Monday, March 24, 2014

MATCH 2014

I matched at my #1 program - Northwestern Radiation Oncology!
5 more awesome years in Chicago with my friends and family.
Feeling so blessed & excited for the future :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Blogshop Online

Learning Photoshop has been on my to-do list for some time now. I always wanted to do an in-person blogshop, but could never really justify the financial investment as I barely ever post. Well a few months ago, the blogshop ladies started offering an online version of their course, and I was finally able to take it! I'll write more on the subject later, but right now I just wanted to share my first mood board -- it's simple but I'm pretty proud of it! With Part 3 of the Polar Vortex approaching, to say I'm looking forward to spring is a major understatement...these pieces have me dreaming of warmer, sunnier days.

1. Marc by Marc Jacobs wallet // 2. Penny sunglasses // 3. Marc by Marc Jacobs skeleton watch // 4. Sam Edelman "Petty" bootie // 5. Maison Scotch sweatshirt

Friday, February 14, 2014

A four-chambered love machine

After a long day of research I will be spending tonight with my one true love (my dog Indie), on the couch, eating ice cream, and watching "House of Cards". Bliss... Below is a little something I wrote for the History of Medicine course I'm taking this month. The story at the end is something I'd like to expand on in the future. Let me know what you think/if you have any similar stories of your own.

Nerd Romance

Reading the first few chapters of Roy Porter's "The Greatest Benefit to Mankind" was a very frustrating experience for me. As I learned about ancient theories of disease and rudimentary models of the human body, I couldn't help but feel exasperated, as well as a little bit smug. These historical perspectives seemed absolutely absurd, but then again I was interpreting them through my own perspective - that of a 21st century medical student, who is three months away from graduation, and about to benefit from 3,000+ years of scientific exploration that I did not participate in myself. 

I tried imaging what it would be like to explain a contagious disease without knowing about bacteria and viruses. What on earth would I have come up with? Any ten-year-old with an iPad could probably tell you how the heart is a pump that circulates blood to the lungs for oxygenation and then throughout the entire body. But the first doctor to propose that fundamental theory in 1553 was burned at the stake for heresy.

The start of Porter’s book has strengthened my appreciation for how far medicine has come since it began, and it has also made me question the validity of my own educational process. Big leaps in medical knowledge were made when someone questioned the system. Harvey overturned the much-ingrained concept of Galenic physiology through his commitment to the basic scientific process – propose a hypothesis and then carry out an experiment to test that hypothesis. This, to me, represents real learning. Real learning is about asking questions, exploration, trial and error.

How much of that have I done the past three and a half years? Unless you are involved in research, much of today’s medical school curriculum is based on rote memorization. Even anatomy, which becomes a more bare-boned subject each year, involves identifying a detailed list of structures, all of them already named, with each normal variant carefully catalogued away in a massive atlas, perched on some dusty bookshelf somewhere…

In a world where new scientific discoveries are made daily, what modern fundamentals will be proven obsolete during our lifetime? From this perspective, I understand the push to cultivate more physician-scientists. Medicine has to keep up with the research realm if it wants to preserve the characteristics that make it more than just another field of science.

Medicine is more than just memorization (though getting one’s MD does require quite a bit of that). A doctor should have the skills to heal the human body, but a doctor should also, (at the risk of sounding like I’ve been at Loyola too long), be able to treat the human spirit. When our ancestors proposed that energy lives in the liver and that sickness is caused by evil ghosts, maybe they were trying to address the spiritual aspect of medicine – the part that doesn’t have an anatomical name or an official diagnosis.

On my psychiatry rotation last year, we were consulted on a heart transplant patient with a history of depression. The patient was actually doing pretty well – he just needed a medication check – but he told us about life with his new heart. He joked and said, “now somebody else loves my wife.” His comment really stuck with me. Why do we feel heartbreak on the left side of our chest? What about those gut feelings that help us make decisions? (I’m assuming the billions of bacteria that live in our intestines aren't whispering us advice.)

I’m excited to learn more about the history of medicine, especially as it pertains to oncology, but I think that there will always be some aspects of the human body and the human condition that we can’t really explain. Maybe one day someone very smart will figure it out, but for now it remains just another mystery to be explored.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Feed South Africa + Grain-Free Banana Pancakes

Yesterday morning I woke up hungry, and all I had to do was walk downstairs, open my fridge, and decide to eat whatever food my heart (and my stomach) desired. Do you realize how incredibly luxurious that is? For most of us hunger triggers a Pavlovian response -- a trip to the kitchen, a drive to the nearest restaurant, a phone call to our favorite Thai place.

