Wednesday, June 27, 2007


We will be here:

and then here:

Going to these:

And imbibing some of this:

Good Times Will Be Had By All!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Are You For Real?

Overheard in a Starbucks in The Woodlands over the weekend:

Very stylish, very tan, OVERLY bleached blonde customer to the barista: Uh, I am from San Francisco and I am used to the service being MUCH faster there!

Barista: *With a stunned look* Uh...I am sorry, ma'am. We are making drinks as fast as we can.

Me: *Staring at her with first a shocked, then most likely a dirty look, and wishing I could say: Well, why don't you go BACK to San Francisco and don't let the door hit you on the way out*

Sheesh! People can be so RUDE!

My disclaimer: This is in no way an insult to Californians or bleached blondes (was painting the picture)....I have friends that are both.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Little Known Facts About Me

Sooo, before I met the hubby, I didn't really think much about cars. I have always appreciated fine cars like Porsches, BMWs, etc, but never obsessed about them. I started a slight interest as a little girl since my dad likes cars. I used to watch races with him & look at his car magazines. I remember his little Porsche 914 he had; it was so much fun. When I was that younger lass, I actually had a poster on my bedroom wall of a Nissan 300ZX. I EVEN began an interest in the Subaru WRX when I lived outside of Philly about 7 years ago. I still like them & even consider getting the Subi WRX sport wagon (roomy & sporty!).

BUT, most of the time I didn't really think much of cars. Then the Hubby came along & likes them so much, he has me looking all the time now, too. I guess it is a fun thing we can appreciate together. I do love my Honda Accord coupe (had looked at them for years), have only had it a little over a year, and do not plan on getting rid of it any time soon, but it is fun too look around. ;)

I do miss having a roomy SUV sometimes and wonder if I will ever get one again. It was nice having all the room to throw the dog in or when we have to head to Lowes, etc. But the gas efficiency is so bad in most of them & most of the hybrids in the brands that I trust are too expensive!!! Probably the best deals that are affordable, dependable, and somewhat fuel efficient right now are the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4. If I had to pick one right now, I'd probably pick the CR-V. It'll be interesting to see what comes out in the next 5 or so years as more fuel efficient cars/SUVs/trucks come out.

But do you have to have an SUV to have more room? Perhaps not. What about a roomier, more versatile car? Also, wouldn't it be cute if hubby & I became a MINI family??? Check this concept out:

A longer, more versatile MINI....known in the 60's as the MINI traveller. We may see it resurface. How cute! More info: Traveller concept. Interesting!!! Very cute! We could be yuppies!!! LOL!

Looks like it might be called the MINI Clubman. Here is cool video:

Another cool little car I have had my eye on:

Here in the US, it'll be the BMW 135i (like an M series, but they probably won't call it an'll also be available as a 125i)

Friday, June 22, 2007

I'm Done....almost....

I am officially done with my clinical rotations! I can't believe it's over!!! It's bitter-sweet. I am thankful that the those tests, papers, presentations while working full time is over. BUT, I am sad that I won't be with patients everyday until I graduate and get a job. I just wish that I could continue my clinical training until December. BUT I guess a little break will be nice. I AM still in school until the end of October (but graduation is Dec 14th), but it will be a lot less stressful. The next 2 months, I am ONLY working on my research project with my research partners. That's it. No exams! Although, I will probably start studying for my board exam. It's never too early to get a jump on it. Plus, since we probably won't be working on our research project everyday, I'll need something to keep me busy. :) I don't want anything I have learned over the past 2 years to seep out!!! BUT there will be LESS STRESS.

The hubby hugged me yesterday & pretty much welcomed me back. I have been 60% gone according to him for the past 2 years. Poor hubby. When I get focused, I get focused... But I am back! Hopefully, the hubby won't feel as neglected now. Although, I did tell him, I am still in just won't be as intense.

We are taking a little time off together next week. We will head to San Francisco for a few days to visit my best friend. We're going to be celebrating our 30th bdays together. As I said in a previous post, I am sure we will be spending some time in Sonoma Valley. It's been about a year since I have seen Jess. I am very much looking forward to seeing her & her hubby & spending time in the Bay Area & wine country.

