My road to becoming a doctor started many moons ago (20 years or so) when I would visit my grandfather at his office. He is a family practice physician and I would go to his office and talk with his nurses, patients, other doctors and anyone else who would listen and answer my questions. I was fascinated with everything going on in the office. As I matured I became more and more sure that I want to be a physician. To this end I began working in his office at about 12 years old filing papers in charts and filing charts. As I got older I progressed to answering phones then to receptionist to billing/collections clerk to insurance clerk to medical assistant. By the time I graduated college I had done every job in a medical office except doctor.
In college, I pursued a BS in biology with a concentration on Pre-med and graduated in 2003. During my final year of undergrad I applied to several medical school and was either rejected or wait listed. As the end of school approached I grew impatient and searched for another path to medical school. I started looking at Caribbean medical school and out of pure impatience I applied and was accepted to St. Matthews University School of Medicine on Grand Cayman. In June of 2003, my husband and I visited Grand Cayman and the school and the following August we packed up all of our stuff and moved there.
After my first year of medical school a hurricane hit Grand Cayman and the school was temporarily relocated to South Portland, ME. I spent a year in Maine completing my second year of medical school. After the second year of medical school it is required that you take the first of three USMLE exams. I took it the first time and did not pass so I had to take another semester off from school to study for and retake the exam. The second time I passed with no problem. In August of 2006, we moved to Saginaw, MI so that I could complete my final 2 years of medical school by participating in core and elective clinical rotations. After the first year of clinicals (third year of medical school) it is required that the second of the three USMLE exams must be taken and passed. My first attempt at this exam I was about 6 weeks pregnant and nauseous all the time and did very poorly on the exam and did not pass. For the next 5 months I participated in several more rotations and studied to retake the exam at the beginning of December. At this point I was about 7 months pregnant and not at the top of my game and I failed the exam again. I continued with clinical rotations until the 13th of February and on the 19th I gave birth to my beautiful son. I spent the next four weeks recuperating from labor and delivery and studying for my exam yet again. In the middle of May I took my exam for the third time and passed. On May 31st I officially graduated from medical school.
I am currently looking for a residency position in Family Medicine. I would love to be able to start a residency this year but it is looking less and less likely. I am still holding out a little hope that something will come through but there is a high probability that I will not have a position until next July. I will continue to look for positions that can start sooner or a 'pre-match' for next year.
So that has been my long, difficult and crazy journey to get my MD. Looking back on it and knowing everything I know now I would have done many things differently. Some days I think that I would have not gone to medical school at all and helped Brian to pursue all of the things he wanted to do and be a stay at home mom. Other times I think maybe I should have gone to PA or NP school so I could still be in the medical profession. Other times I am sure I would have still wanted to be a doctor but I would have been more patient and waited a year to get into a US medical school.
All of the coulda/woulda/shouldas constantly haunt me. There are some many things I wish I could change so that the lives of my husband and child could be better than they are. I struggle with self doubt and second guess my abilities at every turn. I wonder how I am ever going to be the wife, mother and doctor I aspire to be. I am not sure that I am capable of being any one of those things in the way I want to be and even less sure of my ability to be all three at the same time. Right now I need a 'win' so that I can feel that my life is at least moving in a positive and forward direction rather than standing still or slipping back.