Things Are Moving Forward

"I should be asleep." This is what I say to myself at hours like this -- around O-dark-thirty when I'm still up working on something. "I should be sawing logs or whatever people are supposed to be doing at this hour... instead I'm here."

This last week has been a week for the record. I finished my master's degree. I don't know how I did it -- but I did it. I honestly don't know how I worked, had any part in my kids' lives, was full-time here at National, and full-time at Western States. But I did. And now it's over. I haven't quite come down from it all just yet -- but the moment I realized I didn't have anything left to do, my head kind of dropped. While most people would be ecstatic, I was sullen. What do I do now? Now, granted -- I have absolutely no shortage of things to do, read, study, learn, attend, aspire to, whatever. But no one is making me -- but me.

On Friday of last week, I also sent in my paperwork for my Oregon license. And all last week, when I wasn't studying for or taking master's finals, I was working on the bridge course to be able to sit for the licensing exam, which takes place the day after graduation. In all of my "down" time, all I could think to myself was -- what am I going to do now? Where am I going to go? What am I going to do? I have to find a job. I have to move. I have to...

Sometimes we get so busy that all we do -- is do. And as those old parts of my mind started to wander back in, you know, the parts that think about stuff -- I started to get more and more scared. This is it. Things are happening. Things are actually happening.

Grey came back from Orlando, where he was competing in the FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) state competition (He won 5th in his category -- which is kinda a big deal). He told me a story that made me cry -- in the middle of the grocery store. He told me about this guy -- Alex Sheen, who spoke at the FBLA ceremony with thousands of high school kids from all over the state. Grey said that there was barely a dry eye in the place. And I can see why. Alex started the organization "because I said I would." Here's his story:

It made me think about what promises I might make at this point in my life. I'm at such a point of transition -- finishing school, Grey going to college, moving across the country, starting a new profession...

In the quiet moments, at the clinic, we talk about what life will be like when we're not around each other anymore. We've spent nearly every day together for the last three and a half years. Even when we still had breaks in between trimesters we would often text or email each other, or sometimes hang out. I'd like to make a promise to my close classmates that I won't lose touch and completely disappear, as I'm apt to do.

Things are moving forward. Even though we might not all be in the same place, I hope that we move forward together. After all, we've been together so long that we're family.

Have a great week, everyone!

Gone in a Flash!

I *blinked*... and then it was gone. I couldn't even begin to tell you what's happened over the last week. I took a comprehensive final over a year and half's material, volunteered at an event, did a bunch more master's work, and I don't even remember what else.

Work in the clinic was a little slow last week due to SPC students being on spring break. We squeezed in a few patient visits, though, and I had some interesting cases. There was one in particular, a woman with a pretty complex history of stroke among other things. I love the variety. You absolutely never know what you're going to see each day.

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We had a pretty good-sized crew to go down to Sarasota last Saturday. We worked alongside Dr. Arick at the Sarasota-Bradenton ITU Triathlon. We had several hundred 16- to 19-year-old triathletes participating in swim-bike-run at Nathan Benderson Park.

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Joe Hicks, Julia Harter, Leslie Jacobi, Dave Aiello, and I did a ton of soft tissue work on several injured, non-rehabbed athletes. There were several that had continued training through some pretty tough injuries. It seems like many of these teenagers have coaches that push them really hard, but don't attend to their injuries once it happens.

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Julia Harter participated in the Seminole City Fire Truck pull for the Kiwanas. They raise money for vocational school scholarships for kids. Dr. Jaya Prakash heads up a lot of events with them. Dr. Carlo Gaudagno was also at event. Our team won first place for "mixed adults" and garnered a trophy!

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(L-R) Julia Harter, Alex Gubco, Brandon Alexander, Fan Yang, and Dr. Guadagno

That's about it from me. I finish the master's program this week. Everything should be done on Friday. I honestly can't quite grasp it. Here's hoping that this week goes by quickly - but not too quickly.

Have a great week, everybody!!!!

Time Is Flying

Boy did last week fly by! I finished up my time at the VA, participated in the Loop the Lake Doggie Bones 5k, and wrote 3 papers (among other things). Actually, this whole trimester has flown by. I can't believe I'll only be writing with you all for a few more weeks.

The last month at the VA has been CRAZY! Our volume of patients was pretty high. In my last week, we saw 11 patients in just a few hours. I'm grateful for the experience there. I was definitely exposed to things that I likely would have never seen. I had the chance to use a multi-disciplinary EMR system that absolutely blew my mind. Imagine putting 20+ specialties into one system, having access to ALL films, bloodwork, lab reports, physician notes, and pharmaceuticals in one record. It was awesome! It allowed me to go through more records in a few minutes, than I could have in hours otherwise.

I had the chance to work with some pretty complex problems. Some of the patients had severe systemic metabolic problems. It was interesting (and sad) to see the "end result" of what happens when health isn't maintained. There were some good reminders for me there -- and definitely opportunities. Chiropractic and Functional Medicine are most definitely needed within that system. There's so much good we can do!

