And we have lift off....

Thursday, December 18, 2008 | | 0 comments

It has been one HECK of a year for the two of us.  Move...check! Get married...check! Work like crazy....check! Residency interviews.....check! Between Facebook and Myspace, email and phonecalls, life catches up with you (!) and its hard to keep in touch with the people that you love most.  It shouldn't be this way - In our perfect world, life would be like our wedding day - a room filled with all of our most favorite people (everywhere we turned there was someone we love!!).  Alas, reality sets in and life goes on.  This blog is an attempt to keep in touch and up to date with all of you in a way that goes beyond what is possible with everyone's busy schedules.  In this holiday season we are reminded, yet again, how blessed we are by a life filled with such wonderful individuals.  We hope you'll have some fun here....leave us comments....get a good laugh at our silly antics....and just generally enjoy the ride.  If you're reading's because we love you....thank you for all that you do to make our life a richer more colorful place.  Cheers!

best. night. ever.

Sunday, November 9, 2008 | | 0 comments

i've been slacking on the posts. hardcore and to a ridiculous extent.  partially because i haven't been able to sum up my thoughts about the last few weeks of my life in an eloquent enough fashion to share....but mostly because i've been too busy enjoying married life!  our wedding week, day, night (all of it!!!) was literally the best night of my life.  i know that probably gets said alot, especially by people like me who tend to speak in hyperbole....but seriously. i lack the ability to express in spoken word how beautiful it all was. yes, all the tangible details were exactly what we wanted but more than that. i've never been filled with such a sense of peace and love.  i looked around all day and just felt so blessed to be holding the hand of my best friend, the love of my life...and to be surrounded by all the people we care most about in this world.  i will truly cherish it for the rest of my days.  
rather than fumble for my own words, i feel compelled to share amanda's (my best friend and matron of honor) toast because to me, it sums up what the night was all about.  i held my composure pretty well all night....until the toast.  with champagne in one hand, and a soggy handkerchief in the other, the tears flowed i've never smiled harder.  so here it is.
"Trying to boil down what I wanted tos ay about Martina and Ryan and how happy I am for them today has been a real challenge.  I've known both of them since we were 14 - which has been more than a little while now! - and I've had the privilege of watching them grow and mature as people and as a couple.  I cannot tell you what an honor it is, Martina, that you asked me to stand up with you at this beautiful wedding today and to be be a part of the beginning of your married life together.
A lot of you ahve already heard the story of how Martina and I met - the sound bites are the old teen club Illusions and dancing on a pool table.  Following that, we became pretty much inseparable in the way that only teenage girls can, despite the fact that she was on the nerdy Orange team and I - and her future groom - were on the supercool Green team at Eastside.  Fast forward to senior year and boyond and our relationship, much like the two of us, had matured and for me has been very defining.  She is a kind, caring, brilliant woman - who can go from silly to deep in a heartbeat and she's been one of my primary sounding boards for pretty much every major decision I've made since I met her.  Over the years, she's seen me through good times, and some really hard times - and I hope she knows how much I appreciate her for that.  Perhaps what sums it up best is a quote from a card that Martina actually gave me recently: 'We are friends for life.  When we're together the years fall away.  Isn't that what matters? To have someone who can remember you? To have someone who remembers how far you've come?' That's so us and I know it always will be.
I failed to mention before that as 14 year olds, 18 year olds and yes, 26 year olds, we've spent a fair amount of time talking about boys.  Our needs for a significant other evolved over the years from "he's so cute!" to "he's so fun!" to "I think he's the one!".  My answer took a while to get to.  As it turns out, Martina's answer to all of these needs was - and has been! - Ryan.  You can't talk about Martina without talking about Ryan.  Ryan, who lived right across the street from me during high school, has always been fantastic.  When I first met Ryan, he was the cute kid who was bizarrely good at math with a questionable haircut.  Then came baseball, then came the band - which I have to say really missed out by not signing the girl across the street to be the front woman!  And he's become a wonderful man creating a wonderful life for himself and his family.  But whatever else he's done, he's always been Martina's rock - and she's been his.  Their love for each other has in no small part enabled them to become the fabulousness they are.  And since she's the closest thing I've ever had to a sister, I will always love him for that.
We all get a first love.  But the fact that Martina and Ryan's first loves are also the loves of their life is so romantic and so extraordinary.  And despite the fact that I'm not actually related to the bride or the groom, I feel like I'm at a family wedding today.  And looking around at the smiles and faces around the room, I can tell I'm not alone.  There is so much love in the room and Ryan and Martina, its all for you. So everyone, please join me in wishing the newly-pronounced Mr. and Mrs. Murphy a long and happy lifetime together in marriage, love, and partnership! CHEERS!"

