A Breather From it All

16 Nov

When I was kid I have always dreamed of dancing around the world or be the greatest martial artist to have ever lived.  Dreams of becoming a doctor was the last thing on my mind.

When I got older, things became clearer and I realized that anyone can be a superhero, and for me being a hero means saving lives, and that was when the quest for that coveted 2-letter initial started.

I have always been known to course through my academic life with ease.  I was a whirlwind of activities; I juggled sports, theater, martial arts, and dancing, and to top it all off I still managed to be one of the top students.  I did everything to be be able to excel in all the activities I joined.  I graduated as one of the top 10 students of my class, I had awards for my performance in theater and in sports,  I won every best actor award in all the stage plays I was cast in, and despite my hectic school schedule, I was able to pass with Merits my International Royal Academy of Dance Ballet Examinations. I never had a free day ever since I was a little girl, but I didn’t mind.  I enjoyed it all.  It helped me prepare for my future as a doctor.

College came, and along with it came the temptations of choosing to study away from home.  There was also the scholarships for dance that waited for me in all my dream schools, but I never swayed from my goals.  I took up Medical Technology as a course, knowing that this will be the best preparatory for Medicine that can be offered.  I kept dancing, and participating in all the activities that I used to join when I was in High school, and I never got tired of my busy life.  Even when I had to take the Licensure Examinations for Medical Technologists, I never slowed down.  I was reviewing for the boards, but all I could think about was when I would start my life as a Medical student

and then..

Medical life started.  Just like all of my academic life, I coursed through 5 years without difficulty.  I gained friends, I met consultants, who made me the doctor that I am today.  I was prepared for all the  battering of medical school and its aftermath, but I was not prepared for the people I will later encounter during residency training.

I started my training with the hopes of graduating after 4 years, but God had other plans for me.  I was spitted on, harassed and my confidence during training was shattered.  The consultants and other staff were okay and I had worked harmoniously with them, but those who were in training with me were monsters.  I was brought up to be strong, but I never grew up to be insubordinate, so I took everything in without a word.  I only took it out on the mitts and the bags when i go to the fight club to train.

I had a great time when I transferred to a new working environment.  The people I work with were easy to get along with, the pay was great, and the learning was more than I can handle.  I was comfortable for the past 10 months, but unbeknownst to me, I was already working with two-faced colleagues; my reputation was ruined, and I was viewed incompetent by most because of false stories that was spread.  To top it all off, I was viewed to be a psychopath by many, and my life was threatened.  I tried to stand strong and brush it all off, but my family decided to make me go home for fear of my safety.

This ended my adventure as a headstrong OB-to be.  I still am a doctor, but I have decided to take it slow.  I took a breather from it all, and let fate decide my course.  I decided to pursue writing and dancing as a career despite my medical education.  My pursuit for that consultant title took a backseat for a little while.  I decided to enjoy what life has to offer me.

I realized that no matter how strong you were brought up, and how hard you try to reach your goals, there will always be people that will try even harder to pull you down if they see you succeeding.  I learned everything the hard way, and i decided I need to look within to be able to find the strength to move forward.

I am not quitting.  I will still be a doctor, but I will do it in my own time.  I’m just pausing for a while.





Bows and Mats

26 Sep

I was 3 when I was given my first ballet shoes, and that is where my passion for dancing started, but at the age of 5, I received my first ever dobuk, it was white, it was pristine, and it was the moment I realized that I will never be a princess.  Yes, dancing was always my first and will always be my last love, but the moment I hugged my first white uniform in taekwondo, I knew right there and then I was born to be a warrior.  I was destined to be build for war.

It started as a past time, I had my first ever exhibition with “Eye of the Tiger” playing in the background, and during that time, I felt like I was Julie Pierce in the next Karate kid.  I was an energizer bunny back then, I would put on my dobuk even at home and would start kicking and screaming “Hiyah!” in the most annoying way you could possibly imagine.  I would be in ballet class in my tights and leotards, but I would be last in line, not listening to my ballet teacher, because I was too busy teaching my fellow dancers how to kick,and how to be the next karate kid, so to speak.

