Ever since I remember being a child, I could hardly forget my little brother being sedated and taken to have a camera inserted through his throat into his stomach. Tears glistened in my parents’ eyes and I wondered why we spent two hours driving to a children’s hospital in Milwaukee with a hospital near our home. After repeatedly questioning my mother, I found out about the procedure- an endoscopy to determine any physical abnormalities my brother had in his digestive tract. Hours later, the doctor suggested to surgically insert a gastrostomy tube to feed him directly to his stomach – an unacceptable option for my parents.
From a young age, I became passionate about medicine, mostly due to the rocky road of my brother’s diagnosis- severe acid reflux, food allergies, food aversion, and sensory integration issues. Often, I would come home from school and try to distract my brother from throwing up during his meals. At times, I chose to model as a foodie in front of him pretending to overly enjoy the taste of different food. The intention was for him to mimic my behavior in order to get over his food aversion. I clapped if he tried to lick on food and he would smile. I took my job seriously; every time he didn’t vomit was a joyous moment for the entire family and I was truly proud to make a difference.
For me, it wasn’t love at first sight. As I look back, my passion for medicine grew over time with my experiences and frequent exposure to the field. Sometimes it feels like a love-hate relationship. While taking rigorous pre-med classes in college, I find myself questioning whether this is the right field for me at times, especially those long nights of studying organic chemistry. Every now and then, it seems like most of my time is consumed by this relationship and I’m not able to give time to the other aspects of my life. But I realize that I have made a commitment to this passion and dream, and I need to be loyal to it, just like with any other relationship. For a long-term relationship to succeed, there needs to be patience, understanding, and commitment and this holds true for my relationship with medicine. As I think about what my life is going to look like in ten years, my heart starts beating faster and I know I absolutely cannot wait to be married—to medicine, of course.