Saturday, October 23, 2021

Embracing Life's Full Circle Moments

#OMED21 Smiles

I have had quite a few full circle moments over the past few years, but the one I experienced today compelled me to write this post. If you've been following my blog since it's inception in 2013, then you already know how much of an inspiration Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee is to me. I was ecstatic when I had the opportunity to meet her in person for the first time as a 2nd year medical student (see post HERE), and even before then, she was the first person I ever highlighted in my Minority Women in Osteopathic Medicine section (that post can be found HERE) . Since that time, I have had many opportunities to interact with her. She was a huge supporter during my time as National Osteopathic Schools Co-Chair of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) helping to fund a committee scholarship, and during my time as National President-Elect of the SNMA she attended the national conference and we had an excellent discourse during the Osteopathic Schools reception. She's such a phenomenal person!

But anyway, back to the purpose of this post. I was absolutely delighted to be a part of this weekend's virtual annual osteopathic medical education conference (#OMED21) as a panelist during the Plenary Session for the conference's first ever Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion track. And guess who led the session? That's right, one of my very own inspirations Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee! It was a great session where we discussed continuing the legacy of Dr. Meta Christy (the first African-American Osteopathic Physician) in addition to systemic biases and other challenges faced by DOs. I truly enjoyed participating, and the recording is available for everyone registered for the conference so feel free to join the conference, tune in, and let me know your thoughts!

Six years ago TODAY! Feeling absolutely blessed :)

So why is this a full circle moment? Because Facebook reminded me that it was on this EXACT day six years ago when I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Ross-Lee for the first time and I introduced her to my school. Today, we had a panel together and she gave my introduction. How crazy is that?!?! It's moments like today where I am reminded of where I came from and that I am on the right track in life. It wasn't too long ago where I dreamed of becoming an osteopathic physician like Dr. Ross-Lee and inspiring people to pursue their dreams as she inspired me to do so with my own. I am literally living my dreams y'all!

Can't break barriers without acknowledging those who paved the way

That's pretty much the post, all I have to say, but I wanted to write a post for my own personal reflection. It's the full circle moments that remind me I'm on the write track and give me encouragement to keep pushing for success. Hopefully one day I can give back and serve as an inspiration to someone just like many individuals such as Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee who provided inspiration and encouragement for me :)




Sunday, October 10, 2021

Update: Plastic Surgery Intern Year Month Four

I'm never this cute when I'm at work lol

I'm officially in month four of plastic surgery residency and just realized it's been a while since I've caught everyone up to speed. During my last post, I was in the middle of my second month of general surgery. Since that time, I've completed an orthopedic surgery rotation, and now I am on a urology rotation. I'll do my best to reflect on the highlights of the past few months.


Proud of my daughter!

I normally end with updates on mommy life, but shortly after my last post, my daughter decided to inform me of her very important first color guard performance literally two days before it happened. I was still in the middle of my general surgery rotation, and told her there was no way I could be there, but of course the mommy guilt set in. So, the next morning I asked my chief if it would be okay if I left early the next day to see my daughter's performance, and I was super surprised when he said yes! I was beyond happy and booked my plane ticket a few minutes later, but didn't tell my daughter since I wanted to surprise her. The next morning, I woke up at 5am, rounded at 6am, attended 7am didactics, helped with floorwork (luckily there were no cases that day), and I was out the door and to the airport around lunchtime. I had to catch two separate flights, literally ran to make my connecting flight,  and was forced to check my carry on which was then placed on the wrong plane, but I managed to make it to my daughter's performance right on time :) It was worth all the hassle and she did an excellent job! #ProudMommy

#BlackGirlMagic in the Operating Room!

