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.
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!
The calendar says it's fall. I never would have known. I'm
honestly ready for the weather to be cooler. It's about this time
that I start missing Home. Around this time of year the leaves
would be falling, it would be sweater weather, and somebody,
somewhere, would be throwing a hayride in a pumpkin patch. Surely
the scents of firewood and burning marshmallows waft through the
air somewhere on this planet right now.
(Image source: timeatthetable.org)
Midterms have already started. So far there's been one. There
are two this week and the week after and I don't even want to look
at my schedule after that because I know it's UGLY. Things are
going so fast. My fellow students are already making plans to go
Home on Thanksgiving break. I'm inclined to bake and sew and do all
the things I used to do when the weather would normally cool off.
One of these days I might have to turn the AC down to 60º in the
house and curl up in a blanket just to get the same effect. I guess
there's something that I'll never get used to about being here in
We're coming up on Halloween and there's a big Halloween potluck
sponsored by the Motion Palpation Club. We're all discussing
costumes for the event. I don't want to ruin it for anyone--so I
won't drop ideas or tell what I've heard. I imagine we'll have some
amazing costumes. We've got some crafty and creative
people--especially in my tri. So, I can't imagine what they'll come
I'm still working on my marketing project. I present right
before Thanksgiving and I have so much work left to do. I'm
inclined to go off the deep end and jump headfirst into my most
ideal practice's business plan. I've got some pretty lofty
ambitions with a pretty broad scope. Some may not even be feasible.
I don't know that it will ever happen, but a girl can dream, can't
she? My classmates and I have traded ideas in the hallway, while
waiting for class to start, and in the parking lot - but I don't
think that anyone has actually laid everything down in some type of
Special thanks to Dr. Jourdan, who is letting me exercise my
baking muscle and have someplace to share my baked goods (so I
don't eat them all myself). We've been having "Breakfast Friday" or
this next week "Coffee Monday." This week it's cheesecake (gluten
free, of course). I'm hoping to convert more of my recipes to
Paleo--including this one. It shouldn't be too hard. This
recipe is VERY simple--few ingredients and easy to adapt.
Andrea's Favorite Simple
The conversion to Paleo will probably start with using coconut
sugar in place of regular sugar. I'm not sure that vanilla is Paleo
friendly, but I could probably use powdered vanilla bean instead of
liquid vanilla (never use imitation vanilla--it contains
The crumbs could be anything. I'm sure I can come up with a
Paleo friendly cookie of some sort. I've made cheesecake crusts
with everything from brownie crusts to homemade graham crackers.
Hopefully by the end of the year I'll have accomplished this. I've
also made this recipe gluten free and vegan before. Just substitute
Tofutti cream cheese or rice based cream cheese (if you can find
it) instead. It was actually richer than the dairy based version.
You can also add an orange oil or lemon oil to the cheesecake to
make it more flavorful.
Good luck on all the midterms coming up, everybody. I'm planning
a series of blogs with something unique for all of you--maybe
starting next week. We shall see.
If you make the cheesecake, drop me a line and let me know how
you like it and what ingredients you used. Enjoy!
I walked into the store this weekend and saw Christmas
decorations. Can you believe it? Christmas decorations?!?! I never
know whether I should be excited and festive or mortified at the
consumerism of having things out 3 months in advance. Seriously.
Who starts buying and decorating for Christmas 3 months before the
holiday? I guess it's just a reminder, though, that the end of the
trimester will be here before we know it. We're already looking at
midterms. My first one, in lab diagnosis, is this coming
Banyan Tree on Beach Drive in downtown St. Pete
I hear that the rest of the world is starting to cool off in
honor of the season--but here in Florida we're still averaging
upper 80s or lower 90s. It's. Been. Hot. I find I'm a little
envious of my friends and loved ones that are donning sweaters and
complaining about it being chilly. I haven't owned a sweater in
nearly 8 years. The closest to needing one has been dealing with
crazy air conditioning issues in the Annex. Sometimes it gets
downright chilly in there! We're threatening to bring teapots and
mittens. I can see it happening. It might start cooling off by the
end of October. For now, even though we're technically in Autumn,
it still feels like Summer--rain, heat, and all.
I'm getting into the Marketing project with planning my future
clinic. I spend a little bit of time every day, it seems, pondering
how things will be--how I want them. I know I need to do a lot more
research on my geographic regions and desired demographics, etc.
It's actually a pretty big project--but I think it will help me
tremendously when the time comes. I've even been working on putting
a logo together. I have no idea if that's what it will end up
as--but I think it's a good start.
I've started clearing the yard for a fall garden. I'm wondering
how long the growing season will be. I've never had a fall garden
before--having grown up in the Midwest. I will let all of you know
how that works out. If all works well, I could have fresh herbs and
veggies around Christmas. Maybe I'll decorate with them instead of
glitz and glitter from the store.
I'm still working on some pretty intense research topics. My
Pubmed list grows just about every day. Here is a listing of my
topics: oxytocin, C reactive protein, eicosanoids,
anti-inflammatory diet, food allergy, gluten, celiac, botanical,
functional medicine, vitamin D and asthma, stress, and naturopathic
medicine. There may be a couple of others--ones that I don't get
search returns on daily. There's amazing research that comes
through every day. Pieces of the puzzle come together. I'm learning
things about bloodwork that I never knew, how biochemistry is
affected by nearly everything, and what we can do (and what we're
doing and not doing) to fix it all. Fascinating.
Banyan Tree in Crescent Lake
One of the biggest I've ever seen (a little bit like the
"Tree of Life" from Disney)
Since I'm boycotting Christmas trees for at least another two
months, here are some Banyan tree pictures. Banyans are actually
fig trees and sometimes known as strangler figs. In some places
they're considered invasives. Here in this part of Florida, we've
got some Banyan trees that are OLD--REALLY, REALLY old. There are
several places around town where Banyan trees can be seen--there's
even a "Banyan Tree Motel"--although the only Banyan tree there is
on the sign. I've always found them to be majestic, spirited trees
that are absolutely beautiful.
Have a great week everybody!
• After the DC Degree
• Botanical Medicine
• 1 Year at National
• Marketing Project
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