Year 1 and me

The end of my first year of naturopathic medical school is looming, and I realize I’ve been remiss in keeping any kind of journal of updates. Where to even begin! So much this year. Science though, always the science.

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Personal growth has been more of a major theme this year, and while it may not yet seem apparent on the outside, there have been some big shifts on the inside that are likely to take awhile to integrate. I have been extraordinarily lucky to have free counseling services provided by my school, AT my school. (For me, this made all the difference.) I’ve never sought counseling before, but becoming a doctor is starting to feel like a big deal at the grand ol’ age of 29, and I have professors and doctors echoing the same. Coming into the program at a run, straight off the boat quite literally, and after a nice piece of “life experience” I felt like it was time to check in with myself and see if I couldn’t come up with some new insights on patterns and stumbling blocks. I drew an ace and got paired up with someone amazing, who always remembered my story, drew parallels I’ve never noticed, and offered support in a way I don’t know if I’ve ever had. I feel empowered, but in a loose-trucks-with-my-helmet-on sort of way. Trying to figure how to carry on with the work on my own, and also how to use the illumination to move forward into who I will become.

Being a doctor. And a woman. And a feminist. And spontaneous. Too much. Not enough. Converging non congruent ideas.

I can write you a list of courses, or concepts. It will in no way describe to you the value of this education. I am so enamored with the human organism. The numerous pathways and systems, checks and balances, safeguards and rogue deviations. There is nothing about this body that is simple. What we think we know is ever changing. Having studied anatomy twice prior, a form that wouldn’t expect changes once we’ve seen the cadaver… so much new info, changed names, altered understandings, better magnification, theories gone bust! My mind sparkles at the concept, the change, the vastness. With such dynamic in anatomy, you can imagine what that means for biochemistry, GI, neuro, endocrine, etc!

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Another genre I’ve explored this year is space. Solar systems, super nova, dark matter, and the universe. So much of what I learn about the human form reminds me of something I heard on How the Universe Works. The recursive pattern of nature. Mind blowing! I highly recommend a venture when you have the time and attention span. There have been more breakthroughs in recents months/years than in the past several decades, and it is inspiring and humbling to visualize my place in the world. A self-aware consciousness in the goldilocks zone of a holographic universe… Thank my lucky stars there are physicists willing to talk slow in small words so I can begin to comprehend these things!  (If you’re an inspiration junkie, I also highly recommend Shots of Awe by Jason Silva)

One of the greatest gifts I’ve been given this year is friendships. So many wonderful people have come into my world, as friends, study partners, adventurers, seekers, future colleagues. Walking into my first day of orientation I could already feel it. This is my family. These people get me. We are sharing an amazing journey towards something we all believe in. Last weekend we all went on a retreat together to practice our medicine, on ourselves and each other, in nature, of nature. And in the end as we were reflecting, I heard my same worries, my same struggles, my same gratitudes, my same achievements, in the voices of my cohort. Nothing feels like belonging to a purpose quite like that does. Reiteration that I’m in the right place. That I’m on my path.

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This year has been full of study and science and hard work. But the memories that stand out are of people and growth, of change and inspiration. This is not the scary medical school of legend. This is my future, started already, and my cultivation as a naturopath. This is my life, and I am blessed.

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Fimbriae, oocytes, and follicular liquor

Second day of embryology today. Learning the female anatomy and reproductive system. We’re waiting until next year to go over the hormones, since that takes us into endocrinology, so today it was anatomical and physiological. Much different than the male counterpart, more steps, more name changes, more complexity. Thank goodness I’ve been through this before, or my mind would be boggled! Continue reading

Yesterday I palpated the coccyx

They say the low back and pelvis are the hardest to palpate. And we’ll have to do it all the time. So we start there and work our way to the other, easier areas.

Yesterday was sacrum and coccyx. In case you don’t use these terms everyday, that’s very low back and tailbone. The first reaction, pretty much unanimously, was something like ‘ugh’ but it was actually quite interesting, relatively simple, and surprisingly variable! My first partner had a very obvious sacrum but hard-to-feel lumbar spine, which was exactly opposite what I expected, since the spine has SP’s (spinous processes) that stick out and are generally quite palpable. My second parter had a sacrum with a right torsion, and she is an ectomorph (thin, lanky) so it felt like a very large bump at the lower right end of her sacrum, and almost no coccyx palpable. My third partner was quite simple to feel all of the bony landmarks. Amazing how vastly different the same (assumably) structures can feel from one person to the next. Anatomic variability is really quite diverse, and yet still similar in very important ways.

Today we study more physiology. And probably do out practice exam. Wish me luck!