Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Progressive Supranucleaer Palsey

Have come upon this disease state.  The more time I spend learning about the body, understanding diseases, the more I want to become a doc.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bronx Zoo -

You've heard about it, you've read about it maybe with slithering shivers ascending up your spine.

But did you know that according to a poll at NY Post, 16% of those polled WOULD go into an exhibit with the deadly snake on the loose.

Who needs healthcare reform, just send those dolts to the zoo!

Still scratching my head.  The choices to answer the question were:

Yes, still go into the snake exhibit.  (16%)
No, I would not go into the exhibit. (82%)
I don't know, if I would go or not.  (2%)

I want a "hell no" - that would be my choice!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dear Austin,

Happy 25th birthday.

Love you forever and a day, Babycakes!

~ Mom

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

MUST READ! In Stitches - Anthony Youn, M.D.

Coming to a bookstore near you in April 2011, I have been asked to review the above book by the publicist and publisher.  On the surface it seems like a good read - introspective, if I might say.

As the back page says, it is part Grey's Anatomy and part Nip-Tuck.

First chapter, done.  Excellent!  Hilarious, poignant, relateable.  How many of us on the path, having already finished the path, looking forward to being on the path... have felt like the uber nerd, the uber geek more interested in germs and antibacterials?
Prologue - Reprinted by Permission

In Stitches by Dr. Tony Youn

Prologue: The Face in the Ceiling

What a pair. Double D’s. Poking up at me like twin peaks. Pam Anderson, eat your heart out.

Too bad they’re attached to a fourteen-year-old boy.

I ease the black marker out of my lab coat pocket and start drawing on my first surgery patient of the day. Phil. An overweight African-American boy. Phil has severe gynecomastia—in layperson’s language, ginormous man boobs. Poor Phil. Bad enough being fourteen, awkward, and a nonathlete in a tough urban Detroit school. Now he has to deal with breasts?

Two weeks ago.

I sit in my office with Phil and Mrs. Grier, his grandmother. Phil lives with his grandma, who’s raised him since he was ten, when his mom died. He’s never known his dad. Mrs. Grier sits on a chair in front of my desk, her hands folded in her lap. She’s a large woman, nervous, well dressed in a light blue dress and matching shawl. Phil, wearing what looks like a toga, sits on a chair next to her. He stares at the floor. “It happened fast,” Mrs. Grier says. “He shot up, his voice got deeper, he started to shave.”

She speaks in a low rumble. She looks at her grandson, tries to catch his eye. He can’t see her. He keeps his head down, eyes boring into the floor.

“Then he became quiet. Withdrawn. He would spend more and more time in his room alone, listening to music. He would walk around all day wearing his headphones. Seemed like he was trying to shut out the world.”

Mrs. Grier slowly shakes her head. “Phil’s a good student. But his grades have gone downhill. He doesn’t want to go to school. Says he’s sick. I tried to talk to him, tried to find out what was wrong. He would just say, ‘Leave me alone, Nana.’ That’s all he would say.”

Phil clears his throat. He keeps looking at the floor.

Mrs. Grier shifts in her chair. “One day I accidentally walked in on him when he was drying off after a shower. That’s when I saw . . . you know . . . them.”

Phil flinches. Mrs. Grier reaches over and touches his arm. After a moment, he swallows and says in a near whimper, “Can you help me?”

“Yes,” I say.

I say this one word with such confidence that Phil lifts his head and finds my eyes. He blinks through tears.

“Please,” he says.

The night before Phil’s procedure.

I can’t sleep. I lean over and squint at the clock on the nightstand. I twist my head and look at my wife, deep asleep, her back arched slightly, her breath humming like a tiny engine. I exhale and study the ceiling.

A shaft of light blinds me like the flash from a camera. My mind hits rewind, and I’m thrown backward into a shock of memory. One by one, as if sifting through photographs, I flip through other sleepless nights, a string of them, a lifetime ago in medical school, some locked in the student lounge studying, some a function of falling into bed too tired or too worked up for sleep. Often I would find myself staring at the ceiling then, the way I am now, talking to myself, feeling lost, fumbling to find my way, wondering who I was and what I was doing. The memory hits me like a wave, and for a second, just as in medical school, I feel as if I am drowning.

My eyes flutter and I’m back in our bedroom, staring blurrily at the ceiling. I see Phil’s breasts, pendulous fleshy torpedoes that have left him and his grandmother heartsick and desperate. I know that his emotional life is at stake and I am their hope. I know also that isn’t why I can’t sleep. I blink and see Phil’s face, and then I see my own.

I was Phil—the outsider, the outcast, the deformed. I was fourteen year-old Phil.

I grew up one of two Asian-American kids in a small town of near wall- to-wall whiteness. In elementary and middle school, I was short, shy, and nerdy. Then I shot up in high school. I became tall, too tall, too thin. I wore thick Coke-bottle glasses, braces, a stereotypical Asian bowl-cut hairdo, and then, to my horror, watched helplessly as my jaw began to grow,
unstoppable, defying all restraint and correction, expanding Pinocchio-like, protruding to an unthinkable, monstrous size. I loved comic books, collected them, obsessed over them, and as if in recognition of this, my jaw extended to a cartoon size. I was Phil. Except I grew a comic-book
jaw while he grew National Geographic breasts. Like Phil, I only wanted to look and feel normal. I just wanted to fit in.

