Friday, January 18, 2013


Little things.  A couple of chlorines off a carbon chain interlinked with a phosphate, little amide thrown in for good measure, and there you have it.  I'm hooked... back into biochem like a fly to a blinking yellow lantern hanging from the rooftop on a hot summer night.

Why does it work, I was asked?  While the person knew I was not a doctor, and have not even taken the MCAT yet (key word there), it hooked me in again.  My biochem prof often talked about Wiki becoming a better source of basic information.  He talked about a lot of things that I remember if pushed... even RNA transcription ... okay, if he reads here, he'll understand the joke.

I digress.

My brain slowly chugged into motion trying to remember all the biochem I learned last semester.  Something about certain pharmaceuticals mimic the chemical a disease or virus or bacteria needs to continue replication... "thing" thinks it is eating a good thing, or using the DNA from the good thing, and then 'WHAM' - too late.  It dies.

Or something about a compound attaching itself to the just right place to stop a reaction from occurring (non-competitive inhibitor is what blared in my head).  Yeah, that sounds like it might be the case as well.  If the reaction cannot continue because the shape of the molecule can't change with the non-competitive inhibitor taking up the space, 'WHAM' - game over for the disease or virus or bacteria.

WHAM, I was back in biochem again.  And phys.  Talking about the lumen in the intestines and why channels have to be working for nutrients to cross and explaining what I sort of remembered from my classes.  And why it is important to have the nutrients and elements in the body to assist with the transport across the lumen, and into the blood stream and... I was on fire.

And telling the person to make sure to ask their doctors for clarification; gently reminding them that I am not a doctor, not in med school, have no med school experience, and the best place to get the truth is from the treating physician; not from a former wee premed who might (or might not) be starting med school soon.

More questions came - will the cancer patient survive?

Anyone who knows me know I can talk (and will!!!).  With that question though, I paused to make sure whatever I said next was exactly right.  I could feel the person wanting/needing me to say, "Of course!"  What came out was not that.

"I don't know.  What I do know is that the only one who can, and should, give you a prognosis is the treating physician.  You are in excellent hands.  The cancer center here is nationally renown and you need to trust that they are doing everything they can to help your spouse beat this."

I know there was disappointment on the receiving end of that message but it was the damn truth.  It is not my place to conjecture, to conjure, to wonder, to talk through my thoughts when it comes to a life and a prognosis with statistics.

What I did do was look up the stats, and seeing the stats were pretty dang awesome, I sent the links to WebMD, Mayo, and NIH.  I also looked up YouTube videos for the medications and sent those as well.  Had the stats been mediocre or worse, I'd have "forgotten" all about it.

I do not know if that would be crossing the line for a premed or med student or non-treating physician.  What I do know is that my own story of my brother's similar diagnosis 12 years ago, his very lively living now, and my gentle suggestion to ask the physicians about Boost - raised the spouse's spirits.

And mine.  I love being able to take very technical information and decipher it into layman's terms; I love the hard sciences; I loved all my premed courses, including ochem.

Of course, having to churn out biochem again only started another issue within myself.

What in the hell do I do about my MCAT?!?!  And worse, applying.

These types of conversations stoke the passion, give me the drive; I'm sitting on the doorstep of app cycle 2013 and I just can't seem to take my foot over the line.

Anyone got a big boot??? :D

Make it a great weekend, be warm.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

For Don

I've been thinking about him a lot lately.  He was truly never far from my thoughts; guess that comes when his son is my son.  And every time my eyes water up, and every time they did for 7 years, he would sing this song to me.

Seems appropriate today.  Dust in the eye so to speak when the reality of it all sets in:

I can hear him saying to me some weeks ago, "Don't go getting all weepy eyed on me."

Okay, Don, I won't... :)