I have had so many thoughts over the past eight years.  So many times that I thought I should sit down and write.  To try to somehow put into words even a small fragment of a day I just experienced, or the multitude of emotions it embodied.

I am currently a surgery fellow, and before that, a general surgery resident. Before that I suppose a medical student, and on and on.  I don’t think I can remember a period of my life that I wasn’t defined by my educational goals.  What started out as “I want to be a doctor” turned into “ I am a doctor” which quickly evolved into “ I want to be a surgeon.”  And now, nearing the end of my training, I am learning to identify with the words “ I am a surgeon.”  I am learning to stand firmly behind those words and have felt the weight of what they mean on my shoulders.   I am learning, and starting to embrace, the hardness that it brings to my demeanor.   I am starting to understand how to use that hardness as a strength.

This process, the training and the job, it changes people, in ways I did not fully understand at the outset.  And there are choices you can make along the way about how you allow these experiences to affect you.  I am definitely not the same person I was eight years ago, no one could be after this, but feel like I have managed to hold on to the core of who I am.   I have had amazing attendings, fellow trainees, and patients, who have taught me both about life and about the complexities of being a surgeon.  They have helped to carry me through these eight years.

I had particular thought tonight as I drove home in the dark in a slow moody drizzle. I have left everyone I know and love behind for my current job.  I moved here for a dream.  And while I might be tired, and sore, and exhausted, I still believe in that dream.

That thought stayed with me tonight for some reason, rather then vanishing as it has in the past.  It stayed with me as I sit here on the couch, a glass of wine in one hand, and my cat sleeping next to me.  His purr hums in the background, a constant droning buzz that attempts to calm my racing brain.

And so.  Here I sit, still, with my multitude of thoughts.  But now, I am letting them finally spill out of my head and on to paper.  To share the hardship, the experience, the dream, that this job is and the immense gratitude I have for this profession.