Half Marathon

Something exciting has happened! I did a thing!
I registered for the Route 66 Half Marathon in Tulsa. November 23, 2014!
So apparently my sad, recreational running can now go by the fancy name of “Half Marathon Training”
Some of my thoughts on this situation.
Negative: My “long run” of the week is only at six miles.
Positive: I’ve done said long run twice a week for the past two weeks.
Negative: It’s going to be hard to train throughout the semester.
Positive: I have 17 weeks to do it!
Negative: My gym membership expires August 1.
Positive: I can use the medical school gym on August 1!
Negative: Running is hard.
Positive: It makes me feel like a beast.
Negative: I may not run a very good time at the half.
Positive: It’ll be my first time racing this distance so it will be a PR!
Here is a quote I leave you with by the awesome Lauren Fleshman. She’s an educated runner, mom, granola bar maker, blogger, and basically the running female version of Samuel L Jackson in terms of being hard-core. The quote is about signing up for races so I thought it was appropriate.
“This is how it happens. You see people racing, their hearts exposed, vulnerable among millions. And then you sign up.”

Medical School

My Medical School Study Plan

I’m about done with the class that started before medical school! Yay! Right in time for Friday, which begins this crazy journey called medical school. So I wanted to share some of the things that I learned. The expert skills program originally came from Texas Tech but my school is doing a version of it that will cover all four semesters (MS-1 and 2). This segment, called block one, is supposed to begin the summer before medical school. It covers things like your learning style, how to do concept maps, how to study effectively and efficiently, and coping with stress.
Now that I’m almost done, it has been a really good thing for me I think. Though some of the principles can be used for any kind of study, its geared specifically for the high volume of material of medical school. I think from undergraduate, I know how to study well, but my methods were time-consuming and I still bombed some tests- oops. I didn’t always feel glad to be doing it when I found out they were taking some of my summer away. Still, the prof has been really flexible on everyone’s due dates because he knows its summer.
This method is something I feel like I can manage. I won’t follow it exactly though, because I still like some of my old tried and true things I do like reading aloud.
The most interesting part for me has been learning my “type”. They have a test based on the Meyer-Briggs personality test, but theirs only tells you your learning type. Mine is ISFJ. Which is Introvert, Sensing, Feeling, Judging. Your overall personality type can be much different than you learning type, and as with most things related to psychological testing, real people are much more complicated so I very well could have extrovert  leaning 49% of the time and introvert 51% of the time and it would still call me an introvert.
Anyways, this is my type description in a nutshell
Sympathetic, manager of facts and details, stable conservative, concerned with people’s welfare, dependable painstaking (haha! I love that word), systematic, uses sensible intelligence, loves practical skills, learns best by myself, I enjoy learning things best when they have proven value, I prefer steady, sequential work (yes!), I have a controlled and orderly life, have a patient, persistent attention to other’s needs, I follow a sensible path based on my experiences, I have a rich memory of concrete facts (absolutely true), I value a few strong relationships, I like consistency, the familiar, and the tried and true, I value compassion, kindness, and caring,  I prefer to work according to a plan and schedule,  I like authority (I beg to differ)  and set procedures. I value hard work and perseverance most in myself.
I think its overall pretty accurate!
What struck me most was how accurate it was when it was talking about how I handle stress! Oh man. It was bad I was all like mmHmm.

“You tend not to trust your ability to use your imagination and to see new alternatives for a stressful situation. Instead, you will tend to assume that your way is the only right way to manage a situation. This leads to uncontrolled intuitive type behavior under stress, such as an unrealistic doom and gloom outlook, which can cause you to give up on seeking alternative solutions to the situation. Let’s keep using the example where you are exhausted from long hours of study and then you learn that you have scored a 50 on an exam that you thought you had mastered. An exaggerated intuitive response would cause your imagination to go spinning out of control, causing you to treat the situation out of proportion as a catastrophic event. Your normally practical behavior would give way to impulsive, rash behavior such as abruptly taking off in the middle of the day to go to a movie or to go buy a new stereo system (which you can’t afford). ”
Anyway, here’s the study plan they outline.

