Sunday, March 31, 2013

Medical Mondays- Looking Back

Happy Medical Mondays to all who found their way here through the blog hop.  I'm glad to have you stop by and would love for you to leave a comment so I can get to know you!  I'm Chrissie and I'm literally 4 days away from finishing my PhD in Neuroscience.  My husband Jeff is in his final year of Orthopaedic Surgery residency.

The past 5 years have been an interesting ride.  I've wanted to quit a million times.  I've struggled with wanting to continue doing something that offered such little reward.  During my 3rd year I actually applied for a job, and might have dropped out of my program if I had gotten it.  That year was probably the hardest to get through- feeling like I had accomplished so little and still had so far to go.  But here I am, posting this on my final week of graduate school!  There were so many times that I wasn't sure if this day would come.

Being married to a resident has not been easy, and I don't think anyone other than other doctors' wives and military wives can understand the unique challenges we face.  Living apart for 9 months in 2012 for away rotations, 6 of those being in our first year of marriage, straight up sucked.  I dreaded every time Jeff had to pack up and move 1.5 hr down the road and counted down every day he was gone.  I felt like life was so unfair.  I just wanted to live in the same house as my husband, was that so much to ask?!  Then on the months he was home with me, there was call to take, early mornings, and late nights.  But looking back, I think those challenges are what allowed me to get to where I am today.

I reminded myself that if he could get through residency, surely I could suck it up and finish my PhD. One thing about being alone a lot is that it will make you realize that you need to have your own life and to do things for yourself.  So, I just kept on going.  Plus, I didn't want Jeff to be the only doctor in the house...couldn't have him getting a big head or anything, right?  Only sort of kidding.

In a way, I'm thankful for all the time Jeff was gone because it made me a stronger person.  I can't believe I'm almost done and for as much as I've wished these years away I'm starting to want things to slow down a bit.  Don't get me wrong, I will never, NEVER miss the rat behavior testing and the hours spent in the lab re-doing things over and over and over again just to get a negative result.  I'll never miss having to be away from my family on holidays, especially the precious ones that Jeff actually had off.  And I won't miss the feeling of failure after spending 6 months on a project and not get any publishable data from it.  But I realize now that these years have been special in the way that I will probably never do something so big only for myself again.  These years have allowed me to be selfish in that respect.  Yet selfless in regards to all that I feel we've missed out on that "normal" couples get to enjoy.  A double-edged sword, that residency.

So yes, these past 5 years have been a windy, tortuous, wonderful, frustrating, rewarding road.  I'm glad they're almost over, but I'm glad they happened.


Happy Easter!

Jeff and I went to Easter mass this morning and then met up with my Dad for Easter brunch at Palace Cafe.

And then we passed out on the couch for a few hours from stuffing ourselves.  The food was seriously amazing.  Eerily similar to our Easter events of last year.  Why mess with tradition?

I hope everyone had a Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 28, 2013


You guyyyys...

I turned it my dissertation to my committee members yesterday!

All 160-ish pages of it.  I feel bad for the people who have to read it.

Now I just have to finish making my powerpoint presentation that I will present at my defense next Friday, and if all goes well there will be two doctors in the house!

Monday, March 25, 2013


Follow my blog at Bloglovin'!

Just click the link on the right hand sidebar that says "Follow my blog with Bloglovin'"

I've heard some rumors about Google reader discontinuing soon, so sign up at Bloglovin' to make sure you keep getting my updates :)  It's a great website where you can keep up to date with all the blogs you follow in one place!

The final countdown

Days left til my dissertation defense: 11

Days left of residency: 97

Days til Jeff's written boards: 108

Let's do this!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Our Match Day Story

Well, hopefully it's a Happy Match Day to all you 4th year medical students out there.  There's nothing like Match Day to make you realize just how little control you have over your life once you enter the medical world!  It's hard to believe it's been 5 years since Jeff's Match Day and I can't help thinking about our experience.

We had only been dating a little over 1 year when I walked into the room with Jeff and his family to wait his turn to read what was in his little white envelope.  We had already decided when he made his rank list that we wanted to move to the same city together- him for residency and me for graduate school.  I guess it was a big leap of faith at the time to alter our futures for a relationship that was still developing, but it just seemed like the right thing to do at the time and we listened to how we were feeling.  Most parents would not want their 21 year old daughter making important life decisions based around a relationship that had not even been "official" for 1 calendar year, and my parents would normally be of the same opinion.  But when I nervously told my Mom on the phone that Jeff and I were trying to match up locations she simply replied with something like, "Your Dad and I had a feeling this would be the case."  So, Jeff moved up places on his list where I had either been accepted into graduate school or had an interview scheduled, and moved down a favorite residency in a city where I had no hopes of attending graduate school.  I ruled out my favorite program that was in a city without any residency program.  We both made sacrifices and I think I knew somewhere deep down what was to come with this medical life.

