I’ve been reading here for a while, and even commented on a few thread, but I thought I ought to introduce myself. Sorry this is so long!

My name is Rachel, and I am a 35 year old pre-med student in Missouri. I went to college “the first time” to a Christian College with the desire to go into missions - really medical missions, but I didn’t think I was smart enough to go to medical school back then. So I thought I would do what I could as a volunteer.

I was friends with another college student who’s grandfather had been doing mission work in Thailand. I remember being about 21-22 and listening to a radio interview of this man as he told his story, how they went overseas to do mission work and ended up doing medical care. He said that the closest clinic to their location was over 100 miles away so the local people assumed that since they were Americans they must know how to help people. He told how he and his wife knew about as much first aid as any average American but not much more. It was becoming obvious that they needed to know more, so he had this crazy idea to go back to school to become a doctor. Crazy then, it was the mid 50’s. Every school he applied to for the pre-med work refused him, one school even told him, “Son, if you don’t know what you want to do at your age, it’s too late!” Eventually one school admitted him conditionally that he pass college algebra. He did, eventually graduating from there. He went to medical school in China, where non-trads were un-heard of, so he had to follow the normal rules for first year med students: live in the dorms on campus. He only saw his wife and children for a few hours on the weekends for the first two years.

His story inspired me because I thought, ‘wow, people really can become doctors who were not math experts in high school!’

I eventually got married, and my husband joined the military, so there went my mission dreams. We had five children during his service, so we were pretty busy. During that time I had many occasions to need medical care for my children as well as my husband. I began to notice a pattern: My favorite physicians were DO’s. They just seemed to listen to me as a Mom more. One of my daughters had been vomiting every time she ate for the first seven months of her life. It only improved when she began eating solid food, but she continued having highly acidic bowel movements that would burn her baby skin. I took her to the clinic on post so many times and was dismissed, ignored, insulted and one MD even said to me, speaking very slowly as if I was mentally challenged, “There. Is. Nothing. Wrong. With. Your. Child.” Finally when she was almost four years old I saw a DO who told me this was most definitely not normal, and sent her for a consult with a Pediatric GI doctor. He examined her and said her symptoms were classic lactose intolerance. Imagine that! Four years of suffering that could have been avoided had one of those doctors actually listened to me with a modicum of respect.

When my fifth child was two months old we discovered he had some sort of tumor on his liver. It was very scary. It was not cancerous, but it was putting him on the fast track to a liver transplant. They resected it the week Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. He ended up being in two different Children’s hospitals on and off for over nine months, as complications mounted and more surgeries were needed to reconstruct his bile ducts. I learned a lot during that time. I had many good conversations with his Infectious Disease doctor, who was assigned to him due to the number of infections he had developed post-surgery. It was this man who was the first to tell me I ought to go back to school and become a doctor.

Within the next few years my children grew, my son went through lots of therapy to help him catch up and my husband was injured in Iraq. His condition deteriorated rapidly, and one night he overdosed on his pain medication trying to make it stop hurting. He fell asleep and never woke up. At this point I had already started back to school because it had become obvious that my husband was no longer able to work and support our family. The quickest route I could see was nursing, so I was taking the nursing pre-reqs at our local community college. After he passed, the military stepped in and took care of our family. Suddenly I didn’t have to just do something as fast as possible. I had the support and the time to do what I wanted in school. With encouragement from my children’s Pediatrician I decided to go pre-med. So for the last three years thats what I’ve been doing. I am now at our local University, technically a senior based on credit hours, but in reality a junior in my program.

My life is VERY busy, with classes, caring for my kids, helping them with their homework and all the usually childhood activities. But I am looking forward to eventually being out there working as a physician.

I want to be one of “those” doctors, the ones who really listen to people. I want to make a difference in a family’s life.

Welcome to Old Premeds! I love reading the stories of how people came to the decision to chase the dream to become a physician. Good luck and welcome aboard!!

Welcome! What a truly heart wrenching yet truly inspiring story. Wow. Thanks for introducing yourself.

It sounds like you are on the right path and have support, which is always great.

I have just moved to KC, MO in order to attend KCUMB and am loving it, so if you plan on staying in MO, I would definitely recommend KCUMB.

Take care and if you have any questions, just post. We are all here to help everyone else with their journey.


  • LJSimpson Said:

I have just moved to KC, MO in order to attend KCUMB and am loving it, so if you plan on staying in MO, I would definitely recommend KCUMB.


KCUMB is my current first choice!

What an amazing, inspiring story! Thank you for sharing and best of luck on your journey.

Welcome! It sounds like you are well along your path! I sympathize with the lactose intolerance story…my pediatrician was a bit quicker off the mark - when my child was 9 months old and had serious diarrhea for 14 days, I switched doctors and the new one got it immediately.

A doctor who will listen to you is a pearl of great price—I hope we all will be “that kind” of doctor.



Your story is sad, but written so very well. I think you won’t have any major issues writing your personal statement and secondary essays!

Welcome to OPM!

Inspiring story. You are a very strong individual and I believe you will make it through just fine. Keep looking ahead, the future is bright!

Inspirational. Thanks for sharing Mommylinn. Go get it done!


PS, love your signature line. Please tell your A&P instructor that an old paramedic says there are actually two causes of death. Shortness of Breath and Sudden Deceleration.

Thank you for sharing your story. It was truly inspiring! As a single mom of 5 children myself, I especially appreciate that part of what you’re doing to get yourself to where you want to be. Keep up the great work!

  • Crepitus Said:
PS, love your signature line. Please tell your A&P instructor that an old paramedic says there are actually two causes of death. Shortness of Breath and Sudden Deceleration.

'Course, she was lecturing over the electron transport chain at the time...

Your story is so inspirational. Keep at it and never give up. Be persistent and follow your dreams. Your children will see that and follow in your footsteps. You’re a great example for your kids and to others who will read your story. Good luck on your journey.