Sunday, December 23, 2007



The holiday season is never very easy for me. It brings with it a horrible feeling of discomfort and impending doom that I have yet to find the words to adequately describe. I was handling it better this year. No Christmas tree - that was good. But, I did hang the stockings and a bit of garland. Anyway, a couple of days ago my (now our) dog of almost 9 years began crying out in pain uncontrollably. We went to our regular vet yesterday but being a Saturday with Christmas coming up, the staff was less than a skeleton crew. The vet couldn't figure out what was going on and radiology services would not be available until the 27th. So, we came home with a prayer. Things seemed to be going better ... until this morning at 2:00 when our sweet dog began yelping from downstairs. We spent an hour on the floor with her...ice and heat. Eventually, we went upstairs. She wouldn't climb them. It took both of us, but we carried her up the stairs and on to our bed. She didn't seem to want to be alone. At about 8 this morning we went to the 24/365 emergency vet. The people were nice, but it was a horribly heartbreaking place. Two people were having their pets euthanized and were sobbing. My husband, the hospital chaplain, said it reminded him of work. To make a long story short, we spent 5 hours there and found out that our dog has a problem with disk between her C2 and C3. What do we do? This is serious. Surgery? So many cons. Manage it medically? Will it work? She is confined to a small area (I am talking 18 sq. ft.) because there are not crates large enough to contain her. We will visit with the vet later this week. In the meantime, she is loaded up on all kinds of drugs. It is horrible seeing her like this. She is obviously miserable. I am not ready to let her go yet. I never will be, but I know that one day I will have to. When that will be may or not be soon. I just want to be sure that we are not selfish about it. Hopefully, the medications will take hold soon and bring her some relief.

I know that some people don't put much value on animals. I do. This dog has saved my life more than once. I have been through the hardest times and the most joyous times in my life with her. How do you forget that?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

TIMMMMMMBER!

Sadly, it seems that every time something happens to someone else, my motivation for medicine gets renewed. What a horrible thought. But, that is the way it is. Hopefully, I am not as distorted as that seems superficially. This morning, the choir (of which I am a member) was performing the annual Christmas Cantata. It was warm..especially when layered with polyester choir robes. I became quite warm and left for a brief time to get some air and a drink. I missed a song, but returned. As soon as I walked back in and took an empty place on the end as we were standing during the performance, I heard a big thump. One of our sopranos had passed out and fallen over an amplifier. Thankfully, our choirmaster saw her coming down and put his hand between her head and the piano. That would have been a bad injury...his hand was still red about 45 minutes later. I hurried over and helped her out of the sanctuary where another friend of mine (a nurse currently studying for her NP) met us. We took her robe off of her and underneath she had a wool sweater and lined wool pants. Her skin was burning up! I felt so badly for her. She was so embarrassed. When we left the sanctuary, the pastor (who was also singing in the Cantata) announced to the congregation that it was hot and asked if someone would turn off the heat. Of course, standing for and extending period of time is not good either as people have a tendency to lock their knees.

Anyway, I have mentioned in the past that fainting is my biggest fear. I am no longer afraid of other people fainting. I am not keen on the idea of me fainting, simply because I don't like feeling bad and mainly because I never have. This paragraph makes me seem like it is fine for others to experience bad things but not me. That's not it at all. My point is that I got over a fear today. I have been on a high all day. Not to mention, I got to be helpful. That was cool.

I just finished my workout and my arms are exhausted. Out of here for now.

Dr. Underdog

P.S. Good news! Kate was doing so well that her oncologist gave the ok to drop the remaining 2 rounds of chemo...did I already mention that?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

9/11 coincidences

I ran across this video on YouTube...check it out.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

This no school business is wreaking havoc on my weight. Terrible. At least when I am in class I have to run around and stress about something. Right now, I am a total slug. Don't misunderstand me, I am grateful for the time off but I am ready to get back into the swing of things. In the meantime, I am watching/reading the news/gossip about Dr. Jan Adams and the recent death of Donda West after a cosmetic procedure. I had the same operation 2 years ago that that Ms. West is reported as having had. While it makes absolutely no difference, I had a wonderful experience and my surgeon was Wendy Gottlieb, MD. People need to do their research and not be lured by celebrity status. If your doctor is not board certified, LOOK FURTHER. While it is not a requirement to perform surgery of this kind, you also don't have to have a law degree to represent yourself in court...and that is not advisable either.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Posting and vegging



Ahh. A break! It feels wonderful. The party is over. It was beautiful and hubby really seemed to enjoy it. My parents and I got along, but it took some tongue biting. Just for kicks, I argued politics with them the morning they left. Let's just say that we have differing opinions and they are allowed in interrupt me, but not the other way around.

It is nice not to be scrambling around looking for this or that for the party. I will have to post a picture of the cake...it was awesome! A lot of people didn't show up (ugh) so we had a lot of food leftover, but oh well. Most importantly, hubby had a good time.

I began my EMT course about a week and a half ago and so far so good. Someone asked me the other day if I had given up on med school...NOT AT ALL. Kate suggested that I do this and I thought it was a good idea. I am learning a lot and reviewing a lot. There is this one guy in my class who never shuts up. Ugh. Anyway, maybe I will learn something from him too. Speaking of Kate, she is really having a rough time with the chemo. :( I need to send her a card. I will likely do it this weekend when hubby is writing his thank you notes and getting them in the mail.

As usual, this is a disjointed post...maybe next time.

Have a good one.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Partying and moving on



I registered for classes yesterday. I am bummed that my favorite Chem prof is only scheduled to have 10 students in her class and by the time I got to register (only the Honors students register before me) all of the spots in her class were taken. Granted, her class was the only one being held at a normal time so I am sure that was a big attraction too. Anyway, I will continue trying to grab a slot that perhaps someone will drop in the next couple of months..it has happened before. I am excited to get back into school. I was able to get in 2 Chem labs, so I won't be behind on that anymore. I thought I was just going to take what I took this semester, but opted to wait until this summer to take Physics since I will also have my EMT course to contend with. So I am taking 3 labs and Gen Chem II. Labs are not credit rich, but extremely time consuming. Ugh.

The surprise party is this Friday. Somehow with all the planning, I still feel so pressed for time. Unfortunately, I have to be up and doing a bunch of stuff (obviously) and my right foot is giving me problems. I was run over in college (yes, run OVER) and both of my feet really took a beating. I noticed last week that for some reason 4 toes on my right foot kept going numb. Nearly simultaneously, my foot became very painful in the same spot where I had problems with it those years ago. Anyway, it is not the best thing to be contending with this week, but I am just trying to ignore it. I will call the podiatrist next week.

The party is going to be wonderful...I hope. I hope that hubby enjoys it. It will be nice to have everyone here.

Life is going pretty well right now. I am looking forward to moving forward. The past is the past and I did the best that I could at the time. Now, I just need to move on. Somehow, I don't think that I am the only one I am talking to.

Have a good one.

-Dr. U.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I suppose I should bring this blog up to date. I have had more time on my hands without classes -- obviously. I am no longer upset with myself for withdrawing as I know it was the best decision that I could have made. I am taking advantage of the relaxing time to bolster myself for next semester. It will be a busy one in which I will need to manage my time close to perfectly. In many ways, it will be the most difficult one I have encountered yet. Kate suggested that I take an EMT certification course. I probably already mentioned that. It will not be taken through school, but will require 8 hours of class per week in addition to school. I am also to committed to volunteering at an inner city elementary school (only 1-2 hours once a week) through the end of the school year. Additionally, I am trying to get back to the cancer center to do a couple of hours at least every other week. Thankfully, for some reason, I found out that my favorite professor will be teaching Gen Chem II again the Spring. So, I will be registering next Monday. I will not be taking Physics at my post-bacc univ this Spring...instead opting to avoid the evil prof and take it elsewhere. I need to confirm transferability of credits this week. Overall, I am feeling really good about things. The time off has been rejuvenating.

Two of my friends have received their first acceptances to medical school. Yeah! I am horribly envious, but ridiculously proud of them. I know that my time will come.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Moving on

Kate thinks I should go through an EMT course. I suppose I have the time...sort of. I looked for courses in the area last night and the first one doesn't start until the middle of next month and continues through March. By March, I will be shoulder deep in everything that I dropped this semester. I am feeling much better, but my head is sort of still spinning. So, my goal is to get that under control to align myself for a successful Spring semester. I really hate the fact that this happened, but realize that I made the best decisions that I could at the time. I don't think that they were bad decisions at all. I just wish that THOSE circumstances weren't the ones that dictated the good and bad. Anyway, I am feeling better (perhaps not 100%, but good enough) and life goes on.

