In Which I Am STILL Terrible at Waiting

Thursday, January 24, 2013

And so life goes on, as it is wont to do.  I guess it's better than the alternative...?

Still no word from USP, but I would have been shocked if I heard anything in week one of "within the next two weeks".  I have been trying not to obsess about it, but... I'm me, so that's not going very well.  The good news is that I haven't physically assaulted my mailbox, so there's that.  I am betting that we'll all find out sometime next week.  If we don't... I may have a seizure.

All of this rumination on a single topic has brought some interesting things to light, though.  In numerous therapy sessions, I have said, "If someone asked me if I wanted to go to medical school, I would go... TOMORROW."  I also have said, to numerous people (including my therapist), that if I could surgically remove the part of my brain that makes me want to be a clinician, I would.  However, in lieu of a lobotomy (which I think is mostly frowned upon these days and would definitely tank my productivity and what ability to focus I have left), I guess I will have to deal with my life passion being something that is, at best, ridiculously difficult to achieve.

There's a real possibility that I will, once again, be rejected from all of the PA schools that I applied to this year.  That would, in short, blow goats.  It would also mean that I would spend the next year taking classes to boost my science GPA from the measly 3.1 where it currently sits... and I'll have to retake my GRE, because 2012 was the last year my scores were still "good".  I was talking to Levi about all of this, and how annoying it was going to be to do this, and also mentioned how if someone offered me acceptances to both PA school and med school, I'd pick med school, every time.  He brought up the obvious point.  "Alison, if you want to go to med school so bad, and you have to retake classes and a test anyway... why not just retake the MCAT and reapply to med school?"

And then I came up with 327 excuses as to why that was insane/impossible/ridiculous/outrageous/impractical... and did I mention completely insane?  Because it is.  One by one, Levi shot down my excuses, some of which were gems like...

Me: I'm too old.
Levi: That's ridiculous.  You had people in their 30's and 40's in your class.

Me: I can't do it.
Levi: It will be hard, but you could totally do it.  It might not be fun all the time... or ever... but you could do it.

Me: I want to have kids!
Levi: When were you planning on it?
Me: Like... in a few years?  Like 4 or 5?  Maybe? 
Levi: So med school would fit in there, yes?
Me: Yeah... people have kids in residency... I guess.
Levi: Problem solved.  These things are not mutually exclusive.  Difficult, but not incompatible.

Me: Ken will think I'm insane.
Levi: Have you even TALKED to him about this?
Me: ... no.
Levi: Don't be dumb.  Talk to your husband.

Me: It's expensive!
Levi: Life is expensive.  PA school would be expensive. Med school is just more expensive.

So... I did.  And, not surprisingly, Ken did NOT think I was insane (and in fact, asked why I always think that he's going to think that I'm insane).  He said that it "totally made sense" and that if it's what I really wanted, then I shouldn't half-ass it just because I was afraid.  He said that he would support me doing whatever I decided to do, whether that was applying to med school, applying to PA school, or staying at my current job.

Regardless, it all still feels completely, batshit, crazy.

The good news is that since I need to take the classes anyway, they're good for whatever I want to do.  I can study for the MCAT (because studying never hurt anyone), even if I decide not to take it and take the GRE (the only thing I would have to study for the GRE is the math, and that wasn't too bad last time).  In a year, I might not want to apply to med school (doubtful), but who knows.  Choices are good, right?

So, yes.  If I get into USP, I will go and do the PA thing, because damn it, I am tired of being up in the air and having to go through application cycle after application cycle.  It is exhausting and expensive!  But if life has other plans in store for me... now I have two options.  I'm looking into the post-bacc programs at Penn, and will be meeting with someone about them next week on Wednesday (if it stops being painfully cold outside so I can walk a few blocks to their office).  There's also an online post-bacc program through UNECOM, but it's pretty expensive (like Penn isn't...?).  There's always the community college route, but that isn't THAT much less expensive and it's really annoying to go down to Blackwood multiple times a week.  We'll see.  Who knows.  Maybe this will all be a moot point because I'll get into PA school.  I guess I will find out... soon?

In other news, I found a doctor who actually wants to treat my stupid symptoms!  I saw a rheumatologist on Monday, and after she spent a decent amount of time listening to my history and examining me, she came up with what I had heard before.  That is, that my symptoms are real, and mostly relatable to autoimmune disease processes, but none of them SCREAM for a particular diagnosis.  I was ready to be bummed out.  HOWEVER, she said that she has a few patients like that, and instead of doing nothing (which helps no one), she treats them for what they MOSTLY sound like.  In my case, that's lupus.  She took blood and urine for a full panel of autoimmune testing (Lupus, Celiac's, RA), as well as some vitamin deficiencies and who knows what else.  I am waiting for her to call me with the results (hopefully today?), although I am betting that they will be PAINFULLY normal.  That's okay, though, she's regardless of what the blood says (unless it says that I should be treated with something else), I will remain on what she prescribed on Monday.  She put me on Plaquenil, which is apparently an anti-malarial drug (bonus, I won't get that?) that also works as a Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drug (DMARD).  They're not sure HOW it works in Lupus or RA, but it somehow modifies the immune process that leads to inflammation and the subsequent symptoms, especially fatigue, rashes, and joint pain.  I started taking it on Tuesday and so far, I haven't had any of the nausea or vomiting that usually comes with the drug.  She also put me on Prilosec for my horrifically bad heartburn, as she said that the NSAIDs that I've been taking for my joint pain have probably been ripping up my stomach.  That is potentially the reason that I've been getting so sick after I eat.  So, add 2 more pills to the pile, I suppose!

Yes, these are all legal.
And on that note... I'm going to get going.  Have to navigate my way through the various bridges and tunnels to get to my 1:00 meeting.  I could just walk outside, but it's friggin' freezing and I found a way to get from my office to the main hospital without leaving the indoors.  I kind of feel like a hamster in one of those Habitrails...

Mine are not this colorful. :(

... but I stay warm!

Have a good one, all...

Edit: Just kidding about the lupus, maybe? The rheumatologist called and said that because my ANA and all other labs were negative, that I should stop taking the Plaquenil. My Vitamin D and B12 are so low that she's putting me on prescriptions for those. I.... don't even... whatever.

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