starting a journal

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    Well, here goes. I’m a second year medical student, trying to power through the burnout that I’ve experienced lately. I’ve had a really busy year, with lots of ups and downs. aka stressors.

    I got married.
    The first four months of marriage were practically unbearable they were so hard. We finally signed up to go to a marriage counselor, and after about two months once a week, we started to communicate better. But it’s still an adjustment, being newly weds. And we’re BOTH in medical school.

    My younger brother died.
    Coming back to school was the hardest thing I think I’ve ever done. I’m still greiving every day. I’ve been really withdrawn since coming back, and I miss my family terribly. I want more than anything to be at home with them, but instead I’m trying to “power through” my second year of medical school. A lot of the reason why is because I was only 1/3rd of the way done, but already had invested 18,000 into it. Still though, school seems trivial compared to the loss of my brother. It’s hard to go on and act normal when I feel the loss daily.

    My parents moved.
    We’ve lived in the same house for years. It’s “home”. It’s full of memories of my brother. It’s just the comforting place that has always been my homebase, with all of the moving in college and medical school. I went home this past weekend, and we were boxing everything up… That, too, is something I’m sad about, but trying to keep in perspective. My parents are moving solely to get another family member out of a really tight bind. Her family, 4 kids and all, are on the brink of bankruptcy, so it was unavoidable if my parents were willing to “help them out”. Basically, my parents are moving into their house, along with the bigger house note. Anyway.

    So, I think I do need to write. I’m trying to revamp my eating habits, because they’ve been terrible since getting married and sticking to a budget. I eat what my hubbie eats, which is pretty much empty calories and carbs. So, I’m going to make an effort to eat better. Also, I need to get back into shape. With medical school, I haven’t been to the gym consistently at all… studying just always trumps it, but that’s just an excuse. I could get up earlier, take a break from studying, run with the dog, etc.

    We did get a puppy. And then we got another puppy. It’s good, because I was having the maternal urge thing (no kids yet), but taking care of the pups has made me realize how hard kids would be. So, it’s helped with that, though training the pups has proved harder than I expected. But we’re doing it, and they are a major joy and stress-reliever.

    Right now, I’m trying to decide between doing a life style specialty that will allow me to work part-time and take care of kids, or doing what I love. hopefully, those two things will overlap. If not, don’t know what will happen. Hubbie says to wait until I go through rotations. I think I might really like ob/gyn. It’s what I’ve always thought about doing, but I know the life style leaves a lot to be desired. I’ve considered ER because of the flexibility, though I don’t know if I’d like it, really. Just because I want to really know my patients (I think), and if someone dies, I want to know the family, or at least know the patient, when I deliver the news. I’ve recently decided that after my brother’s death. My hubbie has been through almost all of his rotations, and he’s thinking surgery. He doesn’t know yet if he’s going to do general or subspecialty. He’s got the grades and scores to do pretty much almost whatever he wants, so it’s up to him. We do want a family eventually, but then again, I want him to follow his passion. I think it counts for something that I would trust him to operate on me or a family member (though I know that wouldn’t actually happen).

    Anyway, that’s all for now. I desperately need to study for my fourth test block (ONLY HALF WAY DONE with this year!?) and I’ve really been putting it off. Like, I’m not sure if it’s doable. But, I had to make up third test block from December while everyone else was studying, so I’m not being hard on myself. Though I do need a swift kick in the butt. But I need to learn viruses. One thing I DON’T want to do is infectious diseases!

    Well, more soon.

    coffeeandtea :wave:


    Today has been semi-productive. Woke up before 8 am, got to studying around 9am at Starbucks, until about 11. I’m halfway through with my micro lectures, but haven’t touched anything else. Trying to get micro knocked out because the test is Feb 1 and we have the board the next week, before any of our other tests. Boooorrring. Second year is dragging along, but in a way I’m sort of appreciative. I know the Step is going to suck. I know studying for it is going to suck. But I look at hubbie and he has to go to work EVERY DAY practically, and he gets up really early. Third year means no more sleeping in. Of course, it also means no more staring at power points for 80% of the day.

