I've waxed sentimental about this time of year before. There's
something about the holidays. I've talked about my dad and our
ventures hunting for that perfect tree. I've passed on random
thoughts of sappiness here and there.
This season seems to be hitting me pretty hard. It's dawning on
me that this is the last of so many things. It's the last blog of
2014, of my 9th Tri. This is the last Christmas where both of my
boys will still be "boys," and maybe all of us will be together.
It's probably the last Christmas that I'll be in Florida, and
probably the last holiday season where I'll be around all of those
that I've grown to love and be close with over the last 3 years.
This is a pretty big deal.
Image source: www.elledecor.com
I always have the grandest ambitions around the holidays. I keep
wanting to decorate the house from top to bottom, get the biggest
tree, pull out all the stops - complete with candy and paper
snowflakes. Truth be told, I started watching "Elf" a couple of
weeks ago - in part to cheer me up, and otherwise to get me into
the spirit of things. This morning I softly threatened to decorate
the clinic office Elf-style. I'm almost always the last one to
leave and it would be so easy for me to do. I think it'd be a
blast. I'm not sure how others would take it though. It never hurts
to have a little whimsy in our lives.
I have been a long-time fan of Christmas for just that reason.
I'm not sure whether it was my dad that did it for me, or the idea
of everything -- how we could all be just a little bit kinder, a
little bit sweeter around the holidays, and it was totally OK. Even
as a kid, I don't think it was about the presents for me, but
rather about making things special. The presents had to be "just
right" - something unique that we never had throughout the year, or
a trinket or "need" dropped as a hint at a time that no one else
could have possibly remembered. But I always kept track. That made
things all that much more magical.
I used to go so far out of my way to decorate -- even when I was
little. People close to me know I'm a bit goofy, but when I tell
them about recreating my bedroom as a winter wonderland by covering
huge portions of the floor with Styrofoam beanbag pellets, they
often scratch their heads and walk away. Incidentally, my mom still
finds those pellets on the floor, even though that carpet was
traded out years ago, and she's probably vacuumed it over a
Many other years, I've felt cheated by living here. I miss the
cold and the snow. Yes, I just actually said that. I miss what it
feels like to really be in the spirit. I've found the holidays kind
of depressing. It's hard to be festive when Santa is on the beach
in his speedo (yes, I know you didn't want that mental picture --
imagine how I felt). But as it's beginning to set in that this is
the last year here, I keep wanting to make it special. It should
be, after all.
Image source: www.mrwallpaper.com
It's December. Time has passed; seasons are changing. And even
though it doesn't necessarily feel that way, the changes just keep
coming. I'm thinking we need to embrace them for what they are --
not what they could have been or what they will be -- but exactly
as they are. We need to make the magic happen one more time while
we still can - to tell those around us that we love them and show
them just how special they really are.
So, with that in mind, dear blog readers -- thanks for joining
me on my journey. May the joy and whimsy of this season -- however
you choose to enjoy it -- fill your lives with hope and wonder.
love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I
would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your
name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its
charms." -- You've Got Mail
I always loved this quote. It reminds me of growing up and going
to get school supplies in the fall. Things were a WHOLE lot
different then. The seasons changed; things got a little crisper, a
little clearer, and somehow a bit calmer.
Welcome Back, Everyone!!!!
I must admit, the last 5+ weeks have absolutely flown by. I
honestly don't know where the time went. Between break and the
first two weeks of clinic, it just kind of vanished. *poof!* I
learned something new over break: singular tasking. I know; you
must be asking yourselves. "What is she talking about?" I am a
notorious multi-tasker. It annoys people to no end how I'm always
doing multiple things at once. But, I made a concerted effort, to
simply sit and do one thing at a time over break. It was weird; I
will admit. But it was also interesting. I tried to relax, focus on
what I was doing (or not focus on what I was doing), and it almost
became meditative for me -- no matter what task I was involved in.
I'm hoping to do more of that in the future.
We're back in clinic and we've got a new classmate that's joined
us from Lombard. (Your loss, Lombard -- Leslie is great!) And we've
also been joined by a new crop of now 8th trimester students --
some of which started out in our original class, but have been
5-track students. It's good to be back together again. I'd
forgotten what a good crew we were. Next week will be the first
week that we're all seeing patients together, but during the
preliminary workshops and orientation, I can tell that they're all
going to be amazing!
