Monday, March 24, 2014

This one is for the dreamers

The end is always better than the beginning, it doesn't matter how it starts all that matters is how it ends.

Friday was the end or the beginning (depending on how you look at it) of a very arduous journey for me. I found out where I matched for residency. It was quite annoying to go through different variations of this conversation  about 1000 times for the past two years

Me: I am hopefully starting residency in June

Person: Really? Where?

Me: I don’t know. I find out in March

Person: Why.

Me: Grits teeth and begins a long winded explanation of the medical match process (an over the top job hunt) 

I thank Jesus  that I know where I am going, that I was given a chance to go where I am going and this portion of the journey is finally over.

I remember the dream I had and my resolute decision not to give up on it and God.

I remember when  I had both the admission letter for nursing school and medical school. One was easy, practical and reasonable, the other a blank letter, an untraveled road, risky, foolhardy and difficult. One was familiar nursing school  in Chicago, the other not so much medical school in a new city where I knew a handful of people.

I had nothing but I had God

And with God I had the family He gave me and my friends. 

And with God I had Hebrews  11, not a full understanding of it but grasping enough that faith in God can move mountains.Sometimes you just need to grasp a little to move. 

It wasn't easy.  I needed more than faith.   


Dogged Determination

Steel in your spine

A fighting spirit.

And a strong will.

I have realized that there are two people who determine if you  will make it, if you will achieve that dream, get that promotion, start and succeed in that business , publish that novel…. Insert whatever dream you have/had.  I have realized God is always in your corner with a perpetual yes. The rest is up to you.

If you believe you can make it, you probably can.

If you believe you cant, you probably cannot

It does not matter if you are international student, a non traditional student, single mother, orphan, poverty stricken, rich ,  disabled…no matter what odds are against you

Your dream is between you and God., with him you can become an unstoppable force, a unit.

If God wants it, if you want it, pursue it like its already yours.

Pursue it with a single minded focus that is unparalleled.

No matter how many times you fall, get back up again and fight for your dream.

Do what you can humanely do and watch Him do what you cant do.

You will have to fight for it, it will not be handed to you on a platter.

Dream big and fight big because cliche or not you have a big God.

I am a walking and breathing testimony of this.

God loves dreamers.  God supports dreamers. God is a dreamer.

The question will you dream with Him?

Or let the world carve out an apportioned allocation to you based on your race, sex or social class?

Or based on what you don’t have instead of what you do have?

So on the day I had a choice to make between nursing and medicine, I choose to dream with my superficial understanding of Hebrews 11 but with an understanding that I had a God.

And with God nothing truly is impossible.

***** Does holy ghost dance off the stage******

 The mini sermon above is because this past week was match week and my dreams actually became a reality. Now sometimes I spontaneously screech in delight and run around the house every time my room mate isn't home. :) 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A house of cards and narcissists

If you are my friend on facebook or blackberry, then you know that I am currently obsessed with the Netflix series House of Cards. Its about Frank Underwood, a democratic majority whip leader  and his wife Claire Underwood. I am obsessed with House of cards because, I have never in my tv-overload-adult viewing life seen such an evil and ruthless  lead character.  I am basically flummoxed .Maybe it’s because Netflix has given us  the ultimate antihero. When  we watch movies, read novels or books we are supposed to root for the protagonist, support their dreams, hurt  when they hurt, laugh when they are happy and scream at them through the  television set or through the bound pages of the book  when they  make foolish decisions. But in House of Cards we have a protagonist that is deliciously wicked. His ruthlessness is both controlled and on impulse.
He will kill you with no hesitation or meticulously plan your demise, whichever one works for him.
It has turned my television or this time internet streaming experience upside down because I am used to rooting for the main character but I find myself conflicted. I know he makes Hitler look like Mary Poppins yet because my brain has been trained to root for the protagonist, I still hope his downright diabolical schemes work. * COVERS HEAD IN SHAME* I remember had the same “crisis” when I first read Gone with the Wind. My  eight year old brain could not grasp that Scarlett O’Hara was selfish, mean and manipulative. However, it provides a much richer and complex viewing experience when things are not so clear cut and PG.
Quite frankly I love it. I like Frank because he is driven and goal orientated and for some reason I absolutely love ruthless characters. I like people who can manipulate situations and people . I admire them because they display superior analytic skills and intelligence.

They think.