    So I’m annoyed with financial aid. They sent back my money for the semester (I’m living on loans) because they assumed I was taking a leave of absence for the semester. Well, now I’m back, obviously, and my money is almost a month late. They keep giving me the run around about it, and my only saving grace is that hubbie has gotten his loans to fall back on. But really, my brother just died!? Do they really have to make my life any harder right now?

    I also left home and our adorable puppy to park on campus only to find out that the mandatory class I came for has been rescheduled for tomorrow. Now I’ve got to trek it through the rain and then pay money to get out of the garage. grrr.

    Well, enough griping. Two good things today- I went to the newly renovated grocery store nearby, and it is AMAZING! There aren’t many cool places to shop around here, but they’ve completely revamped this place and it even has a organic section and a foreign foods sections. Plus all of these samples of cheese at the gourmet cheese bar (crazy!) and a sushi bar! So that was exciting. I actually love grocery shopping, as weird as that sounds. And I’ve just started my eating healthy kick, so I got tofu and stuff to make wraps, soup, and a huge bag of grapefruits. I don’t really like tofu but I’m going to learn to like it because it is CHEAP! REally cheap. Five servings of this stuff is 1.99- so much cheaper than meat! And it’s low in fat and high in protein. So I’m going to really try to like this stuff.

    Anyway, I have to run like five more random errands and then try to get my date straightened out for the STEP 1. It seems like they’d make the process easier, considering the test itself is so painful. Cut us a little slack!

    Oh well, I’ll be back soon. The rain has actually stopped, so I’m going to make a run for it.

    love, coffeeandtea


    I woke up at record-time, not so bright and early, 5:30 AM! I do understand that some people wake up that early every day, but I’m just not a morning person. I did get up though, because I decided to go with one of my friends to a Spin class at 6 AM. The class was full- of morning people! And I actually kept up, surprisingly, though spinning is really hard. I need to keep it up, because it really works out your butt and legs, in addition to being a great cardio workout. And it’s nice to have it out of the way by 7 AM.

    Well, it’s 10 now, I’m at school trying to get some studying done, and I’m falling asleep. I guess I need to change my schedule around if I’m going to wake up that early from now on. Hopefully it’ll get easier. I got six hours last night, but I’m still yawning, eyes glazed over, fuzzy brained. But being a doctor, you have to become a morning person, sooner or later.

    I’m really behind in school. I had to come back and take my 3rd test block after Christmas (everyone else took it before Christmas break). So I was studying and taking those tests while everyone else was already done and studying for the upcoming tests. Well, now I haven’t studied for test block 4…. And it starts next Friday. I’m almost beyond the point of caring. I’m so behind, I really can’t see how in the world I can catch up. And it’s hard to try when I’m already burned out from coming back, in addition to having to make up tests. AND the fin aid problems are just the icing on the cake.

    Anyway, I left the dog at home after getting him to sit down and shake. I gave him half of a begging strip, which he LOVES. He really is the cutest puppy ever. He’s a mini schnauzer, salt and pepper, with some white on his face, and black eye brows. Me and hubbie are both pretty obsessed with him.

    Well, I guess that’s all for now. Oh! I packed my lunch today, and it’s going to be so GOOD. This sounds really weird for most people, with the exception of organic food eaters and vegetarians, possibly, but it’s a sundried tomato wrap, with Greek hummus spread on it, fresh mozz, tofu, cucumber, sprouts, carrot, and red cabbage, and ginger vinegarette. I had one last night for dinner and it is yummy! :goodvibes: I copied it from a local restaurant (I have absolutely no creative potential in the kitchen). Well, more later. Back to learning about scary slow viruses that attack your brain…

    Love, coffeeandtea


    Well I’m back again in the same day. I guess with starting a journal, you have a lot to say at first. Really, I actually don’t have too much to say, but I’m trying to study and need a break before starting. Terrible. I’m really so worried about the upcoming test block that it’s sort of paralyzed me. This year I figured out what works for me in terms of studying, and it is repetition mainly. Well, I haven’t had time to get through all of the slides ONCE, much less two or three times, which I’ve usually done by now. So I’m sort of at a loss as to what to do…? I guess just dig my heels in and stick this out. Don’t really have any other choice. 🙁

    Everyone was talking about the Step today in our mandatory class and it was a little frustrating. I mean, the test is in May/June and it is STILL January. If you don’t believe me people, step outside. It’s not summer yet! Or even spring for that matter! And there are people in my class already reading First Aid and working questions..?

