Mild Hypochondria and More

Week 13

September 29th-October 5th

Here we go. Another week in Cleveland. Another week in medical school. Another week alive.

Monday – OMG Ovarian Teratoma

Last week, we learned about testicular and prostate tumors and general male reproductive pathology. This week, it was all about the ladies. As a lady person, this was mildly traumatizing. Perhaps, it paid homage to the frightening sex ed slides I saw while in middle school and the beginning of high school.

You know that over-quoted line from Mean Girls, “Don’t have sex or you’ll get pregnant and die.”?

Well, in the case of an ovarian teratoma, you don’t have to have sex to get it. All you have to do is have ovaries and all of a sudden, your egg cells chromosome can duplicate and the formation of a tumor with three different embryological tissues forms. Inside the tumor you can find hair, teeth, and other tissues…you name it. THAT IS TERRIFYING. Intriguing but terrifying. I would post a picture, but this not for the faint of heart. I’d recommend google imaging if you are very curious.

First feelings of medical school hypochondria. This could be a “virgin” birth gone wrong. But, if you want to get a feel for what an ovarian teratoma is/how it makes me feel check out this My Big Fat Greek Wedding clip.

Tuesday – Cultural Humility & Your New Body

Touchy feely Tuesday last week was about “diversity” so of course everything about culture and race was lumped into a single 2 hours of discussion. We had a lot we had to cover, a bit of it was superficial (actually a lot). But it was illuminating…

One of the exercises was for people to say which people they felt were “others” to them. I heard, “Republicans, vegans, prisoners, homeless people, and of course ‘poor, black people.’” I wonder why it had to be poor and black people together…? Are poor whites or poor asiana or whatever not an other? Hmm… cultural sensitivity. We are all learning. I appreciate the openness of people, but at the same time, it can be unsettling to find out and learn what people are actually thinking.

Being black in medical school is interesting. We are definitely underrepresented. Applying to medical school, I always heard about how offices of diversity and inclusion were trying to recruit black people, and I really see why now. Despite the “shortage” of some URMs, when I think about who I speak with on a daily basis, it is usually with minorities of some sort. If they are white, they are either in my IQ group or an “other” white person in some way (LGBTQ). I am reflecting on this now and wonder why that is… No, really. most of my good friends here at Case are black, indo/Pak, or east asian. Not white—even though that is the “majority.” I am generally very outgoing, but are my interactions with white people superficial?

How much do our racial comfort zones influence the friends me make or the intentionality of our personal interactions?

In my undergrad, most of my friends that were through InterVarsity Christian Fellowship—which really valued, “multi-ethnicity” although this was a struggle at many points in our fellowship, I valued the effort people placed on at least trying to form cross-cultural relationships. In medicine, people talk about culture sensitivity and “competency” but when you look around you, you realize that many medical students do not have the opportunity to practice what they learn with their peers BECAUSE theirfriends look just like them.

Ehh I’ll stop there.

In my Narrative Medicine course, we read a short story called, “So You’re Going to Have a New Body” by LS Schwartz. In short, it about a woman in her 30s who has an unnecessary complete hysterectomy and how her new body did not feel like her own. She entered menopause early (no ovaries anymore), having sex with her husband was strange, and she had this disturbing hatred for her doctor who did this too her. She had a cyst the size of a “grapefruit.” But, the doctor kept telling her that she was high risk for ovarian cancer, and since she had three kids and did not intend to have more, she should just take out the ovaries. He was described as mechanical, arrogant, and just a jerk really. (He was).  Him being a male OB/GYN created a strange power dynamic. At one point the author described his practice as prostitutes in a brothel. 

She did not understand her new body or like the way it made her feel. Sex finally started working for her when she casually called up some opthamologist that she had been having an affair with for a long while before the hysterectomy. This happens so casually in the story, you almost skip over the fact that she was having an affair…

No one understands her.

She had a hysterectomy.

Her doctor was bossy.

Boo hoo. 

