In Summation…

Hi, everyone.

I can’t even believe that I’m saying this, but my time at UW SMDEP is truly over.  I think that’s why I haven’t been able to write this final blog for almost two weeks.  I just couldn’t come to reminisce on the entire journey.  However, now that I’m settled back into my boring (yet beautiful) queen sized bed, my boring, quiet little town, and my boring lifeguard job, I finally feel ready to sit down and write this last blog post.

[More than] six weeks ago, I thought I was going into a program where all they do is pat you on the back and call you a smart kid.  Boy, was I wrong.  Of course they called us smart kids, but they also worked us to death, and forced us to view our lives in new ways that challenged our comfort zones.  In all honesty, I even questioned whether I still wanted to be a doctor.  They did NOT sugarcoat anything.  These people wanted all of us doe-eyed young folk to know what really happens—that the road is tumultuous and excruciating at times—but the rewards are beyond fulfilling.

Nonetheless, I realize that I still have a strong desire to pursue medicine—of which specialty, I’m still uncertain.  But, hey, I’m still just a kid!  We were all so young, and so eager to learn.  Those 79 other people became my beautiful, flawed, perfect, exotic, worldly family.  Some of them had gone through hardships that I couldn’t even imagine—and yet, here they were—working their butts off in a program that changed their lives, even though their families didn’t quite understand the gravity and importance of this program.  They were truly lucky to look for guidance in our terrific program coordinators (Pam Racansky and Felicity Abeyta-Hendrix), who went above and beyond in making our experience one to never forget.  They treated us like they would their own children, and for that, I’ll be forever grateful.

I’m irrationally overwhelmed with emotion right now.  Is there even a word to describe how I’m feeling?  Sad?  Not really.  I’m beyond appreciative that it happened.  Happy?  Well, not exactly.  I can’t wake up tomorrow, and stroll across the quad with my friends.  I guess if I could choose one word, it would have to be, “Bittersweet.”

I’ll never forget my time at the University of Washington.  It will be seared into my memory until the day I take my last breath.  I can almost guarantee that SMDEP changed the course of my life. 

Only time will tell where I go next.

Stay beautiful, 

Abbie

P.S. Randy Nguyen and Brian Dice insisted that they be my last shoutout of the week.  They won the “Best Bromance” award at our farewell dinner.  However, I won, “Most Likely to Grab the Microphone and Not Give It Back.”

Feliz Cumpleaños a Mí

Hello!  Hello!  Hellooooo!

Again, sorry for the delayed post… But this article is for last week.  If there’s any excuse for my lateness, my 20th birthday was last Thursday. ;)  So, without further ado, sit back, relax, and read about Abbie’s 5th week at UW SMDEP.

I’m sure you’re wondering how much it has rained here in sunny Seattle—and to answer your inquiry, very little.  In all honesty, it has been relatively hot here for the majority of the time.  However, last week was bizarre… Well, bizarre for me.  The weather was iconic Seattle: rainy, cold, etcetera, etcetera.  I was born on July 24th, 1994 in Lewiston, Idaho—and of course I don’t remember the day myself, but those who were there tell me that it was one of the hottest, most humid, most dramatic thunderstorms they had ever experienced.  With that in mind, the girl who was birthed from a wild summer storm, was now stumbling down Seattle streets on her 20th birthday in ice cold pouring rain.  Cheers to that!

Don’t fret.  My birthday was still the greatest birthday I think I’ve ever had—or maybe I should say my birthday, and the days that followed it.  On my official birthday, I got to spend the entire day with my brilliant mentor and friend, Dr. Sanjiv Parikh.  It was an exciting yet somber day, because it would be the last day that Winnie Kiongo and I would get to shadow him during this program.  We watched him seamlessly perform another port placement, attended our last tumor board, and watched him remove fluid from the peritoneal cavity of a patient that I’ve blogged about before.  Her name is Jackie (Yes, she gave me permission to use her name. Don’t worry, HIPAA.), and she is the woman with ovarian cancer who treats her illness like a blessing, rather than a burden.  Patients like her remind me why I want to be a provider.  She brought figs and dried cherries for Dr. Parikh this week, and we truly just sat in the exam room, eating cherries and figs—even after her procedure was over.  Aaaaand, as if that didn’t already sound cool enough, Dr. Parikh yelled through a mouthful of figs, “Let’s take a selfie!!!!!!”  Yeah, needless to say, it was a damn good birthday.