    So, yeah, I’m complaining a lot today. I went and hung out with my preceptor today. She’s family med, and I think she’s great. She’s really upbeat and always laughing, and just seems like a genuinely happy person. I wish I could like Family med, because they seem like a happy bunch. I just feel this pull towards working with sicker patients. And I don’t know if I’d want all of that variety. I’d almost rather be good at one specific subspecialty.

    I did read recently that the key to being happy as a physician is having a balance with work and life. My husband is 99% sure he wants surgery, and even though he doesn’t want me to take that into account when choosing my own specialty, of course it will. We both want children, and I know that dual physician marriages WITH kids are hard enough. So it seems like the smartest thing for me to do is consider the hours of whatever I choose. Especially because he’s going to be working a lot!

    I’m probably jumping the gun, because I haven’t gone through rotations yet. One step at a time. I might luck out and fall in love with something with good hours. It’s just a lot to consider when you know you want to be a mom. I’d really like to have a baby before I’m 30, and I’m 25 now. Anyway… just ramblings of a procrastinating, daydreaming, med student. :boggled:

    Now to work!


    I scheduled my Step 1 today 😮

    I’m taking it on June 2nd. My 1st wedding anniversary!

    Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but my hubbie has a solid week of boards through the week of June 2nd, so we really can’t celebrate until after that anyway. Still, it is weird to know that I’ll be taking the big test on the actual day of our wedding last year.

    I mainly decided to schedule that day because it leaves me with almost an entire week off before starting third year (right…a break) I just can’t imagine cramming for 5 straight weeks to take probably the most stressful test of my life and then immediately throwing myself into third year. Doesn’t sound like a healthy plan.

    So I’m thinking after taking the test, I’m going to go on vacation! Not sure where, but at least a few days in the mountains or on the beach or in a big city… I’d really like to go to NYC, but I’m not sure if it’d be worth the money. Anyway, I’m definitely going to reward myself with something.

    Hubbie took it last year, like 4 days before our wedding. I had NO CLUE how hard it was on him. Now, looking back, I can’t believe I got upset over him not appreciating the favors (hand dipped pretzels, created by me and mom), or the mints we made (blue mints with his initial on them). Yeah, it was all beautiful, but he was dealing with the STEP. Now I atleast have a small idea of what that’s like. I merely scheduled the thing and my heart was pounding through my chest :boggled:

    good night all!
    coffeeandtea (earl grey today!)


    Well, haven’t really readjusted to the 5:30 AM’s. I’ve been getting up to make it to a spinning class at six, which I really love, but by 3ish I’m crashing. I don’t know why exactly, because I get the same number of hours’ sleep, but I still just feel so exhausted. But I’m just going to adjust, bc this class is really amazing. It’s just energizing, fun, and it really works out your bottom half, plus it’s great cardio. And it’s nice to have the workout done first thing in the morning. :yes: I’m trying to drop some weight because I’ve gained about 10 lbs since my wedding, so I’ve commited to exercising more regularly (3+x week)and eating better food. So far, I’ve stayed on track. I’ve decided to stay off the scale for about a month, because I don’t want to be discouraged if it takes a while to come off.

    Anyway, I’m trying to study breast pathology, but I can’t seem to focus. My throat is feeling a little sore, I feel groggy, head hurts, chills… I don’t know if it’s mostly I just need a short nap, or if I’m catching some bug floating around. Hubbie’s been sick, Mom’s been sick, and I shadowed my preceptor Wed and she had two patients with the flu. So…. I should’ve been a good little med student and gotten my flu shot, but alas, I didn’t. Sad. So I guess I’ll just have to ride it out and hope it’s not the flu. I’ll never forget last year- I got strep throat right after getting engaged, in the middle of the cardiovascular block in physiology. That was not a high point :rotfl:
    (just wanted to throw in that emoticon, it’s my fave)

    coffeeandtea (house blend with cream)


    I am sitting in the library, with a large diet coke beside me, studying neuropath, with my feet propped up in my little corner. I’ve got a table I like, I’m settled in, and it’s Saturday, so no school tomorrow! I love these moments, when I actually enjoy studying.

