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.
What is the thing in life that you want the absolute most? How
many times do we ask ourselves this? I figured it was time for
another philosophical exploration here on the blog.
Whether you're still in the planning stages, full on into your
training experience or career, or a supporter of someone who is
training for a career in medicine, motivation and goals will always
be a big part of the training experience. It's so easy to get
disillusioned by what it is that we're doing. It feels so endless.
I can't say how many times I've had friends, family, or significant
others comment to me that I work too hard and have no time for
rest, relaxation, or even them. Sometimes it's a lonely and
miserable existence to be in medical school. And now that we're all
depressed... Motivation is so important--especially now as my
countdown is in full swing and I'm starting to think about what
comes AFTER school.
I have to give a shout-out to my classmate Julia, who honestly
keeps me sane (or less borderline insane) a lot of the time. This
weekend we're planning a "vision board" exercise to plan for what
comes after we're finished with school. If you're not familiar with
the concept of vision boarding, it's pretty simple, and a lot like
arts and crafts in kindergarten--but with purpose.
Get a cheap piece of poster board, some old magazines, some glue
sticks or tape, and some scissors. If it inspires you, grab a
bottle of your favorite beverage and a clear spot on the floor and
spend some time thinking and planning about what you want--either
short term, long term, or just what you want out of Life. There are
no absolutes. I've seen people with vision boards of houses,
careers, decorating ideas, healthy living, etc.
I'm looking forward to this exercise. It's been about five years
since I've done one of these. Maybe some of my goals were a little
bit different; maybe some were the same. Nothing has to be set in
stone. As we grow, our goals and desires change. I know one thing
that will definitely be right in the middle of that vision board. I
want to be happy.
Happiness means something different to everyone. Maybe for you
it means a house and a family, a thriving practice, a fancy car, a
big garden. For me, it means fulfillment--and laughter. I guess I
see a lot of the other things as extraneous. They might be nice,
but it's not something that I need to live. But being happy--that's
like breathing. When it feels like the world is crashing in, when
there are too many tests and I'm being pulled a million important
directions, when all I want to do (but can't) is not what I'm
supposed to be doing, or when there's some kind of crisis (for me
or someone I care about), I have to have a sense of humor. I have
to be able to laugh, because I'd much rather laugh, than cry.
This week, like many other weeks, we have exams and projects to
work on. I'm coming to the end of the quarter for the master's
program at UWS and through midterms here at NUHS. Distractions
abound. Fatigue sets in. And thankfully, I have some pretty awesome
people (thank you Julia, Grey and Forest, and many others) to
remind me to find my motivation, keep my sense of humor, and keep
For those of you needing a "feel good" moment, for those
starting to feel that fatigue set in, for those that are maybe
feeling a little bit lonely in their journey--this video is for
you. I hope it lifts you up and gives you a great big smile this
week, like it did me.
Have a great week everybody!!!! Laugh. Be Happy.
The marketing presentation is over. I'm really glad. I was
sweating it big-time. I put a lot of work into it -- the design and
layout of the logo, the tagline, all the wording for the sample
brochure -- all of it. Even though it made last week's schedule
pretty intense with all of the other activities, now it's done and
I can watch my classmates do theirs (and enjoy them), and also
focus on other things.
So the plan for my future practice is to
be both multi-disciplinary and integrated -- where the
practitioners not only work together, but complement each other in
abilities to provide a larger scope of practice. The basic premise
is that in order to take care of the whole person, we have to
approach the whole person. So we'll have everything integrated into
the practice from seminars, movement classes, and functional
medicine to counseling, acupuncture, and herbal medicine. My idea
is to have five practitioners to start with: Chiropractic,
Naturopathic, Acupuncture, Massage, and Behavioral Medicine. I'd
like to also have an herbal compounding pharmacy on site -- in
addition to a number of nutraceuticals available.
I've also entertained some ways to expand down the road. The
addition of hyperbarics, a medicinal and natural foods café, and
inpatient care seem more than logical. I realize that they're big
and potentially lofty ambitions, BUT I think with the right team of
practitioners, we can definitely do it. Anybody want to help?
This week I have a few things due: notes from my head-to-toe
practical; my community resources listing and BETS research (I'm
working on Alzheimer's and choline -- or hoping to); and on Friday
I have my functional rehab practical. I'm so glad I'm going early
with that one as well. That REALLY frees up my week 14. There's
nothing like having a little bit of extra time to study for things
The Master's is going well. This last week it was tough to get
everything done because of the exams, presentation, and practical.
I was scrambling to get it all done by midnight on Sunday (all of
my Master's work is due by midnight Sunday). As it was, I was
falling asleep finishing the last assignment. It could have gone
better, but that's what happens when you're falling asleep
answering questions. The topics for last week were mostly gut
immunity -- which I find fascinating. I'd really like to figure out
all of the possible permutations of gut disruption -- beyond gluten
and casein, microbes, etc. Did you know that 70% of the immune
system is located in the gut? Even inhalants are partially mediated
in the gut. If you're really interested in learning more about this
-- try the Textbook for Functional Medicine -- chapter 28. While
some of the physiology is a little tedious, putting the pieces
together is pretty fascinating.
Well, that's all from me. I've registered for next tri -- except
for electives. I'm trying to decide whether to take acupuncture or
not. The jury is still out.
