My Farewell

Well, here we are guys. This is my last blog to you EVER. Can you believe it? We've been on this journey together for a LONG time now--ever since I started the chiropractic program all the way through finishing the naturopathic program! It has been a huge blessing to reflect every week on this blog not only to give you insight but for myself. Now I can look back and remember small details of my life that I may not have stored in my memory. That's the great thing about blogging.

2012-04-10_hollywood

I want to tell you about my week in sunny California. I am glad I will be able to share my experiences with you because it was absolutely amazing. I had the pleasure to shadow a naturopathic doctor in Monrovia, California. Dr. Jennifer Wicher was such an amazing influence not only from her point of view on patient care/management, but the fact that she is married, a mom, maintains a busy schedule (she has a waiting list), and has a great spirit about it all!

2012-04-10_wicher1
Dr. Jennifer Wicher and me

I was also able to speak with her husband who does a lot of the business aspects of her practice. The business "stuff" is not my forte and it was nice to speak to him and get some pointers. Since Illinois is not a licensed state yet, there are restrictions on many things that we are capable of doing including IV therapy, injections and prescriptive pharmaceuticals. In California, you are able to do all of that under your license.

I was able to observe Dr. Wicher perform numerous IV therapies from hydrogen peroxide to vitamins/minerals to using Ozone, which was SUPER cool. I also saw numerous joint injections, intramuscular injections and Ozone injections! She had awesome rapport with her patients and every patient had amazing improvements that urged them to refer patients to her. She had a very busy practice, spent quality time with each patient, had time to spend with her 2-year-old, and maintained a positive and grateful attitude about it all.

2012-04-10_wicher2
Dr. Jennifer Wincher

I am so glad that I randomly found her. I had to drive about 3 hours round-trip (with traffic) to her practice every day but it was MORE than worth it. We plan on keeping in touch and I am excited to potentially move out west one day (maybe) and have some awesome resources! I encourage each and every one of you to utilize your allotted observation days during clinic to travel to a licensed state like California (with a larger scope than others) and see the amazing things our profession has to offer! It is well worth the plane ticket fare!

2012-04-10_ryan
Ryan and I at his friend's wedding site, a vineyard in
Temecula, California--on top of a mountain! Breathtaking!

My husband Ryan joined me in California for the weekend and we called this part of the trip our "Babymoon," which is basically a trip before the baby comes to enjoy each other's company and relax. We attended the wedding of one of his good friends and had an amazing time reconnecting with his friends from back home that have moved out to California.

We topped off the busy weekend with our first baby shower, which was lovingly thrown by my California family including my grandparents. So exciting! We are so blessed to have such amazing family and friends to share this new journey with and could not be more excited after seeing all the little baby clothes!

2012-04-10_grandparents
My grandparents with Ryan and me

Strangely enough, you have been a part of my life for some of my biggest life changes and events from starting school, getting married, graduating (twice), and then starting our baby adventure! I am truly saddened to say that the journey we have been on together has to end here, but I want to thank all of you that have taken your time to read my blogs. If anything, I hope I have been able to give you some honest insight into my life as a real person...not just another grad student. Thank you, thank you, and thank you!

May you have a blessed journey as well no matter what path you choose! My last piece of advice: Find the good in all you do/choose. It will help you appreciate the beauty in all the obstacles!

Take care and God bless!

Experience as an Observer

I spent this past week at an integrative medical practice observing a medical doctor provide "natural" injection therapy for patients with anything from trigger points to osteoarthritis of the knee. At first I was actually skeptical of how "natural" injections were considering it was an injection, which is pretty invasive, and definitely not anything we have the opportunity to perform or be exposed to in clinic. 

