Archive for Social

To be a Woman in Medicine

What is a woman’s role if she is not beautiful?  No one’s girlfriend/wife?  No one’s mother?

A good friend told me that woman often have less self-confidence than men and this is especially obvious in the field of medicine.  I’m working with a man who I consider to be the best family practice DO I have ever met.  There’s nothing to criticize in this experience except myself, so why do I do that?  Why can’t I just soak up the experience for what it is, learn what I can and forever have this magnificent example of an ideal osteopathic family practice?

Woman are natural nurturers.  Medicine is very paternalistic: either grow some balls or get out!  I receive so many compliments that I’m going to be a great doctor and all I can think to myself is that I can’t wait to pay of my loans so I can run away to a nunnery, a Buddhist nunnery of course.



I believe honesty is at the heart of love – love to self and others.  I don’t want to be one of those people who outwardly professes to have complete self-love and contentedness.  Inevitably there are going to be times when I get frustrated with myself or find myself slipping back into feelings of self-loathing.   However, I am in the process of going through a honest shift or perspective.  Thanks to the many hours of driving and listening “The Art of Happiness” with the Dalai Lama and “The New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle, the wisdom of these books have embedded themselves into my daily consciousness.  I’ll be talking about different aspects of my life and relaying the teachings as I incorporate them into my life.  This entry is about self-love.

The Dalai Lama was shocked to discover there is such a concept as self-loathing when he talked with psychiatrists and psychologists from western culture.  It amazed him so much because the discipline found in Buddhism is there to keep buddhist desires in check because they love themselves too much.  He goes on to conclude that even people who have self-loathing, in fact, love themselves by following the argument: we want people we love to be happy (i.e. not to suffer) and we want ourselves to be happy, therefore we must love ourselves.  I’ve also heard from another source years ago that depression is actually selfish.  In fact, it is down right ridiculous.  If we want ourselves to be happy, why do we become depressed?  A very good friend says it is part of the corporate monsters that control our lives and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the primary cause.  HOWEVER, we can still be happy if we:

1. Realize depression is selfish- it is helping no one and makes other people suffer because they see how sad you are and want to help, but don’t know how.

2. Find a goal outside of ourselves to pursue and achieve.  It is best if the goal is to help others rather pursuit of other selfish gains like money.  Although money is of importance, it should not be the primary goal.  If you live to help, the world will help you.

3.  Be comfortable with who you are.  Body image can  play a huge role in diminishing self-confidence.  I have been playing this game for 20 years (1st ten years don’t count).  I realize I’m never going to have a perfect body, but I can take care of the one I have.

4.  Have gentle discipline with yourself.  Having no discipline (couch potato) is almost as bad as having too much (burn-out). Excessive goals (running a marathon after never exercising) are unrealistic.  Small goals have the power to transform you (jogging 1 mile almost every day).   Relaxing with friends or family or meditating is just as important as studying.  It is amazing that sometimes I feel like I do not have enough time, but when I relax, I realize time is a bizarre concept.  Like Eckhart Tolle likes to say, “All we have is right now”.  No fretting over the past, no worries about the future.  NOW.  Live completely in the now, doing quality work and preparations for the future will take care of themselves.  Once you’ve fixed the problems that occurred in the past when you were not living in the now, you no longer have to worry about the past because living fully in the present makes the past obsolete.

Sigh.  Life is good.  I hope for the same enlightenment to dawn on all suffering people.

Don’t forget to VOTE!!

Takin’ it back with Barack, Jack!

It appears that all my spirituality is going towards politics these days!

Hate to see the nation being run by a hack
Dig the situation that he dug in Iraq
Half the population wants to give him the sack
And now he’s lookin’ round for somebody else to attack
We need somebody great to get us back on the track

So we’re takin’ it back with Barack, Jack!

Choo Choo, Change to believe in
Woo woo, we can achieve it
Choo Choo, Change to believe in
Takin’ it back with Barack, Jack!

Now that global warming is a matter of fact
The only real question is just how to react
The new administration needs the guts to enact
Drastic legislation, leave the planet intact
We can’t be foolin’ round with some Republican Mac

So we’re takin’ it back with Barack, Jack!

Choo Choo….

He only gets his money from your regular macs
Doesn’t take a penny from some whackity PAC’s
For bringin’ folk together he’s the man with the knack
And he’ll supply the hope and inspiration we lack
Cause he’s the best we got and did I ….mention he’s black?

