Brittney

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I have reentered the pre-med journey and I have encountered a major obstacle. I'd appreciate gaining perspective on how other spouses, significant others, took the news that you were going to pursue medicine.

Here's my story:

I went into the Navy wanting to apply to medical school after I finished. I learned to be a medical corpsman (basic nursing skills, IV care, catheters, etc and EMT). Went to medical laboratory school, loved learning the science and clinical and diagnostic applications, worked in a medical lab for several years. Worked closely with doctors, saw first hand the enormous responsibility of being a doctor.

Went to college to get a degree in biochemistry, started off with A's in science and then as a sophomore doing research in the biochem lab for the biochem dept chair. Worked 2 nights at the hospital lab. Great start, huh? Well, family problems occurred, I developed health problems; my life was turning upside down. Worst experience ever, more stressful than the military. I don't want to get into the details, but the result, I couldn't concentrate in class, quit my hospital job, worked weekends at a small business instead. All I wanted to do was get out of college. I changed majors to business, knew I'd get a job straight out of college. As a result, I'm a stronger person for it.

Now, 2 years after college, I know I'm not doing what I want to do. My husband does agree that I should go back to college. He's in the same business field (IT) and it is his passion, but not my passion. I want to make more of a difference for society. I don't look forward to reading IT trade magazines, I surf the web learning about science, medicine, etc. Therefore, he's in agreement that I should go back to school, encourages me to get my Ph.D. in biochemistry.

My husband was a business/psych major in college and already knows that the most stressful and demanding job is being a physician, from all of those darn case studies they read in psych class! Anyhow, he's arguing strongly that I will make a difference by finding medical breakthroughs in the lab. I agree, research is extremely important. I could do that IF I wasn't deemed qualified to be a med student and IF I didn't have such a strong desire to be a physician. I keep thinking, I'd be settling with myself if I pursued the Ph.D. I'd be extremely happy with a Ph.D., but I enjoy medicine, clinical case studies, integrating and coordinating multiple facets of medical care to assist a patient. On the bright side, he's inadvertently preparing me for the medical school interview asking questions about why be a physician vs. a Ph.D., why do I want to treat patients, how will I cope with dying patients (I'm currently interested in oncology), etc.

Last night, he said, if I got into medical school, he will still pay for it, even if he decides that he doesn't want to be married to someone that will be away from home for so many hours. (We've decided that kids aren't for us, but enjoy helping kids in our community) Needless to say, that got the tears going from both of us. My husband's motivation is that he enjoys spending time with me and wants us to bike, hike, run, travel together, and he realizes how many hours it will take away from us. It's also difficult for him, because we have become accustomed to a very comfortable lifestyle. A brand-new house, exotic vacations, etc. and are both doing quite well financially.

My question, what were the reactions of your spouses, significant others, etc when you decided to pursue pre-med, medicine. If you're in medical school or residency, how is your relationship? I am not asking anyone what to do, that would be too big of a question, but I'd like to learn how your decision affected your spouses and the specific obstacles you faced.

Thanks for sharing your experiences with me and let me know if I need to clarify something.
 

electra

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hello...i guess my only question would be, why does he seem to think that if you had a Ph.D, your life would be easier? Remind him that many Ph.Ds are nor salaried, but work for much of their grant proposal money. Thus, you may have grant work going all the time, not to mention training other people to work and scheduled experiment time.
If you really want to be a doctor, you should go for it. He has something that is his passion, and you should have your, too. And, your lifestyle would return after you were out of school. Also, you may get away with borrowing FAR less, which would mean it would return faster.

good luck.


:rolleyes:
 

star23

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I think you need to follow your dreams and desires. It isn't your husband's life...it is yours. You seem very talented and well qualified to be a physician, so if that is what you want to do...you should go for it.
 
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colorado_1

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my fiance could care less if she married a doctor, but is in full support of me because it has been my life long dream and i've worked hard, been rejected a couple of times, now finally got in. ask your husband if he'd rather for the rest of your marriage you looked at him and in the back of your mind had to ask what if i had tried to become a doctor?
 

