30 November 2017

A Thanksgiving Surprise

Leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday last week, I knew that Scott would be working nights at the hospital all week long. One of our good friends that is in the same residency program as Scott knew that he would be working nights. He and his wife suggested that together we surprise Scott at the hospital with a full Thanksgiving meal. Best. Friends. Ever!

Thanksgiving is Scott's favorite holiday, so I knew he would be bummed if he didn't get to celebrate it the way he loves - with football, food, and family. We can't do much about the family part when we are at the end of his medical residency over 2,000 miles away from where all his family was getting together. But we could make sure he got football and food!

As the day approached, Scott asked me what my plans were for his favorite day of the year. I bluffed. I told him that I was going to spend the day at a friends house. This particular friend really did invite me to spend the day, but I already knew at that point that we would be surprising Scott at the hospital so I had declined. Scott took the lie, and with a pathetic frown told me he was happy that I would be eating with friends on HIS favorite holiday. What a sucker! Really, I'm surprised that Scott believed me at all, but I guess I was pretty convincing.

All week Scott went to work around 5:00 Pm and returned home around 7:30 Am to sleep. Most days he slept until just before he needed to go into work again. Some days he would wake up a little earlier, because he had found some sleep time between admissions at the hospital. He would use that time to work out or get caught up on emails and notes.

On Thursday, I was in full cooking mode. I made pie, cranberry sauce, rolls, turkey breast on the bone, and stuffing. Our most excellent friends made potatoes, sweet potatoes, and pie too.

Meanwhile on Thursday morning, Scott went from the in-patient service, to the OB floor to induce a pregnant patient, and then... to a turkey bowl football game. Priorities, of course. When he came home, he laid on the couch and said he was going to watch football and if he "happened to fall asleep" that was okay. Yeah, right! He was exhausted but it's not like he's capable of falling asleep during football on Thanksgiving. He didn't say anything as I was busy in the kitchen, but later he mentioned that he was thinking to himself - "Why is Katie cooking everything when she was invited to someone else's Thanksgiving dinner?"

When the time came, Scott left home to deliver a Thanksgiving baby. Our friends and I went over to the hospital to set up the Thanksgiving feast in the in-patient residency room. When Scott arrived, with his cafeteria take-out container, he was legit surprised! The table spread was pretty impressive, and we had even turned on the residency room TV to a football game before he came in.

He kept saying all night how grateful he was for friends and me, that we would take the time to do this special treat for him. We all shared how grateful we were to have been directed to this residency and each other. For hours, we stuffed our faces with the most fantastic food until we couldn't possibly eat any more. Then after a brief pause for digesting, and some dessert, we left Scott to watch football and take care of his admissions for the night.

Like my friends reflected that night - feasting in the hospital was the best possible way we could have spent our last Thanksgiving during residency in Wisconsin! It was a Thanksgiving to remember.

25 October 2017

Life Snapshot: October 25

Hard Eight in Roanoke, TX with the Lansfords
Wisconsin Tidbits: If you're looking for an excellent bed and breakfast in Door County, Wisconsin look no further than Garden Gate Bed & Breakfast. Door County has been on our bucket list since we moved to Milwaukee, and while we didn't quite time the fall foliage right, we did have a relaxing trip with wonderful eats.

What I'm Reading: The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (highly recommend the audiobook)

Part of My Spiritual Study: Christlike Attribute Activity from Preach My Gospel

On the Telly: Poldark, Season 3 (finished via PBS Passport)

Favorite Eats: Edy's Slow Churned Strawberry Ice Cream (never has strawberry ice cream tasted SO GOOD!)

Dr. Hubs: DrH is a traveling machine recently. It is fellowship central over here right now. By next month, he will have interviewed at 10 different Sports Medicine Fellowship programs. If you ever find yourself in the fellowship match process and want advice, we're full of opinions now. 

Goal for Next Week: Recognize when I'm overwhelmed and need to stop and listen (mantra: Proverbs 3: 5-6)

My favorite moment from this last week: Traveling to Texas with Scott while he interviewed, then spending time with cherished friends and family. We had the best hosts, and while I didn't feel like we were able to spend adequate time with anyone, it was a blessing to give them all hugs and get a little caught up on each others' lives. 

On My Mind: The Young Women were learning about Christlike attributes this month and as usual the first lesson of the month had us go through the above linked activity where we gauged how we felt we are doing that day in each of those areas. I started to realize as we were going through the questions, that Christlike attributes are not obtained, like on a checklist, but you have to constantly work for all of them. I came to this realization because I totally expected to be lacking in patience and charity, which I was, but did not expect for humility scores to be at an all time low.

Then throughout the last couple of weeks, I've received eye opening reminders that I'm not listening or being humble - like that time when I was frustrated and damaged a garage. Yeah, that wasn't good. Or the time when I felt a prompting last week and didn't act on it. Then realized later I was needed. #facepalm

I'm human, but I want to be better than that.