“SuccessTypes time management
Identification stage. Identify material you don’t already know the night before lecture. Highlight terms and concepts you don’t know, or write them down. Spend 5-10 minutes or less per lecture hour.
Orientation stage. Use the lecture to give you an orientation to the terms and concepts that need to be learned. Check off the concepts you highlighted or listed during the identification stage.
Organization stage. Develop a visual organization of the material as soon as possible (at least on the same day). Spend most of your available time doing this.
Verification stage. Dedicate blocks of time on the weekend to each course. Use verbal paraphrasing to review your notes and to determine what topics need more study. When your verification process shows that you have a specific area of difficulty, refer to the text or notes, or arrange to see the instructor. ”
So basically before I go to bed each night, I’ll look at the pages going to be covered in lecture. Highlight the “words” I don’t know- (Not entire paragraphs! I used to do that). During lecture I will then have something to listen for and will take paraphrased notes over what is emphasized or repeated while checking off the terms the professor actually covers. These terms will be important to study later. Then I can concept map or draw out the material covered each school day that same evening. End each night by highlighting the material for tomorrow. Saturdays and Sundays will be spent doing the verification step where I reconstruct the material from my visuals only. Review everything covered that week. Start over again on the identification step Sunday night for the lecture Monday. Whew. Sounds like a lot of work, but I think it sounds manageable.
We’ll see if it sticks. Idunno.
-All excerpts and paraphrase  from “SuccessTypes in Medical Education” by Dr. Pelley and Dr. Dalley.
In the book they suggested we pay it forward and teach someone else what we’ve learned. So there ya go!
Medical School Products

Adventures in Buying Scrubs

It’s overwhelming how many types of scrubs there are. Colors and sizes and materials and brands and pockets and necklines. I sort of thought they were all the same. Isn’t one of the purposes of scrubs to be in standardized uniform? I definitely wasn’t looking for anything fancy. I mostly need plain jane scrubs that are gonna get nasty in cadaver lab. However, other students at my school are suggesting that most people wear scrubs to class on a pretty regular basis so I decided to get more than one or two pairs to start off with.  No matter what size I tried on, the drawstrings have to be pulled up to my head and cinched down, and the leg holes are as wide around as tree trunks.  The shirt sleeves end at my elbows. I tried some on
Nothing has made me feel more like I’m playing dress up for medical school more than trying on scrubs and finding out the XXS still swallows me. I felt like a little kid. I’m not even that tiny. I usually wear a sm (2/4) in shirts and size small athletic shorts, so I was thinking it would be similar. Here I was thinking I was growing up and becoming a modern woman, buying black pumps and slacks. So, thank you scrubs. It was a humbling experience. At least my white coat makes me feel accomplished.
So far I like Landau, Cherokee, and Med Couture the best! I got solid colors- navy, light blue, jade green, and pinkish purplish color!

Family Medical School

Medical School Orientation and a Birthday!

EEEKKK! It’s one week until orientation. Everything is coming hard and fast and best of all, I feel ready. My summer checklist is all but crossed off. I got back into decent running shape- I did 25 miles last week! The study room is done. I got new school grown up clothes. I rested,  and enjoyed my family and friends.
It’s weird that this is the last week ever in my life that I will NOT have been to medical school! How many people can say that they’ve been to medical school? Probably millions but it sounds pretty crazy to me!
Still, next week this time will be very busy and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous!
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This weekend though, is this girl’s birthday!
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She’s not this little anymore but it feels like just yesterday I was making her first birthday cake!
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But now she’s this gorgeous, sassy, little sweetheart and I’m making her fifth birthday cake!
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I love you Julie. Happy Birthday!


Just Sayin'

All I know is…
this kinda mess doesn’t happen at Target. #target4lyfe #walmartsucks


Bear with Me

Hey guys. Some of you may have noticed that is up and running. Followers have been migrated over there but the site is not totally done, so if something is wonky or unfinished, bear with me. I’m new at this.