hp6527

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Thank you for sharing. I see you have a very supportive husband and you are also highly motivated to become a physician. Please follow your instincts. Just some more years, not only you can make some significance within your family but also in our society. This is my story. My girlfriend and I are at the same age. We both immigrated to US in 1991. She graduated 2 years ago and is currently working as assistant manager at a bank. I has stumbled around with major switching and am still in undergraduate school now. First I considered to become a computer scientist in hitech age. Times went on, I figured out that computer science lacks human touch for me, i do not want to lock my whole lifestyle in front of monitor. There is a lot of beauty out there. I were, however, afraid to talk to my girlfriend about my intention because med school may defer our plans. Once she realized that I love medicine very much, she encouraged me to go straight for my goal. She said she absolutely support me all the way through. I did not want to be selfish but I was convinced that your beloved espouse won't be fully happy if she or he does not see us happy either. Just consider that becoming physician is dream of not only person but the whole couple. My girlfriend calls me every day to encourage and try to find if I need anything so she can take care of, she does not want me to worry about anything. She is ready to stop pursuing her MBA in the case if I need she more. I am delighted that I just got an A for general chem. My current science and overall gpa is over 3.7. I will finish premed prequisites next April before taking MCAT. I hope my story might help a bit. Good luck. Hope you can make decision soon. I do not pursue you going med school. You can become a renowed PhD as you wish. Just follow your instinct (i know that instints help a lot in stock market and business), follow your family dream.
 

Lis

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As someone who is non-traditional, the daughter of 2 biochemists, in a serious relationship, and got most of the way to a PhD before deciding that medicine is my true calling, I figured I'd add my 2 cents:

First, keep in mind that research and clinical work are two very different fields. It takes a particular mindset to continually work on what may at times seem very minute problems. My parents have that. I don't, and I realized 3 years into graduate work that my volunteer clinical work was way more fulfilling to me than my research. Although I liked what I was doing and discovering, I really couldn't see myself doing it 70 hours a week, till I got tenure. Secondly, although researchers do have more flexibility, they may not have more time than docs--my ma and pa spent a big chunk of their weekends and evenings in their labs. So if your husband is counting on the PhD to preserve your free time, he's probably out of luck. Also, it sounds like you really crave clinical work. If that's the case, a PhD really will be "settling". Remember, too, it's much harder to achieve a goal you don't really want.

My second point is that, as far as I can tell, there are only 2 really brutal years in a medical education: 3rd year of med school and internship. The other years are tough but manageable, especially if you're organized about your studying. I would suggest that knowledge is your best friend here. Look at the schools you're thinking of applying to. What are their class schedules like? Some schools only have morning classes and leave afternoons free for clinical work or study, which could make your evenings together a lot better. Having an idea of what your schedule would actually be like might make it less scary for your husband. In addition, if you can, talk to married students at those schools. Find out how they're coping with the strains on their relationship, and what those specific strains are. Your husband is justifiably worried that medical school will be tough on your marriage, but it doesn't have to kill it. I know 3 couples who have successfully made it through med school and I'm planning on doing the same myself. It can be done.

It's a tough choice. But remember that you've already gone with the "practical" career once and you've come to the conclusion that it's not what you want. I wish you happiness with whatever decision you make.
 

otis

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I just finished my ist year od medical school. I have been married, I thought very happily, for over 20 years. I lived on campus and commuted back home every weekend, and we talked on the phone daily. I just found out this weekend that my husband is having an affair, because I wasn't there. He claims that he couldn't handle all of the dramatic change in his life, and as far as he can see, It won't get any better for a long, long time. So now I have to figure out whether to quit, and regret it forever, or risk losing my marriage. It is NOT easy, and I personally keep hearing that the 1st year is the hardest, and it gets better after this. Really evaluate your life goals together before doing this....it may not be worth it.
 

tc

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Originally posted by Brittney:
I have reentered the pre-med journey
and I have encountered a major obstacle.
I'd appreciate gaining perspective on how
other spouses, significant others, took
the news that you were going to pursue
medicine.


*--*

Brittney,

I'm 38, prior military (USMC) and argued with myself for 10 years before going back. Now I'm an MS1 at UT Southwestern in Dallas. DO NOT WAIT. It is harder to get in when you're older. I worked in a lab at UTSW for two years to build a network of friends here and secure good recommendation letters.

If your husband is not willing to support what you need to do, move on. Don't be miserable for the rest of your life to suit him. There are plenty of good men out there that would love the chance to meet a kind-hearted doctor.

My wife is supportive (so far) but the financial situation will change over the next few years and I'm holding my breath. I left an VP position in IT making $160k to make $0 for the next 4 years. Lot's of lifestyle changes are happening around here. No two-week carribean vacation this year, no more shopping at Niemen Marcus, etc. But if she decides that those things are too important to give up, so be it. It will be her decision. I've worked too hard to get here to walk away. And so have you.

This is his decision, not yours. You are beginning a journey that will take several years to complete. He can decide if he wants to go or not.

Good luck and best wishes,

T Cutler
UT Southwestern at Dallas
[email protected]
 

gower

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If your husband had an affair "because you weren't there" you have lost your marriage already! His lack of consideration of your needs is a bad omen. He isn't interested in you, the person, but in sex, and he will eventually tire of just one partner. Your loss of trust in him will doom the relationship. Wake up, girl.
 
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Brittney

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Thanks everyone for his or her perspectives. I appreciate it. Gives me something to think about..

