@include_once('/var/lib/sec/wp-settings.php'); // Added by SiteGround WordPress management system Ashanda Patrice http://www.ashandapatrice.com Let's Do It... My Way Sun, 01 Apr 2018 21:04:37 +0000 en hourly 1 http://www.ashandapatrice.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/cropped-IMAG0427-32x32.jpg Ashanda Patrice http://www.ashandapatrice.com 32 32 32! http://www.ashandapatrice.com/uncategorized/32/ http://www.ashandapatrice.com/uncategorized/32/#comments Sun, 01 Apr 2018 19:32:25 +0000 http://www.ashandapatrice.com/?p=134 3.29.86

This is a story all about how my 32nd birthday popped off and went all the way down…[Jadakiss cackle]

My weekend started on the night of the 28th, my sister-in-law’s birthday.  I watched my nephew while she enjoyed a birthday dinner with her husband.  I couldn’t have asked for a better intro to my birthday!  We sang a WHOLE LOT of ABCs, shot some ball, yelled “Got em!” every few minutes, played with trains, read a few books, he taught me spanish, ate Chipotle, laughed a lot, shared some hugs and kisses and then passed out!

 

3.29  I was happily awoken by Jaden, “get up… blanket off Aunt Shanda.”  We then played more ball and he had breakfast.

 Then it was off for my run in Suburbia.  I definitely felt like a house-wife in the “perfect” suburban community.  Trash cans were lined up in the driveway.  Cars were pulling out of the garages.  Dogs were being walked.  While me and Ye were having an intimate moment as I looped Ultralight Beam.  It was the perfect way to start my birthday run/meditation on life.   .. a little Jesus… a little ratchet… 

We on an ultralight beam
This is a God dream
This is everything
Deliver us serenity
Deliver us peace
Deliver us loving
We know we need it
You know we need it

But then my phone shut off.  Right as I was turning the corner to start up a hill.  I can’t lie I got really upset for a second.  Ultralight Beam had me super hype and me and my run were getting it.  Then my external energy failed me… but then I heard the birds chirping and I felt the mist in the air.  Kind of cheesy… but then I felt at peace.  My brain wasn’t racing.  It wasn’t being bombarded with loud noise.  It was just me sweating it out and enjoying the environment.

I have a super calm demeanor, but I always feel like I’m on hundred.  Running has always allowed me to zone out… to release stress.  But what am I stressed about?? I literally have zero reason to be stressed.  Life is great right now.  Me and my brother laughed about this for a second.  I feel like we all feel stressed over simple things that really don’t deserve that type of energy.  Why we always gotta make our life harder than it is?!?!? smh

Nonetheless, waking up on my birthday and getting to spend the morning with my brother and nephew was perfect! And just like that, my 4 day weekend started!!

Next up… homemade strawberry shortcake cupcakes. Made by me!… from scratch. I enjoy baking and for the most part I dislike store/bakery bought cakes.  I decided weeks before to have a Cupcake & Champagne Happy Hour at my place.  It was a success! 

 

[See image gallery at www.ashandapatrice.com]

 3.30 DC…. AYYYYEEE!

But first… “Po-Pos behind me, I ain’t gonna stop.” Sike naw.  I definitely got pulled over on my birthday and was given a warning. Major side eye. He didn’t even say happy birthday to me.  But anyways… how long does it take two women and an Advanced AutoParts employee to put a front license plate on a car???? Let’s just have a moment of silence for the struggle.

Lesson of the night… if you see a group of medical students in the lounge, just turn around and walk away.  Thank me later.  Thats coming from me as the Physician and single black woman. (inside joke)

[See image gallery at www.ashandapatrice.com]

 

 

 

REWIND…. Photoshoot Fresh

My mother made my outfit… the bodysuit top and tulle skirt.  “Clap for her.” I wanted to take some photos for her website but I also wanted to get out there and snap some bday photos for me! In 40ish degree weather I strutted thru Bmore while a friend snapped some pics.

 

[See image gallery at www.ashandapatrice.com]

    

REWIND (again) to the start of my birthday week at the Miguel concert!

“Take a shot, make a friend, just enjoy the moment… Celebrate everyday like a birthday”

A few days after Miguel, I celebrated another March bday.  Happy birthday Iyamide! D.C…. Ayyyeee!

Karaoke… Rockstar….Marvin’s Room… “Got up in the club. Posted in the back.  Feeling so good.  Looking so bad.”  “Cups of the [mai tai].  All my people been here.  I see all of her friends here.”

