St Pete Beach Classic

How was everybody's weekend? Long weekends are magical. They never seem long enough, but at the same time get packed just enough so there's some downtime. This was just such a weekend. Friday night was out with friends. Saturday night was master's work and recovering from Friday night. 

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Sunday morning, I got up EARLY, and with a number of my fellow classmates, went and volunteered at the St. Pete Beach Classic. We had a blast! The runners hit our water stand both coming and going (since we were the first water stop). Some people were obviously there to win. Others were just there for fun. With nearly every person, I found myself diagnosing pathology: torticollis, pronation, arthritis, and scoliosis. Blame it on the day job -- at some point that's what happens. Of course, it was also obvious that whatever was going on with these runners, none of it was stopping anybody. Determination is the name of the game.

There were people running dressed up. One girl was wearing a tutu (girl after my own heart). And my absolute favorite was Mr. Incredible. I got to meet Mr. Incredible!!!!!!

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Our whole crew was amazing. We never missed a beat with the cheering and hand-offs. Runners were appreciative. For people who came out alarmingly early and stood out in the cold (I needed gloves!), we were all in great spirits. Andres had the best water/Gatorade handoff ever with the "lunge and reach," and Yussef was the world's fastest cup grabber -- rivaling a limber tennis ball boy. I'm hoping that I get to work another volunteer event with this crew.

This coming weekend in Tampa Bay is the Gasparilla Festival. Things always get a little bit crazy. It's one of those events where you might decide to go, just to say you went, but then never go again. Or maybe it's something you'll be hooked on for your entire stay here. You never know. But brace yourselves lads and lasses, we're about to be invaded by pirates!

Batten down the hatches, kids!

Have a great week!

Happy New Year

Well, 2014 didn't waste any time getting started. January 6th came and both of my programs started in full force. I'm actually taking Clinical Nutrition in BOTH programs right now. It's interesting to see how the different professors approach the same topic. I'm definitely getting hit from all directions.

Towards the end of week one I decided to add the acupuncture elective to my schedule. It's knowledge that I really want and feel that I need. I've actually taken an introduction to acupuncture through an undergraduate program, so I have a VERY basic knowledge, but furthering that interests me tremendously. I'd originally talked myself out of the elective, as I'm thinking about relocating to Oregon (which doesn't allow acupuncture in the DC scope of practice), but since I'm not absolutely sure where I'll end up, I thought I'd go for it. I may be partly insane for this, of course.

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(Image Source: www.servingsandiegocounty.com)

Break was both too long and too short. I worked an insane amount and took too little time to relax--but that's pretty typical for me. There has to be some way to keep me out of trouble, and that is to stay busy. That being said, I always seem to have a shortage of time. And like all insanely busy people (or people who make excuses that they have no time), I'm always looking for ways to increase the amount of time (the Universe will not respond to my requests for 86 hour days), and have less stress. I decided to take a break from social media for a week. It was AMAZING! Towards the middle of that break, my computer fried the motherboard and I had no choice but to avoid technology altogether. It's shown me that I have a lot more time than I ever thought. I had no idea I was spending so much time surfing the web, reading Facebook, or doing whatever. I've been using that time to read, sleep, and do research. It's been awesome. Even though I know I'll have to get a replacement computer soon to keep up with my workload, I'm going to keep with the lack of using it. It's not exactly a resolution, but it's not too far from it.

In the back of everyone's mind right now are those resolutions. I happened upon a few articles about why people don't keep New Year's resolutions. Interestingly enough, it's not always for the reasons that we'd think. Since most people choose a diet or exercise change (that's #1), most commonly it's because they bite off more than they can chew (pun intended)--giving themselves more work than they can handle, and too little of a support system to handle it. Well, that makes sense. But the number two reason why people don't keep New Year's resolutions--*drum roll*--was because they spend too much time talking about them! I was shocked. According to this article, the human brain perceives talking the same as doing. If I talk about exercising, my brain thinks that I've done it--even though I actually haven't. So, while some level of the brain has been pumping iron or eating only fish and veggies, the rest of the body hasn't been doing anything. Problem not solved. So, the moral of the story is, if you've made any resolutions or decided to make some changes in your life--keep them to yourself. If you do, they're more likely to stick.

I am willing to share one resolution with all of you. I resolve to have a great 2014! It's going to be a BIG year.

Happy New Year Everybody! Have a great Tri!

Holiday Memories

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 started.

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 to me.

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.

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(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 perfect tree.

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. Beautiful.

I want to wish you all great skill and fortune on your final exams, safe travels, and wonderful memories this holiday season.

Thanksgiving Week

I can't believe this week is Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving everybody! A few of my classmates are heading out of town, up North, over the river and through the woods, but most of us are staying somewhat local. Those that are going up North are getting ready to be bundled up. I understand there are record lows -- especially up in the Northeast. We're actually expecting a brisk temperature of 66ºF on Thanksgiving. Everyone will have their parkas and snowboots on.

Turkey Bowl

Friday night was Turkey Bowl. If you've never heard of the infamous NUHS Turkey Bowl, here's where you'll become indoctrinated in this time-honored tradition. Students, alumni, faculty members, and significant others launch themselves onto the football field to non-violently duke it out to compete for (starting this year) the Stiefel Cup [named for the president of NUHS and former dean of the College of Professional Studies - Florida].

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This year, the victors were from Tri 1 and Tri 6 (including our own Antoinette Stewart and Lauren Domanski) and our MVPs were Dr. Chris Arick and Danielle Spratt. It's my understanding that no severe injuries were met and no one went to the hospital -- so it was a good game.  

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We had a HUGE turnout of people! A lot of the faculty came out -- including some professors that I haven't seen in a really long time. I saw new students that I'd never seen before. I met spouses and kids that I didn't know existed. It was just a really great "family" environment. There was really amazing food provided and the people that weren't playing just hung out. It was really cool and made me wish that I'd gone last year. The funniest thing was to see our professors and Assistant Dean (Dr. Daniel Strauss) don shorts and T-shirts and blend in with all of the "kids." We really couldn't tell the difference between them.

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Impending Finals

So, this is the last week before finals start. Next week is practical week and the following week has all the written exams. I'm not looking forward to either -- but I'll be really glad to move on. I've already taken the Marketing final, the final practical for Rehab, and the Phlebotomy written final is this week. I'm checking off boxes and crossing things off my list (and trying not to go crazy).

Well, that's it from me. I hope everyone has an amazing holiday -- that you have just as much dinner as you want, just enough family dysfunction to seem OK, and just enough tryptophan to have a really good nap. And of course, in true medical student style -- dissect the turkey -- don't carve it.

Marketing Presentation

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.

GreyforestlogoSo 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?

Upcoming Week

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 or work.

Master's Program

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. Can't wait.