Christel Wekon-Kemeni, (5/8) M.D.

Yooo it just recently hit me that I’m 24 weeks into my third year, which means I’m at the halfway point of this school year!

shocked ellen degeneres GIF

That’s wild man! Unbelievable really. How’d I get to this point so fast, after only three rotations? (Internal Medicine – 12 weeks, Ob/Gyn – 6 weeks, Pediatrics – 6 weeks; duh, do the math Christel.) I’ve got five more to go, but all of them will now be four weeks each with the exception of Surgery, which will be an eight-week rotation. It’s going to be interesting to go through a four-week rotation for the first time…it was tough enough finding ways to study for a six-week one. And I can only imagine that these rotations coming up will go by even faster than the ones that I’ve already completed. Craaazyyy.

Now that I’ve got half of third-year behind me, I’ve officially leveled up to a “5/8” M.D. even though it’s not technically the end of the semester or anything. But then again, there really isn’t a such thing as a “semester” when it comes to third-year. Regardless, I’m a step even closer to attaining my medical degree after having finished the Pediatrics rotation that I thoroughly enjoyed. (I’m going to miss the lil’ kiddos 😔) I took my shelf exam this past Friday and although it was tough, I don’t think that it was as notoriously difficult as people made it seem. Then again, maybe these same people managed to make me nervous enough to prepare harder for it than I would have otherwise…because Lord knows I went Super Saiyan in preparing for this exam. I think I’ll be getting my score in the next couple of days, so we’ll see what’s really good once I get that. Soon after finishing up my test, I left NC for Miami to celebrate in my alma mater’s Homecoming festivities for the weekend. It was LIIITTT!!! I got to see a ton of old friends while showing my roommate a great time down there, and the football team showed the hell out with a very convincing win against VA Tech, making our record now 8-0! I couldn’t have asked for a better Homecoming experience! 😄😁😄

In order to be able to enjoy my dope weekend, I had to power through one final week of my Pediatric rotation, where I spent time in both the Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes clinics. There were a number of endocrinologic conditions that I had the opportunity to help manage while rotating through these clinics, and I was given a good amount of independence with handling the patients’ concerns. I even had a special moment with a patient’s father, who was both surprised and delighted to see me because I looked like him, dreadlocks and all. He had been nervous in coming to the clinic with his child and understood how his outward appearance could seem intimidating to some people. But by simply being present in the room, I had put him at ease immediately and he went on and on about how appreciative and proud he was to see someone like me in the position that I was in. It was very humbling to hear him say all of that without even knowing who I am!

Something else I appreciated during my week on that service was my interactions with my attendings. Because I was the only student they were working with, I received a lot of one-on-one time with them and they were very happy to work with me! We also had some wonderful conversations while waiting for patients to show up to their appointments. One of the convos I had with an attending focused on the importance of keeping an open mind while going through third year and fully taking in my experiences in each rotation by learning as much as I can. Although I had already realized the high importance of these mantras, something she said that I took into account was the fact that there will most likely be instances in the future where I’ll be using the knowledge that I’ll be acquiring throughout the year, regardless of what specialty I choose to go into. I can already hear the endless barrage of medical questions coming from neighbors, friends and family members in the near future. We also talked about how important it is to do what makes you happy to get up and go to work each day and how pretty much everyone is going to need a pediatrician at some point in their lives (that was her trying to sway me towards her field lol). I had similar conversations with other attendings as well as convos about the conditions of the patients and college football. Talking about football only worked to increase my excitement about my imminent trip!

excited arrested development GIF

There’s one more thing that I want to touch on before wrapping this post up. While at the diabetes clinic, I got the opportunity to interact with quite a few families with kids that had been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. As I talked with these patients, all I could think about was how tough it must be to have to deal with this medical condition…especially as a teenager. Like, it’s hard enough to be a teenager in the first place. Adding a chronic condition like diabetes to the mix does very little to help the adolescent experience. So with that said, it didn’t really surprise me when I met patients who weren’t compliant at all with their treatment regimen. Hell, I’d be pissed too if I had to, on an everyday basis, critically analyze what I ate in addition to doing several blood checks a day to monitor my sugar levels while most people around me got to live their lives freely. After all, besides from the fact that they had a dysfunctional pancreas that couldn’t pump out insulin, these were all normal, everyday kids who just wanted to fit in with their peers. God bless their hearts and the hearts of those of you who have to deal with Type 1 Diabetes or any other chronic conditions on a constant basis.

However, there were also patients who were very compliant with their treatment and who had a positive outlook on their life. They had come to the realization that although their situations were less than ideal, things could always be much worse. I truly commend them for their optimistic attitude and for just being grateful in general, because it surely isn’t easy living the lives that they live. I thought it was cool that the clinic provided materials such as cookbooks that were tailored to this patient population. I also was able to learn all about the gadgets that these kids use to give themselves insulin, and how their dosing schedules are set up throughout the day. Overall, my experience at the clinic made me even more aware of how fortunate I am to not have to deal with a lifelong chronic condition and provided a very important perspective that will influence my thoughts and actions throughout my career as a physician.