22 September 2017

Life Snapshot: September 22

Graffiti reads "Please don't litter.
Greenfield is not your Garbage Can!"
Graffiti = okay; litter, not so much.
Wisconsin Tidbits: Merriment Social - go here for the dumplings, stay because everything else is delicious! Scott is a major fan of dumplings, usually from Chinese restaurants. But Merriment Social, downtown at Walker's Point, has convinced me that I need to start making my own dumplings in a variety of flavors. When we went we had bacon cheeseburger dumplings, pea and potato with garlic aoili, and a goat cheese dumpling (which I did not eat because I'm not a fan of the after taste of goat cheese). During happy hour they have $1 dumplings.

What I'm Reading: Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Part of My Spiritual Study: Finishing up the Book of Mormon as part of the Young Women Virtue Project from New Beginnings.
Church Calling: Young Women President, also was just asked to play the organ during the adult session of our Fall stake conference. *insert wide eyes emoji*

On the Telly: (Or more like, on the computer. Thanks, FOX.com!) Logan + Allison Top 8 SYTYCD

Dr. Hubs: DrH has been surprised that even though we submitted his fellowship application in July, most programs around the country haven't even reviewed applications yet. He applied to 17 programs and has 6 scheduled interviews as of this week, but we expect to hear more in the next two weeks. Until then, he's working at the hospital in clinic, at a nursing home, going to didactic sessions every Wednesday, and is on various two week rotations. He just finished two weeks of nights, which I'm hoping means he doesn't have to do any more this year. Third year is feeling more like real life than when Scott was an intern doing 80 hour weeks every week and not caught up on anything.

My favorite moment from this last week: My friend Amy had a birthday this week, and so a bunch of us girls went to see Home Again at the theater. I can't say I loved the movie (darn ending!), but I do LOVE all my friends here in Wisconsin!

On My Mind: Is it just me, or does everyone laugh a little when hanging up a work call? I started noticing this week, that when I'm the one ending a business call I give a little chuckle before saying something like, "Okay, talk to you later," or "Have a good day." Nothing is funny. It's almost like a subconscious gesture to lighten the mood at the end of a service call. Weird. 

30 August 2017

Wisconsin Love: Farm Views

Approaching third year of residency, we realized that this could potentially be the last summer we would be living full-time in Wisconsin. Scott is applying for sports medicine fellowships that following a successful match will unfortunately take us out of state. From there it is always a possibility that we could return, but the current plan to settle out West.

We have LOVED our time in Wisconsin. We believe that it truly was divine intervention that brought us here, when we had only considered programs west of the Mississippi during the residency match process. The residency program has been astounding and exactly what Scott needed, we've made life long friends, and I found the perfect job for me to take with me wherever I go. Not to mention the wonderful adventures and lovely quirks of Wisconsin that we have come to adore.

So as an ode to Wisconsin and to remember the long list of things we've loved here, I will be posting throughout the next year some of the things we will miss most. And if the match doesn't go well and we continue to stay here for awhile, I'll continue to post Wisconsin love... but let's be optimistic for a match, okay?

First on my list of Wisconsin loves, is this view:

Stepping Stone Farms

Red barns, silos, chicken coops, and herds of cows have a surprisingly calming effect on me. It's like I've traveled back to a time of slow days, early morning milkings, walking miles to little a school house, riding horse and buggy, barn raises and square dancing.
Old World Wisconsin Historic Site
It's an image that when seen frequently on the road makes me sigh, relax my shoulders, and take life in stride.

14 August 2017

4 Tips for Your DrH Sports Medicine (FM) Fellowship Application

I am crossing my fingers that we never have to go through another match process after this fellowship match! This match game creates anxiety for both me and DrH. Luckily for you, you can learn from our mistakes and hopefully have a smoother experience applying for Sports Medicine Fellowships.

Here are four tips you need to know before starting your fellowship application. Keep in mind that the process may change from year to year, and that my DrH applied to the primary care fellowship which may have different requirements from other specialties. 

Tip #1: Know The Timeline
Assuming your DrH will be participating in the ERAS Fellowship Application and NRMP match, you'll want to understand the timeline for applications. This year, the application opened up in June. This means that in June, DrH can start sending Letter of Recommendation requests and inputting CV information, but the application cannot be submitted until July.

Another note from this year, is that while an applicant could technically press the submit button on July 6, 2017, applications aren't actually sent to programs until July 15. In other words, all applications submitted between July 6-15 arrive in the hands of fellowship coordinators and directors at the same time. Programs interview only 10-12 applicants out of the 100 or so applications they receive. So while the deadline for application submission is in the fall (Sept/Oct), It seems like it's in your DrH best interest to plan to submit the application in early July.

UPDATE 9/14/17: From our experience so far, most programs review applications in September/October and interview in October/November, though DrH did get a few early interview offers that were scheduled in August/September/October. This year the rank order list deadline is December 13, so interviews must be over by that point. 

Tip#2: Request More than 3 Letters of Recommendation (LoR)
Many programs ask that you submit at least three LoRs, and some programs want those LoRs to be from specific individuals (like program director, two physicians who have supervised DrH in clinic, or an orthopedic surgeon). You'll want to look at individual program application requirements which can either be found on the program's website or in the program information when you search for programs (some programs don't list requirements at all). Note that after LoR are uploaded by the author, the system takes some time to process those letters (up to 5 business days). While letters can not be included in the initial application submission unless they are uploaded and processed, you can "apply" them to previously submitted applications once the LoR is finally complete. 

