Day 43

Gratitude:  Last night I found my dream bike, this afternoon I GOT IT!  It was quite a long and drawn out process and I had to ride 14km home afterwards, but it was amazing.  The woman who sold it to me watched as I soared around a parking lot, feeling like a kid with training wheels on and a huge smile.  On my way home I stopped at Canadian Tire to get myself some lights for night riding, a pimpin’ basket, and a Powerade because MAN ALIVE is Toronto ever loaded with HILLS!  I’m a Windsor girl….born and raised.  If there’s one thing anyone should ever notice about Windsor, it’s that it’s 100% FLAT.  No hills.  Except maybe Suicide Hill down by Little River which is not even a real hill as it used to be a landfill and after it composted over…voila…”a hill” was born.  So anyway, today I’m grateful for my new bike.

Here’s my bike parked outside of Canadian Tire.  I *love* him.

I’m also grateful to have passed that horrifying nightmare of a board exam I did last week.  I didn’t expect the results to come so quickly but it’s official, I passed the OSCE and as long as I pass all my last courses this semester, it’s smooth sailing straight to my last internship year and on my way to Doctor CIT-AY!

Meditation:  Not gonna lie…last night was hard to focus.  I tried coming up with a cool meditation. I had nothing.  All I could envision was this new bike I was hoping to get.  Maybe that had something to do with it being available today?

Yoga: Wednesday’s Routine.  Totally necessary post-14km bike ride and all those darn hills, plus with carrying all the contents of my back-pack.

Food Awareness:  With the exception of the huge Powerade I drank earlier, I ate pretty Naturopathically today.  Oatmeal for breakfast, an apple for a snack, taco salad from school which I nearly inhaled, and soon I’ll be having a lovely spanish rice dish called Paella.  Pronounced “Pa-eh-ya” it’s my most favourite meal in the world.  Typically it contains a lot of seafood, but my sister and I grew accustomed to making a non-seafood version because CCNM was a fish-free zone for the past 4 years because someone was deathly allergic to it.  This is what it looks like:

Nature Appreciation:  Arnica Montana. I love this one.  This is my go-to remedy for bruises, any kind of musculoskeletal trauma, joint pain, or inflammation of the skin where it is not broken.   I mostly use this guy homeopathically, but it is excellent as a tincture as well in combination with other herbs.


Dear Bike, I Want You…

Day 42

Gratitude:  I’m grateful today for having an idea…I randomly had an idea today and then that idea was supported by many people and now I’m very excited about this idea.  The idea: I’m purchasing a bicycle.  Since April is just around the corner (and hopefully warm weather too), I realized I should really stop taking the subway to school and ride a bike instead.  Not only will I be helping the environment, but I’ll be helping my buttocks and thighs as well.  I know they would be appreciative of this new initiative.

Found this beauty on craigslist and from here on out, I am putting out positive vibes that whoever posted this on the site will grant me joy and happiness by not selling this bike to ANYONE ELSE BUT ME. haha

Meditation:  My night time meditation was lovely last night.  The story behind why: there are performers that play in the TTC subway system… I have a few favourites:

1)  Happy Guy with straight, dirty blonde hair, who plays his guitar and… I honestly don’t know what kind of music it is he plays but it’s just very very happy, as is he.  I’ve never seen this guy frown once.  I secretly want to be his friend.  I never seem to have time to stop and talk to him though, as I’m almost always late for class when I run past him at the Yonge and Eglinton station.

2) Spanish Guitar guy:  He can often be found at Bloor station, but sometimes I see him at Eglinton too.  I forget his name but we once had a conversation in Spanish, and after knowing that I’m half Mexican, he sometimes sings mexican songs when I walk by, at which point I wave hello and smile

3)  Saxophone man:  There is nothing sexier than a saxophone.  Saxophone man himself, is not sexy but the music he plays sure is.

There are so many others but these are my top 3 that I see on a regular basis and sort of feel like I *know* personally.

