Well, it's been awhile since I've written an e-newsletter again.  My apologies.  I've been busy and simultaneously have developed a bit of writer's block.  I think Josh's words may get me back in the groove, though, as it is inspiring to read the words of such a hard working student busting his rear so that he can help others. 

Pre-6th quarter journal

It’s starting to get a little colder outside now. That means time for the fall quarter and the awaiting of every student for Thanksgiving and Christmas time.  As predicted and told about by upper quarter students, 5th quarter was much easier than 4th quarter. It went by extremely fast and it was a lot of fun to start working in the health center and get out of the main academic building for parts of the day. Here is a list and a brief description of the classes we completed the past few months.

-Neuromuscle Physiology - This in-depth 72-hour lecture course is concerned with the properties and functions of the central and peripheral nerve system and a thorough study of the neurophysiology of muscle. It examines the physical properties of the nerve impulse, the chemical neurotransmitters, the functions of the different parts of the brain and spinal cord, the neural pathways involved in various brain functions and the neural control of body function.

-Neuropathophysiology - This 36-hour lecture course follows Neuro and Muscle Physiology and focuses on neural function in an integrated systems approach and providing focused study of neuropathophysiology through case presentations. This was a very interesting, yet difficult class. We learned SO much about so many different neurological disorders ranging from Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cerebral palsy, and Huntington’s disease to syringomyelia, Guillan Barre, Multiple Sclerosis, and Trigeminal Neuralgia. Towards the end of this course, we had to do a “speed dating” project with everyone in our class. Each student was assigned a certain neurological disorder, and had to prepare a quick, shortened presentation of their disease, the teacher would keep a timer, and we would rotate every few minutes or so talking or “dating” everybody in our class until every student got the opportunity to hear from every disease. It was very educational and a fun learning experience.

-Gastrointestinal/Renal Physiology – This 48 hour course was basically split into two mini-courses. The first half of the quarter was spent learning the physiology of the gastrointestinal system. Emphasis was placed on what hormones were released at different sections of the intestinal tract depending on what foods we consume. The second half of the quarter, we concentrated on learning renal physiology. Many case studies were implemented here as we learned the very specifics of how our body innately controls tiny molecules all over our body for optimum performance when dealing simply with just H2O and sodium.

Upper Cervical Rationale- This 24-hour Lecture course details the philosophical and physiological rationales for a specific focus on upper cervical subluxation correction. Emphasis was placed on why C1 subluxations were so detrimental to the body working at 100%. We spent more time in the cadaver lab looking at how C1’s muscular and ligament attachment anatomy is far different than any other vertebra.

-Tumors/Arthritis- This 48-hour lecture course is a study of benign and malignant neoplasms, including their identification on radiograph, classification, gross and micro pathology considerations, clinical and laboratory diagnosis procedures, frequency of occurrence, and indication of onset. The arthritides are covered, including the major articular disease processes, causes, associated pathologic changes, frequency, onset and radiological and laboratory diagnostic procedures.

-X-ray Analysis I- This 60-hour lecture/laboratory course is designed to instruct the student in visual analysis, line analysis and neural canal studies, and to correlate these with spinal biodynamics and malformations in order to obtain accurate listings of vertebral misalignments in the cervical spine. Basically, we just looked at and analyzed x-rays every day. It was a very fun class as we got to see the many different ways that atlas and axis can misalign. This shows the importance of why upper cervical chiropractors all use x-rays in their offices.

Full Spine I- This is a 48-hour lecture/lab course in the understanding and application of cervical adjusting techniques. The main techniques that were covered were diversified and Gonstead. We are now proficient in adjusting the entire neck (C1-C7) and the occiput. We will be learning thoracic and lumbar this next quarter and will be proficient in that before Christmas. More details about this class later to come in the journal.

Pattern Analysis – This was a rather unique course. We learned how to become proficient in several analysis tests used in order to determine when or when not to adjust. Certain concepts learned were leg checks and the thermograph readings that Dr. Chad utilizes in his office. During this class, we also had to do a small research project. My partner and I did a study on the differences of the scans between morning and nights. Basically, we were trying to prove that the scan doesn’t work as well as we think it does. By scanning in the morning and evening and looking at the differences with no adjusting done, we thought they would be pretty different. Turns out, our results had no credible data to our hypothesis and when you’re subluxated, you’re subluxated. The scan does work, and it is a very, very helpful tool to tell us when or when not to adjust.

