Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Today is the DAY!

ACL reconstruction today!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I'M DONE!!!!!!!!!!!

My best friends over the last couple of days:

3 1/2 weeks until I have to sit in class again!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Surviving Finals (my way)

I'm almost out. This makes me sad...

I get to play with Ben Friday!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas! Random thoughts...

I am beginning to realize how close Christmas is! Not only does this mean family, presents, and Daniel, but it means ACL surgery! I am very excited for all of these. It also brings so many parties and celebrations! Enough to make decisions about what to attend and when to say no difficult. Here are some pictures of great memories and parties of past Christmas and New Year's celebrations.

Ugly Sweater Party Christmas 2007

Hot Chocolate Party Christmas 2006

New Years 2006

Here is a picture of me after my last ACL surgery in October of 2005... Drugs do wonders...:

I still have much school work to do that keeps me busy and discourages looking forward to my break too prematurely. Today is the last day of classes, Wednesday and Thursday are reading days (tomorrow and the day after), and then Friday is my first final!

The weather is finally beginning to hint at winter. It snowed for the first time this week. Yesterday morning, I waited for the train in 13 degrees weather! Boston Commons statue of Paul Revere in winter shown below:

What do you all want for Christmas?

Sudi Comes to Town!

My good friend Sudi came to Boston the weekend before Thanksgiving, and we had such a blast! She is my doctor, my former boss, and most importantly, one of my greatest friends in the whole world!

Here is a picture of us at an Au Bon Pain late at night:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

9 to go...

So, the break is over and finals begin today. I have a final practical today for one of my classes. I have another take home final due tomorrow.

I have two main types of tests in my program. One is a "practical" testing situation where I am expected to perform the required skills and I am graded on my overall interaction with a fake patient. I am asked all sorts of crazy questions on the spot to make sure I know the rationale behind what I am doing. These types of tests always cause way more stress than is healthy.

The other type is your typical test where I am required to sit down and answer the questions in front of me in a certain amount of time (most of these tests are timed). Most of my classes have less than 50% of the test as multiple choice, and the rest of the questions are free response/short answer style. They require a lot of application and problem solving. I am also expected to write in pen, which is quite stressful because crossing out a lot looks very unprofessional. Both of the test styles are very difficult to prepare for because they are so much different than any test I ever got in undergraduate classes.

I have a final in every class. 9 finals total (2 finals in 2 of my classes). Here goes nothing.

However, I am feeling like it will be doable somehow. I have so much more momentum because I was able to have a nice break for Thanksgiving. I had so much fun in San Diego. I loved spending time with Mom and Dad and some of my other friends that were home for the break too. The Child family came down and vacationed in San Diego for the week and weekend, which was great because Dan and I got to spend time with each other without having to be away from our families. I also got to enjoy some fun with the rest of the members of his family. They are all so great. The weather was annoying the first few days, but got better as the week went on. I would rather have San Diego with the rain than Boston with the extreme cold, though. And I'd take any weather with Dan around than without.

So, I will basically lock myself away for the next 2 weeks. To study and to stay warm! I am open to any suggestions for how to survive finals. At the very least, please hope and pray for me that I will survive.

After my last final practical on December 18 (15 days left...), I have a couple of days to catch up on sleep and tie up loose ends before I fly home December 20 (17 more days). Guinevere, Clark, Ben, Evan, Hannah, Lena, and Oliver will all be coming home for Christmas! I am so excited! On December 23, I am getting ACL surgery, so I am looking forward to being at home after surgery during my initial recovery and spending some time together as a family again. The road is long for my knee recovery, but I am strangely excited to be able to begin it. I will be that much closer to being able to run, train for triathlons, and play outside again comfortably!

Monday, November 24, 2008


A few things I think about when I think of San Diego...

Even if I have to take a 6:10 AM flight tomorrow morning (pick up at 4:40 AM by taxi), I am ridiculously excited to go home!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Freedom of Conscience and Ideal Government

The efforts of many people over many months have all come down to today, Tuesday, November 4, 2008. Personally, I am glad it is soon all over.