Even though my birthday was on Thursday, we had an Organic Chemistry/Biochemistry final on Friday morning—so I had to hold off on my birthday activities until the weekend.  Nonetheless, when Friday evening rolled around, a group of nearly 35 of us went to Ivar’s Acres of Clams on the pier for my birthday party.  I couldn’t believe it, though.  Nearly 35 people showed up to spend money on expensive food, just to celebrate with me.  Just thinking about how close I’ve gotten with these people makes me tear up.  It was definitely the best birthday party I have ever had.

On Saturday, a group of us went to Wild Waves amusement park in Federal Way.  It kind of reminded me of a tiny Silverwood.  It’s actually kind of funny—because I work at a water park, the thought of hanging out at a water park didn’t seem that appealing to me.  However, just being around my SMDEP family was worth it.  Although, I think I would have rather gone to Woodland Park Zoo.  Nevertheless, I’m not complaining. ;)

Saturday night was the BOMB!  About ten of us went to the Capitol Hill Block Party!  Capitol Hill is the “party” neighborhood in Seattle.  It’s where most of the younger adults choose to live and spend time.  It’s also where we go to the gay club called Neighbours.  Even though we signed a code of conduct, and we don’t get “turnt up,” just being in this neighborhood is exhilarating.  It reminds me of a tiny Las Vegas—filled with lights, loud music, and endless bars.  Of course, adding stumbling, drunken college people to the mix is a must.  The block party was a dream.  Starting at Pike street, and ending six blocks away, the roads were completely blocked off, videos were projected onto the brick buildings, stages erupted from the pavement, and Capitol Hill exploded with life.  We saw a breathtaking saxophone player, a dorky DJ, and one of my favorite techno artists, Chromeo.  When all was over at 2 am, we found the nearest sandwich shop, and plopped down in post-concert shock.  

Sunday was rather relaxing.  I slept in until nearly 1 pm, lazily got ready, and a group of us went downtown to have our favorite greek yogurt at Pike Place.  Plus, we ran across the Hispanic Seafair Festival at the Seattle Center.  The weather was finally sunny and warm again, so I bought a cup of horchata, grabbed a mango on a stick, and sunned myself in the grass, while listening to Banda music.

I can’t stop thinking about how amazing my birthday weekend was—absolutely, completely, 100% amazing.  And as I write this during my last week of SMDEP, my heart is heavy, but I also feel like a completely different person than I was when I arrived here 5-and-a-half weeks ago.  

My last post will be coming up this weekend.

Less than one week remains.

Stay beautiful,

Abbie

P.S. Shoutout of the week goes to Addie Palencia!

Please don’t kill me, Adds…

Only a Fortnight Remains

Hi, everyone!

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I apologize for the delayed blog post.  This article is actually for last week, but I was too distracted to write it last week (Whoops!).  What can I say?  I’m having a ridiculous amount of fun here, and my time with these amazing human beings is running out.

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Last week consisted of many late nights, and many more laughs.  It’s funny, really—the way one can meander through an entire week, but only remember the way one felt.  For instance, every single day was similar (i.e. school, motivational speakers, gym, repeat), but what I’ll take back to Idaho with me, are the memories that I’ve made.

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I experience something new everyday.  I bought matching sweatshirts with my dear friend Clarissa, shamelessly purchased $4 cups of tea every single evening last week, and learned how to dance Banda at midnight on a Tuesday with some of my spicy Latino friends (If you’re wondering how much of a natural I was, I apparently dance like a “stick bug.”)

We were invited to attend the first ever SMDEP Alumni Dinner, and it was brimming with alums from years passed (2006 - 2014).  Plus, it was accompanied by mounds of Indian food.  For being a self-proclaimed foodie, I’m actually pretty embarrassed to admit that it was my first time eating bonafide Indian food…  

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In other news, I’ll be moving to India—or possibly purchasing an entire bathtub filled with curry sauce—whichever is most convenient.

