Free Fallin’

As Match day comes steadily closer and closer and thoughts of the future come creeping in, despite attempts to push them away, I can’t help but contemplate the idea of jumping off a cliff….

Now, before you call a psych consult and consider my mental stability, I refer to jumping off a cliff not realistically, but instead metaphorically!

The idea of jumping off a cliff is something that all fourth year medical students around the nation are having to figure out how to do, inherently, but don’t realize it. For so long, we have had the parachute of certainty and the wings of a meticulously thought out plan to keep us safe, but we now are forced to embrace a new friend, an uncomfortable friend, uncertainty, as we wait for the single envelope on March 20th that will dictate if the odds are in our favor for residency. 

Continue Reading →

Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil: Productivity

Call me fanatical… but is it just me, or do we find value in productivity, in the busyness of each day, in the “go go go” mentality, in the ability to check things off our to do list? 

Is it just me, or do we find our value and label ourselves based off our accomplishments, off of what we can do, what we look like, the validations of others, and what we essentially have taken from society to be a yardstick of our personal value and worth to the world?

Is it just me, or would we rather be busy with tasks, inherently forgetting the value and joy in doing them, just to cross the finish line and “win” than being intentionally present, still, and fully aware of the emotions of the mind, heart, and body occurring directly in a moment? 

Continue Reading →

To Love Our Patients

It started when I was young. My Papou (“grandfather” in Greek) had died. I remember standing in a line, surrounded by people in black, in a room that seemed oddly ornate. My Papou lifeless, yet full of strength, integrity, and compassion. He looked different in a suit, something I only saw him wear to church, where he would stand proudly, and loudly, in the first row. Instead, my memories of him included him wearing scrubs or an old flannel out on the farm.

Continue Reading →

Why We Run

Each foot hits the ground with increasing force, stamping resilience into the rest of the body. The hot, humid air is stifling the motivation that began with the run. My whole body begins to regret the decision to run today, but there is no choice except to finish the out and back. Two more miles until air conditioning and lying on the apartment floor with my feet up because a PE teacher once told me that was a good thing to do. I remind myself on the last hill that I chose to do this.

Continue Reading →

Struck By Lightning

I have wrestled with this blog post for months now. After the circumstances of this past year, many have asked me to write a blogpost… to tell my story… but frankly I have just wanted to forget this past year.

For the many not aware of what happened, let me tell you. I began medical school in July of 2018. As real classes began in August 2018, I was not able to adapt to the intense stress like my classmates were. My body began shutting down in response to the stress, and I was experiencing severe numbness on my right side. Our school placed an emphasis on preventative healthcare so I decided to see a doctor in October, at which point I had begun throwing up regularly in response to stress, as well as experiencing vision loss and intense headaches. After a lot of physical therapy, complications of care, and a second opinion, an appropriate diagnosis was made: an intradural lipoma that had caused a tethered spinal cord, with additional complications. It was not that I was weak and could not handle the stress, it was that the tethered cord had caused a Chiari, so my body physically could not handle any stress. 

Continue Reading →

How many countries can you see in one morning?

Costa Rica. Uruguay. Cuba. Puerto Rico. Mexico. Dominican Republic. South Carolina. Colombia.

Dr. López excitedly marked down the places of origin of each of the patients we had seen in his clinic that morning. It was impressive, like we were at the Olympics and there was a representative from nearly half the nations in the western hemisphere. But this was a family medicine clinic in Simpsonville, South Carolina – a state where 63.8% of the population is “White, not Hispanic or Latino”, and 27.3% of the population is “Black or African American”. It was beginning to seem like the entire 5.7% of S.C. that is “Hispanic or Latino” was a patient in this clinic. Of course that is not the case, but during my clinical rotations it has been a rarity to see this kind of diversity.

Continue Reading →

Cognitive Dissonance

I have grappled with this post, both with how to articulate the words and feelings I felt and still feel as well as with the deep-rooted embarrassment regarding the event.

I have grappled with whether this would birth distaste from family, shock from friends, or portend a less than respectable reputation.

I have grappled with the idea of both revealing a flaw, nay, a hurdle that although in the moment was the reality of my worst fear come to light, proved to enlighten, strengthen, and provide me with what God has put on my heart as a story to tell to encourage others.

I have grappled, and yet, am finally letting go of that fear. Humbly exposed, I write today with the end result that although may be to my detriment may hopefully be to the benefit and encouragement of others .

Everyone makes mistakes, right?

Continue Reading →

The History Will Tell You What You Need To Know

“Take the history.”

In medical school, I quickly learned this was the go-to answer that would always be right but also buy you a few more minutes to figure out which medical factoid your attending was really asking you about. Some clinical mentors would go so far as to say that a history was the only thing you really needed to make a diagnosis – forget physical exam, laboratory tests, imaging. Take the history.

Continue Reading →

A Letter to New M3s

Dear Rising M3s,

First things first, congratulations! You have officially moved past one of the hardest experiences in medical school (the dreaded Step 1). You are now entering the best two years of medical school, your clinical years. These are the years where you can finally begin to put all the knowledge you have absorbed over these first two years to use. These are the years where you finally start to practice medicine (you know, the thing you worked towards in college, studied your butt off for on the MCAT, and sweated through the application, interview, and waiting processes)!

Continue Reading →

A Familial Foundation

Leading up to Giving Day, I’ve been reflecting on how the generosity and sacrifices of others have influenced not only my decision to pursue a career in medicine, but also to persevere when things go south. My parents played a crucial role in making this reality possible, and I will forever be grateful to them. But last year, thanks to the UofSCSOMG Benevolence Fund (student emergency fund), I was able to visit two additional people in Mexico whom I respect deeply and were instrumental in setting the foundation for my medical career: my grandparents. Having the opportunity to spend time with my grandparents in the town of La Cañada Michoacán, Mexico, my birthplace, gave me greater insight into the chain of events that would ultimately lead to the start of my education in the United States.

Continue Reading →