Reshaping The Vision

First things first. If you haven’t seen Black Panther yet, you’re missing out on a real treat! I went to go see it last night and I gotta say, IT WAS SO DOPE!! It had me geeked literally from start to finish, and when the movie ended I couldn’t believe that I had been sitting there watching it for 2+ hours. Time really had flown by while I was appreciating not only the battle scenes, surperb acting, and advanced world of Wakanda, but also the multiple layers & dimensions that the movie unveiled via the engaging dialogue that the characters participated in. Also, for the first time in my life, I intentionally dressed up in a specific way for a movie outing. I just couldn’t help it, I had to show my support for my Wakandan brethren!

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Plus, it’s not everyday that I get to wear my traditional Cameroonian clothing lol. Judging by all the social media posts I saw this weekend, I expected about half of the people in the movie theater to be sporting dashikis in pride. So I’m sure you can understand just how surprised I was when I only counted a grand total of two people in traditional African clothing at the theater, including me. Go on and take a wild guess at who the other person was. Chances are you’re absolutely right. But that didn’t stop me from proudly walking around like a King from an advanced African nation! đŸ˜€Â Lol but in all actuality, it’s not all too common that I watch a movie that really lives up to its hype plus more. It’s even less common that I’m able to deeply relate to a movie as successful as this one has already been. It hasn’t even been out for a full weekend and it’s already making history. This movie better get a rack of Academy Awards next year!

Okay now that I’ve gotten all that fandom off my chest, let’s talk more about the other updates of my life, including my first week on the Ophthalmology service. To start off, the difference between the working hours of this service and the previous one I was on is literally like night and day. With 8 AM start times on most days this past week and end times around 5 PM, I’ve been afforded quite a bit more free time in which I’ve been able to attend to other matters in my life and to study more for the upcoming Shelf exam. The amount of sleep I’ve been getting has been glorious, to say the least. In addition, I’ve already learned so many cool things about the eye and have also learned useful physical exam techniques when it comes to examining this organ. I’ve been able to get a lot of practice with using the slit-lamp on patients, assessing eye pressure via tonometry, and checking retinas via direct ophthalmoscopy. I even learned how to figure out one’s refractive error (a.k.a. glasses prescription) using retinoscopy!

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Although I’ve spent the majority of my time in the clinic so far, I did get the opporunity to scrub in for a day in the Operating Room, where I assisted (watered the cornea; it’s an extremely important job, don’t debate me) with multiple cataract surgeries. I never did get tired of watching the surgeon perform these operations. I also got the opportunity to go over to Greensboro for a day to volunteer with a vision van screening being held in conjunction with a health fair at UNCG! That was a great time, especially since I really got the opportunity to independently work on my ophthalmic skills. And lastly, I was able to sit in on an interesting guest lecture concering pediatric ophthalmology and the various pathologies that can be found in the eyes of younger populations. Let me just say, there are a LOT of things that can go wrong with your eyes/eyelids. Like, it’s baffling.

My experience in Ophthalmology overall has been a very positive one so far, and I’m definitely looking forward to these next two weeks on this service. It really is cool to be able to rotate through this specialty, because it’s allowing me to not only learn some important pathologies to watch out for as well as some great physical exam techniques to use in my future career as a Pediatrician, but to also get some closure after having spent a good number of years chasing down a career in this specialty. It’s still kind of wild how I ended up adjusting my career path; I’m actually still not used to saying that I’m going into Pediatrics. As a matter of fact, I’ve been asked by multiple Ophthalmologists this past week if I was interested in ophthalmology and I find it pretty ironic that I’m now telling the people in the very specialty that I’ve been gunning for all this time that although I still do like this field, I have interests in establishing a career in a different specialty. Some of them were understandably surprised to hear me say this, because they’ve known me for a while now. But regardless, the people in this department have been very willing to help integrate my interests while on this rotation by allowing me to work with a pediatric ophthalmologist and teaching me things about the eye that will be useful to me in my career. For that, I am very grateful.

