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Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Over this past weekend I went to visit a friend of mine who is also "older" and is in her 1st year of medical school. I went to spend time with her (as she is one of my most favoritest people ever) and to see the school because I am interested in applying this coming cycle. Because I have kids, it is important to me that I look at the area the school is in and the elementary and high schools that are in the area. I very much enjoyed the trip and I needed the time to recharge, rejuvenate and reevaluate. There is a lot to be said about being able to enjoy and be enveloped by a comfortable silence with people you care about. The fantastic wine was amazing as well!

I was able to tour the school, participate in a 5k and got to sit through the first couple of lectures on neurology. I was also able to attend an AMWA (American Medical Women's Association) meeting. The speaker for the day was a woman who is a trauma surgeon and has 2 small children. She was great to hear speak as she told us that, as women, we should constantly be encouraging and supporting other women. She spoke about feeling that she tried to be very careful with her choice of words when speaking to pre-med and medical students because she understood she had to be aware of the impact her words could have on other women; she never wanted to be the person to crush someone's dream. She then continued to speak about following your dreams despite what other people might say about your life choices. I felt very inspired. Then she opened it up to questions. There were quite a few questions about being a mom and doctor. She was specifically asked about how she manages household and family duties with such a demanding job. She began by saying that she handles all of the duties to manage her household and the things for her kids. She then went on to say that most of the women she knows, whether doctors or not, fall into the same roles. And this is where she lost me. She then said that she takes on this role because that is just what is expected in our society and as women, we just have to accept it. She told a room full of women in their 1st year of medical school, most of whom are not even married yet, that they should just accept the gender roles that society has set for them because that's just how it is. Despite the fact that they are already pushing back against gender roles because of the profession they have chosen to pursue. Despite that fact that she just warned them about the difficulty and complexity of gender roles when you are a female doctor, she tells them to accept this part.

But it gets better. A couple other young ladies asked about the best time to have children, which she answered. So I decided to ask about any experiences she had seen with women who had kids before going to medical school. She said that she knew of a lady when she was in medical school who had 3 children, the oldest daughter was in high school. That daughter got pregnant and decided to keep the baby. Money was tight in their family and the mom decided to pick up some ICU shifts because she had previously been a nurse. She then started to fail her medical school classes and eventually failed out of school. She then said, "She never finished. It was sad." And that was it. End of story, she just moved on and changed the subject. After all of the talk about not being a dream crusher and uplifting other women and following your dreams, that's the story she told and that is how she left it. The woman sitting next to me during this meeting happened to have a child and a very supportive significant other who stays at home with her child. I looked at her at the end of the meeting and said, "We need to give her better stories to tell." After this talk I had a 6 hour drive to ponder her words. The further I drove, the more the anger in me grew. I decided that I needed to write her a letter. I do not plan on sending it but I need to express what grew inside me when she spoke those words and I had time to really marinate in those words. This is what I have to say to her.

Dear Dr. Surgeon Lady, 

I found some of your words so inspiring and uplifting. The words about encouraging fellow women and sticking together. The words about being purposeful with your words and realizing your impact. And the words about pursuing what is in your heart despite what other people might say or think. I was excited and fired up. 

But then you told a room primarily made up of young, unmarried women who trust you because they learn from you and trust your experience because you are doing what they have alway aspired to do, that they should conform to the gender roles that our anti-feministic and misogynistic society places on them. You told them that no matter what obstacles that these ladies had to go through to reach the title of Dr. and to be respected in their profession, they would still have to conform to those gender roles because that's just what our society dictates. You then went on to essentially tell me that because I have 3 kids, becoming a doctor is an impossibility. It's too hard and too demanding for someone with a house full of kids. 

How dare you! How dare you tell those young ladies that they must conform to the rules of the society. How dare you tell them that they should expect that from the man they marry, that he should not partake in running the household as though it is not their responsibility as well. How dare you assume that they should set those expectations for themselves and their spouses or significant others. How dare you assume that everyone else in society actually believes in the parameters you have set for yourself and your family. 

