February 12, 2018

Having a relationship in medical school

Valentine's day is almost here, which I almost forgot about until our medical school sent out its monthly mental health newsletter. This month, its featured article was about falling in love, not with a person, but with medical school. What.

I've seen medical schools take sides in this 'maintaining personal relationships' issue. During a visit to one medical school, the dean promptly said "There is no time for relationships during medical school. And don't get married during medical school." Another school said, we understand that while medical school is rigorous, it certainly shouldn't be all-consuming. We want you to have support and live your life while in medical school.

I wish that our newsletter presented two sides of the relationship story too. Sharing with our class an article about focusing on medical school as your 'one true love' right before a day celebrating romantic relationships is sorta weird and gives me all sorts of unhealthy vibes. I guess it truly depends on your definition of what's unhealthy. I value family and my partner first, not the medical school community, and would go crazy trying to socialize with classmates outside of school. Then again, I'm a rather introverted person, and we're in the minority in the world and especially in medical school.

Basically, though, the author was right in the sense that you can't do everything in medical school. You can't balance schoolwork, maintain a social life, be optimally healthy, and maintain a relationship without something messing up sometimes or sacrificing a huge chunk of one of them.

February 9, 2018

What I've been reading

- #243 The Finally! Show
ASMR cooking

While there are days that I question whether I should have gone into medicine, I am grateful of how much this career has taught me about impartiality and test of remaining neutral in the face of disagreeableness - whether that be of treating a patient with different (and vocal) political viewpoints or treating a patient who has just soiled herself, urine splashing onto your shoes as well, and having to quickly dismiss my own visceral disgust in the face of human-ness.


The Minimalists movie
In Defense of Food movie
vs. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170606135754.htm
I left H alone this week to do the grocery shopping and he came back with Costco-sized amounts of canned tuna and white bread and 4 frozen cheese pizzas. (Along with cucumbers, spinach, and tomatoes) - food in moderation!

^pre-New Year's Eve

Post-New Year's Eve

I've been keeping myself busy, busy, and busy! Just how I like to be -- learning new things every day and getting to practice how to care for patients.

Here's a list of animated movies I love and hope to re-watch soon:
1) Paprika
2) The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
3) Summer Games
4) Kubo and the Two Strings
5) Wolf Children
6) Anything Studio Ghibli

I'm planning to watch The Boy and The Beast, also directed by Mamoru Hosoda who directed movies number 2, 3, and 5. Not to mention Digimon: The Movie, which was one of my favorite childhood movies ever!! That smooth animation, those colors, the action scenes. =^.^=

On the anime TV shows front, I am excited to hear that Aggretsuko is coming to Netflix!

Other artists I love
1) https://www.instagram.com/hasya31/
2) https://www.instagram.com/jaredmuralt/
3) https://www.instagram.com/joyjoyang/ AND HER CAT!
4) https://www.instagram.com/samuelyounart/
5) https://www.instagram.com/makiko_j/
6) https://www.instagram.com/baotpham/
7) https://www.instagram.com/minortismay/
8) John Singer Sargent
9) A. J. Casson
10) Jeon JongUk
11) Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
12) Walter Everett
13) And a 19th century architecture illustrator that I cannot find the name of at this moment. It'll come up on my Tumblr sometime, I'm sure...

The snow has been coming down heavy. It remind me of Netter's classic picture for stable angina - middle-aged man clutching his chest in the wintery cold, gusts of snow blowing by as this coronary arteries vasoconstrict, oh no! A reminder to eat a heart-healthy diet!

Stay warm and safe to all those facing terrible weather. :)

October 7, 2017

Comparing yourself to others

Looking at the heavy-hitters in the medical field never fails to spark in me both a sense of admiration and of dread. Physicians who take time to teach the general public about medicine (Atul Gawande); physicians who devote their lives to the raising up communities (Paul Farmer); physicians who make the most out of their dual degrees (Anoop Raman, see article below). [For some reason, I'm unable to summon up a female physician's name. Whether this is due to my limited knowledge or some deeper challenge that women face, I don't know.]

Hearing their accomplishments makes me reflect on my own and I feel that I pale in comparison. My heart beats a little faster and I imagine that stomach drops an inch or two - anxiety starts to gnaw away at me. My brain starts to list out my every failure and a vicious cycle of feeling sorry for myself begins. A voice inside me says, "I don't work hard enough, I don't care for others enough, and I am certainly not smart enough!". I've been working on squelching this voice through journaling and mindfulness techniques, but I haven't faced it head on.

