Looking back at it now, this past week was hugely busy, despite
being only 4 days long due to the MLK Day holiday. On the holiday,
I met up with a few friends in the city for lunch as a little
send-off for Guy who graduated in December. Afterwards, I got to
introduce my good friend Alex to Hanzi, and we sat around chatting
over tea for a while. It was lovely!
MLK Day lunch date with NUHS friends
On Tuesday, I worked a double shift at the Salvation Army and
Lombard clinics, then headed straight home to work for several
hours on my grand rounds presentation. Wednesday was the day I gave
my said presentation titled, "ADHD and The Italian Grandmother."
This was my last big assignment of medical school! My presentation
was centered on a case I saw in clinic, and examined research on
naturopathic treatment options as well as obstacles to cure in
treatment of a pediatric case of ADHD.
I was nervous about presenting until I realized several of my
friends came to watch me speak, AND that they were each wearing a
piece of clothing I had given them! It made my heart sing! Because
I am moving, I gave away some scarves and tops and a handful of my
girlfriends all happened to wear these things on the day of my
Another friend stopped by before my talk to give me a little
gift. All the support from my buddies calmed my nerves and by 10
minutes into my presentation, the jitters were gone and I hit my
groove. Thank you all for tempering my stress!
Hanzi hanging out in the new truck
On Thursday, I worked another double shift at both clinics and
then did one of the most grown-up things I've ever done; Hanzi and
I bought a car! We've been scouring the Internet for a car in
preparation for my leaving for Montana and taking our one vehicle
away on the trip. Now, we are the proud owners of a little red
Tacoma truck. It's so funny; it has Bluetooth and a touchscreen but
crank windows and manual door locks. Anyway, it's exactly what
we've been searching for and I feel much better knowing I'm not
leaving my partner immobilized in Illinois while I head off on an
Speaking of this adventure, I leave at the end of the week and
should arrive for my first day at Yellowstone Naturopathic Clinic
on February 1. Hanzi will come along for the ride and then fly back
to Chicago to keep working and job searching. I cannot express how
much gratitude I have for my clinicians and peers who have helped
me get things done so that I can go learn in another environment. I
am especially grateful for friends who prioritized a surprise baby
shower for our girl JheriAnne so that I could participate in
celebrating the twins she and her husband Shane are expecting in
April! I wish I'd had more time to hang and say bye, but such is
the nature of medical school; stuff happens all at once and then
bam! -- It's on to the next thing!
Another big week down and only 4 more to go until the end of my
9th trimester and the end of medical school classes! The way our
schedule works, you should always finish your tenure with NUHS with
a class-free 10th trimester. I gotta tell you, it's become a mantra
among my fellow 9th tris to remind each other several times a day
the number of weeks left of class before we get to focus solely on
patient care and our plans for life after school. You could
definitely say all 10 of us have "senioritis," and it takes those
daily reminders to one another to keep a smile on when we sit
through 2.5 hours of Wednesday morning lecture and move on to
complete another 7 hours in the clinic.
Big days happening around here! In the midst of all the school I
am getting done these days, I'm also taking the time to explore
Chicago because I'm closing in on the end of my time in this
Finally made it out dancing at the Empty Bottle
This past weekend I finally made it to The Empty Bottle on
Western Ave in Chicago for some dancing! Hanzi and our friend Reed
and I also trekked down to Chinatown on Sunday for Dim Sum, which
was all kinds of flavors. On Saturday night, Hanzi and I brought
stuffing and a vegetable dish (so naturopathic, I know) to a
Friendsgiving dinner with library friends. Hanzi works at the Oak
Park Library and we've met some really lovely, intelligent folks
with a great sense of humor and a shared love of books. Our festive
meal was definitely a holiday season highlight.
Hanzi and I have been working on a Chicago to-do list. It
includes riding the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier, seeing a show at the
House of Blues, skating the ribbon rink, and visiting the Lincoln
Park Zoo and the Museum of Science and Industry. I know, I know, I
can't believe I haven't done some of these things yet! I've been
here for 3 years and some days it absolutely feels like it's been
that long, and other days, I wonder where the time has gone and
realize that April will be here in no time....
