The internet is a strange and glorious thing. It lures me daily into it's mania and freneticism. Which is why I cannot remember who posted this, on twitter of all things - must have been a link, because I am not active on twitter.
We pathologists look at cells all day long. We diagnose infection, cancer. And it's true, what they say in the New York Times. Colon cancer is becoming ubiquitous among younger and younger people by the day. I have seen this in my 10 years of practice on top of 7 years of training, and it's nice to finally feel validated, but it's awful to have friends fall victim to it.
When we look under the microscope (an observation by anon twitter pathologist) we see cells. We don't see skin color. We see the same cells in everyone. Everyone has the same freaking cells. When I work up a report for cancer - breast, colon, kidney, etc. - I have no idea if they are black or white or Chinese or anything else. I could guess from the name, but I don't do this. I look at age more than name. Cancer befalls us all, at an alarmingly increasingly younger rate.
I read an e-mail newsletter recently, and it has stuck with me so hard. Wanted to talk about it in my Sunday school, but we are booked up this fall. Maybe in Winter. It's about putting people on pedestals. We all do it - mentors, authors, actors, rock stars - hell some of us our own family. They inevitably fall. But that wasn't the lesson. The lesson was that by putting people on pedestals we are eroding our own ego and self worth. We are all the same. Not only under the microscope. I tell my kids - don't ever compromise your own self worth in the light of someone you admire. Don't fall victim to what I did for years. You are not less than anyone around you. You are the same. Cellular level and all. We are all connected.
I read a book recently (hell five in the last week I'm on a roll) called The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery. It calls into question the idea that animals might have innate intelligence, and souls. I say, is this even a question? Do you have a dog, or a cat? Don't you relate? They are all there. They have talents and abilities that we don't. We can learn from them.
I was doing journey work earlier this week and I saw a hawk. I became inpatient (my status quo) and hurtled my soul into the stratosphere to see where it was leading me. It lost me. It teaches me. Life is unpredictable. Look beyond the skin color, look into the soul, and you will begin to know where it's trying to take you.
Thursday, August 10, 2017
I cannot take credit for this amazingly parasite nerd statement. One of my PMG pathology sisters (over 800) posted this a couple of days ago with a pic of a worm, asking "Ascaris?"
I cribbed this off the web bc, strict rules about not taking pics from PMG pathology
Everyone agreed. Ascaris lumbricoides. A dream specimen - this one was found in the stool of a child and mom brought it to the ED. It was bottled and still alive when she removed it from the plastic container. It measured over a foot. Most of the comments centered around puke emojis and WTF gifs but I was most impressed with "What the helminth?" I think I am going to start saying that every time I see a worm.
I shared the story twice today - kind of fishing for an Ascaris story. The head of microbiology did not disappoint. "We had one case, about 15 years ago. Everyone talked about it for months. I think it was in LRDC, there was a patient with an orthodontist appointment. I guess the anesthesia drove the worm out. It came out of the patient's mouth, when they were under. The nurse fainted. The ortho doc sent the specimen to us. It was still alive too." I was amazed. This is a once in a lifetime case. If you live in a developed country, I guess.
This was a hellaciously busy week. I presented a tumor board for the second time this month - loved it. My quick thinking was probably lost on all the clinicians in the room - but the pathologists were impressed. Normal cerebellum, which is what I called on frozen, can look astonishingly like metastatic small cell from the lung.
And the week ends a day early - I am headed to LA tomorrow for a 1920's flapper party in Beverly Hills. Going to meet a lot of previously only online mom doc friends. I feel like I am going to the moon - haven't been to LA in thirty years. Simona Bot and her husband grew up in Romania and currently reside in LA. She is hosting a party for 60 people. They outgrew the clinician bubble with biotech skills and patents. My friend Tuhina told me their house was like Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. One of the other attendees wrote a memoir of her journey from Cambodian refugee to doc in the US. I'm going to read it on the plane.
Hooray for big time birthday month plans. Hoping things cool down politically with North Korea. Life is too short to worry about crazy male egos.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Thursday, August 3, 2017
So I'm going to Gun's and Roses on Saturday. I've been listening to the opening act - Sturgill Simpson - all week. I know Guns, I have since I was a teen when Appetite came out. I tried to like Use Your Illusion one and two, but it was a struggle.
I remember going to the concert when I was in my early 20's - musta been - I was still dating Snake so it was '91 or '92. They played at the Pyramid - it was brand new. I'm ashamed to say that my strongest memory of that night was drinking too much beer with a crew in Snake's light blue VW van and waiting anxiously, full of pee, for the doors to open so I could find a bathroom. And afterwards, looking for our car bathed in the blue lights of the Memphis police. I don't remember much of the show.
I only knew Sturgill Simpson for his Nirvana cover of In Bloom that played all over Satellite. He's much more than that. He's intelligent - very alt-country. Looking forward to it.
On call this week and BIG SPLIT among beloved Dr. group Style MD. It was like a divorce. I mourned the drama. A new group formed on Monday, and they adopted my suggestion for a name - Stylish AF Physicians. Less rainbows and sunshine and more reality. Easier to participate in a group of 200 than 6,000. But it will grow. It's gaining momentum. It's much edgier - more my speed.