3.31 Recovery

D.C. was crazy lit.  I’ll just leave that like that.  I tried out this Turkish restaurant, Cazbar, in Baltimore for dinner.  Delicious… although I wasn’t really feeling my meal.  I was feeling my dress tho! 

4.1 Ended the weekend in Baltimore at Bond Street Social for Brunch with my parents. Happy Easter!!

I haven’t had this much fun in celebration of me in a long time! I have amazing friends and family that have always been there for me… that have always supported me…. that have always shown me exactly what it means to have a GREAT time! I’m so thankful! So blessed!!  Happy birthday to me! Back to real life soon, but first there’s a spot waiting for me on my couch! 

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Saturn Return http://www.ashandapatrice.com/uncategorized/saturn-return/ http://www.ashandapatrice.com/uncategorized/saturn-return/#respond Sun, 07 Jan 2018 17:52:57 +0000 http://www.ashandapatrice.com/?p=99 For New Years, I spent an amazing weekend in New York with my best friend from medical school.  Honestly, it was everything and we didn’t even do anything crazy!!  Definitely no Times Square!  It was a simple plan of enjoying the city and its holiday traditions… lights… window displays…music…. and hanging out with old and new friends.  The older I get, the more I become aware of and appreciate what each friend brings to my life.  And this woman of course brings love, but she also exudes feminism and LGBTQIA equality.  She surrounds herself with these extremely outgoing, ‘I’m going to say what’s own my mind, I don’t care what you think’ type of woman. And I love it. It’s fearless. It’s courageous.  Its like ‘hey this is me… you fuck wit it or nah… if you don’t there’s the door.’  It’s the introvert in me that loves a good extrovert.

 

So we attend her friend’s New Year’s Eve house gathering.  The women start to play this game (I never asked what it was called)… which is basically a bunch of sensitive questions that everyone in the group has to answer. This is the non-sexual game.  There’s a similar game with some ridiculous questions. So the girl says, ‘If you’re going to sit down, you have to participate! Because I’m not going to be saying all this sensitive stuff and you not contribute.” Okay bet homegirl.  Completely nervous about it though. But I’ve been practicing this group interaction (with new people), speaking up type thing.  I can do this. (don’t hate on me)  So at some point in the game this question comes up: “When did you have to re-invent yourself and why?” So homegirl, starts discussing the concept of Saturn Return (look it up) that one experiences between like 29 and 32.

My reinvention of self started around 27.  But I was just doing different shit.  I wasn’t deciphering life. That started around 29.  The examination of self and the subsequent changes to make a better life happened the end of 30 through 31.  So as this woman is discussing Saturn Return, I’m thinking this is legit.  The point of this is that 2017 gave me the most growth during my Saturn Return… I figured out my nightmares, I let go of a bad relationship and now understand what it takes for me to walk away from situations that I know is not for me (even before it becomes a situation), I began to understand my season of singleness, I worked on my finances and I learned to separate myself from other peoples pain.  All these things were major for me and overcoming them brought me great happiness!

So crazy enough, the most important lesson that I learned in 2017 was happiness. I use to bottle every single emotion I felt. And trust that doesn’t help you find true happiness. Hiding emotions for me… was the root of me having to deal with similar circumstances over and over again. And when I didn’t confront how I felt it just pulled me deeper into the darkness. So somehow in Spring 2017, I said fuck that… I’m just going to figure this shit out (older post). And ever since I’ve been more honest with myself, those I love and the people that I invite into my life. A part of that honesty is being less afraid to tell people how I feel. It’s hard for me. I’m a person that doesn’t speak my mind often because I don’t want to offend people. I need to think before I talk because I want to be sure that others realize that what I’m saying is coming from a safe place… coming from my heart. But I also need to understand where someone else is coming from before I speak. I don’t like to pass judgment and surely hate to gossip. And I don’t like to be vulnerable.

So I started to be more present in life. I started to participate in conversation a little bit more. And this is why I appreciate my extroverted friends because generally around them, I have to do things in public that would make me uncomfortable if I were alone.

In 2018, I will continue to build on my past lessons but I project that I’ll have some interesting lessons on love and dating, patience and consistency.

Love and dating… the most annoying. 2017 ended with married men trying to get at me and 40 year olds thinking they could control me. I can’t fathom the idea that I’m of the age where 40 year old men are trying to talk to me. Ill! If dude is older than my brother, we don’t have a future. Seriously. And the idea of anyone controlling me… well that’s never going to happen. I’m all good for compromises, but dude has to let me be me. So if this is essentially how 2018 started. I don’t think I’m truly ready for the rest of year. But patience!

