Anyone else have an illness they live with daily and still going to med school?

agent

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Hi all.

I have crohn's disease and have been dignosed with it for 7 years now. I have had 1 surgery and currently work and do school full time.

I want to know if there's any other nutballs out there taht have a debiliating illness who are going to try to become a doctor?
 

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I think it's good that your pursuing medicine, and hope you can make it through. It may be more tough for you, but I respect you for facing the challenge. I'm sure you're not alone, though, I can't right off the hand think of others I know.

Good Luck,
Sonya
 

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I have a friend who developed ulcerative colitis during her first year of med school. She is now a 4th year and doing well.
 
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I have Type I Diabetes and I'm just starting medical school. It's not dibilitating or anything, but it is still something I have to control through proper eating, testing, and multiple injections. I'd say go for it!
 
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agent

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well ive got crohn's pretty much under control as longer as I eat well, get enough sleep, and exercise..

all of which i havent done in months ;)

actually i believe i have a mild case. i keep weight on (im about 6ft 200lbs)
 

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I have had terrible bouts of anemia for almost 8 years. My Dr. saw the blood work on me and was really blown away. He said he had never seen levels so low.:( .He thought it was thalessemia,but the test came back negative as did-Thank God- all the other tests for a major illness. I sometimes get a really "washed out" appearance and I use to get what I would call "wipe-out" days.
Now I just try to take really good care of myself. I know that if I do not,this lethargy will cause me too much troble in med-school -should I get in,that is. I do worry about the fatigue a little tho.But I think as long as I am taking care of myself,I should prayerfully be okay.
And by the way you guys are really inspirational,you know? :)
 
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agent

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thanks.

im sure ill be able to handle it.. ive been living with it for 7 years now.. probably much longer, but i wasnt aware..

i currently work and got to school full time and i figure if i can do that every day, i should be able to get through med school.

im glad there's other ppl out there as well.
 

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DOSouthPaw,
I have Type 1 Diabetes as well. however I'm on the pump....one of the greatest inventions ever IMHO! Have you started medical school yet or are you starting in the fall? If all goes well, I hope to start in fall 2003....I'm not gonna let Diabetes slow me down at all though! :p
 

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I have chronic daily migraine/tension headaches. I know there are people out there thinking,"It's just a headche, no big deal." But it is. I live with headaches that vary in intensity nearly 24/7. They can become very debilitating and make it very hard for me to think. I'm still yet to find a medication that will help. This is the only thing that i'm afraid will keep me from med school. :( :( it's so depressing.
 
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agent

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im sure you've learned to deal with it though, right future md, therefore you will get through med school.

i get migraines every once in awhile and i know its not just a headache. you can get horrible naushea (sp?) and blurred vision.

that doesnt help.
 

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What do you think about doing a residency while having Crohn's? You said you're ok if you get a lot of rest, so will 80+ hr work weeks and 24+ hr shifts be too much? Maybe you should pick a less demanding residency, for health's sake.
 

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I had what they call kidney duplication, not sure what the med term is but that's what my doc told me. anyway, it means one of the kidney is duplicated and sitting right on the top of each other (yes, I had 3 kidneys). Several years ago, i had a partial nephroctomy due to kidney failure (the lower one, of course). And ever since that, I had to do tests to make sure whatever I have left are working/running ok, watch what i drink and eat (that sucks), and my list continues. but, I can assure you that this will not stop me from going to med school.
 
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I have an autoimmune disease of some kind. It is most likely Lupus, possibly scleraderma. The tests are high sensitive and not to specific, so it is hard to tell. I have a very low white-cell count, which could be problematic in the future.

I am commited to applying to med school though!

Blues
 

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Originally posted by 2badr
I have had terrible bouts of anemia for almost 8 years. My Dr. saw the blood work on me and was really blown away. He said he had never seen levels so low.:( .He thought it was thalessemia,but the test came back negative as did-Thank God- all the other tests for a major illness. I sometimes get a really "washed out" appearance and I use to get what I would call "wipe-out" days.
Now I just try to take really good care of myself. I know that if I do not,this lethargy will cause me too much troble in med-school -should I get in,that is. I do worry about the fatigue a little tho.But I think as long as I am taking care of myself,I should prayerfully be okay.
And by the way you guys are really inspirational,you know? :)
I know exactly what you mean. A few months ago, I was "diagnosed" with anemia. Apprently I've had it for very long, but I never really complained about the lethargy and fatigue and I just assumed it was "NORMAL." WRONG!!! I should have known better--my mom has it and so does my grandmom.