Because our LoR authors experienced some technical difficulty in uploading their letters, DrH had to choose between submitting incomplete applications on-time or submitting a full application to programs late. He chose to submit on-time and email programs about the forthcoming documents. 
That being said, I would recommend asking for more letters than needed in the event that something like this technical delay occurs. Talk to those LoR authors in the end of May/beginning of June to confirm that they have enough experience with you to feel comfortable writing a positive recommendation. Then, send out the LoR requests as soon as the application opens in June, and send reminders if the LOR isn't uploaded by the end of June/first days of July.

Tip #3: Include Conferences, Event Coverage, and Elective Rotations as "Experience"
Instead of uploading your DrH's curriculum vitae (CV) as an attachment to your application, ERAS has you create a CV type document that will become the application. This includes filling out sections on personal information, education, experience, among other fields. While the ERAS instructions don't explicitly say to do this, based on AMSSM recommendations, sports medicine fellow applicants should include conference attendance, event coverage information, and related elective rotations in the experience section on the application. More up to date recommendations about what to include in sections of the ERAS application are listed on the AMSSM Fellow website

Tip #4: Provide Signed Code of Ethics Form
Many programs may consider the application incomplete until they have received a signed AMSSM Fellowship Code of Ethics form, which is odd really, because there's no place that we found to include it in the ERAS application. We recommend being proactive and sending that signed form by email to program coordinators after the application is submitted in early July. That way there's nothing holding them back from reviewing your application and offering your DrH an interview.

Not a tip, but so you're aware here is a list of fees we had to pay for the application alone:
- The application "token", which allows your DrH to start inputting information into the ERAS/EFDO application tools, will cost around $115. 
- Requested transcript and MPSE from DrH's medical school, which cost DrH $12
- When you finally submit to programs, the fee total will be based on how many programs applied to and there will also be one time fees for transcripts. You can see the breakdown of fees here. If you happen to submit to a second set of applications after already applying once, you do not have to pay the transcript fees again, AND the system will take into account the number of applications previously submitted.
Total, we spent close to $350.

We're planning on this being an expensive year with visiting rotations and interviews: airfare, transportation, and lodging all over the country. Another reason why I'm not eager to do this match process again anytime soon. 

02 August 2017

I'm a Mormon

One Sunday, while Scott was working in inpatient last month, I went over to a friend's home where they were having Family Home Evening with their kids. I was invited to come over by one of the Young Women in their home, because she had made lemon bars as treats (she's an expert lemon bar creator, by the way). The oldest daughter in the family is preparing to go on a mission for our church to Armenia, and so she had an assignment to fill out a profile on Mormon.org and the entire family decided to participate along with her. So after listening to a spiritual thought, we each took a template document and started answer questions about who we are, what we believe, and how we live our religion. It was an interesting exercise, because I don't think I've necessarily put into words before why I choose to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or how I live my religion.

So I came home and wrote it up for official submission on the website.

You can look my Mormon.org profile by clicking here.

Though I've tried to update it, the picture I submitted for my profile appears a little blurry on the full website. I recommend reading on the mobile site version. 

14 July 2017

Life Snapshot: July 14

Oh, you know... just that one time we went to
Erin Hills for the US Open on 6.17.17
Wisconsin Tidbits: If you're looking for a jaunt in nature while in Milwaukee, I would definitely recommend Lapham Peak. The parking fee is minimal (especially if you have a state park annual pass, which we don't), and there are lots of trails with various levels of difficulty. We took a pretty easy trail that went by the butterfly garden and observation tower. It was a beautiful day for a walk and the trail we chose was mostly paved, so it was an easy summer stroll.

What I'm Reading: I've been reading the Anne of Green Gables series this summer, which I thought I had done before. However, as I've been reading through each book in sequence, I realized that in my more twitterpated days I must have only read the books that related to Gilbert courting Anne. *tsk tsk, young Katie. 

Part of My Spiritual Study: This BYU Speech by Eva Witesman was really well researched and worded

On the Telly: Grantchester Season 3 + Minimalism

Favorite Eats: Watermelon - all day, every day. Let it be crunchy and sweet!

Dr. Hubs: DrH is officially in his final year of residency! Although, it's starting off on a rough month. In addition to being "the senior" helping new intern family medicine residents become familiar with the inpatient service at the hospital, he is trying to piece together his sports medicine fellowship application. I'm pretty sure his body is going to take a hit this month from stress and sleep deprivation. 

My favorite moment from this last week: Our very good friends from residency moved into our apartment complex in June, and in the last two months I cannot count the number of times I've thought "why didn't we do this sooner?!" Every couple of days, their young toddler will waddle over to our home, just kitty-corner to theirs, and bang on our door with his full fist. When we open the door and look down, he'll ask if 'Cott can come out and play (he doesn't say S very well). This week, just before I was about to start a work skype call, I heard that tell-tale thumping at our door. When I told the little tyke that I couldn't come out to play for another hour, he said, "An HOUR?!" but finally agreed and waddled back home. I think I will probably look back on this final year of residency as my absolute favorite - partly because I hope to spend more time with DrH this year, but mostly because of our friends living next door. 

