About Me

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I'm an extroverted woman looking for my purpose in the world; I've got charisma, I'm nosey, I'm upfront and I will confront you, but I am probably the most lovable person you'll ever meet :)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mental Health

Especially in the black community, is something we rarely discuss, but over the past year, I have learned that it is actually important and should not be disregarded.

Recently, there have been reports of innocent people's lives taken away by seemingly random shootings targeted at people while doing everyday activities, such as going to school, going to the mall, going to watch a movie. Unfortunately, the news bombards us with stories about the gunmen giving them false and undeserved fame. I think the news should focus on the lives go those we lost.

However, in this post, I am going to be talking about mental health- and mostly about someone I knew.

About a year and half ago, through Facebook, I was able to "catch up" with a girl I went to middle school with. She was our friend, our playmate. Although we have all grown up and taken different paths, hers scared me a bit.

She constantly had Facebook status talking about the illuminati, freemasonry and the like. She constantly questioned authority and the "white man's system". She talked of finding spirituality and becoming Rastafarian. She talked fondly of her 'leader'--a regular man--who guided her into the right path. She talked of loving her then few months old daughter and wanting to get rid of her muddied past and start fresh. She also spoke of homeschooling her child and being wary of vaccinations because of the potential harm they could cause.

Being myself, I often questioned her statuses and argued with her. I am very opinionated and I rarely back down when given the chance to make a point. So I did. And I did so very often. It got to a point that she started making statuses about me and how I was trying to derail her. At another point, her 'leader' even joined and told me to back off and said that I needed to rejoin the 'Black Family'.

Back then, I blew it off as that she was "crazy" and was "miseducated", but I never doubted that she was clinically sane or that she loved her daughter. Back then, I 'knew' that in time, she would be back to 'normal'.

Subsequently, she deleted me off Facebook and I hadn't heard from her since.

Fast forward to January 1st, 2013, a few hours after landing back in Toronto after my trip to Nigeria, I was watching the news and was taken aback by a photo of a young lady and her daughter and underneath, the caption stated something like "woman arrested, charged with second degree murder of her daughter".

Then another, more clear photo was shown, then her name. And it was then that I had flashbacks of many Facebook arguments as well as many middle school laughs. I was slightly confused. It couldn't be true. This could not be the same girl. As quickly as the flashbacks came, I googled her name, and I visited Facebook pages of old friends--then I knew, it was true. It really was her.

She allegedly killed her daughter who would have been 3 years old in March 2013.

This is not the kind of thing a normal person does. There has to be some kind of explanation. Brief psychotic episode? Previously diagnosed Schizophrenia? It had to be something, right? Right?

There has been a publication ban on her psychiatric evaluation and there hasn't been much else said about this case in the news.

This brings me to the point of my post. Do we, especially in the black community, too quickly disregard mental illness? Did she, a year and half ago and possibly before, show signs of impending doom if she didn't receive help? Was she receiving help? Did she even need help?

For the past 10 days, I have been thinking, if I had known then, what I know now, would I have tried harder to get her some help? I knew something was wrong, but I didn't know what and I certainly didn't know how serious.

I really think we need to start recognizing signs of mental illness and start getting people the help they need and deserve.

I cannot say for sure that this girl did or does have a mental illness, and I am most definitely not excusing her alleged act but I am however pleading with you, my readers, to learn more, know more.

Thank you.

RIP to the many many victims of senseless crimes.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Almost Done

Sigh. Med 3 that is.

This semester has been quite a roller coaster. It literally IS the hump of the ride. It's in the middle, so far the most challenging and filled with the most drama, but thankfully, it is almost over.

On Tuesday I have the NBME shelf exam for Neuroscience and Wednesday I have a small quiz also for Neuroscience- this quiz is generally for those who need a last chance to bring them to a passing mark or those who have a 79 or 89 to make it to 80 or 90, respectively.

