Every woman must make choices

16 Sep

Saturday Workout:  70 minute run

Good morning everyone!  I got up at 5:30 (naturally) this morning and now it is 5:50.  Call me crazy, but I just love, love, love the very early mornings, when it is still dark out and the rest of the world is asleep.  With all the chaos and busyness that a day can bring, it’s my little piece of the day that is mine, that I don’t have to share with anyone else.

During the week I try to get up by 4, so that I can get some stuff done before heading into work.  Why so extreme?  Because hopefully it means I can open up time in the evening to enjoy with Dean.  Being in a relationship means you also have to prioritize time around spending time with your significant other.  That may sound obvious, but as someone who went the majority of my life single, this took some adjusting for me.  I was used to everything being centered around my schedule and my goals.   Dean may argue that I am still a little bit like that ; ), but hopefully I’ve improved from when he first met me!   The only drawback is I get really tired at night, both physically and mentally, especially on this interventional radiology rotation in which I’m on my feet all day working long hours (our lunch “break”, if I’m able to get one, is a lecture, so there is literally no more than a few minutes here and there where you can mentally relax).   Being around me when I am exhausted and in a daze is probably not very fun, so I guess I still have to find a happy medium somewhere in regards to my schedule and prioritizing things.  Always a constant battle!!

Speaking of interventional radiology (IR), I LOVE it!  I actually love being on my feet all day and getting to do procedures.  The day goes by so quickly.  I’ve always loved surgery and IR, because I really find doing procedures very satisfying.  I have total respect for primary care physicians and those in the internal medicine fields, but I quickly learned my third year of medical school that it was not a good match for me.  Call me selfish and inpatient, but I love to SEE the results of my work.  I like instant gratification ; ).  In internal medicine or primary care fields, you could potentially put a lot of effort into trying to improve the health of your patients, but the effects of your actions are dependent in part on patient compliance (which in all fairness is dependent on a lot of other factors such as having access to medicines they can afford), and the results can often take a long time to see, if at all.

In IR, you’re doing procedures with the help of imaging, so you get to see immediately the effects of your intervention, whether it’s angioplasting a stenotic vessel, draining an abscess, or biopsying a lesion/organ.   The other day I was bopsying a mass in this lady’s neck adjacent to her thyroid, after the procedure, she was like, “You’re done??  I didn’t feel a thing!  I can tell you’ve been doing this for awhile!”  Haha, if she only knew!   It was actually a really easy procedure, and I of course had someone more senior in the room making sure I did everything correctly, but I still found that compliment very satisfying : ).

So what about IR as a career??  Honestly, it’s probably my favorite field within radiology.  If I were single and didn’t want a family any time in the near future, I would pick IR as a career.  But as one of my friends said recently, every woman has to make choices….you can’t have it all.  You could argue the same thing for a man, but I think it is even more true for women.  I absolutely want a satisfying career, yes, but I also want time to spend with Dean, and when I have kids, I want to be able to spend time with them, make it to their baseball games or recitals, play with them in the evenings, etc.  I’m not saying you can’t do this as a woman in IR, but I believe it would be more difficult.

Also, there’s the whole radiation thing.  In IR, you’re often in the room with the patient as they are getting imaged, which means you are getting exposed to radiation.  Now honestly, with the lead that we wear for protection, the amount you’re actually getting exposed to is quite little, and I’m not worried about myself.  What I would get worried about in the future is if I were to get pregnant.   I wouldn’t want to expose my future kid to unnecessary radiation, so how would I market myself to a practice knowing that I want kids?  Why yes, I will work my as$ off and take call for for the first part of the year, but for several months this year, I would prefer not to get exposed to much radiation.  I just don’t think that is very marketable, and I would hate to make my colleagues pick up extra work because of me, you know?  Unfortunately, there are very few women in IR, so there are very few mentors to talk to and get advice from.  We do have one in our practice at Northwestern who has been incredibly helpful and encouraging, but I’d like to talk to more women in IR who have families and see how they manage it all, you know?

So anyway, I also really, really like breast imaging, which I have written about before.  I find being directly involved in a woman’s work up for breast cancer very fulfilling.  I HATE cancer, so I am passionate about fighting it, which you are directly involved in in breast imaging.  Plus, there’s a ton of patient interaction AND you also get to do procedures/biopsies, which in case you haven’t realized at this point, I really enjoy doing, so it is a career I know I would really enjoy, be able to impact others, and find fulfilling.  That is the most important thing to me in picking a career.  With that being said, when you compare it to IR, the work hours are in general better, when you take night or evening “call”, you really don’t ever get called in for anything, because there really aren’t any breast emergencies (except for a rare abscess that needs to be drained), and there’s no radiation exposure, so you wouldn’t have to limit the amount or type of work you do throughout your entire pregnancy.  Again, I would never choose a field based on lifestyle, but it is something to at least consider, because it is not just me I have to think about.  My choices aren’t just about me…..they will also impact my (future) husband as well as my future children.


During yesterday’s run, I of course brought my camera and took pictures, so enjoy!

Game on World!

Yoga in the park! So cool

Lincoln Park

The lake near Fullerton.

House front in Gold Coast.


We took another trip to the Morton Arboretum yesterday afternoon, so here are some pics:

Morton Arboretum

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