Because my current rotation is psychiatry, my concerns about comparing myself have been at the forefront of my mind. I recently learned about cognitive-behavior therapy, a technique for addressing distorted thoughts about yourself and breaking the vicious cycle of negativity. It's not enough to simply say to yourself, "Stop it! Stop comparing yourself with others." If this was the case, therapists and doctors could cure everyone within a month or two. "Stop deluding yourself!", "Stop late-night snacking!" And they'd probably stop wars too.

Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) is based on a trifecta of thoughts, actions, and emotions. One way of looking at how it works is that our negative thoughts leads to actions (or poor behaviors) that reinforce our emotions of feeling bad about ourselves. CBT, combined often with pharmacotherapy, has been shown to have great success in treating those with anxiety disorders, a group of conditions that include OCD, social anxiety, and PTSD. Here are the general (and very logical) steps involved:

Step 1. Identify and challenge problematic thoughts and beliefs
Step 2. Create pleasant activities that challenge problematic beliefs, like calling a friend for someone who believes no one likes them
Step 3. Extended exposure to anxiety-eliciting stimuli to decrease our panic response

While I'm on this relevant rotation, I'll be trying out some self-CBT in order to work on my bad habit of comparing myself with others. In my last rotation, family medicine taught me about motivational interviewing, a technique for building up motivation in patients to change their habits for the better. By working on both these techniques, I hope that I'll be better at encouraging patients to take good care of themselves!

Few things I've been reading:



http://www.aafp.org/afp/2015/1101/p807.html "Common Questions About Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Psychiatric Disorders"
*Note that it's likely that psychiatric disorders or mental illness is really a spectrum. There's no clear black or white status of yes, you're mentally ill vs. no, you're just maladjusted. We all have positive things to gain about becoming self-aware of our mental health. :)

September 30, 2017

What I've been reading

Hi, quick and messy message as I fly by the blogosphere. I've finished up my family med rotation and my thoughts have been trending more and more toward doing a family medicine residency, and less and less toward specializing. By becoming a family med doc, I'd be doing the type of medicine physicians centuries ago only wished they could do. There's so much information out there, so much new medicine and technology, that it's exciting to be someone that can synthesize all of that for patients.

1. https://orionmagazine.org/article/forget-shorter-showers/
True true, we humans make minor impact on day-to-day basis but we should still strive to be minimally impactful on our world's resources.

2. https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-promise-and-potential-of-fan-fiction

3. http://mentalfloss.com/article/79912/15-writers-who-were-also-medical-doctors
I have this funny dream that one day I can publish a book of poems, so that led me down the Google rabbit-hole of checking who else balances writing and being a physician. Turns out, it's men for the most part.

4. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/oct/11/nawal-el-saadawi-interview-do-you-feel-you-are-liberated-not
Which led to me to read this.

5. https://www.buzzfeed.com/hannahallam/a-foreign-policy-expert-says-calling-out-trumps-hate-speech?utm_term=.gv54WXAvJ#.pwA92nEKV
The actions of our President continue to astound and shock me, and it seems to have placed many good folks in politics in tough situations.

6. 99% invisible
- El Gordo: expensive lottery tickets lead to whole towns being lifted economically upward, neat!

7. NYT The Daily
- Friday, Sept. 29, 2017: pleading insanity for murder and mental health stigma

8. This American Life - story on Proudboys

9. Finished Rumi and Slice of Life :) Going to try working on my speedreading because I am feeling that FOMO on missing out on knowledge!

September 10, 2017

What I've been reading

I'm taking a hot minute from studying to write an update. I'm under self-induced stress to meet several deadlines, because me being me, I pushed them all to the last minute. However, I like to think I work better under pressure. ( ´ ▽ ` )b

While I was busy ignoring what I needed to do, I read some stuff and cringe-watched my way through some other stuff. Stuff!

AO3's KakaIru Archive, and doujin
I never really understood this pairing. During high school, I was swept by the major ship at the time - Naruto and Sasuke! And I have to admit, not a fan of any of Kishimoto's female characters (except for Anko). All things have changed. I love the world-building Naruto lends itself to and I love that both Kakashi and Iruka are sane adults who have no revenge plots brewing in the back of their heads. I'm still not a fan of Kishimoto's portrayal of women in Naruto, but that doesn't mean I don't love who they could be in another fannish world.

I recommend any fic written by pentapus <3.

NYT No Benefit Seen in No-Salt Diets
In fact, there may be increased risk of heart disease from the rise in triglyceride fats, more insulin resistance, and increased sympathetic nervous system function. Salt in moderation!

NYT Taxing the wealthy
We used to have a 90% tax for those in the highest income bracket, and we were all happy with it until some president (cough Johnson) decided to start a movement toward lowering it. Now we're at about 40% for the highest income bracket. Not to mention the offshore accounts most wealthy folks stuff their extra cash in. Money in moderation!

The King's Woman
Not recommended. Way too much dubious consent and outright nonconsensual advances going on in this series. :/

Okay, back to the hole from whence I came.

