Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Completely, 100% RANDOM post

Ok. I've been wanting to blog for awhile. So many times I have thought about blogging but I always seem to get sidetracked. But I do love it and I think it's going to help me remember stuff when I'm old AND I've been reading some of my favorite blogs today (while waiting at the doc's office), which always makes me want to blog. I just downloaded the new A.dele cd, everyone is in bed, and I don't have to work tomorrow. Ahhhh, life is good. So I would like to compose some deep, insightful post but instead I'm going to talk about M.elissa E.theridge.

I used to LOVE her. I was in my early teens struggling with the knowledge that girls did something for me when I first heard "C.ome to My Window." There was something about the longing in her voice that I connected with (it was probably the hormones). I'm not sure when I found out she was a l.esbian but I'm sure it sealed the deal. It wasn't long before I had all of her albums, which I listened to OVER and OVER and OVER again. I still LOVE her early music, it still stirs something inside me, and I still identify with it. But back then, I couldn't get enough M.elissa. If I saw her in a magazine or on TV, I was transfixed. She looked like a normal, happy person and everyone KNEW about her and it was all good. Then she got married and had kids....OMG you mean l.esbians can do THAT!!!!?? The only l.esbians I knew of were older, childless, one million percent in the closet, and living with "roommates." In my little world l.esbians were only of the super b.utch variety so I didn't know there was any other kind. And there she was with long hair, a wife (gasp!), kids, and she looked HAPPY.

I remember the first time I saw her in concert, I was fourteen. I was terrified that my dad would find out she was a l.esbian and forbid me from going. But he never did and we went and it was magical. I'm sure the concert was great but I don't remember it, all I remember is the audience. My world opened up that night, there were l.esbians EVERYWHERE, holding hands, kissing, and acting just like "normal" couples. It rocked my world and cemented my love for M.elissa.

I have to admit I haven't loved her last few albums and over the years I have been less and less impressed with her. Meredith was totally disgusted with her when she cheated on T.ammie, no longer a fan. No thank you. I said, "Well, she's a rock star, what do you expect? All you have to do is listen to her albums and it's obvious she is not good at relationships, T.ammie should have known that!" Of course, Mere just looked at me like I had at least 100 heads. But, I have still loved M.elissa a little anyway. Until tonight.

I was playing on my computer and came across an article about the importance of equal marriage rights for EVERYONE. The article went on to discuss the court battle that is ensuing between M.elissa and T.ammie regarding alimony, child support, etc. They weren't legally married so T.ammie is not entitled to alimony, etc. T.ammie had a career that she put on hold to be a full time stay at home mom and wife and now she is left with nothing. It blows my mind. It's cruel. It's wrong. And, ultimately, their kids will suffer for it. It smells an awful lot like the horror stories we all hear about where a bio mom takes away the kids after a split. She is just capitalizing on the fact that the laws aren't there yet, getting the best of both worlds.

I have been the breadwinner of our house for awhile now. I have been free to nourish my career and be the kind of parent I dreamed of being (but never thought possible with a demanding career). I have been able to "have it all," BECAUSE I have a wife who has made her job our kids. I could spend hours writing about the "value" of having a wife who stays at home. It has made things possible for me that I could have never DREAMED of and that will ALWAYS be true (even if Mere runs off with some hot, young thing)!

Sexy is so much more than how you hold a guitar. It taking care of your family and putting your kids first, no matter what the cost. I'm sure M.elissa will be devastated when she hears we are over!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Super Happy Black Friday

Thankful is DEFINITELY the way I would describe the way I feel today. There are a million wonderful things swirling around in my little brain and full heart today. Yesterday was PERFECT. Spent with family and friends. Spent upright. My pager went off right as we sat down to eat and I was ALMOST irritated. Because I'm a big important doctor and how DARE you bother me just as I'm about to eat this delicious plate of hot food that might be cold when I get done taking care of the problem that you are paging me for. Damn! How quickly I forget. Nope. I am DAMN lucky to be sitting here, eating, and ABLE to answer a page. So, get up and happily answer it and that is why we have microwaves! Life is perfect and I am LUCKY. If I ever need proof, I'll just refer to my blog. This is what I wrote on this very day last year (and let me tell you, I did not feel lucky or grateful or happy or anything but scared, sad, and dumbfounded). I still can't even read through this entire post but I know what it says,

