More than Conquerors (My Delayed Post Clerkship and Med School Journey Write Up)

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BACKSTORY: Forgive me for what seemed like a writing hiatus for me. As my previous write-up mentioned, I went through 365 days of clinical clerkship, a 1 year experience for all medical graduates here in the Philippines. And boy, it was one hell of a roller coaster ride! Even after the last day (May 31), I was still pretty much busy making up for my extensions and accomplishing our requirements as well. With such a fast paced life recently, I was unable to do this earlier than planned. And with such busyness I am now writing this after my graduation. It may not feel the same as I’m weeks away from my last duty at the hospital but still; taking stock of the last year of my med school journey and sharing it to the world is a joy!
Clinical clerkship as I said above was one hell of a roller coaster ride. And how could it not be? It had its fair share of highs and lows, an unforgettable experience one would remember by heart but never want to go through again. Looking back, I could only say that I made it, alive and barely breathing, by the grace of God. Were it not for His love expressed in so many ways and through so many people I would have not survived 4th year of medical and graduated yesterday. Because of God, I was able “to surmount 3 mountains”, I had “to conquer 3 Mayon Volcanoes” as Ms. Universe Catriona Gray would put it.

 

Conquering myself

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Just like the reigning queen, I had to overcome the many fears that were borne along the way. Mostly, these fears came from within as I had doubts on my capacities to do what was required of me as a clinical clerk. I recall the times where I felt overwhelmed as I learned of the basics in a rotation that felt impossible or the tasks that seemed insurmountable. I even felt more as I saw the flock of patients that needed to be monitored or taken care of in the next 24 hours.

 

There was also the fear of the unknown, the fear of failure, the fear of helplessness – of not being able to meet the expectations of my residents or even co-clerks, of failing to do labor watch efficiently leading to a mother delivering her child in a non-sterile environment or simply just losing a young child to a very preventable death but God knows what happened. As I faced the harsh realities of health care in the country, I came to learn and accept some truths that doctors live by daily. Death, compromise, miracles and everything in between.
To add, as this worn-out and weary intern tried to survive the hospital environment, he was also dealing with a lot of personal issues inside. I have to admit my spiritual life suffered a major backlash as I failed to keep up with my daily time with God. Instead of praying or reading my Bible, I opted to just sleep or amuse myself with other things to compensate for the feeling that my life revolved around all things medical. Hence, as a result, I made some foolish and stupid decisions along the way, risking my reputation and prompting me to lose my witness. I came to know more about myself but instead of finding a way out, I found myself drowned in a whirlpool of mistakes and failures. It actually still hurts a bit to recall those bittersweet memories but out of them came lessons for life which I would not take for granted.
But through all the crap I’ve been through, God has been lovingly there, faithful and patient enough, always ready to pick me up. That’s how I got to conquer myself and my fears- with faith. When everything seemed to fall apart, I still saw God with His loving arms spread wide to welcome His wayward and wretched child. I still felt loved even after I forgot and failed my First Love by choosing to love other things or people who could never reciprocate such love.

 

Conquering others

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There were certain times people questioned my strengths or made me feel they were better than me. I was easily taken advantage of or abused for my goodness. And unfortunately, with regards to a failure on my part, I saw myself as a target of gossip and rumors. But you know what? It did not bother me too much as it would. For the first time ever in my life, I felt an emancipation that was so beautiful and meaningful! Despite the backstabbing and pretentions from people, I felt an unconventional peace ‘cause I finally found myself break free from the stereotype that people placed me long before- a good, religious person ‘nga daw santo’ (like a saint) as one fondly said. Finally, people see me as I truly am- a human being who makes wrong choices, someone falling in love with the wrong person that logic could not explain and still choosing to love despite the inevitable consequences. I embraced my humanness this clerkship but did not celebrate it to the point of my destruction! Such acknowledgement only prompted me to seek divine assistance and guidance. So don’t get me wrong (as I expressed in previous posts), I just want to be seen as a work in progress- as God is not finished with His masterpiece.

