By: Dr. Azenith L. Tammang

          Last October 12, 2016, Rizal Medical Center had its annual research contest and interesting case presentations. Each representative from the different departments prepared their respective cases and research; as for the rest of the co-residents and interns, they gathered around the auditorium with their own banners to root for their best bets.

          Dr. Henry H. Ho from Department of Anesthesiology presented a paper on Wound Infiltration Using Levobupivacaine in Surgical Exploratory Laparotomy Preocedures: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo Controlled Trial. Dr. Adeluisa Mae De Guzman-Besin from the Department of Pediatrics made a presentation on the Effectiveness of 120 Days School based Feeding Program Among Kinder 1 to Grade 6 of Brgy. Pineda Elementary School from September 2015- March 2016. Dr. Carl Chester L. Go discussed his paper on Correlation between (HER2) Human Epidermal Growth Receptor-2 Over Expression and Nuclear Atypia Among Patients Diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma at Rizal Medical Center, of which won first place. Meanwhile, in regards to research presentations, Dr. Elaine Joy O. Viernes presented her research work, When the gut rules the heart: A case of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. Yours truly presented a case study entitled From achy joints to my breaky heart: A case on Chikungunya infection. Dr. Ivan Adrian L. De Guzman talked about The thigh in my mind: A case of Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma in a 34 year old male presenting with a two-month history of dizziness in his presentation. And lastly, Dr. Benedick B. Borbe had presented his material, An unusual facial mass: A case report on Extramedullary plasmacytoma on the Parotid Gland, which won first place.

          Personally, it was both nerve-wracking and fulfilling at the same time. Having to stand in front of the crowd and be grilled by experts is truly intimidating.  Yet bearing in mind that I prepared for it, I went on and tried to answer each query the best that I can. After all, I thought to myself that the strongest people aren’t always who win, but the people who don’t give up when they feel like losing. I also realized that only a few residents each year decide to join the research contest. Therefore, having the courage to participate already makes us winners in our own right. Well, let me share with you my thoughts on what made me prepare and come up with an interesting case.

          First, KNOWLEDGE. My mentor told me to find a topic or something that makes me tick- something that interests me. Of course, at the beginning it wasn’t easy. I had to find out what I wanted to present by delving deep into something that interests me. For researchers, I think you just have to discover for yourselves what research field you love. You have to learn about the process, derive legitimate results, and demonstrate your expertise. As most consultants would say, “Your research need not be grand. It need not move mountains. You just have to do it right.” You have to gain skills that will make you well rounded.

          Second, the GLORY.  Yeah bragging rights! Whether you win or not, you get to brag about it. But more importantly, you demonstrate to the whole community that you took an initiative to explore your passion, feed your inquisitive mind, make the time to dig deeper and even take it to a whole new level. You have proven that the inquiry you once started was noteworthy. And of course, you stand out from your peers. That alone is worth every sleepless nights of preparation.

          Third, EXPERIENCE. Of course, who wouldn’t want to experience that amazing opportunity to meet, connect with and impress some of the top experts in the research field? You’ll most definitely be inspired by getting feedbacks or by receiving pieces of advice from them.

          So, I may not have won the best case, yet I can firmly say that it was still worth it. As well- known author Robert Kiyosaki once said and I quote, “Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning”.  And if there’s one lesson I learned from all of these, it’s that we should always embrace what we don’t know. We must not be ashamed of it. Because what we don’t know in the beginning, can become our greatest asset.