When you no longer want to be a doctor

You’ve probably met the type. Still a doctor in training, he might have said something like, “My mom would love to have a doctor in the family,” or, “My dad, a respected surgeon, wants me to follow in his footsteps.” Either way, you could hear what wasn’t spoken: He wasn’t really into medicine.

reluctant doctor

Or maybe he’s you.

Maybe you’re that med student who doesn’t have a clue about his life. Yes, you can ace each test because – let’s face it – you’re smart. You’ve got the brains, sure, but you just don’t have the heart, and you’re simply going through the motions, hoping against hope that you will one day learn to love the one thing you don’t – just because you’re good at it, just because everyone else says it’s your destiny.

Maybe you enrolled in medical school because you really wanted to heal the sick… except that for some strange reason, you no longer want to.

You will find it hard to say what’s in your heart. Admitting what you truly feel – out loud, with conviction, like a truth that can no longer be ignored once it has been pointed out – feels like a sin.

I don’t actually want to be a doctor. Ugh, no, for some reason, you can’t say it.

“You should be thankful that you have the resources to study medicine. Think of everyone else who would have been glad to be in your shoes! Your parents worked hard to get you here – don’t ruin it.” Yep, they’ll think it, and they’ll even say it.

Oddly enough, it seems that you are the only person who doesn’t know what to do with your life. Your aunt, neighbor, teacher, and mother’s bestie’s cousin’s doctor-buddy all seem to know you’re meant to finish medicine.

Hold on. Maybe you know what to do with your life. Or maybe you don’t, but you know what you don’t want to do. But you’re already a med student/ intern/ resident/ consultant. You’re here, smack in the middle of a situation you can’t seem to get out of without earning a few disapproving stares, and everything you feel can be summarized by one word: stuck.

 


5 easy steps to control weight gain

You just got off work. You were having a bad day at work, which would explain why you ate too much ice cream and drank more coffee than usual. Tired, you’re not looking forward to the 7PM traffic. You’re looking particularly stressed: People have been asking you why you look older, not to mention heavier.

This is your life. These are your choices. Nobody is twisting your arm to do things you don’t want to do.

So, why do you feel like you’re not in control anymore?

Julian Alvarez Garcia“We get the feeling that our life doesn’t belong to us [if we live unhealthy lives],” said Dr. Julian Alvarez Garcia, founding member of the Spanish Association of Specialists in Sports and Physical Education Medicine, during the Philippine leg of the 2016 Herbalife Asia-Pacific Wellness Tour.

He also said gaining unwanted weight was a sign that a person was losing control of his own life.

Ouch. That hit home for me. How about you?


The fear I thought I could never conquer (and how I eventually did)

“Do you know that more people are afraid of public speaking than of death?”

I bet it was supposed to reassure me. It didn’t.

I was talking to a company executive about how I used to be afraid to speak onstage when he shared that bit of trivia, probably hoping it would make me feel better. Instead, it brought back cringe-worthy memories: my voice cracking when I spoke in front of my Leadership Journey teammates, my knees threatening to buckle during a summit on health and social media, and my smile – my quivering, obviously-contrived smile – that failed miserably to mask my phobia.

Fear. Nothing compares to the paralyzing, gut-wrenching helplessness we all feel when we have to do something we’re afraid of.

On the other hand, nothing compares to the feeling we get when we finally conquer one of our greatest fears… which, by the way, I did.

 

Hold your tongue, hold your career

I have always been afraid of public speaking. Take a hint from the fact that I chose writing – in contrast to speaking – about health.

My phobia didn’t rear its ugly head until I was in my thirties. Before then, I was just too busy trying to survive a developmental disorder, a family tragedy that literally threatened our sanity, and a career choice I had second thoughts about.

Years passed and I mostly outgrew my attention deficit. My father, diagnosed with a psychiatric condition, got better. As for my career, I finally listened to my calling.

It was when these existential storms had passed when many fears started to appear, unmasked by the lack of more urgent matters to attend to. Or perhaps God grew tired of how comfortable my life had become, which was why He threw me a curveball.

Either way, I started to dread speaking in public.

I did everything to avoid public speaking, even if it meant hurting – and downright stalling – my career.

If you’re reading this because you’re afraid of public speaking as well, I hope that this will help you take meaningful steps to conquering your speech anxiety. I can tell you, fellow glossophobe, that it’s worth the trouble.


Dengue Vaccine FAQs for Doctors

Is the dengue vaccine safe? Is it effective? What happens if a patient receives only one dose instead of the recommended three? Can it be given to a two-year-old?

Because of its novelty, the dengue vaccine is the subject of many pressing questions, not to mention heated arguments. Even doctors who have been practicing for decades still have queries about the dengue vaccine, which is why coming up with a few informal FAQs have become a priority for me.

dengue vaccine FAQs

I know you must be so confused, what with the Department of Health having procured the vaccine for 1 million children in a three-billion-peso vaccine program despite still-ongoing trials (ethics in research and politics, anyone?), so let’s take a look behind the curtain and find out all that we can about the first-ever dengue vaccine: CYD-TDV (brand name Dengvaxia by Sanofi Pasteur).

 

Question #1: Is the dengue vaccine safe?

Because of the dichotomy of opinion on the subject of safety, the best people to ask this are those who have nothing to gain from the dengue vaccine – those who happen to be experts on epidemiology and evidence-based medicine.


Health through ballet: a pro weighs the pros and cons

Tutus, ballet shoes, leotards – I've worn all of them at one point in my life and I bet that many of you females out there have, too! Of course, I wear them only because they look great… not because I dance ballet.

Ballet Manila“Should I learn to do arabesques and pirouettes? Is ballet a great way to stay limber and fit, or is it too painful an art form?” I asked myself as I stared with awe at ballet posters in Aliw Theater.

Too many questions – and who better to enlighten me than the first Filipina to become a prima ballerina, Miss Lisa Macuja-Elizalde? (Spoiler: I'm also giving away one month’s worth of free classes at Ballet Manila!)


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