for social and professional interaction with others. And unlike many surgeons, I wholeheartedly believe less invasive is always better. There are many times that surgery is the correct decision and I do love performing surgery in those instances. Surgery and aesthetic medicine can be highly complementary – and in many cases, the newest tools and techniques can avoid surgery altogether. And when we can avoid the knife – in my humble opinion – the results are the most genuine beauty we can achieve.
Since I started my practice, I’ve been on this mission to create a newer kind of aesthetic care – more innovative, less invasive, entirely focused on magnifying each person’s authentic and individual beauty. And wow, are today’s tools little miracles, doing what our mothers could never imagine. So, CFA has invested in the full state-of-the-art array and I only use for you what I trust and use for myself.
The Catherine Method
At CFA Beauty, my team started calling this approach The Catherine Method because it’s how I train our talented professionals to partner with our patients. I can’t be everywhere, but my patients-first devotion and desire to find a personalized and long-term plan for every person defines our entire culture and practice at CFA. We look for folks to join our team who share this philosophy and way of caring for patients – and we nurture and reward it.
If you want to learn about The Catherine Method, why we love what we do, and how we can help with your aging and beauty concerns, here’s more…
Who says we can’t age with grace and good humor?
I also believe in having fun along the way. I mean not barrels-full-of-hamsters kind of fun, but the kind that takes the twists and turns of life and aging with a healthy dose of humor. We want CFA to be a safe and inviting space where people can comfortably talk about their skin and aging concerns and we’ll solve them together. We love when people feel at home and become part of our CFA family. One of our patients says our office is their personal version of Cheers … where everyone knows your name. We kinda like that. And hope we can welcome you too!