    It’s going to be strange as a M3, to be doing stuff more than studying. It’s like right when yu get the hang of it, they change it up on you. My grades are literally 10 points higher this year compared to last. If I’d had a quicker adjustment, who knows how well I could have done? Not that it’s over, and the book work is only one part of school, but it’s interesting that just adjusting can make that much of a difference.

    Tonight I’m studying neuropath, and then switching back over to Micro made ridiculously simple. I had a dream last night that my sister had the same book, but she was in high school. I was mad because I was like, that’s too hard for high school! We’re supposed to be learning more stuff than high school! What’s so funny about that is I went to a public school and my science teacher REALLY and TRULY did not understand mitosis. She was saying it all wrong and confusing everyone, and I corrected her! Ah, the memories of being the shining student :goodvibes: I’ve listened to her talk about it for years, in fact, it was one thing that inspired me to really go for medical school. So, I’ve been thinking, if I love those stories so much, I should probably gravitate toward something that will allow me to have my own experiences like that. Maybe, when I’m an old woman (God willing) I’ll have a brain full of memories of taking care of patients and their outcomes. That is a romantic notion, whether it is attainable and at what cost I’m not sure.

    I looked at some pictures today that were so amazing. here’s the link and a quote from the blog I was reading. But don’t look if you’re wearing mascara, because you’ll cry it off, I promise.

    “Therefore, it is a testament to the power and beauty of the photographs that earned Renee Byer, of The Sacramento Bee the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Feature reporting that tears welled up in my eyes as I scrolled through the twenty photographs documenting Derek Maden, and his mother Cyndie French, during his 11-month battle against neuroblastoma. I’m certain that you will find these photographs as compelling and heartbreaking as I did. Their honesty and intimacy blew me away. They are by far the most accurate a portrayal of childhood cancer as I have seen in the lay press, and triggered flashbacks of the children that I’ve seen whither away as a result of their disease.” peds hem/onc fellow


    Today hasn’t been so productive. We were going to go to the 830 service at church, but we got in late (after some much-needed socializing), and didn’t set our alarms. So, we slept through early church and then decided to go to night church so we could enjoy our coffee and not be rushed. Well, we ended up sitting around for around two hours waiting for two of my college friends to come by, which put us at 1:00. We really enjoyed hanging out and talking, and it was great to finally have them and my hubbie together to get to know one another, but they didn’t leave until about 230. Hubbie has to go get our puppy Taco (hehe) from his Mom’s house (two hours) and I just sat down to start studying, and it’s already 5 pm. Where does the time go!?

    I’d made a deal with myself that if I worked out this entire week and stayed on my diet, I’d treat myself to a chocolate shake today. So two of my friends are swinging by to pick me up at 630 to get ice cream. Then gotta eat dinner at some point. I’ve spent over an hour taking a stupid micro quiz. And let’s not go into how I don’t really seem to KNOW micro, esp antibiotics, despite the many, many hours of staring at this material. :wave:


    Tonight’s not a good night. Last night was the first time we tried to sleep with both of the dogs in the bed, and they were up all night :tired: Hubbie somehow got a full night’s sleep, while I woke up every hour and a half with dogs on me. I got up to take the pup out at 3 am, woke up at 5:30 for spinnning, and realized when I got to spinning that my throat was hurting, I felt really exhausted, and I was like, great! I’m sick! :banghead:

    Men. men can be so da*n frustrating. and whatever rumor that they tell teenage girls about men having just insane, unimaginable sex drives is a LIE. So many girls enjoy it more than their man. It’s a cruel, cruel joke. I’m thinking about investing in a gadget before I get any more annoyed with the situation. :laughing:



    Still sick. Actually, more sick. I spent the morning in bed (and felt guilty about it, considering how much studying I have to get done), and I’m finally up.

    Being sick sucks! I don’t feel good! I don’t want to study! (insert tantrum here)

    Hopefully I’ll look back someday and laugh at myself. And be happy that I somehow managed to stick it out.

