Name: Maria Christine Florendo-Dalisay
When and why did you join the Congress of Neurological Surgeons?
Personally, I joined CNS because I wanted to acquire and expand my knowledge and skills in neurological surgery. I want my clinical practice to be at par with the current international standards of practice and to be able to take part in molding the future of the practice through breaking grounds in scientific research and innovation.
What advice do you have for new CNS members on how they can best reap the benefits of CNS membership?
There is a saying in Filipino: “kung anong itinanim ,siyang aanihin,” which roughly translates to the proverb “what you reap is what you sow;” not only that it is a timeless and universal proverb, the principle is also very relevant to the fellows here in the CNS. This simply means that in order for us to reap the best and the most of the CNS membership benefits, we must also give our 100% and devote our time, best efforts, and earnestness to the cause.
How did you get into the field of neurosurgery?
My father, being a Neurosurgeon, had the biggest impact and influence to my career direction. Growing up, I saw and experienced, through him, how the profession and vocation have alleviated suffering, bettered and saved lives. This has always been my inspiration and driving force in the pursuit to be a neurosurgeon.
Describe your job in a tweet (i.e., 280 characters).
Frankly, I never had a Twitter account and I do not know how to tweet; but if I were to make a fun description of the job (so that my toddler would understand), it would be:
“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
Mama will put Humpty Dumpty back together again …”
What is the biggest challenge you face on the job, and how are you managing it?
Let’s face it; neurosurgery is a male-dominated and “masculine” profession. The practice is physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing, not to mention time demanding; it is such a tough job that even many strong and adept men can’t endure. Being a woman in a “man’s job” is in itself the biggest challenge, and being a mother and a wife complicates things further. But with great challenges and sacrifices there is even greater reward (not talking monetary, but the satisfaction and fulfillment of having the opportunity to serve and help others in need). Managing these challenges does not only involve one’s self, but also includes the family (and the husband, especially) to be able to adapt to the situation to be an effective support system. Luckily, I have a very supportive husband and family that help me get through these challenges.
What research, science, and/or technology do you see having the biggest impact on the future of neurosurgery?
I think the technological advancements in neuro-navigation systems, minimally invasive surgical technology, and precision diagnostic tools will have the biggest, most tangible impact in the future of neurosurgery. Undeniably, they have reshaped the landscape and practice of neurological surgery and will continually do so by maximizing the surgeon's efficacy and improving patient safety and postoperative outcomes.
What are you proudest of in life or career?
No doubt one of my proudest moment in my life and in my career was when I became a Board Certified Neurosurgeon. The exams were the culmination and climax of all the years of study, hardship, long nights, and sacrifices and literally sweat, blood, and tears! Having passed it and having overcome all the challenges and trials was truly one of my proudest moment.
If you could interview anyone, who would it be and why?
Anyone? Does this include anyone from the past? Because, seriously, I am curious to ask Dr. Harvey Cushing (Father of Modern Neurosurgery) of his views and remarks on how Neurosurgery and its practice have evolved and the direction they are taking. What would he suggest and what would he advise us?