So, can you see the picture here? I'm trying to focus on this
last month of 9th tri with studying and assignments, while also
realizing I have a substantial checklist of Chicagoland activities
to attend to. I'm also enjoying every busy clinic day seeing
patients and, oh yeah -- we had our first snow! It went from fall
to February-like winter overnight!
All the smart, beautiful women working in the ND
Also, it was the 100th anniversary of the American Medical
Women's Association this past week so we took a picture of all the
ND lady interns and docs. I think we look fabulous! So yeah, no
huge news here, just that winter and crunch-time have arrived, and
we're still all working hard to become doctors someday soon....
Ahhhhh, a day off in the middle of the week! To start, thank you
to our veterans for serving and for giving us a reason to take a
break. We had Wednesday off this past week and I savored that free
time. I had all those good intentions of writing up a case due at
the end of the week, and getting started on a paper for pediatrics
class, but in the end I took my day off to relax and do laundry (so
Dinner, drinks and laughing with my ND-to-be
As a med student, you really have to take advantage of any free
moment. On Tuesday evening, knowing we wouldn't have class early
the next morning, a few of my best ND student friends and I went
out for food and wine. We cozied up to the restaurant's fireplace
and the conversation never stopped. I rarely see all of these
lovely friends because of taking the full-track option of classes.
These days I spend most of my time on campus in the clinic, rather
than in classrooms and hallways where I can cross paths with my
buddies. Because of this, we had so much to talk about! We
reminisced about our cadaver in first tri anatomy and discussed our
visions for our future practices and families (JheriAnne is
pregnant with twins!) I drove home that evening all filled up with
loving support from my people; I am truly a lucky gal.
Speaking of good experiences, I volunteered to sit on the ND
panel at Campus Visit Day this past weekend. I think I've
volunteered for this position 3 or 4 times before. I keep coming
back to sit and talk with prospective students because I love
talking and articulating my excitement for naturopathic medicine! I
always leave these panel sessions feeling even better about my
choice of profession. One of the things that came up in discussion
for all of us on the panel was that the ND students at NUHS form a
very supportive community. We share study guides, organize study
groups, encourage each other to take a break and get out, and
generally do not compete with each other for grades. We are all
here to build our profession, so what's the point of creating
excess competition within our little community?
At the ND student panel for Campus Visit Day
We are certainly a group of healers who come to this medicine
because we aim to doctor with caring support, rather than through
sheer force, dominance or authority. It's a beautiful struggle to
display authority with my patients so that they understand the
importance of attending to their health and trust my knowledge,
while at the same time allowing my innate compassion and tenderness
to come through. Just writing this post has me all extra excited
about our medicine again! It's that easy to love what I do.
If you're a prospective student with questions about being in an
ND program, whether you're bound for NUHS or not, please do not
hesitate to reach out to me! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
and I'll be sure to write back.
Another good week come and gone and we're already a month into
the Fall Tri! This past week was marked in particular by more
travel and some med school firsts: suturing and a Grand Rounds
Wendy, Mallory and Lisa prepare to learn suturing
For years I've watched my dermatologist mother suture her
patients after removal of suspicious moles or biopsy of suspicious
skin conditions. She works so methodically, looping the long end
around the forceps and securing a tight knot in one smooth motion.
After my first attempt at suturing I can tell ya, it's harder than
it looks! However, after another hour of practice following that
first attempt, I'm already feeling better about it, though I still
need more practice. The tricky part is focusing on all the
components; holding the tools properly, spacing your stitches just
right, and pulling them just tight enough, but not too
Lisa performs her first sutures on a plastic arm!
I also gave my first Grand Rounds presentation to a room full of
interns, clinicians and students from lower tris. In 9th Tri
we present for about 30 minutes on a clinical question, whereas in
10th Tri we spend an hour discussing a case and research. As I
mentioned last week, I presented on The Case of the Missing Organ.
My talk focused on the concept of considering a new basis for
health in patients who present for care after having an organ
removed, and on the importance of identifying the cause of dis-ease
if removal of the organ has not solved the problem. This
presentation was inspired by two of my patients, one who has had
the colon removed, and another who has had the gallbladder removed.