And another thing, HOW DARE YOU say that my dream is impossible! You insinuated that it is too hard and attempted to crush my dream. How dare you attempt to set my personal expectations so low and destroy everything that I have been working towards the past 7 years. How dare you! 

But it was only an attempt because clearly you don't know me. My husband currently stays at home with my kids, cleans the house, makes dinner most nights, picks the kids up from school and takes them to most of their doctor appointments. My husband knows that once I get to medical school this current 60/40 (him/me) household burden will dwindle to 80/20 or 90/10 and might even frequently be at 100/0 because that's what it takes to get where I want to get. He knows that he will have to do that while working and will need to get help from our older kids who are also preparing themselves for that time. My 2 older kids (who are boys) are well aware of what I am about to embark on and the need for them to help out around the house so I can follow my dreams and demonstrate that they can follow theirs as well. While some men do conform to their gender roles, other men, like mine, fight against it and are as much a feminist as me. And my guys are not the only ones, more and more men are wanting to leave the idea of gender roles behind and teach their daughters and sons that girls and boys are equally capable of doing whatever they put their minds to and getting paid the same amount for those endeavors. I have made a concerted effort to make sure that my boys are aware of this constant theme within our society and can identify and defy it. I have made the effort to make sure that they understand that their little sister is just as capable of doing the things that they do and play with "boy toys" because in reality toys are toys and colors are colors. The only way to change society is to change the thought processes of the members of the society.

And lastly, I am so glad that your opinion does not matter to me, that I hold no value in the weight of your words. I am sorry for that lady that you knew who did not make it through medical school. That is a sad story but for every 1 story like that, I can think of 2 and 3 that made it through. Perhaps you should broaden your horizons and grow your circle because the stories of mothers who have completed medical school are far more vast and numerous than you are apparently aware of. Whether you meant to or not, you have lit a fire, a huge motherf%&@in' fire! You challenged me and I have accepted that challenge. You will have a different story to tell in 5 years when the next mom who wants to be a doctor asks you. I'm here, I'm ready and I'm coming.

(Soon-to-be) Dr. Andrian Q. McGhee


Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Sooooo, it's been a while. Since my last post (10/2015) I have continued to struggle with anxiety and depression. I did cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for several months which helped tremendously. I went back to working full-time in June 2016 as a scribe in a cardiology office, which I love. My son's GI issues were found to be IBS and he is now off of PPIs and feels tremendously better. My husband is acting house husband and just finished his courses for his Bachelor's degree in December. He has been phenomenal by the way and is learning how to manage the house to get us ready for medical school.

Despite all of these wonderful things, the depression and anxiety reared their ugly heads in November. At the end of December I discovered that it was directly linked to my menstrual cycle and it was progressively getting worse. I made the decision to seek help again and started an SSRI. It was the best decision that I could have made. I have dealt with ongoing side effects but I feel more myself than I have since before having my daughter. I am finally at a point where I can really begin to look forward without getting in my own way.

We thought my oldest son was out of the woods with all of his health issues, but a few weeks ago he had a strange episode while playing basketball and is currently getting evaluated by a cardiologist. While it is not as serious of a problem as we first thought, there are still some abnormalities. We follow up next week and hopefully we'll have some definitive answers. Despite all of that, I have been able to maintain mental and emotional stability and I'm really proud of that.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Gotta Keep Moving Forward

Soooooo, it' been a minute. I feel like the last 3 months have been crazy busy and have gone by entirely too fast. Well, I am still working on my applications, clearly still dragging my feet a little, but I am committed to finishing by the end of next week. I have 1 LOR completed and submitted, and 1 more to work on. I was able to go to a pre-health conference at UC Davis a few weeks ago which was pretty amazing. I was able to make a few connections, find out about some new programs at my top school of interest and really regain my confidence in myself because my worth as a non-traditional student was validated by many of the admissions advisors for several medical schools. Listening to what many of the people who are part of admissions committee said about the importance of life experience and being authentic in interviews made me realize that I am absolutely what schools are looking for in an applicant. Also, going to that conference made me realized that I am way too old to sit in a car for hours and be able to physically recoup quickly. Can we say swollen feet and sore back and ridiculous tiredness? Yup, all of it. And on top of that, my friend and I probably were 2 of the oldest people there, probably close to the age of some of the parents who were there with their child. Mmmm-hmmmm....

