Life, it is said, is best taken ‘one step at a time.’ There is a reason this aphorism is so ingrained in our language and culture; our ability to walk, to move forward, is highly dependent on the health of our feet. We must do whatever we can to take care of ourselves, especially this incredibly important part of us, in order to maintain the quality of life that allows us to reach our full potential.
One of the biggest dangers people face when dealing with podiatric health is diabetes; I have had experiences with diabetes in my family and my friendships that have largely shaped my perspective on this condition. When I was a child growing up in Pakistan, my best friend contracted juvenile onset diabetes; I was not old enough to understand what she was going through, but I was able to adjust along with her as I helped her restrict her sugar intake and pick the right desserts to eat after school.
Some of my relationships have not been so fortunate; two years ago, my cousin lost her father to diabetes. It was a long, slow and painful transition; he started to lose sensation in his feet, and before long his big toe had become infected and was amputated. While this seemed to improve his condition at first, his wound became infected and he died within a week. This had happened in a local hospital in Pakistan, where they did not have the necessary knowledge and expertise to properly treat his condition, which saddened me greatly. Currently, the hospital situation in Pakistan is far from ideal, with many sanitation issues and a lack of qualified physicians.
Knowing how bad things are in Pakistan, it made me greatly concerned for my grandmother, who is also diabetic. Some time ago, she was prescribed penicillin for an infection on her foot, which lead to her being taken to the ICU; she is allergic to penicillin, and a more properly trained physician would have known that. This event helped spur me to pursue a career in podiatry, hoping to specialize in diabetic wound care; I want to be able to take care of my grandmother in her treatment, and improve the condition of Pakistani diabetic care and podiatry on the whole.
My job and education experience has helped me prepare for this next stage in my work and practice. Having been fortunate enough to move to the United States for my education, I received by Bachelor of Science in Biopsychology for Wagner College, earning many accolades there including the Dean’s List and memberships to organizations including the Psi Chi International Honor Society. I recently completed a summer internship at Johns Hopkins University and worked as a medical assistant for Premiere Pediatrics. I am dedicated to helping my community, performing community service including the annual Walk for Breast Cancer, volunteer work at an adult day care center, and mentoring children in underserved communities with United Activities Unlimited (UAU). All of these things and more have helped me build a sense of character and dedication that I wish to translate into active practice in podiatry and medicine. With the help of a high-quality education, I believe I can put my best foot forward in helping to improve the lives of my patients and the state of medicine as a whole in underserved countries like Pakistan.