Family Health Life Medicine

Empathy vs. Sympathy

I saw this video a long time ago and I remember showing it to my roommate and we just sat silently after watching it. I’m glad I was able to find it again. Its quick and easy to understand but she covers some deep things in it that I mull over in my head quite often.
I always get chills when she says “I know what its like down here and you’re not alone.” If only I was just able to convey that to people that I want to help. Its harder than it sounds.
My relevant story for today isn’t really any thing compared to the pain and suffering some people go through, but I’m going to tell it anyway because it is what has got me to some realizations about helping people pain- both physically as a future physician, and emotionally with family and friends.
I had a bad sunburn recently. Mostly on my back. It was about two days old and I went running enough to soak my back and my shirt in sweat. It started itching in spots on my way home. Then it started burning. Then I took a warm shower. Then I got out and put some moisturizer on it. Through each of these steps it started burning worse, getting itchy all over. I’m not sure if I was done for from the moment I sweated salty chemicals onto raw skin or if I just kept making it worse, but by this time I was in a fit of excruciating pain and compulsive itching. Rolling on the floor, crying for my mom, rubbing it with my knuckles so that it wouldn’t sting worse from scratching. The only thing that took a little edge off was running the bathtub on cold over my back constantly. My parents were trying to talk me down gently and had to resort to holding back my arms, yelling “CALM DOWN” and watching me twitch and sob and cry.
It was awful. Truly I didn’t think I wanted to live much longer if I had not known it was just a temporary skin irritation. I thought of fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions. I thought of how scary it was to not know how much longer I was going to feel like that. To not know when or if I could sleep or eat or enjoy anything. I was begging to go to the ER to get a sedative.
The video popped in my head
“I know what its like down here and you’re not alone.”
I thought of how anyone was ever going to help me get rid of the pain. I was going through everything I knew to make it just a little better or tolerable so that I could sleep or distract myself from the itching til it went away. My mom was just as scared and helpless as I was. My dad was yelling unhelpful things like “SHH” and “Don’t touch it!”
After we thought of cool water and I was sitting with my back under the faucet, my mom just sat there with me as I calmed down and the burning got manageable. I don’t know if the house catching on fire could have gotten me out of the tub. I was scared to move for fear that the flood of relief would leave my body. My mom just sat there.  And for a bit, I was fine. My pain was not gone but I was comforted by the temporary relief I found and the fact that someone else was there, as if saying
“I don’t even know what to say; I can’t do anything to help you, but I’ll stay here with you and just be together.”
That’s what I hope to bring my patients if nothing else: Relief through connection.

Products Running

Why My GPS Watch Breaking Has Actually Been a Good Thing

Running Update!
My Nike+ GPS pooped out on me, after like a year. After reading several reviews, I have found out that this watch made for running is not very sweat proof. Que excelente! Even through just the little amount off my arms, I could tell inside the wristband that it stayed moist after longer runs even though I would dry it off with my shirt. Anyway, I liked having it for the Nike+ website where it is free to store your runs indefinitely and it shows your route, time, elevation, mileage and handy things like that. It’s nice to look back at old runs from 6 months ago and see where you were.
Lately though, I obviously haven’t been able to use it and it has been nice. I no longer look have to look down at my watch after puttering and panting only to see that I have crapped out at a 10:20 mile and my lungs are screaming at me like I just laid down a 7 flat.
I start my basic chronograph watch, do my 30, 40, 50 or 60 minute run and then stop. No mileage or average pace and I still feel accomplished. I know from my rhythm pretty well now when I’m going pretty good.
Its been unexpected and delightful and I am definitely building endurance quickly as indicated by the fact that I am not stopping in the middle anymore! In the past, I would often look down at the GPS watch and just decide to stop because I wasn’t running as fast as I thought I should.
Do any of you runners use GPS watches? Do you ever decide to go without it for a more carefree run?

