I’ve thought about this a lot over the past few weeks. Residency is ending. It’s been 7 yrs coming. There have been many ups and downs. The end is exciting and stressful. The costs at the end are nearly insurmountable - thousands upon thousands of dollars for boards, licensing and moving. The worry that you don’t know enough. The sadness about leaving this family and the excited anxiety about starting the next step. As I reflect upon this journey, I recognize that it has been amazing. It is an unbelievable honor to take care of patients. I love what I do. I love being a surgeon. I will be starting a fellowship next year back in my hometown and I couldn’t be happier about going home and training in a field that I love. I’m excited about my research. I love my future colleagues! I don’t regret my choice and I love my field and my patients. However, I also admit that 7 yrs has wreaked havoc on my life, my family, my husband, my child, my health, and my bank account. The direction of medicine worries me. I think the business of medicine is crowding out the practice of medicine. But, I realize that no field is perfect. I understand that. But there are other ways to live a life. Other ways that would give me a different sense of control. There are other ways to have challenging work that is not so hard emotionally, technically and physically EVERY DAY. Medicine is not just challenging, it is hard.
So, as I reflect upon these years in the few moments of silence and meditation, I think to myself, would I do this again. I think it’s important to reiterate that I actually don’t have regrets about my choice and I don’t dislike my job, I LOVE it in fact. My husband is still here, right by my side. My daughter is a fireball of wonderfulness who loves hearing about my day. I’ve missed many family functions and have not been there for my siblings and parents in the way I wish I could have been all the time, but they still love me and I have found ways to still be present. But when I really ask myself, knowing everything I know - Would I leave my job in finance and go to medical school and choose to be a physician? I think the answer may be no. What is your answer?