Cat-Year In Review 2010

So I’ve finished digesting Apples and I’m fully saturated with Walgreen’s generic answer to Benadryl, kept awake only by a steady Godiva dark chocolate drip.

And I’ve been told in no uncertain terms to stay out of my partner’s office.  This means I have a little time on my hands, which always produces something.

Being New Year’s Eve and all, I figured that the most appropriate activity to occupy my time is to reflect on a hell of a year, meant both good and…challenging.

1. Year of the Door Didn’t Hit Me In the Ass; I Was Already Gone: To assign credit where it is due, Dallas did have its purpose.  It gave us a jumping off point that allowed us to blend in with everyone else from somewhere else and experience Texas, even if it was a heavily commercialized, Californicated, and heavily watered-down tourist version.  It taught us how to eat out in style, drive offensively, appear financially well-endowed, and to powershop with the best.

But let’s face it – we didn’t fit in, and it didn’t fit us.  Not long after we settled in did we start counting the days (and the ways) in which we could leave.  But you knew that.  Almost a decade later came the lucky break; we graduated and found ourselves at a massive crossroads.  We took the plunge.  We said goodbye to Dallas, its people, its money, our house, its extra space, and major traffic jams.  We said hello to trees, hills, wildflowers, nice people, crazy eccentric people, a small apartment, two and a half hours daily, and our lives as we surrounded ourselves with warmer people and short commutes.

2. Year of the Let’s Hope the Ripcord Works: Last year at this time we had checked out of clinic and begun the search for suitable office space.  We indeed opened an alternative medicine practice near you…that is, if you’re in San Antonio, north and just west of midline.

Truth be told, it’s one of the toughest things we’ve ever done.  There were several instances where it bordered on the near-impossible.  But we knew that countless people had gone before us and done the same thing, some of whom aren’t exactly the sharpest knives in the drawer.  And if they could do it, so could we…and so we kept on.

The scariest thing is the financial free-fall.  It took eight months of bringing in exactly zero before we saw any income (from September 2009’s final student loan disbursement check until mid-May 2010’s first paying patient).  We have plenty to be thankful for.  We at least made rent the first month and discretionary purchases by fall/winter.

3. Year of the Disrupted Physiology Despite Doing Everything Right: Two things happened overnight.  I lost the ability to sleep and I joined the miserable group that suffers seasonal allergies.  Turns out that gluten was just the tip of my food sensitivity iceberg; I now react to seven different common foods (some more common than others, like, oh, eggs and dairy).

All this despite a non-existent commute, a much better city, a rock-star diet (figuratively, of course…shudder to think otherwise), a complete change in diet (to account for–and accommodate–my newly-discovered food allergies), a 21-day cleanse (not to mention remaining ON the cleanse supplement afterward as a post-cleanse maintenance), and having finished school.  No longer did I have to drive, study, work hard for peanuts, or continue to deluge my body with allergens.  And yet, I became a train wreck overnight.  And I’ve had to spend the rest of the year (and probably well into next) getting myself back.  WTF indeed.

4. Year of the Complete Dietary Overhaul: Yes, since I’m allergic or highly reactive to gluten, eggs, milk, peanuts, strawberries, kiwi, and raw tomatoes, I’ve had to make a few changes.  I gave up the ice cream, the pico de gallo, the kiwis and strawberries, in my fruit smoothies, my peanut butter sandwiches, oatmeal, and my scrambled eggs.  I now eat bacon and other extremely fatty meats, corn pasta, coconut oil, and ghee.  I drink Clearvite shakes with almond milk, and Vitamin Water Zeroes.  Much has changed.

5. Year of the Steep Learning Curve: If we thought the past 3 years were chock-full of information, we hadn’t seen nothin’ yet.  This year we probably averaged one out of every 3 weekends out of town just at classes and seminars.  Our travels ranged from Kansas City to Houston, with Dallas, Austin, and here (yay!) in between.  Whether it was a 2-hour freebie after-hours on the Riverwalk or a 3-day intensive at the Intercontinental Airport in Houston or the chiropractic college in Overland Park, Kansas, we were there.  Pediatrics, neurology, adjusting techniques, and massive amounts of Functional Medicine (blood chemistry, endocrinology, autoimmunity, neurochemistry, sleep-wake cycles, and thyroid disorders) were all fair game.  Yee-haw.

The Learning Curve had another entire dimension to it, too – that whole first-year-in-practice thing.  Suddenly we were designing our own intake forms, devising phone scripts, brainstorming for patient acquisition and marketing strategies, signing contracts with credit card processors, advertising sources, and more.  We were buying furniture, equipment, decorations, electronics, books, office supplies and so much more.

And now we’re looking at new computer operating systems, insurance company network plans, and even more additional education.  Not to mention case management (vegans, infertility, cancer survivors, hepatitis, and autoimmune disorders), patient education/communication, etc.  On the horizon: our own lobby PowerPoints, email newsletters, office flyers, and health class presentations.

* * *

I have indeed made New Year’s Resolutions, although that’s kind of a work in progress, so this list might not be inclusive.

  • To get my physical health BACK, to get back in shape, and to manage my stress – to BE that example for my patients.  (I probably need to go fairly Paleo…wish me luck!)
  • To learn everything I can about my patients.  To interact with them well, to explain things clearly, to treat them with respect, and to help them understand what’s going on and what we’ll do about it.
  • To get through my CCN education and absorb everything I can.
  • To read the books I have – IFM textbook, Primal Blueprint, Body By Science, the CCN books.
  • To meet and network with other area professionals, especially medical doctors and osteopaths.
  • To nurture my creativity.
  • To learn my way around the Apple OS/iMac and become proficient at it.
  • To PLAY – martial arts, music, Wii, hanging out with friends, yoga, Nia–we have it all.  Must partake!
  • To cultivate more friendships and do more social things – park concerts, festivals, theater productions, get-togethers, social groups, or just small informal groups.
  • To become more familiar with, and involved in/with, San Antonio and its people.  Why not take SA up on the shit-ton it has to offer?
  • And of course, to grow our practice, help more people, get the word out, go gangbusters, and even start doing distance care!

* * *

In short, 2010 rocked, ruled, and shook the earth.  It was everything I figured it would be (which was a LOT), and more!  The Universe never fails to deliver, especially when you’re 1) ready/prepared, and 2) NOT AFRAID.  We took our first real steps this year, and we had some significant moments.  Now we’re going to go have more.

* * *

Music Bonus: The songs that told the 2010 story…

1. Ulrich Schnauss – “Wherever You Are”
2. Billy McLaughlin – “Innerstate”
3. Soda Stereo – “En El Borde”
4. Morcheeba – “What Do New York Couples Fight About”
5. Goldfrapp – “Alive”
6. Cafe Tacuba – “La Locomotora”
7. Bon y Los Enemigos Del Silencio – “El Gato”
8. Squeeze – “No Place Like Home”
9. Julieta Venegas – “A Donde Sea”
10. Julieta Venegas – “Sueno De Sombras”
11. Stella Starlight – “Don’t You Forget About Me”
12. Basia – “Perfect Mother”
13. Gnarls Barkley – “Run (I’m a Natural Disaster)”
14. Gnarls Barkley – “Going On”
15. Michael Franti & Spearhead – “The Thing That Helps Me Get Through”
16. Zero 7 – “Crosses”
17. Jaguares – “Y Si”
18. Great Northern – “Houses”
19. Mexican Institute of Sound – “Yo Digo Baila”
20. Mexican Institute of Sound – “Mirando Las Muchachas”

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