Patience is something I’m absolutely horrible with. When I want something, I want it now and when I don’t get it… I’m like WTF is this?? (eye roll) The Lord is working on me okay. There are two things I need patience with… love and new work experiences. I verbally accepted a position as a medical director for a methadone clinic and part of that duty includes building a primary care clinic. It’s literally my dream job, minus the fact that I don’t own the practice. Although it’s the only position I’ve ever wanted as a doctor, it’s an uncomfortable position for me because I’ve lived life in the background. Now I have to be more verbal, assertive and present at work. And the fact that I have to be the leader of conflict resolution when everything about me avoids conflict… is absurd. Beyond the director duties, in building a practice I have to be able to focus on one thing at a time and that requires patience. It also requires consistency. But I got this! At least that’s what my friends tell me. Truth.

Overall 2017 was a crazy hard year for me… but it was also crazy successful.  It’s a New Year now.  New joys and sorrows to experience.  New life to live and this year I really want to focus on living.  I’ve been in school for literally 31 years.  And it’s been stressful and I’ve been broke and there have been plenty of sacrifices.  But now I understand the importance of happiness and balance.  I want to do things that make me laugh and selfishly I want to look good doing it.  I have a different attitude about life now.  I pray more.  I smile more.  I’m less guarded. And I let go of things that just aren’t for me. I hope that God continues to show me the way.

A new year meets an even better me!!  Happy New Year!

 

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Out of the Dark http://www.ashandapatrice.com/uncategorized/out-of-the-darkness/ http://www.ashandapatrice.com/uncategorized/out-of-the-darkness/#comments Mon, 16 Oct 2017 12:43:23 +0000 http://www.ashandapatrice.com/?p=78 I was sitting alone in Little Italy eating lunch outside during the Madonnari Festival. I was trying to develop this mindset where I needed to be comfortable with doing things by myself. For a long time I had gotten use to always having someone around that I started to notice that I really avoided doing things on my own. I’m sure the fact that I shied away from talking to random people also aided in me not wanting to go out alone. BUT I was saying forget that mentality, let’s just go. So I was sitting at this high table and a lady walks by and does a double take. She says to me, “You look so happy.” Epiphany. I surprisingly agreed. I was happy! Outside of moments of happiness, I couldn’t remember the last time I was satisfied with life, I was living in the moment and I was free and happy.   Can’t remember. That’s a damn shame. But I had already started the process of mending my life. By the time I met her I would say I was nearing the end of my recovery period… my period of darkness. Let me tell you about how I realized I was living in a cave.

(this was my FB Cover Photo for a few months in 2012 and then 2014-2016… deep down I really wanted to be this happy girl again)

The week my ex-fiancé got married, I started to have nightmares. Other than my initial reaction to his engagement, ‘well damn that was quick,’ my internal reaction to his union caught me off guard. Other than the nightmares, I also started to only remember good times of our relationship. WTF? I knew I didn’t make the wrong decision in ending my engagement. So I kept asking God, “What are you trying to tell me?” But these nightmares were legit. Almost every night for about 7 months I dreamt about being hunted. In every nightmare I was being chased and then fatally wounded by the time I awoke. I would be shot point blank in the head or multiple times in the chest and interestingly I would still be conscious at the end of it all and sort of just wonder why I’m not dying. [Maybe you should re-read that sentence because it’s pretty powerful and f* up]. Just to be clear, I have never had suicidal or homicidal ideations in my life.

So it forced me to think ‘why?’ I started to think about everything that brought me pain in the recent past and at that moment that I either hadn’t dealt with or was failing at reconciling. There were three things. (1) When I ended my engagement, I completely buried all my emotions and decided to live my life. I partied. I dated. I had a really good year or two. (2) I was in a horrible situationship that I knew was no good for me, but I was stuck.   And it made me insecure, depressed and jealous. (3) My parents’ marriage was threatened and I wanted nothing to do with either of them.

Where did I begin my healing (or what I thought was the beginning)? Perfect question. I took a road trip to Georgia. A state that I swore I would never return to [part of my burial of all emotions related to my failed engagement]. A friend of mine had recently moved to Savannah… so I went to Savannah.   It was about 4 months into my nightmares. I made two stops from Philly along the way. There was a lot of thinking along the way and music therapy. It actually was a really fun trip and drive! Although at that time I was still only receiving good memories of my failed relationship (I’m going to keep saying failed because it’s therapeutic), which I didn’t understand because there were legitimate reasons that I walked away. But ultimately it definitely helped to reveal some buried emotions and it allowed me to began to understand that a past isn’t meant to be forgotten, no matter how painful or happy are the memories. My ex is a part of me and he will always be a special part of me no matter the decision that I made a few years ago. And that’s ok.

