Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sports Medicine

It's that time again - the beginning of another clerkship. This 4-week rotation is in the field of Sports Medicine.

In undergrad, I studied exercise science because I was interested in the interplay of exercise physiology on body processes. I also wanted to learn more about fitness and nutrition, as well as the physics behind movement and sport. I would say that I received a pretty good education, and I'm so glad that I majored in something other than "biology/pre-med" or "biology and chemistry". Believe me, I took more than my fair share of biology and chemistry classes (including the required gen bio 1 and 2, gen chem 1 and 2, ochem 1 and 2, as well as ones that I took "for fun" like biochem 1 and 2, molecular genetics, and cancer biology among others - enough to get a minor degree in both). But the great thing about doing a degree outside of biology is that I have knowledge in something that most of my peers don't, yet I possess an adequate knowledge of the basic sciences required of a physician. The best of both worlds. And I got to perform cool exercise testing and biomechanics exams - which was awesome. My classmates were all approachable and could hold a good conversation, which you don't always get to do in the chemistry lab. And I got to dissect a cadaver as an undergrad - something which virtually none of my classmates had exposure to prior to first year of med school.

So that brings us to why I decided a month of sports medicine might be fun. And I hope that I'm not disappointed. I'll be working with a variety of physicians and members of the health care team over the next several weeks, and I am so excited to participate in athletic activities as part of the team's doctors. I'm actually going to be assisting with minor league hockey and high school sports - which is going to be a lot of fun. I think I'm going to learn a lot of practical stuff this month, and hopefully get to do a few things as well (fingers crossed that I get to give a few cortisone injections before my time on sports medicine ends!).

All this while I'm training for my first half marathon in January (oh and also squeezing in those interviews). It's gonna be a crazy few weeks! :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Outpatient Oncology

Clearly, recently my priorities have not included keeping up to date with my experiences on the blog. There are just so many other things I'm doing instead of this! haha

Oncology is still amazing. I still love it. I'm a little frustrated that I don't actually feel like I get to make a difference...some attendings allow me to interview a patient on my own, which is when I get the opportunity to learn about their story and get to connect with patients on a real, human level. That's what I love most. But other attendings just have me follow them around all day, then ask me random questions that I could not possibly ever answer while in front of patients ("could you explain to the patient what Dr such-and-such discovered regarding the seed-and-soil hypothesis in his paper written in the New England Journal of Medicine in October of 1975?" - ok the questions aren't that bad, but you get the idea. Might as well have been asked in a different language, I would in no universe know the answer off the top of my head to such obscure medical history or trivia). But all in all, I can't complain because no matter how the interaction occurs with the patients, I still love their stories, their presentations, their treatments, their prognosis, and most importantly, how they are handling life in general as a cancer survivor / someone battling against cancer.

It's that time of year when fourth year medical students are busy flying all around the country for interviews. I have several lined up, and I'm excited (and a bit nervous) to learn about different programs where I might end up working for the next 3 to 5 to 6 years.

I'm also keeping busy with enjoying life as much as I possibly can. I'm spending a lot of time with my fiance, my pup, my family, and my friends. I have a "fourth year bucket list" which I am happily completing. I'm also working towards competing in my first half marathon, tentatively scheduled for January 6th in the north of England. Also busy with wedding plans and other crazy things. Life is so busy when you are doing more than just "work".

I am so incredibly lucky to be where I am, doing what I love, with my soul-mate by my side. Life is incredible.

There's a saying which has been stuck in my head lately, which I think clearly summarizes how I feel at this point in medical school. Looking back to the beginning, to the early days, when I thought I would never see the end of medical school come, to now, having all of my exams finished and merely awaiting graduation day to get my MD. "At first, dreams seem impossible, then improbable, and eventually inevitable." 

Please send positive thoughts my way for my interview this week - I'll be interviewing with a program which I will likely rank in my top 2 choices. And I'll do better to keep you all updated. :)