August 11, 2017

What's I've been reading

Hello out there! It's been awhile. I've relocated to a new city (or rather, my old city) and have moved into a great apartment. We have a small backyard and to our left is our neighbor's vegetable garden and to our right is our other neighbor's flower garden. There's also a peach tree that's beginning to bear fruit with some of its branches in our territory - which means possible peach crisp come autumn!

Exciting things have been happening - first, my 8-year laptop got fried and I had to get a new one. I'm now a HP convert with one of those fancy 2-in-1 laptops. Finally, a laptop that doesn't weigh 5lb! My back is grateful. Then I started my ob-gyn rotation and it has been relentless work until now. I've finished my shelf this morning and I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend and finally having the chance to enjoy what's left of my summer.

Things that I have been consuming!!

- My sweet childhood memories. Now that I have a PC, I can finally play Maplestory again! They've made it really easy to level-up. Nearly lvl 100, what!

Brooklyn Nine-Nine S4
- I like to think I'm Raymond Holt, but I'm actually Amy Santiago.

Ode to Joy Season 2 (on viki.com)
- One of the best modern-day dramas out there and focused on strong relationships between women
- Some parts I skip and I was rather disappointed with Guan Guan's love story, but still I loved it.

Pretty Li Hui Zhen (The King's Woman) (on viki.com)
- Dilraba and Zhang Bin Bin really impressed me here, but I had to stop watching half-way through because the male lead was too stiff and didn't have the same chemistry Dilraba and Zhang Bin Bin did.
- Good thing those two will be starring in the The King's Woman! Still, in antagonistic roles, but I'm hopeful for some great scenes between the two of them.

Don't Give Up, Dodo! (on viki.com)
- Chinese web series of 10 episodes, 20 minutes each - a really solid comedy with all the quirks of Chinese culture hidden inside.

Fun medical facts!Spinnbarkeit is the term used to describe cervical mucus just before ovulation. Mittelschmerz is the term used to the describe the pain some women feel mid-cycle as their ovarian follicle erupts and releases the egg.

May 14, 2017

What I've been reading

I'll be transferring to schools in the fall and returning back to my old city and back to live with my husband. I still can't quite believe that I was accepted. This week's been a doozy. It's been filled with strange encounters with patients and their next of kin, an impromptu therapy session, and the start of my final meals with friends in this town.

I've started studying for Step 1 full-time, armed with UWorld and Tomato-timer.com. There's a lot of sitting in my future.

Here's what I've been consuming in the past few weeks:

Shallow cabinet heaven! A gorgeous modern apartment that's warm and filled with space-saving tricks.

Lauryn Hills - Miseducation of Lauryn Hills
Depeche Mode - did you hear them playing as the background to the Atomic Blonde trailer?? (so excited for that movie to come out!)
Dresden Dolls
Yoshida Brothers
Bastion Soundtrack/Antique Beats

Marimekko’s pattern of progressive design - I thought the company was Japanese, when actually it's Finnish.

Amazon opens their first bookstore in Chicago - It's unlikely that I'll step foot in there. For me, and for this article's author, bookstores are a place to discover a book you never knew about and to try out new things.

Sylvia Plath's letters - I remember my friends taking turns and renting The Bell Jar during high school.

Reading beyond our bubbles - On DFW

Ali Wong
Two Weeks Notice
Today's Special
(I'm looking forward to season 2 of Ode to Joy, starting later this month!)

Guardian Long Reads - Hermitage - There's a short bit in this story where she talks about how wealthy English landowners used to sign contracts with hermits to live on their estates, in caves, because of the belief that hermits spread good luck and kindness. Hermits signed because they were hungry and needed a stable home.

BBC's Food Program - On Herbs - I found myself desperate to taste all the varieties of spearmint during this podcast. It's likely we're renting a basement home, but if there's any hope of sunlight, I'm definitely having a mini-herb garden inside.

Still gnawing on Slice of Life. Started Coleman Barks edited version of Rumi poetry as well as The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant. There are so many pages devoted to my dear Aristotle. My dear bland, logical, precise, and rational Aristotle, the founder of biology, the founder of logic, the founder of ethics and thinking about what it means to live a good life. And the inventor of everyday science terms. <3

One last bag left of Celestial's Tension Tamer, which really grew on me.
I just bought their new Lemon Lavender herbal tea and it smells wonderfully lavvy.

I'm nearly out of Windsor fruit teas. :(
And I finally found Celestial's chai bags, only on Amazon and only available in bulk. Once I move, this will be my first purchase. Can you imagine! Every day, perfectly perfume-y and gingery chai to start the morning.

I've been enjoying the teas with Belvita biscuits.

Til next time!