I need to find out when I register for the Spring.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bloody Saturday

Today was going to be boring. Pretty mundane...go to the church fall festival, come home, chill with hubby until he had to go to work. Instead, less than 3 minutes after we left the house this morning, while we were driving along a scenic road near our home, we spotted a man laying lifeless on the road next to his bike. Knowing that we had to do something, but without a shoulder to park the car on, hubby jumped out of the car while I called 911 and turned around. I made it back to the scene shortly and ran to the two of them. The man was bleeding severely from his head (he had not been wearing a helmet) and wouldn't talk. All he was doing was moaning. Then he kept trying to get up and became quite combative. He kept lifting his head and then placed it back on the ground. Each time, I heard the unmistakable sound of crunching bone. Knowing that the bleeding needed to be controlled and having that reinforced by the dispatcher on the other end of the line, I asked my husband to take off his shirt. It was a cute mock turtle neck from his alma mater that he had never worn before and it looked REALLY good on him. Of course, the one day that I say to him "Oh honey, you don't need an undershirt"...(poor guy). Without a second thought, he took off his shirt and handed it to me. I put it on the back of the man's head where the bleeding appeared to be coming from and began to apply pressure. Then I stopped. His head was soft. I felt like I was touching his brain. Suddenly, he became calm and began talking to me. I asked him his name to which he responded Mark* and I told him mine. I asked him if he had lost consciousness and he said "no" but didn't remember what happened. He then asked if he was jogging or riding his bike. Then he said he was tired. Of course, I wanted to keep him awake. We continued to converse calmly and I asked him if there was someone we could contact for him (I noticed a wedding band on his hand, but not on his ring finger...perhaps too big?) -- he seemed to think about it for a second in great confusion and then hesitantly answer "I don't know" or "no" or something like that. Thankfully, EMS arrived in good time and they took over...they asked him his address - he couldn't remember it. Thankfully, he could recite his Social Security number and the police officer retrieved his information that way. I emerged from the commotion with bloody hands (of course, no gloves) but surprisingly not one drop on my stark white hoody. My poor husband standing there shirtless...I noticed how good he looked...he has lost weight! We got his address to arrange to get his bike home and climbed into our convertible (with the top down - which just made the whole shirtless thing worse on a crisp morning) and drove home. When we got home, we noticed that hubby had gotten cut in all the mess...and there was quite a bit of blood at the scene. He called his colleagues at the hospital at told them the situation. As of this writing...the HIV test on Mark came back negative (thank you God!) and the results for the Hep B and Hep C labs won't be back until Monday.

Eventually, we got to the church festival and found out that one of our church members actually lives next door to Mark...and his wife...and new baby. Neither one of which he seemed to be able to remember.

What is the moral of the story? Geez, I don't even know. But, if you carry one thing away from this experience let it be this - WEAR A HELMET!

As for me, I held a man's broken head in my hands today I looked into his eyes and wanted to be reassuring. I doubt he will remember me...I hope he doesn't actually...because then he will have to remember the physical pain of that moment. But, I can't wait to be a physician.

*not his real name

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I am officially withdrawn from all classes this semester. Besides feeling like I gave up too soon and I am a total failure, I actually feel pretty good.

Monday, October 08, 2007

I don't know what this blog will turn into in the coming weeks and months. It no longer seems to be a record of the aspirations and optimism of a student. I haven't worked out in almost 2 weeks and I hate the way I feel. I hate the way I look. Of course, there isn't much that I am pleased about these days. I began a new painting last night without inspiration other than anger and sadness. Not surprisingly, it looks uninspired. I don't know what I was thinking...did I really expect that I would be able to come out of some long term hibernation from an elementary art life and expect everything I touched with a brush to be magical? What the heck am I trying to prove? What do I want from my art? Why have I ever wanted? For it to be MINE. Obviously, I love recognition for a job well done here and there, but that hasn't happened in a long time. Besides, sad as it is...I never believe it anyway. That's all I want from a career in medicine...not the recognition...I want the satisfaction. I don't want someone to tell me how great I am...I want to feel that what I did and what I am doing is a great thing. I began my life as someone who wanted attention and I did get attention...a lot of it. I didn't know what to do without it. I got attention that I would rather have not gotten. But, somewhere along the road I became the person who didn't want to be the center of it all. I became the person who derived great satisfaction off of making someone feel like they were the center of it all. To see the look on someone's face when they know that you are working for their benefit...geez, that is friggin awesome.

Now, I would rather be in pain silently than draw attention. If I could figure that out, I think it would reveal a lot.

Anyway, I have piece of crap painting on my easel. I can't say that it is complete nor can I say it isn't. All I can say is that it is as far as it is going. The problem is that I don't know where to discard of it. Our next door neighbor is a professional artist and if I were to trash a worked canvas she would certainly notice as it sat in the trash can in the alley. When hubby gets home he is going to ask about it if it is still on my easel. I want it out of here. I would love to torch it, but I would most certainly send something unintended up in flames.

I suck. I wish I didn't believe that.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Oh well.



Obviously, the meds are working. I feel somewhat strung out, but I am a lot more me in the net. I ordered hubby's cake yesterday. It is going to be incredible. That was the upside to my day. The downside was that I had trusted my mom enough to tell her what was going on with me -- mistakenly thinking that she had changed. It backfired...again. It's like I told hubby, I am so stupid...I will run my head into a brick wall, determine that it is a bad idea, swear up and down that I will never do it again, BUT if you paint that wall somehow I am convinced that things will be different. It is so sad. I think I am really mourning the lack of a true mother. She has never been one that I could trust unconditionally. Not because she would divulge my secrets, but because she would store them up and use them against me herself. Sad. She apparently leads a very unhappy life. She keeps saying that she has changed, but she hasn't. She is more Type A than I am and completely incapable (frankly, she doesn't want to) of change. I really wish that I had a mom that I could share my pain with...I don't.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I am convinced that no one reads this blog anymore. Actually, that is not such a bad thing.

Today is my third day at home. I went to choir rehearsal last thinking that it would make me feel a bit better. Unfortunately, it didn't. I was planning on going for a quiz today in Human Bio lab - against my doc's instructions - but I really don't fee like it. Ultimately, I think I am going to end up getting a retroactive medical withdrawal from my classes this semester. That is probably best. That way, nothing shows up on my transcript. No W's, no F's...nothing. I thought I was getting better. I don't know, maybe I still am. I don't want to do anything. I don't even want to smile. My arms and legs feel like they weigh a 100 pounds each and the rest of me just hurts. This is prime planning time for my husband's party and I can't bring myself to do it. There is an unfinished painting on my easel and 2 blank canvases downstairs. I could be painting. There is cleaning to be done. I don't want to do any of it. How did this happen? What happened to me? THIS is not me. I just want to stay out of the hospital.. that would irreparably hurt my application.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Tuesday part 2

Things progressed pretty fast after I posted that entry earlier today. I lost it again. I ended up calling a friend who is a nurse and lives near me and she came over. I ended up calling my doc and to make a long story short...hubby was summoned home from the hospital at about noon and I have been ordered by my doc not to go to class for the rest of the week...at least. Unfortunately, I am going to have to be a bad patient for once and defy orders so that I don't miss a quiz in my Human Bio lab. No one is certain that I will be able to return to school for the remainder of the semester, but I don't want to screw it up completely if I do.

As you can tell, things aren't going real well. I am immeasurably depressed. It is embarrassing to admit that. I am pale. I look like $h!^ and I feel worse.

I am broken.

Depression, Britney Spears and other things I wish I didn't know about...



Depression hurts. Gosh, it hurts. The physical pain is excruciating. I screwed up a lab report last night. Somehow, I messed up the procedure and when I went to write it up my actual yield was higher than my theoretical. Anyway, despite additional medication last night, I feel awful this morning. I was drugged all night which was good for my sleep, but the terrible pain won't go away. I don't have class until 2:30 so I am vegging in bed. I have another lab report to write before then however. I made the mistake of turning on the TV and apparently we live in such a pathetic world that Britney Spears losing custody of her 2 children is making the top of the news. WHY?

