The wait is over

The wait for my COMLEX score is over . . . .and I failed once again by just a few lousy points. The PASS program would have been great for me, I think, if I had been able to finish it. Unfortunately, after the first week I had to return home due to an extreme case of greater trochanter bursitis. . the worst I’ve ever had. And I could not find a doctor in Champaign that would give me a steroid injection for over a week. I drove home with nothing more than ibuprofen and a lot of tears. I hadn’t eaten or slept for almost 4 days. My husband had called my doctor here and he said I should come home immediately and he got me in the same afternoon for the injection. He wanted to be sure it was bursitis and nothing related to the cancer, since there is still a chance of metastasis. Even after the injection, it took over 2 weeks before I could even stand to walk. I literally lived on hydrocodone and oxycodone combined. Even with those, I couldn’t sleep or do much studying, but I tried. The school insisted that I take my boards in December, so even though I could have gone back in January to complete the PASS program, it would have been too late.

Anyway,I feel like I have lost my best friend. My heart is breaking and my ego is shattered. Once again I aced the diagnosis and management, but for some reason, even though I had been acing my practice exams, the sciences bit me in the butt again.

I have spent the last three days crying. I have managed to get to work each day, except today I was off and had to visit my doctors. Just more bad news from them as well.

My orthopod just told me my knee is so badly damaged that if synvisc injections don’t work, I will probably need a total knee replacement. So it’s three weeks of injections into the knee joint and wait and see if it improves. He’s also going to order a fitting for some new kind of knee brace that uses electrical stimulation to help deal with the pain. I get fitted for that in a couple of weeks. We’ll see. I’ll try it for 4-6 months and if it doesn’t work, I guess I’ll go ahead with the knee replacement. I am young for it, but who knows how long I have to hang around anyway. And the worst that can happen is they have to go in after 10 years or so and do an adjustment.

Then it was on to my internal med doctor. He has become a friend to me, and when I told him about the boards, he said it is probably the best thing that could have happened because of all my cumulative health issues. And he’s ordered a CEA because he feels there is a possibility the cancer may have spread to my colon. I have been having a ton of colon issues lately. So, there’s another bump in the road if it happens to be true. But he totally understood how I am feeling about the boards, and he tried to encourage me as much as he could. I think he may have helped Zane understand a little better just what I’m dealing with.

Anyway. It’s over. My dream and goal has been totally shattered and now I have to figure out how to pick up the pieces and go on.

My best friend of 30+ years told me to write a book; that all the obstacles I have faced and overcome throughout my life could be an encouragement for many. But I don’t know. I don’t feel very successful at the moment.

As to God; well I know they say when God closes a door, he opens a window. I sure wish I could see it right now!


I met you last year at the OPM Conference in VA. I looked forward to meeting you because I found much hope and inspiration in your posts over the past couple of years. It’s because of people like you who showed persistence and perserverance that I’m moving along to become a physician today.

I can’t imagine what you’re going through right now. But, please hang in there. Your friend’s idea of writing a book is a wonderful one. From what I’ve read and heard, your story is one of strength, regardless of the circumstance and could help many people. This may be a bump in the road - but that’s all it is… a bump. God bless you and your family!

Linda, all I can say is that I wish you all the best, and I get the sincere impression that you deserve the best and then some.

It may not seem like much right now, but the quote from your sig is meaningful to me: “Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” – J. Andrews

I’m sorry, Linda. Best of luck to you. I also recommend writing it down - if it turns into a book, wonderful. If not, I have found that writing down what hurts makes it hurt less. I’ve written a great deal about my own health and family issues - not for publication, just for my desk drawer to hold. But the act of writing somehow made me see my life with greater clarity, and more abstractedly, so I was less overcome with emotion.

Take care.

Linda -

My heart goes out to you. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult dealing with this is for you.

My thoughts and prayers are with you as you pick up the pieces, evaluate the situation and deal with your medical issues.



I pray that all is well with you. Regroup and follow your path.

Linda, I hope that ALL your health concerns and setbacks will resolve for you soon. I also believe that writing your experiences will be a great help to others. I will pray for you and your family if that is okay with you. Good luck! and please keep us posted!


You have my heartfelt sympathy. I cannot even imagine how you must feel right now. But, I can assure you that you are a success story & have been an inspiration to us all. Your spirit has been unsurmountable & your story has spurned on many folks around here. Even if your path does not intend for you to carry those two letters behind your sig, you will always be my colleague. I have utmost faith & confidence in you - always have & I always will.