What started out as a hobby became a life goal.  I had dreamed to be a professional dancer during that time, but then at the same time I wanted to be warrior, who dances.  My taekwondo(TKD) exhibition became weekends of going to a covered gym with my cousins, and trying my best to blend with them.  I was not able to enroll that time because my mom feared that I would hurt myself.  Dance and Martial Arts became my life.  People would ask me why, and I would just smile and say,”because..”

My dad studied Judo and Kung Fu, and excelled.  He was my idol, and despite being born to exist in skirts and heels, I wanted to be like him.  He would spend Sundays or free times teaching me hand combat techniques, as well as, how to defend spar.  Most of my first ever techniques I got from him, and from my cousins.  It was grueling since I also wanted to let my mom know the skills I acquired.  It became a father-daughter bonding time, and it became our little secret.

I was a regular at the covered gym, and I will always make time for TKD amidst my busy schedule as a dancer,swimmer and athlete.  TKD , like dance, was always a priority.  I had 4 years of secret training, when I told my mom that I wanted to join the fight club in school.  I was 9 years old.  My mom agreed, and I was at my happiest.  Our master was the one who taught me for the 4 years that I secretly go to the gym for training.  I wanted to train, I wanted to win, but most of all I wanted to excel.  I have always been competitive, and I always aimed to be on top.

I never got tired of the bruises.  Dance gave me flexibility and strength, it also gave me the endurance that I needed in order to fight.  I was dancer, I was fighter.  At that time, I was complete.  My training went on and on and on, and never, even once, did I backed down from a fight, until the day my dad sat me down and said,”Respect begets respect.  A great fighter is not measured on brute strength alone, but on how well he can handle a situation with wit.   You will always be judged not on how you fight, but on how you walk away from something that can destroy you.  Never be a person who speaks with the loudest volume, but be a person, who speak volumes with your actions”.  It got me thinking, and that was the moment I started to train, not to win, but to prove that I can be a better person each day.

It took me years to hone my skills, but then I had to stop.  Life took over, and it banged my knee up pretty bad.  I had to let go of that one thing that made me a true daddy’s girl.  I had to “man” up, and face the fact, that maybe I wasn’t meant to be the best taekwondo jin there is.  I hanged up my dreams, and my dobuk, and continued with my life.

I became a professional dancer, I became an instructor, I became a doctor, but the dreams of becoming a fighter still lived in me.  I lost my dad, but I never lost my dream.  I ventured into a new place, I became the new kid on the block, but then as I tried to adjust, I realized that maybe, just maybe this was the opportunity that my dad was telling me.  I took it upon my self to find a club, and tried getting back on the mats.

I did, and I realized I was home.  4 months have passed, I practiced what I learned then and took it up a notch higher.  The training is intense, and there are times that my knee would scream in agony, reminding me why I had stopped in the first place, but it was familiar, and it was a good kind of pain.

The first time I stepped on the mats, I knew i was home again, and when the first handshake was exchanged, I knew I found, not only friends, I found family.

The gym became my sanctuary.  It became my refuge, and it became my rehab.  The faces i see everyday became my comfort, they became my family.

I’m a long way from what I was then, but I will get there.  I am here for the long run.  I will always be that little girl sleeping in her white dobuk, and I will always be here fighting.

Martial Arts is not only a sport, It will always be a belief, a way of life.

Trust:Drug and Poison

29 May

Trust has always been a sensitive word for everybody.  To some, it’s more than a word.  To medical professionals, it’s a part of life.  It can either make or break you.  As a doctor, Trust will always have the biggest role in saving our patient’s life.  We need their trust in order for us to give them the proper treatment.  As an OB-GYNE in training, every time I go on duty, I always pray that everything will go smoothly, that I would be capable enough to be able to step up to my patient’s expectations and gain their trust that I am skilled enough to help them deliver their baby safely, and that feeling when you see them being wheeled out from the delivery room and being transferred to their own private room, with their kid, and with an exhausted smile they would look up to you and say,”Thank you,doc”..That feeling is the best feeling in the world.  Being a dancer, I also have trust issues..hehe..No, but seriously.  Growing up in a dance studio, I am used to seeing my life in counts of 8.  As I grow older, baby ballet became long hours of partnering class and pas de deux choreographies, and in order to keep your dance career alive, you have to put that career in your partner’s hands 100%.  When you jump in the air, you just have to keep your faith that your partner will catch you.