I didn't work out last night. My work out buddy was supposed to come over at 9, but my life went into crisis mode before then. Tonight is another night. I didn't get to work out at all last week because my schedule was so tight, so I need to make up for it this week. I need to also do some serious studying of Chemistry...actually go to my prof's office hours this week. She has so few of them. Tomorrow will be the day.

Maybe I will try to make myself feel a bit better by dropping the top on the convertible and take a drive. All I want to do is sleep though...so it will be a toss up. I also need to clean. I am such a bad housekeeper. There is no excuse. My husband is so wonderful. I can't complain about his contribution to the upkeep of the house. He vacuums, dusts, cleans toilets, does dishes...there aren't many men that will jump in on those things. See, my life is great...it is the person living it that sucks.

Today is Chem Lab. I really like that class. Unfortunately, my wonderful lab partner that I was so happy about dropped the class! She decided to go into nursing and didn't need the credit after all. I don't blame her, but it is a real bummer for me.

Well, things HAVE to get better. But, for now I have another lab report to do...outta here.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Today is probably the most depressed that I have been since I began this journey. Reluctantly, I dropped Physics last night. I called Kate and asked her what she thought before I did it and in her "The world is not going to come crashing down" tone she assured me that it was nothing that couldn't be explained away. Either way, my application is looking worse and worse. I actually wanted to hurt myself today. I know that sounds extreme and I know it is not what sounds healthy, but damn it that is how I felt. I am completely stressed out and can't seem to get my head on straight.

A friend of mine got an interview at the med school near me and I am thrilled for her. Don't misunderstand me. Do I wish it were me? Of course, but I think the worst part of it is that she always makes me feel like I am a total loser. Not because of her accomplishments..no one should be faulted for those. But, because she is so ready to agree with me when I mention how bad things are. In fact, it even seems as if she is waiting for me to come to my senses. As if she has been thinking it all along and is just waiting for me to burst out with "I AM A F#*$ING IDIOT! I ADMIT IT. I WILL QUIT LIVING THIS LITTLE LIE." And somehow I feel that it would bring her great joy. What a horrible thing to think. How terrible I am to think it! If it were jealousy that were driving my feelings I could understand, but I just know how stupid I really am. I was hoping that it was my secret, but apparently everyone knows.

I don't hate my life. I actually like it. It's the person living it that I hate.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A horrible man

My Physics professor is an horrible man. I do not say that lightly nor because the class average on the first exam was a 58%. I have never encountered someone who so blatantly tries to make things difficult. I visited him in his office a couple of weeks ago (that will be the LAST time) and during my time there I asked him if this semester was more difficult than those passed. He proceeded to say "You all want to be able to write anything you want on evaluations and not expect to pay for it." Um HELLO? I then said "So what you are telling me is that we are paying for past sins of other classes?" He seemed quite pleased with himself. I was mortified. I have had my bad professors. I won't even get into HOW bad, but this is stupid. On the first exam, he had 4/10 problems that he had never taught us. Gee, that was nice. He was unapologetic and even with such a low class average, the only thing he said about it was "No, there will be no curve." Ass#$%^! From here on out he will be called Dr. Dickhead on this blog. It is likely that I will post a picture of him at some point. I am not afraid of being exposed that way. What a horrible, horrible man. What's worse was that he went INCREDIBLY slow and was INCREDIBLY funny and endearing until the add/drop period was over. Premeditated jerkiness.

I have not written anything that is untrue nor anything that I would not testify to in a court of law. If you are SOMEHOW scheduled to take a class from this man...RUN! TURN AND FRIGGIN' RUN. He has a chip on his shoulder and, despite is efforts to prove that he is a tough professor, he is not proving anything except that a single human being can be so hateful and sacrifice one's own abilities for the sole purpose of revenge on a group that is not at fault.

Hey, Dr. Dick..I may not make an A in your class. But you count on this...you WILL NOT ruin my future.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Looking Up!

I am feeling really good today..definitely a lot more like myself. Kate and I had a conversation yesterday and somehow it really helped. I knew that I had to get out of this rut and well...(knock on wood) it seems to be subsiding. Seeing her yesterday was pretty difficult though. Her hair has begun to thin and her skin appears a bit gray.

Anyway, Thursday I have my first big Chemistry exam. Thankfully, this change in emotion/mindset came just in time. Unfortunately, I have to learn 4 weeks worth of Chemistry in about 4 days. I have not been able to concentrate and my retention has been pretty much nil. I will be able to do it...somehow. Chemistry is fun when you know what you are doing. I gave up on actually understanding anything, but have become a master regurgitator of class material which is probably why Anatomy was so enjoyable. I mean besides the fact that I just love Anatomy. What actually happens in the 3rd and 4th ventricle? Geez, I don't think I ever got that down. But, they look like sea animals!

Ok, gotta jet...yes, that was abrupt. ;)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Universal health care and other things that look good on paper



Today was a decent day. I was kinda bummed that my back hurt all day and today was lab (and therefore STANDING) intensive but I got through it anyway. I wasn't sure when exactly that Kate was going to end up beginning her first round of chemo, but we exchanged emails this afternoon. Apparently, it began a week later than originally scheduled..so that was yesterday and she said that she has 15 hours left. She indicated it was going well so I am glad.

I can't express how thrilled I am with my friend who turned out to be my Chem lab partner! It is so much fun to go to that class. It could be such a drag, but we laugh so much. Not to mention, she is intelligent so I am not having to question whether or not her analysis is accurate because she doesn't care. I hate that. I guess I WAS that person the first time around, but things have been very different this time.

I finally got the notes over to Disability Services for my student. I have been a volunteer notetaker for a couple of semesters for 2 different students with learning disabilities. I may have mentioned that. Anyway, it is nothing earth-shattering, I just take clearer notes and have to go make copies of them at least once a week. I was feeling so bad on Friday (when I usually take care of that) that I ended up abandoning the effort altogether. Yesterday wasn't much better, but today I am thrilled to say that the notes are waiting for my classmate. Part of the whole thing is that it is confidential, so while it would be a lot easier to just hand the notes to the guy in class (yes, I know who he is), I have to trek over to the official office and deposit them there.

Universal healthcare...hum. A lot of people have been discussing this with me lately. What do I think? Does it matter? Here's my ineloquent, if not ignorant, take on the matter... Do I think that we some form of health coverage for everyone..ABSOLUTELY. Do I think that the government should resort to a socialist form of care...ABSOLUTELY NOT. Here's the deal, I see the crap that my docs have to go through to get paid by my health insurance company and I have excellent coverage. I see on my EOBs that are sent to me what kind of pitiful sum they are paid to see me. I know that I have taken well more of their time than what they are paid for. There is a huge misconception that doctors make too much money and that the problem lies with the medical community. I strongly disagree. Why is it that we can handle athletes and CEOs of companies making manifold what docs make and yet fail to consider the fact that physicians must pay exhorbiant malpractice fees, very high education costs (which many are still paying off >10 years later), staff salaries (God forbid someone have to wait longer than they want), equipment costs (because we all want the latest technology...or at least something from the 20th century), they work WAY more than people give them credit for (call the doc because you have a question..they don't get paid for that...no insurance billing code...how many of those questions even if not directly from your mouth do they have to field in a day in between 30-50 patients to be seen in 15 minute increments) and all done for (in my experience) 25-75% of what they actually charge. Are their fees excessive? We will take my pulmonologist as an example, he went through 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, and 5-6 years of internship/residency. By that time many new doctors are >$200K in debt compounding interest constantly. After all of that time, how much would you say that YOUR time would be worth? Then add on all the things mentioned above which just make it possible for a physician to provide adequate care for patients.

I don't expect to make a lot as a doctor. I will be 43 when I complete residency and then have the joy of paying back all the loans. I will likely never own my own practice. Perhaps group or hospital based practice will be for me. I have nothing to gain by saying that government run universal health care is a bad idea, except the opportunity to care for my patients in the best way possible. If the government wants to get involved then it should pay private insurance companies to cover every citizen of the U.S. and then it needs to make sure that the insurance companies are making good on their obligations to the patient and the doctor.

The last 2 questions...Do I think we will have universal health care in the U.S. in the next 10 years? Yes. Do I believe that it will be a good system? No.