 

As I learned to accept myself and make the necessary changes after seeing the need, I conquered others with the wisdom of a few trusted, “unconditional” friends who helped me bear the burdens easily as well with the help of my mentors (my PGIs and my residents). And of course, by coming out of the box I was set in, I conquered what others perceive of me. And thank heavens, it felt like an achievement of a lifetime!
Conquering with a purpose

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As one rotation finished after another, the journey became more tiring and more dreadful. It was almost soon until the system could have eaten me. There were times like giving up seemed the only option or to quit is to stay sane but there I was. I endured. I fought on. I still found myself wearing my white uniform, on the way to the ward and taking a deep breath before I get to insert my first IV cannula for the day or make a prescription. How? Why? It all boiled to purpose. A heartfelt and noble purpose. God had to remind me many times of why He called me to this profession- to become His instrument of healing and love to His children. And that meant 365 days of selfless service and compassionate care to patients which preparde me and my batch mates for a lifetime of such!

 

Clerkship has changed my life, no doubt! Both in good and bad ways. Sometimes, I still wish I could do it differently but here I am, as of this writing, officially a MD GG! A medical doctor by God’s grace! (Still feels surreal…. Somebody pinch me!)
And as I echo Catriona, I may only be one person but now I have the opportunity to serve any of the 104 million Filipinos or maybe even more and beyond!

 

Inside each and every doctor is a heart willing to serve and make sacrifices. To that end and to yours,  here’s to conquering ourselves,  conquering other’s perceptions and finally conquering with a purpose!! !

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ADeoS, Infinity War (My Pre-Clerkship Post)

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Photo by: Jade Marie

Breathes deeply…

BACKSTORY: It feels so surreal to be writing this post. Years back, I used to think of clerkship (which BTW for those who don’t know, starts on our fourth year in medical school, here in the Philippines) and now, I’m just 3 days ’til I wear my new white uniform. The different emotions I feel now might prevent me from finishing this post in good composure so unconsciously maybe that was the reason why I opted to express myself in the perspective of the blockbuster hit  (which so happened gave me a whole range of emotions too). Besides I’m a Marvel fan since I was a kid so it kinda helps my writing become fun and challenging at the same time. (P.S. If you still haven’t watch the flick, then I’d rather you won’t read to avoid spoilers; I guess I might get heavy with analogies.)

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I really wanted to have this photo edited with the heads of the characters changed with those of my batch mates. But I don’t have the skills or the resources to do so… Photo source: https://www.hdwallpapers.in/avengers_infinity_war-wallpapers.html

CLERKSHIP FEELS LIKE FIGHTING THANOS. Well, that is, for me. This might sound like an exaggeration of epic proportions but trust me, not one person who shared some tips for me does not want to experience clerkship again. And of course, before I forget, almost everyone who already passed through it emphasizes that it is tiring at all aspects despite some moments of fun and laughter (something the movie and the most dreaded year in med school have in common!) And I guess these people have good reason to. With the unwanted feeling of unpreparedness no matter what the preparations ( Yes, I feel for Tony Stark)  and the inevitable fears of the unknown (just like Spider Man who on that tear-jerking scene, still didn’t want to go), one would really feel overwhelmed. There would be times that no matter what you do, it just won’t be enough to accomplish the task; similar to what the heroes went through at Titan in trying to remove the Infinity Gauntlet. Define hopelessness at its best! To add, I’m already expecting stress to be a daily companion but a good friend told me I wouldn’t want to add to it. That means wearing my smile constantly despite the thousands of reasons I may have to do otherwise (Mantis would agree with this!) or laughing off my mistakes which would pretty much be something Drax would do as well. So yes, maybe it is safe to say that somehow clerkship is like the biggest challenge med students have to face just like Thanos was the greatest threat to the Avengers. But it does not mean one does not get to enjoy the ride! It all boils down to perspective then, akin to Thor who was so focused in bringing justice to his brother’s death and saving the universe. Though my ‘hugot’ is certainly far from the Asgardian’s, may I have the same amount of determination in fulfilling my goal fervently- to become a MD.