That’s all I got for you today! With another rotation down and my awesome Homecoming weekend complete, I’m ready to kick off my experience in Psychiatry! I’m sure that it’ll be quite a unique one…

Y’all be sure to have an invigorating week!

“A grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts to itself great things.” – Plato

– Black Man, M.D.

New Kids On The Block

Okay, I’m keeping this one short. Don’t got time to write a whole lot, and I don’t really have a whole lot to say other than the fact that I’m sadly finishing my Pediatrics rotation this week. And oh yeah, I have a notoriously tough shelf exam on Friday that I’m still actively working to prepare for. 😅

I just got back from a fun couple of days in Chapel Hill, where me, my girlfriend and a couple of close friends attended the UNC-Miami football game and watched Miami take down UNC in a game that shouldn’t have been close at all. But it’s whatever, we 7-0 baby!!! Okay I lied, it’s not whatever; we play VA Tech at our homecoming next weekend and they are not going to be an easy team to play. Plus our schedule gets even tougher after that game…so we’ll see how long our undefeated status will last. I got faith though!

Before going to Chapel Hill for the weekend, I had spent my week in the Newborn Nursery where I not only got to play with babies every day, but also learned how to perform routine physicial exams on newborns. Throughout the week, I also interacted with and gave discharge talks to the families of the newborns, witnessed firsthand the complex social situations that these babies were born into, listened to informative presentations on child abuse & child advocacy, and gained a ton of knowledge from the residents and attendings I worked with about the various medical conditions that can affect newborns. I even changed a couple of diapers, something that I hadn’t done in a number of years! (That exclamation mark doesn’t mean that I wasn’t excited about changing diapers…if anything, I was moreso surprised that I was actually doing it once more after all this time lol.) It was a really great experience in a chill environment and unlike in the inpatient setting, the vast majority of these babies were born healthy, meaning that there was more happiness than sadness going around in the nursery. I really enjoyed going to “work” each day, even on my Saturday morning shift. My team played a huge part in my happiness in the nursery; they were such fantastic people to work with! Also, you wouldn’t believe how much manpower it takes to transition a family from birth to discharge from the hospital. There’s SO much work that’s involved in making sure that a newborn is adequately taken care of in its first couple days of life, which is followed by multiple appointments at a Pediatrician’s office after the family is discharged. It’s funny to think that, once upon a time, we were all newborns who went through this whole baby shuffle.

The fact that I’m entering my last week of Pediatrics is so wild to me. It just all flew by so fast! And I’m sure that by now, you’re fully aware of how much I’ve been enjoying my experience in this rotation. I’m finishing up my Peds experience on the Endocrinology service, where I’ll be interacting with patients afflicted with various endocrine disorders in a couple of different clinics. I’m excited to relish in this opportunity and judging by the email I received from the doctor that I’ll be working with, I can already tell that it’s going to be yet another awesome week! Then I gotta take this shelf exam that literally everyone has said was tough as hell. But it’s all good, because I know I’ll be prepared for it by the time I take it! And then I’m going to have a dope weekend that I’m so looking forward to after I finish the test! 😄😄😄

 I hope you have an incredible week!

“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer

– Black Man, M.D.

Switching Up The Scenery

First of all, allow me to wish you a Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

The game tonight should be an interesting one. New England may be excited for another chance at being the best team in the league (yet again), but Atlanta is rising the hell up for this shot at greatness! I don’t really have an emotional investment into either team, but my eyes are gonna be glued to this game because it’s shaping up to be a great matchup. I’ll also be watching it with my girlfriend (who is a die-hard Falcons fan) and other friends, so tonight is going to be a great time! Well, unless the Falcons get pummeled…but I don’t forsee that happening.

You may be asking “how is this man watching the Super Bowl with his girl?” Or you may have cared less. Regardless, I’ll tell you how. I made an executive decision to take the time to visit her here in Miami since I’ll be stuck studying for Step in a few short weeks. Also, I wanted to change my scenery up a bit and study on the beach under palm trees and whatnot as opposed to my apartment in Winston or in a classroom in the medical school. It’s been quite lovely, to say the least. Sure, I may not be getting as much work done as I usually do, but I’m also not struggling to catch up. As a matter of fact, being down here has been extremely refreshing. I’ve talked to many of my old friends here and it’s been awesome seeing what they’ve been doing with their lives so far. While talking with them, they’ve been sure to remind me how amazing it is that I’m not only close to finishing my second-year in med school, but that I’m also handling the rigor pretty well while managing a whole blog on the side. It’s funny because although I tell myself that I’m blessed to be where I’m at on a constant basis, it’s very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day life of school and to almost forget that the material that I’m studying is not only advanced but also life-changing (all puns intended). It’s also easy to forget that having a blog isn’t really typical for a med student, because updating it has literally become second-nature to me now. Like, I don’t even think twice when I update it weekly and do the Health Career Spotlight Features on a regular basis. Speaking of, I’ve been repeatedly told by my friends down here that they absolutely love those features and have been imploring me to keep them up! Just hearing people say that, especially in person, has revitalized my efforts and has also proven to me how important this initiative is to a vast number of people, pre-med or not. So with that said, expect to see many more features in the future! In the words of Puff Daddy/P.Diddy/Diddy/Diddy-Dirty Money/Sean Combs, “And we won’t stoppp…’cause we can’t stop…

