Mar 22, 2015

The OTHER Big News

Yup!  We announced on St. Patrick's Day last week that we are expecting Baby GIRL Scurlock #2 in August 2015!  Baby girl is due August 26th, so we will be having our second summer baby.  AND my sister-in-law Kristin is due with her first, a boy, just two days before me.  So exciting!

We found out just days before Christmas that we were expecting baby #2 and let's just say we were a little shocked, but we are excited to have two little girls only a couple of years a part.  Since I have two sisters myself, I'm thrilled beyond words that Ryan is going to have a little sister.  We waited until we were home in Bakersfield, CA to find out what we were having and it was so fun to celebrate the news with our families.  Ryan has absolutely no idea what is coming this summer, but she loved the balloons none the less.

I'm just about 18 weeks now and feeling pretty good, though I'm growing much faster the second time around!  I had pretty bad morning all day sickness for the first 12 weeks so that was part of my reason for not blogging much in the early months of 2015.  I definitely welcomed the 2nd trimester with open arms!
We are so excited that our family of three is growing to a family of four.  I'm sure things are gonna get a little nutty, but what else is new?!?!  God has certainly heaped many blessings on this family lately.

Mar 20, 2015

The Match, The SOAP, and the Reality of being an IMG (Part 2 update)

So, here we are, Match Day 2015.  Can it really be that it has already been a year since Match Day 2014, the day that inspired this ORIGINIAL post?  That post has become far and away my most read post on this blog to date.  I find it both humbling and heartbreaking that so many have found their way to my blog and either felt sorry for our story or inspired by it.

The post has been linked on other medical blogs and has been referenced in multiple forums on Student Doctor Net throughout the last year.  And because I can trace where my page views are coming from, I have seen the comments on those forums and blogs and I have to say, I have had moments where I felt very discouraged.  I realize that those that comment have neither been in our exact position, nor do they know Josh personally, and they are attempting to give a full (albeit harsh) picture of what not matching or perhaps WORSE in their eyes, matching into a prelim position means.  I've read things like "prelim positions are dead end positions," "he will never get a categorical position," "he will be worked to death and will not be respected as a prelim," and one of my personal favorites, after not getting into an American Medical School, "he should do something else and get on with life."

I have one thing to tell all the naysayers and the same thing to tell all those discouraged and disheartened about their Match success or lack their of, especially the IMG's.

Josh Matched Categorical General Surgery at the University of Massachusetts.

It pains me to say that THERE IS NO MAGICAL FORMULA to matching into categorical general surgery as a preliminary resident. Nor is there any perfect outline for finding a spot during SOAP or after.  There have been so many readers who have commented on my blog post and asked me to email you personally to answer your questions.  There have been readers who have tracked me down on Facebook or through my Etsy shop to ask questions about what we did and I understand, I really do.  You are grasping at straws here.  I understand the heartbreak you are going through after not Matching and I know the stress you have felt after not SOAPing.

What I am going to write here is what WE did and what worked for US but I know that our story is a combination of hardwork, determination, prayer, and luck.  Honestly, we needed all four of those components for this to work.  While I think that Josh is the perfect package for a surgical residency program, there was definitely an X-factor at work here.

This past year:

Joshua knew from day one as a preliminary resident that he would have to hit the ground running in his program.  First impressions are important but so are long term impressions.  He knew he couldn't start out strong in July and then begin to teeter off in the coming months.  It is a marathon not a sprint.  What you have to understand about Josh is that he is a very outgoing, competent, and  confident man as well as a natural leader.  It's possible that he thrives more under pressure than anywhere else so when he knows he has to go all-in, he does.   What you have to understand about the surgery program at UMass is that they don't treat their prelims differently than their categorical residents.  Joshua was in surgery regularly alongside attendings and the Program Director.  I'm certain that there are preliminary programs out there where this would not be the case, but Josh got lucky because he was at a program that would give him the chance to get noticed.

He got 4 entirely new letters of recommendation, three from surgical attendings he worked with during the first two months at UMass and one from the Program Director.  We believe this was key in him getting 5 interviews this year.  His test scores (Step 1: 232, Step 2: 235) and grades (graduating GPA: 3.7ish, Basic science GPA: 3.4ish) hadn't changed, if anything, he was at a disadvantage having been out of school for a year.  But we feel his new LOR's were EXTREMELY strong and so they were able to boost his application.