I thank God for finding Jesus because honestly I do see certain traits like that in myself. It’s more of an over analytic mind.  I think, think, think , plan and execute.  However nine times out of ten the execution phase is a fail. I guess its Gods way of making me more reliant on him than myself. Of course I would like to think I am not as evil as Frank-Kill-you-without –hesitation Underwood. It brings Proverbs 14 vs 12 to my mind 

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.
Just because it seems right doesn't mean it is right and it doesn't mean I can or will  get away with it.
It may look glamorous now but Frank Underwood fictional or not will get his on the other side and its not the side with cherubic angels and pearly gates.
In other news, I have an extremely narcissistic and flirtatious  patient in the clinic I work in. He ALWAYS finds a way to remove his shirt, incredible hulk style EVERY TIME I want to take his blood pressure. Today, I was determined to tell him that he didn't have to remove his shirt so I could see his well-defined biceps and solid six pack but did he give me a chance?
Before I could say the word blood pressure, he removed his shirt again. Yeah sure he’s gorgeous but I am a medical professional! I will not fall for such cheap tricks! * flips weave and walks out* 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What I am reading - Finding Grace

For what I am reading, I usually blog about any book that I find interesting, a book that a friend recommends or a book someone sends to me. The first one was Chimeka Garricks Tomorrow died yesterday, check it out here.
Next I am blogging about  a novella  written by Onyih Odunze who sent me a free copy of her book to review.

When I started the book, I was expecting a traditional romance story but was pleasantly surprised. She is a great descriptive writer, the first chapter of the book which describes  the setting of  proper Lagos wedding immediately made that apparent. It was fabulous writing indeed.  In spite of my unconscious mental decision not to get invested in the characters’ lives, I found myself caring about them. Her novella softened my ever so cynical heart… just a tiny bit.  It was a well written romance story with an undertone of Christianity. Onyih should also be put under the super woman category, she is married with two kid, pursuing her master’s degree and has a novella and anthology of short stories published. 

Yeah, I need to do better with time management.
Instead of droning on and on, I decided to just have the writer talk about the book by herself.

Hello Onyih, thanks for stopping by.  We would like to know a little more about you, your likes, dislikes, writers that have influenced you, whether you are a morning person or not etc.

Thanks for having me, Eniola! Hmm…my likes and dislikes? I love reading for one thing. That is a passion for me. I read my first novel – a detective story – when I was about 8 years old. It was my eldest brother’s book, and I still remember curling up on his bed, caught up in a world so different from the one I lived in. I read that book in one sitting and haven’t looked back since.
I also like music, chocolate (specifically Cadbury’s Whole Nut or Fruit and Nut), and I adore ice cream (who doesn’t?). I’m a proper homebody so I love hanging out at home with my hubby and babies.
Am I a morning person? Well, my first inclination when my alarm rings is to shut it off and snooze for another fifteen minutes, so no, definitely not a morning person.
Francine Rivers is a big influence and she is one of my favorite writers. Angela Hunt is another one and I recently discovered Patrick Carr, a Christian fiction fantasy writer.  I admire them because they write about real people, flawed people. I definitely relate to that and it makes me want to create characters that people can also relate to.

What inspired you to write the novel and did you draw from your personal experiences for it.

Finding Grace was actually inspired by a story I heard many years ago about a long-term relationship gone wrong.  Initially, I wrote a couple of scenes back in 2007 and in time, it just grew from that. I think every writer leaves a piece of themselves in their work. I definitely draw from my experiences and from my observations of what other people are going through and how they react in those situations.
Apart from letting go and moving on which I learned from the main character Grace what other underlying themes were you trying to put across to readers in the novel.  I definitely noticed you had a few underlying Christian themes. 
You correctly mentioned letting go…more like, ‘Let go and let God do what He’ll do.” I think sometimes we become so focused on what we want, or how we think our lives should go and that obscures our trust in God. It affects our ability to receive anything good from God because we hold so tightly to what we’ve lost.  Forgiveness was also important in this story. The heroine – Grace – faced betrayal several times and she had to find a way to release those who had hurt her. Writing that story also taught me about trust – trusting God even when things are going haywire. He does know what He’s doing.

Not giving any spoilers away but I wasn't expecting the twist with the sister and I can usually predict twists in a story.  I didn't see that coming it at all. Why was it important for you to add that?

Hmm….you know, that wasn't really part of the original story. I think Sonia’s character sort of drew me in that direction. It definitely added some nuances to the story and I think it makes people sit up and take notice of the sister. I've had people asking me about Sonia’s story and that shows how strong of a character she is. She’s someone that’s used to being the focus of attention.

