Guest – Post Dr.Alexander D.Lake
Imagine: You are SIX months away from entering medical school and starting your lifelong dream, but you’re physically assaulted. During the assault, you suffer a traumatic brain injury.
What if I told you this was only 30 DAYS after you had been robbed and had a gun held to your head? Afterwards, you listen as a neuropsychologist says you should take a year off before starting medical school or will surely fail. Later, you’re told to consider a different career track, that medical school will be far too demanding. It would’ve been easy to give up; all of the excuses had been carefully laid out, but… I didn’t.
#1 Trauma: After working over 40+ hours in 5 days, I was ready to get some sleep. As I walked to my apartment door to put the key in the lock, I was confronted by two hooded men who asked for my belongings.
I reached into my pocket and felt something metallic being held to my head; it was a gun. I said, “Please, I’m a student. I don’t have much to give you.” He threw me onto the ground face first, and his friend patted me down as he held the gun to the back of my head and barked, “Don’t you f-ing move, or I’ll blow your brains out.”
#2 Trauma: After a 5 pm-1 am shift at the ER a few weeks later, I saw a guy punch a girl and knock her straight to the ground directly right in front of me. I didn’t confront the piece of garbage directly as I saw friends approaching after witnessing the same disgusting act.
All I attempted to do was gently help this young, helpless girl to her feet. As I lifted her hand from the ground, everything went black. I had no recollection of what occurred after I lifted her hand. My friends told me afterwards that the assailant’s accomplice seized me by the shoulders and slammed my body backwards and onto the concrete; my head smashed the ground like a watermelon.
#3 Trauma: Driving home from the hospital on the same road I’ve driven hundreds of times. I went around a curve, and the car in front of me swerved. I was hit head-on by a drunk driver going nearly 70mph.
I honestly thought I was dead. I had an angel help me out of my car and rested me on the grass till EMS arrived. My car was destroyed, and I was in a daze. I went to the hospital as a trauma activation with feelings of extreme chest pain.
In conclusion – I had a gun to my head, a traumatic brain injury, countless sleepless nights, throbbing headaches, and debilitating neuro fatigue. I was told I would NEVER make it as a doctor. But I recovered, I pushed on, and I made it through medical school.
I matched into my top residency spot, and then a drunk driver hit me, but I was once again fortunate and escaped with just a few rib fractures.
I am now nearly done with my internal medicine residency.
I count my blessings every single day. I scored 90th+ percentile on my boards and will be starting the GASTROENTEROLOGY fellowship in July. I’d like you to remember this:
Life will test your strength and commitment to your goals continually, but it is up to you how you react and respond. Your obstacles don’t have anywhere near the power that you do.
We have an amazing inherent ability to control our thoughts and actions. You don’t always get a second chance to redo the day before, but it is a new day for you to win or lose when you wake up. Don’t lose hope!
I genuinely believe that if you stay positive and you try to win more days than you lose, and you don’t lose hope, then you can truly get through anything you want in life.
Dr. Alexander D. Lake