Tag Archives: oncology

And Sorry That I Could Not Travel Both

A thick blanket of freezing fog has descended across the city. It’s nothing like so cold as in December (I have not yet forgotten walking to an MDT meeting when it was minus twelve degrees outside), but there’s a distinct bite in the air, enough to make me shiver and walk that little bit faster if I need to pass through the main lobby of the hospital. It feels all the colder for the few days of almost autumnal weather we had last week.

It’s the second week of my second SSC, which was supposed to be on haematological malignancies and has ended up being on general haematology. I’m rethinking my career choices.

I am not alarmed by this. I always do it. I work in a field for a little bit and enjoy it so much that I cannot help but think, “I want to do this for a job!” I spent two days in October thinking that I would really rather enjoy being a cardiologist, even with the seven hour ward rounds.


I don’t know, I think there’s something different about this. I think there are a lot of things to like about haematology, a lot of things that seem to add up to the sort of doctor that I’ve been working out that I want to be. I think the thing is that I want to do oncology, and this isn’t not oncology. It’s more specific and yet more generalist than that, but it still is that. In America, haematology and medical oncology are one specialty and I suppose in my ideal world we would do something like that. I understand why we don’t, though; it seems like a dauntingly enormous specialty. I think that this is one of those paragraphs that maybe made more sense inside my head.

Truthfully, it’s the fact of it involving lab work that makes me think twice. The lab and the MRCPath, oh God.

And a little bit because I should perhaps not make these sorts of decisions based on what nice people all the haematologists are or how happy I am to be back in medicine after five weeks of mostly surgery.

I have time to make my mind up. Years.

I do, though. Now, at this moment. I want to do this.


Posted by on January 20, 2011 in Blog, Medicine


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Looming Deadlines

I’d had wonderful plans for this SSM. I’ve not got a proper obs and gynae block until last thing in fifth year, and, although my SSM is supposed to be in gynae oncology, the timetable is really not too terribly busy and I had all these grand ideas that I’d try to at least see some of the routine gynae and go to an antenatal clinic and maybe try to get into a delivery. I thought that it might make me less likely to panic come next January. Of course, I’ve done none of those things and now find myself with a week to go and hand-in dates approaching. My flatmate and I had made all sorts of promises to ourselves about getting work done on Monday night, but between the snow and the twinkly twinkly lights that turned into making hot chocolate and watching The Holiday. It may not have been the most productive way to spend an evening, but it made us almost stupidly happy.

All good things must pause, though, and this weekend is time to knuckle down. I’m a quarter of the way into my first case report (of three), have nine journal articles on vulval carcinoma open on my laptop, and a scribble-covered notepad on my desk.

It’s not like I’ve never written 6000+ words in six days before…

Now playing: Glenn Close – With One Look from Sunset Boulevard

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Posted by on December 4, 2010 in Blog, Medicine


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Thoughts At The End Of SSM.

This is my last week of Haematology/Oncology.

On Monday, I’ll be back at base camp for a week of lectures on topics both useful and useless — really, one has to question the wisdom of the faculty in scheduling a bunch of third years for an hour on How To Avoid Plagiarism, as though it’s likely to somehow be different from the way in which we’ve been avoiding plagiarism for the last two-and-a-bit years. From there, I go to Peripheral Hospital and Slightly Less Peripheral GP Practice, and ‘real’ third year begins.

The good thing about spending the next ten weeks schelpping out of the county for clinical practice/PBL is that I should theoretically have a more central placement in the spring, when I’m actually going to care about how much time I have to spend commuting. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to moan pathetically at my alarm clock when it starts going off at zero dark hundred hours on cold, cold, cold mornings, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Before that, I have the rest of this week, which will be about tidying up my SSM essay and then truncating it into a ten-minute presentation, followed by a lovely lazy(ish) weekend.

My SSM has been busier, less lab-based, and more useful than I expected it to be. These are all good things. I’ve learned a lot. Not just about cancer (although that too), but about where my interests are, what kind of career I want to have, and what sort of doctor I want to be. The ideas that I have are ideas that may well change as I go through the next two years and onto foundation training, but I feel now as though I have somewhere to start. All in all, a massive improvement on the Drugs In Sport SSM that I was bitching about for most of last winter.

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Posted by on October 21, 2009 in Blog, Medicine


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And The Cry Went Up — SSMs Are Out!

I’m doing Clinical Haematology and Oncology.

After the disaster of my last SSM (those who were around in January will remember the Drugs in Sport debacle), my main objective was to get something clinical. On the one hand, this meant that I chose things a little more carefully and made absolutely sure not to choose anything that I wouldn’t be happy to actually do. On the other hand, it meant that I took some really stupid risks with the form, like not picking anything with more than about 12 places and not ranking things in my actual order of preference. Therefore, I’ve spent the last six weeks worrying that I would end up being assigned to something awful that I hadn’t even ranked.

But it worked! I’ve got the one that I wanted to do, in a specialty that I’m really interested in but isn’t a core component of fourth and fifth year rotations, with lots of clinical content mixed in with some lab stuff, at a hospital that I can walk to from my flat! Hurrah!

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Posted by on August 26, 2009 in Blog, Medicine


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