I used to think people with Anemia have no big problem. That's until I had it. Sometimes i wake up in the morning and I want to cry because I can't get out of bed. I am tired when I wake up. I am tired after a nap. I am simply fatigued all the time; so much that I want to break down and cry at times. In college, I did full time classes and two jobs, so I never really thought my fatigue was attributed to anemia. Now that my life is a bit more slow, I am realzing how big of a problem it can be. I refuse to take that medication they give me. It always makes me want to throw up. Instead, I eat spinach...tons of it. Call me popeye! :) But not a single day passes when I don't eat a big bowl of spinach with a good salad dressing. Plus, I try to keep more active. That seems to help. Anyway, I have thought about how med school will tire me out etc, but a lot of illness is just a state of mind I've realized. The less i pay attention to it and less I think about it, the more I feel better.

It's just good KNOWING the cause of your symptoms. All this time my parents just thought I was lazy. Now i have a name for it, and atleast I feel like I can do something about it.
 
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agent

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Originally posted by CaNEM
What do you think about doing a residency while having Crohn's? You said you're ok if you get a lot of rest, so will 80+ hr work weeks and 24+ hr shifts be too much? Maybe you should pick a less demanding residency, for health's sake.
well i work full time and got to school full time plus have a new baby so im not really getting any sleep now and im managing..

if i have to have another surgery.. so be it.
 

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I have stage four endometriosis. Its a chronic condition requiring daily medication and can be extremly painful. i have had five surgeries so far and fully expect to need more while I'm at UCLA SOM.
I say go for it, in fact sometimes you can use it to your advantage because you have seen things from the patient perspective. When it came up during my applicatin i was sure to say that it was not active so that they didn't think it would be a problem.

One thing i did get a kick out of was that i FAILED my physical on both the blood test and the urinanalysis. I just started medical school and I'm already failing tests.
 
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Originally posted by Rhiana
I have stage four endometriosis. Its a chronic condition requiring daily medication and can be extremly painful. i have had five surgeries so far and fully expect to need more while I'm at UCLA SOM.
I say go for it, in fact sometimes you can use it to your advantage because you have seen things from the patient perspective. When it came up during my applicatin i was sure to say that it was not active so that they didn't think it would be a problem.

One thing i did get a kick out of was that i FAILED my physical on both the blood test and the urinanalysis. I just started medical school and I'm already failing tests.
Failing your physical and urinanalysis?! That's going into your deans letter for sure. I hope that you like family practice.
 

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Failing your physical and urinanalysis?! That's going into your deans letter for sure. I hope that you like family practice.
Wait a minute, isn't it a urinalysis?
 

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Did you really just bump a 12-year-old post to correct someone's spelling?
:rofl:

It's a good thread to bump, though. It would be interesting seeing if people today have some of the same things.

(I'll even make my own contribution....later....)
 

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Did you really just bump a 12-year-old post to correct someone's spelling?
No. Don't assume something, since we all know what happens when you do that. I honestly thought it was a new test or something. If I wanted to correct someone's spelling, I would have outwardly said "that's a urinalysis" or something like that. Please think before you post next time, ok?

And yes, this is a good thread to "bump." Why people are shocked that others post on a decade-old thread, I have no idea. It's still in the system, so therefore, people may still comment on it.

I give a lot of respect to people who suffer with any kind of illness (mental or physical) while pursuing medical school. I don't know how they do it, since it's possible for medical school to add to their stressors as well. Really remarkable and speaks highly of their resolve. Those are the types of physicians I would want assessing me. Even psychiatrists....I would want a therapist who's a little crazy him-herself, since that person knows crazy best (and I think the best psychiatrists must have their own mental issues too).
 
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mehc012

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No. Don't assume something, since we all know what happens when you do that. I honestly thought it was a new test or something. If I wanted to correct someone's spelling, I would have outwardly said "that's a urinalysis" or something like that. Please think before you post next time, ok?

