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
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.
"Instead of saying 'I don't have time' try changing it to 'it's not a priority' and see how that feels." -Laura Vanderkam
^^ For many of us with our overly packed schedules, career and/or family oriented commitments, even when we change our mindset to this, we still don't see eating well, exercise, sleep, and mindfulness as priorities.
To be honest, there's really no way to explain that feeling, the one you get when you realize you get to do EXACTLY what you've always dreamt of. That feeling where the tensions of stress/fear/anticipation just melt away.
Very frequently, I get messages from the curious (mostly pre-meds or healthcare professionals) asking me how I do it-- maintain a marriage while being in the medical field. To be honest, I still haven't learned how to react or how to answer. It's hard to answer a question that had never before crossed my mind because 1) I've never done medicine without him in my life and 2) it's fairly seamless and effortless, assuming you have a good partner.