Category Archives: BJJ

Fourth Year Interim Summary

Wow. It’s been a really long time since I’ve written. What’s happened in the interim? I finished my 3rd year of medical school. I took and passed step 2 CK and CS of my licensing boards. I started fourth year, and have finished 3 full months of surgery electives. And finally, I applied to residency programs!

My second surgery month was an away rotation on a surgical oncology elective. I couldn’t wait to wake up at 4am every day because I loved the hospital, I loved the surgeries, and even more I loved my patients. They kept me coming back each and every day because they were the most hopeful, motivated, and some of the greatest people I’ve ever met. I worked hard, but I also got to enjoy some days off to see the city.

Two of my days off I had the privilege of training jiu jitsu at the Relson Gracie academy with Robin Gieseler. The guys and girls there were extremely welcoming and I had some really tough matches! It was great to be back on the mats, even if only for two days, after being away for so long. Visiting a new academy is always a fun and challenging experience, at least from what I’ve found. Everyone has a different game they like to play, and it’s always good to have your game challenged by a completely new partner.  I found a surgical specialty that I quickly fell in love with, because as you’ll recall I loved my oncology rotation during my medicine rotation as a third year medical student. Surgical oncology combined the best of my love of surgery with a love I have for helping cancer patients once again find hope.

Right now, I’m writing this from my couch in KY where I am currently on a trauma surgery elective. I can honestly say I have never been so busy in my life. We consistently have a patient census of greater than 60 patients who we round on and take care of every day. It has taught me great management skills and organization. It’s quite the change from to the fast paced world of trauma surgery, but I have learned so much! Trauma surgery is high paced, intense, and so much fun! 

 Tomorrow  I’ll be heading home to Toledo for the rest of the year. I’m excited to get home to my family, my friends, and my jiu jitsu family. I’ll start going on interviews for residency as well. It’s a year of firsts and lasts and it’s already flying by! Every day I am so incredibly grateful to be on this journey, sometimes I can’t even believe how lucky I am.

My (In)Glorious Return to BJJ

Since the start of third year of med school I have been extremely inconsistent with my BJJ training. In part because of long hours with studying piled on top of that and also in part because I have awful time management skills. Add to that the months I’ve been away for rotations, the times I was sick, and the times I really did work until 10pm and you’ve got quite a disjointed training schedule.

I just came back from a 3 week break while I was on a rotation in Michigan. And when you return to BJJ, here are the top things you notice:

The first thing you notice when you get back is how much you’ve missed your BJJ family. You walk through the door and are immediately met with mixed greetings such as the sarcastic “oh, first day? Here, I’ll show you around” or “you guys remember Meghan, she used to train here forever ago” to the genuine “welcome back! We’ve missed you” or the “Meghan’s back!”.  And you appreciate each and every one of those, because you know you’re truly part of their family if they’ve got enough sense to mess with you.

What’s the second thing you notice? You inevitably forgot something because you’re bad at packing your bag. Belt- check. Gi-check. Sports bra-check. Fight shorts-check. Rash guard-dang it! Luckily you always keep an extra set of gym clothes in the car. Hair tie-shoot! Good thing many girls train, you snag an extra from one of them. You’ll get better again with practice.

The third thing? You really didn’t “forget” much. You still remember how to move and while you’re drilling you’re breaking free some of that rust in your brain. But DANG are you out of shape! It doesn’t matter that while you were gone you were running 4-5 times a week. BJJ in-shape is an entirely different animal. And you, my friend, have not tamed it (kind of like your hair at that moment, you’ve gotta remember how to keep it from looking like a wild monkey attack).

The fourth thing? This is my favorite. Sure, you’ve been gone for a while, and sure you’ve been inconsistent with your training, but when you start that first match during open mat it doesn’t matter because muscle memory kicks in. And yeah, you’re a little ‘white belt spazzy’ all over again, but hey – you’re pulling guard and sweeping and getting out of mount like you haven’t missed a beat (until the guys pull out their new tricks and you find yourself in an uncomfortable submission and remember the humility in tapping).

So overall, a return to the mat is never without its flaws, and it may not be the glamorous return like a movie star to the silver screen after a break, but hey – if you can keep coming back you’re well on your way to black belt. Because if you’re crazy enough to ENJOY getting beat up on a daily basis and actually WANT to go back after a break, your mind is set on the path.

Like my coach says, you’re either one day closer to quitting or one day closer to black belt! (Spazzy inglorious blue belt return and all!)