"Today was our first day on the road. We were up early (Mere earlier than me), showered, car loaded, and ready to go. The only thing left was to say goodbye to the girlies. Mere woke Layne up and I went into the bedroom and cuddled up next to Syd. I woke her up and said, "It is time for mommy and mama to leave." She groaned and buried her head in the pillow. I thought she was still waking up until Mere mouthed to me, "she is crying." Oh.....our poor little girl. All this time she has acted like us leaving is no big deal. Here we were worried about Layne and it was Syd that was crying. She was hanging on us and said, "I don't want you to go." She has never cried out of was the first time. Before today she reserved her tears for pain or trying to get out of trouble. It was truly heartbreaking. It took every little part of me to leave her. I just wanted to call the whole thing off and stay in bed cuddled up next to my girlies. Layne was fine. As we pulled off, she was waving and smiling, perfectly happy in "nanny's" arms. Syd didn't come to the door. We just talked to her a little while ago and both girls ended up at a friend's house playing, eating ice cream, and having fun. My mom said she overheard Syd telling Layne not to put something in her mouth because she would "have to have surgery." Apparently, Layne said, "what is surgery?" Syd said, "An operation. Like what mommy is having. But don't worry because she won't be sick anymore when she gets home."

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!!

Friday, October 29, 2010


So, Mere and I were talking about this last night and she said, "put it on your blog and get some opinions." Sounds like a GREAT idea.

When I was sick we were constantly (and still are) amazed at the kindness and generosity of the people in our life. But one particular incident was really mind blowing. About 1/2 way through my illness, when things were really getting tough and money was non-existent we got a card in the mail with a check for $500 and a REALLY nice message. You could really feel the love and genuine concern in what was written in the card, it was AMAZING and the money was life saving. The gift came from a couple that I went through med school and residency with. It was such a kind and generous gesture that I still get goosebumps when I think about it. They are in fellowship (read = not making a lot of money) and have 2 young children and $500 is a BIG deal to them (and me). Not to mention, I know that they are very money conscious...they are savers, not spenders.

When we were residents B (the wife) and I spent a lot of time together and that is really when our friendship started. But, we are in different fellowships and we all have young kids and busy lives so over the last few years I haven't seen a lot of B or her husband (mostly at Bday parties, etc). She had heard through the grapevine about me being sick. I will never forget opening that card, it brings me to tears as I write this. It was one of those "random" acts of kindness that makes you want to be a better person. Mere made them some of her super cool lunch bags, I wrote a thank you note, and she delivered them to their house. It was all we could do at the time.

Which brings me to my question. Now I'm better and we could send them a check for $500, but should we? It was a gift and I do not want to offend them. Our philosophy through all of this is to pay it forward (and we have been doing that) but for some reason this question keeps coming back to me. I was thinking of maybe sending them a nice gift card when they graduate from fellowship or something like that.

The reason this is coming up now is that I got a really nice text from B yesterday. She had heard about me leaving fellowship and had some super nice and supportive things to say. She also mentioned the lunch sacks and how much she loves them. I feel like we will be life long friends. The kind that might not talk or see each other a lot but are always there. I am so grateful for B and so lucky to have her in my life.

What do you think?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Crazy and Happy

Heme/Onc (blood and cancer) fellowships are competitive. As far as medicine subspecialities go, they are one of the harder programs to get into. I still remember how relieved I was the day I "matched" into Heme/Onc in Little Rock. I thought it was exactly what I wanted. And, that was the last time I can remember being excited about my career choice. I've never loved this fellowship. But, medical training is not meant to be fun so I have just trudged along feeling like it's probably the training and not the content that I don't like. From the start, I have talked about leaving but I was scared to walk away from such valuable training. Before I got sick I was just starting to get into a little groove and feeling like maybe it wasn't so bad...this Heme/Onc thing...I could do it and it would be fine.

But, then I got sick. I'm learning that such a life changing experience is, well, life changing. Fine is not how I want to describe my work life. I'm not the same person and I'm definately not the same doctor. I thought that after the fear of thinking I might not ever get the priviledge of being a doctor, I would relish coming back to fellowship. I mean, this time last year I was PRAYING to be able to complete my training. At one point while I was out there was a question that I might have to completely redo my fellowship because I had missed so many months in a row. I had decided that I would quit if that was the case. When my program director called to tell me that I wouldn't have to start over and could pick up where I left gut reaction was disappointment. I guess that should have been enough, but I just kept thinking I would start to like it more.