It hits me then.

My calling—my fate—was written that summer between high school and college, the Summer of the Jaw. My own makeover foreshadowed my life’s work. Reconstructing my jaw showed me how changing your appearance can profoundly affect your life. Now, years later, I am devoted to making over others—helping them, beautifying them, changing them. I have discovered that plastic surgery goes beyond how others see you; it changes how you see yourself.

On occasion, I have performed procedures that have saved lives. I believe that I will save Phil.

My mind sifts through my days in medical school, and in a kind of hallucinogenic blaze, I conjure up every triumph, every flub, every angst-filled moment. I remember each pulsepounding second of the first two years of nonstop studying and test-taking, interrupted by intermittent bouts of off-the-hook partying. I see myself in years three and four, wearing my
short white coat, wandering through hospital corridors trying to overcome my fear that someone—an administrator, a nurse, or God forbid, a patient—would confuse me for a doctor and ask for medical attention. I teetered a hair’s width away from those moments that might mean life and death, facing the deepest truth in the pit of my stomach: that I had absolutely no
idea what I was doing. And neither did any of my medical-school classmates, those doctors in training who stumbled around me.

But things changed. Thanks to my small circle of close friends, my focus, work ethic, and drive to succeed, I slowly grew up. I entered medical school a shy, skinny, awkward nerd with no confidence, no game, and no clue. I came out, four years later, a man.

A smile creeps across my face. My eyelids quiver. I catch a last glimpse of the face of my younger self in the ceiling as it shimmies and pulls away. Sleep comes at last.

Phil’s surgery goes well. Ninety minutes, no complications. I lop off his breasts with a scalpel, slice off the nipples, then suture them back onto his now flat chest. I nod at his new areolas. They have decreased in diameter from the size of pie plates to quarters. I leave Phil
stitched up and covered with gauze, a normal-looking high school freshman.

Good news, Phil. You will not break new ground and become the first male waiter at Hooters.

I once saw an episode of Grey’s Anatomy in which a character suggested that she—and every doctor—experienced an “aha moment” when she realized she had become a doctor. That never happened to me. I experienced an accumulation of many moments. Some walloped me, left me reeling. Others flickered and rolled past like a shadow. They involved teachers, lassmates, roommates, friends, family, actors playing patients, nurses, the family of patients, and patients themselves, patients who touched me and who troubled me, patients whose courage changed my life and who taught me how to live as they faced death, and of course, doctors— doctors who were kind, doctors who were clueless, doctors who were burned out, doctors who inspired me and doctors whom I aspired to be, doctors who sought my opinion and doctors who shut me down.

Thinking about all these people and moments, I see no pattern. Each moment feels singular and powerful. They stunned me, enveloped me, awed me, but more often flew right by me unnoticed until days, weeks, months, years later. Until now.

This is my Book of Moments.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dad Sounds Better - St Maarten Here I Come

Dad is having tests done today at Mayo to see the extent to which the bacteria remain.  He is receiving cipro and gentamycin twice per day, intravenously.  He says his strength is coming back.  Walking stairs about killed him on Monday, now he can do 1/2 flight up and down before taking the elevator.  His hope is that in a week he will be able to do the whole flight without having to gasp for air.

That from a man who used to walk them 3 weeks ago, without any issue.  Pseudomonas.  More should be written about it!

I'm taking the plunge and heading to St Maarten in a few weeks to check out the medical school... and sit my lazy butt on a beach.  I need some motivation.  Right now, I look out at organic chem and physics in the fall, finishing up my pre-reqs next spring and think how sad it is that life really tossed me around like a bottle on the ocean, to the point where I'm so off-track, and so behind... and still can't imagine doing anything but trying.

A doctor who follows, or followed, on here once told me, never give up your dreams for when you give up your dreams a part of you dies along with it.

I hear that.

I'm also hearing waves gently flowing in on a Caribbean island :D

Make it a great day ~

Yours truly,


Saturday, March 5, 2011


No clue what medication is going through his PIC line.


He is frail and afraid.

We all are.  I want to learn medicine but not right now.  I want to be a doc, but not right now.

Right now, I just want to be a daughter to a great man.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dad Update

Got a call from my mom yesterday, Dad's test results from last Friday were in.

Apparently, whatever medical discussions happened with her and the docs two weeks ago were ignored, misunderstood, or otherwise, just wrong.

While the PSA remains high and indicates cancer: PET showed no cancer.  Biopsy showed no cancer.

Banner day was in the making... 

Until two hours later when she called to tell me he'd fallen, bonked his head on the table, and was having difficulty getting back up.

He is now in the hospital again - another infection was brewing. He was kept overnight last night and they are thinking they will keep him through the end of the week.

Darn spleen anyway!

So much for a banner day :(