Saturday, May 28, 2016

Block 4 Week 6: Did we just become best friends?

This post is dedicated to my buddy Mikey

 and my other buddy Ezra.
It has become our tradition to get together at our favorite study spot and unwind before we get to studying by discussing all the latest drama. And there is no lack of drama in medical school, let me assure you.

It's one of our favorite pastimes. Life can get kinda hard sometimes, and shooting the breeze with the guys is a great stress relief. I had no idea when I started medical school that I would have such great friendships, and I have benefited greatly from having these guys as friends. When John was sick, Mikey and Ezra (and Dottie) made sure that I had everything I needed while he was in the hospital. They helped me study and stay focused because medical school did not stop while he was sick. They brought me meals and coffee and came to just hang out. I will always be grateful for how thoughtful they were during that time. Oh, and Ezra's wife Dottie is THE BEST. She bakes us goodies all the time, and when they come over to eat, she brings the BEST salad. Not to mention, she's actually real. I didn't meet her for a while after I met Ezra, and I was pretty sure she was his imaginary made-up wife until I met her for real.

So I guess I can say I found my tribe. Or they found me. And they aren't the only people that have become my med school family. Annie and Daniel are my seat mates at school, and I couldn't ask for better company during class. Chelsea and Amber are behind us, and they are super awesome. Gunnar (and Katie), Tyler, Dilsa, Reema, Lisette, and Clayton are my Friday peeps (that I haven't been able to Friday with in AGES), and I can't wait until I can make the time to hang out again. I could name a BUNCH of folks that I am so very happy that I have been able to befriend here in school. It really is like a big family.

With 159 people in the class, it's not possible for everyone to be in love with everyone, but that kind of drama is usually minimized. There is the occasional hiccup, for sure. But for the most part, everyone is happy to be here and is very helpful and supportive of one another. We are grownups after all.

So with only five weeks left in the last block of our first year of medical school, and even with all the craziness that life has shelled out in the middle of it all, I am still super excited and #blessed to be exactly where I am. It is the hardest thing I've ever done, and I have learned so much. I've learned that you can't judge anyone else's response to their current stress level by what you're currently dealing with. It's like juggling. You start with one ball and work up to one more. You think you're juggling everything you can handle, and then add another one. It doesn't matter how many you're juggling, you absolutely believe that you cannot handle one more thing. But then you start getting used to it, and you might have a minute to look around at everyone else around you and notice that they aren't juggling as much as you, but they look like they are about to fall flat. I say all that to say that you really never know how much you can handle until you are handling it. AND you can't judge someone's stress level by how many balls they have in the air. It's not the number of objects you are juggling. Also, if you find that you are able to look around and pass judgment on what someone else is doing, you probably are neglecting something else you should be doing. OR, maybe you could lend a hand, eh?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Block 4 Midweek 6: BONUS! Love and other thoughts

I'm sure by now you have seen this video, if not, PLEASE watch it. I'm not usually the type to enjoy this kind of video, and honestly when something goes viral it tends to make me roll my eyes and avoid it like the plague (except that whole "Dubai Was Lit" video with the little kid coming out of anesthesia, that one is GOLD). And honestly, it took me until just today to actually watch it. I know, I know. Usually videos like this just really don't do it for me, and I am having a serious head conversation with myself about why, but that is outside the scope of this blog. 

