Dear Cancer, Part Three

Only a mere glimpse into the battle against cancer, and yet so complete with insurmountable bravery.


Dear Cancer,

Well, it has been a few months since we were last in correspondence and given this past week’s events I thought it was an opportune moment to put pen to paper again.

I don’t mean to be rude but you didn’t bloody keep your side of the bargain did you?! I asked you really politely to let the chemotherapy subdue you and help me to feel less pain. All you had to do was in essence lose a little weight and go to sleep. Then we could have continued our symbiosis for a good while longer. But you didn’t want to play did you? No doubt for your own dubious reasons.

Scrolling through the CT pictures detailing every nook and cranny of the inside of my body on Tuesday left me feeling deflated to say the least. Perhaps more accurately an overwhelming feeling of “what was the point…

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The Final Stretch!

5 days to go! The final stretch towards my MCAT exam next Saturday…. somehow I feel quite excited rather than nervous! Just a couple days left to sharpen my weaknesses and finally perform. Been studying for over 6 months now, so it’s safe to say I’ll be really glad when this is over! Fellow pre-meds writing the exam next Saturday: allow me to sincerely wish you all good luck! We studied hard. Put in the needed hours. And now it’s time to put on the show. Let’s show them what we’ve got!

“Enter every activity without giving mental recognition to the possibility of defeat. Concentrate on your strengths, instead of your weaknesses… on your powers, instead of your problems.”

–Paul J. Meyer

Unmasking Mast Cell Disease: Interview With a Survivor

I am so deeply moved by this interview with a Mast Cell Disease patient. She wants to be a doctor, but has missed too many classes due to her increasingly frequent anaphylactic shocks. She still keeps her dream alive though, that perhaps one day she may get this disease under control to be able to attend med school and adopt a child with special needs. Talk about a big heart!

What’s your excuse for not following through on a dream?

The Other Courtney

I saw her photos on Instagram and was immediately drawn to them. We had a lot in common, it seemed. We both owned chocolate labradoodles, had anaphylactic allergies, and lived in the Carolinas. The more I got to “know” Brynn Duncan, however, I realized that while we did have things in common, our lives were nowhere near similar.

Her photos were captivating and touching



But equally heartbreaking


I started feeling sympathy for this girl I had never actually met, and only interacted with in the form of “likes” and Instagram comments. The more I read about her constant anaphylactic reactions, hospital visits, feeding tubes, and seizures, the more curious I became about what type of illness she was dealing with.  As someone who has anaphylactic allergies and knows the physical, mental, and emotional toll they take on a person, I could hardly comprehend a disease that causes spontaneous anaphylaxis, sometimes…

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Blood test can predict Alzheimer’s

Blood test can predict Alzheimer’s

As a research student in the Alzheimer’s field, I am always drawn to news articles regarding clinical advances against this highly debilitating disease. This research, published in Nature, is showing that we may easily be able to diagnose Alzheimer’s in the early stages through a simple blood test!

They have essentially worked out a way to study levels of 10 phospholipids (or fats) to predict onset of Alzheimer’s 3 years in advance, with 90% accuracy!!  

Here’s a link to the Nature paper: Highly recommend using your local university library to access it.

Rejection not acceptable

If you, like MANY other pre-meds, have spent your undergrad worrying incessantly about whether your grades and activities will be enough to pursue your lifelong dream of medical school, hear this. I know there are senior students and professors who keep insisting that med school is too competitive, too many people have the same “dream”, you haven’t really thought about it, etc etc etc…. I know you may feel ashamed to have the same dream as lots of other students, and may wish to hide it, lest you disappoint. Truth is though, if you let yourself be controlled by them, you’ll actually be roadblocking yourself by being nervous and stressed out all the time.

Be confident. Stay motivated. Read medical blogs ( and Medscape Differential are my personal favourites!). Watch Grey’s, Scrubs, Saving Hope, and heck any old medical drama that gives you the adrenaline rush that makes you want to zoom forward in time and into those scrubs.

We can never micro-control our past or our future – but we can certainly take charge of the present moment. Let’s be those “pre-med” students who can and will achieve their dreams!