Archive for tag: masters degree

Fueled by Caffeine and Dreams

I'm recovering from near brain-death. In case you missed it, last weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) a group of us took boards: Physiotherapy, Part II, and Part III. I wish I could say it was 3 days full of fun-filled magical awesomeness, but I think you guys know me well enough to know I'd be lying through my teeth.

We all survived the weekend, in large part due to the support we gave each other. Julia was my right-hand this weekend. She made me study when I didn't want to, go over questions, and made sure I got out of the hotel room on time (and didn't get lost too badly getting back and forth from the hotel). Ricky and Alid were the humor for the weekend. The four of us (including Julia) and two of Alid's friends from Palmer, went for dinner after PT. I honestly thought we would be kicked out of the restaurant, we were laughing so hard. It was just what I needed to keep me going another day.

It was great to see the smiling faces of people we've taken tests with before from other schools, and also of each other. Kind words of encouragement were given by so many. Leslie, Bryan, Julia, Alid, Theresa, Ricky, Roshaun, and Dave: My huge thanks to you guys for keeping me going this past weekend -- even if you didn't realize that's what you were doing.

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It was a weekend fueled by caffeine and lack of sleep. We learned how little sleep we could survive on, how many questions we could answer in a short period of time, and how much caffeine was required to take an exam at 7:00 a.m. We were laughing at each other and our test-taking strategies, how long it took to finish certain exams, and how much we were stressing about something really and truly out of our control.

Boards are interesting, because you've been studying for them all along. There's really nothing to "cram" for, and yet we cram every time. Of course, it doesn't hurt to refresh memory on what we've not seen for a couple of years even. Part I, last year, was a test of the basic sciences. While these were more clinical, the basic science stuff just doesn't go away. There's always something that didn't get covered, that we haven't heard before, or that we've never seen. There are questions on every test that make no sense, and like all standardized test, more than enough opportunities to overthink something. I've always been baffled at how any exam in medicine can be made into a "Multiple Guess" test -- when everything we do in medicine is completely essay.

But, we survive. No! We endure. And however the scores come out, they come out. We'll take them as they come.

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Image Source: www.flickr.com/photos/thomas_r/8225164573/

In other news, clinic is in full swing. At the HEC NUHS Student Clinic, we are BUSY. We've been seeing sports physicals and regular patients -- several every day. As the term gets underway for the SPC students, we'll be seeing less of some sports physicals, and more of others. I believe we're serving at least 3 different sports teams now -- so there will be no shortage there.

I'm finishing up a quarter for the Master's program at UWS. Finals are this week. Hard to come back and tackle that after last week. But I'm SO looking forward to two weeks off with no pressing studies. Next quarter with them starts in a few weeks with Sports Nutrition and Fitness, Gastrointestinal Imbalances, and Oxidative/Reductive Dynamics and Energy Production. Sounds like a party.

Have a Great week, Everybody!!!!

Summertime and the Living Is Easy

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 working.

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.

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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.

Hey, Everybody! Welcome Back!

Two weeks of break isn't anywhere near long enough. It seems like just about the time that I get into a new groove of being out of school, things start up again. But, this time -- it's different. I'm an INTERN!

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My intern badge

Last week was the first week in Student Clinic. We went through procedures and charting info and a bunch of other things. I think it's going to be AMAZING! Dr. Harrison (our clinician) has taken the time to explain so many things to us already. It's a whole different world, now. I don't know what I thought it was going to be like, but it's different. And I think it's going to be great. I started out this week as a secondary, and I see my first patient on Wednesday.

Break was wonderful. I was able to take some time off, do some volunteering, and work on some projects. I feel "lighter" -- having been able to accomplish some things that I hadn't had time for thus far. That having been said, I'm still behind. That's not tremendously surprising. I'm making lists and slowly getting things done.

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Sunrise over Tampa Bay

The Master's has been ongoing. My classes right now are in Botanical Medicine and Immunology. I've learned so many fascinating things. Last week I got stuck in researching zonulin and tight junctions. I've been trying to pool together all of the locations that contain tight junctions in the body, so I might be able to link proteins and chemicals that disrupt the tight junctions with disorders that occur at those locations. I have to stop myself sometimes, from going too far down the rabbit hole with some of my research -- because I'll get so engrossed that I forget about everything else. Sometimes I have to stop myself at the point of too many questions. It turns out that some of the ones that I came up with last week (according to my professor) don't currently have answers. I guess I'm not the only one with questions.

I'm looking forward to the Tri mixer -- whenever that will be -- and Wednesday with my first patient. I'm secondary on patients before then, so that will be interesting as well. Mostly, I just want to say how excited I am to be here.

Welcome back, everyone! I'm glad you're here.

Update for the Week

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 D Council. 

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 weary/wicked.

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.

Looking to the Future

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 going.

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.