I don’t have much else to update you with…I’ve been down here since last Wednesday and have been balancing fun with work. I also took my MSK/Rheumatology exam this past Monday and passed it, although the test was more difficult than I anticipated. But alas, these subject exams have mattered less and less to me as Step has gotten closer and closer. We started the Endocrine/Reproductive block this past Tuesday and this final block of new material will go on until the beginning of March. Let me just tell you…you have no idea just how important and complicated your hormones are. The mechanisms are pretty insane…but I also find it so fascinating. I’m finding that I’m actually enjoying learning about the various hormones of the body and how they work in concert with one another. It’s going to be interesting learning about reproduction though…that hasn’t been one of my strongest areas in the past. But I believe that I’ll be able to master it once and for all this time!

That’s all I have for you today. Keep your head up and make this week an awesome one! Keep making those calls to your representatives and making your voice heard during this tumultuous time in this country! Don’t be afraid to make office visits too!

Stop limiting yourself to what you THINK you know you can accomplish. You’ll surprise yourself with what you can handle.

– Black Man, M.D.

New Year, Harder Hustle.

First things first.

I would like to wish each of you a


We all had both great moments and terrible moments last year, but through it all we were all able to not only learn from them, but grow from them as well. 2016 was a hell of a year in many different aspects. Best believe, 2017 will be a new year full of opportunities and further growth! Whether you plan on working on a new resolution or continuing to further improve on an already existing resolution, the arrival of the new year is definitely a wonderful and convenient checkpoint that is available for your usage. As for me, I’m using this checkpoint to not only improve on existing resolutions that I established for myself long ago, but to also double-down my efforts on school, for there is going to be quite a number of unusual challenges coming my way this year. From studying & taking the Step 1 exam to transitioning from second-year to third-year, I’m absolutely certain that I’ll be much busier than I have been in recent memory. However, the challenges that will surely present themselves to me this year will only serve to solidify my faith and strength as well as my determination in reaching the goals that I’ve set for myself. With patience, perseverance, and positive vibes, I’m sure that I’ll be able to handle any circumstances that may come my way and that I’ll be able to make the best out of them in order to further evolve into a better version of myself. You have the power to overcome the challenges that may run into you as well! As long as you can conceive it and believe it, you can absolutely achieve it!

With classes starting back up in a couple of days, it’s only right that I recap how the rest of my break went. It has actually been an awesome week! Ever since I wrote to you last Sunday, I’ve done quite a bit of travelling. As a matter of fact, I’ve been on an airplane on three separate occasions within this past week. And after leaving from Atlanta tomorrow, it’ll be four times. I’ve definitely set a new record for myself with that lol.

I spent the rest of Christmas Day with my family, cousins and close family friends, playing card games, FIFA and catching up with them throughout the night. We also had a pretty filling dinner! It was almost like a sequel to Thanksgiving Dinner! The next morning, I left home and drove to Greensboro, NC in order to catch a flight to Atlanta to spend some time with my girlfriend and her family. I’ve been straight up chillin’ since I got here, and have been continuously blessed with good food and company, just like I was back at home with my own family. I watched a good amount of football, Food Network (didn’t have much of a say in that), and Netflix, as well as hit up Lenox mall and the movies to watch Fences, starring both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. I then had to catch a flight last Thursday afternoon to Miami in order to attend a wedding that one of my fraternity brothers invited me to. I had only been to one wedding before, so I wasn’t really sure of what to expect. It turned out to be a really great time! It was a small, outdoor wedding and it was actually quite breezy. The reception was really fun too, and both the bride and groom looked ecstatic the whole time. I had a blast catching up with my brothers and am honored to have been able to attend the wedding ceremony. I flew back to ATL yesterday morning for New Years’ and went out to dinner with my girlfriend and her family at this all-you-can-eat Italian restaurant called Maggiano’s. Soon after that, I brought in the New Year with her, some of her sorority sisters, and some old friends that I hadn’t seen in quite a while. I then woke up this morning, praised God, and am now here typing this post. Like I said before, it has been an awesome week. I just have today and tomorrow left until I start up the never-ending grind again, but I’m ready for it. Could I use another week or two of break? Well, yeah. Of course I could. But beggars can’t be choosers right? So if I gotta suit up and get back to grinding on this Renal pathology, then so be it! Better to be mentally prepared for the grind than to be dreading it…POSITIVE VIBES PEOPLE!!!

