“I’ve never regretted pursuing my first love”
When I started my medical training, I was thinking about a women-oriented specialty, something with fewer calls and free weekends.
But my first rotation was in critical care, and I fell in love with cardiology, one of the busiest and most dynamic specialties. Over the next 20 years, I never once regretted pursuing this direction, my first love. The fast pace of cardiology fits my personality perfectly.
The dynamics of cardiology blended well with my family lifestyle, too. Cardiology requires the ability to react immediately and to make decisions quickly. These attributes positively inspired the emotional growth of my children.
Years ago, I was told that I may slow down in my career faster than male cardiologists. While I enjoy great vacations with my family, I’m far from slowing down. I think of the new horizons in my specialty, and I’m enthusiastic about what lies ahead.
Now I’m leading the way in cardio-oncology at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill. With my interest in women and heart disease, I’ve been puzzled for years about breast cancer patients’ poor response to well-known medical therapy. I became emotionally involved with so many of these patients who were, for example, experiencing unexplained closure of a stent, severe heart failure or dramatic occurrence of pulmonary embolism when it was not medically expected. Until recently, we didn’t know about the increased risk of heart disease in cancer patients or survivors. I became friends with some of these patients, and they have kept my curious mind active.
I’m finding satisfaction in putting some of these puzzles together now. There is so much advancement in cardio-oncology. This specialty has emerged to high levels of knowledge in only a couple of years.
About the Author
Dr. Irina Staicu is a cardiologist and cardio-oncologist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill.