See, Test, & Treat: A Women’s Affair

Hey Ladies!! I’m fresh out of the See, Test, & Treat event put on by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) Foundation!!  Although I had to pop in, speak, and leave quickly to be able to make it to the Texas Association of Family Physician’s Annual Session & Primary Care Summit in Galveston, I was able to speak to a group of about 30 women about Sexual & Reproductive Health that’s pertinent specifically to women.

See, Test & Treat is a free cancer screening and health education program that brings the power of diagnostic medicine to underserved communities. Their signature program:

  • Saves women’s lives through early detection
  • Empowers families through preventive health care
  • Connects communities with their healthcare providers

In a single-day, culturally appropriate program, women receive a pelvic and clinical breast exam, a Pap test with same-day results, a screening mammogram with same-day or prompt results, connection to follow-up care, interpretive services, translated educational materials, and a healthy meal.

Because I only had an opportunity to field a few questions before I had to leave, I felt it would be great if I could add this to my blog for people to share!  It isn’t 100% inclusive of the conversation that we had at the event but I think it will plant some seeds!

In this talk, I educate about Safe Sex Practices, STDs/STIs, Cancers that affect Women majorly, Well Women Exams, Contraceptives, & General Tips that you should regard.

I do realize that our reproductive systems are usually either a touchy subject or a private matter in general, but there are a few things that you can do to protect yourself or catch things early. One of the biggest things you can do is pay attention to your body and really become familiar with it.

You can do personal breast exams (feel for lumps/hardness/tenderness, check for dimpling around the nipple, don’t ignore pain in the breast or armpit area) at home. Masses in or around your pubic area could be just a hair bump or could be something worse. Go get it checked out. Post-menopausal menstruation is always reason for a doctor’s visit.

If you aren’t that familiar with everything or you can’t see certain parts of your body, 9 times out of 10, your partner is!! Have them do regular checks of your body or ask them to even mention when they notice a change outside of those checks.

Lastly, especially for those that are sexually active, regardless of your sexual preference or whatever he/she says, ALWAYS USE PROTECTION and always inquire about status/get tested!! Herpes, HPV, & HIV are nothing to play around with. HPV is one of the most associated diseases of Cervical cancer. No amount of fun or spontaneity is worth your happiness, livelihood, or life. & if something does happen, go get treated.

Embarrassment shouldn’t be a reason to possibly infect others. If you don’t know of ways to protect yourself, ask your physician, DM me, or if all else fails, there’s always a quick Google search that can fix that! Condoms & dental dams are only two great examples!

Breast cancer is definitely a detrimental disease to women (& men alike) but there are definitely other prevention/screening techniques that need our attention as well. Take the time out to protect yourself, make an appointment with your Ob/Gyn, and get tested. I’m not only speaking of HIV when I say, “KNOW YOUR STATUS!”

Remember: EARLY DETECTION SAVES LIVES

SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS!!

AWARENESS IS KEY!

If you have questions, feel free to comment here because 9 times out of 10 someone else has the same question. If you don’t feel comfortable commenting here, shoot me a message at studentdrkendra@gmail.com!!! Everything people discuss with me stays private!!!

SHARE, SHARE, SHARE!!! This could save someone’s life!!

 

From 1st Year Tribulations to 1st Year Wins

As promised, I’m back!!  I’ve definitely missed my followers over this past year and a half!!  This will be a short post but definitely a sincere one.

When I began medical school, I had the hardest time integrating.  The learning curve was SO steep!  I had to fight an uphill battle of learning how to study for the first time along with being ill the majority of the time.  In May of last year, I decided to repeat my first year.  I decided that as long as I’ve been in school already, what’s one more year?  So for most of my followers that were preparing to enter school, I experienced my full 1st year of medical school with you guys.

We’re so used to excelling at everything and being the best of the best. When we come to medical school & we’re hit with that first low grade, it can definitely be a hit to your ego. Most people learn from it and build upon it, while a select few have a pretty rough time.

I was one of the ones who immediately had a very, very hard time. Along with getting some of the worst grades of my life, I got one of the worst shots to my ego as well. In the twinkle of an eye, I lost confidence in myself & I began to have horrible test anxiety. In lower levels of education, it’s fairly easy to deal with that. In med school, not so much. Every single minute is just whizzing by you and you find that not only are you having a rough time with the “here & now”, you’re also far behind!!  I had never had to deal with test anxiety before. From what I found out is that tons of professional students begin to have test anxiety AFTER undergrad (Who knew?!?).

Oftentimes, during hard or rough periods, we find ourselves counting ourselves out far before we get started or are even close to the finish line. Sometimes it can be a hindrance & we cause ourselves to be on the losing end. More often than not, we end up winning.

I recently had to deal with an illness the night before an exam that caused me not to be able to study. If it was any time that I had to rely on pure confidence, it was now!! I wasn’t able to prepare for the exam like I normally would but I had studied a week prior so I had SOME base knowledge. I simply told myself, “You might not know the details but just try to reason your way through the test and no matter how you do, you should be able to fight your way back with your test next block.” Really and truly, I didn’t expect to get more than a 50 on this exam because I just didn’t have the information down.

I went into my exam and came out feeling better than I have on almost any exam!! When I got my grade back today, not only did I do fine on the exam, I got the best grade that I’ve had since I’ve been in med school!! If that’s not a sign I don’t know what is!! Remember, you may be down, but you’re definitely not out!!

While I haven’t hit many milestones yet, I silently rejoiced at the end of the school year for a very personal, significant one. A successful year of lectures came to an end. While it’s the norm for any other student, I silently rejoiced. Last year, when I arrived at that point, I skid into Finals not having any idea what I was doing, questioning whether I wanted to be in Medical school, & wondering if this was the end of what had been a dream a lifetime ago. I was tired, broken, & discouraged. I, unsuccessfully at the time, attempted to persevere through an illness & social/educational anxiety. In short, I was a mess & had to figure out a way to pick up the pieces all by myself.

This year, I did what I never thought I WOULD do & what I had been discouraged from at every turn. I walked into Finals with the light of a new beginning and the realization of being blessed with a second chance.

After many failures, pickups, counseling sessions, & destressors, I can finally say that I have found ways to effectively manage my anxiety. I’ve come to realize that although tests are an essential part of my education, they don’t define me as a person, student, or future doctor. Yeah, we want to do great on exams, but if you don’t do as well as you thought you should have, there’s always a way to make it up. Work hard for that next exam, work on study strategies, and get ahead of the game!! As a medical student, it’s far too easy to define yourself by exam scores and it can cause you to get down on yourself pretty quickly! Trust me, I dealt with it! That can all be curbed by self-evaluation & working on those flawed areas.

It took me quite some time to say, “Hey, there were plenty of other people that could be in my spot, but I was chosen!!” “It’s my time to shine and I’m not letting anything or anybody take that away from me!

It’s taken me almost a year to gain my confidence back and it’s an uphill battle every day, but I am winning!!

In the words of my most inspiring professor, Joanne Oakes, “This won’t be on the test but this is real life.”

XOXO,

~Student Dr. Kendra