I had my share of bruises, pulled muscles, and sprained ankles when I was still dancing, most of the time it was because the timing during the catch was off, or the force of my partner was just too strong.Each I time i hurt myself, it was excruciating, but my faith and trust in my partner never wavered.  Despite the pain, I still stood up, kept dancing.  And each time we finish a piece, and dance in front of the audience, and hear the applause, we always beam with pride, the pain forgotten.

Medicine, like dance, also needs trust.  It needs it to be able to run smoothly.  As a doctor, I always face new challenges; all of them difficult and mind boggling in their own way, and as a physician,  I need trust from my patients, but at the same time I also need to trust both my patients, and my colleagues.  I need to believe that I can do the things I never thought possible of myself,and behind every person, who doubts their capability, is a team, who believes that they are extraordinary beyond measure.As a 1st year resident, I am in a transitional phase.  I have the skills of an intern, but the responsibility of a full-pledged physician.  I place my trust in my seniors that they will teach me everything, and that they will give me the push I need to be able to learn my craft.  Also, as a rookie, I am still more of a student rather than a teacher, so I also trust my interns to be able to bear with whatever shortcomings I have.

Trust..It is a big and fragile word.  It commands responsibility, and it breaks easily, and just like in any profession, may it be in Medicine or in the Arts, there will always be misunderstandings, fights, and broken trusts.

In my training, I had learned to choose the people I trust, avoid those who would break me, and tried to ignore those who put me down.  I was doing well for the past two years, I gained friends, I cut off ties with those who ruined me, but human as I am, I also make mistakes.  I made the wrong choice of trusting the wrong people, and i got my heart broken..It was broken, not because I fell in love, but because the heart I gave away was full of trust, and full of selflessness, and it was all for naught, because it was taken away and crushed by malice and dark intentions.

As a person,  when I consider you as a part of my journey, I consider you as partner in my dance of life, a fellow colleague in healing both physical,as well as, emotional ailments, and this is where trust comes in.  People, who I consider my friends, will always have my trust and my love in its truest form, and that’s what makes me vulnerable to betrayal.

As a member of a new institution,  I  had a clean slate.  I tried my best to choose the people, I would call my friend, to prevent the mistakes I made in the past.  It was all laughter and smiles, when I had this new group of friends.  They made my stay in this new place bearable, but stories will never be complete without conflict, and unlucky as I am in all things, I made the biggest mistake of trusting a certain person.  This person became a close friend, to whom I share my fears, my ambitions, my dreams.  This human became family, He/She(just to make this a little less personal) was like a sibling to me.  We had great times..fun times, but then certain circumstances happened and it turned out the person I trusted the most in this new environment, became the very being that took my heart and crushed it into a million pieces.  I did not fall in love, but the pain I felt was more than having my heatr broken from a love that went awry.  The pain was more than losing a patient, you cared about.  It felt like I fell and hurt my ankle a thousand times while doing a dance routine.  It was a nightmare.

It was at that moment that I realized that trust is indeed vital to everybody.  It is more than an issue.  It is the basis of life.  Trust  is something that we give to make life meaningful.  It is either saving a life, or ending one.  So once you are entrusted with this precious gem, take good care of it.  Who knows, you might just save someone from an illness that only you can cure.

Dance..Medicine..Love..Life..It revolves around one thing.  A thing more precious than the most expensive antibiotic there is..more unique than a choreography made my the most acclaimed dancer of your time.  It is the element that makes a romantic pas de deux enchanting..the only thing that made the art of saving lives possible..it is..






