Scanning The Future

I’m one week into my Radiology elective and I must say, I’m certainly glad that I not only decided to select this rotation, but also that I ended up placing it at the tailend of my fourth year. 😊

It has been a real chill week, yet I’ve learned a lot of useful information about chest x-rays, CT scans, joint x-rays and MRI scans of the musculoskeletal system while working with the radiology residents and fellows. It’s amazing to watch how they are able to describe their findings in such detail as well as how they navigate through the various imaging modalities in order to accurately interpret an image. I was also able to appreciate what actually happens when an image study is sent to the Radiology department for interpretation and I ended up receiving helpful tips from the residents, fellows and attendings regarding the appropriate indications of sending in image studies for interpretation. Getting the opportunity to learn more about their perspective of healthcare delivery will definitely encourage me to think more about what imaging studies I order for my patients in the future and also think critically about why I decide to order them.

Although I was blindsided by the fact that there would be more work on this rotation than I expected (we have to write about an interesting case every day, deliver two separate five-minute presentations about interesting patients at some point during the rotation and take a final exam at the end of the rotation that’s based on the lectures that residents give us daily 🙄), I’ve still been having a great time so far and I’ve had more than enough time to get work done not only for this rotation, but for my other responsibilities as well (I have no idea why my list of responsibilities continues to grow when I’m just tryna chill 😩). However, I’ve been also taking some time to relax and thoroughly enjoy the free time I have; I’m definitely not about to take this hard-earned free time for granted.

Outside of reading diagnostic images and attending lectures, I spent some time last week providing input at a focus group dedicated to boosting the recruitment side of future admissions efforts at my school. I also spent some time interviewing prospective medical students for the fourth (and final) time this school year, getting my SNMA Region organized so that we are fully prepared for the Annual Medical Education Conference in April, and making preparations for both Match Day and Graduation Weekend. The more I think about this transition to the next phase of my life, the more unreal it seems. Like, I’ll have confirmation of my next destination in less than two weeks and I’ll be a full-fledged physician in less than three months! And from there, I have the potential to do whatever I want with my budding career!

excited dave chappelle GIF

It’s both thrilling and nervewracking at the same time, but I’m honestly much more excited about it all than I am nervous. So much work, time and sacrifice has been put into this mission, so I deserve to be excited about this next phase in my journey! I’ve come a long way from fighting vigorously for my hard-earned spot in medical school a few years ago and an even longer way from my teenage years, where the concept of becoming a physician was an idea that I believed in and was starting to work towards, but at the same time was one that almost felt unreal to me simply because it had seemed like it would take FOREVER to achieve the goal of becoming a doctor. All these years later, it’s incredible that I’m going to be obtaining my medical degree and am going to FINALLY turn this long-standing idea into a reality! 🙌🏿🙌🏿🙌🏿

Figured I would go ahead and end the post here on a high note! I hope that your week ends up being a marvelous one! 😄

“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” – Madam C.J. Walker

– Black Man, M.D.

Marathon Days

I’ve definitely been spending much more of my waking hours in the hospital than out of it as of late. I’m here acting like that hasn’t been a thing ever since third year started, but I’ve particularly noticed it these past couple of weeks. Maybe it’s because unless I happen to be gazing out of a window in the hospital, I don’t see daylight much these days. Shoutout to these frigid winter months. Maybe it’s because I’ve been consistently waking up at the ridiculously early time of 4:15 AM each day and getting back home well past 5 PM on a normal basis, sometimes ending my shift as late as 7 PM. Or maybe it’s because I haven’t had anywhere near as much free time as I’ve been able to work in during the past several months leading up to this rotation, so I just feel like I’m on a continuous grind. Regardless of whatever it is, I’ve definitely been feeling like I pretty much live at the hospital. 😅

I’ve been staying very busy while scrubbing in and out of surgeries, attending meetings, attempting to study, filling out applications, trying to get my future together and checking in on patients, and I’ve been learning so much while I’ve been doing so. I’ve also realized that because of my schedule, I haven’t seen a good amount of my friends in some time and I’ve been paying less attention to what has been going on in the outside world. It’s really crazy how fast time can fly by you and what you can miss when you’re deeply focused on a particular task. In this case, the task is performing as well on this Surgical Oncology service as I can while trying to keep up with deadlines, meetings, assignments, my studies, leadership roles, my family and this blog. I’ve been able to keep everything in check so far only because I’ve been making a determined effort to effectively utilize the little free time I have during my marathon days and on the weekends. Praise God for the weekends!

dancing dolls yas GIF by Lifetime

Although the time I’ve spent on this service so far has kept me very busy and has forced me to become more coffee-dependent than usual, there’s no doubt at all that I’ve been getting my money’s worth! From being allowed to have full control of the camera during a laparoscopic procedure to burning off vessels during a bilateral mastectomy, I’ve definitely been made to feel like I’m a useful part of the team, which I’ve really appreciated. I’ve even been able to work on my suturing skills by helping (okay, okay, attempting to help) close surgical wounds on some of the patients that we’ve operated on. Also, while in the operating room (a place that I’ve now become very accustomed to) and in the clinic, the attending physicians that I work side-by-side with further ensure that I’m getting my money’s worth by assessing my knowledge base and then sharing their own knowledge with me. It has been a wonderful learning experience so far, and with this upcoming week being my last week on this service, I’m going to make sure to soak in as much as I can because this may very well be the last time I ever get to see these kinds of operations.