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However, I do digress, being at the dinner was almost magical.  I could look around the room, and see clusters of old friends—old family—reminiscing and catching up from where they left off.  Some groups looked like they were half a decade older than me—possibly medical and dental students themselves, while others looked nearly the same age as myself.  Regardless, seeing a room full of life and joy brought a smile to my face.  (Also, shoutout to Josué Cuevas for an amazing alumni slideshow!)

The weekend was pretty relaxing, because our program coordinators didn’t really have anything planned for us.  When I say “relaxing,” I don’t mean it in the traditional sense… I mean it as a description for sleeping in past 7:30 AM.  Nonetheless, a few of us were lying sluggishly in the hallway of our floor, trying to figure out what we were going to do on a Friday night—when we automatically decided that going to Neighbours (our gay club) would definitely be the best option (We seriously love that place.).

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After another wild (but sober) night, I shamelessly found myself finally rising and shining at around noon.  It took all of us another three hours to get ready for the day—but when we did, we meandered down to the Seattle Center for the annual Groupon Bite of Seattle.  The name itself is rather self-explanatory and clearly indicative of the massive quantity of food that was available (at a handsome price, of course).  The Bite of Seattle is truly representative of the broad cultural influence in this lovely city.  I probably spent thirty to forty minutes just deciding what I wanted to eat.  There must have been more than one-hundred food stands—probably from every region in the world that one could think up!  But I’m happy to say that my dining choice was nothing less than fantastic.  I got a chicken quinoa salad from a Peruvian food stand, and a chocolate dipped strawberry-kabob!  Not too shabby, eh?  And to top off the day, I even had an experienced henna tattooist grace my right hand with an adorable little bird.

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What a great week, it was. :) 

How lucky we are to be so happy and lucky.

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Less than two weeks remain.

Stay beautiful,

Abbie

P.S. Shoutout of the week goes to these lunatics.  Sara Soofian and Clarissa Alvarez, I love you weirdos.

Compassionate, but Objective

Hello, exquisite blog-readers. :)

My third week at UW SMDEP has come to a delightful close—meaning I’m halfway through the program already.  Ummm, how is that even possible??  Prepare yourselves for a longer read, because week three was one for the books!

Last Saturday night (well, technically early Sunday morning), a large group of us decided to crash one of Seattle’s premiere 18-and-over gay clubs.  Ok, I have no idea if it’s premiere, but it sure was fun.  It’s called Neighbours (yeah, written in a fancy British fashion), and 18-and-overs aren’t allowed in until the bar closes… At 2 AM.  But hey, you’re only a crazy, young, resilient fool for a few years of your life, right?  So, at 1 AM, a group of us met up in our dorm lobby, walked to the bus stop, and hopped onto one of the creepiest busses I’ve ever had the displeasure of riding.  I swear, this bus driver could have been Vincent Price’s doppelgänger.  As we disembarked our chariot, he eerily growled that “this [would be] the last bus until the morning sun.”   Nonetheless, when 2 AM rolled around, we made our royal appearance.  I can’t say I’m an experienced club girl, but I know one thing, gay clubs are the bee’s knees.  Ladies, if you ever just want to dance with your girls, and not be “backed-up-on” by an irritating, drunk twenty-something dude, GO TO A GAY CLUB.  More than half of the people at these places aren’t even that sexually attracted to you.  They truly just want to boogie with you and tip the go-go dancer.  However, the club did close at 4 AM, which meant it was time to wipe off our sweaty brows, and make a 4:30 AM breakfast trip to the closest trashy IHOP.  After feasting upon sub-par omelets and pancakes, we mustered up the energy to drag ourselves back to the dorm—consequently crashing into our even more sub-par dorm beds.  But, as I glanced at the time on my phone through exhausted eyes (7:45 AM), my twin bed felt like it was fit for a queen.

This school week was unique, because it was the first week that we had a final—microbiology to be specific.  The beginning of the week consisted of grunty gym trips, relieving FaceTime calls with my parents, and late-night study sessions with my best friends, Ben & Jerry.  Our microbiology exam was on Wednesday, and I’m sure it went well for most.  Later in the week, some of us had the pleasure of partaking in a dental simulation, which was SO COOL!  Although I don’t plan to be a dentist, I truly valued the experience of creating plaster casts of teeth, and attempting to recreate chipped teeth with wax and dental tools.