Right now, you have earned the right to be sad. But you will pick up the pieces & carry on. You have a great man in Zane to be there for you. No, he prob doesn’t directly understand, but he loves & supports you such that he will be there for you to lean on just as you have been for him during his own health issues.

If you need to talk…or just cry…you know how to reach me.

Linda, I read your post with great sadness. Tests like these always make me crazy; they are absolutely without question the worst part of becoming a doctor from my point of view. Feeling like you are banging your head against one of these is a really terrible feeling. Your medical situations are really frustrating as well; I hope that they each get better.

I wish you the best on finding that window. I’ll be thinking good thoughts in your direction.




You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

I know that right now nothing is going to make you feel better. But I always like thinking that things happen for a reason. After all the bitterness is over, it’s easier to accept things like they are.

Your health is most important at this moment, so try to heal your spirit and get positive. You have Zane who loves and supports you no matter what, and we’re all with you here.


First of all, thanks for all the good wishes and sympathy. I was really having a bit of a pity party last week.

But, the clouds are beginning to clear, and while I still can’t quite make out that window that I’m sure God has opened, I have at least taken steps towards it, wherever it is.

I am having ups and downs. Today was a real up. I got home and here was the certified letter from the Dean at WVSOM. The surprise was that when I opened it, it didn’t say I had been academically dismissed, but that he was forwarding my file to the promotions committee for review and recommendations. That is not what I expected. The official policy is 4 tries and that’s it. I’m hoping that they will consider my third try as not valid since I was in the middle of recovery from my cancer surgery. But I don’t know how it will end up. So it’s wait and see time.

Anyway, I’m just going to take one step at a time and one day at a time. First of all, I am going to be sure my health is in better shape before I even contemplate retaking the exam if given the chance. That will most likely include total knee replacement and rehab, hopefully followed by a LOT less pain in both my knees and my hips. If that occurs then I will consider continuing the PASS program course I was taking when the sky fell in. With that and some added time for review, MAYBE another chance would work.

Adam, especially to you, I want to say thanks for reminding me of my own signature line quote. “Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” Maybe this is the equivalent of my 20th time. Just have to wait and see.

The one thing I can add with complete honesty is that no matter what happens this entire journey has been worth it. I have never known so much, yet so little, and felt so proud of what I have been able to do. If I never become a physician, I will still retain that knowledge and I will find some way to share it to help others deal with their health problems.

Anyway, thanks again to all of you.

Linda, you have been such an inspiration to so many OPMers! You’ve not been afraid to share your ups and downs, and we have all learned much from you. Your strength and optimism is to be admired. We are blessed to have you as a resource on OPM. :slight_smile: As you are seeing, doors aren’t yet closed, and doors continue to swing open. I know that you’ll walk through open doors with a smile, strength of purpose, and with a spring in your step (well, maybe not quite a spring until your knee is better - make that a virtual spring). Thank you for being so open about your hopes and dreams. You are remarkable!



  • Quote:
The one thing I can add with complete honesty is that no matter what happens this entire journey has been worth it. I have never known so much, yet so little, and felt so proud of what I have been able to do. If I never become a physician, I will still retain that knowledge and I will find some way to share it to help others deal with their health problems.


I knew I would see a post like this from you pretty soon. Your ability to bounce back has always been, and will always be, an inspiration to me.

You go!

From up . . . to down . . . to up again . All in one day. I got home and called the registrar’s office to find out if there was any news from the student promotions committee, and she said that they had just concluded their meeting and I was to be academically dismissed.

However. . . before I called her I had called the Dean and left a message for him to call me back. When he did, we spoke for a long time and he has asked me to forward a letter of explanation along with the doctors reports and he will go to the President’s office and fight for my right to retake the exam. So now it’s back up again! I have already written the letter, will gather the medical records tomorrow morning, as well as the pharmacy records showing all the pain medication, and send it next-day mail.

So, there’s still a chance. Keep your fingers crossed!


My fingers are crossed for you. I am sure that your very, very extenuating circumstances warrant a retake.

I am sure that with the review course and you will continue to rotations and become the doctor you have always wanted to be.

Good luck. My your health be strong again.

Update time.

Still waiting to hear from WVSOM.

Big news is I am scheduled for a total knee replacement on March 7. Hopefully, after 5-6 weeks of rehab, the knee pain will be diminished and the resulting hip problems will be resolved.

I’m very pleased with my orthopedic surgeon. He is a DO and has done a fellowship in sports medicine and is known for being quite good with knee surgeries.

I’m still very optimistic about my future, whether or not it includes completing my degree.

For now, it’s onward and upward. There are always opening doors!

Wow! Good luck, Linda. I hope you have less pain and more freedom very soon!