The reason I’m talking about this in the meditation section however, is because on Monday I was at the Yonge and Sheppard station and there was this young guy playing the celo.  I LOVE the celo and always wanted to play it when I was little.  This guy was amazing.  I immediately ripped my earphones off my ears to have a listen to his beautiful, soulful music.  The echo of the subway station made each note vibrate in my chest.  It was so lovely.  I decided to buy one of his CDs.  His name is Leo Zhang.  Last night I did a meditation to his songs.  I felt like I was in that Disney movie Fantasia…I’ve never seen the entire thing yet, but I do remember being fascinated as a child… the meditation focused mostly on the music and the effect it had on my nervous system.  I kept track of my heart rate and felt my heart beat faster and slower as the music became more intense, and then soft and sad.  Overall, it was a good experience and I slept very soundly last night.  Maybe a little too soundly, as for the second morning in a row, I slept right through my alarm again.  I just don’t seem to hear it anymore.

Yoga:  Did the Front Body Stretches routine for Tuesday today at home.  What was supposed to be another day of going to the studio turned into a slow morning at home and skipping classes even.  So I opted for an at-home yoga session today instead.

Food Awareness:  Pranometer scale = 8/10 today.  Pretty pleased with that!

Nature Appreciation: Chelidonium majus. This is SUCH a beautiful plant.  It’s from the Papaveraceae family and its actions are mostly Alterative, meaning it will alter an organ’s state of health from bad to good in very basic ways of speaking.  It mostly assists the Liver and Gallbladder functioning.  It is also anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antispasmodic.  For this reason it’s often used to treat any gallbladder or liver diseases, and gallstones.  But it can also be used for the treatment of whooping cough as it is anti-tussive, and for asthma too.

Meditating on the Chakras

Day 41

Gratitude:   Ever have one of those days where transportation seems to fail you on every level?  I had one of those today.  The subway stalled on my way to school this morning…and then it failed me again on the way home.   Never a fun situation.  My day picked up with an excellent Skyping session… (I LOVE Skype).  So today I’m grateful for that.  A note on skype:  it took me a really long time to join this thing.  It’s totally free, so I don’t know why I was so hesitant to get it.  But I’m loving it.

Meditation: Last night I did a chakra meditation.  Just imagined the chakra colours and tried envisioning the energy flowing up from the root to the crown.  It was very simple but the ten minutes went by pretty quickly.

Yoga:  I had a lovely weekend and thought I would change things up, yoga-wise.  Now that I’ve completed a month of my yoga challenge, and now that it’s Spring, I thought I might start going back to Moksha Yoga North York.  I have a 20-class pass that’s itching to get used up…  Unfortunately, I woke up late this morning and that plan didn’t exactly come to fruition.  So I’m hoping I can make it tomorrow.   Though, it’s already quite late so…we’ll see what happens.  Instead I did some Blissology as per usual.  I did the quickie Monday class.  As always, it never disappoints.

Food Awareness:  Last week the goal was the eat at least three times a day…for many reasons:

1)  My brain needed the fuel to survive OSCEs.

2)  My metabolism was taking a hard hit by not eating at least that many times per day.

3)  Eating this many times a day is basic self-care that everyone should engage in and make time to do and I think it’s sad I have to set out goals to remind myself to do this.  Especially considering how much I loooovee food.

I did successfully stick to my plan so I’m pretty pumped about that.  Baby steps.  The next step is to do a detox.  This is an excellent way to transition into the new season.  I haven’t decided when I’m going to start this one so will keep you posted on that…

Nature Appreciation: Olea Europaea… known to most as the OLIVE.  In practice we’re mostly talking about the fruit, or leaf here.  The oil from the fruit can be used to treat constipation, GI irritations, and can decrease heart disease risk.  It can decrease atherosclerosis, and cholesterol, and even coronary artery spasms.  It can increase HDL (the good cholesterol), and coronary artery blood flow.

Olive leaf extract can be used to treat chills, malarial fever, diarrhea, and severe viral infection with fever and chills.

Note:  Those who have gallstones should watch their consumption of oil from the olive fruit.