Thursdays are by far my absolute favorite, because Winnie Kiongo and I get  to shadow the most remarkable man alive—Dr. Sanjiv Parikh.  He is an Interventional Radiologist at Swedish Medical Center in Issaquah, and he is nothing less than inspiring.  Never have I met someone who can work so incredibly hard, yet still manage to laugh and joke around with two 19-year-old girls.  Every morning that we get to see him, we usually start off with a cup of coffee and an overview of his patients for the day.  On this particular day, we got to see him place a port for chemotherapy in a 40-year-old woman’s right subclavian vein (below right collarbone).  He somberly explained to us that this woman had stage four lung cancer, and had very little time left.  She gave us permission to listen to her lungs, and as Dr. Parikh moved the stethoscope over her chest, he let us hear what proper breaths sound like, and what improper breaths sound like.  The entire upper lobe of her left lung didn’t even budge.  It was essentially petrified with tumors.  At that moment, I wanted to cry.  It brought back memories of a 7-year-old Abbie, who always had to cautiously hug her breast-cancer-ridden mother.  Subsequently, my mom had the exact same chemotherapy port.  But I do digress, watching him place the port was incredible.  He obviously couldn’t see this woman’s subclavian vein with his naked eye, so he did it entirely with ultrasound.  He never ceases to impress me with his talents.  This man does more procedures with the help of machinery than any other doctor.  It’s like he’s a cyborg—a really badass Indian cyborg.

Here’s an example of a right subclavian port placement.

Nonetheless, my favorite experiences with him have been those where I can see the dynamic between him and his patients.  For example, a 70-something terminal ovarian cancer patient comes in every week to have fluid removed from her peritoneum (abdomen).  When we walked into the room, her eyes lit up as she saw his warm smile.  She glanced at me and Winnie, and almost teared up.  She was truly proud of us, and of our lofty goals.  She told us that courage is the reason that her terminal diagnosis of three months, became more than two years.  She said that our courage would take us to the moon.  As we left the exam room, she handed Dr. Parikh a box of chocolates for him and his wife.  He said that she brought him gifts every week.  While we walked down the hallway, he kept repeating, “such a lovely patient,” over and over.  He sat us down and reminded us that sometimes certain patients will touch us more than the rest—but we can’t lose sight of reality.  He explained that if we get too emotionally involved with a patient’s care, it could actually end up hurting him or her.  He told us to look at every situation “compassionately, but objectively.”

However, my day with Dr. Parikh was cut short, due to the fact that I (and other SMDEPers) were scheduled to volunteer at a migrant farm camp.  We essentially helped set up a health fair for the workers, and a few providers volunteered their time to give health exams.  Although we couldn’t give examinations, we did set up a craft tent to distract the workers’ kids.  It was a lovely experience—staring into their big, inquisitive eyes, and listening to their hopes and dreams.  Plus, they were really cool kids!

Yesterday was the day I had been waiting for since day one…  Yesterday was the day we got to climb the foothills of Mt. Rainier!  As a big fan of fitness and the outdoors, I could hardly contain my excitement.  I would actually be hiking on part of the largest mountain in the lower 48 states.  The car ride from Seattle takes about three hours, and we ended up taking twelve vans to the mountain!  The hike was beyond breathtaking.  It was about 2.5 miles to the outlook, and about 2.5 miles back.  We marched on dirt, mud, grass, wildflowers, and multiple patches of snow!  Yes, snow.  I still don’t even know how it’s possible.  The temperature outside was in the mid-eighties.  But, it did make for some nice summer snowball fights.  The hike itself looked like a scene from The Sound of Music.  In fact, I couldn’t help belting out, “THE HILLLSSS ARE ALIIIIIVE, WITH THE SOUND OF MUUUUSIC,” while we huffed and puffed our way to the top.  I felt like I was frolicking throughout the Swiss Alps with the von Trapp family or something.  2.5 miles later, and we finally reached our destination.  From our perch, we could see for miles.  Not only could we clearly see the peak of Mt. Rainier, but we could also see Mt. Adams standing statuesquely from the distance.  That view will be something that I’ll never forget.  

