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3 Fun Activities for your Kids that are Budget Friendly

3 Fun Activities for your Kids that are Budget Friendly

By Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh

Freelance writer

 

Whether you are a new or seasoned Mom, it can sometimes be a daunting task to find fun, budget friendly activities for your kids.  I’d like to provide some useful tips and activity ideas for different weather situations that can be fun for the whole family.  These tips are great for both working and stay at home Moms, as there are events during the week and weekends.

Here are 3 fun activities for your kids that are budget friendly:

  1. Library events

One of the best places to find events is right at your local library!  Libraries also have great activities in the children’s section including puzzles, books, and computer games.  It is a great way to stay active during the hot summer or cold weather.  Check out the events online or on their Facebook page to find out the latest happenings.  These free events are great for the whole family.  With Halloween coming up, many libraries have costume parties, special themed story times, and trick-or- treating.  Story time activities are great, and libraries generally have them for different age groups ranging from newborn through preschool age.  Other library events include board games, open play, music and dance programs, and writing classes.  Sometimes pre-registration with your library card is required prior to the events.

 

  1. Parks

Check out your local parks when the weather is nice for outdoor activities!  With slides and more these are great free activities for your kids that will help keep them active.  Many parks also have splash areas for the kids to enjoy so feel free to bring your bathing suits!  Like the Facebook pages to check out different park events.  There may be holiday themed events that are free or have a nominal fee.  Some parks also have community centers with science museums and theaters that have great family shows.  Food trucks have become the latest trend at parks, so you can make it a family night out and not have to worry about dinner.  Food truck prices generally range from $5-$10 per food item or you can bring your own snacks to enjoy at the park.  Many parks also have free concerts with great music during the food truck events.

 

  1. Indoor playgrounds and gyms

Indoor playgrounds and gyms have become the latest trend for kids.  This is a great way for kids to stay active when outdoor activities are out of the question due to bad weather.  The fee is generally $10-$20 per child with a discount for siblings, and adults are usually free.  Many facilities have wrist bands for the adults and children with numbers that match and are checked upon leaving for added security.  Indoor playgrounds will usually include access for the full day so you can stay for 1 hour or until closing!  The facilities may also have mommy and me classes.  Take it from me if you have little ones the adults will feel more tired than the kids after leaving!  Adults can have fun too and participate in all of the activities with their kids, and there are also areas to sit and relax.  These facilities usually have shoes off and socks on policies so be sure to pack socks for you and your kids!  Ask about discounts for teachers, healthcare professionals, and military as many offer special deals.  Also, you may be able to purchase a package of admissions at a discount that can also include free sessions if you plan to go frequently.  Be sure to also like the Facebook page, as some places offer discounts on certain days if you provide a special code or word of the day.

 

Good luck on your search for activities!

Be Curious on Why You Overeat

See if you can relate to this story –

We start a diet being super committed.  We know that this time, it will be different.  We know what to do, what to eat, and it is just a matter of sticking to it!  Committed.  Yes, this is it!   We think “I am finally going to lose the weight”.  The first 3 days go great and we feel proud of ourselves.  We are well on our way!   As a bit more time goes by, the motivation begins to lag and the wheels start falling off.  There’s an event we didn’t plan on eating at, there’s a happy hour we didn’t expect, there’s the delicious food in the break room at work, etc.  All of a sudden, we notice there is a shift in our mental thinking about our commitment to this diet.  We start deviating from what we set out to do.   And worse, we start believing the negative mental chatter in our heads….

“This is too hard.”

“I’ll take a break for just this 1 day and start again tomorrow.” (my favorite)

“I don’t know what to eat now.  I can’t eat the same foods I have been eating all week.”

“This plan is unrealistic for my life.”

“I didn’t see the scale move so this isn’t working.”

“I am so irritable; is this even worth it?”

“I deserve to eat   _________.”

“It’s the weekend.”

Sounds familiar?  We have all been there!

Through life coaching, I learned exactly why I would stop following my plan and why I was overeating.

