At the beginning of my PhD journey I had the most amazing ideas for my research project. A little naive and idealistic, I thought that everything would fall into place and I could fulfil my dreams. As I started to plan my projects reality sunk in and I had to compromise on some of my ideas. My initial goal of conducting a full RCT didn’t seem feasible and regrettably I had to pursue a more achievable study methodology.
Sometime later I was encouraged to meet with a specialist who is the world guru on pelvic floor muscle damage due to childbirth. I wasn’t sure what would come of this meeting but was staying true to my mantra of being open to all possibilities that come my way.
When we met, I was describing what I was hoping to do with my PhD and immediately he said ‘NO’ you must first know what the baseline is before attempting any interventions. He then told me what needed to be done and introduced me to his PhD student who would help me. This is how I met the amazing Dr Friyan Turel. We were introduced to each other, told what study we were going to do and both said ‘oh, OK’. We departed, she thought we’d never meet again and I had no idea what was just agreed upon.
Fastforward 8 months later and we found ourselves in Nepal ready to commence our research study. We laughed about how neither of us really knew what was going on and never thought it would actually work out. Now looking back over the past 3 weeks of data collection, we feel a sense of pride of how well it all worked out. Not only did we achieve our participant numbers but we worked beautifully together. Sharing the same passion for women’s health in low resource settings, we formed the strongest partnership and are both determined to follow this cause where ever it takes us.
The most beautiful part of our openness to saying ‘oh, OK’ is that Friyan believes we can conduct my initial study idea of an RCT in India. She has the contacts, resources and determination to make it happen. What I had resigned myself to accepting was not possible has now been put back on the table as a very doable option. Our chance encounter has not only allowed me to pursue my research dreams but has also given me a passionate research partner and lifelong friend 🙂