And yes, this is a good thread to "bump." Why people are shocked that others post on a decade-old thread, I have no idea. It's still in the system, so therefore, people may still comment on it.

I give a lot of respect to people who suffer with any kind of illness (mental or physical) while pursuing medical school. I don't know how they do it, since it's possible for medical school to add to their stressors as well. Really remarkable and speaks highly of their resolve. Those are the types of physicians I would want assessing me. Even psychiatrists....I would want a therapist who's a little crazy him-herself, since that person knows crazy best (and I think the best psychiatrists must have their own mental issues too).
Dude, if you're going to necrobump over spelling issues, own it. We don't bite harder than a few "really?" comments. If you 'honestly thought it was a new test or something', you easily could have gone to Google...I'm sure that at some point in the intervening 12yrs, the 'new' test would've hit the internet somewhere.

That being said, this is a pretty cool thread...I'll throw my lot in. I had my fair share of mental illness struggles during undergrad, even missing a bit of school over it. Fortunately, I managed to graduate on time and there's really no record of anything - and I only say 'fortunately' because these things are so incredibly stigmatized in the medical community. It's one of my biggest concerns moving forward. I have taught myself how to cope and deal with it, but it's not gone, per se, and I expect that it never will be, fully. However, I have purposefully made the 2yrs between when I decided to go to med school and when I plan to apply as hectic and stressful as I could, not only to speed up the process and to demonstrate my newfound time management skills, but to prove to myself that I am able to maintain a high pace and deal with stress without slipping back into old habits/problems. I'm actually feeling rather good about things, though ironically I now find that I have the most issue with low-stress situations and 'too much' free time. Good thing those situations don't crop up frequently in medical school! :laugh:

My biggest concern now is not actually dealing with stress...it's dealing with the fact that this subject is so taboo in the medical field. I have never had to hide what I was going through, nor had to tread lightly around it in discussion. After working in an ER for a year, I know that I will have to be more circumspect than I am used to being, and it feels as if I am taking a few steps backwards in that regard. It's worth it, but it just feels weird to hide something I'm not ashamed of.
 

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I see I revitalized this thread. If it wasn't for me, these people wouldn't be posting comments currently (after 12 years of silence on this thread). But yet, I get knocked for it. Not even a thank you. Simply amazing, as always. Such is life, filled with ungrateful human beings.

No good deed goes unpunished.
 

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Well, it is a good topic for a thread...

I think most members know this about me, but for those who don't- I'm an autistic woman who also has a learning disorder. I was diagnosed as a toddler with a fairly moderate onset, and with the right therapy and support, I'm now a fully functional adult. Hell, the people that know me in real life don't know I have it until I tell them.

It has its own challenges, most that I've acclimated to. I'm working with how I cope with stressors, and figuring out what little things bother me so that I can learn to deal with them. Like you, @mehc012, I also had a few mental health battles of my own. In my case, I had depression, and I got medication for it. And we're in the same boat when it comes down to disclosure... I don't know if I should share this aspect of myself during the cycle. The work that healthcare professionals invested in me is a large part as to why I want to pursue medicine.

Ironically enough, @PathAsst, one of my current interests in medicine is psychiatry.
 

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Well, it is a good topic for a thread...

I think most members know this about me, but for those who don't- I'm an autistic woman who also has a learning disorder. I was diagnosed as a toddler with a fairly moderate onset, and with the right therapy and support, I'm now a fully functional adult. Hell, the people that know me in real life don't know I have it until I tell them.

It has its own challenges, most that I've acclimated to. I'm working with how I cope with stressors, and figuring out what little things bother me so that I can learn to deal with them. Like you, @mehc012, I also had a few mental health battles of my own. In my case, I had depression, and I got medication for it. And we're in the same boat when it comes down to disclosure... I don't know if I should share this aspect of myself during the cycle. The work that healthcare professionals invested in me is a large part as to why I want to pursue medicine.

Ironically enough, @PathAsst, one of my current interests in medicine is psychiatry.
Are you planning on pursuing that professionally upon graduation? You might be at an advantage in the field, seeing how you have personal experience with it. I've always wondered about the correlation between going into psychiatry and physicians having psych issues themselves. I only see it as a blessing, rather than a curse.