girlfriends make my world go round

Thursday, August 28, 2008 | | 0 comments

i was reminded this weekend, yet again, what a fantastically lucky girl i am.  i am truly truly blessed.  i am surrounded by a group of women who consistently and without fail, make me a better human being.  i was reminded this weekend of the undeniable strength of girlfriends.  girls who have been there for me during my life's darkest moments and who i know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, i could call on in any situation life presents.  we all came together on this particular weekend to celebrate a happy moment, though. i'm getting married to a man. a man who makes me happier than any person i've ever met and who allows me to be me. all day every day with no questions asked.  the girls gathered for the bridal shower and we turned the weekend into an excuse for girl time....again, no questions asked.  it was better than any wedding gift ryan and i will receive....the opportunity to have all the girls i love the very most in this world in one room at one time.  it meant so much to see them, each representing different parts of me, together at last and having oh so much fun. it reminded me that at the end of the day, when everything fades, cars, things.....we are each defined by the people with whom we choose to surround ourselves with.  for me this means, that i am defined by physical therapists (phd to be!), nurses, lawyers, physicians in training, social workers, lovers, artists, writers, dancers, and those who chose to live their lives in such a beautiful way filled with compassion, loyalty, and truth that i can't help but be inspired.  i never dreamed i'd be so lucky. girlfriends make my world go round :)

change in ownership

Thursday, July 3, 2008 | | 0 comments
I'm so sick of things. As we plan for the move it's ridiculous to me how many things we actually have.  Stuff we don't even want let alone use.  We've only been around for 26 years, how is this possible??  Buying a robotic vacuum seemed like a really good idea at the time as did that sixtieth pair of heels.  All I want is to throw everything away and start from scratch.  A clean slate.  Fueled by my current mindset of less is more.  In a world where the richest country in the world has people starving on the streets I say to hell with it all.  To quote the fabulous Tyler Durden "You don't own your things, your things own you."  And thats exactly how I feel right now in this moment...Sitting in a room surrounded by boxes of clothes, books, and electronics....that own me.  More than I do myself.  It's time for a change in ownership.

full circle friend

Sunday, June 29, 2008 | | 0 comments

The recent weeks have found me reunited with my first friend. Yep. The first one.  Elisa and I shared a nanny growing up, Mama Marlena, and then attended pre-school together.  Holy Trinity was not only a church but the home of every preschoolers dream.  Outside the beautiful old church was a gigantic playground filled with every imaginable accoutrement....a chain link gated heaven for all those under the age of 5.  We were with my bossy loud mouth and her with the soft spoken beauty.  I was such a little monster back then....always making her play the boy when we played house and even going to far as to push her from the monkey bars because it was "my turn".  That little fiasco ended up in me getting my turn and Elisa suffering a broken arm.  Yet, still she loved me and was my best friend.  That cliche quote, you know..."Friends are the ones who know everything about you and love you anyway" most definitely applies.  Thankfully I've done a little maturing since then ;) We parted ways during grade school, each attending different schools on different sides of town.  We would bump into each other occasionally during high school and college but mostly heard of each other through our parents.  I heard about how she decided to move to Miami to go to PT school and I know she must have heard how I finished college and moved to D.C. only to return to Gainesville for medical school.

