– I am plagued by this deep fire of passion within me to become a doctor. To save lives and help make a difference. Being somewhere, someplace, for somebody that needs saving and life-changing medical attention. –
I’d like to start off with a brief introduction about myself. Who I am, my passions in life, and probably some random stuff like my new favourite motivational quote along the way that i’d like to share with my readers as they follow along with me on my documentation journey on this blog.
I am currently a 3rd-year Biomedical Science student focusing on Cancer development and Neuroscience in the University of Auckland (UoA) in New Zealand. With the hope to eventually pursue a career in the Medical & Health Sciences industry, I have a dream of taking on two roles; Firstly clinically as a medical doctor, and Secondly as a Biomedical scientist and researcher in the field of either Oncology or Neuroscience. Why such a specific aim you may ask?
When you were younger, have you ever aspired to be something? An astronaut? Doctor? Policeman? To do something great? To change/improve upon something in this world?
Have you stayed up late into the night, just being so excited about something that you can’t fall asleep? Your mind racing non-stop such that you’re now more awake than ever?
Well.. personally, i’ve always had a curious mind. Curious about why the sky was blue. Why do people all around the world speak different languages? How does a caterpillar turn into a butterfly? Something about understanding the way how the world works just intrigued and fascinated me so much. Whenever I was in the car and it was raining, I would stare out of the window and wonder why and how rainbows were formed, how does the human body work, what causes gravity, etc.
Did you know that hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backwards in the air?
I guess, that’s where and how my love for science started in the first place, because that’s precisely what Science is- The study of how things work. And in later years, this interest of mine eventually led to my love for Biology in high school and especially in my college years- in particular, learning more and more about how the body works. Our body- it’s such a complex thing. To be honest, it’s a miracle how it does what it does.
What I always loved about studying science and especially piqued my interest was how the human body worked. The human body is made up of a number of complex systems (digestive, respiratory, circulatory, skeletal etc.) that all work together in unison to function as one. Isn’t that amazing? We are just like a living machine with different parts, and if we do not take care of it, they can be damaged and require “servicing” after a while. How do we treat/remedy all these issues? What do we do when our bodies fail us as we age? What do we do as we face certain dangerous and unavoidable diseases in life? How do I protect my loved ones from these? These are some of the questions I asked myself, and where my passion started to grow and how it caused me to actually start considering a future career in the Medical and Health Sciences Industry.
This is my reason for lying wide awake on my bed all alone, in the middle of the night at 3am. This is my passion. I’ve always wanted to be a doctor. Why a doctor you may ask? Since young, I never liked not being in the know. To be able to understand and have some sort of “control” over what’s going on. When are you at your weakest and most vulnerable point? Personally, I used to have really bad tummy-aches when I was younger and those experiences really made me feel weak and helpless. Sitting all alone on the toilet bowl, unable to do anything except wait for that pain to pass away. I can still vividly remember how I was always sitting on the toilet bowl, closing my eyes, clenching my teeth and fists, trying just to survive and breathe. Even my ever loving and caring parents could not do much to help.. except to offer some kind words and maybe some charcoal pills that’s supposed to ease the pain.That feeling of falling sick, getting injured and feeling pain is one of the most horrible feelings in the world, and to start feeling better and recovering, was a comfort I had never experienced before.
Who do you look for when you face such helpless experiences in life? Most of us would say – Go see the doctor!
To us, they are the know-it-all for everything medical/health-related. And that’s exactly who I looked up to and wanted to be. To be a doctor who knew what the hell was wrong with people, and be able to help get them back to baseline. To ease their pain, to understand what was going on in their bodies, and have some form of ability to help them feel better.
Doctors (General Practitioners) are usually the primary healthcare providers for most of us. I did not want to leave this role to whichever doctor happened to be treating my family whenever a loved one fell sick. I wanted to be in the know. To be in “control” in a sense. I wanted to understand how this particular illness came about, why this was happening, how to diagnose, spot the symptoms, prevent this from happening again and most importantly, how to treat this illness and help my loved one quickly recover and feel better again.
