My love for Pathology started building up right from the first day of my Pathology practical
class in 2 year MBBS, when I held the first gross specimen in my hands! ‘This is what typhoid
ulcers actually look like!’ I exclaimed! Going back & reading about the same from Robbins &
understanding the disease process even better, made me fall in love with it even more! The
cherry on the cake was that the lecturer who took the practical classes for my batch was an
excellent teacher! This ignited the fire in me for this beautiful subject further.
The fact that I could see what ACTUALLY HAPPENS in a particular disease process & reading
about its ‘why’ & ‘how’ fascinated me! I felt like the lady version of detective Byomkesh Bakshi ( I
was tempted to write Sherlock Holmes but the recent times have prompted me to use Indian
references even more), wearing my thinking hat every time I saw an organ’s gross specimen or
microscopy, finding clues & building up to the diagnosis. I won’t lie; everything looked so similar
in the beginning! But the pink and blue of the H & E stain brightened up my day, giving my
curious mind a healthy dose of dopamine.
So in the first week of May 2018, when I read my name in the selection list to pursue a
postgraduate degree in Pathology & that too, in my UG institute, I was over the moon! I
remember my dad waking me up excitedly & informing me about the same.
And so my journey began! The last two years have been no less than a roller-coaster ride! I
started my residency learning in detail about & performing phlebotomy CORRECTLY including
things like the order of draw (yes, there is a difference between an intern & a Pathology resident
in performing something as basic as phlebotomy) . I gradually started learning the morphology
of blood cells, doing a differential count & performing autopsies. Believe me, my anatomy &
clinico-pathological correlation became much better once I started performing autopsies, there’s
something about the visual memory that no amount of reading books can ever replace! I started
having small celebratory dances when the FNAC I performed showed good cellularity on the
smear. So I gradually rotated between central clinical laboratory, hematopathology, autopsy,
blood bank, cytopathology & finally histopathology- learning more & more with each passing day.
I still remember the joy of getting my very own microscope! Ah, and then came COVID! With my
hospital being turned into an exclusive COVID hospital having over a 1000 beds, all of us,
irrespective of our branch, were posted in COVID positive & suspect isolation wards for duties.
My Pathology training came to a standstill. But all of us residents worked as a team during these
trying times & I am so proud of us all! Finally after working in these wards for four months
straight, I was posted back in the department due to the beginning of non-COVID work as well.
I’m excited to see what the future holds for me as well as all of us Pathologists! Pathology has
evolved tremendously with the advent of molecular diagnosis & next generation sequencing! All
the newer techniques & advances are paving the way for ‘personalized medicine’ in future. The
concepts of ‘one size fits all’ will no longer be valid as far as the treatment protocols are
concerned. With the increasing use of digital pathology, we will be able to share the cases under
our microscopes via a virtual slide with someone sitting thousands of miles away! The world will
become a smaller place! With the ever increasing possibilities & options for future practice,
Pathology has become an even more sought after branch.
I get goosebumps thinking about the day when I will sign out my first report as an MD
Pathologist in future, knowing about the huge responsibility that I’ll be carrying on my
shoulders. Residency I guess, is just the beginning. I just know a drop from this vast ocean of
knowledge Pathology is! It saddens me to see some of our own fellows belittling this wonderful
branch. I understand that every branch has its pros & cons but without pathology, medicine
would not exist. At the end, it is our duty to pick up the roses & leave aside the thorns. And
believe me, the roses of this subject bloom abundantly!
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