Thanks to all my favorite teammates for welcoming me back then showing me my game needs a lot of work 🙂

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Happy 2014!

I hope everyone has enjoyed their holidays! I definitely enjoyed catching up with family and friends, sleeping in, and getting to my To-Do List that had been untouched for months.

2013 was a big year for me between USMLE Step 1, starting my clinical rotations, getting my BJJ blue belt and 1 stripe, and everything in between. 2014 will be even bigger. This year I finish my required clinical experiences, apply for my away rotations, take USMLE Step 2CK and CS, apply for residency positions, and go to *hopefully* several interviews on top of whatever BJJ brings my way. So that means in the next few months I have to decide WHAT it is I want to spend the rest of my life doing, which is terrifying.  (Although I am leaning toward surgery at this point as I am very much a hands-on person).

I used to believe in making a list of resolutions for the new year, but most of them I’d forget about by mid-February (ok, let’s be honest by January 10 usually).  So instead I started having a “theme” for the year. Last year’s theme was improvement. This year, my theme is to live. One word, simple enough to remember day after day until December 31.

Like I said, this is going to be a very busy year. And 3rd year, which I’m told is the greatest year you’ll ever have in medical school and even residency, is halfway over. I only have, potentially, 1.5 years left in Toledo with my family, my friends, and my Ribeiro family. So what I need to focus on this year is truly being present in every moment and soaking up and enjoying everything I can. I have a tendency to wish time away, and this year I’m going to make sure I truly appreciate the time I have.

So be here, now. Live for the day you have and not the days coming. Tackle each problem a day at a time and never let the minutes slip away. Do not merely exist. LIVE.

Happy New Year! Wishing all of you a year of happiness.

Also, you should all check out this post by a female Ribeiro brown belt about the difference between a winner and a champion and how to live life by the Ribeiro virtues. 

First Blue Stripe

ONE STEP CLOSER TO BLACK BELT.

There are a lot of ways to measure progress. In medical school we measure progress with tests and skills exams. In jiu jitsu, you measure progress with belt color and little tape stripes on the end of a belt.

Here’s what I think – I think progress is measured by the immeasurable. I think I become a better future doctor when I connect with a patient and earn their trust. When I learn to go beyond asking questions and doing a physical and get to know that patient as a person. I know I’m progressing when I can put everything together and come up with the next step.

In jiu jitsu, I think each stripe and each belt represent so much more than that. So how have I progressed? I’ve survived 1.5 years in a sport my coach says is designed to make you quit. I’ve learned not to give up. I’ve made some amazing friends who I know will always have my back. And I’ve become a part of something bigger than myself. I’ve learned to never let the everyday losses drag you down, because a win is right around the corner. I’ve learned that you probably will get your butt kicked from time to time, but that makes you stronger, not weaker. I know I’ve progressed because I can now step onto the mat and know it’s where I belong, not somewhere I feel out of place. And I know I’ve progressed because I’ve become a part of the Ribeiro family.

 

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You never notice progress in the day to day routine of life. You have to take a step back and look at how far you’ve come. Just a couple of weeks ago I delivered a baby – that’s absolutely incredible progress from the days during second year where I memorized pelvic floor anatomy. Each day in the hospital I progress more and more, and at the end of a rotation it always amazes me how much I’ve learned. And in jiu jitsu, you never fully appreciate how much your body learns every time you’re there. Then one day, after you’ve taken over a month off, you come back and your timing is off, and you can’t seem to do anything right. Then it starts clicking again. It always amazes me.

So, while you may feel like you’re not going anywhere, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. I’m sure you’re much farther along than you think. And if you’re working toward your dreams, you will make it as long as you never give up.

So thanks to everyone who helps me in my daily progress – my family, my best friends, and my Ribeiro family. I love you all! 

My Weekend Off

I know you’re all wondering what it is med students do on their free weekends, which I had this past weekend. So, here it is!

1. Sleep. A lot. Naps and probably 10 hours of sleep per night. Yes, naps was plural.

2. See friends. Especially non-med school friends who you may inadvertently ignore during a
imagetough rotation. It doesn’t matter what you do – you could go to dinner, go to a movie, go ice skating, or go see a bunch of girls you’ve known since grade school and just hang out. Whatever you do is bound to be fun, because it’s social and it’s out of the hospital!

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Back to RJJ Toledo!!!!

3. Work out. Which in my case meant I got to return to RJJ Toledo!! It was so great to be back training with my team. Saturdays are the toughest day at our academy, and it was full of high level guys pushing each other. I wish you could all experience how much fun it is to have a great training session with a BJJ family! Everyone’s training for the tournament this Saturday (which, sadly I can’t make it to because I’m working).