Rude Awakenings– Part2

Weekend Edition:

Last week I posted about my rude awakening coming to CCNM.  I showed up all excited to start, and quickly realized exactly how much work this program was going to be and how very little was going to be left of my adrenal glands when I graduate several years later…

However…I failed to mention there was another Rude Awakening I experienced…

Before coming to CCNM, I went to the University of Windsor.  In fact, I was part of the first ever graduating class of the Bachelor of Arts and Science Program (BAS).  This program was cool because you got to major and minor in an Art or a Science.  In highschool I couldn’t decide which of the two I liked better, so at least with this degree I didn’t really have to choose– though I clearly favoured the Sciences as I majored in Biochemistry and did a minor in Psychology.  There were only 8 of us in my year.  We called ourselves the “BAStards”.  The group was mostly female with the exception of two very cool guys…which are like brothers to me.

So, to summarize my undergrad… I was studying BIOCHEMISTRY (aka nerd city)…

and I suffered a serious boy-deficiency…. so … for 4 years I was very, very, SINGLE.

By the time I graduated from undergrad and was accepted to CCNM, I was excited to study Naturopathic Medicine, but mostly just to meet BOYS.

That morning of the first day of school, I took my TIME getting ready.  I got just about as dolled up as humanly possible.

I had my picture taken for my new student card on the first day of school.  To this day, when I look at that photo, all I can read on my facial expression is:  I’M GONNA MEET BOYS!! I’M SOOoo EXCITED!!

So I finally make it to my first lecture.  I don’t remember what the class was.  I just remember I spent a lot of time counting… counting boys…

…. and re-counting…

That’s when I realized… that in a class of about 100 students… 10 of them were male.  This was not good for my boy-deficiency…

I thought really hard… in search of ideas that could explain why there were so few males present…

I KNEW IT… they were all either:

a) Sick

b) Skipping the first day….the first day is never that important… or

c) Late for class

Any minute, the door would open and a parade of hot med-student boys would come strolling in… with their shirts off.

Everytime the door opened during class, I immediately turned around to see if it was a boy, coming to class LATE.  It never was.

A whole week went by, and the boys who were “sick”, were still not showing up.  A week turned into two weeks…two weeks turned into a month… still no new boys.

I was forced to face reality….

CCNM and therefore, I, was suffering a severe boy deficiency…

…and I was NOT impressed.

I did it!

Day 38

Gratitude:  I did it.  I survived OSCE’s 2011.  If you’re not sure what an OSCE is… we pronounce it “awe-skee”…and this link breaks down the process quite nicely.  It’s basically a standardized practical assessment of a physician’s clinical skills and ability to assess a patient and make a diagnosis.  In other words, it’s very stressful leading up to it, but it feels glorious to be done.  I feel that it went really well, but as always I won’t know for sure for a few weeks.  Until then, I’ll just wait anxiously for my results!  For now, I’m grateful it’s OVER!

Meditation: On Wednesday, my meditation took place in a bathroom of CCNM.  I showed up an hour and a half early for my exam and as I walked the halls and did a little last minute reviewing I think I saw 8 different people who all said something along the lines of “Meighan, relax.”  I realized that I was clearly giving off the impression that I was a ball of nerves–not the impression I want to give in the exam room… so I went to the bathroom, and I meditated.  I meditated on this exact phrase:  “You are calm and collected.  You can do this.”  Funny thing is that when I went to the “briefing room” where we were held for a while to get the low-down on how the next few hours were going to go, our briefer had “Eye of the Tiger” playing on her laptop to pump us up and asked us how we were feeling.  Everyone responded with an unconvincing: “Good.”  But I was more honest and said: “I could pretty much puke right now.”  To which the Briefer said, “WOW, you really couldn’t tell!”  I thought she was kidding at first but she said I looked totally calm and ready for action.  So there you have it.  The meditation worked like a charm.  Well I mean, maybe it wasn’t exactly still waters inside my own body, but to the outside world, it definitely appeared so, and that’s what I was going for.

Yoga:  My yoga classes have been very short this week.  There hasn’t been much time to do the longer classes because I’ve been studying like a maniac.  I’m pumped to have the OSCE now behind me and ready to get into my practice more!  With April around the corner, I thought I would change things up next week and start doing some classes at studios so I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how that goes.

Food Awareness: So far the plan to eat three times a day has been going fairly well.  Unfortunately earlier this week, though I did go to get food, most of the time I was too nervous to really finish any meals.  Now that OSCE’s are done and behind me, my appetite has returned to normal so things are looking up!

