Saturday, June 28, 2014

Silver Linings

Maybe I sensed something was off, maybe I had left on the bathroom light when I had left hours earlier. Now I can't really remember why I didn't walk into my bathroom and turn on the light last night, I just remember the shock of seeing the bathroom mirror shattered into millions of pieces. It must have happened while I was away during the day yesterday, because I am certain the crash must of been very loud. It somehow managed to fall directly off the wall. All I could think was thank goodness that I hadn't been in there, that I hadn't walked barefoot into a room of glass shards, and that I have a maintenance man who is extremely nice and willing to come help me clean it up on a Saturday morning. This may not have been my plan for Saturday morning, but in life things happen. So often things just don't go as planned and in life we get what we get. Right now I can just been thankful that it wasn't worse.

Over the last several weeks, I have been under an incredible amount of stress. Surgery was not my favorite rotation(though I did learn the skill of suturing.) It has become more and more obvious over the last couple of weeks that though we had an amazing team that got along, we now need some time apart. We are all tired, frustrated, and stressed. The early mornings, the long days, and the dread of dealing with people who are difficult to please has made us all a little cranky and makes the silver linings seem very dim. Maybe my silver linings are a little brighter, because I know I am down to one more day.
The stress over the last few weeks isn't only from my rotation, but from the idea of the future. It is a crucial time in my life where I have to make very important decisions about what I am going to do with my future. I am one of the lucky ones, because I have known I want to do Emergency Medicine for over 2 years, I know what I am looking for in a residency program, and I have amazing mentors to help me through the process. But the pressure is on and the next step to my board exams is a little over 4 weeks away.
All and all it has been a very tough year for my family. When I was a little girl my mom was middle class single mom raising 3 girls and in my early teenage years she met my step-dad. He was a man who had demons in his past, but was now on track and took easily to the idea of being a parent.  The first year they were married he coached my baby sisters basketball team, attended all of my debates, and cheered on my middle sister at each of her tennis matches. Over the years he became one of our biggest supporters and was just as strong willed as my mother(which is tough to come by.) But sometimes in life we can't escape our past and though my mother spent a year trying to help him to get help she filed for divorce a couple of months ago.

Two weeks before part one of my board exams last July, I came home for the 4th to very difficult news. My grandpa had collapsed the day before and had been diagnosed with Stage IV Small Cell Lung Cancer  that had metastasized to his brain. He started radiation right away and spent most of August in the hospital for severe thrush and sepsis. After shrinkage of the brain masses from radiation, he started multiple rounds of chemo. In March he was declared cancer free, but this week his oncologist found 2 new masses in his brain. The decision on further treatment is undecided and he is very unsure of the future.

While the last year has been a whirlwind, difficult, and stressful it has also been wonderful, enlightening, and a blessing. I have had amazing opportunities to rotate in lot of different departments, get involved and do things that I love, and grow as a person. I have been able to be successful even in the midst of a difficult time. While it is heartbreaking to see someone you love throw away their life, I am thankful for the times we had with my step dad and thankful that my mother has the strength to move forward even when it is an extremely difficult decision. As for my grandfather, it is hard to know what the future holds and how long he has left, but he has lived a very full life and bought a year to watch me progress in medical school and meet his youngest grandson. We may get what we get in life, but so often even when times are tough there are silver linings. I am thankful everyday for the opportunities that I have had to go to medical school and have the experiences that so many people never get. I am blessed with people who are rooting for me everyday, the values instilled in me that have helped me get this far, and roof over my head. My life may never be easy, but it is always worth it!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Light in the Distance

54 days ago I started my surgery rotation and with 13 days left I am looking forward to the end. I had 4 tough 30 hour calls and 1 laid back call. I have spent countless hours in the OR. I wake up every morning before the birds and long before sunrise and it is still pitch dark outside as I walk from my car into the hospital. I go to sleep before the sun and most nights I can still hear the neighbor kids playing in the backyard as I close my eyes. Everyday is exhausting and I don't want to do anything but lay on the couch when I get home. Studying seems almost impossible and my brain doesn't seem to function until hours after I leave the house.
But 2 weeks from today I will be starting a new month and a new time in my life. At the end of July I will be taking my step 2 board exam and I will be spending the month studying. It is something I look forward to just for the structure, the sleeping in, and having some dedicated time to review what I've learned. After I finish the last couple of difficult weeks, I will only be doing the things that I love. I have several months in the ER and I even have vacation time coming up. The light in the distance is all that is keeping me going as we finish up this rotation. Because everything comes to a stop, eventually.

Monday, June 2, 2014


This past weekend I got another year older. I haven't celebrated the last couple of years, because of various school responsibilities. Let's just say I made up for it all in a couple of days. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday and I'm glad I took an extra day off to sleep. It was just what I needed to give me the strength to get through this next month of surgery. I'm going to celebrate again with my dad's family this coming weekend and while it will be a little more laid back, I'm sure it will be another amazing weekend!
I was also officially promoted to a senior medical student yesterday! I can't wait to see what life has in store for me this year. I have no doubt it will be anything short of perfect insanity.