Friends House Life Medical School Pictures

Lake Trip, Medical School Updates, and Study Room

Well folks, as much as I love writing, when life comes a-knockin’ unfortunately the blog takes the beating.
This week I went for a last minute lake cabin retreat with two girlfriends from OBU. We had a wonderful time! We used floaties to lay out and tan on a very calm, clear lake. We partook in hot tub time, ate, played board games, attempted to fish, laughed, laid in a hammock, and even kayaked. It was a little vacation I didn’t even know I needed. It came at the perfect time too. Right before I left, I realized I had a little email conundrum with medical school where I realized I wasn’t getting all the emails I should have. (I should have known, no wonder I hadn’t heard about orientation and the white coat ceremony yet!) Once I straightened out the correct email with the administration, I was forwarded a flood of information including my test/class schedule, orientation schedule, info on becoming a student ambassador, and most importantly a self-study block of a class that has already begun! Whoa. Who knew medical school started the summer before?! Since I was on vacation though, I anxiously tucked them away for reading and absorbing as soon as I got back on Thursday.

Our view of the lake from the backyard of the cabin

I would love to share the scheduling and everything I will be up to this fall since that is a lot of what I have been curious about for so long. Questions like, “How grueling is it really?” “What is the day to day schedule like?” Unfortunately, I don’t think sharing these google docs on the interwebs for all to see is something that I can do. You see, every medical school is different and takes pride on their exact brand of medical education- how it is structured, set up and scheduled. So giving that information away feels a little like copying something that isn’t mine. As for MY schedule, daily life, opinions, and whereabouts- I’ll be glad to share those as much as I can.
Also, as I begin my medical education, please take the time to read my disclaimer.
This class that has already started (and I am already behind in!) is called Expert Skills and the information we have to read is mostly about personality types and how it affects your learning style/how you can study better once you know your type. I think its really helpful and it is a great idea to finally understand why I do so bad on multiple choice tests! Ugh! There are also a lot of tips on how to overcome and learn other styles of learning so that it fits with what comes easiest to you. Already I feel like I’m being taken by the hand (figuratively) and being given the tools to succeed instead of being worked into burnout, then drowning and flailing on my own.
The professor knows that I am behind and highlighted specific phrases in his email like “Don’t get overwhelmed” and “Don’t feel alone, just feel energized.” Things that were personal and helpful to me instead of just “Here are all the documents you need,  figure it out and turn it in when you’re done.”
This class will also meet during the semester and we will progress into how to study for multiple choice exams like the boards and also how to learn best while on clinical rotations. I’m excited!
I can now happily say that the study room is done! It is so beautiful and I’m in love and obsessed with it. And I have already been using it thanks to my pre-medical school homework and blogging! I love all the handmade details and chic vintage feel.
The view from the door into the study

Guest bed

Artwork and coffee cart

My cart even has a slide out tray that I can hide my K-cups in!

Right shelf includes vintage medical books, diploma, family pictures and school supplies hidden in cute baskets!

Desk I made back in January!

Left shelf has the printer, modem and cleverly hidden wifi with more books, stationary and pictures

My very own “Command Center” where I can write out the weeks tasks and look at more pretty artwork. The board is homemade. We bought sheet metal, framed it, painted it and then used dry erase magnets to make a schedule. Basically the same idea as one I found on – a great DIY blog!

Plush rug with a comfy chair and side table for reading and browsing the internet

My mom painted the bird. I thought it was a sweet touch

Sharpie trees on burlap squares. Those were a lot of fun to draw

I love the room in low light at night too with just the desk lamp and the string lights above the bed on. It feels very peaceful.

Sigh. I’m obsessed.

Medical School

It's Getting Close

It’s really hitting home.
Close enough that I got my class schedule today. Complete with an exam exactly four weeks from today.
Close enough that I looked at my new shampoo bottle and said to it “You will be the shampoo I will start medical school with.”
I’m weird.