I am soooooo tired of studying and this 1 month break from school will be so worth it. I really need the time to regroup. You always want to stay focused because you know what your goal is and you know what you need to do to get there, but the stresses of Basic Sciences are quite something.

What sucks more is that you are away from familiar surroundings and people and because we've all just met each other here, makes it even harder. Each day you learn more and more about the people you spend time with and it isn't always positive things, but it seems like you just have to suck it up because you're here alone.

It's hard to be picky when you don't have much choice.

Anyway, I plan to make the most of my time this holiday break. I am planning to study 2 hours each day or at least 1 hour and these will consist mainly of Kaplan videos. I want to start reviewing what we've learned since January of this year just to keep it fresh in my mind. I also want to be able to preview some of the material for Med 4-- Pharmacology and Pathology I. We also have Physical Diagnosis (PD) but I'm not so much worried about that.

I'll be spending some of my holiday in Nigeria and hopefully volunteering at one of the most known general hospitals. I want to use this as a learning opportunity. I know I'll be able to see cases that won't necessarily show up in North America but have had to learn so I am super excited for that.

I'll also be spending a day or two with a plastic surgeon!!!! She does mostly reconstructive breast surgery and facial surgeries and I am so so so thankful to have this opportunity.

Anyways, guys, I gotta get back to studying for Neuro.

Until next time,


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Third Block

Wow, what a block.

Basically we learned.... A  LOT... I mean just incredible the amount of information.

Neuroscience: All the cranial nerves, the thalamus, the limbic system, the reticular formation. For each of these, we have to know the routes they take in the brain and brain stem, the normal function of each part in each system, and the manifestations when there is damage to that area.

Microbiology: We learned probably 50 bacterias, they way they infect, their reservoirs, what body part(s) they infect and their symptoms, as well as their diagnostic criteria-- i.e. what you would see if you did a culture, what medium you would need and sometimes, what antibiotic is useful.

Medical Psychology: I loved this block. We learned about personality disorders, conduct disorders, operant conditioning, and disorders such as anxiety, phobia, panic, OCD, depression, bulimia, anorexia. Very eye opening.

Ethics: Just more of the same stuff.

I wish I had more to say, but that's all I can come up with. Perhaps I'll make posts in between blocks to talk about other things.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012


So we just finished block 2.

This block we focused on:

Neuroscience: Injuries to the spinal cord, cerebrum and cerebellum such as strokes, Multiple Sclerosis, Deafness, Paralysis. This was by far the course I enjoyed most this block because I got to learn why and how patients develop these diseases and conditions. Those people on wheelchairs, those people who had a car accident and can no longer speak, I know how that's happening.

Immunology: We learned a lot of things. This course is extremely boring. Knowing how to identify certain diseases is quite interesting but learning which protein, gene, molecule is defective or missing is a bore!

Medical Psychology: Here we focused on childhood development, Human sexuality + disorders, Learning disabilities and mental retardation as well as depression, bipolar spectrum disorders, autism, etc. It was eye opening to see the criteria that the DSM-IV uses to diagnose these people.

Ethics: More of the same stuff lol. Ethics is just ethics, it seems unimportant but I can actually see how it would be useful.

Block Exams...they were the most challenging exams I've had to date. WOW WOW WOW. I was stunned. You had to think critically, more than one would have expected. Most people didn't do that well, but I must say I am thankful for my grades. I have no one to thank but God. So grateful, I owe it all to him.

Socially, there's not much happening. You gradually learn how to "have fun" but it never quite equates to being home with your family and going out with your "normal" friends.

All in all this was a great block and as stressful as it was, I look forward to the next block.

Thanks for reading,
Until next time,


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Round 3

7:49am, Tuesday, third week of Med 3 (semester 3) and all I can think about is how I can't wait for Med 4, when we get our first real patient contact.

This semester, my courses are Neuroscience, Microbiology/Immunology, Medical Psychology, and Ethics.

