Friday, 20 September 2013


I was in quite a bizarre situation over the summer and towards the end of last year.  I knew I had passed all my assessments along the way throughout the year, which meant there was absolutely nothing that I could fail on.  I was definitely a fourth year student, with no need to stress or worry about a particular day when exam results might be released.  It was an odd, uncomfortable feeling, and a situation I will never be in again.  

I got my email, as I was expecting to confirming that I had passed and progressed through to year 4.  Now I'm not sure I like this.  Fourth year is a little too close to fifth year for my liking.  Don't get me wrong, I really want to qualify and work as a Doctor, I'm just not sure I know enough about medicine to feel like a fourth year.  I feel there's much more pressure.  Third year was the start of clinicals, so we were still very much babies, but fourth year, that's way different.  To be honest, I'm not sure I ever will feel ready, and I think the fear is what keeps you motivated to work.  

The rest of the summer went well.  It was 10 weeks long and I went back to the pension administration company I usually work at over the summer holidays.  It was my eighth summer back with them so it's quite easy to slip back into that part of my life.  I've been there longer than most of the staff now, as they mainly employ graduates who use it as a stop gap when they can't find anything else.  There are some longer term members of staff and it's always nice to go back and catch up.  This year for the first time I spent all ten weeks downstairs covering the secretaries that work reception, as due to sickness, maternity leave and part time hours they were under staffed.  It was lovely sitting downstairs and finally being able to chat to faces that I recognise (there's a lot slower turnover of people downstairs than upstairs) but hadn't really gotten to talk to before.  

Twitter followers might, maybe, just recall that I had been selected for jury service starting the only week that Mr had free to take off work.  I wasn't too happy about this, as our holiday last year was cancelled because of the Olympics, and when you're in a long distance relationship, the novelty of being able to spend a whole week together is so precious.  I did manage to get out of jury service, although not in the way I'd hoped.  I had a phone call from the hospital asking me to come for tests, so I actually spent a large part of the summer holidays worrying that I might have cancer.  At the age of 25, despite looking after myself nutritionally, physically, medically, and not actually feeling like I've really started my life yet, I'm still working on getting there, this massive c-word flies in and basically just leaves the little bean in my head with tears streaming down her face, stamping her feet and pouting, yelling "it's not fair".  This is on top of the fact that despite having the least stressful periods of my life at university so far, I started developing numerous, fairly substantial bald patches half-way through last academic year, and have recently been confirmed as having the autoimmune condition alopecia areata.  I am awaiting blood test results to see if it is connected to anything bigger and nastier and was given the helpful advice from my consultant, that it isn't always stress related, but stress can make it worse, so try and stay calm.  So, going bald, query cancer and no holiday because of jury service. I must have some really bad karma I have to work through.  However, I try really hard to believe that you aren't given anything in this life that you can't handle so.... get on with it, you can do it.  

So the good news is that I don't have cancer.  Not in the traditional, spreads round your body sort anyway.  I do have the worst grade of pre-invasive cancer you can get though.  And the biomedic in me is stressing that if all of what they saw in the microscope was this bad a grading, then surely it's possible that a few cells in a section they didn't biopsy were the next stage on and then we have a massive case of the what-ifs and the big c-word still looming over you in the background cackling and saying I'll get you one day my pretty (a la The Wizard of Oz).  I go back in the New Year to see if they got it all.  The silver lining was that the treatment was scheduled for day 2 of my jury service, so I couldn't go, but Mr and I could have a nice mini break in Madrid (thank you Groupon).  

Now we are back at uni and there's the standard 'how was your summer?' and I find myself saying 'yeah, fine, it was good thanks, pretty boring, how's yours?' and inside I'm screaming cancer, balding, stupid army taking Mr from me, because no one really wants the truth when they ask that question, do they?  

Fourth year is the hardest of the lot.  Final exams, assessments coming out of my ears, practical exams, essays, presentations, posters, theory exams, elective to plan, and with the stress of this in the background as well?  This is going to be one tough year for me.  Oh yeah, and stay calm Bean, as otherwise your body might decide it doesn't need the rest of your hair on your head.  Marvellous.  *gulp*

~~Start where you are, use what you've got, do what you can~~


Beth Routledge said...

Holy shit.

I have nothing to offer to you but virtual hugs, prayers if they're wanted, and a sincere wish that things go well and that this year is calmer for you.

Anonymous said...

Wow- sounds like you've had a stressful time. Hope things get better for you this year. You've flown through years 1-3, so I'm sure you'll ace 4th year as well. Go kick some butt! :)