Fitness into a Specialty | J. Brian Szender, MD, MPH
My residency graduation included the “yo-yo” awards. While this was actually short for “yo-yo, you got this,” whenever I see the plaque in my office now I can’t think help but about what an up-and-down ride my training was, both physically and emotionally. The physical rollercoaster is a major part of why I elected to join SGO’s Wellness Task Force. Between medical school, residency, and fellowship I managed to gain and lose more than 150 pounds, 20 to 30 pounds at a time. I suffered from the classic signs of poor fitness including:
Wellness Q and A with SGO President Warner K. Huh, MD
Warner K. Huh, MD, is the 51st President of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO). Dr. Huh is a Professor, Vice Chair and Division Director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). For this month’s SGO Wellness blog, Dr. Huh describes his favorite wellness activities and how he encourages others to take time for themselves.
Combating compassion fatigue | Kimberly E. Resnick, MD
“We have not been directly exposed to the trauma scene, but we hear the story told with such intensity, or we hear similar stories so often, or we have the gift and curse of extreme empathy and we suffer. We feel the feelings of our (patients)…Eventually, we lose a certain spark of optimism, humor and hope…We aren’t sick, but we aren’t ourselves.”
-C. Figley, 1995
That beseeching, fearful look. I know this look. These five faces that want answers, any answers—to the complicated scenario I just painted. I glance at my Apple watch. It’s 3:00. Shocked by what we found. Assumed that Ms. X had early stage endometrial cancer. Had to open due to findings. Stage 4 disease. It’s 3:05.
The case for a healthy night’s sleep | Shannon MacLaughlan David, MD
There is nothing more glorious than sleeping in on a weekend. I have always found lazy mornings to be luxurious, and it still baffles my family how I left that out of the equation when forging my career path toward gynecologic oncology. Despite my passion for a good night’s sleep, I function pretty well without it. Or so I thought. Turns out that getting less than seven hours of sleep a night on a regular basis is associated with a ton of health issues, including, but not limited to, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart attack, stroke, depression and—wait for it–death. No wonder the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends adults get seven to nine hours of sleep a night. So is every gyn onc doomed to a premature death?
With Gratitude and Thanksgiving | Wellness Task Force
Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us. And while it is traditionally a time of giving thanks, many of us will be on call. Some of us will miss family dinner and holiday traditions, and undoubtedly all of us at some point in our career, have felt guilt over gratitude on Thanksgiving (or any) Day, as we ask our loved ones to sacrifice for the career we have chosen. Here’s the thing that is easy to forget – our loved ones are proud of us and the work we do.
In this special Thanksgiving edition of the SGO Wellness blog, we hear from a daughter and two husbands of SGO members about life with a gynecologic oncologist in the family. We share these with you in gratitude this holiday season, in recognition of your dedication and in appreciation for you and your families. On behalf of the SGO Wellness Task Force, thank you for all that you do. The following are presented with the permission of both the author and the SGO member.
Is there a ‘good’ time to start a family as a gynecologic oncologist? Melissa A. Geller, MD, MS
I thought I never wanted children. I was determined to be a great gynecologic oncologist, and thought children would get in my way. I was 36, advanced maternal age, when I decided it was the “right time” to have children. My initial pregnancy ended in miscarriage, but later that year I delivered a healthy baby girl. Holding that baby for the first time was the best gift I have ever received.
No Man is an Island | Kathleen Essel, MD
Over the past year, I have had the distinct pleasure of attending three separate lectures on burnout. At the first lecture, I listened and tried to pay attention to the speaker, acutely aware of my own sleepiness and desire to be elsewhere. During the second lecture, I at least pretended to pay attention in an attempt to show that I wasn’t just there for the free fancy dinner. It wasn’t until the third lecture that I started to pay attention: The risk factors that predominate and are independently associated with burnout in almost every study ever conducted are younger age, long work hours and being female [Ann Surg 2009; 250: 463-71; J Am Coll Surg 2016;223:440]. As I sat listening to these numbers, it finally dawned on me: that’s me.
Saving the oncologist one step at a time: My wellness strategy | Nathalie McKenzie, MD, MSPH
I am a 14-year cancer survivor, the daughter of a cancer survivor and a mid-career gynecologic oncologist. I am therefore ever conscious of the fragility of human life. Yet, I have no fear. With grounded confidence all of us can adapt and persevere.
Having More Empathy | Jolyn Taylor, MD, MPH
I woke up early, rounded and then reviewed the other inpatients I was responsible for that weekend. Made my “To Do” list and started checking off boxes. Made a new list, made new boxes, made new checkmarks. This was the start of my first call as a clinical fellow on a busy service. I felt the pressure. I couldn’t miss anything, I had to do a good job. I had warned my family that I would see them in a week when my call ended.
Wellness: If you feel like you’re going to the dogs | Lyn Filip, RN, BSN, OCN
There are days when I prefer to hang out with my dog. Dogs don’t just fill your heart; they make it stronger. Studies show that having a canine companion is linked to lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, and decreased triglyceride levels, which contribute to better overall cardiovascular health. Herbie, our basset hound, is just that. If I have a bad day, I come home and look at that face, stare into those eyes and I can’t help but feel my heart full of love. It is magic. I decided to take things one step further.