The first step is bringing awareness or consciousness to your eating.  By awareness, I mean the deep questions of “why” we are doing what we are doing.  Our brains like to stop at the surface level of answering this question since it is easier mentally to stay surface level.  For example, I ate “because I wanted to eat this”; “because I was hungry for more”; “because it has been a long day”, etc.  However, we must dig deeper than that.  Keep asking “why”.

What is really going on?  Is there a feeling I am trying to suppress or escape from?

This is a time to be curious.  No judging, no criticism, no guilt or shame, please.  Just simply digging deep to discover why you ate  _______ when you didn’t plan to eat it.  Why did the whole pack of Oreos disappear?  Write it down.  The answer to the why is important in order to get freedom from this behavior in the future.  You can’t fix the problem if you don’t know the problem you are trying to fix!

My reasons for overeating…..

“I wanted to feel better.”

“I was restless and anxious, and food took that feeling away.”

“I was tired and irritable.”

“It was something quick and easy.”

“I wanted to enjoy dessert with my family.”

Start noticing your why.  Pay attention.  Write down your reason.  Watch for patterns of this thinking throughout your day/week.  Tune into your thoughts.  When you know what your thoughts are, you can work to change them to meet your weight loss goals.  Permanently.

Are you a pharmacist ready to take your weight loss journey to the next level and get my personalize help? 

My 6 week weight loss coaching program has 5 more open spots!  We start next week.  Contact me if you would like to sign up.

By: Sherry Price

Keto Diet…What It Is and Benefits

The ketogenic diet is a low carb, moderate protein, and high fat diet which puts the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis.

When you’re body is in a state of ketosis, the liver produces ketones which become the main energy source for the body.The ketogenic diet is also referred to as keto (key-toe) diet, low carb diet, and low carb high fat (LCHF).


So why is it so popular and taking the world by storm?
Because it completely reverses how your body functions (in a good way) along with changing how you view nutrition.It’s based around the premise that your body was designed to run more efficiently as a fat burner than a sugar burner.

Fat Burner vs Sugar Burner
When you eat something that is high in carbs (that yummy donut), your body will produce glucose and insulin.Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy so that is why it’s the preferred energy source for your body.Insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by transporting it around your body.


This sounds pretty efficient, right? The problem with this is that when glucose is used as a primary energy source, fats are not needed for energy and therefore are stored.With the MAD (modern American diet)  glucose is the main energy source.This initially doesn’t seem like a problem until you realize that the body can’t store that much glucose. This becomes an issue because the extra glucose gets converted into fat which is then stored.

Because your body uses glucose as its main energy source the glucose that is converted into fat doesn’t get used.When your body runs out of glucose it tells your brain you need more so you end up reaching for a quick snack like a candy bar or some chips.You can begin to see how this cycle leads to building up a body that you don’t really want.

The alternative is to become a fat burner instead of a sugar burner.When you lower your intake of carbs, the body begins to look for an alternative energy source and your body enters a metabolic state known as ketosis.Ketosis is a natural process and makes perfect sense when you think about the human body.

 

You’ve probably heard of the fact that you can go weeks without food but only a couple of days without water.The reason for this is ketosis. Most people have enough fat stored on them to fuel their body for a while.When your body is in a state of ketosis, it produces ketones. Ketones occur from the breakdown of fat in the liver.


You might be thinking why isn’t the body constantly breakdown fats in the liver? Well, when your body is producing insulin, the insulin prevents the fat cells from entering the bloodstream so they stay stored in the body.When you lower your carb intake, glucose levels, along with blood sugar levels, drop which in turn lowers insulin levels.This allows the fat cells to release the water they are storing (it’s why you first see a drop in water weight) and then the fat cells are able to enter the bloodstream and head to the liver.This is the end goal of the keto diet. You don’t enter ketosis by starving your body. You enter ketosis by starving your body of carbohydrates.

When your body is producing optimal ketone levels you begin to notice many health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits.


Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet

When people say that the keto diet changed their life they are not exaggerating. I personally have not only released a significant amount of weight but my A1C decreased from 8.6 to 7.0 in 4 months! I have been able to share this information with some of my patients that have also helped to benefit their health. That is what is so exciting to me!


When you decide to switch over to the ketogenic diet, you quickly realize that it is more than just a diet.It’s a completely new lifestyle that offers numerous benefits which could include the following:

  • Weight Loss
  • Control Blood Sugar
  • Mental Focus
  • Increase in Energy
  • Better Appetite control
  • Reduces insulin resistance
  • Acne reduction

 

In this series of articles we will discuss in detail how these benefits are derived from the Ketogenic diet, what the Ketogenic lifestyle is not and the basics of eating for the Ketogenic lifestyle, how do you start the Ketogenic lifestyle, and the Ketogenic lifestyle and Intermittent fasting.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to reach out to me

 

Angela Orr

207-468-3475

 

Why in the World Would a Pharmacist Join a MLM Company?

Why in the World Would a Pharmacist Join a MLM Company? 

By Jessica Jones

I have been asked often by colleagues why I decided to join a Multilevel Marketing Company (MLM) after earning a doctorate in pharmacy. To many of my pharmacy friends, it seems silly knowing how hard we have worked and how many hours we gave up by studying for so many years to become a pharmacist. I was actually one of the ones that thought it was silly before I realized how smart of a business plan MLM really is.

 

I remember rolling my eyes and thinking I was too good to join a MLM business as my friend was telling me about how it had changed her life. To be honest, I thought MLM was a “bad word” associated with a pyramid scheme. That was such a crazy assumption, and I was uneducated at the time on just how MLM works and how smart it is if you want to make an extra stream of income or BIG money!

 

I decided to look into it because I never turn down any opportunity without knowing what I’m saying no to. We are pharmacist, we like to do our research, right? I also read an article on the tax write offs you have if filing a 1099 compared to a W2! Have you ever looked at how many deductions you can take from having your own business? It’s pretty fantastic! I do not have enough time to write about it here, but you HAVE to look it up! After my extensive research, I decided to join the MLM business my friend had been so excited about!! Initially, it was for the extensive tax write offs and a discount on the products that I already absolutely loved! I soon realized that others loved the products too, and so my little side business started to grow.

 

I had no intention to stop working as a full-time pharmacist. I LOVE being a pharmacist! My intentions were to make an extra stream of income to pay off student loans early, go on more vacations, buy a bigger and safer car and start a college fund for my twins. That sounds like a pretty good goal, right?

 

However, just a couple of weeks after joining the business, I found out the pharmacy I was working for full time was going to close down and I would need to look for another job.  At that time, I had already received my very first 2 paychecks from my new MLM business and paid my mortgage payment with that! I was surprised to say the least! With that in mind, I decided to stay home and only work 2 days a week (12 hours total) as a Consulting MTM Pharmacist and work my new MLM business the rest of the time around my 2-year-old twins.

 

 

Our life looks so much different from when I began my journey! I have been home with my babies for over a year now and I am so very grateful! I am grateful that I stopped rolling my eyes and thinking I was too good for this incredibly smart business which opened up so many more opportunities for me.

I decided to write on this subject because I know so many others that think the same way I did before and could definitely benefit from the extra paycheck each month. If you want an extra stream of income to pay off student loans early, go on more vacations, buy a car, pay for soccer lessons, dance lessons or daycare, then don’t roll your eyes like I did and open your mind. 🙂 It really is a smart business decision!

Jess

http://jessicajones1.com/

Tiny Changes That Can Make You a More Fulfilled Pharmacist

Pharmacy students, I love them!! They have such a joy about them as they look forward to graduation and becoming pharmacists. They look forward to the patient interaction, making a difference in patient’s lives and empowering patients to lead healthier lifestyles. I have had the pleasure of being a preceptor for many years now. After graduation, there is sometimes a slow shift from the attitude of joy to frustration.

