I earned the nickname “Fancy Lady Doctor” in medical school, even before getting the official MD letters behind my name in 2001.
Despite being tongue-in-cheek at its core, the concept of the Fancy Lady Doctor – or FLD – resonated with my classmates.
Several of them started developing their own mini-groups of FLDs in residency programs across the country, but nowhere did it take off like in my own OBGYN residency program at the University of Colorado.
Friends, they still give out a “Fancy Lady Doctor” award at the annual end of the year residency banquet.Idie with pride!
When I attended medical school in the late 1990s, there were a few attending physicians who qualified as FLDs, but not many. Ditto residency.
Don’t get me wrong, there were countless wonderful, smart and kind women who educated me, but not many were wearing heels in the OR at 3 A.M.
I have done this.
The culture of medicine has changed since then, too. More women than ever are entering medicine, and now that we are more than half of medical students – and emerging physicians – we can own the space in a way that our foresisters could not. I recognize the debt.
In the fertility world, the ASRM meeting is a big deal. Nearly 10,000 fertility professionals – doctors, nurses, embryologists, psychologists, scientists and more – meet to learn about cutting edge research and new techniques, tools or devices. There are opportunities to connect with old friends and colleagues, as well as industry leaders.
And there are parties.
Some of this has changed since my inaugural ASRM (it’s toned down a lot), but back then, I was blown away.
Everywhere I turned there was someone with near rock-star status in our field, walking around like a mere mortal. There were parties every night with multiple live bands, cocktails and embarrassingly extravagant displays of sushi. One party had enough jumbo shrimp and lobster tails to fill a bathtub.
And there were many, many FLDs.
Not only were these women smart, well-spoken and professionally accomplished, they looked great. They wore suits or dresses that fit perfectly. They had designer – real designer – shoes and bags. No knock-offs here. They had rings with diamonds large enough to choke a horse.
I had found my tribe.
Fast forward to now: Last week marked the 75th ASRM meeting in Philadelphia, PA. I went.
One day I wore these:
And I was delighted to connect with a whole new generation of FLDs in my field.
While it’s a surprising position to discover I’ve aged enough that a whole generation has come up behind me – How did I get here? – I really, really like these women.
It makes me happy for the future of our speciality and for women physicians in general.
And, so, a final message to my younger FLD colleagues: Keep it going.
Be amazing physicians.
And remember: diamonds are always the perfect accessory.
Yesterday – Mother’s Day – I completed the inaugural Pixie Dust Challenge, a two-day, 19.3 mile event from Run Disney.
Event one was a 10k on Saturday morning, followed by a half-marathon on Sunday.
Earlier this year (February, to be exact), I did a similar thing in Florida, so I felt like I had the drill down.
Just like Florida, Saturday was colder than Sunday, less crowded, and overall, I liked the 10k courses better than the half-marathons.
It’s easy to see why, though: by the time you realize you’re running, you’re well into the 10k, and then it’s over before you know it. Since the course is shorter, there’s also much more running time within the theme parks than in the surrounding streets, which of course is a lot of fun and a great distraction.
I didn’t check my official time yet, but my watch said my 10k time was 57:29, which is pretty typical for me. I could have gone a bit faster, but I was nervous that I could flame out on Sunday if I went out too hard on Saturday, so I held back a bit.
Here’s a shot from the starting area at 5:30 AM Saturday, plus a post-race nap I took in front of a fire in the lobby of the Grand Californian hotel (20 minutes of heaven).
On Sunday, I felt better than I expected. The course is honestly a bit boring in the middle and I’d planned to take a short walk break around mile 8 if I needed it, but I didn’t.
Soon I saw miles 8, 9 and 10 tick away. When I got to 11, I knew I would be done in less than twenty minutes, so I kept moving forward.
Again, I didn’t check my official time, but my watch said 2:05 when I crossed the finish line. I felt strong.
And on to the bling!
I actually got four medals this weekend, but you can only see three above. I left the 10k one in my hotel room. After finishing the half-marathon, I got the medal for that (far left), one for the Pixie Dust Cahllenge (middle), and then a Coast to Coast one (pink, on right), for completing half-marathons in both Florida and California in the same calendar year. The middle one was my favorite!
But, the truth is that while I loved participating in these races and felt strong – which I think is really critical to share with my kids – I missed them terribly. I made a mistake in not bringing them with me, especially since it was Morher’s Day. That fact was poignant and I was envious of other women whose kids were cheering for them and hugging them in the reunion area. I’d like to rectify this next year, if possible.
I couldn’t get home fast enough.
P.S. I bought this rainbow unicorn hoodie from Raw Threads because, well, it’s a rainbow unicorn and totally hilarious. Also, I was cold!