Goal for Next Week: Do you ever wish that days were more simple, and that time would just stretch out forever like when you were a kid enjoying summer? Summer is moving by so quickly and I catch myself making it go by so much faster in my mind. I wake up in the mornings with my to do list running through my thoughts and all of a sudden my shoulders get scrunched up and I have a hard time focusing on my morning scripture study. After watching the Minimalism documentary on Netflix this week, I was reminded that meditation has been helpful in the past. So I broke out my Headspace app and am starting up the free basic guided meditation course again. More meditation is the prescription this week. If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears.

02 June 2017

Residency Update: Preparing for Fellowship

Years ago I wrote a post about prepping for a career in Sports Medicine, and I admitted in the post that it was likely too early to be writing a "how to" post considering that at the time DrH was only in his second year of med school. This post is it's sequel, and writing this is making me rethink my post titles. Instead of Part 1 being "How To Pursue a Career in Sports Medicine," a more apt title would be "Path from Medical School to Sports Medicine" or "How to Distinguish Yourself as a Sports Medicine Candidate in Medical School." Then Part 2 could be "Path from Residency to Sports Medicine Fellowship," with maybe a subtitle of "How to Speed Date at the Fellowship Fair." Anyone is welcome to submit other suggested titles for consideration.

I should say that the longer I've followed Scott on this journey and listened to the stories of others, the more I realize that our path has not been a standard one. In fact, I'm not sure that there is a standard path to sports medicine. It all depends on what direction or specialization you want for your career and how ambitious you are to get there if you don't have someone providing a schedule of opportunities for you.

That being said, I still feel like the Part 1 post is accurate and includes helpful links. If you or your DrH is interested in pursuing a Sports Medicine fellowship, the ticket is demonstrating early on that the student/resident is interested in a fellowship by participating in sideline experience, research, clubs, and electives.

AMSSM 2017 Fellowship Fair
Now that my DrH is ending his second year of residency, he finally got the chance to attend the annual conference of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. As a side note, I asked DrH if he wished he had gone to the conference and fair during his first year as a resident (PGY1) and he gave a resounding yes! It would have provided him with extra motivation and direction on how to approach applying for fellowship. It also would have meant more time to casually talk to a variety of fellowships long before he would have felt the need to have his opinions finalized for the approaching fellowship application period.

For six years now, the AMSSM annual conference has included a fellowship fair where programs from across the United States are invited to have a booth for a VERY LIMITED amount of time on one of the final days of the conference to answer questions about their program. At this fair in 2017 there were over 100 programs represented in a large hotel conference room. Each program manned a booth (seen to the left) for one hour in the morning, 30 minutes around lunch, and 30 minutes before the close of the day. Don't be fooled into thinking that those are misprinted times. Conference staff will shew anyone out of the room when the allotted time for program mingling is up. *My fingers are crossed for you that this changes in the future, and they instead give you a half day or full day to meet the programs.

To add to DrH's tight schedule of program speed-dating, he had signed up for the conference's student and resident specific workshop on "How to Apply, Interview and Match Well" which happened to be scheduled at the same time as the first hour of the fellowship fair. Seriously, conference organizers?! During the first entire half of the fair, many of the potential fellows were tied up in a different room getting advice on the impending application.

Still, DrH was determined to talk to all of his favorite programs. The night before the fair, he prioritized a list of program visits to maximize time in getting his face in front of those representatives. He got up early the day of the fair so he could try to catch programs before and after the application workshop (which he said was helpful, but nothing that was said was surprising), and tried to get into the fair early and stay late, when possible, for the shorter afternoon sessions.

All in all, he talked to 17 programs. SEVENTEEN! I honestly don't know how he did that. The night before I was thinking, "how many programs can you have a conversation with in one hours total time? Five to ten, maybe." I wasn't physically watching him, so I don't know if all 17 conversations were meaningful or seemed to leave a positive impression on the programs; but knowing DrH's personality I would imagine that they were fun, casual visits. Slow clap for DrH!

So now DrH is fine tuning his CV, writing his personal statement (several different versions, because apparently the workshop recommended to make it less of a letter of intent and use less cliche stories), and requesting letters of recommendation from AMSSM physicians that he has worked with during residency. He's also scheduling two-week visit rotations with two top fellowship programs for this fall. Fellowship applications open up in June but aren't submitted until July. Then after the application period closes in September he will (fingers crossed) start to receive many, many interview offers. The fellowship match (yep, another one of those algorithm love connections) happens in January 2018.

We'll keep you posted.

26 May 2017

Slow Clapping for Goodness

Scott's usual choice: The Tyler (sometimes it's not the menu,
but luckily the staff always remembers the combo)
We are regulars at ModPizza here in Wisconsin. They draw you in with the concept of build your own artisan, brick oven pizza, but you stay for the marionberry lemonade. I mean, seriously, sometimes we go just because we crave the lemonade. It's THAT good! Every time we dine at this fine franchise, we order the exact same thing - not due to a lack of amazing choices. It's only that we discovered the perfect individualized combinations.

The last time we went to ModPizza, Scott took his first bite of pizza, and with a deep sigh said, "Do you think it would appropriate for us to clap for them on our way out?" He would have too, if when we finished eating in and left I hadn't forced him to hold our to-go cup of marionberry lemonade.