How many program directors will let you give them a kiss??  Only the cool ones. ;)

Aaaaand to top of the day, my parents were in town!  They’re in Seattle, seeing an old friend who’s visiting from Hawaii.  I used this as the perfect excuse to spend time with them.  In fact, they let me stay with them last night.  That’s right.  I got to say goodbye to my twin bed for an evening, and they whisked me away to their hotel so I could sleep in my very own queen bed!  It’s hilarious—the little things one misses while staying in a dorm (i.e. air conditioning, a tall shower head, a refrigerator hahaha).  In fact, I’m spending the day with them right now.  I’m sitting in front of the Apple Store with them, stealing wifi, and forgetting how much I appreciate them.

My parents. :)

Some kooky Hawaiians.

Three weeks remain.

Stay beautiful,

Abbie

Cliche Title About How Time Flies When You’re Having Fun.

Hi. Hola. Jambo. Konichiwa.

It’s hard to believe that my second week here is already coming to an end.  I feel like just last night, I was telling my roommate Brianda goodnight for the first time.

In the past week, I have participated in a country-wide event, met a panel of physicians, shadowed a brilliant (and awesome) radiologist, spent Independence Day at the beach with my friends, watched a spectacular fireworks show, and finally got to sleep in.  It has been a good week.

Last Sunday, our truly inspiring program coordinator, Pam Racansky, invited us to join her, and other University of Washington staff and students, in the Seattle Pride Parade.  As a huge advocate for marriage equality, this day was especially exciting for me.  This parade occurred in other cities, as well—which made it feel less like we were partaking in a parade, and more like we were immersed in a movement.  We skipped down the streets in our wildest, brightest colors—shouting about marriage equality, freedom, and pride.  Thousands of rainbow-donned people waved at us as we marched toward the Seattle Center.  Never have I seen so many fabulous people all in one place.  It was a sea of diversity, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

On Tuesday, we rushed back to our dorm after class, and frantically changed into our most dapper clothes.  In probably the shortest amount of time I’ve ever taken to get ready, we were out the door and running to the University of Washington Tower.  It’s a huge conference building that very few UW students even get to go inside.  Panting from our brisk jaunt, we stepped into the Tower, gave the security officers our names (rather importantly, might I add), and proceeded to our conference room.  Inside, we got to feast on lasagna, salad, and a mountain of New York Cheesecake.  But the entire reason for any of this, was the fact that we’d be able to speak to a panel of physicians who would tell us like it really is.  These doctors told us about the ups and downs of residency, the fine line between work and family, and even about their favorite restaurants in the city.  It was incredibly insightful.

My roommate, Brianda!!!

On Thursday, the lovely Winnie Kiongo and I had the extreme pleasure of waking up at 5:30.  Ok, yes, that was a little sarcastic, but it really wasn’t that bad—especially because we got to shadow Dr. Sanjiv Parikh, a radiologist at Swedish Medical Center in Issaquah (which is about 1.5 hours away via bus).  I remember when we stepped into this hospital, I had to do a cartoon double-take.  I even asked Winnie if we were in the right building. This two-year-old hospital is essentially a five-star hotel/mall/airport/Westminster Abbey.  When you walk in, there’s a Starbucks to your right, and a handful of boutiques to your left.  The high ceiling is scattered with skylights that allow crisp sunshine to pour in and reflect off the art that litters the walls.  It truly creates a beautiful ambiance.  The only thing that convinced me that it was even remotely medical, was a woman running by in scrubs.  We caught up to her, and asked her to take us to the surgical floor.  She led us to a glamorous locker room, told us to change into scrubs, then took us to waiting room where doughnuts and Starbucks coffee  awaited us.  When Dr. Parikh walked in, his smile lit up the room.  He introduced himself to us, and we already knew that we were the luckiest girls in the program.  From 8 to 5, he allowed us to follow him around constantly.  From biopsy to biopsy, ultrasound to MRI machine, we were with him the entire time.  Radiology is a beautiful art, and I’m so glad we get to shadow him three more times.

Yesterday, we didn’t have to go to class at all.  We got to play hooky, and had a beach day!  Alki Beach is right on the sound, and it’s fully equipped with beach volleyball courts and ice cream shops.  After filling our bellies with hotdogs and burgers, we played in the sun until we were exhausted.  We came back to the dorm, washed off the sand, and walked to GasWorks park for probably the coolest fireworks show second to Disneyland’s.

TODAY, I GOT TO SLEEP IN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN TWO WEEKS!  We woke up at around 10, went to breakfast at noon, then went shopping at the University Village.  It has been lovely.

