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Anyone in surgery with chronic illness?

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IBDCURE

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Hello-
I'm a 4th year MD student who wants to go into general surgery. I got a 230 on Step 1, I am in the top quarter of my class, and I did pretty well( usually around 85th percentile) on the mini board exams for the 3rd year rotations.
About 4 months ago, I started passing blood in my stool. Since I didn't have any other symptoms, my doc thought it was probably just a fissure or internal hemorrhoid and told me to return if things got worse. This past month, while I was on a very busy senior elective rotation, I started having about 6 runny, bloody bowel movements a day. Even though it was difficult at times, I never missed a day of work and was always able to do any duties assigned to me.
My doc sent me to a gastroenterologist and I had a colonoscopy today, where I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis that he said extended about 15 cm. I suspected that I have UC for quite some time, so I wasn't really surprised.
I want to do surgery more than anything; I love the operating room, I love taking care of patients. I am very happy when I am doing it. I don't want any special exceptions or anything like that; I just want to know if there is anyone out there is surgery who is battling an illness and how you deal with it. Any input would be greatly appreciated!
 

droliver

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One of our interns was diagnosed with UC this past year after fainting @ home while on vacation. She had some labs drawn & was walking around with a Hemoglobin of less than 5 @ the time:eek: She was tx. with steroids but ended up having an emergent total procto-colectomy for recurrent bleeding several months later. It has been a really rough time of it for her, but for now she has gone back to work on an abbreviated schedule
 

IBDCURE

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Dr. Oliver,
Thank you for the response. I hope that I have a mild form of UC- luckily, my hct was 43 and my CBC, CP, LFT's were normal. I am willing to do whatever it takes to get this disease under control- I'm working on the meds and trying to establish the healthiest diet I can.
I absolutely love surgery; I love working with the patients, being in the OR, everything about it. I really hope that I can get this into a permanent remission and never have a problem with work in the future. Should I bring this up at interviews? I don't want any special exceptions or anything; I will work very hard. Any advice is appreciated!
 

tussy

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Hi,

Firstly, i would say you shouldn't let your illness stop your from persuing your dreams. UC is ultimately curable (with surgery), so if you ever have another recurrence you still have options.

Second, I would definitely not tell anyone during interviews. It will most certainly count against you (as terrible as that is, it's true). Wait until you get accepted into the program, and then descretely tell your program director after you start. They are not allowed to discriminate against your because of a medical illness, but i wouldn't give them the chance.
 

IBDCURE

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Hi Tussy,
Thank you- I can definitely seen where although they are not supposed to discriminate based on illness, that it still would be a possibility, especially if they thought it would lead to a lot of missed work/ burden on others.
I am willling to do whatever I can to get this under control; so far, after 3 days of steroids and Asacol, the bleeding has stopped and I feel pretty much back to normal. I hope that I am lucky and have a mild form of this disease. I absolutely love surgery and am really willing to take care of myself so that I can be in good shape for residency.
Thanks for the response!
 
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