I hope you all brought the New Year in a safe and fun way and that you start it off on a high note! Here’s to a blessed and prosperous 2017!

“Never allow waiting to become a habit. Live your dreams and take risks. Life is happening now.” – Paulo Coelho

– Black Man, M.D.

Hope On The Horizon

To think that it has been 15 years since over 3,000 people tragically lost their lives in the terrorist attacks that rocked the core of New York City, destroyed a massive part of the Pentagon, laid ruin to a rural field in Pennsylvania due to the efforts of some courageous passengers, and strengthened the resolve of the American people while simultaneously creating intense & deplorable Islamophobia in this country.

How crazy is that?

What’s just as crazy to me is the fact that there are teenagers alive today that weren’t even born when these catastrophic attacks took place. I still remember my young, wide-eyed 8-year-old self hearing about the tragedy over the intercom in my third-grade class right after having said the Pledge of Allegiance. I didn’t understand the full extent of the events that had just taken place, but I knew it wasn’t good because my teacher had gasped and looked like she was about to cry. As I type this post, I’m sitting here trying to imagine the horror that the people in D.C. and New York City must have felt on that morning, and the despair that the people on those four hijacked flights must have felt right before their lives were terribly snatched away from them. I’m also trying to imagine the anguish of the families and friends who lost their loved ones that day and the tremendous shock that was felt by the people in this country as well as in other countries across the world as the news of the tragedy reverberated across living rooms, offices, restaurants, and schools worldwide. It was a devastating day indeed, and it left millions of people scared to step foot on a plane for some time. But that day also brought our nation together not only in grief, but in strength and fortitude. Today is a day to honor all of those individuals who lost their lives in those atrocious events, and to remind ourselves never to forget what happened that day. May their souls rest in eternal peace. #NeverForget

On another note, I’ve had a pretty efficient week. In fact, it’s been so efficient that I’ve actually been able to finally get caught up on all my material! Visiting my girlfriend for Labor Day weekend turned out to be very fun and refreshing, even while I was studying for hours at a time during my stay down in Miami. I think both the dramatic change in my surroundings and having her as well as other old friends there really helped to reinvigorate my focus, thus allowing me to catch up on my lectures even as I spent time watching college football, movies and catching up with people and hanging out.

I only came back to Winston because I had my mandatory Clinical Skills class to attend on Thursday afternoon, where we worked as a group through a case where a patient presented with abrupt chest pain, practiced physical exam maneuvers on each other involving the HEENT (Head, Eyes, Ears, Nose, Throat) & upper extremities, and interviewed admitted patients on the wards in order to gather their History of Present Illness. Along with interviewing them, we were able to listen to their hearts and check their capillary filling pressure (checking to see how fast blood returns to their nail beds after applying pressure on them). After learning all about heart sounds and whatnot, I was able to appreciate the beats that the patient’s heart made and could verify that his heart was relatively healthy. Fun fact, the sounds you hear in a heartbeat is due to the closing of the valves in your heart. The first heartbeat is the closing of the mitral and tricuspid valves while the second heartbeat is the result of your aortic and pulmonary valves closing. Systole occurs when you push blood out of your left & right ventricles into your aorta & pulmonary artery while diastole occurs when blood flows from the left & right atria to the left & right ventricles, respectively. That’s an extremely basic overview of blood sounds and blood flow in the heart, but I figured it would be cool for you to know a little about the organ keeping you alive right now. After class, I had to do a whole write-up of the patient case we went through and turn it into my Clinical Skills coaches. That was fun. Felt the sarcasm there?

That same afternoon, I attended an Underrepresented Minority Meet-and-Greet event at the school that I had been invited to weeks before. It was pretty awesome. The unlimited appetizers were fantastic too lol. But besides that, I got the chance to meet quite a number of minority physicians working either at Wake or in the Winston-Salem community while at the same time having casual conversations with the new Chief Human Resources Officer (she’s such a nice woman…she happens to be Black too 😏) and the Dean of the Wake Forest School of Medicine. It’s cool that the school hosts events like this; seeing people that look like me in high positions of power on a continual basis really has an empowering effect on my psyche. I’m happy that I was able to attend such an event. Representation really matters.

Well, time to get back to the grind. Gotta get through this last week of Cardiology before my test next Monday. Wait, this is my last week of Cardiology…..awww DAMN!! I swear we just started this unit. Our course director recently told us that a number of other schools study Cardio for 6-8 weeks, but we only get a little less than four weeks dedicated to this subject 😐. I guess that explains why I was struggling to keep up at first…

Make this week an exceptional one! Who’s stopping you?