He was also asked to be on a committee for resident education at UMass as one of two PGY1 representatives.  We were surprised that even though he was a preliminary resident, he was given this task.  During the fall, he competed on a 3 person team comprised of one 5th year, one mid-level, and one intern in a "surgical olympics" type competition between other surgical residency programs on the East Coast.  UMass's team came in 2nd place and I feel Josh shined during that competition.  He showed confidence in himself and his surgical skills as well as pride in his program.  All of these things may not have determined his ability to obtain a categorical position, but I feel that getting your name and face out there within your program, especially if you are a prelim is of the utmost importance!  In other words, getting involved in these type of opportunities never hurts.

As it turns out, Josh Matched at his first choice program where he is currently a prelim, the University of Massachusetts.  We loved this program from the start and are so thrilled that not only did we choose them, but that they chose us.  I don't know if Josh would have matched at one of the other 4 programs he interviewed at if UMass didn't pan out, but I do know that he felt confident in all of his interviews and I would like to think that someone else wouldn't have passed him up either.  I guess we will never know and at this point, it no longer matters.

Many many things came together in order for this story to end in the successful manner that it has.  Maybe we just got totally lucky.  And if that's the case, we are thanking our lucky stars.  We have five years of a surgical residency ahead of us and you'd better believe we won't be taking any one day for granted.
Match Day 2015!
**If I haven't answered some of your questions, know that I plan to do a FAQ post as well in the next few days.  I wish I could respond to everyone that has been asking me to email them, but I'm only one person and I'm also a Mom and a wife.  I write this blog as mostly an online journal for family and friends and while I'm thrilled to be "helping" others in similar positions, I also don't know much more than what I've already written or read about online.  

Mar 16, 2015

Match Day 2015

I will do a big update on Josh and our second go around with The Match next week, but I just want to say with a HUGE amount of pride in my husband and in our success story that.....


Mar 1, 2015

Oh Hey! Yes, the Scurlock's are still alive!

Wow, March 1st huh?  You wouldn't know it here in Massachusetts.  It seems we are stuck in the land of perpetual winter here as evidenced by the snow that I see falling outside my window tonight.

I wish I had a good excuse as to why I've been so absent on the blog these past two months.  I could say it has had something to do with a ridiculous bout of sickness that passed through Josh, Ryan, and I and then around the time that passed Ryan got sick again... and again.   I can't say that I've been overly busy as the absolutely insane amount of snow that Worcester has gotten has kept us house bound more days than I care to count.  But maybe it's kind of like when you sleep in an extra long amount of time and then you are more tired for the rest of the day than if you had just gotten up at a normal hour.  We have been so bored and "un" busy that I can't seem to find the motivation to do anything, even get out of my pajamas!  Okay... that's typical anyway.  Yoga pants for the win.

So what's been going on?

Well, Josh is getting ready to start his trauma rotation tomorrow.  He only has 4 months left of this year of residency.  Crazy.  He was gone off and on a lot in January for residency interviews and we are anxiously awaiting Match Day 2015.  I hope to update you all with happy news on March 20th.  For now, prayers are welcome!

Ryan will be 20 months old in a couple of days.  Say what?!?! This kid continues to crack us up daily.  Some of her new favorite words to use are "No" and "Stop,"  which are not necessarily MY favorite words that she says.  Ha!  She has recently become obsessed with Winnie the Pooh on Netflix and will regularly carry my computer around going "pooh, pooh, pooh."  It's pretty adorable.

We are completely pacifier free as of a few days ago, which went surprisingly better than I would have guessed and the fact that it's gone makes me feel like she's such a big kid all of the sudden.  Though, we still have bottles to get rid of eventually.  One thing at a time.  We also have been doing swimming lessons on Saturday mornings and she and I have a pretty good time swimming around and practicing our kicker feet.
We all survived our first blizzard, Juno, at the end of January.  Juno dumped a record 34.5 inches of snow on Worcester in a matter of two days.  There was a travel ban placed on the state and Josh was stuck at the hospital for about 48 hours.  However, despite the mass hysteria that it caused, other than the cable/internet going out, it was rather uneventful.  Not that I'm complaining.

We are heading to California next week for my brother's wedding and are SO anxious to enjoy some sunshine and mild temperatures.  I may never come back to MA.  Kidding.

I'll try to be more regular with my posting again.  And attempt to keep you updated on the changes that are sure to occur in the next few months.