TTFN.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Chemistry and other reasons to become emotional



Today wasn't a good day. I hate sounding like I am constantly complaining. I don't tell people around me what is going on typically. Occasionally, when I have had too much and my functioning is obviously being affected, I will give a clue what it is about when asked. I cried through Chemistry again today. Unfortunately, today was worse than Friday. Why Chem? I don't know. But, it is such a small class that hiding my tears is really difficult - especially since the professor knows me so well and regularly makes eye contact with me. Today, it was just a matter of looking down and suffering. I kept sniffling to keep my nose from running down my face, but that simply made the situation worse. I considered leaving, but we are so smashed in there that getting up and exiting through the only door (at the front of the room) would have called much too much attention to myself. So, for 50 minutes I did a miserable job of fighting the tears. I couldn't stop them. I am tired of feeling this way. I am angry that it is having such a horrible affect on my studies. I would really like to drop out of school for the semester but it is not an option so I just need to buckle down and get it done. I am so angry with myself for allowing this to have such an impact on me...I can't believe that I have allowed it to affect me this much. Damn it. Tonight, a friend of mine came over to workout. Unfortunately, I began having chest pain and became dizzy shortly before she got here. Luckily (I suppose), she is a cardiac nurse and became concerned. I attribute it to nothing more than stress and emotional overload. My BP was fairly normal and my pulse was completely normal. I'm not dead...I guess that is a good sign.

Anyway, tomorrow in the life of this post-bacc student includes Physics Lab and Chem Lab. Physics Lab is never exactly "fun" considering that I am having trouble conceptualizing what the heck is going on in there. But, Chem lab is nothing short of a joke. I have a fabulous lab partner and the write up is the most time consuming part. I began a new painting a couple of days ago. Obviously, it not complete...nowhere close. But...the camera is here and so:

I really should be studying. Guess what? I am not. I am SO not in the mood. I have a Chemistry exam next week. Hopefully, she will post the mock exam soon. Those are always so helpful. If you can do the problems on that, you are in great shape for the exam. Usually, the actual thing is just the mock with different numbers. This professor really does want her students to succeed and it is so obvious. I don't know why though. Last semester, my class was so awful. Had I been her, I would have wanted to fail all of us...for no other reason than guilt by association with the others in the class then never returned. This is the fourth time I have had her...for a variety of Chem classes. Definitely the best prof I have ever had. Perhaps not the easiest, but the best. I feel like I have learned something after her courses. I actually feel smarter...like I am prepared for the next thing. I can't say that I feel that way with the vast majority of my other classes.

Anyway, I am going to grab an apple downstairs and maybe get a back massage from hubby. Until next time...be safe.

Dr. Underdog

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It is a beautiful day outside. We have turned off the A/C and opened all the windows. We went with a couple friend of ours to an art festival earlier. I was hoping to find a bunch of great things...unfortunately, I didn't. I found a funky birdhouse that I liked..it was the most reasonably priced thing there...$70. I think it was actually too funky for me and our our conservative 1920's home. A lot of people around here have all these bright and mish-mashed, artsy-fartsy colors on their house and in their yard...we don't. The purple front door remains as does the air vent on the upper portion of the detached garage. But, the most "out there" color that we have added to the house is a beautiful Ralph Lauren terracotta in the dining room. Not exactly pushing the envelope.

Anyway, it was fun. We came home and I began working on my Physics assignment that is due tomorrow at 11pm. I was trucking through and suddenly hit a problem that I can't figure out. Luckily, the aforementioned neighbor was a physics major at the univ where I am doing my post-bacc and has offered to help me. This will be the first time I take him up on it.

Today is a bit better than was yesterday. I have had a string of bad days. Oh well. I actually began crying while sitting in class on Friday. That is never good. I am really worried about what this is going to do to my semester.

I will close here. I hope everyone has a great day and a fabulous rest of the weekend.

-Dr.Underdog.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ugh. I am not in the mood to be in school this semester. Ugh.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A few words...



I am sitting here doing homework..well, studying for a Physics exam. Is there any difference? I am having a lot of trouble keeping my mind in the game and my eyes fell to my wrist and the yellow bracelet. It got me to thinking about how when Kate and I were talking and she had noticed that it was once again on my wrist, I mentioned how, along with its obvious purpose, it helped to motivate me to workout and keep going when the effort seemed too much. She asked me "How?" I gave some stupid answer because I have been so forward with my feelings lately that I didn't want to overwhelm her. I have been too honest with my feelings. I didn't want to discuss any of this with her. I wanted to help her..not the other way around. So I gave a cheesy-ass short and shallow answer (that really didn't answer the question) that I have since forgotten. What was the real answer? If I had been honest with her at that moment what would I have said?

"Because someday I am going to have a patient who means to someone what you and all those other wonderful people in my life who have fought cancer have meant and mean to me. I want to be in my best shape, both mentally and physically. That person doesn't deserve anything less than my best."

Perhaps my real answer is as cheesy as the substance-less one I spouted... but at least this one was honest. I have lost 4 pounds. I don't care if it is just a momentary hiccup that went my way. Four pounds is 4 pounds and I have worked for it.

Anyway, I had to get that off my chest. Now it is back to Physics.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Saturday

In the interest of full disclosure, Kate is still my doctor. (I know a lot of people will think differently of this whole situation now. Oh well.) That sucks. Unfortunately, she is too capable a physician for me to be willing to give her up professionally. But, this puts quite the obstacle in the way when dealing with these feelings. I increased my antidepressant in an effort to get past some of this. I can't let it get me or my grades. I have a physics exam Monday and I am really struggling to get out of bed. Much less study. Hubby and I did go to the batting cage today. I hadn't done that in quite a while, so it was really enjoyable. But, when we got home all I wanted to do was get in bed. Which is where I am now. Maybe I will paint tonight. Perhaps let some creative juices flow and work some feelings out. Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy, so studying will be good for that. I was so emotional yesterday. I am hoping that that was the reason I was weak during my workout and dizzy later. I would hate for it to be a legitimate problem. I am really trying to lose weight. I used to see a well known doc that is all over TV, books, the Internet, etc and her staff nutritionist but I got sick of the name dropping that she seemed so attached to. So, I quit seeing her. I am going back to doing the same stuff I was doing then. Maybe I will add Alli to the mix. Kate would probably kill me for even thinking about such a stupid thing. I am so against weight loss drugs. But...what can I say? I am desperate. I am not diabetic, but have a problem with hypoglycemia. Go figure. Anyway, I am very careful not to leave the house without my glucose. Those episodes are so frightening.

I know I haven't written much about school since the semester began. I am behind. I am distracted. But, hopefully it will be getting better soon. I am taking Physics I, Chem II, Chem I Lab, Physics I Lab, and Human Biology Lab. Gee, it feels like I wrote that in an earlier post. If I did..well there it is again.

Have a good one.

Friday, September 07, 2007

More of the same

A friend of mine took the MCAT today...I am sure she did well. (BP, I know you did!) I am not looking forward to taking it in May, but it is a necessary evil.

Thankfully, the school week is over. I have quite a bit of studying to do this weekend, but Fridays always bring about a sigh of relief. I haven't been very successful at keeping Kate off my mind this week. Maybe because I saw her on Wednesday and whenever I do, it is like picking the scab. Anyway, I am really down in the dumps. I am so sad that I am beginning to get angry at her for causing me this pain. Though it is logically stupid and completely off...not to mention inaccurate and selfish, I am actually grateful for the evolution of this emotion. Maybe it will allow me to get away from the sadness. Gosh, the profound sadness. She keeps asking me if I think she is going to die. I don't. I finally asked her.. "Do you think that you are going to die?" Her answer was simple and honest. "It is a possibility." Of course it is a possibility.

Anyway, my struggle is within myself. The sadness. The freaking overwhelming sadness.

I hope that everyone is having a great week and it is topped off with a fabulous weekend.

Monday, September 03, 2007

FREE MUSIC



I have today off and my mind is with Kate. I was watching a YouTube video earlier and ran across a great song by Wideawake. It came out last year. Where have I been? No clue. I was only vaguely familiar with Wideawake. Ok, I may have heard of the group. (I really like their sound and will be listening to more.) Anyway, the song is called "Maybe Tonight, Maybe Tomorrow." All proceeds from the sale of this single on iTunes go to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Now, go spend a buck (not even) and buy it!