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On Saturday, I joined Dr. Fava and Dr. Gambina at the Loop the Lake Doggie Bones 5k -- which was actually a cycling and running event, a walk, and a dog walk all in one day. We must have had 500 athletes there in one capacity or another (and it seemed like even more dogs). Seeing all the super high tech bikes made me want to ride again -- although I can't tell you when was the last time I rode. Dr. Fava and Dr. Gambina are extremely talented sports chiropractors, and I was able to observe some intense Graston work, as well as see some different stretching techniques. It was a good event. There weren't any crashes or major injuries, but we did have a few cramps and pulled muscles.

There's a triathlon this weekend that I'm hoping to attend at the same location. Several of the interns are going. We should be seeing quite a few patients. I can't wait! I'm finishing up the master's program at UWS. I have only 9 days left until the last of the final exams are finished. I honestly can't believe it's over. It's really gone so unbelievably fast. Last week I wrote 2 position papers and a research paper on Vitamin D and Metabolic Syndrome. I must have read 25 articles, and found teasers for at least a dozen more on peripheral topics like vitamin D's influence on autoimmune disorders (which will definitely be a topic of mine for the future). All of the papers were well received - as far as I know. I don't think that I have any more to write -- which also makes me a little sad. It looks like I'll have to publish in the future, just to get my writing "fix."

We have less than 6 weeks left in the trimester. It'll go by even faster. Everyone is making plans for graduation -- to travel to Lombard and walk the stage. It all seems so surreal, but it's really, finally happening.

See you all next week!!!!

Welcome Back

Welcome back, everyone! How has your week been going? I hope everyone is staying warm -- or cool -- depending on where you are.

Actually, "Spring" has sprung around here and the weather went from cold-ish, to hot -- overnight. The temperature the last couple of days has been over 80º. What? It's true. That's what happens. Typically around the end of February it turns to Summer and stays that way until December when it gets chilly again. It's as if a switch was thrown and everything is different overnight.

Before I lurch into the lamentations of what's going on in my life right now, I want to congratulate my classmates that just returned from NCLC (National Chiropractic Leadership Conference). Each year, members of our faculty and students go to Washington, D.C. and talk with members of Congress about the future of chiropractic and health care in America.

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Now, to my lamentations. I'm feverishly working on a paper. Writing is a pretty bizarre process for me. We all have our methods. I'll randomly collect research for a while, think about the topic, try to formulate some semblance of sanity within the information, and then sit with it for way too long. The temptation for me is always to collect more and more information. Maybe I should read one more article? Maybe I should review a few more journals just in case I find THE article that poses some new idea that brings it all together. And at some point I realize when the deadline is.

Then the frantic insanity sets in. I'm now faced with the prospect of taking 10-20 journal articles and whatever notes and thoughts I've taken from them and putting it into just a few pages. (OK, we all know that I can't write just a few pages -- but you get my drift). It's a grueling process that drives me crazy, and I love it. I learn SO much from this. I hate the procrastination and I hate the deadlines, but I love what comes out of it.

Right now I'm working on a paper about vitamin D and metabolic syndrome -- with an aside on the psychology of eating. I've learned that there are 4 variations in receptor genes that mediate how the body handles vitamin D, that there's a huge controversy in what the dosage of vitamin D should be, and that there's a HUGE link between metabolic syndrome, autoimmune diseases, and vitamin D. No one seems to fully know how all of it works together -- but it does, and therapies with vitamin D show great promise at preventing and treating all kinds of problems.

So, I'm going to get back to my forced lack of procrastination and self-loathing and feverish typing, and leave you all with good wishes for the week.

Have a great one, everybody!

Week in Review

I love it when I have amazing ideas for these blogs and then by the time I get to sit down and write them, they are *poof* gone. So, I'll just share some of the things that have happened in the last week.

Tri Mixer

Last Friday was my last Tri-Mixer. It was cold, but the turnout was pretty good. I got to speak with several of the first trimester students and some of the later tri students that I don't get to see very often. Spirits were bright. Everyone seemed excited about where they were in the stage of the program. It didn't really hit me until now that it was probably my last opportunity to see most of them. It's a little bit sad, and also exciting. There are definitely going to be some fantastic practitioners coming out of the program in the not too distant future.

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We all met at "The Getaway," an outside venue on the water, bundled up under heaters to stay warm.

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Tri Mixer at "The Getaway"

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The lovely ladies in the picture above: Kimmie Brossard, Lexxi Roush,
Lauren Domanski, Courtney Bolen, Danielle Spratt, and Antoinette Stewart.

Disney Princesses 5K

On Saturday, several of my classmates volunteered for the Disney Princesses 5K in Orlando. I wish that I could have joined them -- it looked like they were extremely busy. I heard they saw over 500 injured runners! I was busy studying for a master's exam, which I took later Saturday night. I think I would have had more fun with them.

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Above: Dr. Carlo Guadagno, Jessica Hipakka, Austin Shaw, Kevin Latona,
Felix Guzman, Antoinette Stewart, and Julia Harter.

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NUHS interns

We've all been busy, busy, busy getting things done. There will be a lot more over the next few weeks - more events, more volunteers. We're getting the good work done...or something like that.

Have a great week, everyone!