Saturday, January 25, 2014

A renewed faith in humanity!

One of the most profound observations a very close friend of mine made about me recently was that she felt my move to Texas had renewed my faith in people. And others who know me well have commented regularly that I seem VERY different from the person I was just 6 months ago. That my dear readers would be an understatement!!!

Many days, I wish I could bottle up and sell this feeling that I have where I know without a doubt that God has brought me from a VERY long way, to a VERY special place. They say that the depth of our disappointments is really a measurement of the depth of our future blessings which explains why I'm just so damn happy ALL THE FREAKIN' TIME!!!!

So let's see, where should I start? I'll start with my relationships with "people". I realized after ~about 2 months of living in Texas that not only was the Metro DC area NOT the racial panacea Black folks think it is, it's probably the most racially divided place I've ever lived. And considering that I grew up in the deep South, that's a pretty sad thing to think. Here in Texas, I not only have great relationships with EVERY race on the planet, I regularly "break bread" with people who look NOTHING like me. Because I believe that the true measure of relationship between people is how often they share intimate exchanges like having a meal or attending the dance recital of a friend's kid, things that are personal and make us part of who we are.

The other terrifically wonderful thing that has happened since I moved to Texas is that I have great relationships with 99.999% of the people I work with which I'm convinced is DIRECTLY related to how well intergrated in ATTITUDE the people are here. Not only are southern hospitality and manners literally oozing out of just about everyone I encounter (except the truck driver that flipped me off as I was on my way to study today, ROTFL), but people are just plain nice. I mean REALLY nice. And well, nice people just make the quality of life soooooo much better. Obviouly, I'm aware that sooner or later I'll come across a jerk or two, that's just how life is. But in comparison to what I experienced living in Metro DC, I'm certain it'll all be okay. actually, it'll be MORE than okay.

And that brings me to my health info class this semester. You may recall that I hadn't yet met my prof becasue last week, he changed the day of class at the last minute and because I'd recently started a new job, I wasn't able to change my schedule at the last minute. Well it turns out that I like him just as much as my advisor thought I would, he's just one of the coolest Profs I've EVER had. That said, he made another little quip in class that rubbed me the wrong way when he was talking about DO's. It was as if they were like Chiropractors or something. And that was kinda sad since being a DO IS on my radar. So given that I'm old and considering becomeing a quack lol, I've decided not to mention just yet what my eventual goal until I absolutely have to.

Speaking of my class, we got our clinical rotation assigments and man I AM STOKED!!! We have about 7 to complete including rotations in IM, ER, and Path (Hot damn!!). And while I'm tempted to schedule them all within the next week, I'll do about 2/month just because I've got about 1000 other things going on too. So for my ER rotation, I've decided choose a Saturday night, because when you live in a large major city, there's ALWAYS good medical action on a Saturday night!!!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"Do we want people starting practice at age 50"?

This was a question asked by my prof in my health informatics course. And disappointingly it was my first indirect indication that my goal of becoming an MD/PhD won't be supported by at least a few folks at my current institution. But when I was 20, I heard the same thing. Heard it again at age 30 and 40 too. So I have a choice to make either allow this prof whom I was considering leading my PhD research, to dissuade me from my goal or find a prof who supports my goal irrespective of the research he/she is doing.

I think I'll go with choice two, I'll quickly give up being interested in a specific area of research for someone who's willing to walk this thing out with me. And THANKFULLY, I'm meeting with option #2 this Friday morning. What's even better is that he and I published together (I was first author), and he's a Pathologist (YEAH), so I'll update with how this meeting went on Saturday. :)

So now, I'm REALLY hoping my next lecture won't be such a quasi personal let down. In the meantime, I'm gonna shake it off and keep on keeping on!!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Let's get it started!!

It never fails that as soon as I start allowing myself to settle, however temporarily, on the idea of "just" getting a PhD, I'm reminded yet again, of what my ultimate goal is.

So it turns out that a significant part of my clinical healthcare course is going to be shadowing physicians in their area of specialty including surgery!!!! Now, I REALLY wish I could insert 1000 dancing bananas here, ROTFL!!!

I'm also looking forward to sharing what I'm learning about clinical healthcare in this country. For example, did you know that the 80 hour work week rule for Residents was implemented after the daughter of a lawyer sued to have those changes made? Of course this made me think again about the MD/JD instead of the MD/PhD since I can talk 'ish with the best of them and I often feel Docs frequently get the short end of the legal stick.

But I digress, this semester is going to be absolutely AMAZING though I'm going to be more busy than I've EVER been in my ENTIRE life! I mean, there's just so much I'm going to have to talk about and I can't wait to share it ALL!!! The only problem will be finding the time to share it and it looks like Saturdays, when I do most of my school work, is going to be the ONLY day I'll have time.