We've been slow clapping a lot around our house lately. On Instagram, I follow The Bucket List Family (if you haven't heard their story, here's a little background). Obviously I love travel, so scoping out the pictures of their luxurious adventures is a no-brainer. Also their story is fascinating - I don't think I would choose the same job/lifestyle, but there are days where I like to pretend that I could get paid to vacation. Hmm...

Anyway, The Bucket List Family has been partnering with Airbnb a lot lately, and when Airbnb hosted them at a dream home in Hawaii, the family mentioned that you can create a wishlist on Airbnb. Whaaaat?! So of course, I immediately went to create an account and add that Hawaii water slide party home to the list of places I'd love to visit someday (preferably with lots of friends who could split the bill).

Once I started digging into the site, I realized that Airbnb hosts not only offer homes or rooms to rent, but you can now find hosts for experiences in those places where you are traveling. I mean, who knew that we could have gotten a graffiti lesson while we were in NYC last fall? Or that one could walk through the Louvre with an art historian/stand-up comedian?! {Calling all Southeast Alaska peeps: You need to get some experiences populated! I couldn't find one in Sitka, Juneau, or Ketchikan!}

EVEN better, though... non-profits are encouraged to host social impact experiences where 100% of the profits from that experience go to the charity host. Let's all give a slow clap for Airbnb. Nicely done, Airbnb. Nicely. Done. 

And a slow clap to The Bucket List Family, for introducing me to this new internet rabbit hole of endless possibilities. 

12 April 2017

Life Snapshot: April 12

Hale House Fish Fry Friday was delish!
Wisconsin Tidbits: Firstly, we tried out the Fish Fry at Hale House and really enjoyed it. Our favorite fish fry is still at St. Martin's Inn, but we declare Hale House to be foodie delicious and plan to visit again.

Secondly, every year, for only a few days (as long as cut flowers can survive), the Milwaukee Art Museum invites florists to create, using flowers, twigs, and other natural materials, a center piece under the inspiration of one work in the current exhibit. They call this show Art in Bloom, and I had the opportunity to go this year with a friend to check it out. If you haven't seen my Instagram photos, you should checkout the museum's website to see some of the judge favorites. I've never seen floral work like that before, and I could have enjoyed it for hours. Some people are so talented!

What I'm Reading: Freefall, I went to a formal wedding reception recently and was seated at the Mormon friends table. It was an excellent moment in introverted day my when I discovered that the ladies sitting next to me were readers (hey there, instant conversation!). When I asked what they would recommend, Freefall topped their list. Having now finished the book, I have second thoughts about the rest of their recommendations.

Part of My Spiritual Study: The April 2017 General Conference talks were just released on the LDS Library app, so I am tagging away. Also I'm reading scriptures in Mosiah as part of the Young Women Virtue Project from New Beginnings.
Church Calling: Young Women's President in my ward

On the Telly: A Man Called Ove (watched this movie yesterday with my book club, available on Amazon Prime)

Favorite Eats: Siggi's Yogurt - thick, not-too-sweet creamy, probiotic goodness is what it is.

Dr. Hubs: Dr. Chandler is in his final months of PGY2, which is a crazy thought! He is nervous about the responsibility to emcee the residency graduation in June, but ignoring those feelings for the most part because this month he has an elective rotation in Sports Medicine. He's eating all these athletic injuries and injections up, especially after PYT! (One too many acronyms?) 

My favorite moment from this last week: We watched a friends' pugs for a couple days, and it is hilarious to me how much Scott enjoys animals. He would walk in the door from work, and yell "Puppies!" Of course, the dogs would come running from wherever they were, and Scott would start wrestling and playing. After a couple minutes, Scott would try to force them to cuddle with him. The dogs were never quite on his cuddling schedule, but they did have their moments.

I have a very special, secret audio recording of Scott having a conversation with these pugs. If anyone wants to share with me the best way to post this voice memo from my iPhone, I will gladly let you all in on this hilarious animal lovin'. Or just text me to request a copy - guaranteed chuckling will ensue. 

29 March 2017

Hugs are For the Comforter

I'm no expert. I can't say what's good or normal in grieving, but I can tell you that it has felt good to be distracted and it felt worse, with all the feelings reemerging, when I was hugged. There's something about receiving sympathy that has made me feel worse. I've been pondering that phenomenon a bit in the past few weeks, trying to understand why my emotions flare when someone is trying to offer me sympathy. This may not be universally true, but right now it seems to me like hugs only benefit the comforter.

Remember when I vowed to be more open about our fertility journey? Well, I had the opportunity to try that out recently. The last instruction we received from the fertility clinic here in Milwaukee was to come back for monitoring once I had the next positive pregnancy test in hand to test and follow the beginning of the pregnancy until it was safe to establish with an OB/GYN. In February, when my period didn't come as usual and basal body temperatures remained high, I took a pregnancy test and discovered that I was in fact pregnant. I called up the fertility clinic, and they had me come in to draw blood for labs to test my HCG and progesterone levels.