Labor and Pirouettes

9 May

It’s been a year and a half since I started my residency training in OB-GYNE.  I have to admit, it is exhausting.  There are days that I wish the ground will swallow me whole, just so I could disappear from the busy shuffle within the hospital, and have a moment’s rest.  To sit down for a minute is a gift, and a moment of shut-eye is an opportunity.  With each prepartum patient, I battle mixed  emotions; anxiety, fear, panic; and when it’s all over; when i hear the 1st cry, I feel happiness.  It’s not easy being an OB-GYNE resident in training, you need to be steadfast, and quick on your feet; you need to have the guts to make decisions even before your consultant approves it.  In this department, you’re dealing with two lives, and most of the time you are own your own.  Obstetrics is pretty much routine.  Everyday you do the exact same thing; you give the same orders, you perform the same procedures, you do this every single day until it becomes second nature; but when crap hits the fan, all hell breaks loose, and when you lose a life, no matter how hard you try to save it, that mortality takes a piece of you with it.  Much like dance, you do the same routine every single day, you hear the same music, you wear the same gear, you dance with the same partner, but when the production gets awry, you find yourself lost and unable to calculate your next move.

6 months into my training, I had my first heartbreak.  It started out like any other morning.  Prepartum patient in the labor room, no other follow-ups in the ward;yes, another ordinary day for me.  I was closely monitoring my patient, and was getting ready to mount her since she was fully dilated, when suddenly, I can no longer hear my baby’s heartbeat, and like any newbie, I panicked, I contacted my seniors, tried my best to locate the heartbeat, and scheduled for a STAT C-Section on my own, without a go signal from my chief resident.  It was all a blur, we ran to the OR, and there my seniors did the procedure, we had our baby out of the womb in less than 5 minutes, but alas, she wasn’t breathing anymore.  We tried our best to resuscitate her, but to no avail.  I was silently praying that she’ll survive, but to my dismay, I had to face the reality that I had my first FDU, and no matter how hard I tried, it was not enough to save her.  I kept a straight face all throughout the ordeal.. I was bashed and was reprimanded by the chief for something that was beyond my control.  i was blamed for something that was supposed to be a job for someone much older.  All throughout the screaming and the trash talk, I kept my held down and did not utter a word.  I walked out, I went to my corner, and there I cried my heart out.  I cried for my patient, I cried for the baby, I cried for myself.  It was all I could do keep my shit together.  I decided to quit right there and then,when I realized that despite my passion for the craft, I was incompetent and was not good enough for the job.  I made my resignation letter, but everybody around me stopped me from giving up.  I was told that I did the right thing, even the Hospital Administrator, told me that I did more that I should have done, and that I should not take the fall for someone, who was too lazy to do her Chief duties.  Despite all the words of assurance and comfort, I still felt guilty for what happened, and I must admit, the words that my chief said to me burned a hole through my heart, and made me doubt my capabilities.  What happened that day broke my heart,and along with the baby, a piece of my soul broke, and went with her postmortem.  I started being unhappy with what I was doing, until the day that I decided to finally leave the job, and the hospital that was my home for the past 3 years.  I didn’t give up on my dream of being a Physician, I just decided to have a change of scenery.  I applied to another institution, and now I am perfectly contented and happy.  I feel my my old self coming back, and despite the heartaches I felt from my old team, I finally see myself healing from all the blisters and bruises that I got.

Learning ballet is just as tough.  You also have your share of heartaches, and pains.   There are times that you feel like giving up, that you feel like you don’t belong.  When there’s a routine you can’t nail, or you are not given a role, even if you gave your all during auditions.  You start questioning yourself, your abilities, your technique, and sometimes, you begin asking if this was really the kind of life you want to have, but when you are able to perfect that fouette or land that triple pirouette, you will feel exhilarated, and then you will realize that you are indeed in your element, you are HOME.  Disappointments are always present, may it be on stage or in the hospital.  Dance is just like training to be doctor.  You also spend numerous sleepless nights when show season draws near.  You get the same mixed emotions when you perform, and of course, the detractors and that mean senior will always be present.

Amidst all these,you have to toughen up.  Hear everything, but take into heart only those that will help you get better.  Hone your techniques and skills.  Learn from your mistakes, for these are all you need to make you a better doctor..a better dancer..a better person.  Dance, like Medicine, also saves lives.  It saves us from depression, it saves us from loneliness.  Dancers, are a special breed of doctors, for through their lyrical  movement, they slowly heal the souls of those who are silently hurting, those who is on the brink of losing themselves to what makes them suffer.