IT’S ALL ABOUT TEAMWORK. As showcased many times in the movie, working hand in hand with each other is essential to survive the fight. Just like when Black Widow and Okoye got Scarlet Witch’s back and defended her against Proxima Midnight only for her to return the favor so soon (this awesome scene gave me the feels though it ended so gruesomely!) Or when Vision was almost killed but Captain America stepped in to save him! Let us not forget the Jabari Tribe under M’Baku who fought alongside King T’Challa on that fateful day! Yes, for sure, there would be squabbles between strong and proud egos as was the case with Iron Man and Star Lord. But putting aside each other’s differences in order to have an effective plan set into action is very important though challenging to do at first. Humbling oneself could never go wrong. (But then again their plan ended in failure because of… you know!)

Here’s me, hoping and praying for a good set of group mates. I’m not looking for perfection but simply for people who are responsible and cooperative; willing to work with me despite my flaws and limitations as I am willing for them as well!

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#ADeoSForever: This is my beloved batch… May God help us to live up to our name, Altera Deo Servimus which stands for “For God We Serve”

AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE ALL GET TO DO WHAT WE ARE CALLED TO DO, WE ARE ALL HEROES. Whether it be in the MCU or in the hospital, no one could ever stop the heroes from pursuing their passion and purpose: to save lives. This entails selfless sacrifice as exhibited by Groot in giving up his branch-arm to become the handle of Thor’s Stormbreaker or by Doctor Strange in surrendering his responsibility to protect the Time Stone sparing Iron Man’s life in the process because But I think the greatest sacrifice of this kind in the movie was Vision’s in the context of the mind stone being the last one to be collected. Just to die for the sake of everyone is torture but to let your lover do the work is pure heartbreak! (Awwwww, going back to that scene is truly emotional including what ensued afterwards!) As for me, the expected sacrifices I shall make, whether my time or my health, would be  nothing compared to the joy a mother feels when she gets to hold her firstborn or the relief a child has after having his bruises taken care of or the comfort given to dying cancer patient. May I not eat my words though; human as I am. It is my desire that my future patients would not forget me for touching their lives. (To my co-interns or to those who can relate, I speak in the words of the mad Titan: “I hope they remember you…“)

Breathes deeply again…

There is no escaping the 365-day reality that is before me. Clerkship is coming!

Am I ready? Hardly. But unlike my Marvel counterparts, I have the Greatest Superhero beside me, always ready to guide me and strengthen me along the next chapter in my med school journey!

 

2017: A Year of Losses and Gains

B3A3A4A5-1F90-4F2E-8912-D5840B6DD6DEBACKGROUND: “In the solitude of my room, as the noise of fireworks and ‘torotots’ (NY horns) enveloped me, I was ready to plunge into the silence within….” This was how I intended to start my annual, analytical post for each year last night but I was just too tired and weak. You see, I have a sore throat with cough and colds, the outcome of sleep deprivation, voice straining and too much holiday sweets. Starting the year this way sucks as hell especially when I didn’t  taste the delicious bounty of our New year’s eve dinner. Anyway, this couldn’t stop me from looking back to how 2017 went for me. Let me briefly share with you my experience, dear reader.

From the title, I guess you’re assuming it was a year flooded with tears and regrets. Sadly, it was! You see, I’ve suffered a terrible spiritual decline throughout the past year. One that contributed to many preventable pitfalls, one that was itself very preventable. With my busy schedule, I failed to spend quality time with God unlike before but I afforded time for worldly/sinful plesasures and vain amusements. The very things I told myself I could never do I did (twas a huge slap to my prideful ego; just typing this out is hard for me) but I’ve learned to let go as I always need to. And it was all made possible by God’s grace- so amazing and wonderful!

Though I failed the Lord from time to time this 2017, He always picked me up and lavished His love on me. This was reflected in the many undeserved blessings I received this year. It would take time to enumerate them all but the ones I’m really grateful for include forgiveness, protection, sustenance, family and friends. Let me not forget the lessons and insights that I acquired the hard way, some of which I willingly shared here in previous write ups.

But 2017 was not all about defeats and bruises. I found myself able to fully forgive a friend who wronged me and now we’re in the same group of wedding singers. I discovered a lot about myself and also realised what was needed to be done in order for me to become better (no doubt that always includes divine intervention!). I’m still in the process of recovery at the moment but the only way now is up, forward. To add, I also opened up myself to a few people, formed friendships and closed unhealthy ones. Or decided to close such.

