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Brief Update

Sorry everyone for my lack of blogging. It’s been a crazy few months. Since I last blogged in October, I have completed all of my residency interviews in general surgery! Interview season was exciting, terrifying, exhausting, and expensive. I will find out on March 20 where I will spend the next 5 or 6 years! Actually, I find out IF I matched on March 16, and if I did, WHERE on March 20. Until then, I wait patiently. Residency interviews are interesting and very different than medical school interviews – a lot of the time they were either telling me the best parts of their program, or asking me about who I was, and everyone always asked about jiu jitsu!! It’s a good feeling to know that they think you’re qualified since you made it to the interview, and at that point they just want to make sure you’re the kind of person who would fit into their program.  Life during fourth year has been pretty great, and I can say with 100% confidence I have not worked for a full day since the end of October. Storing up sleep for those 80+ hours I start in July!

As for jiu jitsu, my shoulder started acting up in November from an AC separation I had back on the mats in March, so I had to cut way back on training. Plus, I was gone so often for interviews. In December I got a steroid shot into the shoulder, and it was incredible the pain relief I got! So I’m officially back on the mats. Our academy is growing, especially in terms of how many women there are! A few months back four of my jiu jitsu sisters got promoted to blue belt, so there are officially 6 blue belt females at our academy and a white belt! That’s quite a change from the days when I first started and was the only girl in the adult class. It’s great that more women are getting into the sport! And especially because I usually have at least 3 great training partners close to my size when I train.

The Ribeiro Toledo female blue belts

The Ribeiro Toledo female blue belts

Just figured I’d give a brief update. Next week I’ll talk about the promotion ceremony we had a while ago, and introduce you to the new Ribeiro black belts! Stay tuned.

Oh, and I learned to shoot! Not bad, I’d say for my first time, my favorite part is the unintentionally, but perfectly placed shot to the right carotid artery in the right neck!  shooting


The End of an Era

My EMT-B license officially expired on my birthday, a few days ago. I have been a certified EMT-B since 2008. Some of the greatest moments in my life, my greatest accomplishments, and my greatest friends were made through EMS. It is a part of my life I will never forget and I will forever cherish all the memories.

I was a freshman in college when I became an EMT-B with people who became my best college and lifelong friends. I spent a summer with the Sylvania Township Fire Department and had one of the greatest summers of my life where I got to be on the front lines of emergency medicine and meet some awesome FF/paramedics who helped me get into medical school. I became chief of EMS at John Carroll. and worked with the future doctors of America saving the life of one college kid at a time. I went to Washington DC and Baltimore with my college EMS for the national conferences. And through all of that, I realized that I was meant to spend the rest of my life in medicine. So, here’s to an end of that era.

Some would say I was obsessed with life as an EMT during college, and looking back I definitely was. But it got me the friends I have, and it got me into medical school. And for that, I will never regret that decision!

Thank you to everyone who made it so special! Here are some of the best moments during these years 🙂

EMS Conference in Washington DC

EMS Conference in Washington DC


Relay for Life with the UH Firefighters

EMS Conference in Baltimore

EMS Conference in Baltimore


Prior Chief and Best EMS/Nurse


JCU EMS at Relay for Life




Chief, Assistant Chief, and Deputy Chief!

Chief, Assistant Chief, and Deputy Chief!

2011 JCU EMS Seniors

2011 JCU EMS Seniors

The CCF EMT instructors

The CCF EMT instructors

My EMT-B Class at the Cleveland Clinic!

My EMT-B Class at the Cleveland Clinic!


A fantastic life moment.

My FAVORITE Fire Dept Shift!

My FAVORITE Fire Dept Shift!


The place where I lived during college.


Learning Outside of Books

My internal medicine attending told me “there’s so much more to learn than just what is in your books”. This IM rotation has proven that time and time again. I would like to share:

I picked up a patient on my inpatient general IM rotation who was a 80something woman who came in for dehydration and AKI. Turned out she was in lactic acidosis due to a necrotic gallbladder and severe heart failure. My resident asked if I wanted to lead a discussion with the patient, and later her POA, about her code status. It was so much more difficult than I ever could have imagined. I turned their world upside down – she was just dehydrated and now we’re sending her to inpatient hospice? Walking through it for the first time with my resident there for backup was definitely an incredible learning experience in how to break bad news to patients, and then being with them every step of the way until she was transferred to hospice. Nothing will ever make me forget the tearful hug her husband gave me when they left thanking me for taking care of his wife better than he could at that point.

It seems, unfortunately bad news is going to be something I deal with quite often. I’m on a rotation in Michigan and am working on a general medicine service, but it is on the oncology floor – so we take care of everything but the chemotherapy regiment for patients. We have young patients who just recently found out their abdominal pain was metastatic adenocarcinoma and are starting chemo, patients who just found out they have a brain tumor, and everything in between. These cancer patients cease to amaze me. They are so strong and even though they feel awful they greet you with a smile every day. Today when I came in to see my patient who got their diagnosis a week ago she was vomiting from the chemo. She washed her face, came and sat on the bed, and smiled and wished me a good morning. Good morning! I asked how she was doing and if we could make her feel better in any way. After we talked for a while she told me that life is too short to be anything but happy, hopeful, and full of love for life.