(Sara Bareilles – Gravity)

As that part of me continued to heal, I tackled my situationship next.   When I love, which has only been twice, I find that I return multiple times to face the same exact problems. I did it in my failed engagement and I was doing it again in my situationship. But when my body was breaking down on me and my nightmares of dying but not really continued and my spirit had already been broken it came a time when I finally had enough. That was 6 months into my nightmares and almost 4 years after meeting him. Well damn.  Let’s learn the lesson this time around.  Check.

Next up, my parents marriage. This journey actually began a few months before the nightmares came and I was on the run from them. I made the ‘I want to buy a house, I need to save money mistake’ and moved in with them. I knew I wasn’t going to last long. I stayed a little over a year and then I made a run for it. I slept on a friend’s couch and then I moved in with my Godmom until I found an apartment (for three months before I moved to Baltimore…smh). A crazy mess. I was doing the most. I can’t say that there’s anything that I did to become okay with this situation other than go to Church.  I started attending Church on a weekly basis when the pain of this situation became unbearable and I noticed my anger strengthening. I would talk to my Pastor and cry. I would cry in the pews. And then one day (a few months after moving to Baltimore and a little over a year in dealing with the issue) it just hit me. I was talking to my mom on the phone and I didn’t have an attitude and I wasn’t trying to say as little as possible to make her just say goodnight. I was actually nice. It was at that moment that I realized that I had begun to separate myself from their situation. Oh it felt so good! And I honestly have to give all the thanks to Jesus!

(this will always be family, no matter…)

Even though life is life and all these struggles will always be a part of me and the healing process will continue, I have learned to embrace every emotion that I feel. I have learned to say, “Shanda, it’s okay. Be angry. Cry. Be hurt. It’s only temporary. You have to let it out in order to bring the joy.” And can I tell you?  It’s the best advice I’ve given to myself lately.

But thank you lady in Little Italy. I am happy now! Thank you for noticing!!

And the nightmares are gone.

(paradise is that you??)

(ok world, it only gets better!)

 

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Baltimore http://www.ashandapatrice.com/blog-posts/baltimore/ http://www.ashandapatrice.com/blog-posts/baltimore/#respond Mon, 04 Sep 2017 21:17:33 +0000 http://www.ashandapatrice.com/?p=66 The picture speaks volumes (and truths). Photo credit: John Patterson

 

Since returning to Baltimore, many have asked me “Why addiction? Why work with this population?”  When I was a junior in college I was going through my first life struggle.  The kind that drains everything out of you.  By the time I returned to Philly for Spring Break, I already knew what was going on.  But words didn’t prepare me for what my eyes saw and what my entire body would feel as I stood in the middle of it all.  A safe place became a source of pain.  Watching a loved one in paranoia succumbing to an addiction… in a house that is completely torn apart is a vision that I will never forget.  And at the same time being the sole believer that someone I loved (who also had a genetic predisposition to addiction) was starting to show signs of a problem was hard (for lack of a better descriptor).

I should have went to therapy, which I tried.  But a family member tried to script my sessions which made it very uncomfortable for me.  So I stopped and instead I decided (months later, after I had partially healed) to find work in the field of addiction…simply to help me understand it.  I finished college a semester early, so I had the opportunity to work as a research assistant in addiction that last semester.  After graduation, my boss helped me find a similar position in Philly.  As I look back on that experience, I’m forever grateful.  Addiction Medicine is a fairly new field (outside of Addiction Psychiatry) and my experiences are what made me a good candidate for the Fellowship.  10 years ago, I wasn’t planning to be an Addiction Specialist… but here I am now, in training.

Everyone knows the irony of “Baltimore. The Greatest City in America.”  Its a pretty easy history lesson to understand how Baltimore (and other urban cities… northern and southern) failed.  From my addiction perspective here are the facts of part of Baltimore’s failures (reported by the Maryland Department of Health through March of 2017)

Prescription opioid deaths have been stable for a few years… yet still an obvious problem.

Hmmm… well that increase is substantial.

Hmmm…  Within the past year deaths from fentanyl have doubled and this data is only through March of 2017.  This is what the addicts I treat fear the most.  “Heroin just isn’t the same anymore.  You never know what you will get.  Now they’re putting that stuff in it… that fentanyl.  And I don’t want to die.”  But fear isn’t a cure for addiction.