Our students have separated into the two different clinics. For
those that aren't familiar, we have two clinics in Florida -- a
more student-based clinic at the
Caruth Health Education Center, and a more public-based clinic
Park. Our student-based clinic treats students, faculty, and
staff for NUHS and St. Pete College. Our public-based clinic treats
people from the public, but also some faculty from NUHS and
students and faculty from St. Pete College. We're BUSY!!!!! It's
been really odd having lost half of our classmates. It's a lot
quieter when the 8th trimester students aren't in the office, but
also, everyone that we've been around, every day for the last 2+
years (depending on when they joined us), isn't around any longer.
It's been very different.
That having been said, I LOVE the crew that's I'm at the clinic
with now. Everyone is fantastic. They work VERY hard, and we all
seem to work very well together. Even though we've already been
here for 4 months, it's still a period of adjustment, especially as
we get more and more responsibility. I'm looking forward to seeing
how things go.
(Image source: www.indiamadisetti.com)
While we've been working in clinic, we've also been trying to
study for boards. Most of us are taking Parts II, III, and
Physiotherapy this coming weekend. It's a LOT to study. This is the
first time that I've felt extremely unprepared for boards. I think
it's because too much of a good thing is just too much. I've got
more board study materials than I had for Part I -- probably triple
the amount of materials. We were told that there is such a thing as
over-studying for boards. I don't feel like I'm there yet; I have
quite a ways to go. Here's hoping I make more headway before
Friday. I'm pretty nervous.
But, we will go, and we will fill in bubbles and say prayers and
hopefully things will work out.
As things get closer and more boxes are checked and things
crossed out, I get more excited, and a little bit more scared. But
it's all a great adventure.
Have a great week, everyone!
We made it! Well, almost. It's week 14 -- which means there's
only one week left. This week and next week are finals. This week
is mostly practical finals, but I have a few written as well.
Acupuncture, the practical, was over the weekend. We also had the
clinical entrance exam for physical therapeutics. We have to pass
that exam, in order to progress to the clinic and treat (using
those modalities). We were all pretty nervous -- because we're all
anxious to get to clinic.
After next week, I'll be in Tri 8. Tri 8. (did you hear that
sang angelically and see the beams of sunlight streaming down onto
those two words?). They did. We've been talking about schedules and
who will take what shift -- and how nervous some of us are. I'm not
nervous -- at least that's what I'm telling everyone. I'm anxious
to see what all we'll end up doing. What most people don't know is
that any of the St Pete College and NUHS students can come to our
clinic for free (and their immediate family too). We're really
hoping that we see a lot of people -- that need all kinds of help.
We do more than MSK -- just to let you know. I'm really hoping to
get some functional medicine and nutrition patients as well.
So, after the "festivities" of the next 2 weeks, we have break.
Break (did you hear the angels again?). This will be the first
break that I've actually had since Fall of 2012 -- not because we
didn't have a break, but because I was so busy. I worked, moved,
studied for boards, worked -- and now, I finally get a break. I'm
so excited! What will I do? I am going to a festival, the first
weekend of break -- and I'm really looking forward to it. I haven't
been to one here in about 4 years. I'll be volunteering as a Medic
(only requires CPR certification), and I always have an amazing
time. I also still have Master's work to do (which starts back this
week), and random stuff around the house -- projects, prospects,
and purpose. I'm trying to stay focused on finals and studying, but
the allure of "free time" is haunting the back of my mind.
So, I figured you all needed to see something new around the
area, so I went to Gulfport. I don't know why I haven't taken you
all to Gulfport before -- it's only a hop, skip, and a jump from my
house. While most people spend their nightlife in Ybor in Tampa or
in Downtown St Pete, I tend to go to Gulfport. My favorite karaoke
bar (O'Maddy's) is there -- where on random weekend nights I might
be found singing Pink, Bonnie Raitt, or Evanescence. Really,
Downtown Gulfport feels like a really small town right on the
beach. There are some little shops, open air bars/restaurants, and
a beach. It reminds me of the little beach towns in movies from the
50's and 60's.