Since coming back to work...I have been miserable. At first I was just so exhausted that getting through the day was my only focus. But even as I get better and stronger, I'm still not enjoying my work. I have been unsure of my career choice from the start and the deeper I go, the more unsure I get. But, I kept on....I mean, people don't walk away from Heme/Onc would have to be crazy. I even started looking for jobs and I found that a career in Heme/Onc is pretty tough. You either hang out at the V.A and have a great quality of life but make not a lot of money (I could make more as a primary care doc) or you go into private practice, work like a dog, and make lots of money. The more I researched and interviewed and talked to practicing docs...the more I realized the reality of my options. I was nearing the end of the tunnel and I couldn't see a light. And, I was not loving my job (not really even liking it). So, what to do?

Then, my program director called me into his office. He said lots of things...some true, some not. Bottom line...he wanted to know if I was committed to this program. He said things like, "when your on, your on but you aren't on as much anymore." The conversation was long and when I walked out of his office I really started to consider my choices. It is one thing to have an internal struggle but obviously my struggle was not so internal anymore. For the 1st time I REALLY thought about leaving. And so the inner turmoil began. Of course, we were already scheduled to leave for Boston for my board review course (in Heme/Onc) so we went. I tried to forget about everything and just focus on the course. I did talk to a few people about hospitalist and primary care options, as well as, private Heme/Onc options. But, mostly I focused on having fun, learning, and trying to relax. I prayed about it and really tried to let it go..which I was only moderately successful at.

I could finish out the remaining 12-15 months of my fellowship or jump ship. My logic in staying was that I only have a little over a year left and I didn't have to practice Heme/Onc when I was done but I would have to option if I wanted it. But, it is not an easy year. I missed a LOT last year so this would be a year of back to back service (read = hard) months with plenty of call. Basically, it would be the hardest year of my fellowship yet. Not to mention the reading and studying I would need to do to get caught up and ready for full fledged practice. A challenge I could 100% take on....but did I want to? For what? I job I don't really like that much? More money?

At some point in time I just became really obvious that I need to leave. I may regret it later but I can't live my life worrying about regret. I have to do what makes me happy today (and in the near future). I was talking to a friend about it and she said, "what do you really want to do?" and I said (without any thought at all and almost instantly), "I want to take care of dying people." That also got me thinking about palliative care (end of life care/hospice) and why I ever chose Heme/Onc in the first place. Really, end of life care is why I gravitated towards Heme/Onc and it has always been where I excel. There is something so satisfying about helping a patient and their family at the end of life. I know it sounds grim, but it really is so amazing to be a part of the dying process and help make it a peaceful experience.

So...I resigned this week. I took a job working as a Hospitalist (taking care of pts in the hospital) and as a palliative care physician at a local hospital. The work is satisfying (I hope), the hours are good, and the pay is nice. What more could I ask for? Now I just have to make it out of here.......

When I resigned my program director cried. He tried really hard to talk me out of it and in the end made me an offer I couldn't refuse. He offered to relieve me of Heme/Onc duties and let me go do 2 months of palliative care with our palliative care attendings/team. The job I was offered was more than happy to let me wait until Jan before starting, so I accepted the offer to stay for 2 more months. I felt like it was really generous of him to make me such a deal. Of course, today I found out why he made me the offer. He is hoping I will change my mind and stay. He is hoping that in the next 2 months he (or someone else)can convince me to stay. I also found out that he approached a few people and specifically asked them to talk me out of leaving. Which explains the constant onslaught of questions, being told I'm crazy, and me repeating myself over and over and over.....

We will see what the next 2 months holds. I'm done worrying about it. I'm just going to do what fits for me, whatever that might me crazy (and happy).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Taste of T Street

I complained and bitched and bitched and complained. It took A LOT of her time. I mean, A LOT! There were meetings, more meetings, and more meetings. Let's not forget the last week of her being gone and busy when she was home. I'm not built to do it all. I think I would be a pretty good stay at home mom and I know I'm good at being the working parent (which is what I prefer) but for those of you mothers who do it hat is off to you. Working full time and being a the main parent is not something I enjoy. Not even for a few days. It makes me cranky. But, I digress....