Imagine that instead of all those options you were forced to spend the day with hunger as your shadow. It would cloud your thoughts, interrupt your concentration, literally strip away all your energy and willpower. This is the reality that many South African children face each day. Sixty-five percent of South African children live in poverty, and nearly 20% of them are orphans (>1 million as a result of losing their parents to HIV/AIDS). For many children, school lunch is their only solid meal of the day, if they are lucky to receive it at all.

Today's post is in support of a wonderful organization called The Giving Table. Their current campaign, a partnership with another great group called The Lunchbox Fund, is hoping to raise $5,000 to provide a daily meal to 100 children in South Africa for a year. Bloggers from all over the country are donating a recipe post today to support their cause. While I'm not technically a food blogger (or much of a prolific blogger at all), I wanted to help out. Our posts are supposed to be lunch-themed, and I'm going to extend my pancake recipe into the "brunch" category :)


1 medium banana (about 7")
2 brown eggs
1/3 cup almond flour
1/2 tspn cinnamon
Coconut oil for cooking
Maple syrup & berries for topping

1.  Whisk eggs in a small bowl.
2.  Slice banana and add to mixture, using a fork smash banana until clumpy.
3. Add almond flour and cinnamon. Continue to mix using fork until mixture has the consistency of puree.
4. Heat a non-stick pan on the stove and grease with coconut oil (I use a spray).
5. Using a small ladle, pour batter into 2.5-3" diameter pancakes. Flip pancakes once they can be easily lifted off the pan. Grease pan between batches.
6. Top with maple syrup, berries, whipped cream...however decadent you want to get :)

This recipe makes about six 2.5-3" pancakes which are easily portable if you want to bring them with you to work for lunch, and they keep nicely in the fridge for a day or two. The next time I make these I'm going to try adding in some flaxseed meal for some extra omega-3s. Enjoy!

Thank you so much for reading, and if you can, consider making a donation to The Giving Table's campaign which you can do here. Just $10 can give a South African child their only meal of the day. We are all so incredibly lucky to live without hunger, so please take a moment to support those less fortunate! And check-out this great video by The Lunchbox Fund!


Thursday, January 9, 2014


After many months of saying, "winter is coming", it finally arrived and coated my favorite city in ice and snow. Temperatures as low as -35 F kept everyone inside this week. The roads were so treacherous that I could not physically get to my interview in Indiana on Tuesday (not by car, plane, train or bus).

It was so cold that the Lincoln Park Zoo moved its resident polar bear indoors. Lots of people enjoyed the wonders of science by trying out a few of these subzero-appropriate experiments. And despite the miserable weather the city still looked as stunning and gorgeous as it usually does.

On a little bit of a sadder note, on Monday my mom and I found this bird outside, stuck in the snow. We brought it in to warm up and at first it seemed to be doing better -- hopping around, eating some seeds -- but when we got home from work on Tuesday the bird had passed away. She must have been sick & unable to seek shelter from the storm, so I hope she was comfortable at least :/

I'm telling you, this city of mine keeps you tough. It feels like home more than ever. After a few days of break I am ready to get back to work and to keep on moving forward...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A belated holiday season

Yesterday was Christmas, and I know that the following photos are from Thanksgiving weekend but I wanted to share them nonetheless. The last few weeks have been eventful, to say the least, and I just wanted to say thank you to all my wonderful friends and family would have been expressing their love and support through the past rough month.

"I no doubt deserve my enemies, but I don't believe I deserve my friends."
-Walt Whitman

Top: holiday windows at Anthropologie, my beautiful turkey, the (official) doctors Petras
Middle: BFF, finally got a star lamp, Picasso @ Daley Plaza
Bottom: hot spiced nuts ;), Chicago Christkindlmarket, the greatest city on Earth

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Rocky Mountain Views

I was in Denver about a month ago for a preliminary program interview and just absolutely fell in love with the city. It was another solo adventure, and I'm so glad I took the time to visit! I only had about half a day before my interview, so I decided to rent a car and check out the area as much as possible. The program seems amazing and is located at a Denver community hospital in the downtown area. The environment seems nurturing and an intern you are able to spend a month abroad and potentially a month on Maui (!!!). I was originally thinking that I would try to stay in Chicago next year but this place seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. It would be scary to move somewhere new for a year but I think my life needs a challenge like that right now...not quite sure what I will do yet, but the mountains are calling me... 

Some photos from my whirlwind 24 hours in Denver...

Top: Tattered Cover bookstore, view from the hospital call room, a cool mural in the Highlands
Middle: Little Man Ice Cream, REI flagship store, Root Down (best restaurant ever)
Bottom: Talulah Jones, Dazbog coffee, globes @ the Root Down Denver Airport location

P.S. I stayed the Magnolia Hotel in downtown Denver and it was lovely.