September was all about Orthopedic Surgery. As a medical student, I never rotated in the field since I chose Plastic Surgery as my surgery selective, so it was definitely a new experience. I got to wear the hood for the first time and I have to say it was awesome. It came with a nice fan and it was great not having to worry about things accidentally splashing or hitting my face. With that being said, all the drilling, sawing, and hammering was not my cup of tea lol. I'm more into soft tissues and being a bit more delicate, but it was a super fun experience. Hand and extremity reconstruction is a huge part of training as a plastic surgeon, so it was nice getting my feet wet on the orthopedic side. My favorite part of the entire month was getting to operate alongside my friend and fellow black female surgery intern. With black females in plastic and orthopedic surgery being in the super minority (seriously, look it up...there are less than 100 black female plastic surgeons in the United States), I was delighted when one of the medical students took the above photo of us. Two black female surgeons, one in plastic surgery and the other in orthopedic surgery, breaking barriers, and living proof it's possible to achieve your dreams :)

Rocking the lead gear on a few urology cases!

As for this month, I just finished my first week of Urology, and I'm continuing to learn a lot. It's been a healthy mix of clinic and operating, and I'm enjoying seeing the diversity within the field of Urology. The last week has consisted of removing cancerous prostates, knocking out kidney stones, and resecting bladder tumors. I even scrubbed into my first hydrocelectomy case the other day. I am always fascinated by how Plastic Surgery incorporates into other specialties, and plastic surgeons work very closely with urology when it comes to things like Gender-Affirming surgery. It's nice getting down the foundations and anatomy that will become important as I progress through my training.  

3 months reading and finally finished!

In other news that likely no one cares about, I reached a huge accomplishment the other day: I finished reading my textbook! My goal at the start of residency was to read one chapter a day. Doesn't seem major, but when you take into account handling the floorwork, operating, and being super tired when getting off work, reading can be hard. I've also been incorporating learning modules and questions into my study routine, so I try to make sure I balance everything equally. During my previous intern year, I was often so overwhelmed with learning how to be an intern, on top of studying for my final board exam, that reading was the last thing I wanted to do. This time around, I feel like an OG, and work-like balance comes super easy for me. I actually enjoy studying and learning, but I guess it helps that I'm finally in my dream specialty.

Making time for food and play!

As for work-life balance, I still believe in the "work hard, play hard" lifestyle. I take my rotations and studying seriously, but I make sure to take time to enjoy Miami life whenever I can. I've learned that people here really love being on the water, so of course, I had to take part in the yacht experience. Additionally, I've tried a few great restaurants, inadvertently got into a Trey Songz and City Girls concert for free last month, and last weekend I went to see Martin Lawrence and other comedians perform and laughed for hours! I am continually thankful to reside in a city that offers the best of both worlds in terms of training and fun.

Life in a nutshell :)

That pretty much sums up the last couple of months. In addition to my urology rotation, I will be participating in a few events this month geared toward my passion of mentoring and diversifying medicine, so I look forward to sharing those experiences. As always, I'll aim to update everyone again next month, and I hope everyone reading this has a very productive and positive week. Back to the grind!


 


Sunday, September 26, 2021

A Little Sunday Inspiration :)

Overcoming the odds to become your favorite Plastic Surgeon


I originally posted this on my social media accounts, and realized afterwards that it would've made a great blog post. Re-posting it here since I realize I have a few readers that aren't on social media. Hopefully this will help inspire anyone fighting through feelings of imposter syndrome or constantly being doubted.  I'll make sure to type up a regular update post soon and I wish everyone reading this a fantastic week :)

For anyone out there working towards a dream and facing constant discouragement, here's a little inspiration👇🏾: ⁣
When I had my daughter during my sophomore year of college, they said I would probably drop out or not graduate in 4 years...Graduated with my class and on time⁣
When my undergraduate GPA took a hit in the midst of leaving an abusive marriage, taking on a full course load and working multiple jobs, they told me I didn't have a chance of getting into medical school...Took a few years, but got the short white coat and started medical school in 2014⁣
After I got into medical school, they told me I would never pass my board exams and go on to graduate after previously taking the MCAT four times and never achieving a high score...Passed all my boards on the first try, graduated without issues, and now I'm a fully licensed physician⁣
When I said I wanted to publish a book, they told me the niche was too small and only a few people would buy it...Currently admiring the hundreds of copies sold and great reviews⁣
After more than one unsuccessful residency match cycle, they told me I should give up my dreams of becoming a surgeon because it would never happen, and that my chances of matching into plastic surgery as a medical school graduate and DO were basically zero...Matched into a categorical integrated plastic surgery residency and currently on the way to becoming a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon⁣
Now when I say I'm going to accomplish something...they stay quiet 😎
But anyway, the whole point of this post is to say don't let anyone discourage you from going after your goals. A lot of times a person will tell you that you can't do something based on their own personal limitations, biases, and inadequacies. When someone tells me something is impossible, that just translates as having to work harder, taking a little longer, and muting out all the naysayers to achieve it. Be your own champion, let the haters talk, and make sure you let them watch you work and overcome the odds.