Nature Appreciation:  This isn’t an herb… but today in my Pediatrics class we talked about Autism and ADHD.  This class in general is cool because we break out into groups and manage different cases each week.  While on a quest to manage today’s case my group and I stumbled upon Dimethylglycine.  Also known as Vitamin B15, this nutrient can improve eye contact, frustration tolerance, speech, and interest in interacting socially in individuals with Autism.  It can also decrease aggressive behaviour toward self and others, it improves immune functioning, and boosts athletic performance.  Based on the research done so far, this is a relatively safe treatment that has had clinically significant results and has shown to be beneficial in treatment of Autism.



Day 36

Gratitude:  It’s the day before the big exam and so I figured I would do this posting now instead of later tonight when I should be getting some serious good rest and/or studying some more.  So for now I’m grateful that I’m planning that far enough ahead.

Meditation:  I tried incorporating a bit of asian medicine into my meditation last night.  There’s this point in your foot in between your big toe and second toe right in that spot where your skin goes from being smooth to rough.  It’s a heat releasing point that the intern I’m seeing at school needled last week.  I thought I would see if I could try visualizing heat flowing out of my body through that point.  In asian medicine, heat can manifest as lots of things…it can make you feel plain ol’ hot, or it can manifest as inflammation, red complexion, red acne that might bleed, itchiness…  The cool thing is that while doing this meditation I started feeling this really neat sensation I had never felt before.  If I had to describe it, it was almost like someone rubbed Icy Hot lotion on my toes.  My toes weren’t numb, but they definitely felt tingly and weird.  I also tried this meditation lying down since I wanted the energy to flow through my feet nicely, and surprise surprise, I didn’t fall asleep!

Yoga:  Side body stretches today!  Workin’ those bowels one good squeeze of the torso at a time!  I’m hoping this morning’s practice will have a long lasting effect.  Especially since I’m now really late to practice physical exams at school with my friends!!  (Sorry Sandy!)

Food Awareness:  Haven’t eaten yet.  But again, the goal is to eat three times today.  We’ll see how it goes today.

Nature Appreciation:  Pussy Willow.  I used to have a pussy willow plant in my house growing up.  Never really knew what it did… it’s called “Salix nigra” and it’s analgesic, anti-inflammatory, will reduce fevers, and is anti-rheumatic among other things.  Something that decreases temperature, pain and inflammation?… Sounds an awful lot like Aspirin.  Well, Salix alba….the sister to this plant, is actually what aspirin is derived from.  This plant however is slightly different because it’s also an anaphrodisiac…meaning it’s a sexual sedative.  Not sure how many people would actually want that, but Mother Nature provides for an abundance of needs…

Ball of nerves

Day 35

Gratitude:  Grateful today to be functioning.  Have been cramming physical exam information, hundreds of pathologies, red flag symptoms, lab tests, and other random information for the past few days.  People at school have been looking kind of sad with our impending OSCE exam coming up, myself especially included, but the love and encouragement of my friends and fellow classmates has been keeping me going.

Meditation:  Totally forgot to do it yesterday!  Ooops.  Too much studying leads to pure exhaustion, and forgetfulness…

Yoga:  Did Monday’s class and opted for the quickie version.   I foresee many quickie routines this week as it is after all OSCE week, and I’m not exactly in abundance of time here.  This class was certainly needed tonight.  

Food Awareness: Been focusing a lot on eating quality foods in this blog, but one thing that’s far more important is making sure I actually eat at all sometimes.  Lately I’ve just been so busy and on the go that I forget to eat all my meals.  This week the stress is definitely getting to me and today, though I had food, couldn’t even finish it because I was basically a ball of nerves.  So I think for the rest of this week I’m going to make it a goal to eat at least three times a day.  Kinda sad that this needs to be a goal of mine, but there you have it.

Nature Appreciation:  Herb of the year should go to Rhodiola rosea.  I take it in capsule form.   It’s meant to increase stamina and mental energy.  It can improve physical as well as mental performance, and may reduce fatigue.  I just started taking it in the mornings to help me survive the next month of exams.  I don’t know how I’ve survived med school so far without it.

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