oh, and p.s. you all completely rule
I grew up in a different environment but I can totally relate. I was born with a spinal cord tumor and the result was about 30 surgeries over the years (I am now 29). I went to private elementary school, then chose to attend an exclusive boarding school here on the East coast. I was asked not to return for my senior year due to stupid behavior (gambling, selling playboys to fellow students). Anyway, I ended up attending college for 3 years on the other side of the country, but only accumulated less than a year of credit, due to chronic pain and a few surgeries which brought me back east and forced me to take medical w/d. My entire school career I was the brilliant underachiever. I didn’t study. I didn’t care. I thought I was going to grow up, be a doctor or a businessman, make millions, get married young, and live the dream. I didn’t realize that smarts doesn’t help when you have many obstacles, including yourself. I left college in 2000 and since then have battled several personal demons which I finally have at bay. One thing that was always hard is that my only siblings are a 1/2 brother and sister from my father (We all have same dad, 3 different moms, dad is on wife six now). My sister is 10 years younger and now has more college credits than I do, but the real issue is my older brother. He is 10 years my senior. In High School, our father would tell me how my brother was a better student than I was. then when I found out that my 3.4 GPA was much better than his 2.7 at the same boarding school, our dad said that it was because he had more to deal with (he has never had any real tragedy or problems while I spent 1/2 of my life as an inpatient having surgery being told I would not live/walk/etc.). Anyway, after my brother graduated college, he and our dad started a telecom company and long story short they are both multi-multi-multi millionaires many times over. Unfortunately neither has ever had any support, financial or otherwise, for my college ambitions. Now that I am in the best health i’ve been in, and I have addressed everything else holding me back, I am ready to go back, finish my BS and go to Med school, but no one thinks I can do it. I have been fortunate enough to find a Pain Doc who believes in me. He has offered me a part time position at a major NYC hospital and will do everything to support me in my quest to wear a white coat. Unfortunately, he is about the only one. My mother and stepfather act supportive but then always will say things like “well, ya know we have to be prepared if this doesn’t work”. My first day of college in Arizona, I met my best friend Dave, who lives in California. He found a job at a big software company 5 or 6 years ago and now makes 100k+. One of the worst feelings is when he says something like “ya know brooks, we have guys who play video games all day and eat pizza and make 10 bucks an hour, that would be a PERFECT job for you”. and he is actually serious. I scored almost perfect on my SATs. I have an IQ over 140. Yet my closest friend thinks that i’m a fucking idiot because he’s never seen me accomplish anything. It is hard to feel like you can do something when those you know you the best don’t seem to think you can. My father and brother always told me, growing up, that I was the smartest in the family and I was expected by everyone to be the big family success. I’m sorry that I am rambling now, I just had to vent. I have spent most of my life in hospitals. I have had doctors who saved my life, and gave credit to everyone other than themselves. I have had doctors who were more of a father to me than anyone else in the world. I have had doctors leave surgical sponges in my side, causing sepsis and almost killing me. I have always looked at being a doctor as a calling, not a job or career. I just want to be able to give people what I have received from so many great MDs, and I feel that with my personal experience, I could really be a special physician to some patients. A few years ago, as a patient, I had a 76 year old roommate who presented with dyvatryculitus (sp?). He was devastated, he wanted to die, it was very sad. After overhearing the doctor give the prognosis, and the man’s reaction with his 50 year old son sitting there, I pulled the curtain a little and asked if I could speak with him. I explained that I have had a colostomy since I was 1 day old and that it didn’t stop me from attending boarding school, going to college in Arizona, cross country traveling for months at a time, camping out, sleeping in cars and with many, many attractive women. I spent the next few days listening to stories from this man and his son about how they got to watch Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Joe D. and others play LIVE at Yankee Stadium! (My hospital overlooks Yankee Stadium and growing up the nurses would always put me in one of the rooms on that side of the hospital and give me the window bed, and push it over so i could watch the stadium light up at night while watching the game on tv. i’ve been a diehard Yankees fan since I was born). Anyway, the point of the story is that we got close, and before I was discharged, the man thanked me and told me that I saved his life. That before speaking with me he had no desire to live and I gave him a renewed sense of life. His son thanked me and told me that he hadn’t seen his father that happy in a long time. At that point I realized that if I could bring those personal experiences to this profession, I could do a lot of good. I just want the chance to try, but its so hard…
Dear god I am so sorry about the length of that post. And to think I thought I was cutting it off shortly…
Dr. BDBono! I was touched by your story and chances are the Adcoms will be too. If suffering makes you stronger, than you are probably a tower of strength and I am glad to see you have found a doctor to mentor and believe in you. Believe in yourself too, believe in your calling and believe in God. I am sure we will all need some, if not all of those, to make it through school and training
you can’t fail, if you don’t give up!
Beware long run-on sentence thought ahead:
I think it is only the people that go through the most harrowing unbelievable terrible (to us at this point comical sometimes, like “'really, another surgery?”) trials and tribulations- that can understand how it is to feel ackwardly blessed to have gone through all of that mind-bending pain so that we can show our situation to another person to comfort them, make them feel better- and maybe smile.
Alot of times I think thank-god it was me and not them.
I think your wonderful. I don’t know you, but don’t think i have to.