Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to Save a Life

Amit Gupta is a great guy.  He also has Acute Leukemia.  He needs a bone marrow transplant to survive.  He is of South Asian descent, which means that his chances of finding a match for a donation are very, very slim.  

Find out more about Amit here.

Please help!  Join the National Bone Marrow Registry - especially if you are South Asian, but even if you are not.  It is free and easy, and you could be the one to save someone's life.  

I know... it seems like a long shot.  You are really busy.  The holidays are coming up.  And probably lots of other people are joining the match as a result of this drive for Amit, so you don't have to put it on your to-do list, right?

Here's the thing about bone marrow transplants: they can be really dangerous for the recipient.  So, because of that, the best chance of the transplant working - and curing the patient's disease - is to have the donor's unique biological markers match as closely as possible to the recipient's.  YOU have your very own, one-of-a-kind concoction of genetic products that no one else in the world has.  YOU, and only you, could have just the genes that could save somebody's life.

I joined the registry almost nine years ago... and this past April I got a call that I could be a match for a 55-year old man with multiple myeloma.  I don't know anything else about him.  I donated in August.  I don't know how that patient is doing since his transplant, or even if it worked.  I might never know.  But I do know that it was a total blessing and a great privilege to donate and to have been given even a chance to save someone's life (and maybe someone's husband's life, someone's brother's life, someone's dad's life, too.) 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wedding Catch-Up

I am at home in Colorado these days, pretty much until further notice, while I study for the boards.  Basically, there is a three-part medical licensing exam in the U.S. that all doctors have to pass in order to practice.  Step I  is traditionally taken at the end of second year of medical school, Step II during fourth year, and Step III during the beginning of residency.  I am scheduled to take Step I, a nice little 8-hour funfest, on January 20, which leaves me a little over 7 weeks to study for it, and according to the schedule I made for myself last night, if I study approximately 11-12 hours a day, 6 days a week (and I mean seriously study, with full focus and maximal processing, for every minute of every hour of that time), I will just be able to make it through the bare minimum I need to learn to do okay.  

In other words, I am totally screwed.

Anyway, lest you think I am being completely irresponsible by writing this post in the first place, given my aforementioned time constraints, I will have you know that I am very productively downloading pharmacology flashcards that one of my friends (who is a much, much better med student than I am) made and was kind enough to share with the class.  Each card set takes a little while, so I am just being efficient by multitasking here.  Stop your judging.

Two weekends ago, I was lucky enough to be able to go to Philadelphia for a dear friend's wedding.  Even luckier than that, I got to spend all weekend hanging out with my entire close group of dear, dear friends from college.  I haven't seen most of these girls in at least a couple of years, if not longer.  And as if those things weren't already awesome enough, the wedding was a full-blown, gorgeous, sparkling Indian wedding, complete with a sangeet, traditional ceremony, food, drinks, dancing, music, saris, bindis, mehndi, and even a fully-adorned white horse carrying the groom upon his arrival.

It was so much fun, and so good for my soul.


The beautiful bride and groom - Niti and Manuj

Waiting for our henna to dry

Niti is an incredible dancer and gave a special performance at the sangeet

My Amherst girls: Katie, Sarah, Niti, Joyce, Paige, Jin Young

Sarah cuddles Katie's youngest, Tobi

Tobi with Auntie Paige

Katie and Travis' older munchkin, Harkin

All set for the ceremony

So excited!

Anticipating the groom's arrival

Preceded by his groomsmen

Meeting with her parents

Sweet mama and her girl

Niti and her father

I LOVE this look she is giving him

The ceremony was shown on big screens for the guests in the back half of the hall

Recessing after the ceremony

Big sis gives her baby brother some love

Tobi and his tie :)

Reception part I: Cocktail hour

Reception part II: Dinner and dancing

The quest for a picture we both liked

Harkin makes new friends

Niti and Manuj make their grand entrance...

...right into a great choreographed first dance

Post-wedding Sunday brunch

Tobi with Auntie Niti

Niti's signature laugh

With the newlyweds!

Just because he is the cutest thing ever: Tobi gets tickled

It is still sort of unbelievable to me that we are all old enough now to be getting married and starting families... hanging out together in our hotel rooms felt just like when we were hanging out together in our dorm rooms.  Time really does fly like crazy.  

Being with my girls reminded me of how important it is to make time to reconnect, and how different it is to see friends in person, and not just over the phone, or through email, or even worse, Facebook.  We are all doing such different things and we are all so busy - we are students, moms, doctors, wives, lawyers, PhDs; we all live in different cities; we all have full and complicated lives - but I left Philadelphia with renewed hope that friendships endure all of those things, and determination to make this an anual get-together, whether or not we have a wedding for the main event.  Just being together is a main event for me.  

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