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

– Paulo Coelho

– Black Man, M.D.

Family Time


Week 2 of summer vacation has been just as relaxing as Week 1 was.

I could get used to this. 😎

My week back home in VA was comforting, to say the least. I spent a good amount of time with my siblings, who were all ready to play some Monopoly as soon as I got back home. (I started running the game after a slow start and knocked out a few people….but then the dice turned on me and I literally landed either in jail or on one of my brother’s overpriced-ass hotels every time I rolled. I turned into a broke boy with mortgaged properties before my brother ruthlessly slayed me. 😐) I also played a ton of FIFA with my youngest brother and beat him a few times. Unfortunately for my pride, he beat me more than a few times….and he talked hella trash throughout each game. Lol, I wanted to slap him with the back of my hand man. He really has finally hit my level in the one game that I used to consistently crush him in when he was younger. I played a couple of one-on-one basketball games with this same boy and with another crushing blow to my pride, he beat me both times. (We did have a one-point difference with our second game tho…) In my defense, this boy is about 6’1 and balls routinely. I also do admit I’m trash at hooping. 😅 It’s just wild to see my little brothers not only grow into young adults, but to also beat me in things that I used to destroy them in. SMH.

Most of my siblings and I also went laser tagging with some cousins and friends, mostly because I’m a big kid at heart and really wanted to go. That was a ton of fun! And I can’t forget about being able to go to my baby sister’s Student of the Month ice cream celebration that she was so excited for me to come to; she really was happy that I came to her school for that. 😊 I got to spend some quality time with my parents as well. I found it pretty freakin’ cool that I could talk with both of my parents about medical things now that I’ve finished my first year. My dad and I were talking about a number of different drugs on various occasions throughout my stay at home while I was able to assist my mom with a case in some of her doctorate level work. Oh, and the free homemade dinners made by my mom and one of my sisters were soooo clutch. Can never take free food for granted these days man.

Good times, good times.

You really can’t replace family man.

One more thing, I was asked by one of my former optometrists (who actually also keeps up with this blog, shoutout to her!) to visit her and her family when I got in town. So I did along with my brother (not the youngest one) and she introduced me to her stepdaughter who is currently in college and is deciding on what health track she wants to pursue. We all ended up talking for a couple of hours about the possibilities she could pursue, about what medical school was like, how her classes are treating her, and much more. It eventually became clear that she likes dentistry more than any of the other options she has, so she may be checking your teeth out at some point in the future! You better be flossing up! I was real happy to be able to talk with her and to help her in some way with her decision. I was even more touched that my optometrist reached out to me to do so. She even provided Wingstop for lunch! What a kind, kind woman. 😄

So now I’m back in Miami, geared up and ready to start this Motivation summer program. We’re checking in the students today and will officially start the program with Orientation tomorrow. I’ve been looking forward to meeting these twenty-three students and I’m sure that they’ve been looking forward to starting this program for a while now. Time to see what these students are made of! 😈

Hope that you have a brilliant week! Positive vibes over negative vibes!

“The more you are thankful, the more you attract things to be thankful for.”

– Black Man, M.D.

Christel Wekon-Kemeni, (1/4) M.D.

*sniff*  *sniff*

Aye, you smell that?


What does it smell like? You can’t tell?

*sniff*  *sniff*

I’ll tell you what it smells like.

It’s the sweet, sweet, sweeeeeeet smell of THE END OF MY FIRST YEAR OF MED SCHOOL!!!

You know what that means? If you couldn’t tell from this post’s title, it means that I’m 25% of the way towards obtaining my medical degree! (Let’s not think about the other 75% in the way right now) 25%! That’s half of a half! That’s equivalent to a huge piece of some warm apple pie! That’s a quarter of a dollar bruh!

I’m getting the feeling that you get the idea 😅.

It’s pretty cool saying that I’m a second-year student now, mostly because I’m now one step above being on the bottom of the totem pole lol. The personal growth that I’ve gone thru this past year has been quite an experience. It’s also been interesting watching all of my classmates expand their knowledge base throughout the year. It’s hard to believe (and quite hilarious) that there was a time when most of us couldn’t clearly tell the difference between sympathetic and parasympathetic innervation 😂. What I’m really looking forward to this upcoming fall is helping out the incoming first-years and being able to provide them calming & positive vibes whenever the stress of school begins to try and creep up on them. But like I said in my last post, I’m very ecstatic about this much-needed break from lectures and exams this summer. Having the time to do things that don’t require me preparing for a looming exam is becoming more and more of a foreign concept to me…truthfully, it’ll feel a little weird not having to study for an exam for a while. I ain’t complaining though. I’ll be happy to find things to do that doesn’t involve studying. Plus, it’s not like I won’t be keeping myself busy with the Motivation pre-med summer program that I’m helping out with. By the way, I almost forgot just how HOT & HUMID it gets down here in Miami during the summer…