At any rate, I can't contain my excitement about this semester and the future, so in the words of MC HAmmer, let's get it started!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

God is trying to tell you something, but are you listening?

So by Tuesday of this past week, I had a headache. I mean a REAL big headache. But I didn't for one minute wish anything was different in my life! Not. One. Thing! Yeah!

On Monday, I did orientation and I have to say that of all the orientations I've EVER been to, this one was the absolute best. And kinda depressing. Organization wise, it was amazing and VERY interesting. And although the facilitator played favorites with giving out prizes (which essentially meant I didn't win one, LOL), it was still done in a very interesting way. The depressing part was in hearing testimonials of people who had their cancers treated at this institution and strangely enough, I didn't cry one time. Not a lumpy throat or even a sniffle. I think I realize now more than ever that it's just time for me to get down to business of getting the show on the road as far as my MD/PhD goals are concerned and I'll find time to cry over lost loved ones to cancer at some other time. Still it’s surreal to be surrounded by so many people who you KNOW are dealing with a deadly illness. And the knowledge that some of them are terminal actually gives my being there more purpose and focus.
Moving on, I ended up registering for a course in Clinical Healthcare after meeting with an advisor in my department. And my request was REAL simple. Which profs have a record of getting their students in/out of their PhD programs and are also good to work with. At this point, I don’t care as much about the specifics of the research I’ll be doing because I figure I’ll be a Clinical Professor before I get to research what I’m really interested in anyway. It turns out that my prof is the husband of a woman in the department I work in, so I probably don’t need to say where this is going.

On Wednesday, I learned that my position would initially be VERY basic as the department is deciding which direction they’re going to go. And in that moment when I received the news which was different from what I had been told in my interview, I was crushed. And I mean CRUSHED!! All I could think about was how hard earned my skill level had become when it comes to the methods used to discover and evaluate oncology biomarkers and how very little of it would be used after talking with my supervisor that day. Unfortunately, I’ve never been a person that could hide hurt/disappointed very well and I’m certain she sensed it. In my mind, I was not only compromising my salary requirements BIG TIME, now I was compromising myself professionally. But something, my God spirit, kept telling me over and over in my head that this was a part of His plan for me, I simply didn’t get it yet. The next morning when I was on my way to work, a song from the movie the Color Purple (God is trying to tell you something) kept playing in my head in a continuous loop and that’s when I knew for sure that I would get some clarity on this career thing soon.

Later Thursday morning, when I ended up in a class I hadn’t originally planned to take which just happened to be taught by the husband of a woman in my work department, I knew for sure why I had been blessed to be in this job. I have to do a presentation in this course so I’ll obviously tie it to the research I’m doing in the lab. And the ultimate goal here will be to turn this all into a dissertation later. PERFECT!!!!

I’ll end this post with a message to my readers to understand that we won’t always understand why certain things are happening in our lives but that EVERYTHING that happens has a purpose behind it. It may not be what you want at the time, but if you’re patient the real purpose will be revealed to you if you maintain a positive attitude and keep the faith!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

To whom much is given, much is required.......

Happy New Year Everyone!

Tomorrow I begin what I'm hoping will be at least a 10 year relationship with a major cancer and academic center, because quite frankly, I'm tired of moving around. I know I mentioned going back to the NIH in Maryland numerous times, but after getting a good taste of midwestern southern hospitality, I don't think I'll EVER live on the East Coast again. EVER. I don't have words for how nice the people here in hot a$$ Texas have been to me, a feeling I've never experienced at this level in my entire life before. And it couldn't have come at a better time!! I also realized that my relocating here without a gig in place is one of the biggest leaps of faith I've ever made in my life. But I'm so proud of myself for having done so, I've been clear for a while now that this was what I was supposed to do. But if I'm really being honest, I have to admit that my excitement about this new chapter in my life has now morphed into nervousness. It's that feeling you get when you realize something big is about to happen in your life but you have NO IDEA how it's going to manifest. I woudn't say it's like walking blind because God clearly has "eyes" when I don't. More like I'm so use to having everything planned and mapped out to a tee but that this time, things are going to follow a path I neither planned nor anticipated not that long ago. The only thing I do know is that I'm doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right place, and that that is going to have to suffice for now.

I've got a LOT to do in the next 24 hours including reading some job related papers and meeting with a client, so this post is going to be short. But I'll do my best to update sometime this week since I'll have PLENTY to talk about by Wednesday!

Luke 12:48
.........For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.