Saturday, March 23, 2019

Match Week 2019: Part Two

So incredibly blessed to have this amazing woman in my life!
Now that I've explained the SOAP process and gotten all the negativity out the way in Part One , I will use this post to focus on the good that came out of Match Week :)

If you've been following me for a while, then you already know that my biggest inspiration and mentor in surgery is Dr. Velma Scantlebury, the first black female transplant surgeon in the United States. I am extremely blessed to have her as a friend, and last week she showed me the importance of having people in your corner who not only support, but encourage and uplift you.

Despite how open I appear on this blog, I'm actually pretty reserved emotionally and tend to not reach out to anyone when I'm upset or going through things. I've also been told that it's pretty hard for people to read me especially when I always appear to be happy and smiling. Last week was no different, as I continued to carry a smile, and didn't let people know that I was going through the SOAP process unless they specifically reached out and asked. Dr. Scantlebury was one of the very few people I reached out to regarding my lack of matching, and I was happy I did.

Not only did she offer words of encouragement from the very start, but while she was in town for a speaking engagement on Thursday of match week, she took time out of her very busy schedule , waited for me to get off work, and came to see me. She treated me to an awesome dinner (complete with an unexpected live band), and we prayed together, discussed strategies for continuing in surgery, and she was honest and straight up with me about the tough road ahead. It was comforting to talk with someone who had gone through the process (you can read more about her story in her new BOOK, which I will do a separate post on at a later time), and it was nice not being alone to deal with my sadness that evening. I left with a true smile and was even more inspired to accomplish my goals.

Best daughter ever!!!!
The absolute best part of last week was getting to see my daughter! I hadn't had a full two-day weekend off since I took my vacation week at the end of January, and I was missing her and my other loved ones. I had a late flight booked for Friday evening, but due to a delay, I had to pick an earlier flight. I wasn't upset about this at all though because I was able to leave work early, and the three hour delay in Atlanta before my connecting flight meant that I got to have dinner with my amazing guy! It was a great start to the weekend, indeed :)

Seeing my daughter's smiling face made all the stresses of that week go away, and even though we literally video chat every day, she had plenty to catch me up on. Spending time with her and my family was much needed, and as always, there were lots of laughs and good times. I even got to have brunch and celebrate St. Patrick's Day with my family since I booked a late flight back to Philly, and miraculously my flight made it back to Philly on time! I was pushing it with a flight that arrived at 1am, when I had to be at work for 530am, but I made it and was sooo happy I wasn't on call that day because I was super tired!

St. Patrick's Day 2019 - Finally got to celebrate a holiday with the little one
Okay, Back to the Match. What's the Plan??

While the weekend was great, I still had to come back to Philly and deal with the reality of not matching. To be honest, I'm not as upset about not matching at this point, because I'm blessed to be in a position where I have options. My current plan is to continue to look for and apply for preliminary general surgery positions as they become available AND network my butt off. If that doesn't work, then I plan to work, do research, and apply again for a spot next year. The crazy thing that they don't tell you in medical school is that after completing a PGY1 year and passing all three board licensing exams (check!), you are eligible for a full unrestricted medical license in most states. What this means is I could have a career as a general practitioner or I could essentially moonlight the entire year as a physician at different hospitals, urgent care centers, etc., and make quite a bit of money while doing research and other things to strengthen my application. Most places pay around $80-150/hour for a 12 hour shift, and while residents will typically moonlight during their non working hours, I could dedicate a regular work week to just moonlighting. I know a few people who have done this and pulled in six figures, so it's a huge relief to have this as an option. With a daughter who I send money to every month to cover her many expenses and student loan payments, this is a much needed back up plan. Unfortunately, it won't allow me to be in the OR, it would be rough going back to a resident's salary after making money, and I would still be limited at some hospitals due to not having board certification, so it's just that - a backup plan.

Outside of the above, I honestly don't have a full solid plan in place at this point, and it looks like I will be spending yet another year of my life in limbo. What I do know, is I still love surgery and I would hate myself if I didn't try again. And oddly enough, I continue to feel nothing but calmness and I still have the faith that everything will work out the way it should be. I also can't complain when there are thousands of medical students out there currently unmatched who don't have the same options as myself. Those are the people who my heart hurts for and who I hope are able to secure residency spots in the coming months. I'm already blessed to be working, getting the chance to operate almost every day, and living my dream as a physician, so I really can't complain. I'm just going to keep pushing and be mindful that if this road were easy, every one would be doing it.

That pretty much sums up my Match Week 2019, and I am ending this post with a huge thank you to all those who reached out to me over the past two weeks. I really appreciate the social media DMs and emails from friends and even complete strangers reaching out just to say that they were thinking of me and hoping the match went well. I honestly didn't even think anyone would remember that I was still going through the process, so it really meant a lot to me. Hopefully I'll be able to share great news with everyone soon, but for now just know that I'm going to continue to keep grinding and pushing for my goals, and this smile isn't going anywhere :)


  1. Keep your head high, Danielle! You will be in my thoughts and prayers. God has a plan for you and have faith that everything will workout for the best. Do not forget your mission of continuing to inspire so many of us! I wish you well and I know that you will achieve everything you set yourself out for! Keep grinding.


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