28 yr old... finally pursuing my calling

I am sooo happy to have found a non-trad forum. I’ve been posting some on SDN’s non-trad board but am finding it a little bit abrasive.

How’s this for a proper introduction? I’m a married 28 yr old mother to a 2 year old boy with cystic fibrosis and short bowel syndrome. He had a very rough start to life and spent about 12 months in the hospital in the first 14 months of life. 5 intestinal surgeries (surgical removal of meconium ileus w/o resection, ladd procedure, massive 92.5 cm small bowel resection due to mesenteric thrombosis, surgical intervention for fear of necrotized ileo-cecal valve (which turned out to simply be swelling from so many surgeries in such a short time and ended up just putting in a JP drain, then later 2 cm resection of anastomotic stricture… 18 months of central line (with 10 line placements/line related adjustments) and a multi-organ transplant eval with bilirubin of 21 by the time we got to Nebraska, drug trial on Omegaven that WORKED!, Intestinal Rehabilitation and now a whole year of no hospital stays… I feel like I already have an unofficial medical degree of some kind… LOL. Thus you understand my interest in the medical field. Thankfully he’s very very healthy CF-wise. No hospital stays related to CF (except for the MI) and no IV treatment for CF needed. He’s healthy, happy and holding steady between 50-75% weight-to-height.In other words:awesome.

I’ve always had an interest in the medical field and wanted to be a doctor but for many (insert: stupid) reasons I didn’t pursue it and flamed out in college. I graduated with a 3.07 (at least with an upward-trending GPA my last year of college with a stellar score on my business practicum), but I have a chance at 3.4 AMCAS or up to a 3.7 for DO schools if I ace the ~50 hours of prereqs (and retake a few low-grade courses).

Thankfully my husband is incredibly supportive and willing to go the extra million miles to support me through med school if I so desire. Right now I’m bouncing between PA or med school as choices. I have a love for research and autonomy that don’t quite jive with PA, so I’m leaning more towards med school at the moment.

As for current process: I’ll be getting my CNA in the fall to gain clinical exp. and pursuing a hospital job while starting on science prereqs. I’ll ultimately make a decision after I’ve taken my prereqs as to which path (med or pa) I’ll take… which will be about 3 years.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Encouragement?

After that excruciating first year, i can only imagin how greatfull you are for the hospital admission free second year of his life. It seems that you have had quite an introduction to the hospital settings. Welcome to oldpremed.

Welcome to OPM! I am so sorry you have had to deal with so many issues with your son, but I am glad things seem to have leveled out at present.

As for thoughts, suggestions, or encouragement:

  • Use OPM! Ask your questions, any and all questions. Peruse the diaries, and past threads as well - you may find them helpful too.

  • You MUST do well in your science pre-reqs. You already know this, clearly, so consider this encouragement: You can do it!

  • If you struggle in a class, address it early on. Get help, whether it’s tutoring (many schools offer this for free), talking with a professor, etc. I found this to be invaluable in keeping up, especially when I took physics last year.

  • Make sure you get some consistent volunteer experience - this is not only good for you to do, but it’s something that med schools look for on your application.

    A question for you: You mention 50 hours of pre-reqs. Which courses are you referring to? Because the most basic pre-reqs for med school are physics, gen chem, gen bio, and organic chem, 2 semester of each, with labs. That doesn’t equal 50 hours. Are you including more advanced coursework, such as biochem, microbio, calculus, etc.? It’s great to take those, but those aren’t technically pre-reqs. Those are bonuses. Just wanted to clarify.

    Best wishes to you, and keep posting on your progress!

And to add to what terra_incognita just said, having quality research experience is very important; it’s something adcoms look for as well. Medical schools not only look for people who can assimilate large volumes of knowledge, have adequate clinical exposure and show a commitment to community, but also look for people who will contribute new knowledge to the field someday. This fact often gets overlooked on these forums. About 95% of my med school class had substantial (2+ years) of research experience.

Welcome to OPM! From your story it sounds like you have had ample opportunity to develop the passionate persistance that I think is such an important part of this journey.

What TicTacDough said about research experience is true…however at many DO schools it is my impression that this is less of an expectation, as the focus is more on developing clinicians than researchers. But since you have an interest in research, that could well be something you would like to pursue. Once you begin your prerequisites, you could find out if there are opportunities in the biology or chemistry department at your college/university.

Glad to hear how excellently your son is doing now.

Best of luck as you move forward