The past couple of years have been a rollercoaster for me....finding where I fit hasn't exactly been the stroll in the park we all dream of.  I might go so far as to say I've officially suffered and recovered from my quarterlife crisis (maybe this means I'll be spared one in midlife!).  Sparing dramatic details...I've dealt with the dissolution and subsequent bottom-up reconstruction of an almost 10 year relationship, lost friendships I thought were true, and the realization that the career I had thought for so long was so right was really, in fact, totally wrong.  Through all the ups and downs....the end of this year has brought me full circle in every definition of the term.  I am getting married to an amazing man in a little under 4 months.  Finally I can say that I have never been in a relationship that not only nurtures and supports my being but that also allows me to flourish independently at the same time.  It's wonderful and through all the struggle has turned into one of the brightest spots in my life.  I am proud of the way that we have fought and worked for this, have made it work for us individually and as a couple, and for the commitment we both have towards the work we will continue to do in the future.  He is the love of my life.  I have taken inventory on the friends in my life and while it certainly has not been easy - losing friends is never ever easy - have finally surrounded myself with a group of individuals who I am proud to call friends.  People to make a real difference in the world and who love and respect me for being unabashedly me, whatever that entails :).  Even the career thing panned out.  I've realized that my calling lies in Oncology.  I have a deep emotional aspect to my personality and I believe that I have the reserve to give to a career like oncology.  I have never met a patient population to rewarding to work with.  There is always beauty and gratitude in my encounters.  Moreover, something magical happens when faced with a potentially terminal become grateful for the little things, you live in the moment...and something about that mentality, that life, is inspiring to me.  I just wish more people could find that place without serious illness.  The moral of the story is that all of these things, these discoveries, add up to something more valuable to me than gold. I finally found Martina.  

Last month, I got off the elevator on the 11th floor of Shands, eager to start my rotation on the Heme/Onc service.  I walked excitedly towards the nurse's station contemplating the experience this month would bring.   And there she was. My first friend.  A sort of symbol in my mind for the full circle discovery of myself that this past few years have entailed.  She had moved back to Gainesville and gotten a job as a physical therapist at the hospital and just so happened to be working on the 11th floor.  The remarkable thing to me is the way that after years and years of distance....certain friendships can pick up right where they left off.  While we have taken very different roads to get there, we meet again at similar stages in life with similar stories and experiences to share.  I am astounded at how after all this time, we can be so different yet so alike all at the same time.  It's equally as strange to me that in talking with her, at work, at the mall, at the gym, how I feel like we haven't missed a moment in each other's lives.  She is just as amazing and talented as the way I remember her and I am proud that she will still call me a friend.  Just to be time we find ourselves on a's her turn on the monkey bars :)

beautiful day - a reflection on year three

Friday, June 27, 2008 | | 0 comments
I prayed with a patient and her family today and it was one of the single most gratifying moments I've had throughout all of medical school.  She is a lovely elderly woman whose time is being cut short as she is dying of metastatic pancreatic cancer.  Day by day her health escapes her and she suffers with horrible diarrhea that we have yet to assign a cause to.  We've sent test after test...tests for bacteria and parasites, various imaging name it, we've ordered it and it's come back negative.  We fear that her symptoms relate to the progression of her cancer and worry that it heralds the need for her medical treatment to stop.  Her family is always by her side, and every day despite her dismal prognosis, she greets the team with the warmest smile she can muster.  Her voice is soft but her spirit is as strong as the 6'4 250 pound man, her husband of 46 years, who sits by her bedside and holds her hands for hours at a time.  I remember the day we showed up for rounds and were greeted doorside by the cutest little ball of black hair you'd ever laid eyes on.  Her husband had brought her beloved poodle, Tasha, in for a visit.  Being quite the little performance artist, Tasha spun around in circles, laid down on the hospital floor, and then jumped up on the bed and drenched her owner in a wealth of kisses.  It was the best I'd seen her look since starting on the service...her pale skin almost as white as her hair, always brushed and styled to perfection and her blue eyes sparkling with the fleeting feeling of being home.  For some reason, it was in that moment that I knew we wouldn't be performing any medical miracles here.  We wouldn't be writing new orders, prescribing fancy medications, or laying our hands on her and magically curing her of the raging disease inside.  We would be praticing a different kind of that I've come to realize is every bit if not MORE important than what we've spent years learning in that can't be captured via elaborate PowerPoint presentations or small group that I've come to know as the ultimate reason I can think of no job for myself more satisfying than that of physician.

