Little Life Update

Thursday, August 8, 2013

So, I fell off of the face of the blogging planet for a bit because holy hell, life is insane. I had been doing pretty well this entire semester, but the last two weeks have really been kicking my butt and I'm starting to feel the pressure of an impending burn out. So here's what's been going on in my not-so-exciting life...

1. School
It's finals week. As you can imagine, this is not a super fun time. Granted, it's not quite like when I was in undergrad and somehow managed to have 5 finals, 3 papers, 2 lab reports, 3 concerts, a vocal jury, and a lab practical (and a partridge in a pear tree?) to handle... but it's still not fun. Monday night was the Autonomic Physiology final, and I am 99% sure that we all wanted to kill ourselves afterward. We had 90 minutes for an exam that easily could have used twice that, and our professor had to pry our exams from our hands when time was up. Fortunately (?), they curve the exam and the class, so we can't all fail...? I hope? I seriously loved that class, but the exam was rough. It also only has 2 grades for the entire course (midterm and a final) which is entirely too stress-inducing for my tastes. I guess we'll see, but I'm feeling like I at least landed a solid B in the class. Fingers crossed, people.

Cell Bio... ugh. Sophomore year of college, I took Bio 214, which was Cell Biology. I had this professor named Felice Elefant, which caused me to sing her name to the tune of "Feliz Navidad" and to also occasionally refer to her as the "happy elephant professor" because seriously, I couldn't help myself. She was quite a lovely human being, and very bright, but I could not STAND her class. I love biology, but apparently, I hate proteins. I especially hate actin and microtubules. There are very few things that I find completely uninteresting in the sciences... cell biology is apparently one of them. The only part of cell biology that I ever really liked was when I took my Biology of Cancer class. Sadly, this exam is on the cytoskeleton, actin, microtubules, and the cell cycle. On top of finding the material completely and utterly uninteresting, the professor seems to not have the best handle on this chunk of the material. He's using someone else's lecture slides which are mostly pictures, and he's not the clearest of lecturers, so my notes are kind of a disaster. The text book isn't a ton of help, but it's all I've got. Well, that and the internet. Thank God for NCBI.

Next semester starts August 28th, which is random because it's a Wednesday, but hey, I don't make the schedule at Penn. I'll be taking 3 classes, which may or may not make me want to walk in front of a bus. I am seriously not looking forward to being in class Monday from 6:30-9:30 (Immunobiology), Thursday from 6:30-9:30 (Histology), Friday from 5-7 (Microbiology), and Saturday from 11-2 (Microbiology lab). That means that Monday and Thursday, I won't be getting home until after 10 pm, which makes me nauseated just thinking about it. Oh well... the things we do for our goals, right? (Tell me I'm right. I need someone to reassure me, here, haha.)

Anyway, after tonight, I refuse to think about school (except to order my Microbiology and Immuno text books) until I get back from my honeymoon. Moratorium on thinking about school starts today at 7 pm. So there.

T-8 days remain until test day and frankly, I vacillate between feeling as "okay" as one can feel about such an exam, and frantically freaking out like the world is ending. I took a practice exam this past weekend and went up 3 points from my last exam, which puts me almost within my goal range, and that was before I finished studying half of the material on the exam. I am taking Friday off to study, and the rest of the weekend is basically devoted to studying as well. I think that by next week, I'll be in a good place, but getting there is certainly hell.

3. Med School Applications
Everything is done except for my personal statement, which is rattling around in my head. I'm hoping that I can carve out some time next week in between practice tests to slam out a rough draft. I know you're probably all sick of reading about my hopes and dreams of becoming a physician, but I'll need my editing friends out in full force when I finally get something down on paper. And then the application will be sent away and we will wait. For what seems like an eternity. Sigh.

4. Health
I finally saw my rheumatologist about two weeks ago after missing my appointment before that. (Sidenote: Blogger apparently thinks that "rheumatologist" is not a word. What the hell?) I was nervous because it was the first time I was seeing this physician since my original doc at the practice took another job elsewhere, and I am always worried that doctors will look at me and say, "We don't know what's wrong with you, please go away." Fortunately, this new doctor did not do that and I actually like him even more than I liked my original doctor. We talked about the joint pain that I'd been having in my wrists/hands/elbows since early July and he started me on a 20-day tapering dose of prednisone. Somehow getting 10 mg prednisone from the pharmacy turned into a 3 day adventure of incorrect prescriptions and mass chaos, but in the end, I got my steroids and have been taking them for 12 days. I haven't felt a ton of relief, but it has been mildly better. The hope is that the prednisone will calm down whatever inflammation is going on and then I can go back to my regular life of feeling pretty decent. However, if the pain comes back or gets worse, we have to talk about adding another medication (TBD) and that doesn't really thrill me. The next drugs that get added are more serious immuno-suppressants with all kinds of potential side effects that I'd really rather avoid. So... fingers crossed that this just calms down and goes back to being manageable without more drugs.

In other news, I've been getting more migraines, which sucks, and I think it's largely related to not enough sleep combined with overworking my addled brain and stressing out beyond what is even considered marginally reasonable. I am thinking about going back on the Topamax to see if it helps, but I got annoying paresthesia last time I took it, so I had stopped. SIGH.

So yeah, that's basically all that's been going on here. I have this cell bio final in an hour and a half and I'm just staring at my notes. My mind has been wandering all day and I have really had trouble focusing, which isn't usually like me. I think that all of this studying and focusing on the exams I've taken/am going to take is really pushing my brain to the edge. It's an odd dichotomy, because I really and truly enjoy studying (I know, that's weird) and I get kind of a zen-like joy out of sitting down with my books and taking notes... but at the same time, I want to lay in bed and watch TV and knit and do... nothing. But doing nothing often gives me anxiety, which about one of the stupidest things to ever give someone anxiety, I think.

Anyway, I am going to go back to studying and then I'm going to go write this horrid exam and try to spend the evening not obsessing about it. Have a good night, everyone!

- A

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