**I often talk about personal things on my blog, but I try to keep some level of "space" so that I am primarily talking about my path to medical school, but sometimes life just gets in the way and I feel compelled to share those parts at times too.**

There are a couple of things that have really impacted me finishing my application. I have talked about my son in previous posts and how we have been trying to figure out his health situation. Long story short, he has always had a peanut allergy but last year in September he suddenly developed multiple allergies to different foods (tree nuts, tomatoes, carrots, pineapple, and, recently strawberries) and severe lactose intolerance. He previously had very mild lactose intolerance but it became severe very rapidly. In April of this year he began having severe abdominal pain after eating and started taking Omeprazole, which helped minimally. Over the summer we had several doctor visits and a few ER visits. He has developed reactions to some new foods, has become more sensitive to the ones he already had, and has developed chronic constipation along with it. In August, just as school started, he went through a period of 3 weeks where he was vomiting daily, had a couple of syncopal/near syncopal episodes and felt really horrible every single day. After a visit to the children's hospital, we got him on a medication for his stomach that actually makes everything bearable and stopped the daily vomiting. He still has chronic abdominal pain but he has an appetite and is gaining weight. Two weeks ago we finally got an official diagnosis from his allergist of Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS). He is in the 2% of people with OAS who has severe reactions to foods. (If this interests you, I encourage you to look it up. It is not well known and even some of the physicians I have talked to have never heard of it. There is a lot of literature out there on it.) Unfortunately, it also seems to be getting worse so there is trepidation every time he eats fruits or vegetables, even ones he has not had a reaction to before, because it seems to be ever changing. He had started immunotherapy for his pollen allergies, which are tied to his OAS, but the higher the dosage was, the less he was able to tolerate the dosages and we are currently taking a break from them. I say all of this because this has been my focus for the past few months and it has felt impossible to put any focus on anything else. While we are in a good place right now with his health, I want more answers than we are receiving right now and he is definitely a work in progress. He's getting there though. :-)

So the other thing that I have been dealing with is trying to get help with the depression I have been dealing with since having my daughter. I have not spoken about this to anyone other than my family but I feel like it is having a bigger impact than I had thought and it is something that so many women deal with after having a baby. I do not recall feeling this way after my first 2 pregnancies, but then again, I did not stay home after my first 2 pregnancies because I was working full-time in managerial positions so if I did have those feelings, I did not bother to acknowledge them. It is really hard and I am trying to find help with my depression because I need to learn how to deal with it before I am able to move forward.

That is where I am right now but I know that I still need to continue moving forward because despite all of these obstacles, I am still determined to start osteopathic school in the fall of 2016 and I feel very confident that there is a good possibility that I will be able to do that. If you pray, I welcome your prayers, if you believe in the transfer of energy, I welcome your positive energy.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Busy and Lazy All at Once

Soooooo, I've been simultaneously busy and lazy the last month or so. Kids are enjoying their summer break and I am trying to keep them as busy as I can with our itty-bitty person in mind. We've gone swimming, gone to the splash pad, went to the science center and both boys took part in basketball camps. This week we'll be doing some fun stuff too because I do not have to work this week since my husband will be going on his last trip for basketball for the summer. (Woo-hoo!) Aside from that, work has been really good and I enjoy my 2 days a week away from my little people and everything I am learning as a scribe. My osteopathic school app has been completed, transcripts have been verified, and MCAT scores submitted.

