If you haven’t already, check out my blog post from a year ago, “The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Ugly: An Honest Reflection of My Intern Year of Ob/Gyn Resident”.
When life hands you lemons, make the sourest batch of lemonade you can tolerate! In other words, if you’re already suffering, you may as well make it all worth it by knocking out as many “lemons” as possible at the same time. This was my approach to my second year of Obstetrics and Gynecology residency. So much of residency is about grinding it out and making peace with the things that are not in your control. As a second-year resident, I was on a journey to conquer as many of these lemons as possible.
Here’s a list of my biggest lemons and progress made in dealing with them (I refer to these as my “4 C’s”…and for my business folks out there, I promise this will not turn into a Marketing Mix lecture…not the same 4 C’s)! I honestly wasn’t a stellar intern, because I was too busy struggling with my 4 C’s, but spoiler alert…I feel pretty good about the progress I’ve made with each of these 4 C’s in my second year.
It’s no secret that I underwent treatment for cancer in my second year of residency. I touch more on my path to and through my cancer diagnosis in my prior blog post, “Renew & Relaunch: How Becoming the Patient Fortified My Journey as The HAPPIest MD”. If I had to choose the crucible moments during residency, they would all pertain to events related to my diagnosis and healing process. It has been my biggest lemon of all. THE. STRUGGLE. WAS. THE. REALEST. OF. THE. REAL. I tackled this lemon by reprioritizing self care and granting myself ample time and grace to heal. Reprioritizing self care has been easier said than done, and I have used this healing time to also tackle important health habits that I know I need to put in the effort to form. Overall, I am grateful for my improving health and even the shock of a lifetime that has forced me to focus in on my self care and what really matters most in leading my HAPPIest life.
It’s also not a secret that the culture of my residency program has been the most difficult to navigate of all the places I have trained thus far. However, I am building relationships and making connections that give me hope. It is also worth mentioning that the bar is set high, because I have formed truly meaningful relationships and experienced tremendous growth at each of the places I had previously trained. It is my hope that I will ultimately be able to say the same about my current training program. I have made the promise to myself to stay dedicated to my authenticity as I navigate my residency process, and I have consistently kept this promise. Instead of shying away or shutting down from the less than desirable aspects of my experience, I have made a commitment to tackle them head on by getting involved in creating actionable solutions related to wellness, inclusion, and professional development for my program. I am also excited to work to help address the pipeline and support for recruiting and retaining underrepresented minority trainees to not only survive but truly thrive in the program.
It has been overwhelming at times to think about time spent away from clinical training in order to address my health issues, but I feel confident in my and my program’s ability to ensure that I am a competent Obstetrician and Gynecologist by the time I graduate from this residency. Because of the health issues, so much of my time in second year of residency has been spent “playing catch up” or “treading water”. However, in returning to clinical training after treatment, I am realizing just how much more head space and energy I now have to truly learn my craft and enjoy the process. IT. IS. AMAZING. I have really doubled down on the learning opportunity that I have in front of me. THE. TIME. IS NOW. I am studying harder and focusing better than I ever have as a resident, and it feels awesome to get back into the swing of things!
What if this had been a life-limiting cancer diagnosis, would I have been satisfied with how I had spent my time in my career up until that point? Would it all have been worth it? My answers to these questions I asked myself were a resounding, “Yes…and YES!” In treatment, I have been essentially forced to take more quiet time to be in my own head and heart, and I have done a great deal of reflection on current and next steps. I am more dedicated to my career as a women’s health physician-entrepreneur than ever, and I feel proud of every single step that I have taken in that direction. My goal for the remainder of residency is to begin better blending my medical and business worlds in a way that I have not yet done. I am excited about this one-of-a-kind journey that I am taking on…and I am grateful for the support and inspiration I am receiving along the way. Luke 12:48 says, “…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” With the forever promise of God’s grace, I accept this challenge.
With Love and HAPPIness,
The HAPPIest MD