on The Holidays

What does a pharmacy student do during her weeks off?

  • Read books that don’t require memorization
  • Bargain shop for organization tools
  • Take naps
  • Out-nerd herself by creating a Power-Point presentation for the family about the evils of sugar and grains

Yeah. I made a presentation about nutrition for my family – for fun. Oh dear. I have truly out-geeked my self.

The good news? They loved it! I have my family doing a 28-day detox program. No grains, no sugar, no processed carbs.

Lots of veggies, protein, and fat. It’s a bit shocking to people when they hear that oatmeal isn’t the holy grail of health foods. I also clued my family into the cholesterol-myth. I’ll give you the short version.

 

In our society, cholesterol is like the antichrist – satan incarnate in a molecule. Having high cholesterol numbers is considered a death sentence. We equate cholesterol with blood clots and heart attacks, which is partially true, but there is much more to the story.

Picture an artery or a vein – a hollow tube that carries blood. When the inside of that tube gets damaged in some way by inflammation or a lesion, the body calls in a band aid to patch it up. That band-aid is also known as cholesterol. Once the cholesterol band-aid is in place, the lesion is covered and it can heal…IF the inflammation doesn’t continue. If the inflammation DOES continue, other cells are called to the site, accumulate around the band-aid, and become larger over time. Eventually, the band-aid can break off an form a clot in the vessel.

Blaming heart attacks on high cholesterol is like blaming a paper cut on all the band-aids lying around the house.

So where does the damage come from? What is the root cause?

Sugar. Plain and simple. It’s one of the most inflammatory, damaging, oxidizing substances we ingest. Every carb you eat is eventually broken down into sugar: bread, rice, oatmeal, wheat, corn, barley, pasta, fruit, popcorn, etc. etc.

How do you minimize the damage? Stay away from sugar, plain and simple. If you’re addicted, the first three days will be tough. Once you get past those, its easy sailing. The sweet cravings disappear. Your body starts feeling level, normal, and happy.

Things to avoid/eat sparingly that are usually praised: Oatmeal, juice, agave nectar, very sugary fruits, grains of every sort, popcorn, rice, and any kind of grain flour.

Does it sound hard? It is if you’re grain-dependent. But think about all the lovely things you CAN eat!

Green veggies: broccoli, asparagus, celery, kale, lettuce, spinach,  cabbage, anything green!

Other veggies: tomatoes, squash, radishes, daikon, carrots, onions, peppers, mushrooms, everything!

Protein: Cows, Chickens, Sheep, Pigs, Fish, Other Miscellaneous Sea Creatures, Birds, Eggs, Dairy!

Fat. Its good for you. Eat it. Bacon, Nuts, Olive Oil, Coconut oil, Butter, heavy cream, go for it!

Seasonings and herbs. Salt, pepper. All these foods have their own flavors, their distinct profiles. The taste of a well prepared kale sautee alongside a chunk of salmon and a pile of buttery carrots will easily beat that slice of chocolate cake.

Once you experience 5, 6, 7 days without sugar, you’ll be repulsed at the thought of sabotaging your body with it. Your immune system, pancreas, skin, heart, kidneys, and liver will all thank you. Your mind will clear and you’ll be able to distinguish thirst from hunger. Hunger in between meals will dissipate, replaced by steady energy and strong muscles.

In short, it’s a good thing. Try it for a week. You won’t be sorry!

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on…Oncology

Two days just flew by – they were spent close on the heels of a vastly experienced oncologist and a clinical pharmacist in a regional cancer treatment center.

I was privileged to observe the profession and get a first hand feel for what practicing in the field of oncology entails. For many months now I’ve been leaning towards, even dreaming of, this obscure and shapeless vision of what I want to be and what I want to use my PharmD for. I envisioned a sharp, intelligent pharmacist whose expertise was focused on cancer treatment, prevention, and research. She would work in a clinic: building relationships with patients, advising doctors, wielding her knowledge in a skillful way that makes others feel at ease. But there was a problem with this vision – does it actually exist? Is there someone, somewhere, doing what I just described? I didn’t know if there was, but the last two days have confirmed it! I can legitimately work towards being an oncology clinic pharmacist – they do exist.

Now that I have something definite to work towards, a plan of action, and a field of combat, I feel much more motivated and capable. It’s not so different a feeling from that of a cancer patient…there is an initial apprehension and fear at having cancer, but once a strategic plan is put in place, the patient’s resolve snaps into place and a resilience evolves in their spirit that is fully capable of withstanding all the tests and treatments and surgeries.

I’d like to shadow a few more oncologists in the coming years, perhaps a few pharmacists, and I’ll start reading everything about cancer I can get my hands on. I need to understand this beast if I’m going to conquer it.