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Alright now that I’ve said everything that I needed to say, it’s time for me to get back to studying, sending emails, and working on these presentations that I have to give next week. I hope that you have a marvelous week!

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – For Valentine’s Day, my girlfriend got me a coupon book full of “coupons” she made up that I can use to get her to do specific tasks for me. How creative is that?? I just wanted to share that because it was such a great gift lol.

P.P.S. – I also wanted to say how much of a shame it is that on the same day as Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day, a terrorist/murderer decided to shoot up a school in a peaceful neighborhood in Parkland, Florida and take the lives of 17 innocent individuals while injuring a number of others. It’s just so sad and disgraceful how stubborn some of our government officials are when it comes to enforcing stricter gun control laws, even when so many lives have been unjustly taken by these terrorists. There’s just so much going wrong with this country, it’s almost impossible to wrap our heads around it all. Calling reps doesn’t seem to do anything, at least not in North Carolina. My donations are probably helping a bit, but not much at all to do anything substantial. I’m exercising my power to vote on a continual basis. I would march more and whatnot, but I’m in the hospital pretty much all the time. I can speak out on social media, but that only gets me so far. Trying to get the people currently in power to listen is like yelling at a brick wall. What a time. Maybe this latest mass shooting will spark some change, especially with the activism of the students at the school. But it’s looking like the only that will bring about any real change is removing the people that are hindering this country’s progress from office. Although it’s exhausting and can feel purposeless at times, I’ll keep doing my part and I hope you keep doing yours.

Strange Love

Whoa…when did we get to mid-February?? I swear it was just February 1st like two days ago…but then again, I shouldn’t be surprised at how fast time flies at this point. But being in mid-February means that I’ll be starting my dedicated Step Study Period in about three weeks. Which then means that I’ll be taking Step very, very soon. Sheesh. Can’t wait to finally get that exam over with! I’m already sick of talking about it.

Meanwhile, I’m getting through this last new block of new material and I actually love this stuff! It’s strange, I really didn’t picture myself having fun learning about hormone regulation and reproductive systems. Maybe it’s because when I “learned” it while studying for the MCAT, I really had no physiology foundation to build from so it was very hard for me to grasp back then. Ever since then, I had dreaded learning about the menstrual cycle again (shoutout to y’all ladies out there…y’all the real MVPs for having to live through that every single month) as well as about reproduction and hormone feedback systems. But now it’s all clicking so well for me and I’m having a blast lol. I’ve learned a while ago that I love thinking through systems and concepts as opposed to strict memorization, and that’s exactly what this block of endocrinology and reproductive systems emphasizes. You have to map out how different organs interact with one another and what the consequences are as a result of those interactions, which is really interesting. It’s a long block however, which means we about to be taking a long test in early March…but I’m definitely enjoying the ride so far!

Last week was pretty chill, apart from the Cabinet nominees who got confirmed and the continuing flood of BS our country is going through. Smh. Miami was fun though, although my girl, along with a sizable portion of the nation, took the dramatic Falcons loss pretty hard. Nevertheless, having dinner with her and bunch of friends at a sports bar while watching the game was a great time. I was also able to see more people on campus before I left, which was fantastic. After getting back to Winston, I proceeded to power through classwork while baking a cake for the annual bakeoff my school had. Lol yes, I said I baked a cake. Wanna see?

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Presenting to you, Christel’s Strawberry Cheesecake Poke Cake!

I didn’t win the bakeoff or anything, but it tasted really good so I’m proud of myself for that. 😊 Shoutout to the Tasty cookbook! I also got the chance to participate on yet another medical school panel down at Davidson College last Friday, where they were having a Pre-Health Professions Symposium. That was pretty cool! It’s always a pleasure being invited to talk to young students who are vying to become a healthcare professional. And last but not least, I volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House’s Brenner’s Family Room in the hospital yesterday afternoon for the first time in a couple of months. Gotta do better about that lol.