Let me tell you why this video is just RESONATING with me right now. First, I love the positivity this woman exudes. I tend to get most of my laughs from being snarky and rude, but the joy that just oozes from this woman's pores is infectious. It makes me want to check myself when I'm being sarcastic and just generally awful. Her laugh, guys. It is so free and untethered and just JOYFUL. Next, she is a grown woman and she bought herself a toy. Not only did she buy a toy, she took it out of the box as soon as she got in her car and PLAYED WITH IT RIGHT THERE. Adults have to be responsible and patient and all those adult-y things, and Candace Payne just blew all of it out of the water by rushing to her vehicle and making a video of her playing with an awesome toy. I love her so much for that. Next, her laugh. Guys, ladies are taught to be cute little playthings that don't make a bunch of noise and are pretty much just decoration. A good belly laugh like this is so frowned upon in society when coming from a woman. But she does not care. She found true joy while enjoying her Chewbacca mask, and she let it loose. And boy, I'm so glad she had a camera when she did. Finally, the fact that she went in the store for yoga pants and came out with this instead is the icing on the cake. She said that she was trying to work out more, and that it wasn't going very well, so she decided to get the Wookiee mask instead. Amazing. See, it's not fun being overweight. Especially when the whole world just says you need to work out more or eat less or both and that will fix it for you. Yes, eating less and working out will eventually get you where you want to go. But sometimes moms end up putting themselves and their health on the back burner. It shouldn't happen, but it does. It's all too easy to turn your brain off and eat what you can get when you can get it and put off exercising because this kid has practice, and that kid needs help with math, and oh, I have to make dinner and it's 4pm and the hubby will be home and hungry in about an hour and I forgot to thaw out the chicken, oh let's just order pizza. Then you feel the judgment of the world when the pounds start packing on, not to mention the horrible self-talk going on in your head when you stand in front of the mirror and realize that your waist has disappeared. I know because I'm talking about myself.

I have been sitting here this morning on my computer watching the videos of Candace going to all the different TV shows and laughing with the hosts, meeting JJ Abrams, getting an email from Peter Mayhew with an invitation to meet up, and laughing her head off through the whole thing. What is refreshing is that everyone is just overjoyed to meet her and hear about her viral video. Not once have I seen her being treated poorly because she is overweight, and that's the way it should be! It makes me feel like the world might be getting a little bit better about treating people with respect, no matter what. I just avoid reading the comments on any of the articles, because I don't have that much hope for the trolls. I bet Candace does.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Block 4 Week 5: PANIC

We are almost halfway through the last block of the first year of medical school. It's a weird feeling. I feel like it went really fast, but it also feels like it has been forever. I stay really busy -- even if I'm not studying, I'm doing laundry, or cooking a giant bucketload of spaghetti, or attending church, or going to a family thing. I feel like there's almost no down time. The weird thing about staying so busy is I don't have time to worry about stuff, or think about how hard everything is. Except when I'm trying to take a shower. It's the weirdest thing, I'm in there washing my hair, and suddenly I'm having a panic attack. I start thinking about everything that I have to do, and how much I hate how things are going currently, and how bad I feel I'm going to do on whatever exam I'm taking that day. My brain starts flying around in my head like a manic hummingbird, and then it just freezes and I freak out. So this morning, John comes IN the shower and just prays for me while I'm flipping out. I'd like to say I immediately snapped out of it, but it took a little while to get it together. But I did get it together. Praying helps.

Why am I talking about this? Because I feel a particularly strong need to be completely open and transparent about this whole process. I could write a nice blog with a hero and minor conflict and wrap it up with a happy ending. But that's not what is happening to me. I started this blog with the intention of chronicling my journey to being a doctor with no idea what life had waiting around the corner to fling at me. I was hoping it would be clever and witty and something to make you think. This is not what I had planned, but this is what it is. I keep thinking that I am doing all I can, but life keeps handing me more. Once I adjust and start feeling like I'm keeping my head above water, something else kicks me in the butt. Medical school has not been the source of most of my difficulties, but it has probably kept me busy enough that I don't break down. This new panic thing kind of indicates I'm fraying at the edges.

So what do I do now? I've made an appointment to talk. Again. Talking with someone does help put things in perspective. A lot of time I panic because I haven't quantified what is bothering me. Talking about it often takes some of the BIG away. So I'm going to do that. I'm also going to make a point of being more grateful. When things get hard, I tend to get so under it that I have a hard time finding joy in ANYTHING. That is not a way to live. I started this journey because medicine brings me joy. The path sometimes dips into something that isn't quite as joyful, but overall I feel joy at the opportunity I've been given. Sometimes I just need to be reminded.