Soooo remember that third Neuroscience test I told you about on my last post? The one that I had a good feeling about before I took it? Yeah, the one that had questions about Xanax and whatnot on it. Turns out that my performance on that test was the best performance I’ve had on any subject test thus far! Not only did I hit my personal goal for the year, I also actually beat the average score in my class for once! I think the last time that happened was at some point in Anatomy or something. If you didn’t already know, I’m in a class full of geniuses. So yeah, although it’s not one of my main goals, it’s nice to see that I’m able to beat the average every once in a (long) while. As for the ethics test (more like quiz) I took last Monday, it wasn’t that big of a deal. It was 20 questions and most of the questions had multiple answers that we could pick. Most of it was pretty much common sense and a couple questions were based specifically on some of the readings assigned to us. *sigh* It pains me because this class has so much potential to be better…and I’m not a fan of these quizzes. But that’s neither here nor there. Moving right along. I finished my year up with the cumulative 160-question Neuroscience exam on Friday. That was A LOT of questions to click thru. However, the vast majority of the questions were much clearer than the questions we’ve been getting on the previous three Neuroscience exams. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that these questions weren’t written by our professors…anyways, the exam wasn’t too bad. But like I said, it took forever to get through. After submitting my exam, the first thing I wanted to do was jump in the air and click my heels. Knowing myself tho, I would 1) look like a damn fool and 2) pull a muscle in my leg and/or trip and bust my lip open. Ain’t no one got time for that. So I proceeded to be normal by saying bye to a few people in the school and taking my happy tail on home. Overall, I feel like I finished the year off with a BANG, which is all I could have asked for.

Ahhh Summer ’16, Summer ’16.

You’re finally here.

So much to look forward to in the upcoming weeks. You surely will NOT be wasted. Gotta enjoy your presence to the fullest since it’s my last summer break and all…

Go on and start your week on a prosperous note! ✌🏾

If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t, you’ll see obstacles.

– Wayne Dyer

– Black Man, M.D.


What A Week

Aiiiiiight… this material for Neuroscience Exam #2 is starting to stack up on a youngin’.

We’ve had three weeks of lectures (23 lectures to be exact), and we have another 10 coming up this week. And our test is next Monday. We’re gonna be tested on material that encompasses all 33 lectures.

So with all that said the real question is how did I end up back in Miami this weekend? Lol I can’t seem to stay away from this place…plus my girlfriend and I are doing what we can to make this long-distance thing work. In order to be down here however, I had to grind hella hard last week and make sure I was on top of my studies at all times…which meant locking myself in my apartment and enjoying the company of general anesthesia, traumatic brain injuries, epilepsy, movement disorders, anticonvulsants, yeah you get the idea. So I’m happy to say that I’m all caught up in terms of lecture material, but I’m by no means comfortable for this test yet. ESPECIALLY after the fiasco that was last exam a.k.a. the first test on the brain that I tested my brain on. Ever since then, I’ve been searching for ways to study smarter while at the same time studying harder (Idk how much harder I can study 😩) and have also been making sure to look at the things that the professors told us not to worry about because as you are well aware, we “didn’t have to worry” about drugs for last test….aaaannnd we all know what happened with that. 😐 Gotta keep my guard up. At the end of the day though, if I’m passing then I’m passing. Being able to comfortably apply the material that I’m learning to the USMLE Step 1 exam and to patient encounters in the future is more important to me than getting a high score on these exams in front of me today.

I know I said I locked myself in my apartment this past week to stay caught up, but I also had to leave at times for my mandatory afternoon class sessions. We also had a mandatory lecture one morning where we not only learned from a neurologist about what different movement disorders looked like, but also witnessed what the terrible condition of Huntington’s disease looked like in real-life. One of the neurologist’s patients came in to talk to us about what life was like with the condition and showed us what she could and couldn’t do because of her affliction. Fortunately, she’s still in the early stages of it so she’s able to drive when it’s not raining and she can still do daily activities by herself, but she’s had a very hard life ever since being diagnosed with Huntington’s. Because the disease is genetic, she was forced to witness her mother succumb to it…so sadly, she has the dreadful knowledge of what’s next to come for her. But through it all she’s been trying to maintain a positive attitude about life, which was evident with her interaction with us. She was joking around and making light of her condition, but also strongly desired to be saved from her suffering. Huntington’s is a terrible, terrible disease man.