With what I went through, from the ups and downs,  the achievements and failures, everything in between, I was never the same. I accepted that fact. I may have become better but I felt that my decline was more superior. But I couldn’t accept to stay like this for long , for another year. Hence, I surrendered my 2017 to the One Who never let go, the One Who always stood by me, the One who unlike me never changes! And boy, does it feel so good!

What was your 2017 like? If you have a similar story to mine, then lay it at the cross, surrender it to Jesus. Do this that we may enter into 2018 in newness of life!

Happy New Year!

P.S. Here’s a beautiful, moving song to complement my post. Be blessed!

 

Losing Myself to be Found

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“That’s what I’ll be. A silhouette, rarely seen, and yet believed in.” – Ellen Hopkins

BACKGROUND: After almost 3 months of silence here in my blog, it’s kind of challenging because my writing skills have become rusty. My third year in med school started a month ago and it has been, so far, one hell of a roller coaster ride. I thought of writing this piece maybe months ago but due to the busyness (which you might be always getting from my posts, dear reader) it’s only now that I get to unload. The trigger? Recent happenings in my life which I somehow wish didn’t happen but I ended up with lessons for life, some or maybe most I’m going to share through this write-up. Or if not, just reflected in what I would share. And probably some observations I’ve had the past days. Doing this not only alleviates the burden of not having someone to share at the moment; it is one way of self-assessment and reflection which are very important to me.

GOING THROUGH THE NOTIONS: Have you ever felt so empty and wasted that your life seems nothing but an endless cycle of mistakes and failures? That at the end of the day, before you go to sleep, you tell yourself: “Everything’s fine” but deep down inside you know it’s the other way around? And the worse part is people around you see through your eyes too. But they don’t know the truth; they don’t know what’s choking you inside, the broken mess that you have become. So, in the process, people have  placed you in the category that you don’t deserve, somehow stereotyping you unconsciously, making them act differently around you or just avoid you. As a result, you end up somehow isolated or you feel that way; the familiar feeling of loneliness creeping in as you succumb to the harsh, cold statement: “History repeats itself.” You try to see the bright side of things but it seems inhuman of you not to accept the reality of the state of your life. Well, you are responsible to how it turned out this way. So you have to face the facts. You have to face the consequences. You have to face you.

*Sighs*

Welcome to the complex of my weary and burdened mind! I may sound a bit paranoid (actually, that sounds like an understatement!) but I do have basis for my thoughts or feelings. You see, one close friend of mine revealed to me before that many of my batchmates saw/see me as someone so good and include-all-the-nice-adjectives-that-you-know. I’m exaggerating that prior sentence because if I remember it right, it was as if I was described “nga daw santo” (“like a saint”). And I was startled; I was clearly not amused. Don’t get me wrong, being considered good is something I’m NOT against with. And to have a favorable or respectable reputation, that’s something worth building in life, in my opinion. But to be placed in a pedestal I’m unworthy of prevents them from getting to know me for me or interacting with me to the fullest. Plus, going back to the point that I know myself and God be my witness, it would pretty much be a relief to have someone see me for what I truly am, through my eyes: a sinner saved by grace, a work in progress, a wretched human vessel still being fashioned into what the Master Potter wants me to become. And even more: I can get mad, like real mad if provoked. I can crack jokes, even green ones ’cause I’m a hormonal being after all. I can be pissed off or do that to others with my incessant teasing. I can cry, even a river that could flood Iloilo City worse than Typhoon Frank. I can be a lot of things regardless of my involvement in a religious organization or simply just my being a Christian. In short, I’m not all good; I have flaws, like major flaws which God certainly knows what. There is still darkness in me but I choose not to let that snuff out the light. It is my choice on how to deal with what I clearly know about myself now as I did then which would spell the difference. After all, before becoming a saint, one was once a sinner. But never would such a one feel worthy of being called or considered good. Even Jesus Himself! (Mark 10:18).

