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
Ever since that glorious and emotional Fellowship Match day back in December, the title of this blog post has been one of my most frequently asked questions. It's funny because to me, it doesn't even seem like a question (doesn't everyone want to do GI?) but when I take a step back and really think about what this specialty entails I start to laugh because I get it.
I was wondering when I would get around to writing this blog and wrapping my thoughts around this topic. It's touchy, sensitive, and requires a lot of self-reflection (something that takes a lot of effort when you're knee deep in work and would rather just share a picture of your smoothie bowl next to a stethoscope.) I hope this blog post captures my intent to make fun of, but also defend myself and others in medicine who choose to have a presence on social media. We do a lot of funny things but when I take a step back and look at the intentions, I think we're doing good here.
I've been wanting to share my thoughts on this topic because apart from questions related to medical training, it's the most popular inquiry I receive. My message center is filled with questions like "How much collagen do you think I should be consuming a day?," and "Which probiotic should I be taking?
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.