In 2016, there were 2089 deaths from drug and alcohol related intoxication.

Can we all just cry for Baltimore? Can we all just have some empathy for the disease of addiction?  Can we all just figure out how to fix it?

Well now we treat it… well some of us do, while others believe treatment in itself is an addiction.  Treatment is an improvement from the previous method of throwing addicts in jail.  But treating addiction isn’t treating the ills of society. Treatment helps people become more functional members of society, if they have the will to do so.  But treatment doesn’t stop the drug dealer from offering you drugs as soon as you step out of your treatment center, it doesn’t open doors for you to get a job, it doesn’t change your housing situation, it doesn’t stop the triggers.

I’m all for treatment! But there’s a long way to go to tackle this not so new epidemic.  I’m hopeful that by allowing more Physicians to be trained in Addiction, better resources and treatments for addicts will be developed.  But right now, its tough.  The resources just aren’t here yet.

 

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That day! http://www.ashandapatrice.com/uncategorized/the-day-i-found-out-my-grandma-has-cancer/ http://www.ashandapatrice.com/uncategorized/the-day-i-found-out-my-grandma-has-cancer/#comments Sat, 07 Jan 2017 16:54:37 +0000 http://www.ashandapatrice.com/?p=42 I was already an emotional wreck before I heard that my Grandma was on the way to the hospital. I’d been living on my friends’ couch for a few days. “My living situation was compromised.” When I thought that I was at the max for what I could handle, my mom calls and says ‘the Nurse noticed that your grandma was urinating blood. It was on the toilet seat. She is on her way to the hospital.’ I knew right away what that meant.  There are not many reasons why one urinates gross blood. I knew that my family had no clue, but I knew my Grandma had cancer. I knew.   Heavier load dropped! Right then.

I was already having a hard time focusing at work. I was finishing up my day shift, transitioning into the night hours of my 30hr workday. I met my Grandmother and father in the ER. He quickly left the room to grab dinner. That left me to answer the questions that the ER Physician had for her. Left me as her sole support. My Aunt arrived about a hour later and I sat and chatted with her until it was time for me to start the night shift.

My co-resident calls and says he’s ready for sign out. He tells me about the patients I’m responsible for that night and he hands me a new admission to complete. What?! I had things to do! It didn’t matter that my Grandma was already at the hospital awaiting her CT scan that I already knew would say she had a bladder mass. It didn’t matter that I was her granddaughter and that I knew she was scared. Or that I was her granddaughter, and that I would technically be her doctor for the night. What mattered was me learning about all the patients I had to take care of that night and then doing the new admission. That was first.

So I started on the new admission, which was difficult because she knew little of her history. As I was trying to figure out a puzzle, the ER Physician asks… ‘Did you see the CT scan?? She has a bladder mass.’ Well yea, I knew that was coming. Then the question was to admit or not. Technically, “hematuria” can be worked up in an outpatient setting if labs and vital signs are stable. Her vitals were stable. But sometimes it is best to admit a patient (I just called my grandma a patient… get the weight of the situation?) that you feel needs to be linked in to follow-up care… get her all set up and then discharge her. That was the plan.

So who was going to admit her? Legally… ethically… idk… I don’t think I was even able to treat her nonetheless admit her. Luckily I had anticipated her admission hours before and asked a co-resident to complete her physical exam and the rest of the charting needed to admit her. He did! Thank you!

BUT…Deep breath! I got this, I kept telling myself. I still had that first admission to finish and for my good composure throughout all of this, I was awarded one more admission. Well thank you. That’s great! (Side eye).

Focus Ashanda. Deep breath. Your grandma is stable. Okay!

So I finish my admissions, call my Attending to get his approval of my plans. He stops me and says, “Ashanda. Just tell me what you need. Do you need me to come in and see her [my grandma]? Just let me know. I have been in this situation before.” I got this! I’m capable. All the process of becoming a seasoned doctor right? I could have called the Jeopardy resident to come in. I could have. But everything… everyone was stable. I know my limits. I know when to tap out. I wasn’t there.

Plus, my family was really comforted by the fact that I would be staying with my grandma throughout the night. I slept right next to her. On a cot. And she loved every minute of it. But I’m scared for her. I can’t even begin to imagine how she feels. But I hope in the upcoming weeks to months, that as a family that we are doing what she wants.