Four weeks remain.

Stay beautiful,

Abbie

P.S. Thanks to all of my SMDEP friends for reading my blog!  You guys make my world go ‘round. :)

Shoutout of the week goes to the goofy Justin Sapwell, and my lovely roomie, Brianda Cardenas.  Love you fools!

Did I Just Step into a Medical Drama?

Hello, world!

Today was such a great day!  I had the opportunity to shadow the physicians in the ER at Harborview Medical Center downtown, and it was definitely a sweet reminder as to why medicine fascinates me so.

Initially, when I showed up, someone in a sea of blue scrubs grabbed my arm and led me to a group of doctors including an attending, a couple experienced residents, and a few doe-eyed interns.  We stood in a meeting room that they fondly refer to as “The Fishbowl.”  It’s sort of a cubicle where each intern and resident gets his or her own desk.  I glanced around the room, and couldn’t help chuckling to myself as I gazed at an ironic pile of empty potato chip bags, banana peels, soda cans, and cookies from Trader Joe’s.  These young doctors may not be eating exactly what they prescribe to their patients.  

However, I do digress, my experience was still fantastic.  It was an afternoon filled with firsts for me (and for the interns, too hahahaha).  I followed the attending around like a lost puppy (a lost puppy with confidence, nonetheless).  I got to get up close and personal with every patient I saw today, and it was amazing.

Firstly, I walked into an exam area that was bustling with medical personnel (nurses, EMTs, doctors, etc.).  The young man lying on the bed had been life-flighted from Coeur d’Alene.  He complained of occasional headaches, but I can assure you, it was so much more.  He explained that he was in remission from testicular cancer, but it seemed that the cancer had, in fact, returned rather aggressively.  The residents ordered a CT scan, and discovered tumors in his lungs, and a 6 cm tumor in his brain.  The attending pulled me aside, and somberly explained that it didn’t look good for this poor young guy.

Next, we stepped into the adjacent exam area, and I saw a man, cringing on his bed.  He complained of back pain, but as the physicians removed his pants, the source of the pain was not on his back.  A kidney stone had led to a massive inguinal hernia in one of his testicles.  I’m not a dude, but something tells me he was in more than a little pain.

The next situation was particularly depressing.  I stepped into another curtained area, and saw a quiet, middle-aged man sitting upright on his hospital bed—arms extended outward.  Each wrist was wrapped tightly in gauze.  Before it was even diagnosed, I knew that this man had tried to kill himself.  I made eye contact with him, and tried to smile weakly, but I had never seen sadder eyes in my entire life.  Apparently, he had recently lost a job, and “didn’t know what else to do,” so he grabbed a knife, and vertically sliced into the thin skin of his wrists.  When the gauze was removed, I saw two gaping sores—the flexor muscles and tendons clearly pulsing and gliding underneath.

I left the room, and stepped into another exam room.  This one was a new experience for not only me, but for a couple experienced residents, and all of the interns, as well.  When I saw the person sitting on the bed, I had to refrain from letting my jaw drop.  He was the thinnest person I had ever seen—quite literally skin and bones (think, Holocaust survivor thin).  Immediately, I knew this man was immunocompromised.  He could barely speak, but what he did say was that he had been off his HIV medication for two years, and that his chest hurt.  Immediately, the attending ordered a chest X-ray, and the results were shocking.  In a normal X-ray, the lungs look almost black, but this man’s lungs were grayish white.  The resident told me he had severe Pneumocystis Jiroveci Pneumonia, which was indicative of AIDS.  This man had AIDS.  Full-blown AIDS.  This syndrome is incredibly rare in the developed world now, and all of us were shocked.

Healthy lungs.

Very unhealthy lungs.

Ok, I think I’ve probably written enough for now.  In summation, today was incredible, and it rekindled my love for the human body, once again. 

I’m so thankful for this experience.

Stay beautiful,

Abbie

Medical School: Like Trying to Take a Drink From an Open Fire Hydrant

Hiiiiii!  

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My first week at SMDEP is almost complete, and I can’t fathom how quickly it has gone by!  In six days, I have already become part of something greater than myself.  Eighty beautiful human beings from across the nation have stormed into my life with an incredible force.