When Mere told me she was going to take on the co chair position for a huge fundraiser for our daughters' school, I was less than thrilled. She was already working full time, which has been a HUGE adjustment, and now she was going to do this to? It all started when the principal of our school called Mere this summer and asked her to come to the school for a meeting. Apparently, she had been at a big fundraising event for another private school and decided we should do the same. No cookie sales, wrapping paper, or chocolates this year. Nope, just one big bang of a fundraiser and that would be it. She also hoped to create a foundation so that our school would be able to give out scholarships, etc. It was VERY ambitious. They only had 5 months to plan it. I'm not going to lie, when she first told me about what they were planning, I was skeptical. BIG plans, 5 months, and a bunch of newbies (except for the event planner that they hired). The plans? Booths run by parents (volunteers only) for food, a HUGE children's area (games, petting zoo, etc), a stage with live entertainment, a killer silent auction, a live art auction (art work done by the kids and framed), and much more.

Well, it was INCREDIBLE! I should have known that the parents and teachers would come together to make it an amazing event. Our girls go to the coolest school ever....there is always so much love and parental involvement. Seeing it all come together was such a wonderful moment. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it. It was such an overwhelming success (and I don't even know how much money we raised yet). It is such a honor to be part of the community at our school, we are so blessed.

Most of all, I am proud of my wife. She endured a lot and worked her butt off and it payed off BIG time. Everyone kept coming up to me and telling me how much they love Mere and what a great job she had done. There were a lot of parents that I didn't know who were really involved....I kept introducing myself as Mere's wife and they would be like...."oh yeah! HI! It's so great to meet you Jess, etc, etc." They all just love her. But, what's not to love?

I am glad it is over and happy to have my wife back. I'm sure she will be putting up pics on her site, once she tracks some down (she was WAY to busy to take pics). Oh yeah, you might have to remind of this post next year when she is the CHAIR of the event!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

It's About Time

This has been such a wonderful week. I have relished EVERY minute of it. From late nights with a coughing, crying baby to being thrown up on, to a night in a very NOT private room at the Children's Hospital curled up with a restless 3 year old. I'm serious, it has been totally wonderful. So, before you guys come running over here to make sure I haven't totally lost it, let me explain.

From the start Mere was the apple of Layne's eye. Mere stayed home with her and breast fed exclusively, while I worked 100+ hrs/wk. Not to mention the fact that I became VERY self absorbed....getting caught up in depression, infertility woes, and other stuff that just made me unavailable even when I was home. All of this together meant that Layne has grown up with Mere as her primary care giver. Don't get me wrong, she is very much my child and I LOVE her with everything I have and she loves me. But, we have just never had the same time together that I had with Syd when she was a baby/toddler/preschooler. All of that started to change when I got sick. Layne and I spent hours together reading books, coloring, and hanging out while I kept my post on the couch. I realized during that time how much Layne craved my attention and needed time with me and vice versa. Those long days on the couch really led to some wonderful bonding time and all of a sudden Mere was not the one that Layne ran to when she needed comforting. I LOVE the way our relationship has grown over the last is truly one of the blessings that came out of being sick.

Flash forward to this week. Layne had to have her tonsils/adenoids taken out and tubes in her ears. The ENT doc told us to expect a 2 wk recovery which means no school for Layne. Last year I would have taken off a day from work for the surgery and gone straight to work from the hospital the next morning (if all was ok). Mere wasn't working so she would have been the one at home nursing our little patient back to health. But, it is not last year. THIS year Mere is working and I am on a research month (read...easy month) so I only had to do a little tweaking to arrange a week off from work. So, I was the one who stayed home and took care of Layne, I was the one who slept with her, and I was the one she cuddled up to when she wasn't feeling good. And, I LOVED every minute of it. I really, really did. What a wonderful experience (for me, probably not so much her).

Tomorrow I head back to work and she is going to spend the day with a friend (who will treat her like her own) getting spoiled and loved. I'm bummed because I wish I could take another week off to spend with her. It may seem silly, but I will always remember our time together over the last few days when she really needed her mommy. Of course, the truth is....I need her!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Long Time

Ok. So I know it has been a LONG time since my last post. Thankfully, life got in the way of me posting. YEAH! That means I actually have a life again. Pretty much everyone in my life knows that all is good, but, I want this all documented...even the end (I hope!) so I don't ever forget.

The last trip to LA was actually, GASP, fun! See Mere's blog for all the details. We drove with the girls, did Disneyland, and even the Grand Canyon! The best part of the entire trip....a NORMAL myelogram. The doctor told me to go home, wean off all of my meds, and work on getting back to life. That is exactly what I have done and it has been great. We have had a fun and busy summer. Am I fixed forever? Who knows! But, it doesn't matter. Today I am happy, healthy, and whole which is all that matters.

Oh yeah, and thank GOD for all of our amazing friends and family. We are so blessed. I think I am the luckiest person I know!!!