March

It’s our last ACADEMIC MONTH of the second year of university. I haven’t really processed how close our exams are, and that fact I have one more year to complete till graduation. Time truly flies by.

I think it was a few days ago, on my way home, I suddenly felt down – because of the workload ahead and not finishing the notes I wanted to before March. So, as I always do when I’m feeling low, I call my Dad (of course my Mum is also always there when I need her). My Dad is basically someone who really knows the word inside and out and seems to have all the answers that are aligned with the word. Instead of comforting a daughter on the verge of a public breakdown, He gave me a scripture (a lecture w/scriptures). Philippians 3:1-13.

Do not put confidence in the flesh.

Philippians 3:1-13

3:3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,

4: though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so:

5,6: circumcised the eight day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless

7,8: But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.

I placed my confidence in my flesh. I trusted my abilities, and because of my confidence/not confidence in the work I had done thus far was not up to par, I was down. This flesh is weak and will always be flawed without Jesus Christ. By placing my confidence and trust in Jesus – there is joy.

9: and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;

10: that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

Because, I believe that by placing the Kingdom of God first in our lives, and placing our trust and faith in him whole heartedly, there’s no need to be depressed, anxious, worried, fearful, or – have low self-esteem in ourselves. It’s something I am working on. Yes, I do have to put in the hard work to excel in my exams ‘James 2:17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead’ but it is by His divine favour and grace that provides  that ‘extra’ thing that gives you the edge.

It is by His Grace. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

  • Just a ‘feelings’ post.

Stay blessed

-D, x

Philippians 4:6-7 ‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understand, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus’ 

First few weeks

My first week was challenging. First lecture of 2017, I was unable to attend (tube strike) and as I live quite a bit away from university the trek down would have taken longer than the lecture (1 hour), but luckily I got my hands on recordings of the lecture and should be able to catch up just fine. Tuesday. I missed 3 hours of a lecture. I’m seriously painting myself as a ‘horrible’ student. I’m not, there were just some unforeseeable circumstances that prevented me from going but LUCIKLY, the lecture was Q-reviewed and I am now watching the lecture back and making notes. Next lecture, I made it in. Basic Immunology. I absolutely loved it, I was able to follow the lecturer throughout and understand the basic concepts, it was more of a consolidating  lecture as he spoke about the primary lymphoid tissue, secondary lymphoid tissue, T cells and B cells, bone marrow, thymus, lymphocyte development, the usual you would expect of a first lecture that ‘eases’ you in. And lastly clinical microbiology.

Monday – Biochemistry

Tuesday – Pharmacology

Wednesday – Immunology

Thursday – Clinical Microbiology

+ Labs, Workshops, and Case study (essay/MCQ)

Biochemistry:

First lecture was about Glutamate Dehydrogenase (GDH) activity and regulation. Glutamate Dehydrogenase is an enzyme that partakes in amino acid degradation, a metabolic process that mainly takes place in the liver; although GDH is highly expressed in the brain, pancreas, and kidney. GDH catalyses the conversion of an amino acid into a a-ketoacid (deamination) as well as the conversion of an a-ketoacid back to an amino acid (amination). This is a reversible transamination reaction; whereby GDH – a transaminase enzyme acts to remove the a-amino group from a-amino acid (i.e. glutamate) to form a-ketoacid. GDH deamination is an anaplerotic reaction as an intermediate (a-ketoacid) formed can be used in the Krebs, TCA cycle to provide energy. Anaplerotic reactions are carried out when energy is low and there is no requirement for growth and metabolic top-up.

Pharmacology:

What is the difference between pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics?

Pharmacokinetics – the effect the body has on the drug (i.e. the breakdown of drugs by the liver). Defined as the measurement of changes in drug concentration, with time in different locations of the body – what the body does to the drug

Pharmacodynamics – the effect of the drug on the body. This would include events brought about by interactions of the drug with its receptor/primary site of action. It is the relationship between drug concentration at the site of action and resulting effect – what the drug does to the body.

Terminology to know: pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, agonist, antagonist, occupancy, affinity, efficacy, and potency.

Immunology:

Toll-like receptors; TLR are activated by a number of different pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPS). PAMPs are characteristic components of the pathogen found at either one or more stages of infection, but absent in the vertebrae cell (i.e. the flagellum found on bacterial cells). This allows differentiation between self and non-self components. TLRs are found on the surface of mammalian cells and act to recognise components of the pathogen; bacterial/virus/fungi in order to alert the immune system. There are 10 expressed TLR gene in humans (so 10 TLRs present, what are they?)