Also, what are your thoughts about divulging mental issues at med school interviews? Bad or good? Or it depends on how you talk about it and relate to life experiences?
 

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I see I revitalized this thread. If it wasn't for me, these people wouldn't be posting comments currently (after 12 years of silence on this thread). But yet, I get knocked for it. Not even a thank you. Simply amazing, as always. Such is life, filled with ungrateful human beings.

No good deed goes unpunished.
You got some harmless ribbing because instead of saying 'bump' or adding to the thread, you made a 12yr grammar correction, and then you got defensive over it and gave a hilarious explanation. And yet each time you've been given crap, people have pointed out that it is a good thread and it's not a bad thing that it was bumped. So chill...people like the thread, and no one has said anything awful to you. If you had actually intentionally bumped the thread for its awesomeness, you'd probably have seen some thanks, but instead you claimed to have done so because an old typo was fascinating, not because of the content.

Also, what are your thoughts about divulging mental issues at med school interviews? Bad or good? Or it depends on how you talk about it and relate to life experiences?
And we're in the same boat when it comes down to disclosure... I don't know if I should share this aspect of myself during the cycle. The work that healthcare professionals invested in me is a large part as to why I want to pursue medicine.
It's not the app cycle which bothers me...it's my coworkers during my career. I have never heard such awful comments regarding mental illness as I did while working in the Emergency Department. Much of it is likely selection bias - a psych history only really comes up if it is a) the reason for the ED visit, aka it is severe and problematic, or b) if it is in some way affecting the patient/provider interactions or patient care...aka if it is unpleasant or makes things harder. So healthcare workers only really see the worst of it.

I think that I will not bring it up directly, either in my app or in interviews. However, I don't lie and I'm not ashamed, so if it comes up or they ask a question which directly involves that aspect of my life/past...I'll discuss it, and I'll be honest. Since I would only bring it up if it were relevant, I think it would be presented fairly well.

After that, though, it gets longer-term. If I talk about something in an interview, that's just the adcom/interviewer at one institution who knows. If I bring it up during school or my career, you are stuck with a group of coworkers/classmates for a long time, and gossip spreads fast. I suppose again, I'll not bring it up myself, but I'll not shy away from it if I'm asked about it. It's more likely to come up during med school itself, though.
 

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Are you planning on pursuing that professionally upon graduation? You might be at an advantage in the field, seeing how you have personal experience with it. I've always wondered about the correlation between going into psychiatry and physicians having psych issues themselves. I only see it as a blessing, rather than a curse.

Also, what are your thoughts about divulging mental issues at med school interviews? Bad or good? Or it depends on how you talk about it and relate to life experiences?
Yes; I'm applying for medical school in June, and I plan to go into the field of psychiatry. A close second is pediatrics.

I wonder if I should include my autism diagnosis in my personal statement- because it's a huge factor in my life and it has been a part of my drive to become a doctor. I've let myself hold back out of fear- I was afraid that with the diagnosis, I wouldn't be able to hack it. I realized only recently that my boundaries are where I set them and where my abilities are- and that I shouldn't live a life hampered by self-imposed restrictions.

I mean, I can't know if I have the ability to do this until I try, and I'm sure as hell not going to live a life where I'm too busy getting in my own way.

I've been called all sorts of nasty names because of my diagnosis, @mehc012, and that was in middle and high school. I'd hope that grown people would be more understanding...
 

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I've been called all sorts of nasty names because of my diagnosis, @mehc012, and that was in middle and high school. I'd hope that grown people would be more understanding...
Most are :shrug: My classmates and teammates in college were phenomenal. Most other adults I've spoken with are nice as well. But then, I'm not asking them to help me while I actively work against them, or at least refuse to cooperate - that is a common situation for healthcare professionals to find themselves in when working with mental illness, even if it isn't representative of the whole. When you add the good old-fashioned conservatism of the med field, well...
I'm not saying I don't understand the stigma, I just don't want to deal with it.
 

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I'm curious to know if anyone has HIV or AIDs, and how they're handling pursuing a career in medicine with that.
 