While most pharmacists still love their career, it is not unusual to hear chatter about insurance claims, grumpy patients and irresponsible doctor’s offices. When and how does this shift happen? Pharmacists have demanding jobs and one can easily get caught up in the the busy work of the profession and let it consume our day. One way to get through a difficult day is to turn your thoughts around. Go from thinking how tired you are on your twelve hour shift to how you brought a smile to Mrs. Smith’s face and brightened her morning. Do not concentrate on how frustrated you are with a prior authorization claim but think about how you taught Mr. Smith how to organize his medications. Now he is more compliant and having better outcomes with his medications. Turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts can be the difference between having a good day or a bad day.

When you can’t change a certain situation, the best thing to change is a certain someone. Yourself! The attributes that you want to be known for in the pharmacy are often the characteristics you want to be known for in your everyday life. What qualities do you want to be known for as a pharmacist? You can be kind, friendly, resourceful, content, caring, inspiring. Of course we are pharmacists, but the title is so much more. What standards represent you and would make you feel more complete and satisfied with your day in the pharmacy? What would you like to be known for from your patients, coworkers and other pharmacy staff? You can be whomever you choose to be! So just go out and be YOU!

As pharmacists, we are constantly giving to others. We are also required to multitask frequently throughout the day. The career not only requires physical stamina for the long shifts but complete focus on error prevention. Take time for yourself on your days off. There is no need to feel guilty about self-care. You can”t give from an empty vessel and that includes not only giving back to your patients but also to your family and friends. Be sure to take time to rest, take a walk, meditate, read a book, get fresh air, write in a gratitude journal. Taking care of yourself allows for change to manifest in your life. Take care of yourself because although this may sound cliché, you are worth it!

While pharmacy can be a very difficult and trying career it is also a very fulfilling career. When you take the time to turn your thoughts around, be all you want to be and fit in occasions for self-care you will feel more satisfied with your days at the pharmacy. These are all factors that contribute to having the rewarding pharmacy career that you deserve!

 

Written by: Lisa King, RPh

The Importance of a Pharmacist’s Resume

 

We have all heard the stories of the current oversaturation of pharmacists. This is due to multiple
reasons including; the opening of more pharmacy schools each year, increasing pharmacy class
sizes, and chain pharmacies cutting hours due to poor reimbursement rates. One thing is for sure-
its a tough market if you are on a job hunt. Long gone are the days of being hired from a phone
interview alone or the large sign-on bonuses. It’s simply a supply and demand issue, and
pharmacists are no longer in the driver’s seat.

In my opinion, there are two ways to get a job: 1) know someone or 2) have an incredible resume.
The best way to get a job is to know someone through networking where you can get an internal
referral. You still need a resume or a CV, but your referral from a trusted employee is going to mean
more than your resume, and your resume becomes a formality. Now if you don’t know someone, you
better have an amazing resume so you can get that interview. If you don’t have either, your chances
are pretty slim.

So, what makes a great resume? Glad you asked. There are lots of opinions and ‘experts’ on this
subject. What isn’t so commonly covered is what makes a great pharmacist resume? There are
three major components that make a pharmacist’s resume great: content, organization, and format. I
will discuss each of them.

Let’s start with content. Pharmacists have many achievements and accomplishments. What I
typically see in a resume is responsibilities. “Responsible for…” is a very passive phrase and doesn’t
show what you have achieved while being responsible. For instance, you are ‘responsible for’
maintaining inventory as a pharmacy manager. I bet you are constantly monitoring your inventory
and trying to reduce your carrying costs. By writing “Reduced pharmacy inventory from a 5 week
supply to a 2 week supply,” it paints a much larger picture of what you actually did. It also leads to
some great conversations during an interview. Remember that you not only want to leave a lasting
impression on the hiring manager, but you also want to make them realize that you can solve their
problems. Show the problems you have solved at your positions, and they will believe that you can
do that for them in the future. You are creating value for yourself as an employee. You are saying,
“Hire me! I can reduce your inventory and improve your bottom line.” You can do this for every point
on your resume. Use numbers and metrics where you can, and don’t be vague.