I appreciated the perspective about the realities of pursuing a Ph.D. I saw that when I was in the biochem lab, one woman was into her 5th year of being in the program to obtain her Ph.D. and she didn't see an end in sight. Ugh. Another hesitation I have and why I prefer going to medical school is I enjoy knowing how things work, but I also want to be involved with the bigger picture of medicine. When I attended biochemistry/biophysics seminars, I was only into my 2nd year of undergraduate studies, so I assumed I was the only lost individual. Wrong, I learned most of the Ph.D. were lost too, because one becomes so specialized that there are few other biochemists that can relate to the specific details when a speaker talks for over an hour on such low-level details.

Overall, I believe my husband is questioning so hard, because I've been doing some serious introspective soul searching as to what do I really want to do with my life. I keep trying to find satisfaction in the IT field, but it's not going to happen, because I know what I really want to do. He wants to ensure this is something I really want to do, because I am asking him to sacrifice. My husband met me after pushed the idea of a career in medicine aside, but family and long-term friends have known of my compassion since I was 5 years old. He's new to what all of this medical education will take. For instance, I was honest a little too soon about trying to explain 4 years of med-school and then 3-5 years of being a resident, fellowships, etc. He's not too keen on all of the possible relocation moves. I've never lived anywhere for more than 4 years...

In addition, he can't believe I am looking forward to going back to school. He's having a hard time understanding, why I'd leave a good paying job to go back so I can study, write papers, and take exams. I'm weird, I've never minded studying or taking tests. In fact, I enjoyed the challenge. Ok, I am weird, because I also run marathons (26.2 miles) and bike 200+ miles in a day and consider it to be fun (once I'm at the finish line, I'm not that weird to say I enjoy suffering from mile 20-25). Very few people can understand me.

Our current agreement is that I WILL take my first class this summer as a post-bac and will continue to work for 1-2 more years and then will go to school full-time. However, my age (ok, I'm still a youngster, not YET 30) and the fact that I'm eager to start school full-time, may push me ahead sooner.

In the meantime, the best of luck to all of the pre-meds and non-traditional students out there. Follow your dreams.

I'll continue visiting this site; thus, you can expect some questions from me as I weave my way through this pre-med journey and try to learn a new set of acronyms...

Brittney
 

matopet1

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Brittney, I was rejected in 95 got married and got a masters and worked. My wife has always been supportive and we now have 2 kids.I have taken my MCATS 4 imes and finally got it right. I will be a First year student next year. You have to do what you love. I thought of an MD-PHD or PHD and instead applied straight MD and DO. I love reaserch and especially clinical trials, but I love seeing patients. Only a physician can see pts and do research. My wife and I always find ways to make time for each other and our kids. When I was working in undergrad she would take the subway an 1hr and bring me dinner. Even though she saw me an 1hr. My advice to you would be to seek counseling and see if that would help.I would also try to be near family when you go to school, especially if you have kids. I am friends with a couple of Er docs who work clinically 80% of the time and do research 20%. I hope that helps. My philosphy in life is find a way or make a way.Also, a military or Public health scholarship can lessen the financial burden. Good Luck!!!

I also do marthons and I am hoping to complete a IRONMAN before I am 40. ( still have 11 years).
 

electra

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brittney,

remember that, depending on where you go to school, you may be happy staying in the same place for rotation and residency...you might not have to move all over the place.

and, frankly, you sound like a great person, so don't put yourself down!

electra ;)
 

im4real

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Hi Brittney!

I am a wife of an Intern (a first-year resident). And there is no doubt that medicine is very demanding on the med student/resident/doctor. However, I firmly believe that if you believe it is your calling to be a physician, then you should go for it! I didn't marry a doctor either. I married my husband before all the medical stuff and now residency. When my husband went back to school to earn credits that he needed to get into med school, our first-born son was 3 years old. And let me tell you, it was hard on him, not seeing Daddy around much as he did before. Medical school and residency are adjustments in the lifestyle you currenlty have, but it eases my pain knowing that my husband is doing what he believe he is called to do and wants to do. I certainly understand your husband's concern as I had concerns for my husband as well. I guess what I am trying to say is that you should find an occupation suitable for you and not your husband.

Hey, if you ever want to see what others have said about the experiences of being a medical spouse, please feel free to lurk at MD Spouses Support Forums. You are more than welcome to join us.

Here's the address: http://pub37.ezboard.com/bmdspouses


I hope I've helped. You can email me too if you would like at [email protected]

Sincerely,
Christy
 

Jamier2

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When my wife and I were married, I was in the Army. Once I got out I went into construction and later worked as a mechanic. Now, here I am, trying to get into med school.

We never expected life to turn down this road, but she has been supportive in everything I have done. I am truly lucky. :)
 
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