    I’ve been a little edgy in general. I think it’s the stress of upcoming tests, and just being tired in general. Waking up for spinning was great, but I think it knocked down my immune system bc I was slacking on sleep, and working my body a lot harder than what I’m used to.

    But I’m going to keep it up. I’m determined to get in better shape. And hopefully relax a little bit too.



    I woke up with tears in my eyes this morning.

    I snapped out of a dream to the sound of my husband mumbling about the puppy, which we found whining beside the bed after falling off of it. I had had a dream that my brother had come back to Earth, and we all showed him our tattoos, which we got after he died to remember him. I was so thrilled to have him back. He got in the car with me, and I was driving, but then I thought, “maybe this is just a figment of my imagination”, so I told him to drive. I was afraid to let him drive though, because I thought he might just disappear and then the car would wreck. Because I wasn’t sure yet if he was actually real. Well, sure enough, he got in the driver’s seat and just drove us along a country road, and told me about lots of things that I can’t remember now.

    So I woke up this morning with my brother’s face and voice and features fresh on my mind. And then realised he’s still gone. Even though I had the dream that he was back, he’s still gone. :crossfingers: that I’ll have a productive day studying.

    I’ve been better.



    I’m having a hard time today dealing with my brother’s death. I’m studying a powerpoint on prions, and came across “mad cow disease” which made me think of him automatically. He used to always call me Mad Cow and moo at me. He loved to make fun of his big sister, especially because I took myself so seriously. He nicknamed me mad cow when I decided to become a vegetarian for six months in high school. It always stuck. Actually, one time I got so upset at him for calling me mad cow that I started crying and told him to stop calling me fat. Ironic, now I would do anything to hear him say those words.

    Studying is just not working. I feel so burnt out that I could just break into tears. The Christmas break left me feeling drained, tired, and emotionally weak. My brother died Dec 2, so the entire month of Christmas was just mourning with my family, and having to deal with the holidays even with the huge, unexpected loss of my brother. I contemplated taking a LOA for the rest of this year, and starting it over, but decided against it. Mainly because I feel like as an adult (and married) my decisions don’t just effect me, and I know I can pass this year, so I came back. Not that I wanted to come back. At all.

    Still, even being back a full month, and making up my third test block, I still feel so fragile, and so incapable of doing this. This is the time to be building momentum, to be studying hard. The Step is in June, and everyone else is worried about it. And here I sit, in a daze thinking about my brother instead of focusing on my micro lectures. My heart is just not here right now. My heart honestly feels like it gets ripped out of me everyday, and I just keep trying.

    But this upcoming test block is going to be a major blow- I’m trying to get prepared for it. I can’t let it knock me down. I truly have never in my life been so unprepared. (and here I am, writing in my journal…)I haven’t even glanced at pharm, which is my worst class. I have barely looked at pathology. I’ve studied micro some, but I haven’t reviewed for the board, and I’ve probably done half of what I normally would have done. It just seems unfair right now, because before this happened I was doing pretty well in school. And I had to work really hard for my good grades- and now it’s just cushion to keep me from failing. But I guess I should keep it in perspective, and be thankful for the cushion. Last year I didn’t have that to catch my fall.

    Ah well. talked to my mom tonight and I just feel so terrible for her sometimes. There’s no closure on his death really, everything was inconclusive. Autopsy, tox screen. nothing. The pathologist ruled it probable sudden cardiac death. That rests with me. I think it was most likely Wolfe-Parkinson-White Syndrome. I’ve seen some research that says it can be completely asymptomatic and cause sudden cardiac death in young people. So… I have closure in my heart. I can’t say that for my mom- she’s still searching for something definitive.

