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
Do you have your costume yet? Are you going trick or
It's that time of year again and my mind wanders back to the
smell of fallen leaves and the colors of the trees. It's a time of
pumpkins, little kids wearing plastic masks (at least when I was
growing up), and hyperactivity from too much sugar. Many of the
neighborhoods around here do a TON of decorating for Halloween.
You'd think it was Christmas, with all the lights and
Someday I'll do all of this stuff again. I used to go all out
with decorations for every holiday. There's one house in the
Crescent Lake neighborhood (where these pictures were taken) that
gives away polished stones and wishes. It's pretty cool.
Tell me the truth. How much candy have you eaten already? I
always try to make it through the season without eating any
Halloween candy. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. There's
been candy floating around at school already. I think this year
qualifies as a failed evasion. I'll try to keep it from going
further downhill. It might not be that bad. Of course, trying to
combat it with the gym and some otherwise healthy eating will be a
definite must. I'm on it!
The temperature has dropped temporarily, which makes it "chilly"
(upper 50s-60s) at night and not quite as hot during the day. I
understand that it's only temporary, as it's supposed to be in the
mid-80s by the middle of the week. This is the time of year when I
realize I have absolutely no "warm" clothes. None whatsoever. I
have to stop myself from going shopping to buy these things--as the
cold snaps are USUALLY only temporary and don't "stick" until late
December/January and stop by mid-February. Layering is helpful. I
must admit that seeing my fellow students in the interactive
sessions in Lombard walk into class in their coats and sweaters
makes me both sad and glad that I'm someplace warm.
How did midterms go? We have one more on Wednesday and I think
we're done for a couple of weeks. We have several right before
Thanksgiving again--big projects and exams. I can't believe how
quickly it's all gone by! It'll be Christmas before we know it. I'm
not going to lie--last week was tough. I think it might have been
one of the toughest midterm weeks I remember having. Three
radiology exams in one week do not make for a low-stress life. This
week should be more low key.
So, if you were trick or treating in Crescent Lake, and stopped
by the Fairy's house--what would your wish be? Think about it, and
get back to me.
Experimental Pumpkin Brain Surgery
Have an amazing, responsible candy-eating Halloween Week. And if
you dress up, send me a picture. Maybe I'll dress up and post
one--or maybe not.
• After the DC Degree
• Botanical Medicine
• 1 Year at National
• Marketing Project
• First Week in Student Clinic
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