Have a great week everybody. Good luck with studying, projects,
and whatever else is going on. This Friday we have the Turkey Bowl.
OK, I realize it's midterms and probably not that happy of a
week, but remember--we're now over halfway done with this tri. At
the very least, we're checking off boxes and meeting milestones.
That alone, is an accomplishment.
Also for those that just received board scores back,
Congratulations. Just getting to this point is a HUGE
It's a big week down here for Tri 6. Those taking an elective
(not me) have 6 exams. The rest of us have 5. Three of those exams
are for different radiology courses--which are admittedly not my
forte. Sometimes all the radiopaque and radiolucent areas look like
blobs, swirls, and blurs, rather than tumors, cysts, and sclerosis.
I'll do what I can. Sometimes that's all we can do. Do what we can
and hope for the best. Maybe by the end of my education, I'll be
conditioned to be prepared for the amount of exams at midterms and
finals. Right now though, it's still a shock. I would much rather
have one exam a week. Wait. Let me think about that some more.
The master's program is going fairly well. There's a LOT of
work, but I'm learning a tremendous amount. One of the most
difficult tasks was trying to redesign and interpret the functional
medicine tree--which basically outlines all the factors involved in
considering a patient and their conditions. I ended up redrawing
the entire tree and turning it into more of a schematic, adding a
bunch of stuff in there. It's not pretty, but I'll include that
here for your perusal. Let me know what you think. I'm definitely
open to feedback. Did I leave anything out?
(Click image for full size version.)
That's it from me. Good luck with midterms and everything else
you have going on. We'll see you next week. You'll be fine.
Everything's gonna be fine.
This is one of those times when writing the blog is tough,
because I can't remember all of the things I've done over the last
week! I'm to the point where I'm keeping daily lists so things
don't fall through the cracks. There's just so much to do and so
much to study for.
Last week I had 2 exams, and this coming week, 2 exams and 2
quizzes. Next week (brace yourself), there are 5 exams. I've always
wondered why we do things this way. Five exams in one week are too
many. It's just as if it were finals. But, here we are.
I was able to join some of my classmates out on Friday night. It
seems that a good time was had by all. We were able to meet some of
the first trimester folks that I'd missed from the First Tri Mixer.
They all seem really great. One of the drawbacks to the way our
campus is set up here is that the students are spread out to four
different places. We have the basic science students in one
location, the clinical science students in another, and the interns
in two different clinic locations. So, once someone crosses over
into a different area, we don't always see each other again--unless
we make an effort to do so. So that's why the mixers and impromptu
get-togethers are really important. It gives us a chance to meet
some of the other students from different locations.
I like how cohesive our group is in particular. I've mentioned
this before, but we really do become somewhat of a family. After
all, we spend five days a week, together, ALL day. If we don't love
or hate each other by the end, there's something wrong. Those that
have joined our original four members have been welcome additions.
And of course we miss those that have left us--whether they
transferred campuses to Lombard, or decided to slow down. Most of
my original class is now in the same building. It's good to see
them every day again. I've missed them.
As if I didn't have enough going on, last week, I started the
Master's Degree in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine through
the University of Western States. The program is all online and we
have students from literally all over the world. The program there
is a wonderful complement to the program here. Since my goal is to
have an integrative, functional medicine practice, it's a great fit
for me. My goal is to complete the master's about the same time I
finish here at National. I'll let you all know how that's
Time management and prioritizing are absolutely key to
maintaining some semblance of sanity with all this coursework. I'm
not sure I'm there yet--but I'm working on it. Of course, anyone
that knows me knows that I'm at least partly insane, so I must have
lost something somewhere. Calendars, schedules, lists, planning,
and keeping track of everything that has to be done is extremely
important. On top of that, checking all of those things off the
list is extremely fulfilling. I have to remember to ONLY put things
on the list that HAVE to be done--no lofty ambitions, week-long
projects, or 5-year goals. My lists sometimes get out of
control--admittedly, and sometimes they end up with the weirdest,
most random thoughts written on them--like philosophical questions.
And THAT could go anywhere. :)
(Image source: redlandrambles.wordpress.com)
I took a few minutes out of studying on Saturday to go to a
ROOTS seed and plant share event. We grew a lot of our own food
when I was growing up, and as I've had space, have tried to do the
same off and on. Now that I have some yard space, I'm working on it
again. Let me just say that this event was absolutely amazing.
People from the local area bring seeds they've collected,
cuttings, plants, trees--you name it--and they just give it away. I
took some Aloe seeds that my plant had put out last year. I'd been
saving them for quite a while. I honestly didn't even know that
Aloe seeded; I'd only seen people plant Aloe by cutting. The Aloe
plant that produced the seed was gifted to me a few years ago from
a fellow student, so it only seemed fitting that I gift its
progeny. In return, I was gifted pumpkin seeds, stevia seeds,
loofah seeds, and heirloom squash seeds. I was hoping for loofah,
but couldn't believe how much was there!?! A lady tried to send me
home with a bag full of about 500 seeds! People were so generous.
I'm eternally grateful, and hopefully my garden will be booming
here in a couple of weeks. Since I've never had a fall garden
before, I have no idea what to expect. We shall see.
Happy Studying and Organizing everyone! Have a great week!
• After the DC Degree
• Botanical Medicine
• 1 Year at National
• Marketing Project
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