So, featured in the pictures today is the Gulfport Casino --
right at the center of Downtown Gulfport. Here's some history about
Then And Now: The Gulfport Casino Ballroom. The Casino, as it
stands now, was built in 1934 -- and architecturally it fits into
the time -- beach-Craftsman era. They host all kinds of events
there now -- including ballroom dancing. If you're in town --
before or after you come by the school, I recommend stopping by.
And if you see me at karaoke, I might even sing you a song. I know
that I'll be spending some time there over break. I'm really
looking forward to it.
So, I'll see you guys after break. Good luck on finals. Enjoy
the time. Next Tri means big, big things.
We're nearing the end of the trimester. It's the calm before the
storm. Since my classmate Lexxi just reminded me, I'll remind you.
Did you: do your FAFSA? Taxes? Register for classes?
This week starts the last minute projects and presentations
before practicals and finals. Actually we have part of a practical
on Friday for PT. I'm going to rehab a knee with Rheumatoid
Arthritis -- which I'm finding as a bit of a struggle. How do you
give someone exercises for a degenerating joint, when they have to
move the joint? I've been pondering it quite a while. Here's hoping
I come up with something good.
This week and next week, our program hosts a cadaver lab
demonstration for the nursing, PA, and other health professions
programs that we share space with. For those who aren't familiar,
we share some campus space with the St. Petersburg College health
profession programs and Barry University PA programs. Since some of
our classroom space is at the St. Pete Caruth Health Education
Center, we see a lot of students from other programs running around
-- including RN, PA, EMT, etc. Unlike our program, they don't have
cadaver exposure, which always surprised me.
So, since we do, we host workshops toward the end of each
trimester to expose those students to what the body really looks
like. Several of our students will spend an hour or more in the lab
going through some general parts of the anatomy, and explaining
function, etc. I've always been surprised that the other programs
don't have cadaver exposure. I honestly feel that dissecting has
given me invaluable information that there's no way I would have
known otherwise. Even still, when someone asks me a part of the
anatomy, my mind automatically goes to the cadavers to visualize
it. I do this during classes; I've done this during boards. It
helps to actually SEE where the origins and insertions are, how the
vasculature and nerves surround and penetrate the muscles, and how
the muscles layer and invest in each other.
I haven't been in the cadaver lab since I finished that portion
of basic sciences several tris ago. I'm REALLY looking forward to
it. I think most of the other student-instructors will be from
basic science tris. It'll be fun to get to interact with them.
That's a privilege I don't often get.
On Saturday, I went to the Gluten Free for Life Expo. Last year
Grey and I went, walked through, and received a ton of samples,
coupons, and business cards from local gluten free businesses. This
year, I was by myself, as Grey was at an FBLA conference. I ran
into Julia, my classmate, and her daughter-in-law, Stephanie.
Beyond running into them and seeing my friend who runs a local
acupuncture clinic, the expo was a total waste. And it wasn't just
because of the samples and coupons -- which I guess were there --
it was because of the quality of products. If you've ever been to a
health food store (and I'm guessing all of us have), you've seen
that there's just as much junk food there, as there is at any other
store. It's labeled as "organic" or "all-natural" or "healthy", but
the difference is only that they use sugar instead of corn syrup,
organic versus conventional, and substitute refined with less
refined. That doesn't make any of it healthy.
So, I talked with the reps for a company (that I won't name),
because they recently reformulated their products. They are
dedicated to having gluten free, GMO free products. I respect this
tremendously, however, they still have some pretty big problems.
Previously, they were using sorghum flour -- which has been a
staple in gluten free cooking for a while. Even I have used it on a
regular basis (although not for several years). The rep mentioned
that they were having problems with their sorghum flour becoming
contaminated with GMO soy. So they changed formularies and started
using buckwheat and millet instead. The problem is, that these
other grains contain lectins, in very high quantity. Lectins, in
brains, beans, and potatoes, cause disruption of the tight
junctions in the gut -- leading to leaky gut. Leaky gut leads to
food intolerance, inflammation, and lipopolysaccharide invasion
(toxins from gram negative bacteria that naturally live in the
gut). Big problem. Check this out: The
Lowdown on Lectins. And if you're a real glutton for punishment
Dietary Lectins as Disease Causing Toxicants
for far more in depth information.