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Smile Brilliant Collaboration + Favorite Electric Toothbrush Free Giveaway!

Loving my new cariPRO ultrasonic toothbrush!


Happy Sunday! This is a deviation from my usual posts, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to host a free giveaway and give you all insight on another great product :) You may recall in the past I partnered with Smile Brilliant to review their custom-fitted teeth whitening system (click here to read the original post and see ALL the pics), and I was VERY pleased with the results. It was my first time ever trying teeth whitening, and you can see the dramatic FIRST time difference below. Super impressive! I've continued using the product every so often since that time and my teeth are dramatically whiter. 


My actual first time teeth whitening results!

This time, I've partnered with Smile Brilliant to introduce the CariPRO Ultrasonic Toothbrush. Unlike other electric toothbrushes, this one relies on extreme vibration (40k vibrations/minute) that will have you feeling like you just left the dentist's office. This was actually my first time ever using an electric toothbrush, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it. When it comes to oral health, my goals are simple: to keep my smile looking great and my mouth healthy. This affordable ultrasonic toothbrush goes above and beyond accomplishing these goals. My mouth feels cleaner, my teeth are staying white, and I enjoy the 5 different cleaning mode settings ranging from teeth whitening to gum massaging. I also like that this toothbrush is approved by the ADA (American Dental Association) to properly time & pulse to change sectors so there is no guesswork involved with figuring out if you're spending enough time brushing an area. And even though I've only had the product a few weeks, the battery life is still going strong without having to charge it. It might be my first, but it is by far my favorite electric toothbrush!


Just one of Smile Brilliant's many awesome products



Smile Brilliant's lab-direct process makes achieving professional results at an affordable price easy. In the last few years, they've taken this model and expanded their line of oral health products to include something for everyone -  from the newest in the cariPRO line - a cordless water flosser that allows for easy and effective cleaning, to a custom night guard system to protect the teeth from nighttime grinding. But don't just take my word on the product. Try it out for yourself! Click the links below to enter the free giveaway or shop for your own cariPRO toothbrush or other Smile Brilliant product, using my code for 20% off. 

20% off coupon code: aspiringminoritydoctor20


Giveaway Time!
Now's your chance to win a FREE cariPRO Ultrasonic Brush! Click the link below and fill out the super short and simple form for your chance to win!


* Giveaway open for 9/12/2021 - 10/3/2021 11:59pm PST
* Eligible countries: US, UK, Australia, & Canada



best electric toothbrush

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Thriving and Smiling: An August 2021 Update

Always happy to operate!

Wow, what can I say? I'm in the second month of my plastic surgery residency, and truly loving every single moment of it! Not a day goes by that I don't wake up with a smile on my face and excited for the opportunity to pursue my passion. I'm still in a bit of disbelief that all this is happening, but it just makes me push to work harder. Anyway, I got off work early today and finished my studying, so time for an update!

My first month was a great transition back to residency life. I was on the General Surgery service at my main hospital, and our patient census was manageable to the point where we had all the notes, rounds, and floorwork done before the first case of the day. This meant I was in the operating room almost daily, which was great! Additionally, we took home call which was a lot different than my previous program. On call days, we were provided an Iphone which was used to receive consults and text back and forth to other services. A million times better than holding a pager! I had to cover both campuses of my hospital, but luckily I live pretty equidistant to both and I didn't receive too many calls in the middle of the night. I honestly enjoyed being able to come home during my call, take a shower, and semi-relax. During my previous time as an intern, call days consisted of 28ish hour shifts where we stayed in the hospital. It was so nice being able to sleep in my own bed last month! The only downside with home call is there are no post-call days, but even with being woken up and having to come in every now and then, I usually got a decent amount of sleep. No post-call days off also meant I didn't have to miss out on all the good cases the next day, so I was happy. 