In my clinical skills class, we’ve been learning how to conduct a neurological exam. It consists of the set of maneuvers your doctor makes you do whenever you go to a checkup. You know, where you follow his/her finger, resist his/her force, walk in a straight line, etc. After practicing the maneuvers with classmates, it’s been confirmed that I don’t have a patellar reflex…😅. That’s where your leg is supposed to kick out after being tapped on the patellar tendon at the knee. Both my class facilitator and another doctor didn’t believe me and banged on my knee endlessly to make it work, but they got nothing. So if any of you out there happen to not have a patellar reflex, don’t worry. We’re in this together. In the same class, we talked about how different it is to talk to older patients as opposed to middle-aged and younger patients. We had a discussion about how ageism is subconsciously reinforced throughout the healthcare setting due to the fact that most of the elderly people we encounter are typically frail or sick in some way, shape or form. Because of that, healthcare professionals and students make the assumption that an elderly patient will need to be accommodated in some shape or form, so they either dread interacting with them or end up treating the elderly patient like a kid that doesn’t understand certain things. Adding to that, the healthcare professional or student will typically consult one of the patient’s family members or friends instead of directly interviewing the elderly patient. All of this leads to a good amount of frustration from a number of elderly patients and thus negatively impacts the doctor-patient relationship between them as a whole. I believe it’s important to not only interact with elderly patients the same way you interact with other patients but also to realize that older patients have lived lives full of experiences up to the point that you met them. Disregarding them as old, frail people that are hard of hearing and are lost in their own world is just wrong. Some elderly people may even be in much better physical and/or mental shape then the younger doctors that treat them. Funny huh?

And last but not least, we discussed the topic of allocating health resources to certain patients that need them in my medical ethics class this past week and the agonizing decision-making that goes into allocating these resources. As a matter of fact, we took it a step further and actually played a game called “Who gets to live?” where my small-group class served as an allocating committee and chose which three out of five patients would receive dialysis. Our choices were based on various factors of the patients’ lives that were given to us one at a time. We were given the patients’ marital status, age and # of children at first and were forced to make a decision on who would receive dialysis and who would die. After that initial decision, we were then slowly exposed to their salary/insured status, occupation, comorbidities and race/ethnicity and we had to make decisions each time we were given a new factor of their life. It was agonizing man. I literally felt like I was allowing people to live while sentencing others to death based on my judgment of their life….which is exactly what I was doing. While playing this “game”, I felt like each of us were creating some kind of “value” or “worth” for the patients we were deciding on, whether it be social worth, economic worth, etc. It had me thinking seriously about how this actually used to occur in real life before funding was passed to allow dialysis for anyone that needed it. I couldn’t imagine having to be on a committee that decided who would perish simply because there weren’t enough resources to go around. When it came to race/ethnicity, my group unanimously agreed that race shouldn’t be a factor in choosing who got to live. But then one of our facilitators brought up the point of “restorative justice”, describing that one could argue that race/ethnicity should be considered when you take into account that some people in certain groups (ex. African-Americans) were simply born into the condition they were in due to social injustices and the environment they grew up in that reflects those said injustices. The foods these people eat and the habits they pick up would be a direct reflection of how they were raised/the environment they grew up in, which in turn could influence their long-term health. She really knows how to keep us thinking man. This session was, without a doubt, the most fun/interactive one we’ve had all year. If each ethics session was structured in a similar way this one was, I feel like it would be a MUCH more popular class.

I sure left you with a good amount to read this time around lol. Definitely made up for last week’s post…

Hope you have an extraordinary week!

Pressure can burst pipes and create diamonds. Only you can decide what it will do to you.

– Black Man, M.D.

Testing My Brain on a Test on the Brain

First off, Happy Easter to each of you who celebrate this glorious day!

And if not, Happy Sunday to you!

I woke up this morning half-expecting the sun to be shining radiantly in the blue sky, birds to be chirping, sunflowers to be sprouting, bunnies to be hopping around, etc. You know, your typical PBSkids-looking sunny spring day. I got dressed and walked outside into a dreary forecast of clouds, fog, mist, and coldness. You know, the kind of thing you see in a graveyard in a scary movie. What an Easter.

That didn’t screw up my mood tho! Then again, now that I think about it, what if this dreary weather is a grim reminder of my first Neuroscience exam I have…tomorrow???



Yup that’s right, I got my first Neuroscience exam tomorrow. You would think that Ola Ray’s reaction above would be precisely how I feel right now. But if you know me well enough or have been following this blog for a while, you would also know that I’m not one to really ever freak out…unless I just witnessed Michael Jackson transform into a werewolf and was about to slaughter me in the middle of the woods. Then yeah, I would be screeching like there’s no tomorrow. I like to keep my cool and to believe that I can trust myself to do well after all the long hours of studying I’ve subjected myself to. Honestly, I know I probably don’t share the same view of this block as a great portion of my classmates but I’m actually finding this material to be highly interesting. It’s almost as if I’m enjoying studying about the central nervous system (brain & spinal cord), everything that can go wrong with it and how to fix different pathologies relating to it via surgery procedures and drugs. I know, I know, I’m not smoking anything. I swear. Maybe I like it so much because it’s extremely relevant to what I’m going to be seeing as a doctor. Or maybe because the brain is literally the cornerstone of the human body and it has so much power over what we do in our daily lives. Or I could just be a straight-up nerd. It’s okay, you can point at me and yell out, “NEEERRRRDDD!!!” I’ve come to accept that title a long time ago. 😂 Regardless, it’s been nice to actually understand how strokes work, how the brain coordinates movement/pain/sensation/emotion/homeostasis/yadda yadda yadda and what the drug commercials are advertising as well as how those drugs work in the body. Don’t get me wrong, this ish ain’t easy. It’s actually SO MUCH information…like I’ve been having study-thons these past couple of weeks. But the material has definitely been capturing my interest. So with all that said, I’m ready to take on this test tomorrow, rain or shine!