PAMPs that can be detected (examples):

  • Lipoproteins
  • CpG DNA
  • Flagella
  • Double-stranded viral DNA
  • Lipopolysaccharide (gram-negative)

Clinical Microbiology:

Don’t judge me, I’m yet to start on clinical microbiology.

That was my first week. It’s been a month now. I have been struggling a bit, trying to adjust to the added workload from Sem B has been quite challenging. The detail of information you’re required to know is in fact more, and there is more to know. I know Medicine is x100 worse and the lectures they get in a day is probably a week’s worth of mine (slight exaggeration but could be true). So I have no excuse, I really need to step up and catch up with my notes; hence I am patiently waiting for reading week.

I’ve started reading: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Just to gain the concept of making good habits and changing bad ones.

I’d really like to make a habit of waking up early in the morning and dwelling in the presence of God before going to university and getting by through the day. I would like to make a habit of being more consistent with my studies despite the long commutes, to be consistent with the gym, as well as this blog. The book I’m reading is not going to suddenly form new habits for me, I’d much prefer the needed insight on what to do to make changes. It won’t be instant – but it’s a step in the right direction. In all honesty, I know my helper is God. And through Christ who strengthens me, I can do anything. My God will help me form the right habits, and see me through the plan and purpose he has for me.

1 Thessalonians 5:24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it (ESV)

-D x

Stay blessed

2 Peter 1:5-8 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)

 

Doctor’s Talk

Hey guys! It’s been a minute.

This week by far has been the most intense since returning. The week started with two tests, a physiology MCQ followed by a human molecular biology test (more IT based test on genomic data and how to use the genome browser overall. Here’s the site we used: https://genome.ucsc.edu/). With a slight interlude,  I had to prep for a PBL session by researching objectives that correlated with the patient case study provided. We’ll then have to write a 2,000 word essay on the study. The case study is of a patient X. X has a ‘supposed ovarian cancer’ as blood tests showed high levels of CA-125 levels (protein/tumour maker produced particularly by ovarian cancerous cells). As CA-125 is produced and released into the blood, a CA-125 test can be administered. High levels of CA-125 is usually an indication of the cancer, however the test is non-specific as other conditions of the genital system: fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and pregnancy can result in an increase in CA-125 levels in the blood. Other tests that can be carried out to solidify the diagnosis include; an MRI scan, CT scan, Ultrasound, chest X-ray, laparoscopy, and an abdominal fluid aspiration – where a very thin needle is inserted into the abdomen and a fluid sample is taken. The fluid sample obtained is then tested for the presence of cancerous cells.

Ovarian adenocarcinoma: cancer that arises at the ovary or ovaries causing the production of cancerous cells able to spread and invade other organs.

Treatment proposed for patient X included;  Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, Total abdominal hysterectomy, and Omentectomy.

Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy – removal of ovary and fallopian tube. This can be unilateral (one ovary and tube) or bilateral (both ovaries and both tubes).

Total abdominal hysterectomy – removal of the uterus (womb) via an incision made in the lower abdomen. A partial hysterectomy can also be performed. This is where only the uterus is removed, but the cervix is kept intact. Total abdominal hysterectomy removes both uterus and cervix.

Omentectomy – removal of part of the omentum or all of the omentum. The omentum is the fold of peritoneum that connects the stomach to all other abdominal organs. It is a large fatty ‘sheet’ that overlies the abdominal organs, and functions to nourish the organs.

 

A mass from Patient’s X ovary is taken and sent to histopathology’s. The pathology report revealed the mass to be a malignant tumour and the above surgeries mentioned were to be carried out. After the surgery the patient is referred to the oncology department and placed under chemotherapy treatment.

The objectives given required us to explain treatments associated with ovarian cancer, prognosis of the patient,  the genetic basis of cancer and so forth. I find this ‘Case Approach’ module to be simply intriguing. In fact, It’s sort of a step up to the conventional analyse results and tell me why your results are so in terms of the biological aspects but to look forward to how cases may be approached in medical school. Our particular course does have in mind that many of the undergraduates aspire to go on to medical school, thus, the modules are tailored just for that – to build a foundation. During the PBL session we discussed points we should address in the essay and answered the objectives briefly. At the end of the tutorial, I had to rush of to volunteer – can’t go into much details here but I ended up returning home around 7pm and just crashed – watched a bit of The Apprentice of course. Next day, I had to complete a lab report in basically a night because of all the prior assignments set for completion at the beginning of the week. Stress. I managed to finish the report and handed it in just in time before the deadline. God is faithful. It’s been a busy week – and It’s not ended yet, It’s Friday and I’ve got a 3 hour lab session + 4 hours of lectures. All in all, I’ve already conquered this week.