Knowing that I would want prayers of family and some close friends, Scott and I told a few family members and friends that we were pregnant, and that we could use some positive vibes as we tried to figure out what may be causing my miscarriages.

The fertility clinic drew blood on a Tuesday, started me on progesterone suppositories and baby aspirin on Wednesday and drew blood again on Thursday. When the resulting levels didn't increase as much as was expected in those few days, an ultrasound was scheduled.

Scott was able to come to my first ultrasound because he happened to have the day off. The reproductive endocrinologist performed the transvaginal ultrasound and found the yoke sac, corpus luteum, and no signs of an ectopic pregnancy. Per the measurements, I appeared to be around 4 weeks and 6 days. The reproductive endocrinologist suggested that the next time I come back into the office would be the following week for another ultrasound. There would be no other blood tests in between.

That Sunday following the ultrasound I had a little spotting, but I reminded myself that spotting can be normal. I started talking to the baby to calm my own anxiety and try to think positively about the pregnancy.

On Tuesday, there was fresh red blood, but no cramping. When I called the fertility clinic they said to call if cramping began or I passed any clots, but otherwise continue with the progesterone. The bleeding stopped and my anxiety dissipated.

When the reproductive endocrinologist asked me at my second ultrasound how I was feeling, I said "better." I was feeling calm and optimistic. Even though I was initially stressing over spotting and temperature dips, those symptoms had improved and the pregnancy felt different from past miscarriages.

The ultrasound showed that the yolk sac hadn't grown at all. It still measured at 4 weeks and 6 days. The ultrasound was over in only a couple minutes. As I tried to catch my bearings, the reproductive endocrinologist sat in her swivel chair in front of me, reviewing my chart for anything she may have missed. She recommended that I connect with a specialist in Tennessee who had extensive experience with recurrent miscarriages. She said, "By touching base with this specialist, at least you can say that you've tried everything you can do." It was reassuring to have one more thing I could try.

Emotionally I was a wreck the day of that second ultrasound. After the doctor left my room and told me I could take my time, I took her up on that offer and spent extra time in the exam room composing myself. When I came out in the hallway, there was a nurse... with her puppy dog sympathy eyes, knowing the outcome and feeling sad for me. Had it not been for that expression, I may have been able to make the drive home and get in my apartment before bawling my eyes out.

Instead, I cried silent tears through the hospital and on my drive, then cried some more on my bed at home and developed an awful headache. When I got up to get tissues and water and found my blotchy red eyes in the mirror, I knew I didn't want to feel this way for long. Crying didn't make me feel any less sad or any less pain. 

Surprisingly, part of my discovery in examining how I feel this time around, is that I don't feel any additional pain because we had to also inform family and friends of the miscarriage. This has been my excuse for not informing others during the trial, as I assumed that family would get overly excited at an announcement, and it would only add to my pain to feel responsible for communicating the loss with others. Instead, I've appreciated everyone's texts and prayers. It certainly helped that everyone was very considerate when I said I didn't want to talk those first few days after the second ultrasound. Over all I feel like communicating during this trial may have helped me to feel closer and more grateful for those relationships.

But hugs... they're out, for now.

19 March 2017

Charitable Thoughts

In church today, a women who was speaking in Sacrament Meeting talked of caring for the poor and needy. Though I know it wasn't the speaker's intention, just saying that phrase, "poor and needy" brought to my mind the image of a ladies club straight out of The Help - sitting around, feeling superior, devising plans that they believe will best solve the needs of whoever is below them. As someone who works in the non-profit world, though I'm very familiar with the idea of caring for under-served populations, I felt a little wake up call that I need to do a better job of seeing people as persons, rather than a label or project to fix per my specifications.

It reminded me of this March Madness State Farm Neighborhood of Good commercial that has been playing frequently during timeouts. It may just be me, living in the world of charities, but I've been feeling lately what this ad portrays - having the needs of more groups come to my attention, stick with me throughout my week, and wishing I could do more to make a difference in the world.

The ad's closing statement, "Let's turn caring into doing" is what brought it back to my memory during church today. Though, I was thinking about more of the opposite effect- turning charity back into caring - not just about caring about a cause, but caring about individuals, their feelings, and asking what they need.

Faith and living my religion is an important part of my life. I turn to faith and religious values to guide my decisions, priorities, and relationships. I seek spiritual guidance when struggling through difficult times. I believe that there is a God, and that He cares about the choices I make and wants me to be happy in life and return to His presence some day. I go to church to strengthen my relationship with God, to try to get to know Him better. Because I feel that as I understand more of what God is like, I am able to make more sense of what's going on around me. I love that attending church also helps bring to light my weaknesses, as I hear the prepared talks and lessons and take time to consider how I can implement those principles to become a better me.

If you are interested in learning more about the church I attend and you happen to live in the area, our congregation is having a specific visitor's oriented meeting on Sunday, March 26. When I say visitor-oriented, I should clarify that visitor's are welcome every Sunday, but the messages shared next Sunday will be geared to anyone who doesn't know a lot about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We don't collect donations and there's no baptismal font at the door that we dunk you in before you can come and worship with us. You're welcome to come sit in the pew with Scott and I (he actually has the day off that day!) as you casually observe a Mormon Sunday. If you don't live in the area or can't come but you have a question, send me a message.

