Hello and an introduction

Hi all! My name is Erica, and I’ve been lurking for a little while devouring this site quietly. I decided I should emerge from lurkdom and say a proper hello & introduce myself.

I am 37 yrs old, and will be 38 in September. I just finished my first year as a DIY post-bacc student. My BS is in business management. I’ve recently been formally been accepted at my school for a second BS in biology (with minor in chemistry) but I attend in CA, and with the current budget crisis it doesn’t seem feasible to complete another degree right now. In any event, I begin o-chem in the fall and am planning on sitting for the MCAT in May. Let the madness begin! hehe

A little about me personally: I’m married and have 4 children, with another on the way (color me surprised…lol). I was volunteering with a hospice and had just landed a cherry research assistant position in lab of my choice at my university (physiological ecology…I LOVE it) when I found out about our new addition and got slammed with mega morning sickness. I’m now emerging from it (due December 8th) and am hoping to get in some lab time to augment my application. Previously, I did very minor research for UCLA very briefly…and forever ago. So I need some help in that department. I’ve also loaded up as heavy as I can go for fall quarter, anticipating that I’ll just barely make it to final exams before delivering the new baby. I plan on taking a light load in winter and spring and focusing on the new baby and the MCAT (yeah I know…I’m a little nuts! hehe).

I’m one of those people who has always known she wanted to become a physician. I just keep encountering road block after road block. I started at a JC shortly after turning 16 yrs old. I royally screwed up there, then got married at the ripe old age of 18. Unfortunately, the guy I married was very controlling, abusive, and had substance abuse issues. It took years to talk him into letting me attend school again, and then more years of me trying to convince myself I would never be able to finish school if I left him. Meanwhile the classes I did finish ended up with dismal grades because of troubles at home. I finally worked up the confidence to leave 9.5 years after marrying him.

Once again I hit it hard and heavy trying to get my undergrad transfer stuff done at a JC. I was also a single mother of 3 and trying to work FT while simultaneously going through a highly messy LONG divorce. Again I hit road blocks. Fast forward to being on the cusp of turning 30 yrs old. I was feeling a little beat up after spending so many years in an up hill battle. Questioning whether or not I should continue to bang my head against the wall, I decided to enroll in a respiratory therapy program so I could gain medical experience and possibly hours toward PA school if I decided against the MD.

Once in the RT program I thrived! I totally fell in love with the idea of an MD all over again. I was seriously energized. Then I had a sudden cardiac arrest. Luckily for me it happened in an ER. I was actually in complete asystole when they got to me. Talk about surreal…imagine waking up to hearing nurses ask if the doc if they should push more atropine when you’ve actually been on the other side of a code before. I ended up with a pacemaker…which was put in wrong…and subsequently spent the next few years sick as a dog and undergoing multiple surgeries. I got kicked out of RT school for being “too sick” to be there. I lost everything…car, school, you name it…other than my kids. It was a nightmare.

Fortunately the folks at Cedars Sinai put me back together again, with some help from generous surgeons and the Larry King Foundation. Still without a car, I begin going to school online to finish my bachelor’s degree. I was still a single mom of 3 and doubted medical school was in the cards for me anymore. A friend loaned me money to get me a car, I got a job, and got myself back on my feet. Along the way I met and married my husband. I ended up in a sales career…focusing on chemicals and trying to stay somehow in touch with “science” to quiet those voices still pushing me toward medical school.

Fast forward to the fall of '07. I was pregnant with my 4th child(husband’s first) and again telling myself that I needed to hang up the hat on med school. How on earth would I ever be able to do it at this age…with a baby? I decided to apply to law school. That spring, when I was wrapping up my admissions to a law school, I saw my OB for a follow up visit. He asked me about how school was (he knew about my MD dreams) and that somehow touched me in a way that let me know I was just kidding myself about giving up. About a week later my grandmother got diagnosed with multiple myeloma. That did it for me. I immediately began reading everything I could…and in the process realized how much I still was attracted to medicine, and how utterly frustrated I was at my lack of in-depth specialized knowledge. I wanted a deeper understanding. So instead of going to law school I abruptly sent my transcripts to the local state university and got accepted. Here I am almost a year later!

I’m still struggling with my inner demons. Wondering if I can make the cut or not. My grades since RT school have been competitive, but not stellar…but those early JC grades will always haunt my application. I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll have to look into less competitive schools (possibly in the caribbean) and am ok with that. Anyway, that’s my story as of today. I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am to finally be at the point where I can actually be planning out my MCAT study plan and thinking about scheduling an exam date. It’s finally almost real…after such a very long time coming.

Thanks for reading. I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone and continue to follow your inspiring stories!

Thanks for sharing your story! Best of luck as you work through this wonderful process!

Wow, Erica…that is some story, and I think you would have a very powerful personal statement.

If this is what you really want (and it sure sounds like it is), I would definitely push forward. There is nothing you can do about the past…it’s done. Take this chance to take a step forward. Go for that BS in biology and do your darndest to ace it. With the upward trend in grades, a good MCAT, good ECs and PS, you should have a definite good choice. Depending on your GPA, as long as it is over a 3.0, look at some of the middle and lower-tier allopathic schools or one of the osteopathic schools which are more forgiving of past errors.

But most important, take care of you…you’ve already gone through what most people never go through, especially at a young age…

Best of luck!

Congratulations on the new baby! I give you a lot of credit for sticking with school through all the ups and downs you’ve had. I think the fact that you still feel drawn to medicine after all the changes you’ve experienced says a lot. Good luck!

I think it is fantastic that you shared your story, it was very motivating to read, thank you. Best of luck to you!

I have two young children, and start back at Univ. on August 24th for pre. req’s. I am nervous and excited all at the same time!

Reading these message boards has been such an uplifting expereince for me…like free therapy!

Hi Erica.

I am very excited by your history. You are the strong person. I hope that you will solve all problems.

What am amazing story!!! Thank you for sharing it. I wish you the best of luck in your continued journey toward medical school.

Thanks for for the good luck wishes and support! So far, so good. I’m 33 weeks pregnant as of tomorrow and have dealt with a that, H1N1, and losing my health insurance all in the past couple of weeks, but am still pulling a solid “A” in microbiology and history, plus doing better than average in o-chem (not sure where the curve and grades are yet, but I’m ahead of most people by a long shot) so life is good!

Woohoo! I got a “B” on the first o-chem midterm. Considering that I was so sick that day with the flu that I couldn’t even drive myself in to take it (hubby took off work and drove me), and I ended up in the hospital in an isolation room on oxygen & fluids later that day, I’m pretty flipping happy!