This was a great quarter! It was very relaxing and a lot more stress free compared to the others. I explained earlier how the odd quarters seem to be easier while the even quarters tend to be more challenging. This is definitely holding true through my experience thus far. So, with less studying going on, my classmates and I had a little more free time. Coming back from summer break, it had been a while since we all hung out outside the walls of Sherman College. Therefore, we planned a camping trip for the 2nd weekend of the quarter. Now when I say planned, I mean planned. We had lists of what to bring, who was driving, how we’re getting there, how we’re getting the boat, what spot we’re going on the lake, where we are sleeping, what we are eating. We had it all broken down. So, all the guys in my quarter (and four guys from quarters above else) joined us in skipping all our afternoon classes, and we left for Clemson, SC on Friday morning. We all stopped at this little Mexican restaurant and enjoyed a great meal together before heading to the lake.

So, we get to the lake, and innocently crack open a beer to celebrate the weekend. Within minutes, we have three cops telling half of us to get out of the water, and the other half in the parking lot to throw away the beer. Turns out it is illegal to bring alcohol into a state park, who would have guessed? Haha. So, we just explained to the police how we weren’t aware that the lake was a state park and they very kindly let us off without tickets. It was very funny because at the time we were all just saying to ourselves, “We had been here 5 minutes and we’re already in trouble.”

But, that was the last of our troubles. We finally got onto the lake, 10 guys, and 10 guys’ stuff all loaded down. We got to the island to set up camp and then ventured back out onto the lake for the next several hours where we would find an awesome rope swing and huge rock cliff to jump off. I was extremely hesitant to be the first one to jump off this rock (the guys said it was about 30 or so feet above the water). But, once two or three people jumped, I dove right in. Then, my classmates started doing back flips and I was done, haha. No need to break my neck if I want to correct people’s necks, right?

Once we got back to camp, we began grilling out and enjoying throwing the football around and some good fellowship. After dinner and as the night began to wind down, we were all EXHAUSTED.. you would think a bunch of guys in their mid 20’s would be up all night partying, right? By 10:00, everyone was falling asleep (we’re so used to getting up so early in the morning and being at school for 8-10 hours). So, we start waking everyone up and we go across the lake to a golf course up a hill. It was a treacherous climb as we all had flip flops on and were carrying golf stuff. We enjoyed a little midnight golfing on the putting green and then headed back.

One thing NONE of us did not think through was that it was mid-July in South Carolina… HAHA. It was 90 degrees outside and  extremely humid. Once we got in the tents and tried to sleep, the temperature quickly seemed to be 120 degrees. I would stick my head out of the tent just so I could breath better every so often. I tried going to bed around 1:00 am, and did not fall asleep until about 3:30 or 4:00 am. And I woke up at 7:00 because the sun was so bright. It was miserable. Everyone else had similar problems, but I’m a very light sleeper and need my nice, foam mattress.

So, the next morning, nobody is feeling that good due to the lack of sleep. We ate breakfast, did some swimming, and then headed home. By the time we got home back to Spartanburg, it was around 5:00 pm. I just went to my bad and PASSED out until 9:00 or so. Then I was wired the rest of the night.

So, in summary, it was an amazing time. It makes you really appreciate the people you have been working with and getting to know so well. The thing is, we hang out 40 hours a week at school and all we do is talk about chiropractic. It’s even better when we’re outside of school, in the middle of nowhere on some island, on some lake, and we just get to be boys again. By the way, we did some extreme tubing and almost everyone HAD to be subluxated by the end of the weekend. I didn’t get thrown off at all the first day. The second day, I got tossed off going really fast and got the wind knocked out of me from hitting the water so hard. It took about an hour for the pain in my chest to go away. And that was our great camping trip. We hope to do that at least twice a year until we graduate. However, we will definitely plan the time of year a little better for the next adventure.

Back to academics, I explained earlier how we took our first Full Spine adjusting class. This class is learning how to adjust the cervical spine only (C1-C7). All of the moves involved some sort of twisting, lateral flexion, or extreme rotation of the neck. I was very frustrated the first few weeks that we had to put the neck in such compromising positions to deliver an adjustment. There were many issues that were frustrating and rather puzzling to me in this class. One of them being the analyzing of a subluxation. In the beginning of class, our professor will introduce the move we will be learning and then demonstrates it on one of my classmates.  Our professor only uses his hands to see if they are “subluxated,” he feels for a lump, and then he cracks at it… he doesn’t do motion palpation, muscle, thermography work, or xrays, And then after all that, I ask people in upper quarters about it, and they tell me it’s possible to be able to feel a subluxation just with your hands in under 5 seconds… and I just smile and listen to what they say, even though I strongly disagree in most cases. It just doesn’t make sense… I think God planted a fire in me for upper cervical, because that is the only thing that remotely makes sense to me at this point in my career.

