The Story of a Medical Doctor from Taiwan
By Ching Y Lee
A Speech at my 80th Birthday Party
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Thank you for coming to my 80th birthday party. Today I would like to share with you the experiences and thoughts of my long life journey.
After graduated from National Taiwan University Medical College, I decided to come to the US for graduate studies in 1963. After a year internship at a hospital in New York City, I was accepted by the graduate schools of Vanderbilt University; and then the University of Michigan.
I met my wife, Sabrina; while we were both graduate students in Michigan. We got married at the First Baptist Church, Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1966. My wife obtained her Physics Ph.D. in 1969. I obtained my physiology Ph.D. in 1970. I moved my family (Sabrina and two sons) to the Mayo Clinic for a National Institutes of Health (NIH) research fellowship. During graduate school and fellowship years, my salary was low. Sabrina used to tease me “You are a poor doctor”. Indeed, one day we walked into a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. We were surprised by the price, soon we came out empty-handed. We could not afford it.
At the Mayo Clinic, my research went well. I was excited to discover the Luteinizing Hormone (LH) receptors in the ovary of animals (mouse, pig) and the human body. Using the same technique, I also found FSH receptors in the mouse ovary and TSH receptors in the human thyroid. I presented my findings at US Endocrine Society every year for 5 years. I was invited to give a talk at an international symposium “The Endocrine Function of the Human Ovary” in Florence, Italy. Later on, Beijing Medical University invited an NIH scientist and me to give a 4-week Receptor Workshop in Beijing sponsored by US-China Scientific Exchange Program.
After I concluded my basic medical research at the Mayo Clinic for 5 years, I decided to go back to clinical medicine. I, specialized in pathology, passed the pathology board examination and practiced pathology for 30 years. During my pathology practice, I continued part-time research. Altogether I published 55 scientific and medical papers, and earned the title of Professor of Pathology at Albany Medical College. To compensate for my low income during graduate school and fellowship, I worked 11 years over the usual retirement age of 65 and finally retired at the age of 76.
Throughout the years, I encountered some hard times, due to my love for the basic medical research. However, in general I feel very happy and content. I have accomplished what I intended to do in medical research and practice, a happy family life, and children who all completed higher education and have good careers.
I sincerely thank my wife for her love, patience, understanding, and support for me to fulfill my life goals. In addition to helping me throughout my career, bringing up four lovely and accomplished children, she kept up her education and career. She did her post-doc at Mayo Clinic, worked in computer technology 10 years, physics research 25 years, and became a DOD senior physicist and adjunct physics professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, authored and co-authored 75 publications. After retiring in 2012, she continued to be invited to review technical papers submitted for publication in technical journals in science and technology, receiving ‘thank you’ letters for her effort.
Finally, I would like to share with you some wisdom for life: Study hard while in school; Do your best at work. But most importantly, do not forget your health and family and enjoyment of life. When you face the sunset of your life, money and fame are no longer important. Your loved ones, family, friends are the most precious treasure and most important. Please cherish life and appreciate what you have every day.
Thank you for your attention.
Source from Ching Y Lee