House Calls

SUM 2017

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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40 { summer 2017 } h o u s e c a l l s P H O T O G R A P H S B Y K A T I E C H A R L O T T E ( D R . L O W E R Y ) & C O U R T E S Y O F D R . L O W E R Y picture of health In His Element: (clockwise from top left) Dr. Lowery surveying his Edisto Island farm with pup Tux; attending a formal function with his wife, Cynthia (front left); son, Robert (back left); and daughters, Jordan (middle) and Caroline (front right); and clearing trees that fell during Hurricane Matthew. } } "I wanted my kids to learn that food doesn't just come from a grocery store and that you can't always call some- one when you need something fixed." —Dr. Robert Lowery on our way," says Dr. Lowery. "It amazed me." But an early experience with assisting others sealed the deal. In eighth grade, he volunteered at a summer camp for kids with muscular dystrophy. "We were each assigned to be one camper's buddy for the week," he says. "It was hard work but fun, and gave me a taste for how rewarding it is to help people." Medicine lapped motocross for good not long after Dr. Lowery completed his undergraduate degrees in biology and chemistry. "I broke my arm riding my street bike, and ultimately decided it was time to hang up my leathers," he says. Heading into his first class at the Medical University of South Carolina, Dr. Lowery already had orthopedics in mind. "I'd been fixing my bikes for years, so I was used to working with metal. Orthopedics was a different application for tools that I was already using, and I felt I had an aptitude for it," he explains. His need for speed found a different application, too. "I'd joined the track and cross-country teams in college to stay in shape for motocross," Dr. Lowery recalls. "To burn off the stress of med school, I started going out for long runs around town." Throughout his residency at Wake Forest School of Medicine (then called Bowman Gray), he raced with the Twin City Track Club then joined the Charleston Running Club during his early years in private practice. "Looking back, my favorite part was the camaraderie," he notes. It recreated the sense of family he'd experienced in motocross. A few decades and leg injuries later, the doctor sticks to a different fitness regimen, one born as he was raising his children: Jordan, 25; Caroline, 22; and Robert, 19. "My wife, Cynthia, is a lawyer, and she liked to run before work. I needed a form of exercise I could do while home with the kids," he says. Stationary cycling was the answer, and he still answers a 5 a.m. wake-up call every weekday to fit in 40 minutes on the bike and 30 minutes of core exercises. "After four decades of exercising every day, if I don't get my endorphins, I feel off-kilter," he notes. On most weekends, he gets that endorphin fix—plus a good dose of nature's beauty and digging-in-the-dirt satisfaction—by working on the Edisto Island farm he's owned for a decade. "I wanted my kids to learn that food doesn't just come from a grocery store and that you can't always call someone when you need something fixed," explains Dr. Lowery. Soil-nourishing cover crops mainly fill the fields today, but eventually, he says, he aims to have a low-maintenance cash crop growing. Until then, he takes pleasure in the instant gratification the work yields. "No matter how bad your day is, you can go in your backyard and pull weeds out of your garden and say, 'I've accomplished something today. This is better now than when I started.'" From the fields to the farm machinery ever in need of repair, he's "taking things that are broken and fixing them," just like he does daily as an orthopedic surgeon. "It gives me a feeling of accomplishment to make things better—especially when I can relieve someone from a painful situation," Dr. Lowery reflects. And it's quite possible that he wouldn't have accomplished his dream of becoming a doctor had he not first worked to win a spot on the racetrack. "I think motocross helped me develop the discipline needed to identify goals and the pathways to reach them. It helped me believe that given enough hard work, I could achieve any goal I set for myself."

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