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Thread: Should my sister study oversea in Australia and is she suitable to be a dentist?

  1. #11
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    Thanks brandywine again for all this long replies, I really hope this wont stop. I'm sorry to take such a long time to get back to you been so busy with my studies and stuffs I actually read it the other day but do not have enough time to actually write out all my points.

    Firstly, I'm from Malaysia and I'm not sure whether students from Malaysia are being covered by medicare, but we do have OSHC insurance and I think its kinda similar. And sadly, I'm the only one in Aussie that make things even scarier because I have to be strong and stable in my emotions when helping her out. (Usually break down when she's not feeling well). And yea we do have direct flight home so that matter is not a problem she probably can fly back every single holiday and get treated in Malaysia, if that is necessary my family will definitely support it. I do hope she can have a bunch of friends who can actually understand her disease and tolerate with it. Now days ppl are so realistic they wouldnt bother understanding other ppl needs and stuffs, is just sad just by thinking about it. Do you mind telling me are you asian? Because with the way you descreibe about repaying your parents is the exact same thoughts I have, I mean asians basically only think about repaying their parents once they fnsh their degree. And I really do love the way you phrase this :

    "I want to have a challenging, intellectual, busy job. I love science, I love medicine, I love people. I want job security, a good pay packet, I want to be able to live anywhere in the world and work. I want to be respected by the community, I want to make a difference. So I want to be a doctor."

    It is the reason why professions such as doctors, dentist etc are me and my sister's target. This sentence spot on!! So with all your advice, Ill just make a list of things to do be done if shes coming to aussie.

    1) Ill get her to register with the student disability services so that she will be taken cared of basically in every aspect and also hopefully she will be arranged into a better placement venue during her placement/internship. (This is what I worried most, studies is fine, is all about a good placement/internship venue.)
    2) Get a rheumatologist for her so that if anything we can look for help easily, instead of panicking and calling back home to ask for help. (Do you reccommand this would work out? Like will the dr actually follow up closely for int student patient.)
    3) Make sure she pass all her screenings and stuffs (for Pharm is just TB screenings and police check, How about Med?) (Do you have any of your med frens that didnt manage to pass the screenings? what happen if they dont pass?)

    So yea, basically that's what Im gonna do if she really decides to come here. Let me know if I can do a bit more. And unfortunately bout u asking whther my sister would be okay for a lower score, the answer is no. She just got to learn to let go, slowly she will have to know she can compete at the highest level like she used to. But its tough, its tough to tell her and she normally gets so agressive when any of our family members try to consult her about taking things easily and slowing down her pace. =( Anyhow she got to change and I just hope getting into dent/pharm is something she really wants. She just dont consider law, engineering, architecture and other stuffs. =S The thing Im sure is she's in love with her chemistry and biology. Not so much on physics and math, pretty obvious for her to go on and do something like dent/pharm.

    Actually, I really like what u said about the our 'dreams'. Its so true that our dream is maybe not our job, is more like a key towards our dream, and I think that applies to my sister as well. Its more like, she dont like other stuffs, so dent and pharm kinda stands out, she's dont have the "I WANT TO BE A DENTIST/PHARMACIST" kind of attitude, just leaning towards it but not like if I cant be one Ill just die. I really wanted my sister to read your post its just so true and on point, but I'm worried she'll ended up crying. Still think she cant accept the fact she has to give up so much because of this disease and right now shes at her prime time when all her frens are networking, studying, partying, etc etc. I really feel bad for her and I feel useless that i cant do anything to help. I wish I have super powers!

    Finally, she had a very stable health last month unfortunately this month the story is kinda different, to be exact is since start of 2012 she kinda like have all the flareups again started to worry me so much. I really thought she was getting better and her lupus might go under remission =(. And now she has constant chest pains and difficulty breathing especially at night. May I know what meds are you taking atm for your lupus. Her rheumatologist just suggested her methotrexate yesterday. Kinda scares me it just make me feel like my sister is really unwell atm. Anyways I hope this post is not too long for you to read, and also for other people! I just have alot of say once i start typing my first sentence, maybe I'll sleep better tonight because I typed out all my thoughts over here.

