Sunday, January 23, 2011


It's hard to believe that school has only been in session for 3 weeks.  I'm pretty convinced my brain isn't built to handle the amount of information being thrown at us.  The scary thing is - this is how our school is "easing us into" this semester: the next class we take - Brain & Behaviour - is supposed to be a lot worse.  Oh joy.

And yes, I spell behaviour with a u.

At the same time, there's nowhere I'd rather be.  Where else does this happen:

Professor: "So the malignant cells invading into the tissue look like really long tongues digging deep into the tissue"

*We look at each other, start giggling, and then start laughing uncontrollably*

Professor: (initially confused, then looks at the slide, looks back at us and says) "You have really sick minds"

Which makes us laugh even harder.

On the flip side, I'm pretty sure I'll never forget what a malignant neoplasm looks like when it's being... malignant (i.e. invading normal tissue underneath it).

At the same time, this is the same class that gets moved to tears by the Alex's Lemonade Stand story.  We had Alex's parents come talk to us about Alex's experience with cancer and how she set up a lemonade stand to raise funds not to help herself - but to help other kids with cancer.

Alex raised $2000 in one day.

This is the kind of talk that reminds us why we are in medical school - what we are fighting for.  Seeing my class go from giggling at pathology slides to being moved to tears by strong stories is oddly inspiring - I don't know if I can explain it.  Seeing their resolve to plow through this material so they can one day make a difference in people's lives inspires me to stop procrastinating and do the same.

Now I just have to figure out how to break the following cycle and I'll be the bestest med student EVER:

Monday, January 17, 2011

To teachers who are no longer with us

On Thursday, Jan 13 2011 our class heard that one of our Genetics professors (who was also a small group discussion section leader/preceptor) had passed away.  Dr. Thomas R. Kadesch.  

When I saw the email, his name sounded very familiar (we have many, many professors who teach our classes - sometimes just a lecture or two), so I googled his name and saw his picture.  My first response was "he's the guy who taught me about Retinoblastoma"!  He was not my small group preceptor, so I didn't know him very well.  But I did remember almost everything he taught us about Rb (think of that as either the protein or retinoblastoma itself).

Rb is a pretty rare disease.  But considering how many students Dr. Kadesch has taught (in just our year, that's about 165 kids), I'm sure one of us will end up diagnosing a patient with Rb.  I know that if I end up being the one who diagnoses a patient with this cancer, know this: it won't be because I'm smart, or because of any inborn talent of mine.  It'll be because Dr. Kadesh taught me about this disease.  Him and all the other professors who lectured to us about this cancer.   

Good people in the world live on through their deeds.  For teachers, this is doubly true.  Their impact on students continues to help the world long after they are gone.  Thank you Dr. Kadesch.

My condolences to his family, friends, and my fellow students (especially the ones who had him as their group discussion preceptor).

As a side note, as I was writing up this blog post, my music playlist started playing the "Aeris Theme"  (or Aerith if you played the Japanese version) from Final Fantasy VII.  For those of you who know it, you'll understand why it's appropriate.  For those who aren't familiar with it - give it a listen.

Even if you don't know about FF7, I'm pretty sure you'll understand why it's appropriate.

Rest In Peace Dr. Kadesch.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


So, as always, instead of going to sleep - I'm up writing a blog post.

For some reason, Karma's been on my mind the whole week.  As an unintended physical manifestation of my musings (thanks life!), I ended up getting hot chocolate and a muffin at Good Karma earlier in the week, and I had dinner at Karma Restaurant & Bar over the weekend.  I don't frequent either spot (not because they aren't good - they are both pretty awesome actually).

Translated, Karma means action (more aptly, "to do" if I remember Sanskrit right).  I've always believed actions speak louder than words and place great importance in action.  Of course, the pop culture interpretation of Karma is along the lines of "beware what you do, because [karma] will come back and bite your ass".  I don't know if I believe in that - I've never been a big fan of "do the right thing so good things happen to you".  I prefer "Do the right thing because it's the right thing to do".

So why has Karma been on my mind?  It's because I don't know if I'm doing the right thing these days.  School's piling up a lot of work.  That means the precious amounts of free time I have left is spent watching TV / going out to party with local friends.  That means people who are important to me that aren't nearby fall to the wayside: I've talked to my parents once this week.  My (rakhi) sister only once and texted a couple of times.  Let's not even talk about me keeping in touch / being there for my close friends outside my family.  All of this isn't unexpected - I'm in medical school, it's going to be a lot of work and a lot of pressure.  I know it, my family knows it, and many of my friends probably know it and understand as well.  I guess the issue is I'm feeling slightly guilty I'm prioritizing things like TV above keeping in touch with people.

Beyond that, I'm also at a certain crossroads in my life right now (it's got nothing to do with school).  It's a crossroads I've been to before, and I'm pretty sure I'll choose the same path... again... and it is not a fun path to walk (yes I know I'm being cryptic).  And I don't know if it's the right action.

I do the right thing because it's the right thing to do.  But when I'm concerned I may not be doing the right thing... that's when I start worrying about the second part of Karma: that it comes back to smack me over the head.

I just have to remember that at the end of the day, I can only do the best I can.  I have to trust that I've got a strong moral & intellectual compass.  Because the conquest of Karma lies in intelligent action.

In other good news - I started my p90x workout regimen again.  Whoo!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


So, as of Jan 3rd (M), I started my second semester at Penn Med.  For the first month, we are taking 1 main course - MDTI (Mechanisms of Disease and Therapeutic Interventions) and a couple of other "touchy feely" classes (Ethics and Clinical Decision Making).  Ok, CDM isn't really touchy feely, it's probably pretty damn important - but MDTI is the meat-y course for this month.

And damn there's a lot of meat.

I spent about 3 hours yesterday trying to catch up on my notes from MDTI.  I was so excited I finally figured out the blood coagulation pathway (it's the one with all the crazy factors, which all have roman numerals and are completely out of sequence).

Then I realized... that was ONE lecture on Monday.  I've still got 1 more to go through.  And I've had on average 2 lectures each day.  So I've still got the lectures from Tuesday and Wednesday to catch up on.

FML is the only thing that comes to mind.  It's clearly not as bad as it could be (if you want to feel a lot better about your life - definitely checkout the FML website).  So I guess this is "real" medical school.  I am soooo not prepared.  Thanks to the holiday week (and a half) I've also forgotten how to maintain a good sleep cycle, so it's writing checks my body can't cash.

In other good news: I (finally) followed through on my New Year resolution - to restart my workout program.  I don't have lofty goals of getting a six pack or anything like that (although it would be nice obviously).  I just really wanted to restart P90X, especially since I saw great results the first time I did it.

So what did I find out?  I've lost a lot of muscle in the last 6 months that I haven't really worked out.  Can't lift my arms over my shoulder right now.  Yay chest & back.  That means I have to do plyometrics today (jump training) - which is "the mother of all p90x workouts".  Yea... let's see how long I can keep this up...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Years everyone!

And so another decade ends and 2011 begins.

I remember my 2010 new years eve - I was at Bowrey Electric in New York City with a few of my friends.  It was an odd new years for me because 2010 was the year I'd start medical school - something that I'd been working on for many years.  But I didn't know where that would be.

Now, for 2011, I spent a quiet New Years Eve with my parents at home (like any good new yorker, I got faaaar away from the ball drop well before New Years Eve).  And I know exactly where I'll be for the next few years (yay Penn Med).

Here's raising a glass and hoping every year gets better.  Happy New Year everyone.  I hope and pray that everyone has a great 2011, with many more glorious years to look forward to.

For my engineering buddies out there - happy 0x07DB.