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I have a substantial history of anxiety and depression, which makes me worry that I'll crack from the stress and sleep deprivation if I stop doing so well management-wise. I also have thoracic outlet syndrome, which worries me for certain things, e.g. I have no clue how I'm supposed to survive a surgery clerkship.
 

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Lemme see....

-I blew out my knee playing baseball 10 years ago, which resulted in a Baker's Cyst bigger than Utah. If I walk too much it starts to swell and get arthritic.
-I had Atrial Fibrilation, but after 3 surgeries (seriously...THREE) they were able to find the pea-sized piece of cardiac tissue which was causing the problem and ablate it. Hopefully it never comes back.
-Periodic muscle and joint soreness in my neck. When it happens, I can't look to the left (or right, or up, or down....) for a day or two. (From bad sleep posture maybe? No one's been able to give a clear answer.)
-And sleep apnea. Probably mixed cause. I have a study soon which may result in getting to sleep with a full-face BIPAP for every night from now until the end of time. (Oh joy.:annoyed:)

So...yeah...It's been a fun couple of years. If I can complete my MS in 2 years while dealing with all this crap, med school should be a breeze.



EDIT: Oh yeah, and getting my wisdom teeth out! So much fun!
 
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Freshman year of undergrad I had an episode of ischemic hepatitis, which landed me on the transplant floor (of the med school hospital that I currently attend) for roughly a week while my liver basically decided to take vacation. For whatever reason, the problem resolved itself except that now, a couple of times a year I get flu-like symptoms and intense right upper quadrant pain that can last anywhere from an hour to the entire day. The most annoying part is that I also go through periods of frequent nosebleeds because of clotting issues and I have to avoid certain medication, like anything with acetaminophen.
 

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I've dealt with chronic MSK disease for years and it was misdiagnosed (and exacerbated) by several physicians. And it really sucks, because if the precise pain generators are not clear, some physcians will say "oh, it's psychosomatic..." :bang: People who suffer from chronic pain are also stigmatized...........

Fortunately, this is the best I've felt in years (I was fortunate to find a good physiatrist), and I'm confident that this upward trend will only continue.
 

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I've dealt with chronic MSK disease for years and it was misdiagnosed (and exacerbated) by several physicians. And it really sucks, because if the precise pain generators are not clear, some physcians will say "oh, it's psychosomatic..." :bang: People who suffer from chronic pain are also stigmatized...........

Fortunately, this is the best I've felt in years (I was fortunate to find a good physiatrist), and I'm confident that this upward trend will only continue.
I went through a similar thing after I got mono. The chonric fatigue and overall bad feeling lingered and over a year after I got the mono diagnosis, we found out I had a severe vitamin D deficiency. It was what had been causing my fatigue, shortness of breath, and muscle aches/weakness. It feels good to finally have a diagnosis because it basically proves you're not crazy - you know what you're feeling is real.

Other than that, the main thing I deal with is my autism, but it's not a disease.
 

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I went through a similar thing after I got mono. The chonric fatigue and overall bad feeling lingered and over a year after I got the mono diagnosis, we found out I had a severe vitamin D deficiency. It was what had been causing my fatigue, shortness of breath, and muscle aches/weakness. It feels good to finally have a diagnosis because it basically proves you're not crazy - you know what you're feeling is real.

Other than that, the main thing I deal with is my autism, but it's not a disease.
Another autistic woman! :D

We're a pretty rare breed. Are you interested in psychiatry, too? (I'm assuming as such from your username, but you know what happens when we assume. ^^)
 

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Yeah, it's a necrobump, but a valid one.

I have had students who were cancer survivors, and students with movement disorders,type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, profound hearing loss, profound visual loss, at least five who had had organ transplants, and plenty who had serious depression.

If they can do it, so can anyone!
 

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Yeah, it's a necrobump, but a valid one.

I have had students who were cancer survivors, and students with movement disorders,type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, profound hearing loss, profound visual loss, at least five who had had organ transplants, and plenty who had serious depression.

If they can do it, so can anyone!
Thanks, Goro. I feel a little more hopeful now. :)
 
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Wow, all these posts! With all the various conditions and maladies cropping up, does anyone need a back massage to alleviate the stress? I've been told that I have healing hands.
 