  2. #12
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    HAHAHAHAHAHA No I’m not Asian. I’m about as white as you can get before you hit albino. Hard work and deference to your parents aren’t virtues exclusive to Asians! :-p

    I have found that almost all my classmates, white, brown, black, Asian, are very similar. It’s a personality thing.

    Now I haven’t replied to this for a while because I had to think.

    When you described your sister as aggressive when you try and talk to her…. Well I know that feeling. That was me when I was 17. It was a mixture of being very unhappy, and believing that fury and determination would get me through my challenges. My self-esteem was centred in achieving well at school, and I was convinced that my life would be ‘made’ by going to University. I was a real hissing, spitting tyrant if any well-meaning person tried to help me!

    Well I didn’t enjoy university. It wasn’t everything I expected, my fairytales didn’t come true. I really struggled academically, but my stubbornness meant that I never admitted anything was wrong. I was a very long way from home and I made few friends. My family were so worried about me but I’d lash out if they tried to help.

    My grades went down every year, As, then Bs, then Cs for my final year. I then went travelling for two years, and worked for two years. Now I’ve studied for two years and I’m 27 years old. But I remember being that 17 year old.

    Your sister is trying to regain control over her life, and over lupus. But determination and bloody-mindedness doesn’t work with lupus. Willpower will not conquer lupus.

    I am worried. If this is her way of coping with this situation I think things will go badly.

    It is hard enough shifting overseas from your family. It is hard enough starting at university. It is hard enough starting a degree like pharmacy. It is hard enough dealing with lupus.

    All these things combined… are really hard. Anyone would struggle. I didn’t have lupus when I did my undergrad, but I certainly had some health problems and some mental health problems. And my way of dealing with it all (willpower and getting angry) just made things so much worse.

    I see your sister setting herself up for failure. I know you want to protect her from this but if she is refusing the listen to reason there is little you can do. You cannot fix her lupus for her.

    From all the wisdom I’ve read so far on this site, the best way to deal with lupus is to outsmart it. ie with fatigue, you can’t ‘push through it’, but you can sense a flare coming and preempt it with rest. I think if she wants to successfully go to Uni she needs to accept lupus and it’s problems and get smart about how to get around them. That might mean changing goals.

    If I had my time again, two years ago I wouldn’t have started studying Medicine. I would have taken my Plan B, which would be doing my PhD in Public Health. At the end of the day, I would still be happy, in a great intellectual, important job etc etc.

    You see, doing a ‘normal’ degree allows so much more flexibility. You can adjust the number of courses you do per semester, pick the ones with lectures and labs that suit, take breaks from study with no repercussions on your academic record. You don’t get that with med/dent/pharmacy, there is a limit to how accommodating the course can be.

    Has your sister considered doing a science undergrad, and then doing pharm/dent/med as a graduate student? That’s what I’ve done.

    She could do an undergrad in pharmacology, organic chemistry, cellular biology, human physiology etc. That way she could do it at her own pace, and get used to life in Australia and the demands of University life. And these are all very intellectual, stimulating, important degrees in their own right.

    I think the best thing you could do for your sister is get her to read this thread and all of this board! You think she might cry… well nobody died of crying. And sometimes the right things to do are hard! And get her to join! There’s a young persons thread here too. And a new member, RaoulDuke, has had lupus since he was 19 and has gone to uni successfully. He might have some better advice than me.

    I know she will feel like lupus is robbing her of so many things – like partying all night long, socializing, her very high goals… but she will only lose these things if she stays rigid. If she can be flexible and change her mindset, she can ‘outsmart’ the lupus and get the most out of what she’s got. But if she stays stubborn I can guarantee that things won’t go well.

    You said she’s having a bad flareup at the moment. This might be because of stress, the idea of these upcoming years and challenges. She might be her own worst enemy, psychologically! I’m not currently on any meds, I see my rheumatologist for the first time next week, but I do see a psychologist. Getting your head right so you can deal with the lupus is just as important as meds.

    This probably isn’t what you wanted to hear, and certainly isn’t what your sister wants to hear! But if you do love her and are concerned for her, get her to read all this, regardless of tears and tantrums. She’ll probably be angry at you for talking about her ‘behind her back’ but I know you are acting out of love.