About the MCAT......yea, that. I'm not entirely happy about my score (at all!) but trying to study to retake while all 3 of my kids are home is CRAZY TALK! I'm going to get my supplemental applications (I've received 2 so far, Yay!) completed and get my LORs sent in. I've been dragging my feet a little on the LORs and completing the supplemental applications but at the same time, I've been juggling my little people while my husband works his summer basketball camps. I'm getting there though. Once everything is complete I may just see if I get invited for an interview and then determine whether I want to retake the MCAT. I'm just not up for the stress of retaking it if I really do not have to. My oldest LO is about to start middle school as well and I really think he will need some added support as he transitions. We are also in the midst of trying to figure out what is going on with his health right now so that just adds to everything else. He's had almost weekly doctor's visits since school ended and they still are unsure of what is causing his chronic abdominal pain and headaches. (That's a whole other situation I may do a post about.) I'm really enjoying my kids though and seeing my itty-bitty person grow.
My Birthday girl!

All my little people

Sunday, May 17, 2015

So much to do and so little time!

Soooooo, I will not get my MCAT score until June 16th but 3 weeks after the test I did get my percentile ranking (where I ranked in comparison to the other people who took the MCAT April 17th and 18th). It is meant to help you make a decision about whether or not you want to take the test again. So, yup, I'll be retaking in August. Booooooooo! I can say this though, I now know how to better study for it, I know what to expect when I take it and I will do everything prior to studying that I had wanted to do last time but did not. This week I am going to clean my whole house and organize EVERYTHING. I am going to start working out this week. I am going to get a schedule in order for my little people since this week is their last day of school. For me, being unorganized in my home and life makes my mind unorganized and makes it difficult for me to organize my thoughts. Keeping my family's life organized is what I did while I was in school and it allowed me to get the grades I did but after having my itty bitty person, all of that was thrown out the door. I forgot how I got where I was. That percentile ranking was a wake up call so it's time to get my ass in gear.

Because I took my MCAT early, I also got an Amazon gift card and I used that to buy the Kaplan MCAT books. The other problem I had was that I had so many resources to study from, I was overwhelming myself trying to use all of them. TOO MUCH!!!!! It's still going to be a struggle because I will be studying while my kids are home but my boys are pretty good about taking care of their sister for short amounts of time and they really enjoy it. I also am VERY motivated to not take this again. $300 is no joke and we cannot afford to pay that a 3rd time.

Applications for AACOM (American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine) opened May 4th and I have started mine. I was fortunate to get a fee waiver but it means that I have to complete it by the 21st (4 more days). I am almost done but I need to get my transcripts from the junior colleges I went to in order to add those classes and I need to add my "Achievements" and "Activities" to my application. In addition, I have to get my LORs in order and sent to a system that allows me to distribute them to the schools as needed. I am excited and nervous at the same time. I am fortunate enough that I will have a strong LOR from the head of the scribe program that I work in but I have not taken my science classes in a few years and did not really have the time when I was taking those classes to "develop relationships" with those professors. I have kids and stuff! Aside from that, I have my personal statement to finish up. So much to do and so little time!

Monday, April 20, 2015

MCAT: Check!!

MCAT is done! Woo-hoo!!!!!! Do I feel like I did really well? No. Do I feel like I knew a great deal of the information? Not totally. Do I feel like I will have to take it again? Perhaps no. My goal was not to get the highest score on the test, my goal was and is to get a score that does not require me to take that stupid test again. I did not go into the test thinking I was going to ace it, I've been studying while watching my daughter and taking care of my kids; I just know that I do not have the time or resources to take it again. If I absolutely have to then I will cross that bridge when I get to it, but I am at peace with whatever happens. I have to say that I felt good when I took the test, I prayed before starting and I did yoga during my breaks (not full out Ashtanga yoga, that would have been a bit much Lol!) and I felt good. No anxiety, no freak outs. I should probably add that I found out I had pneumonia the Sunday before the test. Yes, I'm for real, I got pneumonia MCAT week. While it sucked, like REALLY sucked, it was a blessing in disguise because I was simply too tired to stress all week and too tired to even force myself to study. I also have to say it was a learning experience because I have never had pneumonia. It will help me be sympathetic to a patient one day because pneumonia is serious business.

