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coming through the fog

10 years 6 months ago #70325 by eriberry
I don't know how old I was when I knew I would be a doctor because it has always been a part of my identity. I worked vigorously to ensure I would make it into medical school one day, but then I ruined it all for myself once I got into college.

I spent my college years developing my interpersonal skills and learning about myself instead of focusing on working on making myself a good med school candidate. I also got a very good idea about the inns and outs of medicine from the perspective of a patient when I was diagnosed with a chronic illness--one that made me decide that I was not worthy or capable of being a doctor.

I am now 27. I cannot deny it anymore, medicine is where I belong, and I must be a doctor. I have tried to work alongside them as a nurse's aide, researcher, health educator, etc. and I find those careers to be unfulfilling. I love patient interaction, asking questions and solving problems. I love being able to help someone and I love medicine.

Becoming a doctor may be my "fate", but it is not without obstacles. I have completed my prereq's, but I did not do so with grace (3.0 science avg from a respected school). I have a somewhat reluctant husband. I have two daughters, 3 and 6 months. I also have substantial educational debt from the Master's degree I thought would satiate my doctor fantasy.

I am resourceful and I know I can make it work, but I need to know that it can work and that it is worthwhile. For all you MD mamma's, are you satisfied with your decision to become MD's and do you feel like you have a good work/life balance? :confused: (sorry for the loaded question)? Would you do it over again or would you go for the PA option (sorry to throw that one in again, I've mostly ruled it out, but I just have to for my husband's sake).

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10 years 6 months ago #70326 by eriberry
I have epilepsy or something. I've come to terms with that, but after 8 years of living with this dx we are still unsure if it is really epilepsy or just atypical migraines or a combination or something else (possibly even reflux). Whatever it is, it isn't pleasant and it disrupts my life. The medicine I take and the disorder I have together cause me to suffer and cause my family to suffer physically and emotionally (mostly emotionally). I just started a new therapy and I am not pleased. I couldn't speak coherently this weekend and didn't feel capable of doing much. This caused me to really question my abilities as a future medical practitioner (not looking for sympathy) and now I am doubting I want the responsibilities that come along with being an MD (I was so sure just a week ago!). I need to get this beast under control and become a better patient care advocate. I would never stand for this I knew this were happening to one of my family members yet I allow it to happen to myself.... Strangely enough, that is the same reason why I decided to pursue the idea of MD again; I would never allow my daughter to allow herself to "settle" (not that PA is settling, it can be a superior route for some and even me depending upon your desired outcome).

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10 years 6 months ago #70327 by eriberry
So great news today.... I'm not pregnant (yeah, still get to train for my marathon!) and the experiences I have been having over the last 8 years may actually be something other than seizures. I learned this today after calling my neuro and speaking with her nurse who said that my last EEG's were all normal. I don't recall having an EEG that wasn't normal and I have only had one documented sz (they like 2 to dx epilepsy) so I am ready to advocate on my own behalf and now going to ask that we discuss the possibility that I might have migraines... I like that idea especially since I want to have more babies.

So something else I learned... I am too curious for my own good. I have allowed myself to be thrown around the medical system and given drugs of various types etc. just because I was curious about what would happen and I enjoyed the experience. I think I can put an end to this by becoming a doctor. I'd like to think I could become a "blue collar" 9-5 doctor whatever that means because it sounds nice and homely. However, I'd hope that doctor, who is unpretentious, also gets to ask lots and lots of questions......

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10 years 5 months ago #70328 by eriberry
I am lost again. I am tired again. I want to make a decision and stop agonizing over this choice and the thing keeping me back is myself.

I have almost completed the 40 hours of shadowing required to apply to the PA program I'm most interested in, but I feel conflicted about applying. My DH thinks it is the most practical route and my pre-med adviser from my Alma matter seems to concur. I called her today to inquire about some courses and she remembered my name (wow!). She wanted me to refresh her with my GPA and then tell her about what I'd been doing with myself for the last few years. Then she suggested that I consider whether I wanted to do primary care or if I wanted to specialize. She suggested that I pursue nursing or PA if I wanted to be in primary care or work on my MCAT and get at least a 27 if I wanted to specialize because you are more limited if you aren't a doc.

The discussion was very helpful and insightful, but the undertone served to provide me with the realization that I'm a big failure after having botched my undergrad career with drinking and being a bad, bad girl (questionably stupid as well). My husband would like me to pursue something in the medical field w/o getting another degree and thinks I could be a medical secretary and be satisfied..... Clearly he has no idea.

I feel isolated and alone. Rounding back to where this began, last night I shadowed the PA again and she reminded me that her decision to become a PA was based upon the fact that she didn't want all the responsibility to be on her shoulders and it is a matter of personality. She said that it had nothing to do with money. The doctor she was working with said that we shouldn't worry about the future of medicine because there will always be a need for doctors and PA's and so there will always be a way for us to pay for our education. He said that the price of our education should not factor into the decision to follow that path.

Now it rests on my shoulders. Who am I? I should know the answer to that question at age 27 as a mother and wife. Do I like to be the alpha or the beta? Is it really that simple? Do I want to focus on a wide array of body systems or do I want to specialize? I have been thinking about neurology, but I didn't think I would have to make that decision until I reached clinical rotations in PA/MD school...

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10 years 3 months ago #71698 by eriberry
I'm in major turmoil. It is time to make the decision or at least it seems to be if we want to stay on "schedule" and have me attempt to start school in 2011. I have to register for courses soon and I require different courses for the MD route than I do for the PA route.

My husband, who hates his new job, also seems to hate me these days. He told me that I don't have the character of a doctor. He says that I am not detail oriented enough. I ask too many questions and I am not confident. He says that everyone has a boss, even doctors so being a doctor won't solve the supervisor issue. I'm fine with his observations, but I'm not fine with his delivery. He would like me to take the MCAT and see if medical school is even an option for me.... In other words, see if I'm even smart enough for it. When I re-phrase it like that, he says that is not what he means, but what else could he mean?

In addition to my "obvious" character flaws there is the money issue. We already have a house worth of educational debt and we are pretty poor right now. My husband just finished school and he wants to live comfortably like his friends who are lawyers and business people in 2 income households without children. He can't imagine racking up another quarter million dollars of loans just so I can imagine my childhood "dream" which I'm not even cut out to achieve.

He also doesn't want to live like a single father taking care of the kids and the house all by himself while I'm in school. He is a great father and he is all about family. He wants me to be a part of everything, but all he does at night is watch TV, so what's the difference if I'm in school?

I've had nightmares about all of this lately. He doesn't want me to go to school period, but he is "willing" to let me go to PA school. I see PA school as a compromise, but also as a great profession (more family friendly, but less autonomous and I do enjoy autonomy..). He will "let" me go to medical school if I can get in, but I think he doesn't really support me. I don't think I can pursue this dream without his support. I don't want to destroy our marriage or our family. However, I don't think I'm being a good role-model by abandoning my dreams either.

I thought we had made our decision. I've been studying for the MCAT for 7 weeks now staying up late and abandoning many hobbies and commitments to pursue this goal. Now I'm unsure again. I wasn't like this before I met my husband and I certainly wasn't like this before I had children. I'm taking the day off today and watching the rain.

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