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Another autistic woman! :D

We're a pretty rare breed. Are you interested in psychiatry, too? (I'm assuming as such from your username, but you know what happens when we assume. ^^)
I'm actually interested in doing an MD/PhD program for a PhD in psychology and a residency in child neurology (I'm hoping to both research & assess autism, by the way), but that's pretty close eh? :p
 

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Yeah, it's a necrobump, but a valid one.

I have had students who were cancer survivors, and students with movement disorders,type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, profound hearing loss, profound visual loss, at least five who had had organ transplants, and plenty who had serious depression.

If they can do it, so can anyone!

Have you ever had someone restricted to a wheelchair, or an amputee, go through med school? I imagine those would be 2 of the hardest things to overcome.
 
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I'm glad this thread was resurrected! After many years of suffering from horrible gastrointestinal issues, which have escalated in the last few months to the point where they're significantly affecting my quality of life, my gastroenterologist did an autoimmune workup for me. It came back pretty strongly positive, so now I'm just hoping to find out which disorder I have so I can start treating it. The impact that this might have on my ability to go to med school and complete residency has definitely crossed my mind more than once. It's really good to hear some success stories :)
 

altblue

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Depression & anxiety, though I'm not interested in going into psychiatry, which is like the "protoscience" of medicine to me (though I mean this in the nicest way possible).

My issues are probably caused by my nature and my upbringing. I'm probably a bit neurotic by nature, and for social, parental, and economic reasons, I've probably had a harder life than the majority of premeds. ;)But every single person who is aware of my story is amazed at how I've persisted so far - and I'm proud of myself for accomplishing with the resources I've had. But sometimes it's hard to remind myself that my life will get better, and has gotten better in so many ways. I'm also pretty optimistic I can succeed in med school because I've worked with treatments and coping mechanisms.

But anyway, while I don't think I belong "socioeconomically" at my school, I have amazing friends who are caring and are patient enough to listen to my issues. And as skeptical as I am of psychiatry, one drug really does the trick and prevents the dull and dehabillitating anger I've often experienced. Given these things, and how I'm resolving other issues too now, I feel like I'll feel even better in a couple years when I (hopefully! :D ) matriculate at a med school.
 
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mehc012

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Have you ever had someone restricted to a wheelchair, or an amputee, go through med school? I imagine those would be 2 of the hardest things to overcome.
Interesting. I have a completely different internal ranking of which I would find the hardest to overcome (not putting it here because I really, really don't want to get into a completely disrespectful and meaningless hypothetical 'who has it worst' debate with anyone)...I imagine that someone's answer to this question (what do you think would be the hardest illness/disability for you to overcome) would reflect a lot about them and their experiences.
 

mehc012

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Depression & anxiety, though I'm not interested in going into psychiatry, which is lik e the "protoscience" of medicine to me.
Glad to hear that I'm not the only premed with a mental illness history and zero (make that negative) desire to go into psych :laugh:
 

Spinach Dip

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Interesting. I have a completely different internal ranking of which I would find the hardest to overcome (not putting it here because I really, really don't want to get into a completely disrespectful and meaningless hypothetical 'who has it worst' debate with anyone)...I imagine that someone's answer to this question (what do you think would be the hardest illness/disability for you to overcome) would reflect a lot about them and their experiences.
I am absolutely not trying to start a debate of that kind.

Those two (wheelchair bound and amputee) seem to me like they would have an extremely difficult time making it through 3rd and 4th year (not to mention residency!), which is why I asked.

I'm sure if we put our heads together we could come up with people who would have it even harder, but that's not the point of my question.
 

Goro

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Have not had that yet. I suspect that as long as someone in a wheel chair can do OMT, then being paralyzed would not be an obstacle to becoming a DO, much an MD. I have no idea how they'd handle surgical rotations. I've laos pointed out in the past that I once saw a nephrologist at Sloan-Kettering who had a withered arm. How withered? Tiny, like a T. rex foreleg!

Have you ever had someone restricted to a wheelchair, or an amputee, go through med school? I imagine those would be 2 of the hardest things to overcome.
 

656844

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As far as I'm concerned, if Stephen Hawking can rise to greatness in science with a disability as debilitating as ALS, then anyone with a disability can rise to prominence in medicine.
 
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mehc012

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