So, I talked to the rep about how the choices they've made in
substitutions are likely to affect their customers. The lady didn't
have a clue what I was talking about. But she seemed pretty scared
in response and said she'd pass it on to their recipe people. I'm
sure it won't go any further. I looked through the ingredient list
on EVERY product they had there. The few that didn't have millet or
buckwheat had TONS of sugar. *sigh* Gluten free isn't always healthy.
Since my "conversion" to mostly Paleo, I just can't look at food
the same way. I'm always thinking about the grain or carbohydrate
content, how much I'm allowing my gut to be exposed to the lectins
and sugar, and what it's doing to me. I'd say I'm about 80% Paleo
now. I go back and forth -- trying to only have rice a couple times
a week, and sugar maybe once. It IS a struggle sometimes,
especially when I'm stressed out. But I feel SO much better.
And before I go, I've wanted to share this guy with you all for
quite some time. He stands outside a defunct mini-golf turned car
dealership parking lot. I often wonder why he's still here -- maybe
it's because he's so awesome. I haven't come up with a name for him
yet. I'm willing to entertain suggestions. There are lots of
oddities around St. Pete.
Have a great week everybody.
It's raining again. It looks like the Florida winter might be
over. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know that for every other place in the
country the weather has been a LOT worse than it has here. It's
been, I think, the coldest winter that I've experienced since I've
been here (since 2005). The crazy thing about living in Florida is
that for about 5 months out of the year, it doesn't rain hardly at
all. It's very, very dry (as far as rainfall goes). Of course, the
humidity is still 5000%, but it doesn't rain. Come May/June it
rains EVERY-SINGLE-DAY. Sometimes it only rains for 15 minutes in a
day, sometimes all day, and sometimes for hours/the whole day. But
it's fairly predictable.
So today, it's rained all day. And after all of the
months of sun (even when it was cold), I find myself a little bit
depressed. So, I went home and took my vitamin D. Vitamin D has
been a buzz-study subject for a few years now. Running a quick
search on Pubmed on "benefits of vitamin D," returns
about 840 articles. But searching for just vitamin D yields over
58,000! Shortage of vitamin D has been linked to Multiple
Sclerosis, Depression, Obesity, and Cancer. Whoa! So, what we're
finding out is that the vast majority of people are deficient in
vitamin D, ESPECIALLY here in Florida. For those of you coming out
of a cold, cold winter up north -- I feel for you. I really do. You
probably need some vitamin D too. Here's an article on Vitamin D and Depression from the Vitamin
In other news, I have finals for the Master's in Nutrition and
Functional Medicine this week: Nutritional Biochemistry -- which
has been completely different than what I had at National; and also
Clinical Nutrition, which has been completely different as well.
I've been pleased that there's been some overlap with the
information. And I have found that the background that I've
received here at National has helped me with the master's at UWS.
I've already registered for classes next quarter, there. I'm taking
Immune Imbalances and Inflammation and the Botanical Medicine
elective. I can't wait to see what shows up.
This next week brings last minute quizzes, papers, and
presentations. I'm doing a presentation for PT on therapies for
Raynaud's phenomenon (which I've had since I was a kid). I have yet
to decide what I'm going to do my Botanical paper on. I'm leaning
toward Oregon Grape Root -- but I may choose an adaptogen instead.
I need to prep for a practical on knee rehab. No rest for the
Some of my good friends and classmates are taking boards this
weekend. Good Luck to them (and to you, if that's your weekend
adventure). We have the weekend off from acupuncture, and I'll be
visiting the Gluten Free for Life expo. If you're in the
area, it's usually quite worth it.
Last year, Grey and I went and filled up bags and bags of gluten
free goodies from vendors. I think we had GF snacks for months. I
may have to find a partner in crime to go with me this time. Note
to self: it's always better to go towards the END of the expo.
Vendors are less worried about running out of supplies and visitors
feel less guilty about taking a couple extra.
And lastly, I hope everybody had a GREAT St Patrick's Day. My
granny, whose birthday was 3/17 (although I can't remember what
year), would've been somewhere around 100 years old right about
now. She's been gone quite some time. Little Irish woman, red hair
and freckles -- was born on St Patrick's Day. Happy Birthday Granny
-- whatever plane you're on.
• After the DC Degree
• Botanical Medicine
• 1 Year at National
• Marketing Project
• First Week in Student Clinic
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