We will eventually write a blog post about our adventure in California...and I am supposed to be cleaning up and packing the apartment... but I happened to get distracted by Facebook (classic me) and went down the rabbit hole of the Facebook memories that happened on this day. One in particular caught my eye from 10(!!) years ago:
First of all - why was I publishing a Facebook note at 6:26am?! I suppose I felt it was an important note to publish and share at the time. It was a declaration of what World Lupus Day is about, as well as a huge thank you to my friends and family who had helped me get through that first year of being diagnosed with Lupus.
It also contained this paragraph:
This year, I went out on a limb writing my personal statement for family medicine residency (they advise against making yourself seem like a potential liability)- I chose to share the story of how I was diagnosed with lupus and how my mom, a family physician, showed me how invaluable a family doctor is to not only identifying serious illness, but advocating for patients, teaching them about their illness, and empowering them to be in charge of their own health.
I didn't explicitly say what being diagnosed with lupus had meant to me or had taught me in my essay, but on the interview trail I was asked about this at almost every program. The irony is that my answer was nearly the same as what I wrote about 10 years ago as a sophomore in high school.
Being on the other end of the patient-doctor relationship before I even got anywhere near medical school has made becoming a doctor a vastly different experience than had I not been diagnosed with lupus. I much better understand what it's like to have questions and challenges for your doctor but be worried they'll think you're obstinate, or to want to take vitamin D pills or natural supplements but not tell them because they'll think you're that kind of patient, or to be bad about taking your medications because you feel like you don't need them and there are no immediate or tangible consequences.
Back when I wrote that Facebook post 10 years ago, I didn't have aspirations of being a family doctor. Becoming a doctor wasn't even on my mind yet - I was still pretty averse to the whole "doing the same thing as your mom" pathway - and I was just wondering if my good health would even last me through the rest of high school and college. I truly have been blessed with good health for the last ten years and have had more scares than actual flares - and while it's unnerving to realize it's not in my control, it makes me all the more thankful for what I have. It's a little crazy to think that in less than two weeks, Lord willing, I'll be completely done with medical school, will have "MD" at the end of my name, and will be headed off to Michigan to start residency (well, it's actually 4 weeks until we leave! don't worry. we still have some time here!).
To my family and friends: While graduation is a milestone, getting to this point has never been the end-all-be-all and I am thankful that you have reminded of this. Becoming a doctor has never been my main mission in life, rather to love God and to love others, and I know that this is just one expression of this. I hope and pray that despite the long and challenging hours of residency, the complicated nature of healthcare in the US, discouraging patient situations, etc. - my passion for serving others and what I've learned from living with lupus will be the same in another ten years if I stumble upon this blog post ;)
One last gem from that Facebook note:
I guess that's why I posted so early in the morning. Who knew I had such big thoughts before 6:26am? :)
thank you for reading!