Yes, Medicine and Dance, are on separate poles, but when you look deeper, they are still somewhat similar, and have a lot in common than we actually think.  Let us slowly dance to the beat of healing, for as doctors, we can only save those, who need saving, when we actually look beyond the physical deformities, and focus on the tiny details.

To dance..To cure..To save..Healing comes in different forms, let’s just pick the best remedy, and hope that somehow, in some way, we would slowly heal the person we were meant to save..



Blogging about freedom and growing up.

15 May

Some people put up a blog because they tend pick one topic and make it the subject of every post they have.  People post about skin products, daily living, phone apps, and a lot more.  I choose to talk about what it means to be free, to be independent, and the meaning of growing up and letting go.  I choose to blog about life..MY life, and how i learn from every mistake  made and every wound  acquire each time I stumble.  I choose to talk about things as I see it, and hope that other people would learn from it.

First, I’m going to talk about growing up.  Each of us was brought up differently.  Some were brought up following certain norms and practices, and some were taught how to go with the flow of life, and just decide when the situation is already there.

Coming from a Spanish-Filipino family, I was brought up to follow certain rules and practices, but as I grew up, it became more lax, but it was enculcated that for each action I do, I must be ready to face the consequences.

At 22, I lost my dad to a cardiovascular arrest, and it was the moment that I knew  had to grow up.  I tried making my own decisions, basing on what my mom and dad taught me, and I do admit I had a hard time, since despite being of legal age, I was used to following whatever both my parents decide for me.  But as I continued making simple decisions for myself, I felt more and more grown up.  I admit I stumbled, tripped and fell a lot, sometime, with wounds so deep, it left scars, but still I managed to ignore those scars and continued with my life.

At 24, I am already months away from completing my degree as a Doctor of Medicine, and I already felt that I could face whatever life throws at me (with occasional help form my mom and my loved ones of course), but then as I attempted to cross a small stream, without anybody’s help, my mom got her lasso, and tied me to her waist.  With that one move, I felt like a little girl all over again, unable to decide and unable to think for my own, I lost who I am during that moment.

Now, I am once again back to square 1 and I’m trying y best to retrieve whatever I have lost when I was tied down.  I admit, not all decisions I made have been correct, but with each mistake I make, a valuable lesson has been learned.  i have yet to make a name for myself in this world, but I won’t be able to if you keep me holstered to your side.

I have proven myself to each and every people I have met, both in terms of street smarts and academic knowledge, and I know I could handle myself even if its a dog-eat-dog world out there.  I deserve my freedom, and for me to attain that you all have to let me go.

Letting go means trust and Growing up means having earned that trust.  If I go out into the world alone, it doesn’t mean that I do not need you anymore, it just means that I want to experience and see the world through my eyes.  If I ask you to let go, it doesn’t men that you will lose me, it just means that you have already taught me all that you know and that I have the courage and the confidence to go out there, armed with everything that you taught me.

Trying to find your path in this world is a grueling journey, and I am just about to embark on that trip.  Parents want to make everything right for their kids, but if you look at the bigger picture, by taking all the challenges away from the child, it will not help the kid one bit.  He will grow up unable to fend for himself or make decisions.  So for parents to help their kids grow and succeed, you all have to let them go.  As someone’s daughter, I admit I don’t always make the correct choices, but I have to make mistakes in order to know what is right.

Letting go is part of making your kids grow up, and at 24 I am already an adult, I need to make decisions on my own, and I have my mom and dad to thank for that.  All I am asking is for you to stand by the sidelines, and coach.  Let me play my game, and I assure I will end up victorious.

Cutting the ropes around your kids doesn’t mean you don’t love them, and when kids want to be alone and make decisions on their own, it doesn’t mean they want you gone.  All they want is the freedom and the opportunity to grow.  So, let go and be proud of the person they will be for us, kids, will never be who we are if it weren’t for you.

So thank you for the lessons, the punishments, and the rewards.  It’s taking us one step closer to the finish line.