We sat with her family today, her son and husband, and answered questions about hospice and about just how long we thought she had left.  Some things get easier with time....physical exams, taking histories, writing orders....but never this.  Forever a difficult question to answer, we told her honestly that she was probably looking at 6 months to a year and that our main priority now as to keep her comfortable and symptom free.  Our white coats melted away as we talked and it was clear that she had known all along what we were just now telling her.  As we spoke, a member of her spiritual family walked in the room, a brother from her church of Jehovah's Witnesses and he listened intently along with the rest.

When we were done explaining the intricacies of her medical situation and all the questions had been answered....the world stopped for a moment.  We all joined hands and listened as the brother shared a prayer with us.  As her husband wept beside me, I fought to hold back my own tears.  Tears for her time lost, tears for the future of her family and the pain her loss would bring them, tears for the heaviness in my own heart, and tears for the simple beauty of the moment.  I stole a glance at her as we prayed and the peace on her face brought a smile to my own.  Raised in the Christian church - Methodist by trade- I have never been a truly religious person.  As I grow, I struggle with my own conflicts with organized religion.  I see tremendous beauty in many different religious teachings but have never subscribed myself to one in particular.  I find great comfort in the personal belief in something higher and greater than myself - a God if you will - and I believe that this god has a plan for all of us.  Most of all, I believe that we each find God in everyday moments and within ourselves and others.  A good deed done for no particular reason...God is there.  A family gathered in a hospital room comforting an ailing loved one...God is there.  This simple prayer circle...God was definitely there.  I walked out of that room more whole of a person than when I walked in.

Throughout this year, I have been struck by the way that our patients are constantly thanking us for the smallest of things.  I am continuously amazed at the appreciation a simple 5 minute visit can bring.  But in this particular moment, I was met with the overwhelming feeling that it was I who should be saying thank you.  In all honesty, though, "Thank you" doesn't even begin to capture the gratitude I feel for having been a part of that moment in her life's journey.  Words truly fail.  All I can say is that what happened in that room is the best tangible example I can present for why I chose a career in medicine.  I think all any of us can hope for career-wise is to find one that is not only intellectually stimulating but also gives us the daily opportunity to make real and positive impacts on other people's lives.  For me, moments like this one represent a reason to get up and come to work in the morning and a reason to be proud of the work that we do...not just as medical students or physicians...but as human beings.

My patient will go home tomorrow under the care of home hospice.  She will leave this earth before the year is up and her family will try and pick up the pieces that are left when she is gone.  I pray that her transition is completely pain free and that her time is filled with the love and presence of her family, both spiritual and personal, and with lots and lots of kisses from Tasha :)

chill out CrAzy!

Thursday, April 24, 2008 | | 0 comments
its official. i'm a hypochondriac. i won't go into details....but suffice it to say that in the past 8 months of medical school i've been entirely convinced that i am stricken with a variety of serious illnesses.  ryan constantly shoots confused glances at me (i.e. runs into the other room and ignores my "babe, do you think i have...." questions).  my mom just rolls her eyes and tries to devert conversation. its so frustrating!!! i really can't help but laugh at myself in hindsight. i pride myself on being the least neurotic med student around but.....maybe being around sick people all day has shifted my norm. i am fully aware in my logical mind that there is nothing wrong with me....but i just can't help it! 

ignorance truly is bliss sometimes, huh? the picture above has absolutely nothing to do with anything other than as a token image of me with not a care in the world. i like that thought. i think i might need to hit up an extra yoga class this week....  :) 