    Anyway, sorry for such a heavy post. Just needed to get this stuff off of my chest so I can hopefully refocus.

    thanks for reading,


    Tomorrow is my first test of test block 4- Virology. It’s my last test in micro (except for the board), and I’m so excited! :tired: :boggled:

    Well of course, since I”m in love with our schedule now, I’m dreading third year when I’ll have to work all the time compared to now. But I am excited to have a change of pace, really! and it’ll be crazy to actually be learning on my feet and seeing things. I’m excited to see it first hand and try to figure out what I’m going to do the rest of my life. Because I change my mind every two days. I have no clue what I’d be good at and what I’d enjoy. Today, I’ve been excited about the idea of neonatology, and I think I could potentially love it. I’m slightly introverted, so I’d like caring for babies, but I like being in intensive setting, and I think I’d love going to the deliveries (minus all the gross gyn and don’t think I want surgery- ick). Plus you get to talk a lot to the parents and go through a seriously intense time with them. Probably a lot of bonding… :boggled:

    love- coffeeandtea (with extra espresso shot in the morning)


    Well, one test down! The last test in micro I’ll have to take with the exception of the board. Which is good, bc I don’t enjoy micro tests. I like micro- they just always find the most random things to test on! If there is some really obscure zoonotic virus that causes some random disease in Sub-Saharan African farmers, and they mention it in the margin of one slide- make sure you know it! :rolleyes:

    Anywho, I’m hungry. My stomach was growling throughout the test. I know some people get embarrased with stomach growling, but I actually kinda like it. But now that I’m done, I’m wanting to treat myself to something really bad- like a big plate of enchiladas covered in cheese sauce with a mango margarita. YUM 😀

    I’m going to take a little break (sans margarita) and then get back to studying. I haven’t glanced at six weeks of pharmacology- and I do have an excuse with my make up tests this semester- but still… It’s a lot. I am planning on going out for a little while tonight after putting in some quality studying, hopefully :crossfingers:

    Well, that’s all for now. I’m getting sleepy now that I’ve taken the test. Before, I was wired, sweaty palms, racing heart and all- even with just four hours of sleep. It’s funny- I’ve been taking tests post high school for almost six years now- and I STILL get bad test anxiety :confused: But somehow I made it this far, so I guess fight or flight isn’t too bad!



    I’m having a hard time today. Turns out I wasn’t very productive yesterday- didn’t feel good and was so exhausted. I woke up this morning feeling very irritable and just couldn’t put my finger on exactly what was wrong. Then hubbie said it seemed like I was directing a lot of frustrations toward him that were unfounded, and I realized he was right.

    I think it’s a combination of being so sad about my brother, the stress of school that just never seems to relent, and being burned out in general. DH also made the observation that I don’t seem passionate about becoming a doctor right now, and he said he felt the same way when all he did was study. But it’ll change next year, and that is what being a doctor is really about.

    I started crying this morning about what he said about the me not wanting it thing. I’ve just felt so incredibly emotional. Last night, laying in bed I was relaxed for the first time in a while, and it felt so good and peaceful. Then it was like I let my emotional guard down and then WHAM! Felt like a straight kick to the stomach, and I ached all over thinking about my brother. That’s the thing about being in school. You have to put it aside to get stuff done, but then when you finish your work, it’s like it’s built up all of that tension and force, and it just knocks me down. :ouch:

    I’ve just got to keep on going. I’m thankful that I have a hubbie that will put up with me being so crazy. He’s actually doing an away rotation and is leaving tomorrow for four weeks. yeah, I’ll see him some weekends, but it’s going to be the first time I’ve been alone- really alone- since my brother died. I’m not looking forward to it. I would just avoid the house, but I have a puppy to train and take care of. So hopefully I can have friends over and keep myself busy.

    It’s just strange, how fragile I feel. I just wish I felt stronger.

    I posted on another forum asking a question about the nurse practioner route as opposed to MD, and a very kind attending posted this:

    “I think you’re asking this because you’re frustrated with med school and are getting over a tremendous personal tragedy. Please give yourself time and stick with medicine at least through the 3rd year rotations and then…you’re almost done and can graduate! This will give you and your family time to heal to some degree and a chance to see what medicine is like as only a 3rd year student does. There are no benefits at this point to switching out to a nursing career or giving up medical school. Please let us know via this forum or by PMing me if we can help you further.”

    It’s funny when a person whose never met me can see something that I can’t even see myself, without someone just pointing it out to me.

    Sorry this post is such a downer, but it has been really therapeutic to write, so I’m thankful for this outlet. And hopefully if anyone goes through something similar, they’ll know they’re not alone 🙁

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