So now I'm getting ready for application time. And kind of doing nothing. I plan on working out now (Be gone baby weight!), reading more, watching a lot of nerdy documentaries and, of course, enjoying time with my munchkins and this tall, dark and handsome guy I kind like (and I'm kinda married to). They have all been amazing while I have been crazy the last 4 months so they definitely deserve that from me right now.

On a side note, but interesting: my 10 y.o. has always had a peanut allergy and mild lactose intolerance but about 7 months ago he developed acute lactose intolerance and allergic reactions to about 5 new food items. I took him to the doctor in December and was referred to an allergist. We finally got into the allergist this past week. A week before his appointment he had additionally developed problems with his stomach and was unable to eat anything without having stomach pain, indigestion and heartburn afterwards. My poor little guy was hurting and there wasn't a whole lot I could do about it. It really hurt my heart. Fortunately, the allergist is really amazing. He was knowledgeable and was able to definitively tell me what we needed to do to get him better. He has a morning regimen now with some new medications and we have to completely eliminate dairy from his diet rather than using lactase, but he feels better already and his skin is looking and feeling better (he has eczema too, because they are all connected). I look at every interaction with a physician that I observe or am part of as a learning experience for me. While I hate that my child has to deal with all of this so suddenly, I also am appreciative that we have a network of doctors that knows their s*#$. We are on Medicaid so I was expecting the allergist to not be the best quality (frankly speaking) but I researched the doctor after we saw him and he has been voted as one of Arizona's best the last 2 years. He has an amazing resume and I am just happy that we were blessed enough to have been referred to him. Fingers crossed, my little guy responds well to all of the recommendations the doctor gave and the worst case scenario does not apply (look up eosinophilic esophagitis; um, no thank you).

So now I work on my personal statement, getting some shadowing done with our pediatrician, taking care of myself and taking care of my family. Application opens May 1st, let the countdown begin!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

9 More Days! (But Who's Counting?)

I take the MCAT in 9 days. I do not feel ready to take it but from what I have gathered from the physicians I work with, it's something you never feel prepared to take. The MCAT is tantamount to taking 2 semesters of OChem, Gen Chem, Physics, A&P and Psychology in one semester and your instructors saying, "At the end of the semester you're going to have a comprehensive final with all of your classes combined and it will not only determine your grade for the semester, it will determine your life!" CRAZY!!! I'm going to continue going over the subjects I feel are most pertinent, continue to do lots of practice questions and prepare as best as I possible can, especially mentally.

I'm trying to stay prayerful and not let my mind delve into everything that could happen and go into a negative mind space. I have a Plan B and a Plan C, I am preparing myself for the possibility of retaking it in July if needed or even taking it later in the year if I am not invited for an interview. I am again reminding myself that God has a plan for me and that I have to surrender to Him. It is hard most of the time for me because I am a worrier by nature but I know I have gotten to where I am because I have been able to surrender myself when it was most needed. I have been really lazy about doing yoga since my pregnancy but I think that this is probably the best time to start again (or 2 months ago but whose keeping track) so that I can stop the incessant chatter that so often fills my mind. I have reserved a room for the night before the test so that I can get a full night's sleep since my itty bitty person still wakes up during the night so I'm a little excited about that and I will certainly allow myself to indulge in a glass of wine before going to sleep. While that might seem counterintuitive to a lot of people, I know myself. I would have an anxiety ridden night, waking up intermittently because I would be dreaming about all of these words and processes I've been studying. No thank you! My goal is to take the MCAT with as little anxiety as possible and to just be able to get through the whole 7.5 hours with a clear mind. Ultimately, I do not want to take it again so if I can get a score that does not require me to take it again and get invited to interviews this cycle, I WILL BE ECSTATIC!

*Any luck, prayers or a combination of both that you would like to send my way is much appreciated.*