Hey guys, some of you might know my story from Step 1 prep.
So this is for the underdogs: the older students/doctors; the disabled; the non-US IMGs; and everyone in between.
I did not finish school, I have no school-leaving qualifications (GED to the Americans ). The reason for this is that I contracted meningococcal meningitis at 17 that the doctors repeatedly failed to diagnose. I was pronounced brain dead and my parents told that I was a ‘cabbage’. Never tell the loved ones of your patients that their most cherished people are any form of vegetable, it’s actually sad I have to say that but apparently, it’s not obvious!
I awoke from my ‘cabbage’ state miraculously but I was paralyzed from the waist down. I was told there was no chance of my walking again. Had I been treated sooner instead of being turned away I would not have suffered any of this but people make mistakes. They would not apologize however, they wouldn’t do the decent thing and admit they screwed up. Don’t be that doctor. So I sued them. I won. Massive medical negligence.
I was in a wheelchair for a long time, but… I am now a runner. I taught myself to walk again and there is no medical explanation of how this is possible. I suffer residual foot drop, neurogenic bladder (paraplegia damages my bladder along with my limbs), PTSD from traumatic brain injury to name a few.
I was determined to become a doctor to do a better job than those that treated me. On Thursday, nearly 20 years after this all occurred I will be fitted for a brace to help my foot drop and musculoskeletal issues. I’ve had to fight for decades to get any help at all. It should not have been this way but that is my life.
This year I have had to start catheterizing as my bladder totally failed, recover from post-surgical issues (hip injury due to gait imbalance), finish cores during COVID (I was the last medical student standing as I signed a legal waiver to stay), and presented to hospital due to impaction (again paralysis is the gift that keeps on giving!). Every year another part of my body seems to fail. I am now 37.
I was terrified to get my exam results as it could have gone either way. I was terrified of Step 1 also. Everything in life is hard, walking is not automatic (I have to think to walk else I fall flat on my face). I get pretty low at times but no one would know, I suffer those demons alone.
But my point is this: we all suffer our own problems. No one’s problems are more or less than mine to them. Loads of you will be as terrified as me about this bloody exam! You’ve all worked your butts off. Some have families, some have jobs alongside, some are doing PhDs concurrently, some are v v sick and undergoing treatment. We are all amazing even to get this far and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
I’ve seen people on here mock others for getting down, for getting fearful, I have personally blocked those imbeciles. No one has the right to tell you how to feel or that you are less of a person for feeling. That’s ridiculous. I will never invalidate someone’s concerns just because I don’t understand their magnitude. If it means a lot to you then it’s important to me for that reason alone.
Most here are so supportive it makes me very proud to be a part of the group.
I got 245 in Step 1 on the back of a horrendous situation that I won’t repeat here. Amidst COVID I’ve secured a position with the WHO and a sub-internship in neurology just because I dared to believe I could. I emailed incessantly and I got the position because of my personality (that’s what my boss said!). Ultimately, my life experience and demeanor seems to make certain people warm to me. Obviously, you have to pass exams, etc but remember that when it’s between you and another, being yourself and being proud of who you are might actually be the reason you get picked.
So guys I’m proud to have shared this journey with you all and you should be super proud of every ounce of effort and every hour of lost sleep it’s taken to be who you are today. We’ve got this.