Back in the room at Match Day, waiting on Jeff's turn, we were pretty certain what his card would say. He had done a month rotation at a particular big University program in the South.  They loved him and all but promised him a residency spot.  I was on the wait list for acceptance to their PhD program.  But there was another residency program that he liked just as much as the one he rotated at- LSU in New Orleans.  I had interviewed at their grad school program, hated it, been accepted, and decided I would never go there.  I still had another shot at grad school in New Orleans though, at Tulane.  My interview there was scheduled after his rank list was due.  My last interview of the year.  I had originally written it off for some reason, to this day I don't know why.  We would have to make our decision based on the possibility of me liking the Tulane program and being accepted.  It would be a big risk to take.  We decided to rank the program he rotated at #1, in the city where I was wait-listed.  I could sit out a year if I had to.  We thought it was a sure thing.  We would rank LSU #2.

I was sitting there in my brand new navy Milly wrap dress I had bought just for this occasion, my hair cut short to my chin and very blonde.  In the time since we turned in his rank list, I had interviewed at Tulane, loved it, and been accepted.  Jeff's name was called and as he got up to walk to the stage I nervously started fiddling with the pen I was holding.  I looked down and noticed it was purple and yellow (or was it gold?) and had an advertisement for some sort of drug or company on it, I can't remember which, but there in tiny print was the word "Ortho."  I got chills as I realized those were LSU colors.  Jeff made his way to the microphone, opened the envelope, and I waited to hear the name of the program we had ranked #1, but instead he read the words "Orthopaedic Surgery, Louisiana State University-New Orleans."  My heart leapt and I was flooded with a sense of relief!  I hadn't known how I really felt until that very moment.  LSU had always been my #1 choice, but after debating pros and cons of every program endlessly my true feelings had gotten lost.  We would be close to family and I could go to a graduate program I felt was right for me.

Jeff was disappointed at first, as would be expected, but time made clear just how right this decision was for the both of us.  Looking back, I'm not sure what would have happened to us if he had matched at the other program in a city far away from anyone we knew.  Who knows if I would have been accepted into that PhD program, and who knows if I would have made it through til the end.  Our time in New Orleans has been an incredible blessing in our lives and I'm getting a little teary eyed thinking about our time here coming to a close.  I will always vividly remember Match Day 2008 because it was that day that I began believing in signs and trusting in God's plan for our life together.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Crunch time

I had hopes of getting a new, medical-related post written in time for Medical Mondays yesterday...but it just didn't happen. 

It's crunch time for me when it comes to dissertation writing.  I turned in a semi-final draft of everything except my last section to my boss yesterday for her to look over and make final corrections.  Now I "just" have the last, dreaded section to write.  The Discussion section.  Aka the "what does it all mean?" section.  As if it wasn't hard enough to actually DO the experiments, you mean now I have to explain what it means??  Shit if I know.  Yay science!

I set a date for my dissertation defense- April 5th.  Every day until that day is going to be a nervous march towards what I fear will be the most anxiety-ridden day of my life.  Just this past Saturday, we had our yearly Neuroscience retreat where every student gives a quick 10 min talk about their latest research.  I guess it's sort of a show-off day, and Tulane uses it as a recruitment tool for prospective PhD applicants.  I was literally shaking for the hours leading up to my turn to talk.  I can only imagine my defense will be a hundred times worse since I will actually have to "defend" why I did certain things and have mastered knowledge of every research publication that remotely pertains to my experiments.  It's times like this I wish Jeff wouldn't be such a stick in the mud and would prescribe me some damn Xanax.

Speaking of Jeff, the past couple of weeks have seemed pretty rough for him as well.  He's just come off of two weekends straight of being on call.  It's been like two ships passing in the night at our house. 

I'll leave you with a picture from several weeks ago when me, Jeff, and my Dad went and got some raw oysters at one of John Besh's restaurants here in Nola.  I finally tried my first raw oyster after spending my entire life watching my Dad slurp down dozens of them every oyster season.  Not bad, but I don't think I'll be getting my own tray anytime soon ;)