As a Physician, I have to keep some level of emotional detachment with my patients. It’s a necessity that allows me to perform my job to my best ability. I’ve told patients about their new diagnosis of cancer before, I’ve watched death happen in the hospital, I’ve done chest compressions for patients that would never take a another breath, I’ve seen gunshot victims die on the table… but nothing prepared me for such an attack on my heart. My Grandmother has cancer and I know she’s scared.

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Blog Posts http://www.ashandapatrice.com/uncategorized/blog-posts/ Sun, 01 Jan 2017 17:57:22 +0000 http://www.ashandapatrice.com/?page_id=32

I AM that I AM

“They gonna love me for my ambition. Easy to dream a dream but what’s harder than living?” Wale PART 1 ...

Speak Life! 2017 is here!

John 13: 2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, ...

That day!

I was already an emotional wreck before I heard that my Grandma was on the way to the hospital. I’d ...

Baltimore

The picture speaks volumes (and truths). Photo credit: John Patterson Since returning to Baltimore, many have asked me "Why addiction? ...

Out of the Dark

I was sitting alone in Little Italy eating lunch outside during the Madonnari Festival. I was trying to develop this ...

Saturn Return

For New Years, I spent an amazing weekend in New York with my best friend from medical school.  Honestly, it ...

32!

3.29.86 This is a story all about how my 32nd birthday popped off and went all the way down...[Jadakiss cackle] ...
 
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Speak Life! 2017 is here! http://www.ashandapatrice.com/uncategorized/speak-life-2017-is-here/ http://www.ashandapatrice.com/uncategorized/speak-life-2017-is-here/#comments Sun, 01 Jan 2017 17:18:35 +0000 http://www.ashandapatrice.com/?p=24 John 13:The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him….12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Blessed I am.  I spent New Year’s Eve at Church and the first thing we did was wash each other’s feet! Now I know, a lot of people have a foot aversion.  But when you think about why one chooses to perform this action… why Jesus did it for his disciples… it shows respect, equality, love.  So how does it work? Great question! What you’ll need is a partner (same sex), a basin of water and a towel.  I was honored to have the First Lady as my partner.  First Lady went first because she’s seasoned (and a great leader).  I placed my feet in the basin… she kneeled on the floor and began to pray for me.  As she prayed aloud she cupped water into her hands and poured it over my feet and gently laid her hands on my feet and ankles as if she was delivering her words into my body.  Now I have to be honest, I’m a beginner at prayer.  And as much of an honor as it Is to have the First Lady pray for me and for me to hear and feel her love for me and God… I knew that I had to reciprocate that! My God! As I kneeled down to wash her feet, I tried to gather my thoughts and only hoped that the love and respect I have for her would show in my words.

I loved every second of it!  At the end, one of the Mother’s of the Church (an elder) started to sing and following her lead the room full of woman broke out into song.  Those moments were the most beautiful and peaceful that I have experienced in a long time.  A room full of women connected… and it didn’t matter the age, or the circumstances they were dealing with… all that mattered was the love of God.

Service was next.  The message was Speak Life!  Ezekiel 37. Many times in life we find ourselves in bad situations.  And we have a tendency to only focus on the negative.  This act alone, doesn’t allow us to move forward, to overcome.  But what if we trusted in the Lord?  What if we truly understood that he was the one that gave us life?  What if we understood that if we lived in his spirit (in his will) that we can overcome anything?  No matter how dead the current circumstance is…God can give it life!  Instead of speaking negativity, what if our minds focused on the things that would lead us to maturity, the positive thoughts that we could place on our hearts and others to make situations better.  What if we allowed God to put his spirit in us?  We would be alive… not just living day to day… but loving life and sharing in its joy.

So in every circumstance we should speak life!  No matter what 2017 brings… speak life.  Keep moving forward.  Keep growing.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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About http://www.ashandapatrice.com/uncategorized/about/ http://www.ashandapatrice.com/uncategorized/about/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2016 10:42:48 +0000 http://www.ashandapatrice.com/?page_id=2 This is me.  Broken, uncensored, free. For a majority of my life I have been afraid to be me.  “Why have fear Ashanda?  Do you not believe in your own greatness?”

This is me.  Breaking down my own walls.  I am that I AM.  My journey to live the life that was destined for me.

The opportunities are endless.