Work backwards. When you find a position that you want to apply for. Read the job posting and
description carefully. Read between the lines. What is important to the company? Can you figure out
what the main purpose of the position is? Now, is your resume aligned to match up with that
position? I frequently see pharmacists leaving off mundane day to day duties such as dispensing,
counseling, collaborating with prescribers, and supervising technicians. Just because it’s obvious
doesn’t mean you need to leave that off your resume. You want to make it through the ATS
(Applicant Tracking System) to get you to the interview. When companies use ATS, the software
program helps organize, weed out, and suggest potential candidates for an interview. If your resume
lacks the key words needed for the position, you will fall well below the threshold to even be
considered a good candidate.

 

Organization is also very important in a resume. We see so many pharmacists who put sections of
their resume in wrong places on the document. Even if you make it through the ATS, a real person
doesn’t actually spend much time scanning each resume for candidacy, so information placement is
key. Real estate is all about location, location, location and your resume real estate is no different.
You only have a few seconds to get someone’s attention, the most important information should be
top, front, and center. The following sections, in this order, should follow: a brief professional
summary with strengths and passions, skills with possible keywords for ATS, jobs in reverse
chronological order, education, professional trainings and licenses/certifications, and finally
professional affiliations and/or community involvement. By following this order, hiring managers will
see exactly the information they need to know in a well-organized manner while understanding your
professional experience and your life outside of pharmacy. It is valuable to show that you have a life
outside pharmacy and are invested in your community.

My favorite part about writing a resume is the formatting. Each and every one I create is different
with similarities between them. It should be the most formal document you create. Afterall, it is a
doctoral profession, so leave all the graphics out of your resume. It is certainly personal preference,
but here are some of my favorite formatting suggestions:

1. Pick a font and size and be consistent. Use a font most similar to Times New Roman.
2. Bold your position title, not the company name. You are the highlight, not the company you
work for.
3. Use a simple footer with your name, title, and page number.
4. Place a page break in a reasonable spot. Do not break in the middle of a job description.
5. Use margins to adjust how everything fits on a page.
6. Always save your resume as Your Name Resume Year (example: John Smith Resume
2018) and always send to an employer as an attachment in the application program or in an
email as a PDF to preserve formatting.

I don’t know anyone besides myself who likes to make a resume. It is time consuming, daunting, and
confusing. There are few good resources for pharmacists specifically and a ton of terrible resources
and advice available on the internet. So when do you do it yourself versus hiring a professional?
That’s a great question. I would say that if the above information I have given you is making you
anxious, it’s time to hire someone. I would also say that if you have been applying left and right and
aren’t getting any interviews or communication, it’s time to hire someone. After all, it’s a small price
to pay to get you in the right position. If you can’t hire someone to do the writing, make sure you
have a peer review it critically to give you feedback.

The last bit of advice I have is that you should constantly update your resume. Make time to update
it twice a year. Even if you are perfectly satisfied with your job and are not job hunting, it is so much
easier to take 15 minutes twice a year to add in your projects, promotions, presentations, and
achievements than it is to try to remember information from five years ago. Be ready to jump on an
opportunity when it arises. In this market, they won’t come up too often, so it is best to be prepared
and ready to go.

Ashley Gulyas, PharmD
Founder & Senior Pharmacy Resume Editor

Just a Pharmacist

By: Lisa King, RPh, Amazon Best Selling Author

 