Life in the hospital is never the same from day to day, but one thing will never change – the patients will always be the greatest teachers. No textbook can ever teach you how to connect with patients or how to have hope even when you’re told it’s hopeless

So, like my patient said – BE HAPPY, HOPEFUL, AND FULL OF LOVE! 



Family Medicine

Study break writing time!

First, let me say that family medicine has exceeded all my expectations and has surprised me more than any other of my rotations. I have met who I consider to be some of the best doctors on this rotation. And because of that, I began running a little mini survey. I decided to find out what makes these doctors so great. I’ve polled patients, the nurses, fellow med students on rotation, and even the residents and attendings. I’ve asked what they think makes a great doctor.


Here’s some of my favorite quotes:

Patient – “I think Dr. X is a great doctor because I feel like I can tell him anything and he will actually care enough to take care of it or send me to someone who can. He’s the first doctor who sees me as a person, not their 10:30 HTN recheck

Patient – “You know, I’ve got 6 different doctors for all my problems. And I won’t say that Dr. X is the smartest one cause you know, those cancer doctors are really smart (here I just laughed). But I still think Dr. X is the greatest doctor of them all. (I asked why?). Why? Well because she respects me and I respect her. And mostly because every time I see her she’s smiling and happy to see me. That means a lot.”

Nurse – “I’ve worked at a lot of different clinics throughout my 30 years as a nurse and trust me when I say I have never worked with a better group of physicians. It’s everything from the way they treat the nurses as equals to the hoops they’ll jump through to help patients. You can see that they genuinely love their job and their patients are important to them.”

Resident – “What stands out about the attendings here is that they are constantly learning the newest treatments and management plans. They want to be sure their patients are getting the cutting edge care. Most of our patients are Medicare/Medicaid/uninsured but never has that made the attendings treat them any differently. They are amazing doctors because they see every patient as equal and strive to give them the best care they possibly could receive (even the difficult patients).”

So what I’ve learned most from my family medicine rotation (which is saying something because I am really great at HTN, DM, HLD, hypothyroid, COPD, and musculoskeletal problems now) is that the key to being a GREAT doctor is to love what you do. The love you have for you branch of medicine will show through in your day to day life whether that’s in the hospital, the OR, or the clinic. Patients, at the end of the day, want to feel cared about. They don’t care if you’re the smartest or the most well-known or whether you are a neurosurgeon or a PCP – they just want you to care about them.

So a big THANK YOU to all of the amazing residents and attendings on my family med rotation who have treated this med student not as a nuisance, but as a vital member of the team. My opinions and plans have actually been put in place, everyone makes sure I’m learning everyday, and everyone has really made the clinic feel like home to me.

Just two more days left in family, and it’s going to be sad saying goodbye to such a great rotation!


Downtown Toledo as seen from the clinic!



100 days of Happiness

I challenge all of you to 100 days of happiness. 

This challenge is simple. Every single day snap a picture of something that makes you happy, whether on your phone or in your mind. Because in this crazy, hectic, stressful world that we live in is also a beautiful, fun, wonderful, awe-inspiring world. It can be something simple – a great cup of morning coffee, lunch with friends, a patient who says “thank you”, no traffic, your favorite song, a free cookie, a word of encouragement, a smile in the halls of the hospital, a great run, a tough training session, a call to a friend/family member, or even just a resident who after borrowing your favorite pen remembers to return it. 

I know that there is something in every day that makes you happy. Because no matter who you are, everyone deserves to be happy.


Also…. I promise within the week to share a post on a day on the other side of medicine. Life has thrown me a few curveballs lately, and writing had to be pushed aside for a bit. Stay tuned.



Happy Valentine’s Day to all those medstudents spending it in the hospitals/clinics! Because abscesses, boils, URIs, HTN, DM, lap choles, appis, well care checks, strokes, hysterectomies, and femur fractures mean just another day for us! Which, let’s be honest…. we secretly love.

So for those of us who’s true love is MEDICINE, happy Valentine’s day from medicine 🙂

What Keeps You From Getting Better at Jiu Jitsu: Fear

A Skirt on the Mat

Ok, it’s one of the things that keeps you from getting better at jiu jitsu, but it’s a pretty big thing that we all face, and should talk about.

I’m going to indulge the 13 year old in me for a moment and relate today’s post to the lyric of a song that I enjoy, “Dear Death Part 1” (the band is Emery, in case you’re wondering)

“It’s the wrong side of fear that kept me out”

We could nitpick this phrase all day until it doesn’t make sense anymore, however I feel it can be applied to parts of our jiu jitsu journey…career…adventure? Adventure, I like it- we’re sticking with that phrase for now.

As I mentioned, we all have to face it as some point: the fear of failure, the fear of making a mistake, creating a vulnerability and being swept, submitted, etc. We put so much time…

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