Here is the video to Maybe Tonight, Maybe Tomorrow



I'll even go a step further... for the first 50 people that email me their receipt (email: goalmd@gmail.com) from the purchase of "Maybe Tonight, Maybe Tomorrow" on iTunes. I will send you a dollar. There, it didn't cost you a thing! The artist has gotten publicity for writing such a great song, the LAF benefits, you got a great song and hopefully will mention it to someone else furthering the cause.

Be sure to put your snail mail address in the email.


And for a bit of perspective....


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thoughts on marriage




Today marks one week that I have been back in class. I am still longing for that one last week of vacation though. Thankfully, we have Monday off so I will enjoy that. Hubby and I will celebrate our 6 year anniversary on Saturday. I love that man more everyday. :-) It is sad that marriage gets such a bad rap from so many. Granted, many have horrible experiences. I hate to see these people who get married just to get married. There are so many women that I see that are in love with the idea of love and marriage and consequently their standards drop or disappear altogether. People often tell me/us that they hope their marriage is as good as ours is or that our marriage makes them want to get married. Even more ask what the "secret" is or how you know it's the right person. Obviously, it is incredibly flattering to hear the nice things people say about our marriage and I am so thrilled and grateful that our marriage actually is as happy as it seems. But, the question about how one "knows" that someone is the "one" for them is the key to it all. If there was an answer to this question that were fail-safe, a lot of problems would be avoided.

Unfortunately, the only answer I have is the one that was given to me .... "You just know."

I hated that answer when I was single. It actually made me nervous...I began thinking too hard. I was proposed to a couple of times before I met my husband and could have very easily made a horrible, horrible mistake. I asked the same question that people ask me now. "How do you just know?" I don't have a good answer to that. But, I did know when I knew. Unequivocally. It was a knowing that I had never experienced before and never since...regardless of the matter at hand.

My husband answers the question in a different way. His answer is "You can't imagine not being with this person for the rest of your life." (It sure does sound better when he says it.)


Now, I am going to return to watching "Welcome to The Parker." There is a really diva-dude on this episode. Adios.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Livestrong and dying.


I know the "trend" is long gone. I have never been one for trends, nor did I wear it initially because of some "trend" that may or may not have been in existence. Either way, my LIVESTRONG bracelet has been back on my wrist for a couple of weeks now. Classes began on Thursday and I have been able to keep Kate's plight from destroying my concentration so far. I did break down while discussing the situation with a friend of mine. I am having trouble finding a counselor though. I think I may just give up on the idea. Suffer through and learn to deal.

I saw a new ophthalmologist this week...I think I mentioned the fact that I was going to a few days ago. I was sorry to leave my previous one, but the drive is nearly 6 hours one way on an average traffic day. This new one is very nice and apparently quite capable. My Rx didn't change, but I did score a shadowing gig. I was surprised that my eyes hadn't changed, but that is just one more year that I am one step further from blindness. ;) I did opt to get some new frames to give me an optional look. The last time I got new frames, I just got the same ones that I had so that I wouldn't have to go searching for a particular pair...everything was the same. Call me daring...I went "trendy" as my mom said. Whatever. I would love to be able to wear contacts, I really dislike having something on my face especially in hot weather. But, because of the prisms my prescription can not be made into contacts. Weird.


My mom called Wednesday. The memorial service was held that morning. I didn't go for good reason - it is 1500 miles away. Unfortunately, it was determined that Judy was in fact murdered. A horrible ending to a sad, sad, sad life. "Sad" is perhaps not the right word. "Tragic" is more like it. She was not a sad person nor were you in her presence.

Enough. Enough. I really need to stop here. I guess my mind knew it had the opportunity to be sad today and seized it. As pathetic as it sounds, I think I will wrap up here and have a good cry. Sometimes, that is the best thing.

TTFN.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Watch.

A few days ago, I posted a video of Joseph's Lullaby. After looking at the project more and watching a video of a CBC story about it, I found out that there was another video that the public had contributed to. I have found it...finally. Please watch it below. Hope.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Random



Today is my last day of freedom before the fall semester begins. How have I spent it? Well, there was the expensive vet visit this morning. I swear they start seeing dollar signs the second I pull into the parking lot. I have spent the last couple of hours lying in bed resting...sort of sleeping, sort of not. This evening, hubby and I are going to go to run some errands. We are looking for a new elliptical trainer since ours finally said "Enough." I can't blame it. After 2 moves, it was in pretty sad shape. We are looking at a pretty high end one this time which makes me sick to my stomach. I mean, of course I want one that will last and is good quality, but geez! How expensive!! Ugh.

I am watching one of my thrills of television. Crazy, perhaps...but I love King of the Hill . Maybe it is due to my upbringing in Texas and knowing how true to life the cartoon actually is. So funny. Hank Hill reminds me of my brother in law. So funny!! I have never been one to be a trend follower, I am so far out of it that my efforts are a joke. I march to the beat of my own drummer...whether I want to or not. (That comment made a heck of a lot more sense in my head than it did on the screen considering I am thinking a heck of a lot more than I am typing.) Oh well.

I am looking forward to this semester. I really wish I could just have one more week off though. Not a lot, but one. I had a 3 week vacation which is more than hubby had and certainly more than most people my age have at this time in their life, but bummer. Anyway, I am looking forward to the semester.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pretty random stuff



It is so much fun to read books. I know that may seem to some to be a ridiculous statement, but I couldn't for the majority of my life so doing so now is sheer pleasure. I am 3 deep into a run of works that have been spectacular. Currently, I am about halfway through Jerome Groopman's "How Doctors Think." An excellent book...a wonderful mix of theory and practical illustration. As of Thursday, my free time that I have put toward reading for pleasure will be occupied by Physics, Chemistry and Human Bio lab. This semester, I am also retaking a course from my ugrad univ that I did pitifully in. I will be taking it by correspondence much like I did with Pre-Calc this summer.

Hubby's 40th birthday is in November. I love telling people that he is almost 40 because he looks so much younger. He hates me doing it, but this guy is mistaken for his 20s regularly. I am so envious of his ridiculously smooth skin which he does not have to work for at all. Granted, I am sure his cool demeanor doesn't hurt. His mom's skin was the same way so I assume it is a genetic windfall. She was of Lebanese decent. Sadly, both of his parents have passed and will not be here to celebrate my husband's 40th. I am throwing a surprise party and my parents are flying up to be here. It is quite a trip, so I hope that it means something to him. My sister will be 7.5 months pregnant by then, so a visit from them is not possible. I hope that it is a meaningful birthday for him. I have not yet chosen a caterer, but have a bit of time. I would love to think that we would be able to spill outdoors for this soiree, but seeing that it will be in November and we live in the Mid-Atlantic, I am not too optimistic about that possibility. I thought about having it at a restaurant, but I hate that feel. I am actually considering having it at our church where we are both very active. There is ample banquet space there and better parking than at our house. Not to mention, "dropping by church" wouldn't be such a big deal. I don't know. I don't know that I really like that feel either. I suppose that I need to generate a guest list and see what kind of space we will need. Our house is adequate for us...about 2100 sq.ft. But, it is 3 stories plus a basement and a lot of stairs. We take 3 bedrooms and use all the space...one for the master, another for the gym, and the last for my office and to house part of our library. I realized that we needed more room the moment we moved in. We have a media room and an unfinished basement which is not included in the square footage, nor should it be since it is a giant mess. I don't know if our finished attic is included or not. Either way, it is not conducive to having a large number of people over without the option to go outside. Our property is wonderful. We have a large back yard with a sitting area and a pond, but in mid-November it does little good.

Tonight, I am going to church to make mosaic stepping stones to be sold as a fundraiser for our mission team that will be heading back to the Gulf Coast to continue to help rebuild Katrina ravaged areas. I wish I could go, but it is 8 days out of the semester that I just don't think I can afford to miss. I will be doing some volunteer work here though. I will be back at XYZ Cancer Center and tutoring inner city kids once a week.

Kate has not left my mind. I am learning to compartmentalize a bit better, but not adequately yet when it comes to this. Thank you to all who have commented that you are thinking and praying for her/me. It really means a lot.