Work hard, play harder #MiamiStyle

To wrap up July thoughts, I honestly couldn't have asked for a better first month. I scrubbed a decent amount of cases, had time to study daily, AND even managed to have a social life! Living in Miami is such a cool experience, and I managed to find a circle of fellow black female resident physicians who I hang out with whenever our schedules align. I never really cared about where I would end up for residency since securing a categorical spot was my top priority, but now that I am in my training, I truly see the value of location. I mean seriously, who needs to fly away for a vacation, when you literally live in paradise?!?! Plus, the warm weather and sunshine on my days off will probably be a huge help when it hits the winter months and residency fatigue starts to set in. 


New hospital, New Badge

As for August, this month I am rotating at an outside hospital and on a service which covers General Surgery, Vascular Surgery, and Surgical Oncology. The volume is a lot heavier than last month, but I feel a bit more in my element since I tend to thrive in busy environments. Additionally, the hospital I'm rotating at has an established General Surgery residency program, so it's fun working with, learning from, and interacting with the other residents. I thought it was just my program, but the surgical culture that I've experienced throughout my time here across different hospitals has been such a pleasant experience. Teaching and teamwork are valued, all the residents I've interacted with are helpful and nice (even the chiefs), and off time outside of the hospital is respected. I'm enjoying soaking in as much knowledge as I can while improving my skills, and being in environments that value residents makes the experience even better.


Not even the mask can conceal my happiness!

I just finished my second week of the August General Surgery rotation, and I have to say it was probably my favorite so far. Monday was a busy day with an early start. I arrived at work at 5am and quickly helped my team update our patient list in time for 6am rounds. I also have Plastic Surgery didactics every Monday at 7am, and it was my turn to present that day so around 645am, I left the team and found a quiet spot to present my lecture on Wound Healing and Scars. I think it went pretty well and I was happy that I was able to make it both informative and succinct since we usually have to make it to our cases afterwards. Following didactics, I found my team and my chief was like "Good news, you're going on a field trip!". I thought he meant to go find something in the hospital, so I was surprised when the other resident offered to drive. Turns out one of our attendings had a case at an outpatient facility, so we were off to do surgery. There are no words to begin to describe how amazing it was! The attending let me scrub in and complete the cases from start to finish with him working as my assistant. Even more awesome was the fact that he cheered me on, gave compliments, and when I asked how I should proceed, he let me figure it out on my own. It was my first time since starting this year where I felt alive and in my element. The attending was even nice enough to let me update the families, and since they were all Spanish-speaking, he allowed me to have the conversation but stood by my side and helped when I was unsure of how to say something (my basic conversational Spanish is decent, but I'm working on my medical Spanish). The facility even bought lunch for all of us, so you know I was super happy! On Wednesday, the same attending had cases at our hospital, so I had the opportunity to scrub with him on an open inguinal hernia repair. Not going to lie, I was beyond happy that the chief resident scrubbed into the case too, because there was no way I was going to be able to figure out what to do on that case lol. We pretty much did the entire case together with the attending guiding us and acting as an assist when needed. It was incredible! Moments like the ones I experienced last week are a reminder that I am on the right path and it makes all the long hours and hard work feel truly worth it.  


She's growing too fast!

Oh, and in non-residency related news, my daughter started the 9th grade last week. Can you believe I'm the mother of a high school Freshman?!?! So incredibly proud that she continues to grow and thrive while being supportive of me reaching my dreams. I'm so incredibly blessed!


A reminder that I look good outside of these scrubs lol

Welp, that's pretty much it for updates. I have been working this weekend, but it hasn't been bad. Turns out it's not a true "call" weekend, but just a weekend where I come in like a normal day, do rounds, complete the floorwork, scrub cases if any, and then go home when the work is done. There were no cases today, so I was able to come home early enough to get slightly ahead in my readings, do a few sets of questions to reinforce my knowledge, and now have time to relax, type this post, and go find some ratchet TV to watch before going to bed tonight. My next post most likely won't be until next month when I'm on Orthopedic Surgery, but I look forward to sharing more of my adventures with you!




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...