I recently read about a speech that the American Pharmaceutical Association president gave about how many times we find ourselves as pharmacists saying ‘I’m just a pharmacist, community pharmacist, staff pharmacist.’ I never really thought about this as I was always proud to be a pharmacist. I had heard so many women in the past say to me ‘I’m just a mom or other title” when I told them about my career. I never thought I was one of those people who referred to myself as “Just A” but when it came to my career as a retail, staff pharmacist, I was guilty as charged. I married my high school sweetheart, graduated from pharmacy school, and soon started having children. I was alway just a mom and a pharmacist. I have always loved caring for my patients at the pharmacy and know everything about their families. It was always my goal to share a smile with a patient. I love to comfort a new mom and tell her I had been there when it came to sleepless nights. I enjoy sharing nutrition tips regarding the diet and exercise portion of a diagnosis. We all love to dream big and many pharmacy moms have a side hustle that helps them feel more complete. At times, we become frustrated that the pharmacy is taking us away from what we feel is our true life’s purpose. That may be an additional income stream or it may be just staying home with our children. Sometimes, you have to step back in gratitude and reflect on one of the main roles in your life as a pharmacist. I challenge you to take out a piece of paper and write down everything that you feel grateful for in your career. Think about what the career actually does for you and your family. Is it financial freedom to go to the movies, buy a new outfit, contribute to a college fund? Is it the ability to feel that you are actually changing people’s lives, whether that be your patients, interns or technicians? I guarantee you your heart will be warmed by doing this exercise on what you are grateful for in your pharmacy career. We all want to live the life that we desire, to live our life’s purpose and be the best version of ourselves. That life can be many things, and I want that life for myself as well. I love sharing information on health and wellbeing. However; at this time in my life, I am happy to include all of those things as part of who I am. This includes not being “just a pharmacist” but a pharmacist!

Five ways Artificial Intelligence will Change Medical Affairs

Artificial intelligence (AI) applications to the pharmaceutical industry have gotten a lot of attention. Recently, two AI drug design companies, Insilico Medicine and A2A Pharmaceuticals joined forces to bring to market a possible treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and other rare orphan diseases. Using AI to more rapidly discover optimal pre-clinical candidates may revolutionize the drug development process in the life sciences.

 

What AI can bring to the table is the ability to rapidly and accurately sort through massive amounts of data. This may very well revolutionize how competitive intelligence, drug discovery and stakeholder engagement take place as we know it. Among many functions that medical affairs is tasked with, an important one is stakeholder engagement with External Experts (EE) (formerly known as KOLs or Key Opinion Leaders). For Medical Science Liaisons (MSLs), who are the primary function engaging external stakeholders, there will likely be several changes.

(1) Multi-Channel Outreach- This will be enhanced with AI helping MSLs determine the most optimal ways to reach EE as well as what the most effective communication points and time to speak with an external stakeholder will be. Additionally, in combination with current KOL profiling and sophisticated CRM, companies will be able to better assess MSL performance through objective benchmarks and key indicators.

(2) Clinical Trials-MSLs are often involved in helping clinical recruit for patients and identify sites for company trials. AI will launch more sophisticated algorithms and predictive analytical tools which will be used to help find patients most likely to respond to interventions. By aggregating primary data, family history, genetics, and social media data to predict outcomes, clinical trials will be more effective and efficient minimizing risk to patients. Operationally, AI will facilitate better patient monitoring and real-time data gathering.

(3) Learning & Development-AI will personalize learning platforms and determine which learning styles are most effective for learners based on data gathered. This will presumably lead to more effective MSLs and more insightful discussions with external stakeholders. This will also help facilitate more enduring training and professional development for medical affairs professionals.

(4) Drug Development-Data has shown that it takes an average of 2 billion dollars to bring a drug to market. AI will undoubtedly reduce the time and costs needed to make this happen. AI may also help predict earlier on in the drug development process whether or not a drug candidate will be successful by sorting through massive amounts of data more efficiently.

(5) Label Expansion-By gathering large quantities of data, AI will help uncover possibilities for expanded indications a drug candidates may be optimal for after initial drug approval. With tens of millions of available data points in a post-marketing setting, AI may be able to determine if a certain drug could be effective in a particular patient population.

Author:

Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs

http://www.medicalaffairsspecialist.org

When the Pharmacist becomes the Patient: My Miscarriage Story

When the Pharmacist becomes the Patient: My Miscarriage Story

By Laura Challen

As pharmacists, we pledge to devote ourselves to a lifetime of service to others… to ensure optimal outcomes for our patients. But what happens when the tables are turned and we become the patient? What happens when we become the patient that goes through the “unmentionable”? This wasn’t on my radar at all… and I’ll never forget the moment my role switched.

