Monday Night Update

People say that time flies when they’re having fun, but I know [without a doubt], that whoever first spoke those words has never tried to learn a semester’s worth of material in 2 weeks.

Time seems to pass these days according to my exam schedule – and yes – we recently learned my entire fall 2012 biochemistry class in 2 weeks. I’ve heard many of my friends utter these same words, “This time I’m gonna stay on top of it. I’m going to start studying tonight”. Inevitably though, the thought creeps in that we have 2 weeks until the next one, so one night off can’t hurt — work-life balance right? Wrong.

These are merely excuses, but this is why I have not posted in what feels like ages – 2 tests to be exact.

Now, I know you’re going to ask – “How is school going?”

It’s going well, actually. I love learning. Like for real, love learning. Every day there is something to be excited about, something to marvel at, and also feel completely overwhelmed by. It’s a game of give-and-take.

To be honest though, finding this balance is probably the most challenging part. I want to continue living my life and not let school become the end-all, be-all. Even though medical school is a huge goal I’m undertaking right now, I still ambitiously try to make it to CrossFit 3x per week, read a couple pages of a book before I fall asleep at night and have a non-med school conversation occasionally [it’s tough]. These are things that make me, Madeline and I’m refusing to let them go just yet.

Yesterday, as I was walking our family dog – Bodie – I listened to a podcast produced by 99% Invisible. If you haven’t heard of it, I totally recommend that you check the channel out – my personal favorite is Episode #127, The Sound of Sports.

Anyways, I listened to a podcast on the invention of the stethoscope and it stopped me in my tracks. Before the stethoscope, whatever was happening inside the patient was a mystery and doctors relied on asking questions, and then they actually listened to their stories. These days, we rarely use our stethoscopes and rely on tests, CT scans, ultrasounds, you name it, to give us a diagnosis.

“Before the stethoscope, you had to feel sick to be sick. After the stethoscope, to be sick, the doctor had to find something”. – Dr. Jacalyn Duffin

As I listened to this podcast, I began asking myself – how do we make sure our patients feel heard, and not like they are just a list of data points and symptoms? I’m asking myself – how can I do this better? How can I ensure that I first listen to my patient’s story before listening to their tests?

From the perspective of the patient – have you ever had an interaction with a doctor that made you feel seen? What did he/she do differently?

Denver Bicycle Party

I LOVE puns. Or nerdy jokes/pickup lines. These are very important facts about myself.

In college, I met one of my closest friends and she just gets this about me. For example, we always send each other those memes with cats on them making chemistry jokes, like this one here and more here

a98010_Science-cat-Chemistry-Jokes

My sisters also get the pun obsession. We are always trying to come up with creative ways to say something and usually crack ourselves up in the process. [I am a strong believer in the necessity of laughing at your own jokes]

A few weeks ago my older sister Anna was texting me and trying to come up with a name for her birthday bike ride. A quick google search of bicycle puns didn’t help much with the title but gave us an excellent start for the description. The idea of this party was to have a “wheely good time” while biking around Denver, CO to various local breweries*. We would ride until we were “two-tired” to keep going. Get it?

Saturday morning we met up with our squad of riders and kicked off the festivities with champagne shot skis and mimosas. Shot ski technique is simple – try to be the same height as your team, don’t spill.


After pumping up our tires and eating a well-rounded meal of waffles and waffles, we buckled our helmets and headed to the first stop – Cerebral Brewing. Located east of downtown Denver, Cerebral has a neat vibe. They play on the intellectual side of brewing beer and display Petri dishes growing yeast on the inside tables! I’m pretty sure I got the beer – “Muscle Memory” – and I’m pretty sure it was delicious!

The next stop, Black Shirt Brewing! We biked there via City Park and Race Street where our group freely took up the whole street, grooving to good music and laughing because:

bikes + beer + sunshine = fun.

Black Shirt Brewing is located in RiNO with an awesome back patio where barrel sitting is a must. While the kitchen wasn’t open when we were hanging out, they had a GRAND OPENING for their pizza kitchen this week, April 19th. What could be better than a slice of pizza to wash down their beer?

The third and final stop on our beer tour was Ratio Beerworks. Alright, this place is cool. They have a fun vibe and the beer is fantastic. This was also the only stop that I ordered IPA which is my favorite type of beer so that may have influenced that statement….

Anyhow, out back is corn hole, lots of space to gather, and on the curb was a grilled cheese food truck for all of our hunger needs. All in all, a 10/10 day.


Where would you go on a bike tour of your town? Coffee shops, restaurants, breweries, ice cream stands – the possibilities are endless!

*obviously, if you choose to drink and ride your bike – ride responsibly!


 

 

Escapades at the Polar Star Inn


We started off strong at the trailhead; packs strapped to our backs, skins on our skis, boots locked in. With one foot in front of the other we glided along the road, slowly climbed up into the trees and away from the car. The weather was prime, not too cold-not too hot, with the sun barely peaking out from the clouds. It looked like snow was on the way.

About 1 mile in on this 6 mile ski we started to have boot problems. I guess that’s the price you pay for only doing a big backcountry trip 1x per year. The skin on our feet was fresh – asking to be rubbed raw. To try to prevent and further blistering we stopped to apply moleskin/electrical tape to the affected areas [Side note – in a trial between electrical tape versus athletic tape for bandaging needs athletic tape wins].