Today. Part I

I begin classes this week. So, these are my last 3 "free" days. I have an ophthalmologist appointment tomorrow just outside of town (why can't I find an ophtho somewhere closer?). Actually, I am looking forward to seeing this doc. She is a D.O. We'll see if there is any difference in approach, at least from this one doc's standpoint. Undoubtedly, she will be altering my prescription so tomorrow afternoon will be dedicated to getting my new glasses and such. I am not a big fan of wearing glasses, but my Rx can't be made into contacts and I am a fan of seeing. ;-) Funny, Kate was the one who finally believed me about my eyes. It took nearly 20 years for someone to finally believe that I actually couldn't see the way I was describing. In case you didn't know, she was my doc before she became my mentor. Some people think this is not the way it should be and denigrate the relationship because this is how it evolved, but I think little of them.

Anyway, I will be replacing the lenses in my existing frames, getting some new ones because of the little episode in this post, and replacing the lenses in my sunglasses.

I had so much more to write when I began this post, but somehow it left me. I will post again later.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Another book recommendation


I just finished reading "The Anatomy of Hope" by Jerome Groopman, M.D.. Kate said she had read it, found it to be wonderful and suggested that I try it out. She has suggested Groopman's books in the past, but it wasn't until my husband read "How Doctors Think" that I began reading his work. Dr. Groopman is a regular contributor to The New Yorker to which I subscribe but sadly rarely read. I found myself pulling for the patients in the book and becoming angry with them on occasion. You am sure that you will too. If "Final Exam" was 5 stars, I would say that "The Anatomy of Hope" scores 4 stars. Definitely a must read for anyone with half an interest in medicine or psychology.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Perhaps my mind is a bit preoccupied with cancer right now. But, I found this and it is amazing. The story on JosephsLullaby.com

Moving on and holding on

I just want to get something straight that I am sure some are thinking...YES, I KNOW THIS IS NOT ABOUT ME! This blog is comprised of MY thoughts and MY feelings from MY perspective so it is not objective in any way. Now, with that out of the way...


I am feeling emotionally and physically exhausted, but much better overall. The care package was a huge hit and that made me so happy. Obviously, I saw Kate today. It was a rather tearful encounter, but it wouldn't have been had she not pushed me. I told her repeatedly that I didn't want to talk about how I felt with her because that was totally horrible and unfair. She kept pushing and pushing and PUSHING. So, damn...there it went. She was in a fabulous mood and I really wanted to keep it there. Unfortunately, I think I was overcompensating for feeling so sad by putting on this disastrous front to hide my true emotions. Even I wasn't buying it but couldn't correct in time. Anyway, long story short. Chemo begins September 10, just after radiation ends.

I didn't cry after seeing her today. I talked her briefly on the phone as I neared my house, but it was nothing big.

I am going to try to out this in the back of my mind for a few weeks. I will send her a little note next week just to let her know that we are praying for her, but other than that I really want to keep my mind on school. Funny, through the whole thing today she somehow found a way to relate EVERYTHING to school or medicine whether or not it was related. Go figure. That is so her.

I am so grateful to have such a wonderful role model. Please keep her in your prayers.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Emotional pain, physical hurt.



Why can't I deal with this better? This morning, while talking to my best friend, I recounted all that was going on. I realized what a sad time this is. I was selfishly hoping that gathering this little care package for Kate would be a therapeutic activity, but while walking into Nordstrom I was fighting back tears. It was awful. I spent a couple of hours out shopping for she and hubby. Hubby ended up scoring 6 new ties. His ties really go through the ringer at the hospital. I don't even want to touch them. I forced myself to stay out longer than I wanted to mainly because I know that curling up in bed is not a healthy thing to do. I can't help but feel that I have no right to feel the way I do. Kate herself would lecture me about feeling that way so I have to laugh. I have decided to get a counselor to deal with this. Yeah, it is affecting me THAT much. It is one of those things...you want to get over it, but you really can't stand the thought of being able to ignore it. Classes begin a week from today. This semester will be dedicated to her. She will finish the currently prescribed 6 rounds of chemo about the time I complete the semester. Actually, she will finish chemo as I begin Kaplan. Ha Ha Ha. She has been bugging me to take Kaplan for months. Every time she asks me if I am going to take it and I respond "Yes" (which I always have since it has been the plan all along) she says "Good" and then proceeds to ask me the same question the next time I see her and the opportunity arises. You would think that she owned stock in the friggin' company or something. Maybe she does.

I know I am internalizing this way too much, but it seems impossible to do anything else right now. I have no appetite, I am sad, and have really no desire to talk to anyone. Selfishly, this MUST change SOMEHOW in the next 7 days.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

We returned today from vacation. While it was a wonderfully relaxing and very special time, I strained to keep Kate off of my mind. I felt selfish doing that. I decided to make a special "care package" of sorts for her so it changed the mood from sad to excited. I called a friend of mine this evening who was diagnosed with breast cancer 4 years ago, endured a double mastectomy, the cancer metastasized, and today the tumors are inactive. I wanted to call and see how she was doing and get her input about items to put into my little pack of love for Kate. She was overwhelmingly helpful with so many different questions I had. What was the "right" thing to do? What was the "wrong" thing to do? Tomorrow, I am heading out to buy some cute PJs, some Werther's Original candies, lemon drops, and Gatorade. Apparently, Werther's are a great thing for stimulating saliva and are one of the few things that my friend was still able to taste while she was undergoing chemo.

I also got word while we were on vacation that a woman, Judy*, that I have known for more than 20 years was found dead on Sunday. Her parents have always been very close friends of my parents until her father suddenly passed away 5 years ago. Her mother remains very tight with my parents. Judy's life was a tragic one. Adopted into an extremely loving home when she was very young (if not an infant), Judy was an only child. Her father doted on her mercilessly. She was rebellious and became pregnant well before we were 20. She went on to 4 children with 4 different fathers. She married a man that turned out to be heavily into drugs. There was already suspicion that she was using, so her choice of partners was not a surprise. Her father called her one day from his car saying that he felt weird. He then died from a stroke on the side of the road. The following year, she awoke to find her husband dead in bed beside her. She died Sunday in much the same way. Two of her children had been put up for adoption as infants, but she leaves behind 2 young boys to be raised by their grandmother who has lost her husband, daughter and son-in-law in a matter of 5 years.

It was a situation in which you could see what was wrong, but despite everyone's best efforts nothing changed. I need to send her mom a card tomorrow. What do you say??? I first met Judy in the 6th grade so I can't claim that I didn't know her. What the heck does something say at a time like this?

*not real name

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Numb



How does one get over something? Stupid, I know. I feel like I don't have a right to my feelings. I didn't sleep well last night. Somewhere around 2:15am I woke up just to see that I had not turned off the TV before I somehow dozed off and now a talentless installment of "The Greg Behrendt Show" was mocking me in its own little way. Luckily, my husband's phone (as it is known to do) accidentally called me at 2:34 from the hospital. It is during these phone calls that I listen to the ambient sounds of a break room or cafeteria and yell "Hello?" into the receiver. Eventually, I page him and tell him that his pants have called me again. Two thirty in the morning or not, when I finally got him on the phone we talked for a while.

This morning, I was still preoccupied with Kate's diagnosis. I searched the websites of all the major medical centers that she had said had been consulted and found essentially the same thing on each one. What was I expecting? Really. I did learn a bit more about the specific radiation treatment that she said she had begun. I finished "Final Exam" and thumbed through "getting into med school" books. The end of "Final Exam" was as wonderful as the rest of the book had been, but my mind kept replaying the conversation from yesterday.

Gosh. (It seems like such an insubstantial word.) But, gosh, what must she be feeling? Why didn't I just ask? She kept talking. She wanted to. Why did I feel like I had to keep some level of strength in the conversation? It was up to her, why didn't I give her what perhaps she wanted? Geez, I don't know. What is she thinking? Is more effort going into keeping a positive attitude or praying that other people don't get you down? I was grateful for the gush of information she gave me yesterday. I have a hard time prying into her life that way. Funny, we actually talked about that yesterday. She said that I had been distancing her. Weird. I didn't see it that way, but looking back perhaps she was right.

I am numb in a very weird way. I feel like I don't have the right to feel like this. I feel helpless and I am angry at myself for thinking of ME at all.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Damn.



Unfortunately, my intuition was correct. My mentor, Kate* a wonderful person that I care for and appreciate very much, has cancer. A very rare type, so treatment is kind of still up for debate.