That’s all I got today! Have a lovely Valentine’s Day (Or Single Awareness Day, however you wanna look at it) and keep up the good fight against this imposing administration!

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” – Jim Rohn

– Black Man, M.D.

Therapy & Service.

Well, it’s one of those weeks again. I have two tests coming up: one on Tuesday that covers Viruses, Fungi, Autoimmunity, Hypersensitivity & Parasites and a cumulative final on Friday that covers everything from Biochemistry to what I just finished learning now. So that means everything I’ve learned since I finished Anatomy back in November.

Needless to say, I’ve been forced to excessively grind in my studies for the past week. And I’ll be continuing to grind for the next couple days. If I can at least do just as good as I did last test, I’ll be perfectly happy. As for the final, well…we’ll see what happens. After this week though, I’ve got a couple weeks off until my next big block of material, which will be Neuroscience. I don’t really even know what to expect going into that block…but I’ve decided not to think about it until the end of my Spring Break. 😊

While I was studying for this upcoming test, I came across a concept that I thought was cool as hell. I’m gonna warn you though, I’m about to sound like a straight-up nerd. But anyway while I was learning about therapies for tumors, I came across this technology that has the potential to become revolutionary when it comes to cancer treatment. This new approach, Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-Cell Therapy, literally takes your immune cells and makes them attack tumor cells in your body. How, you may ask? Well, your T-cells (one of the fighters in your immune system) are first collected from your blood and then engineered to produce unique receptors on their surface (CARs) that allows the T-cell to bind to whatever antigen or protein that we want it to bind to. After letting them multiply excessively in a lab, the CAR T-cells are returned to you and continue to multiply in your body while recognizing and killing cancer cells that have the antigens that match the CAR on your T-cell. So to put it simply, tumor cells have some things that normal cells don’t have. So after being trained to look for these little differences, your fighter cells go and kill these tumor cells without hurting any of your normal cells. Isn’t that incredible? I think it is! The whole treatment is still in its early days and is being tested in clinical trials, but results so far have looked promising for those people that didn’t respond well to chemotherapy and don’t have any other choices. Side effects are being studied as well and have been managed so far with steroids. Scientists have said that more research is needed before it can become an option to the general public, but what they’ve seen so far is promising. With time, the therapy can only improve and hopefully eventually expand to treat all types of cancer. For any of you that have been officially mind-blown and are interested in learning more about this therapy, here’s a link describing it in better detail:

http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/research/car-t-cells

Turn up for cancer research!

On another note, I’ve officially started volunteering for the Ronald McDonald House. You know, I used to see them around here and there growing up, but I never knew what they were. As a matter of fact, I didn’t know what the purpose of the house was until only a couple of months ago. If you don’t already know, the RMH serves as a home away from home for those out-of-town families that have children that are staying in the hospital for an extended period of time. The house provides food, shelter, and community bonding between families that find themselves housed there while keeping the families close to their loved ones in the hospital. Here at Wake’s hospital, there is a RMH Family Room on the pediatrics floor where family members can stop by and grab snacks or coffee, and just rest for a while. That’s where I’ve been placed and I had my first day last Friday. I saw first-hand how appreciative the parents of the sick children were of me being there that morning, for if there isn’t a volunteer available for any given 3-hour shift, the room is closed for that time period. I’m just happy that I can be of useful service to a population of people that are going through a tough time, and am grateful that I am able to interact with families in a perspective different from the one I will be trained to have when I become an actual doctor. I’m hoping that this experience will help influence the way I think about patients and their families in the future so that I can become that much more caring as a doctor.

That’s it for today! I’ll leave you with this:

No matter how bad you may think you have it, someone else in the world has it WORSE than you. Remember that.

Have a splendid week! And Happy Valentine’s Day! Special s/o to my valentine 😉.

 

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. S/o to the First Couple!

http://ellentube.com/videos/0_wh2ip495