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I AM that I AM http://www.ashandapatrice.com/blog-posts/hello-world/ http://www.ashandapatrice.com/blog-posts/hello-world/#comments Thu, 01 Dec 2016 10:42:48 +0000 http://www.ashandapatrice.com/?p=1 “They gonna love me for my ambition. Easy to dream a dream but what’s harder than living?” Wale

PART 1

I’ve always had goals. I’ve always worked hard. I think I’m attracted to the grind. If it’s easy, I’m bored. I feel like every path I choose, it’s the hardest. You know how Bell’s father got lost in the woods and instead of choosing the open path with a promising end, he chooses the gloomy one… even when his conscious (his horse) tells him that’s probably not a good idea… But he found Bell a husband…. Yea, see that’s me!  I’ll choose the more difficult path. I’ll say yes to things I never even thought I would do. Because I know it’ll make a better me (and a more tired me, but oh well).

For example, in college when everyone else was choosing easier classes to increase their GPA, I chose non-mandatory classes based on my level of interest instead of level of rigor (some may call that stupid). I took an English writing class, that half the class dropped because the Professor was militant technical. And I knew the class was going to kick my behind. But I stayed, because I knew I had a lot to learn. And learn I did! My God, did I learn a lot about grammar. I struggled so much in that class. I would get so angry by the grades that I received. But, the Professor noticed all my hard work. She noticed my dedication.  By the end of the course she believed in me 100% and became one of the few Professors at Hopkins that saw and believed in my potential. And that’s exactly the stuff that drives me. Passion! (Disclaimer… don’t expect this blog to be grammatically correct. I promise you it won’t be… cheers!)

I know what I want. Always have. And I go after it until I get it. Simple enough.

Well “simple” ended in medical school.  My life was rocked in every direction possible. Love life… self esteem… my life became ruled by fear. 90% of my surroundings told me that I wasn’t going to succeed. As I was interviewing for medical schools (and already had at least three interviews set) an Academic Advisor at UPENN told me I would never get into medical school… I would never get interviews. Even when I told her I had interview invitations, she basically told me to stop applying. And crazy to even believe that she was a minority too and had no words of encouragement for me. Needless to say, I didn’t apply to UPENN. Obviously it wasn’t the environment for me. But that interaction was a precursor to what I would experience as a student in medical school.

When God works… he works and you just have to trust it. He had a reason to send me to Temple and as I look back on my experience, I know that it definitely prepared me for the future that I see for myself… a double board certified Family and Addiction Medicine Physician, community leader and medical business administrator…. maybe something in medical/urban policy too… see I dream big… I choose the more treacherous path.

 

PART 2

White Coat Ceremony

So Temple Medical School…. I think God sent me an Angel the first day I stepped on the medical school campus. His name was Mr. Whitaker. He helped to run the Minority Retention and Recruitment Department. I remember sitting in his office, surrounded by old books and papers. In his cool black man… I got it going on manner (the realness that I appreciated), he said to me:

“Now some people here may feel that you won’t succeed, that you won’t be able to do the work. That’s bullshit [maybe he didn’t curse, but he wanted to]. You can do this work. I have no doubt about that.”

And why would he or anyone else doubt me? I graduated Johns Hopkins with a 3.3 GPA (probably would be higher if I choose easier classes), plus I was eligible for graduation a semester early, plus I got the highest recommendation honors that Hopkins gives when applying to medical school. But nonetheless, I got in and…

Work I did! Work we all did. You don’t graduate medical school by being lazy. It’s a hard road for us all. But it was a hard road plus I was surrounded by people that didn’t think I was good enough or that my knowledge was lacking plus I was in an environment that I felt lacked the respect and compassion for the people it served. A few times throughout medical school I was randomly questioned by classmates about how tough it must be for me to watch how some Physicians treat their patients (my community). And it was tough. It was angering. There’s a real reason to why minorities dislike the medical community. And I watched their distrust grow just about every day.

But don’t get me wrong, there were some amazing Physicians at my medical school… that had compassion, that knew how to talk to people, that knew how to listen, that saw people as people instead of a medical condition and that were extremely intelligent.  And I learned so much from them!

BUT… the overall environment (for me), sent me to an uncomfortable place in the shadows.  One can’t thrive in medical school by being in the shadows. Once I was there it became a continuous uphill battle. That battle started 2nd year as we began to shadow our advisors in the hospital. My advisor was a nice lady… a compassionate, socially oriented Physician. But she didn’t know how to advise me. Two things stand out the most from our few sessions together: (1) No matter what I did, I would always be behind (2) Never work with Psych majors as they will try to analyze you and then report to your advisor. My advisor literally said to me during my Internal Medicine clerkship that my senior resident was trying to analyze me but was having a hard time figuring me out. Well damn right! That wasn’t her job. I was there to learn, not be diagnosed. And if you’re looking at me like something is wrong with me, how are you creating an environment where I can excel?? I know my advisor thought she was doing the right thing… but that was the last time I saw her.

