THE EXPERIENCE OF A DOCTOR DURING HER RESIDENCY, DISCUSSING TIMELY TOPICS REGARDING MEDICINE, PREVENTION, AND SELF-CARE. AN EXPRESSION OF PERSONAL STRUGGLE, GROWTH AND ACCOMPLISHMENT WITH A SPLASH OF HUMOR AND ADVOCACY FOR OTHERS ALONG THE WAY <3
I want you to know, right here right now and for every day forward, that you are so incredibly capable. You will fail your first chemistry test and suddenly believe for a few days that you are not enough for this path. I am so proud of you for quieting your own voice.
This is a question that commonly pops up in my email: "How do you stay well during medical school and residency?" This is usually prompted by a scenario such as, "I'm finding it hard to balance it all, I feel so overwhelmed, I'm not taking care of myself, the pressures to get good grades/perform well are just too much, I'm losing empathy, etc. etc." These messages are so devastating to read, because they're a collection of testaments to just how difficult it is to become a healthcare provider.
I've never had a newborn, but I imagine the fatigue is chronically similar to coming home from my first night shift after being on days for many weeks. I feel as if I'm floating, on another planet, and without that fourth cup of coffee, probably not safe to drive home.
Referring to colon health, I'm mainly speaking about the prevention and screening for colon cancer. However much of what I'll discuss is doubly applicable to other conditions such as diverticulosis (outpouchings of the colon prone to bleeding and infection) as well as the general maintenance of having regular bowel movements (I could write an entire book on the management of constipation, but that's for another day.)
If you've ever read my instagram captions, the number of times I've pronounced my love for Mondays is probably nauseating at this point. But I really can't help it-- no matter how much people try to create rain clouds on a Monday morning with phrases like "Is it the weekend yet?" "If Monday had a face I would punch it," and other various hate-statements. If we would all just be quiet and look around us, you might also join me in my sentiment that the day after Sunday is certainly the best.
The concept of "gut health" is nothing new, but thanks to an explosion of research backing its importance over the past decade, we're finally catching on to caring about it. We potentially have the power to mitigate a myriad of diseases by restoring a healthy flora, but understanding the mechanisms of the gut microbiome connectedness to disease and how to most effectively restore gut health is not fully understood.
Every rotation of residency is a joy to me in different ways-- either relaxed enough to really soak in knowledge and move about leisurely, or be challenged, stretched, molded into a better doctor by the hour due to intensity. I wanted to share the experience of the latter- a somewhat vulnerable display of what crosses my mind on some days.
A while ago, a 3rd year medical student and I were speaking and rather nonchalantly the student says, "You know, back in the day when white coats were actually meant for doctors." I remember being taken aback by the comment and being the non-confrontational type (unless I really know my opinion on something) I let it go and said nothing. But indeed, I have a LOT to say in response to that comment.
I've been wanting to write about this for a while now, but didn't know how. Partly, I feel I've contributed to the pressure of "achieving balance," especially in the healthcare field. The sweetest people comment or send me messages with the sentiments of being so impressed with me "doing it all." But really though, am I? And really though, should I be doing it all?
It's no surprise that I genuinely look forward to grocery shopping. Actually, I like it more than regular clothing shopping (which is a serious statement.) I feel at home when I walk into a store with a plethora of food products, excited to try new things while being comforted by being fully in stock of my essentials.