In expressing myself through this writing, I was brought to think of the following: Does it really matter what people think of me? Or what God thinks of me is more important? Should it really bother me if I feel lonely or I’m mostly alone? Or better yet I’m different compared to the majority, hence the rejection or isolation? Would I still live up to the expectations of people and not God’s?  I have the answers inside me. But rest assured, I am not pushing the ‘me-against-the-world’ ideology. It’s just me wanting to break the mode of  placing people into boxes and leaving them there! And that goes for me as well; I’ve placed myself in my own box that’s why my life feels this way. That’s why I’m still stuck up in the past and in others’ definition of me. Before I forget, I’m also applying what I learned from a misunderstanding I had with 2 friends before: to stand up for myself and speak out my mind wisely. I guess this is it.

So hopefully, starting tonight, it would be different. May it be a beginning of a new story: one where I get to have the right perspective as I live not for men’s praise or approval but for God’s glory and cause!  I echo what Selena Gomez once said and I quote: “I’m not trying to get validation nor do I need it anymore.” I already have value, far precious than anything, that it caused my God His life and borne out of that loving sacrifice!

I am ready to lose myself.

Now, I am found.

Coming Clean

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Right above is a picture of me, literally buried in the tons of papers- college exam sheets, old notes, etc. I’ve collected through the years. Yes, I’m a garbage collector! But with divine help, I was able to let go many of them and finally throw them where they belong- the garbage can! With overcoming the sentimental value I attributed to some of them (or yes maybe it was most of them but I just couldn’t admit it), it felt like an achievement of a lifetime! Cleaning your room may be tiring but it sure brings you to many realizations for life!

(Laughs)

But seriously, the photo also symbolizes me. In all aspects of my life, I may have collected garbage which has trapped me in a rut. But praise God for He has rescued me time and time again. Through His precious blood, I am coming clean and I am made clean!

P.S. In line with this write-up, I would like to share my second video for my YouTube ministry which I shared in the post prior to this. Be blessed, dear reader now to become a dear viewer! 🙂

General Cleaning Day: “Failure is not Fatal”

 

Responding to the Call

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In my PYC uniform…

Background: I was really planning to write about my PYC experience in Iloilo which started last May 31, 2017. Due to circumstances that made me busy, I was not able to do so. But praise God, He really provides opportunities for me to do so and even more as there is also something I’m going to share, as a result of the PYC experience.

The PYC or Philippine Youth for Christ is an annual event attended by  Seventh-Day Adventist youth across the Philippines and even from countries nearby. It was my first time to attend and you can imagine my excitement.

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🙂

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Pastor Taj Pacleb: One of my favorite speakers….

During a span of days, my sister and I got to listen to very inspirational messages from the wonderful set of speakers, through plenary meetings or breakout sessions. The topics were indeed essential as they were about the very issues we, the youth, face. Though the schedule was tight for me, I still got to embrace the blessing the Word of God brought. Besides this,  the fellowship of brothers and sisters in the faith was strengthened through activities like group dynamics (I was a group facilitator BTW and I thank God for the task He gave me!) and mission outreach which I really enjoyed. (Oh how I intensely desire to share the full details of my whole experience to you, dear reader! But just so you know, my group belonged to the ‘Palit-Yosi’ ministry which was tasked to make exchanges of cigarettes with the fruits and biscuits we brought. We then had an additional work- the Jeep ministry which got us riding jeepneys where we sang, prayed for and gave tracts to the passengers. I just could not overemphasize how big of an impact we made in the city, all by the grace of God!) There was no doubt that with an atmosphere of heartfelt prayer and heavenly wisdom, almost everyone I believe was on a spiritual high. But it didn’t end there, it shouldn’t after all. It was clear that because The Appearing (which was the title of this year’s event, before I forget) is so near, that we as the Lord’s children and watchmen should do our part in the furtherance of the gospel, in preparing the world for the return of the “crucified, risen and soon-coming Savior!”

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Our smiles after serving the Lord…

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With my fellow medical students on the last night… #BeyondBlessed

Therefore, after the successful and historical PYC which blessed me beyond words, I found myself asking this question: “What do you want me to do now, Lord?” I have been serving the Lord somehow with my talents like writing through this blog and smiling while giving Bible tracts (yes, smiling is a talent! Haha). I was fueled up to do much more in God’s vineyard and I still am. And God, in His goodness, gave me the answer! It was revealed to me that with the means and skills He blessed me with, I could serve the Lord in YouTube! Since 2012, I have been making medical parody videos with the purpose of helping my batch mates back then in remembering stuff for exams. My talent in composing such was developed and a couple of my videos received heartwarming feedback from people around the globe. If I was able to inspire people this way, how much more using the Word of God? How much more with the wonderful words of life which could help anyone grow spiritually and be prepared for such perilous times our world is now in? Because after all,  our relationship with God is what truly matters most in the end. Not the number of followers or subscribers one has.  But how could it grow if we don’t share our faith?

