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Book Review: What is Your Chronicle?

 

We all have a chronicle, yes we do! A chronicle is a narration of events that occurred during a certain timeframe. If you had to write about your chronicle, what timeframe will you include, what will you omit and why? Think about this for a few minutes… 

Everyone has a period in their life that challenged and changed the trajectory of what they thought their life would be like. Some may have more than one of such instances spanning out through months to even years as seen inThe Chronicles of Women in White Coats; written by Amber Robins, MD.MBA and nineteen other contributing authors.

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The Chronicles of Women in White Coats highlights instances oftheir journey prior to medical school, during and post medical school.How does their story apply to you? I wondered same because I am not in medical school and neither am I on the path to becoming a medical doctor. However; I identified with the authors in multiple aspects prior to getting the book. After reading it, I felt like I read twenty books from twenty different authors each inspiring/empowering in a different way.

 I usually say this; ‘there is something in everything for everyone.’ We just have to open our minds to receive that which it is. Here with some highlights from the book that inspired/empowered me and how it could inspire/empower you irrespective of your journey in life… Wondering why I use inspire/empower? It may seem like they mean the same thing but not quite!  (wink!).

Talking about some highlights from the book (represented in bolded italic) …

What challenges us usually leads to the greatest personal growth… This is a universal shared experience that manifest the innate fear of the unknown…

What is your greatest fearDo you see fear as bad thing?“There was a time when I thought that fear was a bad thing. In thinking about the evolution of fear, it serves a very different purpose today than it did for our ancestors. Fear for them was life or death… In this day and age... it is the key to tap into a source of energy and momentum…”

“...fear will always be present, it is what you do with it that matters. I use fear to stoke a fire inside me rather than allowing it to cripple me.”

Irrespective of our individual journeys in life, we do face situations which make us reassess our perspectives. One of the authors shared an experience which made her redefine failure… “My entire life I avoided failure like a plague but after… I not only redefined failure, I welcome it. I realized that without failure, there would never be an opportunity for grace… Don’t let failure and hardships define you, let them refine you.” 

“Our Life experiences, no matter how hard and impossible..., shape us and our future. They shape how we see the world and what we give to the world. Lean into the experiences, embrace them.”

As a professional working in the health field, I cringe whenever I hear people in general but healthcare professionals/providers in particular describe patients with statement such as “that schizophrenic… or that retarded...” There sure is a better way to identify someone other than a medical condition? As well put by one of the authors in this book,“People must always come first. Behind every diagnosis is a breathing autonomous person with wants and desires and feelings.” 

I remember when the previous Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorder IV had the diagnosis of “ Mental Retardation.” Back then I was an undergraduate student studying Psychology and I constantly made a silent wish which I wrote down; that the term will be changed because I felt it was a degrading term. I had no suggestion or idea of what it could be changed to but fast forward to the current DSM V. That term has been replaced with Intellectual Disability. “As humans, we are susceptible to creating a conscious or subconscious bias which are based on our most common interactions and influences.”

How about learning something new? In certain cases, the subject matter may not directly apply to you but best believe that it will open your mind to learn something else that directly or indirectly impacts you. One thing I learned which had me pondering for a while was that Female physicians make about 50% less than male physicians.’Well, I am aware that women typically earn less than men in the same career field but the gap with regards to physicians had me Googling in order to understand why but no explanation was enough to justify the wage gap. Then I came across the documentary Code Black which is a bird’s eye view of a day in the work life of a physician irrespective of gender. My thoughts on this disparity in earnings is a story for another day… “Prejudice will always be there, how you handle it defines you.”

In search and pursuit of our passion, there are certain things we give up either voluntarily or otherwise. What have you given up or what are you about to give up and how do you feel about it? “...to sacrifice the exploration and frivolity of my 20’s in order to pursue this path…”

For me, I felt some guilt and some sort of regret for the things I sacrificed during that moment when I ended up eight hours away from home, away from all family/relatives and friends for three years. Some of those feelings were still lingering two years post grad school. But there came a time between 2016 and 2017 where I had a number of self-talks to refocus. In the words of one of the authors inChronicles of Women in White Coats“It was giving back to myself that healed me… there are 24 hrs in a day, reclaim 2%... find the time to do nothing.” The author of this line is married with children in addition to her career path as a medical doctor. Why did I include this? Someone out there may say it’s easier said than done and it is easier for some than others; “where there is a will, there is a way”~ Pauline Kael

“Self-care is better patient care”; we can’t pour from an empty cup… One of the authors shared non-pharmacological ways to combat excessive worrying and achieve balance. “it took being an eager homeless, foreign intern to develop a plan for personal self-care as a path to better patient care… I intend to continue to enhance the social stability of those who come behind me.”

“Just because others couldn’t see a straight line to a destination doesn’t mean that a windy path couldn’t be paved….” 

“It’s Journey’s, Don’t stop believing”

If you had just one wish, what will it be? The story in this book about a seven-year-old boy’s wish from The Make A wish foundation, which seemed so minimal yet was a big deal for him. This story had me reflecting on the things I take for granted and brought tears to my eyes… Another story was the one about the necklace...

What’s your chronicle? I consider my last year of undergrad through graduate school and the first two years post graduate school to be the most transformative chronicles of my life thus far. That will be 2010/2011 through 2015/2016. What would yours be?

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