So we’re takin’ it back with Barack, Jack!

Amazing People

Tommy Neeson, husband to Elaine, father to Shelby and parent of a child
lost to cancer (Randi) has a passion for running and a passion for helping
others in need.

Four Million Steps, the Ronald McDonald House Run for Compassion will
start in Bangor, Maine and end over 2,300 miles later in Miami, Florida.
Along the way, Tommy will stop off at different Ronald McDonald Houses to
visit and support families affected by cancer and to coordinate runs with
corresponding local running clubs in an effort to increase local involvement
and support for The Ronald McDonald House.

AND, I just discovered an old classmate of mine who is the World Champion Water Skiing! Not that it surprises me. He ways always water skiing as soon as the ice melted on their pond, wearing a wet, suit of course.


The weekend of “opening my heart” became more of a “drawing within” weekend. My absolute most favorite part was the option of eating my meals in complete silence. It is required for everyone in the big dinning hall to eat a silent breakfast and then during lunch and dinner you have the option to eat silently in a smaller room. I loved it! Most of the time I don’t like chit chatting with strangers and I usually feel like a freak when I sit by myself in large cafeterias where lots of people are talking and laughing and then feeling pressured to talk to any neighbors that happen to sit close by. Instead, I had the opportunity to just me. And it was comforting to see there were a few other people like me. It was nice to have their company, knowing that they have similar introverted tendencies. 🙂

What bothered me slightly was their apparent pride in saying the Kripalu yoga center is a nonsectarian institution established to help people become fully human/alive. Although this is a fabulous idea and has numerous attributes, Kripalu was originally founded as an ashram where spiritual discipline was a part of the life. I feel like that essence has been lost and without the spiritual discipline to follow and adhere to, people will remain self-indulgent. No matter how healthy the food, you can still indulge and the fact that we pay for these workshops, we feel entitled to only go as much as week like and they encourage us to “do what’s right for you”. So, Kripalu seem more like a very pleasant and mindful resort rather than a place of complete spiritual awakening. When I have the need to “get away” and self-indulge, I will probably go back, but I won’t expect any great spiritual experiences.

Love Hurts

I’m ovulating. I know it’s weird to share that information. Most men do not want to know these things, but I needed to share this because women’s behavior, thoughts and feelings change throughout their cycles. I remember learning in my undergrad endocrinology class that during the time of ovulation women tend to go out partying and dress up more often than during other times in their cycle.

Tonight I went to a “Dessert Party” for my friend who is putting together her third cookbook, which is a dessert cookbook. She makes all (or many) of the recipes in her books to have professional photographs taken and then invites people over to help her consume the dishes!!

I had the pleasure of hanging out with two incredible men in my life: an older swing dancing friend who’s house I’m staying at during colloquium and a younger friend I met because of our mutual enthusiasm for Osteopathy and our struggles with the Osteopathic Medical school system. Interestingly, I chose to wear a skirt and relatively “cute” shirt I usually only wear swing dancing. I had a lovely time talking to people and even had a chance to do a little dancing after the crowd thinned out. I’m not tired and as I was laying in bed I could feel tenderness in my LLQ (left lower quadrant). My last couple of periods have been very regular, the last one being exactly 28 days since the previous one. With this trend, I’m due to start menstruating on the day I take my COMLEX PE exam in Philadelphia (lovely!) and ovulating today would coincide with this schedule almost exactly.

Why am I writing such an extended analysis of my menstrual cycle? I think it has to do with a sense of unrest that I can’t shake. My friend who’s house I’m staying at is a good-looking guy, we get along beautifully and I love him dearly. The reason I hesitated to stay at his house was because I would have to require myself to suppress any romantic feelings I might experience. We are just friends and I like it that way. I’m comfortable, aside from suppressing some feelings of attraction. Remember the movie “When Harry Met Sally”? The whole premise of the movie was that men and women can not be friends without some sort of underlying attraction. The kicker for me is that I can’t imagine anyone being attracted to me. My friend cares about me and he always makes me feel comfortable. It’s weird to think semi-romantic thoughts about him because I don’t think he’d ever return the sentiments. But then I think, “What if he did?” How awkward would THAT be?? It’s really a no-win situation, which is why it is best to avoid these situations altogether. However, I’m here, I’m grateful for the place to stay and I enjoy his company. Sometimes I wish the pain would just go away, but love hurts. Its nice to know I feel connections with some people, even if they are a little twisted and not completely healthy…

Home Coming

It is so interesting to be back on campus in Biddeford after being away for a year. I actually came to campus a few times during the year to go to the library or talk to my favorite Neuroanatomy professor. However, it’s different to be back with all my classmates. We had 4 hours of Emergency Medicine lectures this morning. I was constantly reflecting on my own experiences this past year and noticed my critical thinking was a bit different from the first 2 years of lectures. I had more insight into the clinical setting these docs were referring to.

