HI Lady Kay! I'm a huge fan of your blog! When you were in your third year of medical school, did people constantly try to convince you to pursue pretty much any other field besides surgery? I'm a woman interested in gen surg residency, but I seem receive discouragement from almost any non-surgeon I talk to. I want to pursue what I love the most, but it's definitely unsettling when so many people are basically telling me that I will be a lifelong workaholic with a bad home life. Thoughts?
ALL THE TIME.
ALL THE TIME.
It’s something that makes me so angry that people still think about surgery. Women in surgery can be anything they want. They can be moms and wives. They can rescue puppies or climb mountains. They can be cardiothoracic surgeons and pediatric surgeons and oncologic surgeons. They can have two XX chromosomes or not. They can like to own fancy shoes or like to wear nothing but jeans. They can wear lipstick to work every single day or never wear makeup any day of their lives.
Women in surgery are amazing and can do anything they want.
People on the outside don’t get that.
But as someone on the inside – let me tell you – I am going to get everything.
I am a surgery intern. One of the years that is notorious for being the hardest. And yet… I’m buying a house and getting married. I find time to go for a run a couple times a week and I cook meals for myself. I manage to read about one book a month that’s not about medicine. I’m writing on this blog right now.
I am going to get everything that matters to me.
I won’t say that there haven’t been compromises and sacrifices. I don’t do quite as many different things as I used to before I was a resident. I’m sure you’ve noticed I don’t blog as much anymore. I read fewer books. Sometimes I decide I don’t care if my hair was washed two days ago because dry shampoo exists and it’s pulled back all day anyway.
About a year ago - I had an ampersand tattooed on my ankle to remind me of the word “and”. I will always have a lot of “and”s involved in who I am.
I am a surgeon AND a wife-to-be AND a cook AND a writer AND a friend AND a daughter AND a sister AND a runner.
And I’m only adding to those things. If I’m lucky, soon I’ll get to add AND a mother, AND a researcher AND a teacher AND a whole lot of other things.
Being a surgeon is one thing I do – sure it’s a really incredible thing I do – but it’s only one thing I do. I do a whole lot of other things and being a surgeon is not the only thing that defines me.
Women in medicine and women in surgery are amazing. We are a great many things – and backwards ideas that we have to “give something up” are sexist and antiquated. Ideas that say we can’t be all we want should be shut down.