My mum was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast cancer back in 2008, and this came as a shock to all of us. I remember feeling shell-shocked when she first revealed it to the family, asking myself how could my mum have actually contracted such an illness? She looked so whole and alive outside, but inside her were these dangerous and deadly cancerous cells that could take my mother away from me anytime, just like that. Cancer is not just any old regular sickness that comes and goes, but a terminal, life-threatening and largely un-curable disease. This illness was not going to back down without a fight, but a disease that was life-changing! All it was going to bring to the table was pain, pain and more pain. Medical treatments as we started to get to know, would cause her to undergo painful surgery, countless sessions of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormonal and targeted therapies that would wreak so much havoc to her body system.. Contracting the illness was going to hurt her so much, but treating it would hurt her equally as bad. Her hair started falling out, experiencing sudden red hot flushes, extreme exhaustion and many more other extreme side effects. My dad once mentioned to me that it was so painful to see my mum come out sedated after undergoing surgery to remove the cancerous lump. He said that my mum had always been a fighter, and even when she was sedated and under anaesthesia, she was still squirming and in so much pain that she was struggling around and trying to remove the oxygen mask.
I knew then, that I definitely wanted to become a doctor.
What further confirmed my passion was when I enlisted for 2 years into the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) for my National Service. My vocation was to be a firefighter and training was never easy. Our mission and motto was “To save lives and property”, with saving lives always being first priority. This further ingrained into me how important and honourable it was to play a part, no matter how small our roles may be, in saving a person’s life. Nobody’s life is worth sacrificing no matter how unimportant they may seem to be. Somebody who passed away in a car accident, may just be another person to you, but to somebody else could be a much loved father, wife or child. It breaks my heart when I read or hear such news because I imagine them to be my dad, mum, sisters or anyone I deeply care about. Who wouldn’t want to go all out protect their loved ones, even be willing to swap places with them if it were possible? I have experienced quite a few deaths and injuries during my service as a firefighter that you normally would not experience on a day to day basis.
This is why “Stay Fit” now has become my motto and driver in life. Most people think of fitness mainly as a physical aspect, but it is so much more than just that! What about being psychologically/spiritually/emotionally fit? We need all these to function optimally isn’t it?
The past couple years off studying (almost 3 years off from school with 2 years spent serving National Service in Singapore) really had an impact on me, and it was extremely hard to get the brain up and running again after such a long 3-year hiatus. First semester was particularly hard and stressful, with countless all-nighters done, trying to revise and relearn what were supposed to be basics, already long forgotten back in high school. Grades turned out to be inadequate for first year entry into medicine, but I have no regrets because I know that I have tried my best. No point plaguing yourself with all these “what-ifs” because they are just going to hurt you even more. Trust me, I’ve been there many times. At this moment, the action plan is to complete my first degree, and re-apply again to medical school when I’m done via graduate entry, both in Singapore and New Zealand. This is a dream I’ll never give up on, because I know that this is for me and my calling in life.
There have been so many nights, I just could not fall asleep. So many. Lying wide awake in bed, imagining how I would answer people when they ask me why I want to become a doctor. There are so many thoughts, feelings and emotions, I sometimes just don’t know where to start and how to answer. Even when I vocalise it out, the answer just seems so inadequate and pales in comparison to how strongly I feel about it within me. Countless nights have been spent imagining how it must feel like to finally enter into medical school, studying and graduating, starting work in the hospitals, late-night shifts, meeting patients, diagnosing and having consultations. Knowing what goes on when my loved ones fall sick, not being fully clueless as to what is going on, but at least being able to do my best to remedy that.
This is why I have this deep fire of passion within me. To be on the forefront in the latest developments of science, to save lives and help make a difference. Being somewhere, someplace, for somebody that needs life-saving and life-changing medical attention.
Why am I writing this blog?
It is to challenge myself. Too often than not, we get comfortable and if given a choice, will do all we can to STAY COMFORTABLE. Well, I know this to be true for me at least..
By doing this, I am trying to push myself out of my comfort zone to achieve more and at the same time, document the changes in my life as they come. Basically, this will be a place where I say whatever things that I have found interesting/learnt something new/been thinking about that day.
I will post as often as I can from today onward and if you enjoy my writing, please feel free to follow me, like or comment on my posts!
Happy reading! 🙂