4. Shop. For new clothes (though nowadays this means less casual clothes and more work-appropriate clothes), winter boots, a winter coat, and heck we can throw a new purse into the bunch! I’m a binge shopper which means I *may* or may not have spent a LOT of money this weekend. Oops.

5. Stock up on your favorite caffeine source. For me, that’s currently Diet Coke. Meijer had aphenomenal sale where I got 36 bottles for $12. I think I’m stocked for a little while….

So that’s how I spent my free weekend. And today I started my OB/Gyn rotation! We had an orientation. I officially start on the labor&delivery floor on Thursday morning. I have 5 shifts in a row, two day shifts and three night shifts. We have to see at least 2 deliveries (and participate in one) and two c-sections in those 5 fourteen hour shifts. So that should be…interesting!

How’s everyone else spend free weekends? I like to think probably quite similarly.

(And for fun, this is apparently what ice-leaves look like when leaves freeze to your car).

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Life In Akron

I’ve been in Akron now for 2 weeks, and I’ve gotta say, it’s definitely growing on me. Before I left my parents and brothers thought I was crazy for choosing Akron over other options such as Columbus or Ann Arbor. I think it’s definitely been a good fit for me, in terms of life in the city. Unfortunately, the general surgery has been oddly slow (I’ve only seen 3 surgeries in 2 weeks) but I’ve still learned a lot! AND I even got to sneak in a morning clinic in ORTHO! Which was really fun, especially after a full day of hernias and hemorrhoids.  Finished the surgery oral exam, the OSCE, all that’s left is the shelf exam this coming Friday.

So, here’s life in Akron: (plus I got to visit my brother at JCU!)

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The first impression of the house they put med students in in Akron. It’s bad, I know. But don’t let it fool you.

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A view of my window from the outside.

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While I was here in Akron, I was lucky enough to get to train once at Top Level Martial Arts (http://www.toplevelmartialarts.com/) with Bill Jones. The class was really great – we worked omoplata from closed guard and variations of omoplata plus he tweaked my bread cutter choke a bit!

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Head instructor and owner of Top Level Martial Arts, Bill Jones. It was great to meet him and train with his guys. It’s really cool that no matter where you go, there will always be a BJJ family to take the edge off after a long day at the hospital.
If you’re ever in Akron, definitely check out his academy!

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Akron General is a really nice hospital! View on a beautiful fall day

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When I was on call at Akron, they gave me two pagers – one is a trauma pager. It was a lot like being an intern when they would both go off at once.

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A patient of mine in clinic told me about Ninni’s – an authentic Italian bakery where everything is made fresh every morning! So of course my housemate and I made a trip out there. It’s absolutely phenomenal.

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But I’ve got to say – the best part about coming to Akron was getting to catch up with my best college friends again who I hadn’t seen in over two years!!! 🙂

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More of my favorite Carroll friends! Both bio majors only, but I won’t hold that against them.

I will see you all back in Toledo this weekend! And then starts… OB/GYN!

Balancing Fun and Surgery


I know I’ve been MIA for a while. So here’s what I’ve been up to and why I haven’t been able to blog for a while! Learning to balance having fun, being a clinical med student, and studying!

So, I’ve officially finished Neurology and Psychiatry and am now on my SURGERY rotation! I’m currently rotating through orthopaedic surgery and I love it!!! (Though…. the hours are VERY long. I’m usually working 12 hour days). Believe it or not, I even get to suture people closed after surgeries. Did I mention I love third year?!!
FINALLY saw Wicked!
Trying to enjoy what remains of the nice weather + study
Took a day trip to Columbus with my best friend for a nice break 🙂
The messier your hair, the harder you worked out! 
I caved and studied in Mulford again.
Had a BLAST at two car shows, one an ALL MUSTANG show! Can’t wait til I own one 🙂
We earned our second white coat and had a ceremony to give us time to pause and be proud of the fact that we’re officially clinical students and are therefore HALFWAY to being doctors!
The ortho clinic where I spend half of my week
Bonus points to anyone who can tell me what syndrome this is
Practicing suturing in the on-call room on a towel
Throwing in some BJJ time to keep me sane
My ever so fashionable look 50% of the time in the OR!!
Beautiful view from ortho clinic
How a 3rd year on surgery spends their Sunday nights… practicing suturing!
And finally, the on-call room. Where we get to “sleep” while we work from 6pm-6am