Saturday, March 29, 2008 | | 0 comments
who goes to try on veils and ends up walking out with a new (different) wedding dress?? ME...thats who!! Tiff and I went to Jay's this morning....I walked in, dress and shoes in hand, and stopped dead in my tracks.  Long story short....i didn't buy a veil, but i DID buy a new wedding dress. who am i?  for those of you that know me and ryan, you know that last year was a tough one for us.  i had owned my old dress since shortly after ryan and i got engaged at the end of 06 and lots has happened since then.  i think of this dress as a fresh start :) now i just have to tell my mom....

we're headed off on this BEAUTIFUL saturday afternoon to the engagement party of one of my med school friends.  stacie and her fiance ryan are another set of high school sweethearts who are going to tie the knot in 2009.  the weather couldn't be more perfect and i couldn't be more ready to eat some barbeque.  hope everyone is having an amazing weekend!! 



Tuesday, March 18, 2008 | | 0 comments
happy st. patrick's day....late!  no 4 leaf clovers this year.....although i AM marrying an irishman and we spent the evening with a couple of our favorite people.  there aren't many things as gainesville classic as beers with friends on the open lawn of swamp.  between the twinkling white tree lights, people watching on University Ave, and the view of the midtown strip its hard to not have a good time. tiffany and i had entirely too much fun with these swirly neon green straws.  they made drinking more difficult (probably a good thing) but they sure looked cute.  ryan and brian made us official with their irish heritage.....and extra points for ryan rockin' the red hair :)  


i'm the one who likes gardenia

Sunday, March 16, 2008 | | 0 comments

well, i put so much thought into getting ready
now i know that was the best part
it's so easy to get caught up in what i'm regretting
forget what i got from a wounded heart
i'm the one who likes gardenia
i'm the one who likes to make love on the floor
i don't want to hang up the phone yet
it's been good...getting to know me more
i've been seeing all my old friends in the city
walking alone in Central Park
doing all the things that i've neglected
traded 'em all in to be in your arms
i'm the one who likes gardenia
i'm the one who likes making love on the floor
i don't want to hang up the phone yet
its been good....getting to know me more
well, i hear my own voice...sounds so silly
keep on telling my story all around
everything I lost seems so different
well, this is how everybody gets found

*a most amazing song. so many thoughts race through when i listen to it. it speaks to the ultimate importance of maintaining your sense of personal identity despite human relationships. too often, especially us girls, are so quick to give up that which is true and meaningful in ourselves just to be in a relationship. i've learned so much over the past year about this fault....and about the reality that no relationship is worth giving up on yourself for there is no romance or true love in that. we are all so much more beautiful when we hang on to ourselves :)

heaven here we come!

Monday, March 10, 2008 | | 0 comments

i'm pretty much the most excited girl EVER right now.  we just booked our honeymoon!!!!! an amazing weeklong romantic vacation in St. Lucia.  can you say honeymoon suite? how about oceanfront?? and why am i so excited about the "plush his and her robes"? i'm such a weirdo and i love it. i'm not one to wish moments away.....but if the next few months could just fast forward, that would be just great :) white sand, blue seas, tan skin, my hubby, and a big hot pink drink.......ahhhh
i've kind of been obsessing over these vintage fashion mag prints lately.  if it were up to me they'd be all over my house but it might be a little too much estrogen for my red headed love.  check 'em out :) 

....thanks to tamara...

Friday, March 7, 2008 | | 0 comments
my blog is born :)

i have a certain loathing of "about me" sections of anything but i suppose i can get over it for a few seconds. my dear friend heiko told me once that i don't quite acknowledge everything going on inside. and that i overcompensate with puppy dogs, butterflies, and ice cream. despite the fact that he knows me better than most anyone, he's totally wrong. i don't DO ice cream. i'm a frozen yogurt kind of girl.

cheers to my life less ordinary! and yours too :)

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