In this one week, I have laughed, I have cried, I have felt painful homesickness, and I have fallen in love with the Emerald City.

The days are long.  My (beyond amazing) roommate Brianda and I have to rise and shine at 7ish, so we can eat breakfast with the gang, and still have time to make the fifteen minute trek to the UW Health Science Center for a day of classes and seminars.  Aside from the classes we have to take (Microbiology, Physics, and Biostatistics, at the moment), we often receive lectures from motivational speakers and experienced physicians.  One motivational speaker in particular emphasized how fantastic this program is, because professional school shouldn’t be taken lightly.  He has spoken to medical students in the past, and they have described the experience as “trying to drink water from an open fire hydrant,” and “losing themselves for four years.”  Daunting as this sounds, these students never told him that they hated being there.  In fact, they loved the challenge.  I can’t let myself get discouraged.  I know I can get through it.

Outside of the classroom, we have been having a BLAST in Seattle.  In my first week, I have canoed Lake Washington, gone to a moderately terrifying nightclub, hiked to Snoqualmie Falls, and become part of the most amazing family.  One thousand people applied for our eighty spots, and yet here we stand.  

I love this place, and I love these people.

Five weeks remain.

Stay beautiful,

Abbie

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Red Square at the University of Washington. :)

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Front seat view. :)

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Canoeing in Lake Washington.

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Networking dinner.

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In da club.

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I tried taking a selfie, but was caught at a bad time…

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Snoqualmie Falls. :)

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They dared me, so I had to try.

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Terrifying face.

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Twerk Team.  Ayyyo.

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P.S. Pay no attention to my awkward array of duck lip pictures.  I’m a little ashamed.

Greetings,  fellow earthlings!

Today is the day!  The sun is shining!  The open road is enchanting!  I’ve been anxiously awaiting this day for four months, and it’s finally here.

That’s right, folks!  I’m heading to the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) at UW Medicine today.  Can you believe it?  Small town Jane Doe (AKA, “Abbie”) gets to live in Seattle for FREE.  My heart is overwhelmed with a multitude of emotions—gratefulness, joy, and a deep love for my incredibly supportive friends and family—especially my parents.

My decision to go pre-med was not taken lightly by most.  Many people brushed me off, saying, “Oh, you’ll change your major by next year,” or, “Why put up with all of that schooling and loans? Do something easier.”  

Well, I don’t want to do anything easier.

My connection with medicine is visceral.  Having been raised in Dr. Bjornstad’s practice (because my mother is her trusty, brilliant coder), I was constantly exposed to the beauty of the human body.  Before I could even complete a sentence, I was disassembling model hearts, and excitedly attempting to reassemble them.

My fascination has never dimmed.  This is only the beginning.  Medicine is my soulmate, and it is my calling.  

I want to leave this world in a better state than when I entered it.

Stay beautiful,Abbie

P.S. SMDEP starts on Monday, so I’ll try to check back soon.  I’m taking a small vacay in the city with my parents before the program begins. :)

Greetings, fellow earthlings!

Today is the day! The sun is shining! The open road is enchanting! I’ve been anxiously awaiting this day for four months, and it’s finally here.

That’s right, folks! I’m heading to the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) at UW Medicine today. Can you believe it? Small town Jane Doe (AKA, “Abbie”) gets to live in Seattle for FREE. My heart is overwhelmed with a multitude of emotions—gratefulness, joy, and a deep love for my incredibly supportive friends and family—especially my parents.

My decision to go pre-med was not taken lightly by most. Many people brushed me off, saying, “Oh, you’ll change your major by next year,” or, “Why put up with all of that schooling and loans? Do something easier.”

Well, I don’t want to do anything easier.

My connection with medicine is visceral. Having been raised in Dr. Bjornstad’s practice (because my mother is her trusty, brilliant coder), I was constantly exposed to the beauty of the human body. Before I could even complete a sentence, I was disassembling model hearts, and excitedly attempting to reassemble them.

My fascination has never dimmed. This is only the beginning. Medicine is my soulmate, and it is my calling.

I want to leave this world in a better state than when I entered it.

Stay beautiful,

Abbie

P.S. SMDEP starts on Monday, so I’ll try to check back soon. I’m taking a small vacay in the city with my parents before the program begins. :)