Another theme of this quarter was change. A lot of changes occurred with the curriculum, faculty, and the clinic/internship experience. All of them can be very frustrating, but my classmates and I just have to remember that we are here for a reason and everything will work out. The curriculum changed in order to “better” equip us for the four-five board exams we have to take prior to graduation. With the switching of these classes, the order of some of them seem somewhat out of sequence and don’t really make sense. We had two highly esteemed faculty members step down this quarter. I do not know the exact reasons why, but with all the changes occurring with accreditation and moving more towards the medical model, one can only wonder what the faculty members are thinking. The clinic/internship experience was the most shocking change to the program here at Sherman. Prior to this month, students begin adjusting their classmates in 8th quarter, begin adjusting lower quarter students in 9th quarter, and are able to see the general public in 10th quarter. However, we didn’t even receive an email of the change. Rumors spread, and they came out to be true after asking administration. Instead of starting to adjust in 8th quarter, we now don’t start anything until 10th quarter. In 10th quarter, we will see classmates, students, and the public all at the same time. So, I went from 6 months away from starting to “officially” adjust to another 12 months. Although it is frustrating, it will teach us more patience. After so many cadaver dissections, biochemistry charts, blood pressure and stethoscope exams, and everything non-chiropractic that doctors of chiropractic must be proficient in; it just made the end of the road seem a little further away. But, it will come. Patience is something that this society really lacks.

Over the break, I started reading two GREAT BOOKS. Both of them, I highly recommend. Number one: What Time Tuesday by James Tomasi. Ask Dr. Chad about this book if you have not already. I believe you can order it online for under 8 bucks! It’s a short, 50 page testimonial book on how upper cervical care literally SAVED a person from committing suicide. A few upper cervical adjustments later, the victim of a very dangerous disease is completely pain free and becomes one of the world’s most renowned upper cervical advocates. A must read! Book number two is Tuesdays with Morie by Mitch Albom. A fantastic book based on a true story of a student who visits his college professor after the professor is diagnosed with one of the worst diseases known to man; Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s. Why do you ask that I chose to read Tuesdays with Morie? Well, I told you earlier all what we learned in our very challenging neuropathophysiology class. While learning about all of the dozens upon dozens of disorders throughout the quarter, the one that really struck my interest was ALS. It just seemed so interesting, yet unimaginable to ever have to go through or a love one go through. After spending a good portion of one of our classes talking about the disease, our professor strongly encouraged us to read Tuesdays with Morie if we had any spare time. Immediately, it caught my interest. In undergrad, I had a mentor/boss who was very passionate about this book. During staff meetings, he would always begin with a reading from what Morie instructed to his student to help give us not only encouragement, but perspective on bigger things. During my last year in undergrad, Greg (mentor/boss) bought 15 copies of the book and had ALL of them signed by the author Mitch Albom himself. He gave it to us during one of our staff meetings, and told us to promise him to read it sometime in our lifetime. I took the book and threw it on my bookshelf thinking to myself I’m too busy to read that and that’s one book I will never read. It wasn’t until two years later I finally opened up the book with Mitch Albom’s signature telling me personally to try it, learn it, and remember it. I am now very grateful that my mentor spent so much time trying to get us to learn new perspectives and see life in a different way compared to how most culture or society sees it. And, I finally fulfilled that promise to my mentor of reading it when I told myself I never would. I thank him for always believing in me and wanting to make me better. Speaking of patience in the previous paragraph; I want to share a quick passage with you all about patience and aging that the professor advised to his student in Tuesdays with Morie that really struck home with me.

Professor: “And in addition to all the miseries, the young are not wise. They have very little understanding about life. Who wants to live every day when you don’t know what’s going on? When people are manipulating you; telling you to buy this perfume and you’ll be beautiful, or this pair of jeans and you’ll be sexy—and you believe them! It’s such nonsense.”

Student: “Weren’t you ever afraid to grow old, I asked?”

Professor: “Mitch, I EMBRACE aging.”

Student: “Embrace it?”

Professor: “It’s very simple. As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you’d always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.”

Student:  “Yes, I said, but if aging were so valuable, why do people always say, ‘Oh, if I were young again.’ You never hear people say, ‘I wish I were sixty-five.”’

Professor:  He smiled. “You know what that reflects? Unsatisfied lives. Unfulfilled lives. Lives that haven’t found meaning. Because if you’ve found meaning in your life, you don’t want to go back. You WANT to go forward. You want to SEE more, DO more. YOU CANT WAIT UNTIL YOU’RE SIXTY-FIVE.”

Awesome stuff, huh? Embrace aging. Embrace the gifts God gave us.

Last thoughts until I embark on 6th quarter: 

“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:30-31 (ESV)

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 46:10

I will write again at Christmas time at the conclusion of 6th quarter! God Bless!