(Belated) reflections on the year 2015: last year in review


Since Mercury is retrograde and all that, I’m playing catch-up, and I’m painfully aware that is there a lot of catch-up to play.

This post is fashionably embarrassingly late, but hey–better late than never, and stuff.

Last year was kind of a continuation of 2014, in some ways.  And in other ways, it wasn’t.

I looked at last year’s post of this type and, well, I’m about 6 for 12 in the New Year’s Resolution department.  I did indeed keep shedding old junk, attend two functional medicine classes plus the annual conference, complete some important office projects, accumulate more research, and investigate further training (Diplomates and Masters Degrees).

The list that followed, though, the “What do I realistically see ahead for 2015?”, turned out to be much more accurate.  Other than the dental work, meeting more colleagues, starting to watch “Walking Dead” or “Alias”, and going to Chicago, I pretty much nailed the entire list.  The details:

My tia loca came to stay with us in the spring again, and again, we headed out to El Paso in search of pretty scenery and chapped lips.  We also ended up crossing the border into Mexico for all of four hours.  Although short, the Mexico visit was sweet.

Speaking of trips, my training this year took me to Palm Springs, CA, and Dallas.  Palm Springs is very surreal.  My flight connection was through the Los Angeles airport (LAX), which wasn’t quite the bear I thought it would be, but then again, I wasn’t traveling through there near Christmas.  The training itself rocked.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of attending Robert Rountree, MD’s presentations on the gut microbiome, you simply haven’t lived.

Speaking of professional life, I’m currently in the process of getting my “systems” in order and this year saw a lot of revisions and streamlining of templates, adding to their feel of maturity and consistency.  I’ve also decided to pursue a Masters Degree, but that won’t begin until the second half of 2017.

Speaking of office life, my partner began to look at getting a separate acupuncture license and a Masters Degree of his own in Oriental Medicine.  There was indeed a program opening here in our city but alas, it was not to be.

To make a very long story short, it was a confusing and frustrating situation filled with incompetence, doublespeak, suspected prejudice, chaos, the dreaded voice mail and fax machine black holes, and eventual rejection.  And yes, I’m being extremely objective.  In fact, I’m being very nice.

Speaking of partner-life, we had another go-round with financial infidelity in the spring, which ended us up in the office of another counselor, one who specialized more in addictive behaviors, whom we both had a hand in choosing and agreeing to.  He has given us some insight and delved into past events and family relationships that may have set this problem in motion years before it actually surfaced.  We began to have some more open, honest communication, learning things about each other that we hadn’t known, despite celebrating 16 years together so far.

Speaking of personal life, my grandfather passed away over the summer, which necessitated another trip to Minneapolis and a tearful funeral.  Although we weren’t particularly personally close, per se, it reinforced the cruel fact of life that life and the world as you know it will change and morph into something you may never have seen coming.  Grief once again reared its painful head.

Speaking of health, after a hiatus, my tooth pain came roaring back and again, I sought relief from the Traditional Chinese Medicine formulas but this time, it was not to be.  To I had to resume my insane intake of over-the-counter pain relievers.

When I wasn’t in tooth pain, I was filled to the brim with histamine and its accompanying hay fever symptoms.  I swung back and forth, sometimes rapidly, between sneezing and groaning in pain, usually with very little time in between spent feeling human.

To deal with the various stressors that kept popping up and down like a whack-a-mole game at the fair, I continued my exploration of PubMed research archives and mining for golden informational tidbits, while watching various select TV shows in the background.  Having exhausted all of House MD, Breaking Bad, and X-Files, I grabbed onto CSI, Law and Order, and Forensic Files for late-night comfort.

I did begin to sleep a bit more, though.  Sleep is touch-and-go as always, but I do feel that I slept more.  This year, something else changed a bit: when I didn’t sleep, I realized that I was at peace with not being asleep.  I had made at least some peace with the insomnia.

Emotionally, there was a lot of fear this year, as our practice went through a financial drought of sorts that began in the spring and progressed through the summer, from which we haven’t quite yet made a full recovery.  Note: the (Un)Affordable Care Act sucks.  I warned about it before, and I was right.

There was a lot of sadness, surrounding my grandfather’s death and the realization that life as I knew it had irrevocably changed, and frighteningly, would continue to do so.  There was a lot of frustration, especially during the process of my partner’s application for the acupuncture program.  There was a lot of anger, especially during the let’s-hide-more-spending-from-the-wife period that dragged us into more counseling.

On the flip side, there was also a lot of fun.  El Paso, Palm Springs, and Mexico made for excellent trips.  Forensic Files is a fairly well-done show.  PubMed never disappoints, and there were several exciting new journals that birthed themselves during this past year.  My partner and I reached some new and deeper connections and understanding.  Training always leaves my brain gasping for breath but fired up, ready to conquer the world.

And, I still refuse to upgrade my software, simply because I’m happy with what I have, and I don’t see the need to make any changes, nor do I have the desire, time, or patience to learn another version of an OS, no matter how slight some people perceive the differences/adjustment to be.  The only issue is that this site doesn’t load well on my main go-to browser on my laptop, which is what I spend the most time on.  Which simply means that I may be even later with this type of post next year.  But who knows–miracles sometimes happen.

New Year’s Resolutions Goals:

  • Dental work.  Note to self: Do not hit the snooze button this time.
  • Finish Functional Medicine Advanced Practice Modules (only 2 left!) and submit a case for committee review
  • Continue down the ever-present list of office projects
  • Continue working on my office systems
  • Study more for the CCN exam
  • Maintain open communication, both personally (with my partner, friends, and family) and professionally (with patients and coworkers)
  • Watch my carbohydrate and junk food intake; shed a little extra weight
  • Run my ION and 23andMe tests
  • Continue with couples’ counseling; investigate marriage mentorship seriously
  • Investigate the Internal Medicine Diplomate
  • Blog (even if just a little) more regularly

I don’t necessarily need a second “Realistic” list this year, because that’s pretty much it.


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