It was a cool morning in November and I had been busy at work all morning. I took an early lunch break to quickly make my 16 week OB checkup and felt annoyed when the appointments were running late. I sat in the waiting room, frantically checking email to see what I missed. Why was I even there? I had two beautiful sons at home, had “passed” the genetic screen a few weeks before, had received the “all clear” after the 12 week appointment, and had announced the pregnancy on social media after our gender reveal. I didn’t drink alcohol, watched my caffeine intake, tried to eat balanced meals… this was just another check box. Go to the 16 week checkup and rush back to work. I finally made it into the exam room and was chatting with my doctor. We continued chatting while she put the fetal Doppler on my stomach to find baby’s heartbeat. After what seemed like forever of her trying to find the heartbeat, I asked her “Should I freak out yet?” She calmly said, “No… I bet he’s just super active and I can’t find him… he just won himself an ultrasound”. It took 30 minutes for me to get the ultrasound. I sat quietly alone in the waiting room, debating if I call my husband. Why should I call and worry him? The doctor told me not to freak out … everything was “probably” fine… it had always been fine before. It was my turn and I slowly made my way onto the ultrasound table. The technician finally announced “OK, I’m going to light up the blood flow now”. I’ll never forget how on the monitor all around the baby lit up, but baby remained dark. I calmly asked, “He’s supposed to light up… isn’t he?”… and all the technician could say was “I’m so sorry”. My world stopped, my heart skipped several beats, and it felt like the walls started closing in. Little did I know that I was now the patient that needed caring for and was no longer the one providing care and answers. I had never appreciated the small touch, the kind words and the need for privacy so much as those first moments. Once I had called my husband, completely broke down and then slightly gathered myself, the technician ushered me through back doors and back hallways to see the doctor again. I’ve never appreciated bypassing a busy, happy OB waiting room more than that moment. The nurse put me in an empty exam room and my doctor rushed in. She too looked devastated and shocked. Her sincerity and honesty struck me. I was now asking questions I had never thought of before… this wasn’t something I had studied or mastered in school… this wasn’t something that anyone talks about. I looked to my doctor to provide guidance and steer me on the best path. Later, when I broke down crying in the parking lot, I’ve never felt so much gratitude to the kind stranger that stopped to see if I needed help. I’m not normally one to hug strangers, but when she asked permission to hug me, I immediately agreed and almost felt relief.

I vaguely remember both the doctor and technician estimating that baby had died three weeks prior to my ultrasound, and since my body had not started to pass him naturally, I had to either be admitted or have a surgical procedure to remove him. After weighing my options, I chose to deliver the baby instead of enduring a procedure. A big factor in this decision was choosing the option that would help the most with my closure. Prior to this experience, I had never asked if my hospital was equipped to handle this type of situation, after all, pregnancy loss isn’t talked about. This was and still is such a taboo topic—even though 1 in 4 pregnancies are lost. I had no idea that my hospital had an entire program that focused just on pregnancy and infant loss. They provided me with a counselor, followed me closely during my hospital admission, and provided much needed emotional support. Small little touches, like putting a red leaf on my hospital door to alert staff that baby was no longer alive, made a long lasting impression. My labor and delivery took a total of 32 long hours and my total hospital stay lasted 5 days. I was continuously amazed at how kind and gentle the hospital staff treated me at every encounter, even when I felt like I was requiring much more care than most. I quickly learned that there wasn’t a script or protocol for pregnancy loss. Everyone’s loss is different, and what works is making decisions that are best for your family and situation. One example of this was whether or not to hold baby after delivery. My hospital counselor shared that she had “never met a mother that regretted holding her baby”. As hard as that moment was… she was right. I’ll never regret holding and admiring baby Connor. To me, he was perfect.