I remember telling you of my position in the Biomedic’s Society – Academic Officer. So I’m required to plan and execute academic events that support the ethos of the society. An idea of mine was to have a panel of doctors to inform us about what their sub-speciality entails- what a day in the hospital really looks like  and  subject areas most grad-entry medicine students would love to know about: their career path, their current views on the NHS , interview and application tips, why medicine? etc. By God’s grace, I’ve managed to get consultants in the following fields: Neurosurgery, Cardiothoracic surgery, General surgery, Ophthalmology, Paediatric Gastroenterology, Gynaecology and Oncology, and Plastic surgery. Neat right? I’m seriously dead excited to meet these consultants and bottom line gain invaluable knowledge about their subspecialties.

Here’s what our flyer looks like:

 

doctors-talk

I have removed the names of the doctors for confidentiality reasons

We are hoping for a great turn out. Thus far, our promotion hasn’t really been on point but I’m hoping to kick start it  and just go ham on it. It’s because most of the society committee members being 2nd and 3rd years, they’ve had a busy week with tests and in course assessments, so it couldn’t really be helped. We’ve got a few weeks to make a change. At the moment, I’m trying to push for the event to be free just so more people would be encouraged to come. Hopefully I’ll be able to pitch a good case at the meeting on Monday.

My Cell Biology & Developmental Genetics module lectures take place on Fridays. We had an hour lecture in the morning, followed by an afternoon lecture. Thankfully, we’ve moved on from the developmental aspects of the module into lectures that focuses in on the cell biology aspects. Interestingly, the lecturer said that although the lecture isn’t based on cancer she’ll linking biology of cells to cancer- how things go wrong in the cells that result in cancer development. This is what I found to be most intriguing. The first lecture addressed the definition of a growth factor, modes of communication, and signalling pathways within the cell and many other subtopics.

 

picture

Lovely

It’s a new week. I have an essay to plan and write, I have 2 lab reports to finish, society work, and a full day of volunteering.

The joy of the Lord is my strength! I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me.

How has your week been?

Stay blessed

-D x

Psalm 28:7 ‘The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.’

Philippians 4:13 ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengths me.’

Nehemiah 8:10 ‘Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

C-value paradox

So a minute ago I was practically pleading for the course to begin, and now I’m swimming (not drowning) in work. It’s only been a couple of days and It’s really hit hard, definitely a step up from first year. It’s quite overwhelming, I didn’t expect there to be such a massive jump. I recall a friend comparing such a jump to be similar to GCSES to A level but x2. Overall I think I’ve had a good start. It appears commuting from home comes with it’s ups and downs. For instance, I’m not able to take my somewhat daily naps right after lectures instead I’m forced to go to the library and endeavour to finish the lecture of the day. I’ve been keeping up (quite) but it seems like the roles I play in some societies tend to intervene with my vicious study mode. I am forced to return home no later than 8 – It gets pretty dark around my area. And when I get home I’m exhausted.

The week began with Human Molecular Biology. The toughest module we have this semester according to the lecturer. We approached the organisation of the human genome. It was interesting – the point of the lecture really was the importance of human molecular biology and it’s achievements. However ofcourse we learned something new; C-value paradox. Yeah. C-value paradox.

I’ll explain. The C-value paradox is defined as the lack of relationship between the DNA content (c-value) of an organism and its coding potential. Ok so the C-value is the amount of DNA per haploid cell and the C-value paradox is the amount of DNA in an haploid cell that is not related to the complexity of the organism. The C-value of prokaryotes and lower eukaryotes tend to increase with complexity of the organism, the more complex the organism the more genes it has. Ok cool. However, with higher eukaryotes an increase in complexity does not necessarily mean an increase in genome size. I think this is where the C-value paradox comes in. If I’m totally honest with you, I’ve only just started filling in the gaps of this blog post 3 weeks down the line. So I’m a little hazy regarding the concepts, I’ll need to go back and review some notes!

It’s been unbelievably busy over the past weeks. I’ve been up to a lot; assessments, clicker tests, trying my best to catch up with lectures notes (which I am finding a little difficult – with the vast amount of information we have to learn in great detail). As an Academic Officer of the Biomedic’s Society I’ve been assigned to plan and host academic events. An idea of mine was to have a panel of doctors with various subspecialties – where they could discuss what their subspecialties entails and the workings of a doctor in the NHS. The discussion would then be followed by a Q&A session. I’m currently working on contacting some doctors for the event, and I’m seriously excited.