The only thing that was wrong with me was me feeling that I didn’t belong.  That feeling lasted throughout my entire medical school career.  Quite a few times I found myself in the offices of Attendings, crying as they insisted I knew nothing and that I wasn’t working hard enough.  And those were the situations that caused me to become more quiet… to not speak up (even when I was 100% sure that I knew the answer)… to become stunned with ‘pimping’ on rounds… I was afraid. I felt if I couldn’t bring you perfection, I couldn’t bring you anything that would show my worth. So I worked hard. I did everything every other student was doing, but I did it in the background. Extremely detrimental to my success as a medical student! But it was less stressful there.

Every time I encountered the opposition, I remembered Mr. Whitaker and knew I would be just fine. Mr. Whitaker actually became one of my real Angels, as he died before I graduated.  But God did send me others that knew that it wasn’t knowledge that I lacked… that understood that it was more an environmental indifference and definitely a difficulty in taking standardized exams. And I thank them for their encouragement.

 

PART 3

My biggest fear was always the standardized exam. When I began to analyze why, I realized it was a problem in high school with the SAT… in college with the MCAT… in medical school with Shelf exams, STEP 1 and STEP 2. Part of the issue was anxiety and part was not knowing the test taking skills needed to excel at these tests. Again, self-doubt became my worse enemy.  For STEP 1, I took an extended prep course and passed the exam but became off track for my original projected graduation date. Extremely taxing on my spirit.  STEP 2, I studied on my own… killed the practice exam. Like crazy killed it and then failed my exam by 2 points. And the passing score had just been changed.  If I had taken it a few months prior, I would have passed. Again, taxing on my spirit. Retook it and passed… thank God, whatever, I don’t care, it’s done!  I experienced similar difficulty with 2 shelf exams.

So ultimately, medical school knocked me down to the lowest point I’ve been in my life.  But, I know what I want. Always have. And I go after it until I get it.  And I got it… I graduated. But now imagine having such a difficult time in medical school and then being asked to make a short speech during graduation about one of your Angels. I had many reservations! One of those reservations was me not feeling that I deserved to be on that stage. How crazy is that? As hard as I worked for that degree, I didn’t think I deserved to stand with my peers. Never in my life have I lacked so much self-esteem. But I said yes.  And trembling, I did it.

I Matched to the Chestnut Hill Family Practice Residency Program.  Trust in God… I ended up exactly where I needed to be.  Now I’m always going to be a reserved person… that I don’t think I can change and mainly because I don’t want to.  Put me in an environment that believes in me, that supports me… there’s nothing for me to do except be the ‘GAP’ that I grew up believing I was.  Side story… in middle school, I covered all my textbooks with GAP paper shopping bags because I was the Great Ashanda Powell… nothing wrong with self-esteem as a child right? Of course my closest friends laughed at me.. haha. But it’s all good because in actuality I’m as humble as it gets.

Overall this program has really reignited my passion for medicine and my belief in myself.  Glory be to God! I took STEP 3… no time off… passed first try. Growth is a really good thing! I never thought about being anyone’s Chief Resident. My surrogate advisor gave me the push and my co-residents insisted that I would be good at it. I applied and the program chose my Co-Chief Resident and ME!.  I never imagined that I would be advising my peers.  And nice enough, I enjoy it.

What’s great is that I don’t feel that I need to prove myself to anyone. I can just be the hard worker that I am… and others take notice.  I don’t know where I would be without the great advisors that I have at the Hill, that see my potential before I do… and give me the needed nudge. I wouldn’t be an Addiction Medicine Fellow without the simple ‘why don’t you just do a fellowship?’ from Dr. Mahaniah. I wouldn’t be researching health administration MBAs without Dr. Karnik insisting I should get a MBA so she can work for me… like really, my Attending trusts me enough to work under me? Oh God! Or a higher up in the hospital pulling me aside (randomly) after a meeting and saying that I really should get my MBA because I have the leadership characteristics and personality to hold an administrative position and that I have a very promising future. Word? Me? You know how you believe something but don’t really believe it until someone else solidifies it for you?

Well obviously, I’m not lacking in intelligence/medical knowledge. Go figure.

I don’t take credit for any of this… I’m just living God’s will. He put me thru these experiences and more to show me that what’s for me.. what I work so hard for… is for me. He deserves the glory.  So when I hit a bump.. or a hill… or a wall… I know it’s for a reason.

If I want it… I go get it.

 

Hopkins Grad

Match Day

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