Days, weeks and months have now passed. It was the small gestures from family, friends, and coworkers that carried us through those first few weeks. Cards, meals, keepsakes helped, but looking back—allowing me to say Connor’s name out loud helped the most. As cliché as it sounds, I’ve learned that time does help lessen the pain… but a heart never forgets. I hope that you are never in this situation… but if you are: know that you aren’t alone.

Happy FIRST Birthday to Pharmacist Moms!

 

It is hard to believe that just one year ago today, I was lying in bed feeling guilty for working and missing out on yet another baseball game for my son. I had attended the majority of his sporting events; however, it still bothered me that I missed this one. In fact, I remember that particular evening vividly;  I couldn’t fall asleep.

 

Eventually I got up and walked out of my room into my kids’ bedrooms just to “look” at them. You know…when your kid is sleeping and you get to watch them…best feeling in the world right??? But that night something was different. I knew I needed some support. Was I working too much at the expense of my children? Was I missing out on them growing up? Did they wonder why I traveled? Did they wonder why I had to work evenings or weekends sometimes?

 

At that point, I knew I needed to speak to someone even though it was pretty late in the evening. I knew I was struggling with work/life balance. Why did I feel so bad when I was at work and missed my kids, and then when I was with my kids I felt that I wasn’t giving my all to my job or my profession? I couldn’t be the only one who felt that way. It also wasn’t only about work. I was a member of a local gym and although I paid for my membership each and every month, I hardly attended because of the guilt. I felt so bad that I was already leaving my kids for work so how could I possibly leave the house to go work out and have me time?? I knew I wasn’t the only one to feel this way.

 

Of course, since I couldn’t sleep I picked up my phone (yes I know that just makes insomnia worse LOL but at this point I wasn’t a health care professional I was a mom),  and I opened up Facebook. I began scrolling through some of my local Facebook mom groups and reading them to see if maybe someone else already posted about work/life balance and I could relate to someone but I couldn’t find anything. I also wanted to hear what other pharmacists were doing and not doing and how they managed to work full-time, stay fit, eat right, maintain a marriage and raise children. What was the secret? Could you even do that?? Was it possible?

 

 

 

Pharmacist Moms Group is Born

I decided to start a group on Facebook called the “Pharmacist Moms Group”…yes I know not really an original name but it worked :-). It started as a group of 50 people (moms I went to pharmacy school with, did residency with or worked with throughout my career), and it quickly became a support network. In a matter of a month it grew to over 1000 members who were asking each other for recipes, work-life balance questions, clinical questions, career questions, money questions, insurance questions, vitamin questions, board certification questions and much more. As a pharmacist mom, I was always passionate about the field of pharmacy, but I struggled between the obligation of working and raising my family. I have found that this group brought me balance, energy, education and most importantly a new purpose and passion that was real. Bringing me happiness by  supporting others who are just like me…who went to school for 6+ years after high school, who pulled overnights to study, who moved thousands of miles for an education, who did residencies, did fellowships, took call, worked evenings, worked overnights, and looked at as the #1 resource by millions of people all over the world. Each day I learn something new from these amazing ladies.

 

I needed this group…let me rephrase that….we needed this group. As pharmacist moms, we are often in our silos but together we are that much greater. We are not just the moms of our own children, we are the moms who help other moms decide which cold medicine to give their child. We are the moms who help other moms select which baby formula may be best if they can no longer nurse. We are the moms who are calculating dosing behind the doors in a dark cold basement for a sick child. We are the moms competing for jobs in a culture dominated by Caucasian males. We are the moms who are pumping while we are working at the same time. We are the moms who are the only pharmacist on a team on rounds at 6am each day. We are the moms who don’t get a lunch break. We are the moms who stay late and don’t get paid. Most importantly, we are the moms who America trusts and we are the moms trying to raise our own families. We are pharmacist moms and we are a fierce and strong!

 

 Happy Birthday to my Pharmacist Mom tribe. We are 10,000+ Pharmacist Moms in just one year!! So excited for the future…