She told me today. Actually, I kind of told her. We were talking when she stopped, much like she did almost 2 months ago. I simply looked at her and said "You have cancer, don't you?" She said "Yes." I immediately burst into tears and covered my face. It was a reaction that I have never had before. I knew I had to get myself together. When I managed to lift my head from my hands, I saw her eyes also full of tears. She wanted to know how I had known. "No one knew, how did you?" she asked. The only way I could explain it was "I just did." Not a line full of brilliance or comfort, just the truth. The disgusting truth. How was she feeling when she was told? Was it difficult to tell others or therapeutic? She joked about the wig in her future and how she had wanted to get "big hair" but her family protested. Was all that she was telling me for her benefit or mine? I was hoping it was for her. As much as I wanted to alleviate her pain, was she really as happy-go-lucky about the situation as she would have seemed to have others believe? Had I hurt her with my reaction? What did she want from me? Was I delivering? How could I help?

Cancer is not a new thing for me. I have known many people who have had it, some have lost the battle but thankfully most are winning. My aunt/godmother was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer and has now been cancer-free for four years. A dear friend, Monica* was diagnosed with breast cancer which later metastasized to her lungs and brain. She is currently in remission. My father-in-law, whom I never knew, died from 3 primary cancers. Bob*, a guy that I had known for many years as a family friend and then later dated very briefly, unfortunately died of 2 brain tumors. It was a horrible death. A terrible, slow progression capped by a discolored body lying lifeless in an open coffin.

It took me 4 hours to get home because of traffic. I needed every minute of those four hours. I was glad to be alone so that I could cry, think and prepare. What is going through her mind? What is she feeling?

I need to head back to the halls of the cancer center and start volunteering again. It is the place where I feel useful.

You are in my prayers, Kate. I hope you know that.




* not his/her real name

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Final Exam (not mine) and the news



I am reading a wonderful book entitled "Final Exam - A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality" by Pauline Chen. It is a wonderful glimpse into the mind of a physician on dying through stories of her own experience from medical school through practice. I have enjoyed this book immensely, but in the interest of not divulging too much, thus ruining the book for anyone, I will simply say that it is an easy read and one that I HIGHLY recommend. If Dr. Chen keeps a blog, I would love to add it to my regular reads. Does anyone know?

My husband and I are going to the beach for a few days come Sunday and I am really looking forward to spending time with him. While I have had my share of busy days working on that stupid, and thankfully over, pre-calc class, he is the one who has been truly slammed. So, more than anything I am hoping that he finds the vacation to be relaxing and rejuvenating. I have a tendency to be demanding and moody (which manifests itself as anger) and I really don't want that to come out during the time away. I have really been working hard on my anger and feel as though I am doing fairly well. He doesn't deserve what I put him through and I am working hard to change it. Don't get me wrong, I am not violent with him or anything, but being around someone who seems to be angry about everything can be a real drain I am certain.


The news has been a bit upsetting in recent days. Especially the trapped miners in Utah. Why is it that we can perform surgery remotely, but can't manage the technology to mine coal remotely and save lives - short and long term. Since the turn of the twentieth century, there have been 104,621 mining fatalities. That is just a bit less than 1000/year. Yikes! I am certainly not an expert or even one who keeps up with mine disasters, but another thing that infuriates me is the fact that during the current accident in Utah, the owner of the mine has had the audacity to claim that an earthquake was the culprit when all signs and seismologists point to the fact that the readings that he is citing were actually caused by the mine failure itself. I understand that the loss of mining to robots would result in hardships for many families who depend upon the mining profession. But, the fact of the matter is that the owners are in it for profit and aren't going to sink those profits into making working conditions safer. What is the price tag that we place on human life?


I must go. The shower is calling my name and then perhaps a few more pages of Dr. Chen's book.

TTFN,
Dr. Underdog


P.S. I have been asked what "TTFN" stands for..."Ta Ta For Now"...didn't anyone ever watch Winnie the Pooh? ;-) A Tigger phrase.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

It is over. RIP you horrible math class.

Thank GOD!

I woke up this morning, grabbed my laptop, and OMG! there it was...my grade. I had been sweating for a B. I was scared out of my mind.My grades were consistent with a B, but in my world you never know what can happen. I thought that final accounted for 25% of my grade. Thankfully, I was wrong.

The day that I went in to take the final, the A/C was broken. On top of that, the small testing center was packed to the max with hot bodies sweating it out. I was one of them. This was not the way I had wanted to take my exam. It was my FINAL! A QUARTER of my grade. I was nervous. I was glad that it was over. I had given it all I had and it was over, but I was still scared. After all, I was certain that I had aced my second campus exam and all I had to show for it was a 78. Ugh.


So, this morning when I looked at Blackboard I began to scream.
Final Exam : 97
Final Grade: A

Add 5 credit hours of an A to my BCPM and my overall...I am one super happy camper!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Test Anxiety...at a really bad time

My final is today. Actually, it is whenever I get in there. I am so nervous that it is already having an affect on what I can recall. I looked over my old tests last night expecting to pick out a bunch of stuff that couldn't remember doing, but the result was quite the opposite. I was extremely comfortable with the material. Then, my husband had to make the stupid...STUPID...mistake of saying "It IS 25% of your grade." I freaked. I didn't sleep well. I don't feel good. I feel like I have had too much caffeine when I have really had none at all. I am trying to decide if I should continue to feed into my nervous frenzy and review the stuff over and over or should I just go take the dumb exam? I have not done any problems in 3 days. The almost seems second nature to me, which a completely strange feeling. But, the more I look at it, the more I realize what I could forget so I look over it again and again. I can't put the test off until tomorrow. This is the last day. In a few hours, this class will be behind me. I feel like going in and taking it now would be irresponsible, but I can't bear to look at it anymore. I am beyond the point where I can judge prudence. Unfortunately, I am also at the point where I somewhat don't care. I am getting a migraine thinking about it so much.

Ok, I don't care. I know what I know. I don't know what I don't know. Just PLEASE GOD let me get a B. How sad. I went from an A to a B. I have this stupid idea in my head that the best I can do is a B in a class that I deem to be "real." Apparently, I was taking 3 "fake" ones last term. Anyway, grades seem to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. My post-bacc GPA is a 3.0 +. Not a 4.0. Ugh.

Ok, enough trying to calm myself down. I am going to take a shower and leave. No make up. No primping. Just throw on some clothes and get this thing over with.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Few Interesting Reads



Sometimes the news can be interesting, if not downright entertaining. Sometimes it makes you scratch your head and ask "What the...?" Here are a few interesting reads from the last couple of days:

Operating Table Fires

Drunk Astronauts

Feline Grim Reaper

Well, DUH! Who didn't know this?

Sniff..sniff. This is a sad one.


Why people shouldn't go into medicine for the money...bad decisions.



I could go on, but I will spare you. Good night.

Dr. U

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Short Study Break




I must complete 3 sections for my Pre-Calc class today. I have completed one so far. Luckily, I am a bit more enthused about it today considering they are my LAST 3 sections for the semester. I take my last campus test tomorrow and my final on Monday. By Monday afternoon, I will have completed 19 exams for this class in just over 5 weeks. I have really had to hump it because I got a late start. Either way, I am thrilled that it will soon be over. This calls for a little iTunes...hold on.

That's better.

My sister-in-law had a baby last weekend. I am really torn about this. She and I do not get along...AT ALL. She has been horrible to me since she met me. Actually, before she met me. My MIL wasn't exactly a big fan of mine in the beginning either. Ultimately, we were extremely close and loved each other tremendously. She admitted that it wasn't "me" ...it was the idea of me. It could have been anyone. She fought for my husband's attention/loyalty pretty until she died. He never wavered in his dedication to me. I could not have felt anymore supported. Pardon me if I have written this in an earlier post, I pay little attention to what I write in previous posts and just spill what I am thinking at the moment.