Oh, I also got some new stationary.

I feel this post hasn’t really been thought-through, I just really wanted to write something down because of how stressed I’ve been. It really is nice to reflect back on things and just let everything out on writing. Soothing. It’s not by power nor by might but by the Spirit of God.

~Stay blessed!

  – D x

Matthew 8:13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.

 

Treasurer, Academic Officer, and Buddy Mentor

It’s exactly 1:50 am here in Essex, and to be honest I have no idea why I’m up so late. Yesterday, I went to the gym – It’s been the second time this week and I’m quite chuffed with my somewhat mediocre process. I’m hoping to go either Saturday or Sunday this week but I’m sore ( basically I decided to lift weights to help reduce some arm flab and now I can’t even cope with the simplest of tasks – slight exaggeration but I just hope this isn’t all in vain). Right now, I’m trying to get a head start with lectures but it’s proven difficult without actual lectures for each module so I’ve decided to read from one of the many recommend textbooks. But there’s that chance of it being entirely irrelevant. I guess you could always look at it as brushing up on ‘background knowledge’, I believe building on my foundation even if it’s the basics can help ease the complexity of concepts to come. The topic of tonight is the ABO system under the chapter ‘Blood, Heart, and Circulation’. Anyhow – I digress.

The new semester is looming and It seems I’ve applied for a few roles in various societies. So in the upcoming semester I’ll be a treasurer, academic officer, and a buddy mentor. Hopefully  I haven’t got too much on my plate. Second year is usually the dreaded year due to the step up in workload, reading, and detail in lectures. In terms of detailed lectures, first year lectures are detailed however reading beyond the scope isn’t really necessary despite being recommended. I think it’s when you get into second year when reading around the subject becomes imperative; it allows you to grasp concepts that may not be addressed in lectures – so to speak. From what I hear (upper year students) some say lecturers tend to award more marks in exams when providing ‘more than they’ve asked’- I’m not too sure If this still applies. Nevertheless reading beyond the requirement shouldn’t be approached as a task but something of interest.

As a treasurer I am expected to attend all programs organised by the society, manage budget – apply for funding and grants, control public expenditure, liaise with the event manager and so forth. For the academic officer post I am expected to aid with organisation of academic related events, contact speakers, liaise with the secretary to help schedule events for the academic year and lastly, buddy mentor. In sixth form I was a peer mentor. As little as the role may seem I found being mentor to someone of a younger age rewarding. I was literally there for someone and I felt I could actually be of use – even if it was just listening to how their day went or how annoying their friends were. I enjoyed it so much so I jumped at the opportunity of being a buddy mentor in university. I remember my first week – disastrous. I was lost, confused, and I had no idea on how to take notes during lectures or even how to approach my studies and so I got into a panic frenzy. I remember one night, I called my parents in tears about human anatomy because of how remarkably behind on notes I was.Looking back now, It really wasn’t the content of human anatomy I found difficult but my study habit for the module was all wrong. I realised this half way through the course and changed how I studied for human anatomy. It was as simple as that. To get to the point of figuring out what I was doing wrong and actually adapting to the circumstances was purely down to the fact I had asked those around me, people within my year and those who have already been through it; how did you study for human anatomy? Should I really be focusing on this – and that? Do I really have to learn all of this? I even used YouTube Videos as a resource. You really do learn from others.

So really, being a buddy mentor for someone who’s just entering the big wide world of university is great, I can’t wait to be of help. But without a doubt I am a little intimidated. I don’t want to underperform in any of these positions and even resorted to backing out from one of them to make things easier – because of the anticipated workload etc but I feel second year is sort of the best time to get in all the extra-circular activities before third year (which accounts for 60% of the degree hence requires the upmost attention). After consulting my parents of this new fear, they gave me this scripture; Proverbs 29:25 ‘The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe’. What I took from this scripture – fearing the opinions and thoughts of men concerning ourselves does place a trap in our lives. It stops us from seeking opportunities and challenges before us because we’re either afraid to fail or afraid of what people may think and say about us when we do fail. And It’s something I’ve been battling with. But knowing that trusting in the Lord and that he will never forsake me, I shouldn’t have to worry or be fearful but instead dive head first into opportunities to come. I am going to try my very best in these roles – and even if I make a mistake who cares? I’ll rise above and learn from it. The mistakes we encounter are what really makes us.

Be fearless

Have a lovely week,

-D x

Proverbs 29:25 ‘The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe’