salt water :: a cure all

Sunday, July 22, 2012 | | 0 comments
people ask me all the time..."how do you do what you do?"  dealing with illness, specifically cancer, weighs hard on the soul.  it's tough that i will admit.  i see a lot of sad things.  i watch as families come to grips with the reality that the future will be shorter than they had imagined and that goodbye will come sooner than they had hoped.  a lot of the time, i'm able to find the beauty in those moments, despite their sadness...but sometimes it's much more difficult.  it's hard not to get emotionally involved and the day that i don't will be the day that i stop doing what i do....for i believe that part of that is what calls me here.  many a mentor has told me "this will be your greatest blessing AND your greatest curse."

each person is different and all of us in this field learn to deal with that balance, between getting involved yet remaining objective, in our own way.  no one can claim themselves an expert. it's an ebb and flow and some days are far better than others....

today was a tough day. i spent a fair portion of it holding the hand of a woman who's husband is dying of metastatic sarcoma, a form of soft tissue cancer.  she is my age and her husband just a few years older than ryan.  they are loving and kind and in the cancer world that is always a bad prognostic sign.

i find great truth in the following quote by isak denesen and feel it applies immensely to my life....

"the cure for anything is salt water. sweat, tears, or the ocean"

today, in particular, tears.  sometimes they are the only answer i have to give.  i cried with my patient's wife and it was therapeutic for us both.  she told stories of his life and it gave me pause to remember that i'm not just caring for a person in a stage of terminal illness....i'm caring for a whole life.  as strange as it may sound....that brings me peace on days when it's really hard to find.

for the sake of completion....i have been sweating {i.e. working out} lately and it has been doing wonders for my body and my head.  when i got home from work we worked on the ocean part too....more in the form of the pool (i.e murphy beach) but that will totally suffice today ;) the afternoon was filled with bright smiles, big splashes, and warm hugs from the folks i love the most....and for me, that is always the answer.

wishing you a wonderful week filled with all the things that bring you peace. even in the tough moments.

randomness abounds

Saturday, July 21, 2012 | | 0 comments
disclaimer:: today's post will be entirely disjointed because i've been working like a lunatic lately.  bear with me for a few more days after which things will quiet down a bit. maybe for a minute ;)

exhibit a :: i'm nearly 3/4 of the way through my first month of fellowship and i am here to tell you that i have no idea where the past 3 weeks have gone!  there is a steep learning curve on this journey and i'm powering through and trying to keep my head screwed on straight while i do so.  there is so much to learn ~ more than is possible for in each day or each week and i am in constant "sponge mode".  it's tough work and there is pressure to perform.  but there is an overwhelming sense of support from our program directors, senior fellows, and the faculty in the department ~ they all have high expectations of us and are pushing us in order to see us grow into the kind of doctor you'd want for your own family member faced with the big C word....cancer. so while it's difficult, i'm grateful for that feeling and know i am blessed to be a part of such a special professional community.

exhibit b :: anyone who knows me well knows that i LOVE birthdays.  shoot, we celebrate "monthdays" around this house!  ben just turned 9 months old and i truly don't think you'll find a happier baby or a little man with such a loveable personality.  he is my little snuggler and loves a good chat....he's more talkative than any guy i've ever met and he just makes us so happy we could burst.  he is a BIG little dude....weighing in at 26 lbs a few weeks ago for an ear check.  he's not crawling just yet and is getting very VERY frustrated about it.  he spends about 85% of his day on his belly trying to figure it out and he's almost got it.....that big old belly of his is just getting in the way :) he loves to pull up on things and will stand and try and cruise.  he eats like a horse....clearly....and the only food he's ever turned away is broccoli.  he sleeps through the night and loves to cuddle up with this big blue elephant while he snoozes.  just like his sister he listens to enya through the night....neither one of my kids like an entirely quiet room, it's sort of funny.

exhibit c :: when things die down from the rotation i'm currently on (the toughest of our fellowship), ryan and i are planning some fun projects in the backyard along with the kitchen. i can't wait to document the process and share with you all.

exhibit d :: date nights with my hubby might be my favorite thing ever.  we got some respite the other night and headed to BJ's for dinner. to be honest, i'm really not a fan of the food there....but i am a fan of any free time with him i can get.  our 4 year anniversary is coming up and we're brainstorming over ideas of where to celebrate it.  california is on the top of the list at the moment with wine country, san francisco, and a california coast drive sounding pretty good at the moment!

exhibit e :: emma is my little smarty pants. our pediatrician says she's operating at the "over 3" level which is both awesome and scary at the same time. homegirl is smart....sometimes a little too smart for ryan and i ;) she's really taken to sticker charts so we've got them all over the house....she reponds well to that kind of reinforcement and has learned that when she is on good behavior she gets good shoes. her favorite. she's totally my kid.

and with that, i must go. my brain literally hurts from all i've been doing to it the last 3 weeks.  i'm truthfully a little humbled by all the responsibility and honored to be doing what i'm doing.  i'm thankful for such a supportive family and great group of friends.

loving life...

week one

Sunday, July 8, 2012 | | 0 comments
with the first week of fellowship officially behind me....and more importantly, the second week hot on it's trails....i feel the need to share the following information.

being a heme/onc fellow is HARD.  physically and emotionally.  one night i even fell asleep in bed with my work clothes on....that's how beat i was.  my residency gave me the medical knowledge to do the very very basics of this job, but nothing prepared me for this.  a structure oriented, chronically overprepared, and organization junkie {when it comes to my work, at least}....i got a crash course in flying by the seat of my pants this week.  i have a feeling there is more of this to come. lord help me.

people are really truly resilient, myself included.

my family has the magical ability to make any day, no matter how catastrophically awful {and i had one of those this first week}, instantaneously better.

having weekends off, something i have not had in years, is one of the best things on earth.  seriously.

coffee is nectar of the gods. as if you didn't already know that.

i really really really love my job.  i'm still learning which way is up, which way is down, and certainly trying to get my bearings.  but i can say, wholeheartedly and unabashedly, that this is totally what i was meant to be doing with my life.  and that, my friends, is a damn good feeling.


as i sat with benjamin this weekend, his sister napping, i saw great symbolism in watching his earnest attempts at crawling.  he's soooooo desperately close....and sooooo desperately frustrated.  he rocks on those chubby hands and knees....with a single arm outstretched for whatever object he happens to have those big baby blues on.  gravity fails him just at the last moment....his round belly cushioning his fall....and he grunts in aggravation.  this cycle continues over and over....each time he manages to move a big closer to his prize....with a huge grin on his face.

and so too will the next 3 years be with me.  one step {or crawl} at a time.

i think i can.....

benjamin ryan. 8 months old. heartbreaker extraordinaire.

run away

Sunday, July 1, 2012 | | 0 comments
the day before my seizure, i ran 8 miles. last night i ran 2.

8 miles was my personal best run. i had been training for a half marathon at disney in november and despite my previous disdain for running, i had really grown to love it.  like many women my age {or in general?}, i have had an evolving relationship with exercise my whole life.  i'll be honest when i say that in my teenage and college years, i exercised for vanity's sake.  i've been plagued by a number on the scale and a size of pants. silly in retrospect but true in it's moment. as i grew older, my relationship with many other relationships in my life....evolved substantially.  having children has made me respect my body in an amazing way and view exercise through a completely different lens.  now ~ exercise keeps my muscles strong and my mind clear.  with an emphasis on the latter.

it is therapy for me, truly.  and while prior to my lesson in half-marathon training i had never been a big fan of a long run....that changed drastically as i built myself up to 8 miles.  i'm not an inherently good runner....i have to focus so hard on what i'm doing when i run that the rest of the world is shut out. it is literally probably the only "quiet time" i have in my life.  if you know me you know that even when it's quiet in my's usually not quiet in my head. to-do lists getting crossed off, emails getting sent, work or studying being done.  multitask your heart out, my friends.  {quieting my need for constant multitasking is yet another thing i'm trying to dial down....and another post entirely}.

one of the hardest things about having had my seizure scare, now that i'm adjusted to the medication, has been a psychological one.  not being able to drive is a bug bummer on your independence....we all take for granted what actually goes into running a quick 10 minute errand.  i have a great group of family and friends who dutifully take me places (including work!) but it's frustrating to have to plan 2 days in advance to run to the grocery store.  makes me feel like a loser sometimes. just sayin.  also, not knowing in a concrete fashion why all of this happened is frustrating at times.  don't get me wrong....i'm ecstatic that there's no big reason (i.e. a tumor!) to explain what happened. but doctors often don't do well with the uncertain and inexplainable. case and ;)

all of that inner angst and frustration over what is left in the wake of the seizure is there....and it's not going anywhere.  i'll get through this time and get my freedom back.  on a deeper level, i know that this moment is a golden opportunity to learn to deal with that angst and frustration in a way that will help me through whatever challenge life has for me next.  and last night, with clearance from my awesome doctor, i turned back to my running shoes.

it was only 2 miles in the damp summer heat. the kind of wet heat that makes your hands sticky and the sweat drip down the back of your knees. but it was a therapeutic 2 miles, to that i can attest.  it doesn't happen often....but every now and again, the answer to the problem at hand is to just run away.

when all else fails....there are always my littles to cheer me up. and my hubby too :)  here are a few snippets of our weekend...

pretty sure we're in trouble


gettin close!

emma insisted that she "put deoderant in her armpit" this weekend. i've stopped asking questions ;)


our garage sale greeter

love this man

brother&sister love
my men :)
murphy beach is always good for the soul 

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