Fast forward down the road to the turnoff @ Nolan Creek. We stopped for a few drinks of water, to ditch a layer of clothing, and refresh ourselves for the final 2 mile stretch. Based on the trail information we were about to climb steeply through an Aspen glade, turn onto an old jeep road, and then finally around the bend would be the hut – the Polar Star Inn. It was here at the turn in the trail that I decided to eat an orange. Such an innocent little cutie that tasted refreshing on my tongue, however less than 5 minutes later I was not feeling so hot. 1 minute later and my orange painted the snow. Poor Leah, she also yakked, and so began the #yakpak. We would try to recruit members for the rest of the trip.

Aside from up-chucking the entire contents of my stomach on the side of the trail I felt fantastic afterwards. We tightened our straps and set off for the last remaining miles. Through the Aspen glades and Pine forest switchbacks ran up the mountain. Always a manageable slope but always hard. I could hear my heart beating in my chest and my breathing become labored as my muscles worked to bring me closer to warmth – one slide at a time. At some point [I’m not really sure where] my legs became so very tired. I remember counting to 100 steps in my head. To me this seemed manageable. I thought, “I know I can take 100 steps. After I do that I can rest, or keep going”. 100+ steps later and we rounded the bend with this beauty in our sights – I have hardly seen anything more wonderful.

We spent the next few days exploring the area [ahem, skiing fresh POWda], playing hearts, eating tasty stew, sauna-ing, and staying incredibly warm due to a wood-burning stove.

What I came to realize on this trip is that there is immense power in pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones. When I was first learning to ski again [after a brief hiatus on the snowboard] someone told me that in order to learn control you need to experience the feeling of being out-of-control. Now, I urge you to practice this safely…but he was right! You don’t definitively know your one-rep max in weight lifting until you attempt the damn-thing and totally fail. This is where your limit lies and signifies where we can grow.

As we approach the new year, I want to remind myself of what it means to step out and enter the ring. I can expect some of what 2017 will bring [moving back to Colorado, starting medical school, traveling to Thailand], but I know there will be lots of surprises in between. Bring it on 2017!

Breath In

2016 is winding down rapidly and like the whirlwind this year has been we will soon find ourselves in 2017. I cherish the changing of the seasons and the new year both as time to reflect. Time to look back, think deeply, then celebrate extravagantly how far we’ve come. There’s hardly anything I love more than raising a glass to the wonderful experiences and people in my life.

Cheers to the moments this year that brought you closer with your loved ones.

Cheers to the new experiences you tried and failed at, but then tried again.

Cheers to being strong, to working hard, to connecting.

Cheers to following your dreams and realizing that sometimes  all the time, timing is everything.

Cheers to laughter.


In the final weeks of 2016 I’m heading back home to CO. My suitcase holds more yoga pants, snow gear, and ski socks than it does regular clothes. I can’t wait for the adventures and laughs to come. I’ll probably write about them here later – until then, have a very merry christmas and maybe try your hand at the following recipe! My friend Haley made this for me and now I’m hooked —

Golden Milk [serves 1]:

Heat on the stove ~1 cup almond milk.

Sprinkle in a dash of cinnamon, ginger, and tumeric.

Mix until combined and simmering.

Top with marshmallows and serve with a cinnamon stick.

Happy Holidays!

 

#HAGS

The ever so elegant way of telling your friends to “Have a great summer”. I wrote this in many yearbooks throughout my day mostly because when I was younger I didn’t know how to be thoughtful. I didn’t know how to make someone feel special – make them feel like I was really going to miss them or that I really did want them to have a great summer. Instead I just wrote a generic 4 letter acronym to everyone. 

(Now, I’m still working on being more thoughtful and genuine with people, but being open and vulnerable is hard! So bear with me).

I was reminded of #HAGS today as I thought about my upcoming summer. I don’t get the traditional summer that makes you want to sing, “School’s out for summa!” (welcome to adulthood they said), but I gotta tell you, I’m pretty excited for Summer 2K16. Leah Bobia, my younger sister is coming to the A. Lucky her, she gets to stay with me ALLLLL summer and be my adventure, yoga-in-the-park-going, patio sittin’, hiking, camping, and pretty much everything buddy. I also just purchased my first tent! (An REI Half Dome 2!) Aside from the full set of car tires that I bought for my Subaru at the beginning of May I consider this one of my biggest adult purchases – I’m ready to explore, world! As always, my plan is to use my blog to provide glimpses into L&M’s awesome adventures. In the mean time here are some photos from my trip to the Mile High.

 

Aside from seeing my friends and family, the highlight of the trip was the hot air balloon festival. When we first arrived at 6:15 AM there was nothing going on. The grass was damp between my toes, but the sky was clear as the sun started to climb. Trucks were parked all across the greenway and people were gathered in tight clusters waiting for a signal. I don’t know what that signal was, but all of a sudden baskets were being pulled off of trucks and hot air balloons were pulled out. We were surrounded by the vibrant colors of the balloon fabric, old school baskets, and flaming hot air as the tour companies worked to fill their balloon. It was magical to see them up close and personal and to wave them off as they lifted into the sky. You better believe that my bucket list grew that day to include –

Ride in a hot air balloon

As always, Colorado was fantastic. Until next time – #HAKAS