Jess & I have been best friends since 6th grade.
That's like 18 years! WHOA!
We've been separated by distance since 11th grade in high school, & we aren't the best at talking on the phone...but whenever we get together, it's like we've never been apart. Oh an we have NEVER EVER been in an arguement...ever. Crazy, eh? I guess that's why we are BFFs. ;)
Man, look how skinny-mini I was in that pic!
That is one of my goals for this summer & fall...getting back to that size!!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Pseudomyxoma Peritonei (AKA PMP). HUH?

WARNING: If you can't handle a mild description of mucus & operations, don't read!!!

This is a very RARE cancer & I had the pleasure of learning all about over the last couple weeks. PMP is a very peculiar type of cancer. It is a type of cancer that is usually associated with cancers of the appendix and sometimes ovarian cancers. It often presents like ovarian cancers with people having abdominal pain and distention. The STRANGIST thing about this cancer is that it creates mucus type tumors in the abdominal cavity. And I got to see this first hand. VERY WEIRD. This past Tuesday I scrubbed in on & assisted in an 11 hour surgery for a PMP patient. When we opened up the patient, and forgive my crude description, but it looked like a jelly fish EXPLODED inside of her belly. Sometimes they refer to this as "Jelly Belly." There was this mucus-like tumor ALL OVER her intestines, liver, & abdominal wall. Very intimidating at first glance. But this is why MDA surgeons are so amazing....and that's why the surgery took 11 hours....and I was there for all of it. The surgery began with me and the fellow physician (the attending let us start without him while he finished up another case), so I got to first assist for a big part of the operation. We slowly worked at getting as much of the tumor out as possible, which is known as debulking, & cytoreduction which involves surgical removal of the peritoneum and any adjacent organs which appear to have tumor seeding. It takes a long time and a lot care and a lot of patience. I also got to help with partial bowel resection & spleen removal, etc. One other part of this surgery that is very unique is known as perfusion, this where heated chemotherapy is perfused intraoperatively into the patient's abdominal cavity & we then push on the belly (it is temporarily sutured during this part of the operation) for 90 minutes during the perfusion to make sure it is mixing around. (Affectionately refered to as "Shake & Bake.") The point of this is to hopefully kill all of the microscopic tumor cells that were left over after the debulking. Here is more info on this type of operation: Sugarbaker technique

I am getting some AMAZING experiences with some of the greatest surgical oncologists in the world. Some of the surgeries that I have seen and helped with are not experiences that most students get. I feel very blessed and honored to be allowed to have such experiences and training with the best of the best. Most students don't experience this.

It's been awesome!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Are We There Yet?

Things I Love

It truly is THE best coffee in the US. I would drink Dunkin Donuts coffee over Starbucks anyday. It is SUCH a shame there aren't more locations around H-town and its 'burbs. That was one thing I appreciated about living near Philly and NYC....Dunkin Donuts were EVERYWHERE.
I went all the time when I was living up there. I barely ever had their donuts or food, but always went for the coffee.....even would stock my apt with some. My college roomies and I lived on it our Senior year.
It's the best.
Today I am hanging out with the hubby at his office so we can both get work done.....
so I HAD to swing by Dunkin Donuts for a cup of jo!
If you ever decide to give me the best gift ever, get me THIS!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Discovering New Places

Hubby & I love to try new restaurants, especially if they have a great patio on a waterfront. We found a little grill called Sundance Grill tucked away in Seabrook on Clear Lake. We sat on the lovely patio listening to live music, watching the sunset & some amazing boats pass by. The seafood was fresh & tasty!! We'll definitely return & add it to our lists of frequent places to dine & wine.


Hubby's mom put together a family luau this weekend. Hawaiian foods, music, hula dancing, games, and good times with family. What a great idea! ;)

Brought back thoughts of Hawaii. I sooooo can't wait to go back!!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

What I'm up to at MDA

So, as I said before, I am spending the month in surgical oncology at MDA, specifically in gastrointestinal clinics. It's amazing just HOW specialized the surgeons are. For example, I spent one day (& will be there tomorrow again) in the colorectal cancer clinic. Today I was in an upper GI clinic with a surgeon and his PA who specialize mostly in gastric (stomach) cancer and cancer of the appendix. I have also spent some time in a liver, gallbladder, and pancreas cancer clinic. Another day was in an endocrine clinic with Thyroid, Parathyroid, Adrenal, and other endocrine cancers. Like I said, very specialized. The nice thing about how specialized they are with these cancers, is that they know SO MUCH about them. These surgeons and PAs are amazing! So many of the patients are so grateful and express so much thanks, even if they may not necessarily be cured.