Overall, I’ve liked my experience on this rotation so far. But if there’s something I’ve learned these past two weeks, it’s that you gotta more than like Surgery to want to pursue it….you have to absolutely LOVE it. You have to love it because you’ll be spending a TON of time in the operating room learning how to perform various techniques in many different types of operations, and when you’re not in the O.R. you’ll be very busy managing the multiple patients that you are actively caring for. This lifestyle would leave little time to do other things outside of your job, for you would be practically spending a vast majority of your waking hours at the hospital. That’s not to say that surgeons don’t have the free time to do whatever else they want to do, because they can definitely find time to do other things that they are passionate about. But with that said, I believe that the happiest surgeons are the ones who absolutely love what they do for a living. I’m so thankful that we have people who love to do surgery, because we absolutely need them and it’s not a career path built for everybody. Shoutout to y’all who are embarking or have already embarked on this career path!

da mvp GIF

I’m all ready to take on this last week of Surgical Oncology, and am even more ready to start my experience on the Ophthalmology service next week! It’ll be nice to have some more free time to study and get other things done as well but with that said, I’ll forever cherish the unique experiences I’ve had on this service.

Have an awesome Super Bowl Sunday and a glorious start to Black History Month! I’ll most likely be missing the majority of the game and the commercials due to my insanely early bedtime…but that’s okay because in return, I get the amazing privilege to help improve the lives of people stricken with cancer! 😄😄😄

“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.” – Bill Bradley

– Black Man, M.D.

Still Chugging Along

Shoutout to this extra hour we got today!

Because of this extra hour, I was able to get through this past Friday’s lecture, get my laundry done, cook my lasagna, write this post, and STILL have time to continue studying tonight. And the best part is, I woke up at noon! 😏

One thing that always annoyed me about Daylight Savings is the fact that it gets dark so early…but now that I’m always up by 7 AM, it will actually be nice to have the sun halfway out by the time my alarm slaps me out of my dreams. I usually study my afternoons and nights away regardless, so it doesn’t really matter to me anymore that it’s going to get dark early. Plus it’s getting cold outside so you won’t catch me enjoying nature after class or anything. So again, shoutouts to this extra hour!

Also, about that MIRACULOUS final play of the UM vs. Duke game last night…yooooooooo I’m still trippin’ over it. I damn near lost my voice watching it because I was mad that they started lateral passing….I was yelling at my screen because I really thought it was gonna all end on some BS…but then I was like, “this could ACTUALLY work”….and then by the time Elder started sprinting to the endzone to score, I had lost my mind. It didn’t help that I already had a bit of Ciroc in my system (s/o to Diddy). The best part of it all was that I was watching it with a couple Duke fans that were talking hella mess right before the kick return because they were up by one point with eight seconds left. The football team really needed that win, considering the insane week they’ve been having. (R.I.P. Dana Smith). It’ll also give them the confidence they need to smash UVA this weekend at Homecoming. (I’m still hella salty I’m missing Homecoming this year…but there’s always next year. SMH.) But anyways, that whole scenario definitely made my night, even if it was a hella controversial call. If y’all wanna talk controversy, let’s talk about why we don’t have six national titles…

That win made my already great weekend that much better. Between being Trinidad James (LMAO) at the Halloween party that Wake threw and going to WSSU’s (Winston-Salem State University) homecoming party, it ended up being one of the better weekends I’ve had so far in good ol’ Winston-Salem. You would be surprised at how much free time you can make for yourself in your first-year of med school if you schedule your studies and commitments right lol. Too bad I probably won’t have that much fun on a weekend again here until who knows when. *Sigh.*

I’m glad to say that I have 17 days of anatomy left until I’m finally done with it all. It has been a rich experience and I’m happy to say I’ve learned a ton of useful information…..but I’m over it. I like learning in lab and all too, but I’m also over going to mandatory labs to dissect. Shiii, I just need a little break from medical school in general. Thank God for Thanksgiving. I’m so ready to go home and chill for a little while. It’s taking all I have to get through this last section of anatomy. As for the test on the head & neck region that I took a little over a week ago, it ended up being by far my best test as of yet! Turns out those brain lesion artery questions and the nerves on the practical didn’t end up tanking me. 😎 So that makes my personal record 2-for-2 now, I’m keeping the streak alive!! Let’s see if I can top this score on my next test… 😅

Well, that’s all I got today. Gotta get back to studying, it’s gonna be another long week since the faculty wanted to pack our schedules with afternoon classes (again) along with lectures and labs on the arms, and eventually legs. However, I’m looking forward to meeting my mentor I got paired up with at a faculty/student mixer later on this week, so that’ll be nice. Even though I know what my interests are in and what I’ll need to do in order to get where I want to be, it will be nice having an ophthalmologist dedicated to my personal and professional growth in medicine.

Lastly, to everyone going through the application cycle for medical school, STAY STRONG!!! Trust yourself, you’ve already made it this far!

Y’all have an awesome week! Thanks for reading!

– Black Man, M.D.