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
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.
Boy, do I have a BIG case of Senioritis! We've talked about
motivation before, about how to stay motivated, studying for
midterms, etc. But this is a whole new level of short-timer's
syndrome. Surely you all know what I mean. It's -- day before
vacation, Friday afternoon, last week of school -- syndrome. The
unfortunate thing is, I don't think I'm classified as a senior
Last week, Forest (age 14) and I were talking about school. It
seems that we're both lacking in motivation (except I seem to hide
it a little bit better). During this conversation he said to me,
"Mom, I've had senioritis since the 5th grade" -- to which I
laughed. He's in 9th grade now. But I know exactly what he means.
Being in 7th Tri provides just a bit of a tease regarding being
done (writing business plans, talking about practices, etc.). The
fact that we keep talking about clinic is a pretty big deal. We've
already started talking about schedules. It's coming quick. I can't
wait. As far as Forest and his senioritis, he's got a good bit
longer to go than I do. It'll probably be a bit more of a struggle
for him than for me. Until then, we'll have to keep tabs on our
goofing off and not doing schoolwork.
One thing that people don't really talk about outside of school
(at least it seems that way) is variation. When you get to cadaver
lab, you'll see how vastly different things are from body to body.
Sometimes an artery is on the medial side of the muscle --
sometimes the lateral. Maybe there's a split in the vein and maybe
there isn't. I happen to know that none of my nerves in my head and
face are in the "right" spot. I have a condition known as a Chiari
malformation. I tell everyone that my brain is too big for my skull
-- which is actually true (but still funny). But the fact that the
junction where most of the cranial nerves exit is lower in the head
has made for interesting positioning as far as the rest of them. My
dentists are always (not) amused if I need work done. And we
figured out that regarding acupuncture of the head (on Saturday),
it's not necessarily a good idea for me.
So, regardless of the condition or the modality, it's important
to remember that not all people are wired the same, have the same
sensitivities, or respond to therapies the same way. There is no
"one size fits all" approach. The idea of "protocols" is a trap
that we can fall into -- but we have to keep in mind, that our
patients are individuals with unique bodies and unique needs.
Dave and Ricky
In Modalities this morning, we were experimenting with TENS
units. Since it didn't happen last week, I wasn't going to include
it in this week's post, but the reactions were priceless. Ricky and
Dave decided to "exercise" (or maybe it was exorcise, LOL) the
Have a great week, everybody!!!!
Did everybody enjoy the long weekend? Wow! What a weekend?!?
First, I need to say thank all the powers of the Universe for
days off. I've been sneezing my fool head off ever since, but I
spent most of the day cleaning. Having a clean house is Zen. I can
now sit in the middle of my living room in the lotus position
holding my fingers together. I won't (because I don't have time),
but the important thing is -- I CAN.
I spent some time out in the world this weekend, when I wasn't
cleaning or studying. We get so sheltered, living in academia, that
we forget how different it is. I came across a lot of stigma about
chiropractic. Education helps fix that. Sometimes people just have
to be exposed to what we're doing, what we're learning and
practicing, and the basis for our practices in order to step beyond
the conditioning they've received. Some won't. And that's OK. We'll
love them anyway.
I received a big reminder about how difficult it is to practice
"lifestyle medicine." We spend a lot of our time talking about
changes that have to be made to the diet or lifestyle. I honestly
don't know how many times a week that I tell someone something
like, "Well, that could be fixed with removing XYZ from the diet."
Here's the thing though: People don't want to remove XYZ from their
diet. We're all familiar with people who continue to eat fast food
or candy or soda and their effects on the body. We're also familiar
with how many of those people end up injecting insulin or taking
metformin. People do not respond well to change. The prevailing
opinion is that it's easier to either accept the condition they
have (and the symptom management) rather than to prevent or cure
the issue by making change.
I'm honestly not sure where this mentality comes from. Perhaps
it's the American adage that a pill fixes everything. I have a hard
time believing that people are that *bad word alert* lazy (sorry).
For some that I've talked to, they can't believe that making a
change to their diet or activity levels will make them feel better,
or that they've tried everything and nothing has worked. After all,
they're dealing with complex health issues like autoimmune
disorders, diabetes, and heart disease. Some will listen to reason
and participate in education and others won't. Age doesn't seem to
have a bearing on this -- people of all ages fall into this
grouping. Perhaps I'd be the best physician ever, if I could figure
out what would get through to people that have this block. But for
right now, I'm struggling with the acceptance (which really sounds
like defeat) that people have of their dysfunctions, and the lack
of willingness to do anything about it. On compliance with lifestyle recommendations --
what do you think?
Since stress management is a big part of lifestyle, here is a
sunset picture I took on Monday. Remember. Zen.