Hence,  with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I was able to do an introductory video plus my first one for this endeavor which God has called me to! It is with utmost humility and sincere earnestness that I ask you, dear reader, to please check out these two videos by clicking the links below. And if you feel blessed or inspired after watching them, your subscription would mean the world to me! Thank you…

Another Ministry Begins (Post PYC Revealing)

Independence Day: Freedom in Christ

P.S. Forgive me for videos are not that HQ! If you check out my other channel (the one with the med parodies), you can see how Jurassic my first videos were! (Laughs) But what matters is that you get the message, my friend!

Little, Sweet Reminders

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Forgive the blur. But this is a recent portrait of me: a LOVED HUMAN who is a FIGHTER!

 

BACKGROUND: It’s been a while since I last wrote in my blog! Well, as some of you dear readers know, med school happened and that means more time spent in academic stuff than blogging. But earlier this morning, during my daily devotional time, the message struck me and I had the urgent need to share my heart out. Despite the fact that it’s hell week as some would consider it (it’s the last week of classes BTW= yehey!!), I’m glad to have this moment of keeping my fingers busy. After all, I need a simple break from all the studying and I can’t deny it; I miss doing this!

THE ESSENTIALS: So the message was to “remind the people” and in the process that I was reminded of such a task, it would bring much bearing if I don’t keep to myself these reminders that are worthy to be shared to the world especially for times like these:

  1. You are loved. By God. By family. By friends. By someone.

After experiencing some challenges recently (in all aspects from sickness to stress to failure), I was able to see a clearer picture of God’s love for me. Sometimes, when life is smooth and everything seems to go well, we lose sight of what we have. We tend to forget the Lord and we fail to appreciate His love for us as we set our eyes on other things that seek our affection. That’s why maybe He allows trials to come our way so that this would not happen. And yet during such times, His love endures and sustains us. It is His love that causes Him to heal our infirmities, that keeps us going in the journey He’s called us (in my case, to continue studying though I feel like giving up), that brings us back to Him after we’ve hurt or failed Him constantly. And you know what I like about His love is that it is expressed in so many ways. Like through the people around you, whom He can use to bless you or mold you. Or just the simple necessities we take for granted: food, water, air, clothing.

And let us not forget Calvary. Oh, just to think how the Son of God was more than willing to give His life as a ransom for sinful man! Every time I meditate on this, it is just so overwhelming! Such a reminder is enough fuel for me to make the best out of my life, to live for Him out of earnest love and deepest gratitude. How about you?

2. You can do this! Through Christ Who gives you strength. (Phil. 4:13)

Being a medical student is such a great privilege but most of the time, it may be a burden with all the responsibilities and expectations laid on you. It is inevitable to be overwhelmed with the stock of knowledge to be dealt with in the absence of luxury of time. And I believe that some would even sacrifice their health or family time just to compensate. Well, this does not hold true for future doctors. In this fast paced world where competition thrives and selfish ambition rules, it is easy to give in to hopelessness, fear and loss of confidence. We are all prone to wear out and give up. But as cliche as this sounds, may this adage remind why you can achieve your goals and pursue your dreams no matter what: “If God puts you to it, He will put you through it.”

3. You are human. With limitations. With weaknesses. But with passions and necessities.

Somehow linked to the second reminder, there’s indeed more to life than just studying. Or whatever it is that we’re bound to do, wherever God called us. In order to keep a striking balance, let us not forget that we also have other needs. Giving ourselves a break by participating in sports, music, art, etc. or just indulging in a sweet treat- these can make all the difference. (Look at me now; I could have studied Pathology but I still feel equally fulfilled with this writing!)

So I guess that’s about it! Just three simple reminders. For myself. For you. For the whole jaded world.