However, after speaking with the medical doctor and his patients, it was amazing to see the impact his care was doing in conjunction with chiropractic care. He was injecting a homeopathic remedy called Serapin, which is similar to what we learn in school as Traumeel (contains mainly Arnica) as a potent anti-inflammatory. The medical doctor himself revealed that when he was asked to be part of this treatment protocol, he was very skeptical himself. He did not think there was any way for the "homeopathic remedy" to work as well as something like a corticosteroid. However, after utilizing this treatment modality for 6-7 months now with multiple patients, he has admitted that he has "converted" to a believer in non-invasive and gentle therapy such as homeopathy! What a huge accomplishment for us as naturopaths!

After all, we are not in this medical profession alone but we are surrounded by brilliant and knowledgeable medical doctors who may start off just as skeptical as the medical doctor I observed. But our medicine works! Most of the patients at this clinic are part of the geriatric community, already take tons of pharmaceuticals, and are not willing or able to participate in all the "lifestyle changes" we may want to make before resorting to something like an injection. So, I completely learned to understand and respect the medicine that was being practiced at this clinic and became very impressed. Due to HIPPA, I could not provide you with pictures of the actual injections I witnessed but it was a very awesome experience!

2012-04-03_potliuck

And the people we got to work with were great! They even had a potluck while we were there that we participated in! (The picture above shows the food and some of the therapists at the clinic.)     

2012-04-03_cake

The patient population I see at school is mainly 20-50 years of age, which is still very young, while the clinic I observed this week ranged mainly from 50-90 years of age! That is a huge difference in how treatment must be delivered and patient management in general. It was a great experience to be exposed to something so different and a fun break from being on campus all day long!

2012-04-03_grandma
My grandma and I at dinner after my family picked me up at the airport!

Now, I am (don't be jealous) writing this blog from sunny Southern California! I am actually sitting enjoying a cup of coffee (just ONE cup) while waiting to head into my next clinic adventure with a licensed naturopathic doctor. I am so excited and nervous at the same time. I have absolutely no idea what type of patient population I will be exposed to but just love that I get to be in California. Driving in morning rush hour traffic isn't so bad when you have mountains and palm trees surrounding your view! :)

Next week will be my last blog for you guys...for good! I am so happy that I have the opportunity to share with you my experience in California and hope you have enjoyed my blurbs thus far. :) Take care and have a good & sunny week!

Oh, and here is my 16-week baby bump! 

2012-04-03_baby

It's Almost April

I can't wait to share with you my next upcoming weeks! I will be shadowing a physical medicine clinic in Arlington Heights this week and the following week, I will be venturing off to sunny Southern California to shadow a naturopathic doctor. Not only am I excited to travel to California, but also I am excited to see an ND in a licensed state while being able to see my family all at the same time.

2012-03-26_zander1

The picture I included just encompasses how my life has been lately. Sunny, happy and SUNNY! I cannot believe that we have been blessed with this amazing weather, and seeing my nephew with his big smile just makes me even more excited for the little one I'll get to hold in September! :) Although we have had this joyous weather, I heard it's going to change soon and be a bit chillier than the mere 70-80º we've had, which I am fine with considering I am literally an oven right now!

Ryan and I went to enjoy the weather this weekend and had some amazing RAW food at "Borrowed Earth Café" in Downers Grove. It's a vegan raw restaurant that always makes me feel AMAZING afterwards because it's really just raw vegetables that are transformed. You should try it at least once as a student. It's so close to NUHS. It made me feel good to feel like myself again. This pregnancy has definitely taken my body into completely different directions of emotional and physical feelings. In the beginning, the only calories I could stomach was junk food! Bleh! But now I am finally "indulging" in my normal meals filled with lots of fruit, vegetables and good healthy protein! Nutrition is really key to a healthy life in general but especially in pregnancy.

We (you and I) have been on this journey together for a long time and I can't believe that it is coming to an end soon. It's bittersweet really. I have enjoyed writing this blogs, receiving insight and questions from you all, and it has given me my own way to reflect. I hope I have been able to help you make some important decisions in your life and give you an honest and open outlook into what NUHS has in store for you if you choose it as a part of your journey! :)

Have a good week everyone!

