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A Valentine to my Doctor Twins

Phil Egan's picture
Mon, 01/29/2018 - 15:37 -- Phil Egan

I have a distinct recollection of trying to kick my first doctor in the teeth.

I was little, he was big, and he was holding a large needle. I was on my back on a couch, and I barely missed.

As you get older, you seem to collect doctors. I now have an oncologist, a urologist, a cornea specialist, a retinal surgeon – and my two favourites – my dentist and my family doctor.

They both happen to be beautiful young women. That’s a bonus, but certainly not the point.

I managed to break a tooth at one of the low points in my life three years ago. I had been diagnosed with stage three prostate cancer and was in the middle of trekking with the Red Cross every day for seven weeks to receive radiation treatments in London. My condition, and the medication that I was taking, made me need to make frequent trips to the washroom.

Upon meeting Dr. Jessica Bourassa, I was startled to see how young she was. I actually thought she was one of the hygienists.

“Call me Jess,” she said.

I was in the chair for an hour while Dr. Jess painlessly fixed my tooth. During that hour, I had to get up three times to duck into a washroom.

I expected her to be annoyed by the constant interruptions, but I couldn’t have been more mistaken. Her concern for my situation was genuine and compassionate – a degree of empathy so evident and unusual in my experience that I was struck by it.

Dr. Jessica Bourassa Family Dental Care operates across the hall from her identicall twin sister, Dr. Vanessa Curran. Their building is at 929 Michigan Avenue. Both Dr. Jess and Dr. “Ness” have young daughters, and they are particularly good with children as well as old codgers like me.

Dr. Jess’ compassion also extends to special need adults. Sharing Smiles Day , to be held at Great Lakes Secondary School on April 14, 2018, features games and activities as well as an oral health station. The information day brings together dental health care professionals, persons with special needs and their families and caregivers. Interested parties or volunteers should contact Dr. Jess at, or visit her website at

My second Valentine this year goes out to another doctor twin.

Dr. Noranda Nyholt arrived in Sarnia in August of 2016 from a successful practice in Belleville. A young mother of two daughters whose husband is a hospitalist at Bluewater Health, she began accepting patients that September. Within weeks, she had 1,200 patients in her “small practice” at 239 George Street.

Dr. Noranda, named for a celebrated harpist, not the Northern Ontario mining town, was born nine minutes after her identical twin, Dana (pronounced Donna). Her twin sister, who Dr. Noranda speaks to at least twice daily, is a clinical biochemist with Dynacare in London, Ontario – another set of twin science ladies.

For the past 30 years, I had been seeing a doctor in Oakville who was known for treating every malady with more and more pills.

Dr. Noranda Nyholt seems determined to get me off of my daily regimen of almost one dozen pills. Her compassionate, caring but no-nonsense approach to my health has already radically changed my diet and resulted in a loss of 25 pounds over the past three months.

As a self-confessed workaholic, I admit to having historically paid little attention to things like proper diet and exercise. Dr. Nyholt seems determined to get me back to fighting trim.

Sadly, I had to persevere to age 70 before discovering the most caring dentist and general health practitioner that I have ever had. My doctor twins, who have never met, are both rare gems and certainly deserving of my best wishes for a Happy Valentine’s Day.

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