Unfortunately, my time in the OR is a lot less. I have only been in 4 surgeries (over 2 was a 7 hour surgery), but it is good to see how surgical clinics are ran. If I end up working at MD Anderson, it is less likely that I would actually work in the OR if I go into surgical oncology. Most PAs in surg onc work in the outpatient clinics. There are some surgical PAs at MD Anderson, but that's pretty much where they spend their time. Where ever I end up, I do want clinic time so I can talk with patients. I wouldn't want to JUST have OR time. Having that patient contact (while they are awake) can be so rewarding.

So as you see, I'm staying very busy at MDA. This month there is just a taste. Since I am only there a month, am circulating in several different GI clinics, and don't have a strong cancer background, this just gives me the exposure to see what it is like to work there. A lot of being a newbe PA after graduation & certification, is being trained on the job. There would be a pretty good sized learning curve as a new PA there, but that's normal...and very doable. The education never ends. I will forever be a student of medicine, I find that exciting!

I am REALLY enjoying my time at MD Anderson!!! Everyone has been great & I am learning a lot!

Maybe this is my calling....

Sunday, June 3, 2007

I'm still here....

I just haven't felt inspired or I've been too busy to blog, but I'm here.

I was busy this past week starting my new rotation at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in H-town. So far it's going well and I am enjoying it. The first day (which was Wednesday) was mostly orientation, meeting my preceptors, spending a little time in GI surgical oncology clinic (GI is short for gastrointestinal), and getting some teaching from my preceptors (a preceptor is the person(s) that teach me & who I report to). Thursday I spent the day in the operating room watching/assisting in some surgeries. Most of what I will see in the OR is going to be some sort of resection & repairs in order to remove tumors and lymph nodes. Friday was another clinic day. I was a good first week. Tomorrow I will be in the OR again watching a long 5-6 hr surgery known as a "whipple," which is usually performed on someone who has pancreatic cancer. Should be an interesting surgery. I have felt this pull towards M.D. Anderson & oncology for several years now, and have it high on my list of possible career places. They are the largest employer of PAs in the US & are hiring more and more all the time as PAs are finding their nitch in oncology. I hear from everyone I meet that works or has worked there (or has been a patient) that it is a great place. One of my preceptors told me that he has had 6 students with him before me & 4 of them ended up workig there. I guess we shall see what happens. I'll let you know how the month progresses.

This weekend has been a good one. Friday night we just had a casual dinner at our local Chili's. Saturday we went neighborhood & house researching. We aren't planning on moving yet, but are planning on buying a bigger single-family home, maybe closer to town, within the next 2 years. One of the locations that we like is the newer areas of Pearland near 288. This area would shorten hubby's commute by a lot! And it would only be about 20-30 minute commute to the Med Center, which is good if I end up working there. One of the new neighborhoods that we like is Southern Trails in Pearland. There is an Ashton Woods home that we absolutely love! It is the Cypress plan. More photos & virtual tour. Here is a pic of the elevation we like.

Hubby LOVES that it has a 3 car-garage with one being separate so he can store & work on the "Italian sports car:"

That was a fun day of dreaming. :)

Today we did some clothes shopping for Alli for some nice shirts that I can wear under my white clinic coat. The long sleeved button downs are hot this time a year under that coat, and pull too much. Ugh. So, I did some bargain shopping at the Gap, Express, & Banana Republic. Mostly bought things on sale of course. I don't know what my problem is, maybe part of it is that I am in school & not making money, but I have such a hard time spending money sometimes....especially on myself. I am such a cheap@$$ when it comes to shopping for me. Don't get me wrong, I like trendy things at times and have a thing for some name brand stuff....but I have a hard time spending $78 for one shirt. Put it on sale for 50% off, and then maybe I'll consider it. Maybe someday I'll get over that....

Now I need to stop blabbering & get to studying. I have my final ER/Surgery exam coming up in 2.5 weeks, I gots lots to read!!!

Ciao for now.