Back after a long break!

It’s been a few years since I have really been around or posted. Back in ‘the day’, I was a non-traditional pre-med with a few academic skeletons in my closet and I was trying to decide whether to take the med school plunge or not. My dh is an ID physician who has established himself now in practice,and we have 4 beautiful children (11, 9 1/2, 7 and 2). I decided, after much soul searching and agonizing to “let it go”.
Since then, I have taught Biology lab classes at our State U and have sat in on some Chemistry classes for fun. Though my messing around some…18 years ago did pull my ugrad gpa down, I have a really good MS in mol biology with a solid gpa and have a good post-bacc gpa. I’d have to retake some courses though that are now ‘expired’.
And…as you can probably guess, I’m back to the med school pondering.
This started after I found out I was pregnant again…which, I’m happy about, btw. I do think you can have children and also a life for yourself. Right after the end of my first trimester, I was diagnosed with a mediastinal lymphoma. I just finished my third round of CHOP-Rituxan and am anticipating 3 more rounds followed by an early delivery of the baby and radiation.
The prognosis is excellent…80% cure rate with the 1st line therapy and 50% with the second line if I should fall into the 20% that don’t succeed. The tumor is responding as it should to the chemo and the baby is doing well. She is growing and developing normally and the doctors do not anticipate any type of neurological problems. So…right now, it all looks like good news, though it has admittedly been a rather bumpy ride since we found out right before Christmas.
The thing is…this has caused me to reevaluate my life…and though I thought my ‘aha’ experience would include deciding that I never wanted to work again I am surprised to discover that I am thinking a lot about my own happiness. I have sacrificied a lot for my husband’s medical career and I realize that yes, my family is important to me and my children are important to me… that I really am not ‘happy’. I can’t help but browse through the area medical school website and wonder “what if”. I still worry that if I did indeed choose the med school route that I would end up being unhappy though for different reasons. I certainly don’t want to compromise my marriage or cause problems for my children.
So…I’m not sure what I’m hoping to accomplish with my post other than to say…I’m sort of back and am reading again…undecided…wondering…hmmmmm

Kris, welcome back! What a great, positive outlook you have on things - I am impressed and inspired. You know what, I think that you are doing things just the way you should be doing - you’re recognizing that you’ve got these interests and longings, you’re recognizing that your happiness is something internal, not something wrapped up in your kids, your spouse, or your other interests… but instead is deep within YOU. And you are open to a whole lot of different pursuits that may bring you that happiness.
Obviously everyone right now is saying, “Focus on your health and your baby,” but I can sense that you want to be looking ahead to your healthy self at some point in the not-too-distant future. Good for you!
Just as you weren’t exactly sure why you were writing about your current state of mind, etc., I’m pretty sure that I’m not “giving advice” (and of course recognize you weren’t asking for any) but instead I think I’m just applauding your willingness to take life one day at a time while also thinking ahead to future days and how you’d like them to be. You sound very well-grounded and well-prepared for making the next step whatever that may be, whenever it may be.
Congratulations on the new baby - I will look forward to hearing the joyous announcement of her arrival.

Thanks, Mary.

Actually, everyone IS saying to focus on the here and now and on my recovery…but in truth, part of my recovery to me means reorganizing my life and finding my ‘purpose’ beyond being a mom and wife. There is more for me. I realize that I’ve wasted too much time feeling frustrated or uncertain about things and I want to find ‘peace’ with myself and my life. Medicine may not end up being it, but I am exploring that again.

Also…it’s important to me to look to the future and not sit and worry about whether or not it will come. No one is promised tomorrow and I just happened to be one of the lucky ones to get a sort of ‘warning’ bell… I want to live my life to the fullest and not look back and have any regrets.

I’ve decided to make a lot of changes in my life and that has also included finding a good therapist to discuss these issues with.

I’m looking forward to making the “she’s here” announcement too.

Thanks again,


I never did make it back to say “she’s here”…but our Zoe Math made her debut on April 17th. She was 7 weeks early because of problems caused by the chemo, but after 5 weeks in the NICU, we were able to take her home! Here’s my favorite recent pic of her with one of her brothers:

She is already 5 months old and is the light of our lives…We are all overwhelmed by our little miracle!

My treatment is also behind me…I finished all CHOP-R treatments (the last one just a week before Zoe was born) and my mediastinal radiation x 17 a week after bringing Zoe home from the hospital.

So far, so good. I had a clear PET/CT 6 weeks after radiation. My CT following that showed some lung lesions that are likely infectious in nature. My 3 month check-up is coming up and we’ll know if we’re “in the clear” or heading for another round of treatment. The likelihood is that we are fine.

DH has pretty much given me permission to pursue whichever direction that I want. He’s willing to relocate or whatever it takes. Our cancer experience this year has changed our family and our marriage. He helps out at home, and takes more time off. Things are…dare I say it…very good.

Though I’m still considering MD/DO, I am now leaning heavily in the direction of PA school. I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do, but I have a hard time swallowing the idea of doing clerkships and residency.

Life is short and I am so actuely aware of how valuable my time with my children is now. It would be difficult for me to make the time sacrifice…and yet it is still …there…that unfulfilled dream.

PA school would give me the opportunity to work clinically in medicine doing many of the things that physicians do…I think I’d have a hard time with the glass ceiling and limitations on my knowledge, but life is about compromise. DH has assured me that he would hire me as his ID PA if I went for it.

Obviously, I’m still on the fence.

It’s funny because when I joined Oldpremeds years ago I was struggling to overcome deficits from my ugrad…since then, I’ve completed an MS in mol biology, taught bio at the local University and have managed to position myself to be able to apply to med school and have a real shot…and now…here I sit considering PA school.

It’s funny how life throws us all of these curve balls. I’m sure most people don’t remember me and there are so many new members here!

In any case, that’s the update for the oldies who still know who I am.


Hey Kris, I had the “bug” at 34 and started to wonder and started to plan and look into Medicine, got side tracked by a divorce and then back on track again.

I just Wanted to be a Doc! I wanted to go Rural! and care for people. So here I am. It’s hard cause I like to work and school just doesn’t feel the same. But I enjoy part of it.

Good luck on whatever you decide.