Life keeps trickling by with nothing that calls itself out as news-worthy. Aka blog-worthy. The bar is higher now that one-handed hunt-and-peck is my main route of written-word production. Using dictation software is also an option but it is hedged about with caveats and requirements. I don’t always feel comfortable spooling along my thoughts for this blog aloud with others nearby. If I am dictating and people walk in talking, the software picks them up and plops in some garbled version of what they were saying. And even when it’s just me there are lots of errors to fix.
Yesterday was the International Day of the Midwife so maybe it’s time to share a bit on my midwifery research project that is on hiatus now but may someday be…rehydrated?…and back on the to-do list.
When I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, I was about 2/3 through with a distance program for CNMs and CMs offered by The Midwifery Institute at Philadelphia University. I had been hatching my own research study based on my Philadelphia University research project, but I realized when presenting my work so far at the 2014 MANA conference that my results really weren’t a strong argument without better data. Luckily, as one of the architects of the MANA Stats Project, which provides a way practicing midwives can provide high-quality data on their care, I saw that where my data was lacking was also a general lack in the quality of our data. So we on the MANA Stats team added a few more questions and as of about a year ago, we have been collecting data that will work much better when analyzed for my length-of-pregnancy project.
I am excited about myself or somebody else re-running my study with this better data whenever it has been validated and can be used for research–pretty soon now, I think. That will be a big accomplishment, if I make it that far with enough mental stamina to keep on track doing that kind of analysis and writing. I will have help from my researcher friends who volunteer with me on MANA’s Division of Research. However, one thing I realized when I presented my work so far at the 2014 MANA conference, to an audience of about 40 very interested midwives: that was maybe one of the best 90 minutes of my life. So even if I don’t get to continue with this particular project, I feel like for me that was the apex of it and I got to experience it without any compromises. I guess in some ways I am a teacher at heart.
So that’s what’s going on in the currently offline research mind of this “midwife scholar.” Philadelphia University was sad to lose me as a student but they named a new research award after me to keep my name around. First recipient? Me!
Over in the world of MANA, there is a new poster-presentation contest each year at the conference to encourage entry-level research and project descriptions. I have gotten involved in that, as well, and lo and behold, they went and named the contest after me. A very good way to get me to put energy into it 🙂
One really lucky thing I see having happened in my life is all the work I did to get ready for the CM program and then the courses I took in the program itself. Things like pharmacology, which I did not enjoy and did not really see the point of at some times, have really helped me and served me well as I turn my concentration and what expertise I can muster to metastatic breast cancer. Having a disease like this means, to me at least, becoming an expert in your own case and care. I do it not because I don’t trust my care providers, but because it helps me feel a little bit like I’m helping drive the bus. Even though this particular bus doesn’t maybe take much direction in the end. So although I had to give up on grad school, it has helped me immensely in the last two years, for which I will always be grateful.