The other interesting issue is interacting with classmates again. It took some effort for me to maintain confidence in my own experience when hearing about what other people have done or are setting up for the future. The most difficult part was talking to a G, classmate who was a bit of a friend last year until I realized the guy I was interested in was interested in her. She’s beautiful, tall, bright eyes, enthusiastic, chipper demeanor: everything I’m lacking except for the bright eyes. She went through a divorce last year and now she’s pregnant and getting married again. Although the divorce was a difficult time for her, I am ridiculously jealous of her. And then she wants to chat over tea. It hurts me to just think about her. I can imagine the torture of hanging out for an hour or so. No thank you. I appreciate the offer, but my heart doesn’t need that kind of abuse right now.

Letter to C

The previous post regarding my frustration with the preceptor I had during family practice rotation was immature and out of control, but one of the purposes of this blog is to vent my anger safely. Below is a more mature and appropriate letter I wrote as a final catharsis for this situation. I’m not going to actually send it to him thanks to feedback from a good friend and my own better judgement. Still it felt good to write it.

I feel like I need to talk to you. I realize email is not the same as
talking, but it’s the best I can do right now and besides, I have a very
difficult time talking to you directly. You tend to talk “at” me rather than
with me, not recognizing what I’ve said and this causes me to shut down. Not
to mention the fact that I tend to cry easily, which is due to both my low
threshold for crying and your approach to personal encounters.

I am still in pain from how you confronted me on Wednesday. I was already in
a precarious position in regards to my confidence about my chosen profession.
You say you want to help, but then you offer medication, a band-aid. You
admit to not understanding me, so then how can you help me? I purposely chose
not to share myself with you because I knew you wouldn’t understand and my
sharing was not a required part of the rotation. I was supposed to learn
family medicine from your perspective. That’s it. If we had connected, I may
have shared more about myself, but we didn’t connect. I admit that breaking
down crying before seeing a patient is not healthy, but would you rather me
walk around like a robot and have no feelings? I’m a sensitive person and
most of my patient encounters were very positive with people wanting me to be
their doctor. I obviously connect with patients. It didn’t seem like you
perceived that in me. You only saw my faults and the first step in helping
someone is seeing what they are good at and what they have to offer.

I am also angry about your perception of Osteopathy. Healthy skepticism is
important to maintain integrity in our profession, but you completely
disregard everything about Osteopathy that I hold dear. It would be one thing
if you were just my FP preceptor, but you are also our OMT preceptor. I have
a hard time forgiving this. Since beginning school 3 years ago I have
experienced so much disappointment in the Osteopathic profession that I have
reached my limit. I can forgive DOs who spend their lives completely immersed
in the allopathic world, becoming experts in their fields who do not use OMT
(i.e. Dr. O, nephrologist). And, I have a huge amount of respect for FPs who
try to incorporate OMT into their practice even though my imagine of an ideal
FP DO is one who only uses OMT for all issues.

I am stubborn, idealistic and possibly delusional, but there was a time when
Osteopathy thrived and I am on a quest to find that “essence”. I don’t want
to settle for mediocrity. Much of my depression and anger stem from this
disappointment and then having to traverse the medical school jungle anyway
because I’m so completely in debt.

I have my issues and I am constantly working on them. Every counselor I have
ever seen has said I have great insight and if I had felt comfortable enough
to talk with you, you would have noticed this too. C, there were a few
moments I actually learned something from you. However, those moments are
overshadowed by me learning to interact with you without being completely
overcome by insubordination. You are the first person I’ve worked with where
I felt so strongly. I may be part of the problem, but you have also
contributed to the dissonance in our relationship.


Dancing around the world

watch it in high quality (click the link beneath the screen) – 5 million plus viewers can’t be wrong………..

and here’s the nytimes piece that lead me to it:

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