Have a Mustache Party

The title of my blog is so random, I know! But I can't get over how awesome it felt to wear a mustache out in public for my cousin's birthday! Since the first trimester of my pregnancy is over, it's been more do-able to enjoy life in general including all the joy of finishing up my clinic numbers. 

2012-03-20_mustache1

After this past week, I have finished up about 90% of my requirements, which is huge!!! I still have some loose ends to tie up, but the hard part is officially over for me. It is a different type of experience to still deliver quality health care while thinking in the back of your mind that you have very specific requirements to obtain. The support of my colleagues as well as opportunities that have opened up to me have really helped ease that stress.

I remember sitting in 8th trimester clinic orientation looking at the minimum requirements that need to be obtained before you get to walk across that stage to get your diploma. I had feelings of anxiety along with uncertainty that I would be able to accomplish these requirements while still maintaining my sanity. It has been a difficult journey thus far, but looking back, I can appreciate all the rough spots I had to experience in order to fully be grateful for the future.

It's the little things that have helped me through this process. My patients telling me how much they'll miss me, and that I'm irreplaceable. Referrals from very happy and trusting patients have been amazing. And most of all, the camaraderie among some of my colleagues has been priceless and has helped me get to where I am today--not to forget the support and prayers from my family and husband.

This time next week, I will be preparing to enter my first round of clinical observations at a rehab clinic with a chiropractor and medical doctor. Then, I'll be packing up to head to Southern California for about 10 days to observe a naturopathic doctor for 4 days as well as visit family. After returning from California, I will have about 1 week before graduation!

Time has definitely gone by and I still can't believe that a year ago, I was sitting in class still studying for exams and writing papers. Now I am enjoying the work I've put in and waiting to get that diploma in my hand!

Have a good week everyone! And for those Illinois residents, go out and enjoy this amazing March summer-like weather!!!

It's Getting Closer

I still can't believe it. I am closer to graduation and it's getting very REAL.This upcoming week will be my last week at the inner city clinic I spoke about before, and then I have about 2 more weeks until my 2 weeks of observation off campus! Then when I get back, I will have about 4 days left of clinic before graduation week! It's so crazy!

I remember this similar feeling when I was graduating from the chiropractic program, but the feeling was halted by the sense that my graduation was only the mark of the beginning of the naturopathic program. While all my colleagues were putting their business plans into action, interviewing for associate positions, or packing up and moving back home, I was studying and preparing for my 11th trimester! It was still an exciting time considering it is still a HUGE accomplishment. However, it was bittersweet for me.

2013-03-12_xander

Now I sit here, writing one of my last blogs ever, preparing for a new journey in my life, and feeling an amazing amount of joy and peace! It's still very stressful realizing that I am still at that place again--not completing a business plan or interviewing for any associate positions, but preparing a nursery, utilizing the summer to relax, and enjoying life without the pressures of school. I feel much better about it all than I thought.

You might hear over and over again about the "Numbers Game" in clinic. There are high expectations and huge requirements that are obligated for you to pass your clinic internship, and the naturopathic program has definitely trumped the chiropractic program in my opinion! I learned so much from both programs on many different levels, but because the naturopathic program is still relatively young at NUHS, there are different struggles that we face. The numbers were driving me crazy but definitely did not affect my ability to give my patients the best care possible. And our clinicians were right, if you treat your patients right, the numbers will take care of themselves.

As I am heading into my last couple weeks with patients on campus, I am feeling more comfortable than ever about my competency AND numbers. Although I won't be out in practice right away, I have been able to soak up the experience the best way I could. I struggled, I cried, I became frustrated on the verge of walking away--but looking back now, I can appreciate the obstacles I've had to overcome and above all else, I've had the best patients ever! :)

I only hope you will be able to soak up my experience no matter what school or program you choose! Take care of people and they will take care of you. :) Here's to my last weeks here at National!!