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.
I survived the weekend. I was wondering if I would. Although I'm
not entirely sure I'm still intact. As I've said before, there's
not really anything that can prepare you for boards. All of the
studying, reviewing, and cramming isn't going to make everything
magically retrievable in the head. There's always something that
slips through there. We hope that it's not too much, but in the
end, it's not the things that we remember that we worry about.
Now that boards are over and the waiting game has begun, I've
had a tiny bit of sleep and I'm now focusing on regrouping and
moving forward. Job hunting is in the definitive future, and with
that comes the prospect of moving. Moving brings with it a mixed
bag of reminiscing and looking forward. Today I pulled a box out of
my living room that had some old cords, digital cameras, and random
electrical stuff. I plugged in the cameras and found myself
reliving moments over the last couple of years and wondering what I
was thinking. For a while I was writing myself notes on the
chalkboard at the entrance to the house. I called them "Notes from
Now that, hopefully, Part IV boards are behind me, I'm working
on the next chapter. It's been no great shock to my classmates that
I hope to leave Florida. Preliminary job hunting has illuminated a
couple of options, but more need to come. My heart has been
elsewhere for a long time. Seeing these boards written years ago
reminds me. It's time to clear the muddle of my mind, free my
heart, and fly.
Have a Great Week Everyone! If I don't reach you before
Thanksgiving, have an AMAZING Turkey Day.
Well, that's what Billie Holiday thought. Here in good 'ol'
Florida, it's HOT (and also very busy). This is the boys' last week
of school; clinic is in full-swing; classes are well underway; and
the schedule is getting crazy. I'm 3 weeks away from finals for the
Master's program. Schedule changes are tough. I'm still getting
used to being in clinic and splitting my time between classes and
How was your Memorial Day weekend? Mine was SUPER low key. After
Acupuncture on Saturday, I spent time with friends in Tampa, and
Sunday and Monday were focused on reading, research, and recovery
(the new 3 R's). The Master's has me working on all kinds of stuff.
I'm most fascinated, right now, with articles on lifestyle factors
and inflammation. Dr. Seaman's classes really focused on some
basics of inflammatory cytokines and the biochemistry of the food
we eat and what it does to our body. Now I'm at a whole different
level of learning with this, and it's REALLY cool. I'm discovering
how the same set of cytokines, combined with other hormones use the
foods we eat to make things even more complicated. How we think and
feel about what's going on in our lives can lead to chronic
inflammation, autoimmune disorders, and chronic disease. I'm so
glad that I've chosen to study this for the rest of my life.
Right now we have several classes on how we, as physicians,
should interact with patients. Whether it's doctor-patient
relationships, jurisprudence, or clinical natural medicine -- we're
discussing everything from what we're responsible for ethically, to
how patients (or potential employers) might perceive us. The latter
topic has created a bit of a rift in my life. We were counseled to
be careful how much of our personal life we allow the public to see
-- specifically, our patients. Do we give patients our phone
numbers? Do we friend them on Facebook? Do we give advice out in
public? Do we share pictures of ourselves online? The idea behind
it incites a lot of fear -- that we'll have stalkers, or share too
much that can be used against us, or somehow lose patients because
of things we do, say or show.
I don't like this at all. As alternative practitioners, I think
we have a little bit more lee-way than others might. Some of us are
into some unique areas of study. We are more touchy-feely, and that
lends itself to a different type of interaction. They say that
we're less likely to get sued because we tend to be more
interactive with our patients. So, except for the stalkers, why
would we want to withhold that information from those people in our
lives every day? I guess it's something that we all have to think
about. What do YOU think?
Have a great week everybody. As always, if you have any
questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.
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.
I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving!!!! I also want to
take a moment to wish a Happy Chanukah to my friends that celebrate
and also a Happy Holiday season!
This is my last blog of this year, and of this trimester. I wanted
to thank all of you for reading over the year and spending your
time with me.
I'm going to forego the tips and tricks for coping with finals --
we've been there, done that. I'm going to skip the recipes and
healthy living tips. Instead, I'm going to share a story.
This is the time of year when I get the most nostalgic. I have a
million wonderful memories of the holiday season. It's always been
my favorite time of year. As a kid, I would spend hours untangling
Christmas lights, decorating the house, and making random crafts
and cookies. I don't even remember how old I was when all of that
Christmas was always a really special time for my dad and I. We're
both still a lot like little kids, even now. My dad worked -- a
LOT. He worked both as an RN and a CRNA almost my entire childhood,
so he didn't have a lot of free time. We would often work in the
garden, run random errands, or do special projects on Saturday
mornings -- because that was one of the few times he didn't have to
work. Those Saturday morning memories have always been very special
I must have been maybe 8 or 10 years old the first time I remember
us going to get the tree. Since I grew up in Central Illinois, it
was often cold and snowy by the beginning of December. Like
clockwork, the decorating started the first weekend of the month --
before that was too soon, after was too late. The boxes were pulled
out of storage, having lain in wait the whole year for just this
event. I'd dump garland and lights all over the living room floor
and then carefully unpack each ornament. Each one always had a
story -- whether it was hand made or store bought.
(Image Source: stamp4fun.typepad.com)
It always seemed like the coldest day of the year when we would
go search for our tree. My dad and I would bundle up in whatever
big poufy coats we had, 4 pairs of socks, boots, and usually
overalls (at least for him). Sometimes we'd let the dog (Tubbs, the
wonder mutt) ride in the back of the pickup truck. I really don't
know how he didn't freeze -- it seemed so cold. I don't remember
what we'd talk about on the drive, but it must have been something
like piano recitals or Christmas programs at school.
We drove to a Christmas tree farm out in the middle of nowhere (I
think it was Meredosia, maybe Beardstown), pulling back into a
field dotted with trees and cactus. Tucked back down a long
driveway were a couple of barns, an old farmhouse like ours, and a
bunch of tractors. We'd check in with the owner and he'd send us on
our quest. We drove up and down the sandy roads (Christmas trees
grow best in the sand -- or so he'd tell me), looking for the
Sometimes we remembered the saw, and sometimes we didn't. One year
I remember cactus spines stuck in my socks, running nose, standing
opposite my dad around a HUGE Christmas tree trying to convince
ourselves that it wasn't too big. (It was -- but we got it anyway.
It left a sap mark on the ceiling that stayed there for about 5
years. It also fell over, and we ended up with a 3-foot tall
artificial tree at some point in the season. Incidentally -- it was
beautiful while it lasted). We'd crawl under the tree, make our
cut, and load it into the back of the pickup truck. The heat never
seemed to work all that well on those days, but it didn't matter.
We were triumphant.
The rest of the day was always a blur. There was usually a tree in
a bucket of water, my brother and my dad carrying it into the house
while I was on "needle patrol," and my mom was taking pictures of
us all with her camera. By the end of the day it would all be done.
I want to wish you all great skill and fortune on your final
exams, safe travels, and wonderful memories this holiday
• After the DC Degree
• Botanical Medicine
• 1 Year at National
• Marketing Project
• First Week in Student Clinic
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