Shifting Gears

Any of y’all know the difference between Leukemia and Lymphoma?

I thought I did…until last week happened.

I really had no idea how complex these cancers were. Like, you don’t just have leukemia. It’s broken up into various subtypes such as acute myelogenous leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia and chronic lymphoblastic leukemia. Same with lymphoma, it’s divided into two categories: Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Hodgkin’s is one type of lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin’s encompasses all the other types of lymphoma that isn’t Hodgkin’s. How convenient. 

Now you may be asking why I’m talking about these cancers.  Or you may not care as to why I’m talking about them and are just passively reading along. Well regardless, I’m talking about them because we just spent the last six days being lectured on everything about both of those cancers as well as other cancer-like disorders of the blood, radiation oncology (the Chair of the radiation oncology department at Wake gave us this lecture…and he’s another black man! Ayyyeeee!!), and all the different types of chemotherapy that exist, along with all the thousand-billion-million-gazillion freakin’ cancer drugs that come with it. (Our chemotherapy lecture was four hours long in total and the PowerPoint was 175 slides. How Sway? HOW???) So needless to say, that’s pretty much the only thing on my mind right now lol. While it has all been interesting, it’s also been hell trying to sort all this information out in an organized way…but I THINK I’ve finally been able to do so. I’ve realized that I’ve got to be even more flexible than I was last year in regards to learning and retaining all of the information coming at me from all directions. Too bad we have another whole week of new material to learn that has to do with clotting factors of platelets and all the disorders and drugs that come with it 😭😭😭😭😭. And that’s not even the best part. Our test on Hematology/Oncology is next Tuesday.

will smith church fresh prince of bel air faint fresh prince

It crept up on me so fast man. I don’t want to even think about how many questions could be on this exam. But here’s the thing. I don’t even care about these tests anymore…to an extent. I haven’t lost my mind, I promise. Of course I’m still going to put my best foot forward and do the best I can on each exam that I encounter. But unlike last year, doing well on these exams is not my main priority. I have this hell of a beast called Step 1 coming up sooner than I would like to think, and I fully plan on doing whatever it takes to effectively slay it. This means that during these organ system blocks, instead of trying to figure out what I think is going to be on the subject tests and studying accordingly, I’m going to be deeply entrenched in everything I’m learning. This means that I’ll be memorizing facts less and actually understanding pathways and systems more. I was doing this during the Neuroscience block last year as well, but not to the extent that I will be doing it this year, for everything I’m going to be learning now will be very high-yield for both the Step 1 exam and for my future as a physician. Besides, I believe that by studying in this fashion, I should be able to do well on the subject tests anyway. So bottom line is, I’m Step focused and am not gonna be sweating these tests that come along the way.

In addition to learning all of that info last week, we started our Healthcare Systems & Policy class as well as our Medicine and Patients in Society class (MAPS). In the policy class, we spent our first day learning a bit about economics and how it relates to healthcare in general. We then did a group activity where each group had to choose insurance policies for a population using limited funds. That was hard, I must say. Boy am I glad I don’t have that job in real life…I would feel horrible having to cut out funding for one service in order to fund another service. Based on how our professor described the overall objectives of this course, I have a good feeling that I’m going to like this class! As for the other class (MAPS), it’s literally the same ethics class that I was in last year. However, they’ve totally revamped it. (THANK GOD!) To sum up some of the changes they’ve made:

  • Instead of being tested on readings, we’ll be tested with questions that are similar to the ones we’re likely to see on Step
  • We don’t have to sit in small group discussions for 90 minutes anymore
  • Our assigned readings will be more up-to-date instead of being from the Stone Age
  • We have a poster presentation that’s due at the end of the semester…
    • I honestly don’t really wanna do it…but it’s definitely a vital skill that I don’t have yet. I gotta learn how to put together a research poster at some point 😅

I think that these changes will help to make this class more enjoyable overall. The class sure does have a lot of potential to be an awesome class…hopefully that potential will be realized this semester.

Welp. Gotta get back to studying now.

I hope that you had a great weekend and that you have a stellar week!

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain

– Black Man, M.D.

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