A friend reminded me this month that I have a history of being awkward sometimes in sharing about my faith. Sorry about that! I have a hard time separating talking about my religion as part of what makes me who I am and just the factual "this is what we believe" part. If you can find it in your heart to forgive me for my awkwardness, next time I'll try to be casually helpful. Pinky promise.

28 February 2017

Life Snapshot: February 28

What I'm Reading: I'm slowly making my way through The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright. It's an interesting read, so I'm not sure why it moves so slowly for me. 

Part of My Spiritual Study: As part of the faith experiments that we challenged our young women to start, we encouraged them to read the Book of Mormon all the way through to decide for themselves if this is a true book with direction from God. There are enough days between now and the end of the year to read a chapter a day, I told them. In an effort to be supportive in this challenge, I am also rereading the Book of Mormon from my iPad.

Church Calling: Still the Young Women's President in my ward

On the Telly:  The finale of Project Runway Junior and, occasionally, an episode of Seyit and Sura on Netflix

Dr. Hubs: Scott just enjoyed a few days off before he starts another Purple Yellow Team (PYT) month. I don't think I've mentioned before that Scott was nominated and selected to be the DO Chief of Wisconsin for 2017-2018! His reign will begin later this summer. 

Goal for Next Week: I'm amending this to share my mantra for this week, which is "Faith, hope and charity." The scriptures say without that combination we can't accomplish much. Scott seems to think I have faith because in the midst of trials I am trying to move forward and look for the solutions available to me. Assuming that charity means demonstrating love, rather than solely a connotation of philanthropy or service, I may need to find opportunities to demonstrate that. My weakest link in this triad right now is hope.

My favorite moment from this last week: That moment when I successfully convinced Scott that when the Milwaukee Bucks invited kids 16 years and younger to shoot a free-throw after the game, they wouldn't possibly turn him away. Convinced may be the wrong word choice here. It was more like, stubbornly stood in line until he joined me, murmuring until we got court-side. So then, maybe my real favorite moment was the smile he gave me after he shot the ball, and said to me, "You're right! I would have regretted not doing that."

13 February 2017

Encouraging Faith Experiments

Last week we had an event at church called New Beginnings for the Young Women aged 12-18, as well as those little ladies who would be turning 12 in the coming year. During this event, current Young Women members introduced what the program entails for anyone who might not be familiar with what we do. For our congregation, there happens to be only one girl turning 12 this year, but that's still worth throwing a party.

Right now, my calling in church is with the Young Women, so I played a role in choosing the theme of our New Beginnings night. As I pondered the 2017 annual mutual theme, I was reading a talk given in our last worldwide General Conference by Elder David A. Bednar where he spoke about coming to know the Savior by experimenting on His teachings. This idea struck me as exactly what our Young Women needed this year, in addition to asking questions, encouraging the girls to take steps to find answers and discover for themselves what they believe. Experiment on His Teachings became our theme, and we loved running with it. The front table was covered everything science-y that the Young Women's leaders could find in our homes - a caliper, a microscope, test tubes, a mortar and pestle, books, etc. At the end of the event, I talked with the Young Women about the components of an experiment, and how they can find faith experiments in their Personal Progress books. We also sent them home with a seed kit, so the girls could watch their plant grow as they consider how they can nourish and grow their testimonies of Jesus Christ.

After the activity was over, rather than venturing out to consume the offered refreshments, the Young Women gathered around the front table and started to experiment with measuring devices and liquids in test tubes. For many reasons, it makes my heart happy that they find joy in learning and science. As the girls were mixing colored water to get their desired shade, one of the mom's came up to me and shared that she had once read a magazine article or BYU devotional address that had discussed how to properly set-up a faith experiment, or the idea that an experiment's conclusion is dependent on how the test was devised and measured. Though this parent couldn't remember all the details, I was intrigued.

The next morning I went to BYU Speeches, where they have an archive of devotional and symposium talks, and did a quick search for "experiment". I can't say for sure that this speech by Jennifer Nielson was the same one previously read by that parent, but I loved Sister Nielson's research examples and connection to our life trials.

"I learned that experiments help us gain truth, that we can become stronger from struggles, that meaningful results require a lot of time and effort, and that working with others is essential. I believe that life experiences, which we might also call experiments, are meant to enable us to grow and become Christlike...
Even if [our trial] is a hard experience, we can choose to see it as an opportunity to live and experiment...
A person with the growth mind-set sees mistakes and failures as data points that can be used... to update prior knowledge in order to improve."
 -Jennifer Nielson
Passing this on to you, as I feel that this speech is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in self-concept, or anyone wishing to conduct their own faith experiments.

16 January 2017

Residency Update: Night Shifts in PGY2

Dr. Chandler (here out referred to in true doctor's wife text as DrH, for Dr. Hubby) just finished five weeks of night shifts, a couple weeks delivering babies on his OB rotation and then moving to an in-patient care rotation on Purple/Yellow team (known among residents as PYT). Whenever he is on nights I end up getting very little sleep, because I prefer to distract myself with books and movies until I'm so exhausted I can't keep my eyes open.