Wow, am I insensitive? I understand the point of the story, which really had many good points about ineffective doctor-patient relationships. But, it seemed like the author had a bigger story to tell outside of the hysterectomy narrative. Perhaps how men treat women’s bodies and fallacies in the cartesian divide between “mind” and body?  Hysterectomies can be very traumatizing for women to undergo, but it seemed as though my empathy was running short. 


Someone commented in class along the lines that, “she had gone through a lot and all her actions are valid.” 

Nope, I don’t believe that. People go through mess—horrible things, but that does not validate the poor choices we make. It makes them perhaps understandable, but not valid. THIS week, I shadowed a palliative care physician and heard from people impacted by Huntington’s disease and terminal cancer and the lack of self pity I saw was astounding to me. It really made me want to check my attitude on a daily basis. I’ll say more on this next week. 


She wasn’t okay

Wednesday – Musculoskeletal Exam!

Much better than last week! My standardized patient taught me a lot. He was a 63 year old man who was fabulous at yoga! Some of the stretches, I was making him do were yoga positions???

Thursday – SCANDAL + HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER + “a day off”

I woke up on Thursday in such a good mood. PD was done the day before, and I had a free day in front of me to finally get some personal study time. It was a great day, and I loved watching Scandal with some fabulous friends. The friends I have made here in medical school have been such a blessing.

Fitz was GOOD this episode. He is so much better when he is not with Olivia. I wish he could get back together with his wife, but what he and Lic got is…the center of the show…CONFLICTED! Mellie’s scenes (first lady) were actually just heart-breaking.  I actually preferred Scandal to How to Get Away With Murder this week. The latter show’s “protagonist” played by Viola Davis, seems too flawed (defending sociopathic killers she knows are guilty) that it is difficult for me to like her. She is seems very unhappy—probably because her husband is cheating on her but she’s cheating too.

I’m confused.

I’m over infidelity on TV.

Also the only good looking guy in the show is going to end up with the crazy-drug-dealer-girl-who-is-rude-and-his-neighbor. I am giving this show one more chance before I replace that hour with embryology studying. Shout to Avia and Ify for having these get togethers and to Christa and Yorleny for joining in on the fun!


Friday – Sleepover!

After class, I went to Metro with my friend, Emily and we got our hospital badges in anticipation for our RAMP (shadowing) coming up. My parents did their residencies at Metro, and my little sister was born here so it is a special place for me as well as for my family!

Another SLEEPOVER at Emma and Felicia’s! We watched Tarzan, the Incredibles, and Sleeping Beauty! We are slowly making our way through those Disney movies! Such a great way to unwind after a long week.  The Incredibles is SUCH a stylish movie. My favorite Pixar one because it is fun, action packed, doesn’t take its self too seriously (*cough* UP and Wall-E) but is so family oriented. Never ceases to please! It is all about Edna. She really keeps it real when everyone around her is in denial.

Remember, NO CAPES!

I’m looking forward to another sleepover…after block 2 exams! 🙂

Saturday – Cleveland Symphony Orchestra 

SO GOOD! I really enjoyed the concert.  On the program was Beethoven’s 6th Symphony (Pastoral) and the second half was a series of waltzes by Ravel. Honestly, the 6th was the best I have ever heard it with my ears. This is a stellar orchestra and everyone should go. Ravel…I was struggling and confused as to why anyone would end the program with a bunch of waltzes when they have BEETHOVEN.

I went to Ninja Kitchen with Rebecca, Aaron, Felicia, Curtis, and Karen. I had these pork bun sliders. The portions were small and I did not love it so I did not take a picture. The first not great foodie experience in Cleveland so far. However, I think I may have just ordered the wrong thing because everyone else seemed to enjoy their dishes!

Here are some photos from the night!




Sunday – GARQing 

Hallelujah for studying in groups and taking it one day at a time. We are getting through those gross anatomy questions for the upcoming exam!

Until next time.

Mild hypochondria, the issues of cultural sensitivity, infidelity, SCANDAL, friendship and music.

Boy, do I have a lot to say.


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