Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hi. My name is Brooke

Hi. My name is Brooke. I am a third year medical student. Dr. Delzell asked me to write about my life and what is like to be a medical student--going through the process of applying for residency. So, to start out, a little about me...

I grew up in a middle class family in a small town in Kansas. My Dad worked on the family farm when I was very little, and owned a company that serviced heavy equipment servicing company. He was a quiet man in public, but he doted over his daughters at every opportunity. Growing up as the youngest of 3 three girls definitely had its perks. There was always someone to shop with, someone to argue with, and someone to borrow clothes from. My oldest sister, Jenifer was former Miss Garden City. She taught me the finer points of tight rolling my jeans and eyebrow tweezing. My middle sister, Heather was an all-star athlete and taught me the importance of hard work and a sense of humor. Our house was always busy with work, school and sports. While in high school, I worked at the local golf course and played on the Varsity golf team.

During my junior year of high school, my Dad injured his back while working in the yard. We thought it was just a muscle strain but the pain became progressively worse. He collapsed at work two months later, having lost all the feeling in his legs. It was obviously not just a muscle strain. We soon learned he had multiple myeloma at the age of 47. He spent the next several months at the KU medical center receiving a stem cell transplant and other treatments. He went into remission for a short time, but the cancer came back. I accompanied him to his appointments at KU whenever possible and paid close attention to the physicians and their recommendations. I realized at that point that I wanted to be a doctor. I saw, firsthand, the impact that a physician can have on an entire family. I thought to myself, “what an honor that would be.” The doctors gave my Dad ten quality years and gave my family peace. They stood by us from the moment of the initial diagnosis, through the various treatments, and in the end with palliative care. When Dad passed away in 2007, we received a letter from one of his oncologists at KU. The words were kind and gave us comfort in our time of mourning.

In September of 2007, Matt and I were married. We got married in Colorado Springs, among friends and family. The day after the wedding, we were heading up into the mountains for our honeymoon. There would be no internet access and cell phone service would be nonexistent. Before we left, I received the long awaited email announcing my medical school interview time and date. After relaxing in the mountains for a week I returned to the KU School of Medicine for my interview day. I thought it went OK. Maybe I will blog about medical school interviews another day.

Five months later I got a letter from the School of Medicine. It was the letter that announced my acceptance. Matt had just left the house to go on a long run when the mail came that day. I couldn’t wait to tell him my wonderful news. I jumped in my car and drove around Newton, Kansas until I found him jogging along the side of the road. I parked my car in the middle of the street in my excitement and ran to him crying and holding the precious letter above my head. Later on, Matt would tell me he thought to himself “this could go either way…”. It wasn’t long before we found ourselves in a U-Haul truck, moving our dog and rabbit and all of our stuff to Kansas City to begin my medical school adventure. That letter is now framed and hangs proudly in my home office.

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