On a tangent, there is the issue of health professional’s health. If we are not healthy, we cannot care for patients adequately, therefore we must keep ourselves functioning well in order to best care for the patient. I am more aware of my health as a result of the past two days. We live in a nation that relies on mass produced eggs, meat, pesticide laden produce, etc etc…products that create nutrient deficiencies, physiological abnormalities, and all manner of economic chaos. I want to work toward being an example and an encouragement to patients.

Over the next couple days I need to decide what my preferences are for summer practice experiences. Where, when , who…we’ll see.

on A Satisfied Smile

Well, dear friends, that’s that (brushes hands together, shrugs).

First semester of pharmacy school, done and done.

Wow.

Praise God for sustaining, counseling, helping, guiding, and loving.

Thank the Lord for bundles of dear best friends who pray and ask, ” How are you really doing?”

Whew.

There is a semi-serious snow falling outside…it’s trying to fall softly, quietly, like a proper, friendly snow but it’s just not succeeding; it is being driven to the ground by the wind and sticking there rather quickly and ungracefully. Still, I’m glad for it – better snow with its white purity than a drizzly gray freezing rain or a hopeless, mucky slush.

from{this is glamorous}

Yesterday was the first glorious day of respite. I simply existed for a good part of it. Hulu did me the great service of providing His Girl Friday, with Cary Grant, for free. I’m discovering that old movies really are superior…after all these years of avoiding the black and white because of some perceived ‘boring’ quality to them. I’ve also just watched Holiday with Grant and Katherine Hepburn; it’s a delicious tale of a rebel and a drama queen and following the heart of things, which is really what movies should be.

So there you have it: this break shall be filled with existing, vintage movies, perusing glorious design blogs, reading the Word, being with loved ones, and not a small amount of joy.

Next semester, I want to be hyper-organized. Now that I know how everything works in pharmacy school, I feel much more capable to create a precise filing and binder system that allows for easy access. A place for everything …

on Seven down, one To Go

Yep. Eight finals…it should have been seven, but I made some slightly idiotic mistakes on my Calculations exam, so I’m re-taking it in a couple hours.

Wow – God is so good though. He has provided me with time, a clear mind, wonderful friend for support and encouragement, and His word. Yesterday He showed me just what I needed through a dear friend:

Isaiah 43
But now, this is what the LORD says –
He who created you, O Jacob
He who formed you, O Israel
Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name;

you are Mine.

If you get a chance, read the whole chapter…its a letter from God to you.

on Hope, Light at the End of the Proverbial Tunnel

You know, I love pharmacy school.

I love pharmacy school.

That’s right…I love pharmacy school.

Just keep repeating that to my self when it’s hard not to think the opposite.

Today is Sunday; I’ve got until Thursday.

Monday: Calculations. Cumulative. Just finished the review packet, feeling super ready. Bring it like you mean it.

Tuesday: Pathophysiology. About to continue review – need to go over pseudogynecomastia. Don’t ask.

Wednesday: Pharmaceutics and Foundations. Pharmaceutics is going to be gnarly.

Thursday: Pharmacology. Need to start studying that tonight/tomorrow.

 

Four more days of coffee, bloodshot eyes, fighting off sore throats, and thinking about that glowing spot off in the distance called Christmas.

The weather, thankfully, is gray, overcast, and gloomy. The sky is brooding over Pullman, pulled down tight like a dark gray cap. Very conducive to studying.

I’m listening to the Wailin’ Jennys and Sufjan Stevens on Grooveshark to keep me goin’ strong. They’re my favorites; they fuel my love for blue grass and banjos. If I could find a decent, reasonably priced banjo and an accompanying instructor, this song would be the first I learned. So lovely.

I made beer bread this afternoon, but I used a very dark beer. Consequently, the bread tastes like a beefy porter. Alot.

Between Calculations and Pathophysiology I went on a drizzly walk with Esther. Love that girl. We prayed and talked and strolled. Sometimes a solid walk is very necessary.

I convinced Madison to put coffee and chocolate in her chili…the flavors sing now instead of just dancing on the tongue.

Speaking of coffee, after this week a coffee detox may be necessary. I’m starting to suffer from caffeine-induced psychosis.

Christmas…what did you ask for? I asked for a spatula-edged beater for my Kitchen-Aid mixer, a backpack, and a heated blanket.

Random.

Oh – one more thing!

Next Monday and Tuesday, I get to go down to Lewiston and shadow an oncologist; I am allowed to stalk him and the pharmacists he works with, ask them questions, get the vibe of the place. Figure out if I really want to be a clinical pharmacist in an oncology department. If I really want to spend two more years after these four in a residency.

We’ll see 🙂