As a self-reported "lifestyle change queen", I'm all too ready
to make changes in my own life with the goal of feeling better. Dr
S. tells us, as students, that we need to try things in order to be
able to recommend them to our patients (speaking of dietary
changes). Given that one of my own issues is Celiac disease, a
change in lifestyle was the ONLY option for becoming healthy. I
can't even begin to express how drastically my life changed in
response to that.
Some changes are harder to make. Cutting down my rice
consumption has been one of them. I'm down to only 2-3 servings per
week at this point. But others are so much easier. For me, it comes
down to the information, and hope. How will I feel once this change
has been made? What are the possibilities? What information can I
find that supports this decision?
Is there a change that you need to make? What's stopping you?
What if you felt a million times better, increased the quality and
quantity of your life, and it only took a short period of
Maybe these are the questions we should be asking our (future)
Have an amazing week, everyone.
Last week was an exercise in determination. Over the past 10
days, I would say, I've had to give myself some pretty intense pep
talks, and I've been given a few as well. So, I'm writing to you
all here today, a little bit bruised, a little bit frustrated, and
hopefully a little bit wiser. There are times, whether it's in your
education, in your personal life, or in your business when you ask
yourself why you're doing what you're doing. I've been asking just
The reminders of "why?" have been few and far between. The
occasional bone gets thrown my way -- some great tidbit or some
nuance of fact that changes how I look at things. I need more of
those -- a lot more. I find that all I want to do is pour myself
into the science and the learning, outside of the classroom. I love
the learning; I just question sometimes being a student.
(Image source: www.barewalls.com)
Tonight, after the regular day, are our male and female
sensitive exams. The nervousness is palpable in the building. Some
have asked why we have to do this. After all, most people decided
to come here to become chiropractors -- and not necessarily primary
care physicians. And at the same time, maybe some came to become
primary care physicians, but not urologists or gynecologists. I
have an (un)fair advantage. In my former education, I learned and
performed these exams. So I'm going into this with a lot cooler
head. That doesn't mean that I haven't given it any thought.
I've been giving a lot of things, a lot of thought.
In business class, we've been talking about a few different
things. We've talked about malpractice insurance and business plans
and several other things. One of the most common questions people
in class ask, or professors talk about is, "How do we get
I'll be honest, and most of my classmates get so tired of
hearing me talk about this, but for me, it has nothing to do with
money. It may be poor planning on my part, but I know that if the
service is there, if I'm able to do what I need and want to do and
take care of my patients, then the money will come. Of course, that
doesn't mean that I'm not fully on-board with hiring a
businessperson to take care of that for me.
I've come across something that I find really, really amazing.
Huffington Post published this article: "This Guy Stopped Charging Clients and He Has Zero
Regrets." Adrian Hoppel, who is a web designer and not a
chiropractor, has converted his business into a gift economy. The
short version of his business model is that he does work, and
presents it to his clients as a gift. There's no price set,
although his clients are well educated on how much work is
involved. He's finding that not only is he making more money, but
also he's happier. What do you guys think? Could this work? I'm
doing a fair amount of investigation on how we might be able to
translate this to medical care.
Eisenstein who was part of Adrian's inspiration, has written a
book called Sacred Economics that talks about gift
economy. It's available to read free online. It's on my list. I'll
report back after I'm done with it. If you read it or have read it,
PLEASE send me your thoughts.
Have a great week everybody! Keep the faith, or if you can't
find it -- find some.
Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day. I love you guys! <3
Happy Week 5 Everybody! This week is the first exam week. I'm a
little scared (not really -- but maybe I should be). I have 4 this
week (3 here at NUHS and 1 at UWS). From Botanical Medicine II to
Evidence Based Nutrition, there's a lot of material to cover -- and
I have a lot of work to do.
Last Friday was our Tri Mixer. We had Trivia -- Chiro style,
food, and all kinds of crazy fun. I was told that the "Five
Sphincters" Trivia team was the winner. I'm not sure how the other
teams fared. But I know we were all having fun. It was good to get
to meet/see some of the younger Tris. I'd met some of the new
students at Club Day or previous mixers, but since we're all so
separated, it's rare that we get to see each other. There's a good
crew of people coming up. I'm excited.
So, last night was the Super Bowl. I didn't watch it and I don't
know who won. This morning on my Facebook news feed are random
people posting random statements about the game, ads, different
players, etc. Lots of people are talking about the commercials (I
didn't watch) and how much they cost. It's my understanding that a
30-second ad costs approximately $4 million.
Here are some things that we could do with $4 million, instead
of buying a Super Bowl ad:
Rather than getting a pizza, or watching something cute for a
few seconds, we could buy people well-being, cancer prevention,
health, and basic security. I realize that this is a bit of
commentary, and may not be popular, but I feel like we needed a
little bit of perspective. We support businesses with our money and
Let's go make a difference this week.
Have a great one, everybody!!!
• After the DC Degree
• Botanical Medicine
• 1 Year at National
• Marketing Project
To read older blog posts, scroll to the bottom and click the "Older Posts" button.