When he was on PYT, DrH would typically arrive home around 8:00 AM, which is normally a time that I would have already been up and at 'em. But with the shift in Wisconsin's temperatures to somewhere in the neighborhood of 0 degrees with wind chill, I've opted to stay warm in bed until that time when he gets home and is doctor popsicle, so that he can cuddle and warm up as he drifts off to sleep.

On night shifts, DrH will sleep during the day and wake up in the afternoon to work out, shower, and look at which patients are in the hospital before heading off to work. He's one of those lucky people who can fall asleep any time, any where he wants and it doesn't take long for him to be fast asleep. It especially doesn't take long when he's exhausted from the previous night. Some nights at the hospital he's able to get anywhere between 2-4 hours of sleep, depending on how much help is on the floor and what cases need to be admitted. As a second year resident (PGY2, which stands for post-grad year two), I find that DrH prefers to ease the pain of interns (PGY1) a little by taking extra patients, letting the interns sleep if the floor is quiet, or helping to finish notes. He talks a lot about how he remembers how awful intern year was and that he wants to make it less stressful for the newbies. He mentioned having some good senior resident examples when he was an intern that made the journey more bearable.

I asked him this morning if he didn't think that put the new interns at a bit of a disadvantage, because he had to learn as an intern to be more efficient with his notes. His intern year also comprised of more case exposure from in-patient and ICU, which he commented at the time made a huge difference in recognizing what disease looks like when he saw it in the clinic.In answering my question, DrH thought that he wasn't crippling the interns by making one shift a little easier and having an ally on the floor to watch out for them, when he knew he could take the extra workload. It appears that he's also biased to giving the extra help to interns that demonstrate good knowledge and are enjoyable to work with, and he is less likely to help out the first years that show up late and don't contribute much to the team.

So far this year, I'd say there have been some better moments than intern year and some that are just as disgusting. Night shifts are near the top of my disgusting residency bits list. Taking pages at night makes me want to throw his pager against the wall, either that or kick him out to sleep in the living room. There have been several relaxed rotations though, where he has more time at home and is less stressed. It's that halo effect from the more relaxed rotations that I think had senior residents affirming to us at graduation that PGY2 would be much better than PGY1.

More thoughts coming soon on what we've learned in residency about the process for becoming a sports medicine fellow.

05 January 2017

New Year, New Goals

"The ultimate measure of success is not in achieving goals alone but in the service you render and the progress [achieved]."
-Preach My Gospel

Yesterday was the best day for us to hold our annual couple's new year goal setting activity. We do goals in our house as opposed to resolutions. Not that they are that much different, just that with goals I feel like I am working, reaching towards a better habit; as opposed to resolutions that set a new standard, where one is expected to achieve and maintain it cold turkey. I think the purpose of any New Year's resolution is to change, and when we consistently try to meet a goal, we should see progressive improvement, even if the measure isn't perfectly achieved by the deadline.

Yesterday was the first night that Dr. Chandler had off this year. He was delivering babies at night the week after Christmas, and then moved to working half a month of nights in the hospital, in-patient care, known as Purple/Yellow Team or PYT *insert Michael Jackson background music*

So I guess it was really the ONLY time we could have had a goal planning sesh with each other, but there were other coincidences of the day that proved perfect timing.  We invited the sister missionaries over for dinner of Hawaiian haystacks, and they asked if they could share a message with us about goal setting (and play Book of Mormon baseball with us, which has become a tradition with all the missionaries we've met in the Wisconsin Milwaukee mission). They encouraged us to think about how our goals help the ward to achieve its yearly mission plan, which is something we hadn't considered before and committed to add to our list. Yesterday was also match day for fellowships, which we hope to be enjoying in exactly a year.

Note: Flu shot accessorizing is the result of posting our goals in the bathroom, where we could read them during our morning and evening routines... and apparently that is where stickers are removed.

We started by looking over what we had accomplished in 2016. Some goals we more than exceeded, like Scott's goal to "visit someone" in 2016. We visited with Christie in Dallas, Nelsons and Burrs in Missouri. Medical school friends came to see us in Wisconsin. Scott's family reunion was in California, and in the fall we went with friends and met up with good friends in New York City. I also set a goal for myself, after my sister-in-law reminded me that Heavenly Father can't help guide our path if we don't move our feet, to start fertility testing. Check, check! 

One goal I laughed at yesterday was to spend time with my new friends "at least once a month". In January 2016 when we set those goals, I was still making friends and only occasionally was invited to do something together. Mic drop on that goal! Probably seconds after writing that goal and feeling like it was a stretch to do something once a month, I began attending regular ladies' movie nights and book clubs, not to mention becoming better acquainted with newfound kindred spirits at church and residency pals. I would have never guessed a year ago that I would feel so at home in Wisconsin.

We may not have smashed our other goals to smithereens, but we looked at them daily; and the fact that we had set them meant that we did those things more frequently than we otherwise would have (like my goal to dance more).

Some of my 2017  goals include:
- visiting Door County, Wisconsin
- quality time with my best friend
- being more mindful of the words I use
- toning my arms and tackling inflammation (thanks a lot, Mr. Crohn's!)
- inviting others to come with me to church
- and helping Scott get into a fellowship

I think it will be a good year!