    And this is all my opinions, of course. Tempered with some life experience. But because I'm flexible and smart, I know I can manage my lupus and still do medicine. It's just HOW to manage, and how far I can flex, is what I need to sort out. I'm lucky that I'm older, settled in Aussie, confident and now have a good sense of self and self-esteem. I have built up strong friendships in the past few years, which makes all these challenges easier. These are things that your sister doesn't have, through no fault of her own. And they are things she needs to accomplish herself.
    Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by a-holes.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by brandywine View Post
    And a new member, RaoulDuke, has had lupus since he was 19 and has gone to uni successfully. He might have some better advice than me.
    I knew my ears were burning! Having read back over your posts you've covered pretty much everything I would say on the subject superbly...

    I'll give my experience some context via some backgound information.

    I started at the University of Sydney straight out of highschool doing a Bachelor of Science(psychology) and everything was going fantastically until about halfway through the first semester when I came down with what was diagnosed as a pretty nasty kidney infection, for which antibiotics were prescribed. A few days after commencing the antibiotics I had a full body rash, my face had puffed up significantly and was severely lethargic. I went back to the doctor and got some antihistamines. A week after this all the skin on my face started to peel off, it was hideous and this whole adventure cost me about 4 weeks of University. I ended up dropping half my subjects and my parents spoke to the faculty about special consideration for the remaining two and they proved to be very accommodating.

    From this point on, I was never myself again. Pretty much as soon as I went back to uni, I noticed that I was still severely lethargic and then I started losing weight and hair. This continued for a month or two until I started seeing more worrying changes in my body; when on my back I would get dull aches where my kidneys are and I noticed that my socks would leave indentations on my legs. I also found myself out of breath.

    The swelling in my lower legs got worse and started progressing up my legs. It was almost like putty- you could push in on the skin and it would just stay indented. It became so severe that my parents dragged me to the GP. The GP took one look and immediately realised something serious was going on and booked me in to see a vascular specialist. A week later I went for my appointment and the vascular specialist immediately realised that I needed a nephrologist. He walked me to another office where I got to see the other specialist.

    It turned out he was one of the top nephrologists in the state, possibly the country and i've been seeing him ever since and he allows me to use medicare so it has never cost me a cent - extremely lucky. He did his examination and determined that I was carrying around about 20kgs of extra fluid. This was a friday and he sent me home over the weekend to do a 24 hour urine collection to return to him on the Monday.

    Over the weekend I started to feel progressively worse so I spent a good deal of time reclined. I developed a rash on my face but more seriously a lot of the retained fluid went to my lungs and by the Sunday night I could hardly breathe or hardly walk. The fluid had collapsed a lung and my parents rushed me to emergency. Within 30 minutes of being there I was asked if I had "a family history of Lupus". I had no idea what that was. The definitive diagnosis of SLE with Stage IV Lupus Nephritis was given a week or so later, after skin and kidney biopsies. A whole bunch of other terrible stuff happened whilst in hospital but I was released after 2 1/2 weeks.

    I was totally out of action for 6 weeks whilst I was recovering at home and ended up having to completely withdraw from uni that semester. The faculty allowed me to do so without any penalty even though it was nearly the end of semester.

    From then on I just did what I could to make things easier - I rearranged my class time tables to spread things out so I didn't have very long days etc. I did most of my degree at between 1/2 - 3/4 load so that I wasnt too overwhelmed with subjects. The faculty was very good about giving me extensions for assessments and tests when I required them, I just needed to arrange the medical documentation.

    Two things I would do differently though are that I would have engaged the help of the university disability services ( I never did) and I also would have been more open with my lecturers and tudors regarding my condition. I kept the whole thing private for a very long time as I didn't want people to think of me differently. When I did let them know what was going on in my final year, they bent over backwards to help me in any way they could.

    Long story short is that due to changing requirements to be a psychologist and the fact that developed a very strong interest in computers, I transferred degrees late in my psych degree and ended up completing a bachelor of computer science.

    In general, know that the university system here is generally very accommodating of students with different needs and/or medical problems and our health system provides a very high level of care. Like in any country, your chances of getting good care for a relatively rare disease increase much more in a major city like Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane.
    Last edited by RaoulDuke; 03-11-2012 at 07:22 AM.

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