So far, I'm really enjoying Neuroscience and Med Psych. In just two weeks, I've learned how to read MRIs and CT scans, how certain nerve related diseases manifest, how nervous system related cancers differ in adults and children--and that's just the tip of it. In Med Psych, we mainly focused on substance abuse this block, from marijuana to ecstasy to opiates to cocaine.

It's true what they say, "cocaine is a helluva drug", "crack is whack", "there's no hope in dope!"

We had to watch a documentary called "Crackheads Gone Wild", and true to the title, they were wild. It was insane. If a "normal", sober person did the things the people in the movie did, there's a good chance, I would have laughed, but while watching this movie, I was heartbroken. How can a human being do this to their body, their mind, their life?

Unfortunately, some drugs are extremely addicting and even the withdrawal symptoms are so bad that you'd even want to provide the drug to the addict. So, in terms of drugs, prevention is ideal. Don't start it. Just don't.

Opiates like heroin, and morphine, or Vicodin are also very addicting, especially heroin. Your body builds up tolerance so fast that you'll need a higher dose to get high each new week.

Ethics is a...boring class, but I can definitely see the importance of it. As physicians, we need to learn how to talk to others with respect, compassion and authority. So although, I sometimes find the class to be a waste of study time, I'm learning to be patient so I can learn, but also, so I decrease my chances of getting sued in the future. LOL.

I'm feeling good that I managed to post two entries back to back, with just a few hours (or 12) in between.

Until next time,


Monday, September 10, 2012

Catching Up...

No no, I don't mean in school. You never want to put yourself in a position where you have to catch up, because that is disaster!

I mean, catching you up on my life, school, etc. I was unmotivated to write any entries during Med 2, but let me fill you in.

Med 2 courses are Physiology, Biochemistry, Epidemiology and Genetics. I went in thinking I would absolutely love Physiology, but it was slightly subpar for me. I didn't enjoy the way it was taught but it is actually one of the more important courses in Basic Science and plenty of it will show up in USMLE Step 1.

Biochemistry, I went in thinking I wouldn't care for but I loved it! I feel like I learned so much from that course--from the way our bodies break down nutrients, to the way congenital blood illnesses manifest. It wasn't at all like organic chemistry. I feel like every single thing I learned in this course was important and will be useful in clinical practice.

Epidemiology and Genetics were small courses and they were alright. It's hard to do bad in these courses. They were easy and not very interesting.

OK, more about social life. My birthday is June 19 so it was in the middle of the second semester. It really sucks not spending your birthday with the people you actually care about and the people who you know care about you. Being away in a foreign land with new people on your birthday isn't the best way to spend it--at least not for me.

I felt really lonely and became extremely homesick. I also got to RELEARN that nobody really cares about you. I feel like the prior 5 months, the people that are "close" to me, I did my best to make their birthdays special, and when it came to mine, it was depressing. I certainly didn't do those things to get something back, but it put things in perspective. Regardless, next year, I'll probably still do the same things for the same people.

I'm my own person and I don't let someone else's actions affect mine. I'll do what I feel comfortable doing.

I don't want to make this post too long, so I'll stop here. Next post will be about the first two weeks in Med 3.

BoomStarz, MD

Monday, April 23, 2012

T + 1 week

Hello blogosphere.

Yes I have been gone for far too long. It's hard to stay motivated to keep writing if there aren't an appropriate amount of written responses. But I guess I should keep in mind that my primary reason for starting this blog isn't for comments but more as a way for me to keep track of this journey.

I am currently 1 week post first semester. Med 1 was great. I studied well and it proved worthwhile. I also learned a lot and I am absolutely looking forward to the second semester. This time we'll be taking Biochemistry, Physiology, Genetics and Epidemiology.

I hope the semester goes just as well or even better for me.

I will try to make at least one blog post per block- as a summary for each block. I hope I can do it.

BoomStarz MD