Also, I FINALLY found out what I will be doing this summer. Turns out I’m going to be a Teaching Assistant for the wonderful Minority Students In Health Careers Motivation Program, run by the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at the Miller School of Medicine in Miami! (Talk about a mouthful.) I just can’t seem to stay away from South Florida 😅. I’m looking forward to meeting the students in the program as well as sharing my first-year experiences with them as they are looking to pave their way into the medical field. I’m just glad I was given the opportunity to make something out of my summer; Lord knows I don’t know how to sit idle. I also wasn’t landing any of the paid research positions I was applying to, so I really wasn’t sure what I was about to occupy myself with this summer. As a matter of fact, one program still hasn’t hit me back up yet now that I think about it…not that it matters anymore anyway. I’m more than happy with this TA position I was blessed with.

There’s a couple more things I wanna touch on before I wrap up. First, in our medical ethics class for the past couple of weeks, we’ve been talking about death, the complicated feelings associated with it, and how to deal with it as doctors both on a patient and an individual level.Yeah…it was pretty depressing. We delved into what our visions were on a “good” death, what our visions of death were based on, the moral significance of death, and how American culture views it. We also touched on why it’s still very difficult for physicians to deal with mortality even when we all understand that everyone has an end to their life. It wasn’t a fun topic to have, but it did get me thinking on how much power a society has on influencing the way we think about things, including mortality. On another note, we had a nationally known speaker named Robyn Ochs come speak to our class on the topic of bisexuality. She was funny man. I ended up learning a ton from her presentation; things I really never considered at all when it comes to the LGBTQ population. I’m glad I was able to attend and further diminish any ignorance I may have had for the population. Ignorance is bliss y’all…it truly is a danger in this world.I’ll be sure to think back to Mrs. Ochs whenever I have patients in the future that identify themselves in that group.

That about does it! Have a lovely week!

A change in your life can only come from a change within yourself.

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S: I’m still salty I didn’t get to go to the SNMA conference this past weekend…and that my bracket is completely busted after Kansas’s loss last night. Way to go Jayhawks.

Back To The Grind

Annnnnd just like that, spring break is over.


Time to get back to the grind. I may feel refreshed and prepared to start this new block of material waiting ahead for me, but that doesn’t mean that I want to start. I wouldn’t be mad if we were handed another week off from school, but that’s just me. But alas, I’m back from my fun-filled vacation in Miami and have no choice but to accept what’s ahead of me. As I said last week, I have no idea what to expect…which is probably why the school is making us attend a mandatory ‘Intro to Neuroscience’ lecture tomorrow morning. Can’t be mad though because it starts at 10 AM, which is golden.

I have a feeling that Neuroscience will be just as intriguing as it will be difficult, but after over seven months of rafting through the raging waters of med school, I feel that I’ll be ready to tackle just about anything thrown at me. I lowkey wouldn’t be surprised if we start getting flashbacks from the head & neck section of anatomy during this block. I’m moreso excited to learn about the clinical aspects of Neuroscience such as stroke, depression, personality disorders, and anxiety. I’m also looking forward to learning how different drugs interact with the brain and exploring the mechanisms that produce the clinical results that we’re all familiar with. I’ve always been interested in things like that, to the extent where I would go on Wikipedia as a high school/college student and look up all kinds of mechanisms only to find myself completely lost thanks to my then-limited knowledge of the body. So to sum it up, I’m definitely looking forward to what this block has to offer even if it just looks like a hazy mist of uncertainty right now.

Well I don’t have much to say beyond that right now. My previous post was probably my longest post yet, so I don’t feel too bad about cutting this one short. I had an awesome spring break catching up with many old friends, spending time with my girlfriend, appreciating the warmth of South Florida, going to the beach for the first time in in almost ten months, marveling at the palm trees, partying, sleeping, etc, etc, etc. I almost feel like this will be my last spring break since I’ll be getting ready for Step 1 around this time next year…

However as long as I keep the quote below in mind, I feel that I’m gonna be alright.


“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” – Marcus Aurelius



– Black Man, M.D.


P.S. I have no idea how I ended up on the Wake Forest School of Medicine site, or how this picture was taken…I don’t even remember a camera being in the room 😅

wake ultrasound