In the fall of 2012 I reunited with my friend Jamie. We had passed each other as trainees a few years apart in the same historied trauma center where we both separately found our professional calling. By then, the demands of our work lives were intermingled with life moving onward as wives, as mothers to inter-racial/bi-ethnic children, and as women trying to embrace wellness in all of its dimensions. We were mere acquaintances at the time but by the time a year had passed we were the best of friends, both struggling to focus on our health and well-being in the midst of our hectic work lives while also trying to be decent wives and mothers. We were both fashion obsessed, shoe fanatics who treated many a stressful day with retail therapy. We shared the same sass, albeit her with a sweet southern flair and me with an angsty, northeast punch.
I mentioned to Jamie that I had been following several blogs on lifestyle and fitness to get my own $#!% together. I found them inspiring and wondered if sharing my thoughts and experiences might inspire others while motivating me. But, I was certain that my $#!% was not nearly together enough to blog on my own. I needed a partner and she was the one. So this blog was born in October 2013 when I published my first post on my half marathon experience on WordPress and Hot Heels, Cool Kicks, & A Scalpel was born.
What started as a whim of two dear friends who shared complex life experiences rapidly became a delightful hobby. Initially, consistent with my original inspiration, our focus was indeed on fitness, fashion, and beauty. Soon, however, writing about our most recent accomplishments at the gym or retail therapy victories was often superseded by the need to share our lived experiences at work and at home or the social issues weighing heavily on our minds. Meanwhile, Jamie and I evolved as professionals, as mothers, as wives, as reasonably healthy, well-dressed women, and yes, even as friends, While our friendship grew closer and closer, our relationship with the blog became more fragmented.
In the past year, partly due to her amazing voice in this venue, there has been a transformative shift in Jamie’s career; you can find her writing professionally about health-related topics at Dr.Jamie Coleman: Trauma Surgeon, Writer, Media Health Expert. [NB: @jjcolemanmd formerly blogged on this site as @surgeioninkicks] Meanwhile, I emerged from a period of soul-searching that kept me away from blogging for quite some time. Professionally, I remain an academic acute care surgeon but in a new location and with a new leadership role. My daily life is hardly recognizable in comparison to where I was and who I was when the blog started. Personally, I was distressed by the ugliness in society in the wake of the 2016 elections and writing was not a priority in the larger fight for humility and equity.
With the premier of Jamie’s new site, I have been forced to reflect on where this blog will go in 2018 and beyond. Conceptually, I still want to share the various dimensions of my life. Every woman surgeon who has thanked me for inspiring her to start working out, or even run her first half marathon, inspires me to keep writing. Every woman surgeon reaches out and thanks me for validating that embracing a feminine approach to overall appearance does not in any way detract from being an amazing surgeon motivates me to keep sharing that dimension of what makes me whole. Every woman who says they stuck to their gut about becoming a surgeon because of my open letter makes me want to keep my voice alive here.
Yet, there is an elsewhere for my professional dimension. At some point into this blogging journey I started my professional blog. I wanted to share shorter essays on what I experience at work and amplify the feelings that help me combat burnout. At Jamie’s urging, I eventually merged all of the content from heenaSTAT: Health & Humanity from the Lens of An Acute Care Surgeon into this site because while that lens is applicable to what is the heart of this blog (what makes me whole), much of the other stuff about heels and kicks is not relevant to my professional colleagues. In an era when blogging and social media can be counted toward tenure and promotion, as an academic surgeon I feel it is appropriate to keep my personal and professional worlds separate in at least one venue even though they are inextricably linked in real life.
And so, I will perhaps post serious content some of the time and frivolous content when the mood is right. I will cross-post my professional essays when appropriate. I hope you will allow me back in a now unfamiliar role, that of a solo blogger hoping to rock hot heels, cool kicks, and a scalpel in the never-ending chaos that is my life. Here goes:
I am an acute care surgeon specializing in trauma, emergency general surgery, and surgical critical care. I am also a researcher examining how to improve care and outcomes for those unexpectedly in need of surgical care. I am married to an incredibly supportive husband who is the lead parent to our teen girl and tween boy. He has fed and watered me for the past 23 years so that I could blossom into the accomplished professional that I am today. I began running with him in 2011 and he shepherded me through my first (and thus far only) full marathon in January 2017. Most recently, we have taken to 5am “dates” at Orangetheory to stay fit.
My opinions are entirely my own and do not represent those of my employer or funding sources. When sharing my opinions on commercially available shoes, clothes, accessories, and beauty products, unless otherwise noted, these items were purchased personally for individual use without any promise of endorsement to any particular company.
I hope that you will enjoy the content. Unless posted with a link from another source, all of the writing is original work shared here for the first time. Should you wish to share or repost our words and/or images in any other format other than a direct link to one of my posts, kindly acknowledge the blog and place a link to give proper credit.