The coolest thing happened this evening. I was in my usual study spot, going over the notes for my pathology exam tomorrow. A gentleman walked in to pick up his to-go order, and started chatting with me. He noticed I was studying, and he wanted to talk about school and studying and his experiences. He regaled me with his story of going back to school as a non-traditional older student, and going into the army, and then returning to his home-town and reconnecting with his sweetheart from when he was younger. It was really cool hearing his perspective, and then he looked at me and said that I was going to be an awesome doctor, and he was going to find me when I was done and be my first patient. I almost started crying, because it's the love of people that spurred me in this direction to start, and coming back to that basic feeling is just really humbling. It's easy to get caught up in the stress of trying to pass all these exams and lose sight of your why. And my why always comes back to love. God has placed a huge love for people in my heart, and as long as I stay connected to that love, I will be successful at all the peripheral stuff that's on this journey. So stick with the love, people. <3 And thanks, Tony. You hit the mark, I'm so glad you took time from your regular schedule to spread your love.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Block 4 Week 4: I don't think they exist!

I study a lot. I mean, a lot. There's a little restaurant near my house that I study at just about every night, and they've gotten to where they know me and even my parents if they come in without me. I work really hard, and most of the time, I manage to pass. But not by a whole lot. This stuff is really hard, and with real life constantly hitting me in the back of the head, I've gotten used to being a little below average in the grades department. I lament quite often that I haven't found what I'm good at yet, and that I hope I don't fail when OB/GYN comes around (P.S. >> I should be good at OB/GYN). 
So imagine my surprise when I went to check my grade in my very worst subject (well before this block), and it was GOOD. It was better than good, I murdered it! I had rather forgotten what it was like to be more than OK about my grades. For a minute, I imagined working even harder and having awesome grades in EVERYTHING. Then I laughed and got back to reality. 
I am not against having good grades, and as much as I study, I had hoped I might accomplish something in the stellar department. I'm not a great test-taker. I guess that might bite me in the butt when it comes to boards. But I feel like how you take a test doesn't determine what kind of doctor you will be. However, you have to be good enough at taking a test or you'll never find out. It's a fine line to walk. Sometimes I walk it a little closer than I'd like.
Honestly, I wasn't allowed to celebrate too long, because grades came out for a different subject, and I did rather crappy. So I should probably be studying instead of blogging. I can NOT remediate this summer. I have PLANS.
So keep me in your prayers, thoughts, smoke signals, animal sacrifices, etc. (I'm joking about that last one, please don't sacrifice any animals on my behalf, unless it really works. Then do what you must!) We are about 6 1/2 weeks from finishing year one. I gotta hang on just a little longer. And accomplish a lot of stuff.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Block 4 Week 1-3: You can DO it!

I haven't been very bloggy lately, sorry about that. We've finished the first three weeks of block 4 already, and I managed to fail an exam. I can't seem to get my head in the game right now, so I'm having these conversations with myself that are very stern. So far, it's not working. I think something cracked or broke, and I can't seem to find what it is and fix it so I can go forward and accomplish stuff. I just feel kinda numb and blah.

My study routine has gotten seriously interrupted over the last few weeks, and I should probably go back to that so I can feel normal. I have a place and a group that has worked for three blocks, and since John was sick and then we moved house, I've been afloat without that anchor. This block looks seriously overwhelming! We have lots of clinical stuff we are learning, and I'm not sure I can fit it all in with the regular study schedule, so over the last week or so, I've been doing a lot of nothing. That doesn't really work for medical school. I feel like I've let some bad habits creep in, and I don't have the motivation to turn it around. You'd think a failed exam would kick me in the butt. I just feel blah.

So I'm writing this blog to hopefully accomplish some kind of kick in the butt. We had an anatomy exam this morning, and we also have an anatomy practical coming up in just about an hour (for my group). I feel like I did get into a groove of studying for this exam, and I felt a lot better about how it went. Hopefully the practical will go as smoothly.

An update on HB: it's not over. It looks like there will be some surgery in the near future, so please continue praying and thinking of him if you don't mind. He's really tired of feeling poorly. I'm not anywhere near tired of trying to take care of him, though.

It looks like we've gotten into the groove of lather, rinse, repeat with study, exam, clinical stuff now that we are in block 4. I can't believe I have almost finished my first year of medical school! I am still loving it for the most part, as long as I keep my eyes on the goal and the way to get there without getting bogged down in the day to day weight of it. I guess that's why it is increasingly hard to find a good subject to blog about here. It's just the same thing over and over. Except life keeps cranking it out and making it a little more difficult than I'd like it to be. But I've learned that I can take care of myself, take care of hubby, and mostly manage to keep up with school. Let's see what curveball life has next! Until next time!