Azuka is goes through a family tragedy and in some ways  the character Grace gives him grace. How did the tragedy shape him as a character and do you think it propelled him a little faster to find his missing ribs ( as we Christians so aptly  call it.)  J

Azuka’s family tragedy helped him realize how frail life is, you know? Why not go after what or who you want right now, today? Tomorrow is not guaranteed to anyone. It definitely propelled him towards his missing rib much faster, lol! As time went on, he discovered that his need for Grace went much deeper than he initially thought.  

You infused a lot of your igbo culture into the novel and I thoroughly enjoyed that.  How did that influence Azuka  when he wanted Grace. The boy does not play, he saw what he liked and in less than three months he was planning a wedding in his head.

Lol! I’m not sure being Ibo really influence the speed with which he was moving, but I thought it was important to show where he came from, because that really fed into who he was.

What do you love most about writing and what do you struggle most with about writing?

Oh gosh! Writing…I love it because it’s an incredible way to express myself. I have a pretty introverted personality and I don’t think I’m very good at having conversations. So, writing is definitely my way of communicating with people. Some said that a writer is an introvert who wants to tell a story but doesn't want to make eye contact while doing it. That describes me to a t. And, that’s why I love writing. It lets me be who I really am.
On the other hand, I struggle with consistency and procrastination. I have two small children, work full time and at same time, I’m studying for a Masters degree. Between the demands of home and family, it can be really difficult to make time to write. I’m working on that.

What is next for you?

I recently released a collection of short stories, titled ‘Who are You?’ and I’m working on a novel to be released this year.
Thanks Onyih! 

Finding Grace description 

A cutting betrayal. A chance meeting. A heartbreaking loss. Emotionally drained from an impending family tragedy, Azuka Obialor is rocked by an accidental meeting and his thoughts are never far from the woman who crossed his path for the briefest of moments. 

A heartbreaking loss shifts his focus and thoughts of his ‘mystery woman’ are all but forgotten. Another coincidental meeting is almost one too many, and Azuka is faced with the daunting prospect that his reality would fall far short of his dreams. 

Grace Osoka is devastated by a cutting betrayal. Stunned, she retreats into a shell and is hesitant to trust any man again. Will Azuka’s love be enough to bridge her walls? 

From the metropolitan streets of London and the bustle of Lagos to the dusty roads of an Eastern Nigeria village, follow Azuka and Grace on their journey to finding grace in the midst of heartache.

Click here for Finding Grace

Click here for her newly released anthology, Who are you? 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

medical fear factor

Happy March yall!
The month of March heralds the melodrama of match week for thousands of fourth year medical students, and non traditional applicants for residency. We find out where we match aka  where  (which hospital and which state) we get to become indentured servants  for  the next three years.  Although I have been through the drama before, it’s a little nerve racking for me.

I am more impatient than fearful because I want to know where I end up. I felt like I haven’t been able to really plan my life because everything has been temporary. It has always been at the back of my mind that I have to move again.

I read a blog post on a medical blog about fear in medicine.  It was about how the younger generation in medicine is constantly being scared silly with advice.
Because medicine is so hierarchical, people on the lower totem pole constantly have to ask for advice from those higher ups.

First years  ask second years advice for surviving first year

Second years ask third years about studying for and passing step 1

Third years ask fourth years about matching and the match process

Fourth years ask interns about surviving intern year …and so forth as you move up in your career.

It never stops.

Some of the advice I received  was priceless because it helped; some of it did more harm than good because I was constantly anxious about the next step.  Medicine is an extremely demanding career and sometimes it’s difficult to make it through without some sort of mentorship :however, advice should be given with more encouragement and less doomsday predictions that discourage.

When I give advice I try to paint an accurate and realistic picture. I keep In mind proverbs 12 vs 25
Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.

The next step is always difficult but I try to add a little spice of encouragement with my advice when possible…
However ,try as I may I could never find anything encouraging to say about Anatomy or Surgery in med school. I still can’t but the key word is try. J

Next time someone I am asked to give advice I will “try” to give that advice with a spoonful of sugar. 

Speaking or more appropriately writing about sugar, I had the most amazing foodie weekend in long island with my bffs  I wish I had a good camera or I was into taking pictures, but alas I can only mentally catalog the Colombian steak, Indian curry, American diner brunch and the most delicious french toast ever that we ate. 

Anyway , see yall folks, until we meet again.