Anyway, she had this child. She is not a responsible adult. She has always wanted a "baby." What she doesn't seem to get is that that "babies" don't remain "babies." They grow up. She is not mentally or emotionally stable. She married her husband for his sperm. She admits this. (Does that give you an indication of what we have going here?) My husband and his sister are not close. But, she will call and pull this crap about their parents (both of whom have passed) and how she is emotionally a mess or how it would be so great to have them here or whatever. Ok, I don't have the first clue what it would be like not to have my parents. I was estranged from them for awhile due to abuse, but they are both very much alive and we are now mending our relationship. My husband has expressed no interest in having any more of a relationship with her than they currently have. A phone call here and there and they are on speaking terms. We do not get together though we live within 2 hours of each other. We didn't get together when we lived in the same area. She is a drain. I have repeatedly asked him if he would like to get together with them, if he would like to have more of a relationship, how much of a role he would like to play in this child's life...etc. He says that he doesn't want any more than what currently exists.

Again..I say: Anyway, she had this baby. This kid has no family other than her screwy mom and alcoholic dad. His family lives in Illinois. My SIL doesn't want to move there, despite the fact that her husband owns a house there and the cost of living is about half of where they are currently living, he wants to move, he can find job, and she doesn't work. She just doesn't want to move because she doesn't like change. She has no ties to the area anymore. The family is all moved or deceased. She spends her time in their apartment amidst a sea of unopened QVC boxes, watching TV waiting for the opportunity to add to her cardboard world.

I don't want to deprive this child of a family because her mom is an idiot. I remember what that was like...my mom couldn't get along with her siblings and I loved them. I didn't get to spend as much time with my cousins as I would have liked nor see my aunt and uncle like I would have liked. I don't want to hurt a child because of the "sins" of her mother. It is almost an ethical dilemma for me. The stress level that accompanies the thought of having to be in the same room with my SIL makes me ill.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Asthma, studying and so on and so forth




It seems that my asthma is getting worse. I don't quite understand it, except perhaps to attribute it higher pollen counts in the air. I vary rarely take a puff from my Albuterol (aka rescue/fast acting inhaler), but I did this morning. I was wheezing up a storm. Luckily, I don't necessarily feel short of breath when I am wheezing which strikes me as kind of strange. I have an appointment with a pulmonologist on the 2nd, so that should explain a lot.

I have continued to work diligently on my distance learning course. I think I like this method of learning a lot better than lecture. I never thought that I would say that. But, I seem to be retaining more and understanding it better the first time around. Definitely a plus when it comes to studying for the MCAT in my opinion.

As soon as I complete this course, which will be on July 30th, I will begin a correspondence course that I have actually already taken but didn't put an ounce of effort into. I am hoping to replace the grade (for AACOM) and have it average (for AMCAS). Just a measly Medical Terminology class that I should have never gotten a C in in the first place, but I guess when you don't look at the stuff and take the final cold, a C is what you deserve. I know what to expect, because I am taking it at my uGrad univ which is where I took it the first time. I can't believe that THIS is a class I have to repeat. I wish I would repeat some others, but they are specialized classes in Health Administration that would have to be taken on campus and campus is nearly 2000 miles away.

I will be taking the GRE in October most likely, in order for me to apply to the MPH program. I will take the MCAT in May and submit AMCAS and AACOM in June. I will only be applying to my state schools this cycle and fall back on the MPH. We will have to see what happens.

I need to get my stuff in order to give to my LOR (letter of recommendation) writers. I am really looking forward to this class ending...successfully.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

photo: Kimberly-Clark/AP


I don't know that I have anything substantive to write today, but true to form I will post anyway. I have been spending a lot of time studying. It is pretty sad, the things one will do when completely bored out of their mind, but fully aware that it must be endured. I am studying trig. Specifically, Analytic Trigonometry. Which, of course SOUNDS a heck of a lot more impressive than it is. So, in an effort to entertain myself, I worked the words "Analytic Trigonometry" into a short conversation with my husband as many times as I possibly could. Pretty funny from where I stood. But, I guess anything is funny after staring at a book for hours upon end. Thankfully, this class ends in 2 weeks. I will take my final on July 30th.

The weekend before I take my exam, we are throwing a party for a couple of my husband's colleagues who are graduating. Being a proud 6th generation Texan (currently not living there), I am making authentic Tex-Mex including homemade tortillas. I am so used to being able to go to the grocery store and picking up all the things I need...like tortilla mix and jalapenos. I went to 3 stores the other day looking for jalapenos! What kind of self-respecting store runs out of jalapenos??? Not to mention what it cost me to order 16 pounds of preparada (flour tortilla mix) from a store in Houston and have it shipped. But, it means a lot to my honey and I would do anything for him.

Being a TP connoisseur and avid user of the fabulous stuff (ok, I have a healthy colon and drink a lot of water ;-) ... I am horrified by THIS.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The theme for the next 3 weeks or so will be "It is almost over." I knew I hated math. Only a few more weeks and I am finished with it for good. Of course, that is what I said about formal education when I graduated from college. I have an exam tomorrow at noon and then another one Thursday at the same time. I postponed it from its originally scheduled date of today. I was having a freak out session last night and of course it rendered me totally stupid. Funny how that happens.

I secured another LOR (letter of recommendation) today...from my Biomedical Research prof. Actually, he VOLUNTEERED to write it. Weird! I didn't even ask him. I was eventually going to, but cool! That made me feel great. I am not sure if I will be working in a lab this year or not. I would like to see how things are done and get to put it on my application next year, but if it really would be totally useless and I would contribute absolutely nothing which would result in a completely negative (and therefore nonexistent) LOR, then is it really the brightest place to spend my time? The aforementioned BioMed prof gave me the names of some people at the med school that he collaborates with and whose research is more clinically based. He thinks that that is where I should devote my time if I decide to go forward with it. It is great to have someone who is completely not threatening who will answer questions so that I don't waste a year of my life. Not that being exposed to something that I have never been exposed to before would be a "waste"...

I have spent the last 6 hours retaking exams to prep myself for my big exam tomorrow. I think studying is over for the night.

Over and out.
Dr Underdog

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm laughing at you

I really can't stand people with superiority complexes...especially when they have absolutely nothing to be flaunting. I know, I know, "Hey, Dr. Underdog, you are going into the wrong field if you are turned off by egos." Egos are one thing. I laugh at most people...egos are entertaining. I have a couple of friends who recently showed their true colors. It was a total turn off. Each began speaking down to me like I was a child that didn't know her head from her back end. If that person/those people could have known the laughter that was going on in my head at those moments. Why is it that people find it so important to be that way? It is always a great "go to" for humor, but for some it is reality. What happened in those lives that leads one to behave that way?
Now, don't get me wrong, I am not blameless in this. I never claimed to be...but WOW!

I have often thought about foregoing the whole anonymous blog thing and spilling the details of everything, but it is times like this when I am glad I have left it the way it is. The only people who know whose blog this is are people that really don't "know" me anyway. I mean, they online know me and I have met a few, but the people that I deal with face to face everyday have no clue about this blog. This is where my head can take all of that laughter that has been stored up from people making idiots of themselves and it can run rampant all over the screen.

Laugh...it is the best revenge.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Specialties - quit asking



Way too often, when I tell someone the path I am on, I am asked what kind of medicine I want to practice. In other words, what specialty have I chosen before I even enter medical school? I suppose that everyone who chooses this route has an idea...at least SOME idea before they enter, I am sure that that notion is what sent them this way in the first place. I thought I wanted to be a pediatric oncologist way back when. Not a bad gig I suppose, but I am 32 now and fellowships are long. Not to mention, those peds patients come with parents. Bummer. Parents will keep me from peds I am sure. I was sure I wanted a career in surgery. Um, not anymore. I am sure the queasiness will subside, but I wasn't enthralled enough in the process to devote my life to it. Maybe oncology? Maybe, maybe not. Internal medicine or family practice? Likely. Most people aren't impressed by that answer. Sadly, most are put off by that answer as if it is not acceptable - as if doctors should all practice something with 15 PGYs. In what a pitiful position they would find themselves without their family doc. Mine is my go to. I trust her. She has made a difference in my life. She is committed and passionate about what she does. Does it require a scalpel to possess these characteristics? Not in my opinion.

Bravo to those who have known they want to be a urologist since they were knee high to a grasshopper and put the blinders on to any and everything else. I am not one of those. I feel like it would short change me and my future patients to choose a specialty before being exposed to all that medicine has to offer. If I end up specializing in whatever I enter medical school with a desire to do, then great. But, med school is to learn. It is training. Maybe I will end up specializing in liposuction of only the left pinkie finger. HA! Do they have a name for that? Besides, what possesses one to chose UROLOGY as a kid? That must have been one messed up childhood! ;)