I was nervous, but it seems to have been well received and now I
can check that off my to-do-list for the tri!
After an interesting week I took to the skies again for a trip
to Vermont to celebrate the marriage of one of my very oldest
friends. In addition to getting all dolled up with a delightful
group of young women (I also wrote about them in a post from March:
Crunch-Pop and Lovely Intelligent Women), I got to go for a
beautiful, brisk morning stroll with my mom and discuss patient
cases, and danced with my dad to music played by a live band.
Everything about the weekend was beautiful!
A view from the top of The Flume, a little hike in northern
Hanzi and I made a point to stop for a walk in the woods of the
White Mountains on our drive back to Boston, where we caught an
early flight back to Chicago the next day. We also got to watch the
lunar eclipse/blood moon with my parents on their back porch. I
hope you all got to see that celestial masterpiece; what a perfect
symbol of the impressiveness of this world that has conspired to
bring about all the things from the marriage of two wonderful
people this past weekend, to my reaching this stage of naturopathic
Hanzi checks out the White Mountains scenery from a covered
Speaking of a world conspiring to bring about things for us,
please do not hesitate to email me with any of your questions,
thoughts, concerns, or celebrations from your process of applying
to, or considering this Naturopathic journey. I am never too busy
to reply; I love your emails! You can reach me at email@example.com.
In preparation for some days I'll be missing for wedding
travels, I did a double shift in the clinic last Friday. After
working 7 to noon for my regular ND shift, I tagged along on the DC
side from 1-6. It was definitely a long but rewarding day.
Gone apple picking on a beautiful Sunday!
While on the DC shift, I consulted with a DC intern friend of
mine on his patient who recently experienced symptoms of a GI
bleed. I helped put together the puzzle pieces to recognize that
the likely culprit of this patient's gastrointestinal misery was
the prescription NSAID he has been taking for his knee pain, and
not the GI support supplement recommended by another ND intern. It
is well known that GI bleeding is a side effect seen with use of
NSAIDs due to their capacity to degrade the mucosal barrier of the
I was also able to help my friend understand the source of his
patient's pain based on the fact that cortisone shots work to
control the pain. Cortisone blocks phospholipaseA2, an enzyme that
mobilizes arachiadonic acid. This step is at the very tippy top of
the biochemical inflammatory cascade. Picture a large family tree
where arachiadonic acid is the great grandparent. There are good
cousins and bad cousins, and by blocking the cascade of the family
tree way up at the top we block both the good cousins and the bad
cousins from ever being conceived. Eradication of the bad cousins
makes pain decrease significantly, but blockage of the good
cousins, or the healthy inflammation, ultimately causes degradation
of tissue from loss of a healthy inflammatory response.
If corticosteroids work to decrease pain, we can extrapolate
that the patient's pain is caused by inflammatory cytokines (bad
cousins). While prescription drugs work to block this inflammation,
many botanicals and nutrients (as well as proper nutrition and
exercise) can also work to modulate the inflammatory response that
My DC intern friend and I had a great conversation about the
difference in response he sees with different rehabilitation
patients. The patients that respond best to his exercise
prescriptions are most often physically fit, they consume a
relatively healthy diet, or their injury is relatively new or
benign. The majority of patients who do not recover well are either
non-compliant, or often have poor eating habits or poor body
composition; they live their daily lives in an inflammatory
Our conversation was a testament to why we naturopathic
doctors/interns always address the basic determinants with our
patients. No matter how much physical medicine we try, it will
undoubtedly work better if we attend to the first 3 levels of the
therapeutic order as well. We must establish reasonable nutrition,
support the vis, and attend to engaged or compromised organs and
systems. More on our Therapeutic Order at another juncture!
Night out with my ND faves
Besides all this excitement of collaboration in clinic, we had
an absolutely beautiful weekend! I got to spend a night out
enjoying live music and food with my ND student friends, and Hanzi
and I went apple picking! Now, I have to buckle down and prepare my
presentation for Grand Rounds. It's called "The Case of the Missing
Organ." Stay tuned....
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