The process of preparing for an election causes so much anger and division among Americans that is truly unnecessary; public debate on issues near and dear to us tends to bring out the worst of us all. I have been thinking a lot about why this is lately, why we often turn negative when defending what we believe. There are ideals that we each see as the most correct, and these ideals are not easily changed. One of my favorite songs by John Mayer, “Belief,” explains the war that we engage in to try and change others’ ideals and beliefs:

Is there anyone who ever remembers
changing their mind from the paint on a sign?,
is there anyone who really recalls
ever breaking rank at all
for something someone yelled real loud one time?
oh, everyone believes
in how they think it oughta be
oh, everyone believes
and they're not going easily

belief is a beautiful armor
but makes for the heaviest sword
like punching underwater
you never can hit who you're trying for
some lead the exhibition
and some have to know they tried
it's the chemical weapon
for the war that's raging on inside
oh, everyone believes
from emptiness to everything
oh, everyone believes
and no one's going quietly

Is an individual separable from their ideals? The right to have individual ideals is an inalienable right discussed in the Declaration of Independence. Can you accept an individual if your ideals to not correlate to theirs? We do it all the time because the reward outweighs the cost of stepping outside our comfort zones, and are quite successful because of it. As a society, we increase our efficiency through the acceptance of individuals with all types of ideals.

Government does not exist to protect one’s opinions from being unrepresented, but exists to protect every individual’s inalienable rights. The difficult task at hand in preparing for an election comes in discerning between what is an opinion or moral/ethical concern and what is an inalienable right. Does government have jurisdiction over regulating moral or ethical concerns? It does not.

What is the correct role of government? Ezra Taft Benson, a previous president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and former Secretary of Agriculture during President Eisenhower’s term lays out his view of the role of government in a paper entitled “The Proper Role of Government” (This paper can be found at http://www.zionsbest.com/proper_role.html):

The Correct Role Of Government

I should like to outline in clear, concise, and straight-forward terms the political principles to which I subscribe. These are the guidelines which determine, now and in the future, my attitudes and actions toward all domestic proposals and projectsals and projects of government. These are the principles which, in my opinion, proclaim the proper role of government in the domestic affairs of the nation.
"(I) believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society."
"(I) believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life..."
"(I) believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, which protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience." (D&C 134: 1-2,5)

I love how President Benson refers to the right to ideals and opinions as the "freedom of conscience."

I have really enjoyed contemplating on what ideal government is. Current government still has huge strides to make towards becoming optimal. Hopefully the results of this election will take us one step closer.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

September has been a pretty awesome month...

I think September 2008 has been one of the best months of my life! Why, you may ask?

The northeast is wonderful in Fall.

I travel the world like a true nomad. Ok, by world, I mean the east coast. And by nomad, I mean a poor graduate student with little money, but an intense desire to explore.

My favorites of the most recent trip to the Met in New York...

I feel so comfortable in Boston. It is an amazing city! I am beginning to feel like I belong.

Here is a picture of an absolutely breath-taking sky a couple of weeks ago:

And some others of the skyline at lunchtime right from the pier right outside of my school:

My roommates rock! Unfortunately I only have a couple of pictures of Nicole on this post...

I have had such stimulating intellectual experiences in school and in personal endeavors. I have also had some amazing questions answered in my spiritual endeavors. I am loving the opportunities for learning in my life right now!

I have some of the best friends in the world! My birthday was so much fun!

The ward out here is absolutely amazing! So many talented and ridiculously successful and intelligent people!

Example 1--Super smart people, like the charming Luke Hutchinson
Example 2--Incredible entertainers, such as Chelsea Ashton

Life is GREAT!

Central Pattern Generators

In Neuroscience yesterday, we learned about one of the coolest experiments ever done. The experiment was performed in 2007 (http://www.jneurosci.org/cgi/content/abstract/28/15/3976) to test a hypothesis that movement of the lower limbs is still possible in cats that have been paralyzed, do to a nerve root damage in the cervical spinal cord. The experiment was set up according to this picture:

The body core of the cat is stabilized, the front limbs are placed in a fixed position, and the hind legs are able to move on a treadmill. The experimenters had to start the hind legs moving in a normal walking movement according to the speed of the treadmill, but after this, the legs continued moving on their own in the rhythm of the treadmill. If the treadmill was sped up or slowed down, the hind legs adjusted their cadence accordingly! This shows that the movement is possible because of a stimulus that is occurring somewhere closer to the legs than the injury location at the spinal cord! After a lot more research, neuroscientists have discovered the existence of central pattern generators and have found more evidence that golgi tendon organs are also involved in regulating neurological stimulation instead of the BRAIN! I don't know if I can possibly explain the significance or coolness of this adequately!!!

Basically, a paralyzed cat can still run on a treadmill!
The mechanism of movement, therefore, does not require a stimulus from the brain (the higher center of control). Up until this point, it was not understood that complex neuronal circuits existed at the spinal cord that did not need to be continuously stimulated by signals from the brain. The brain does function to provide spatial awareness and alter movement patterns according to obstacles in the path. Without the brain, the subject of the experiment (the paralyzed cat) trips over simple obstacles like a change in level or a pencil.

As always, wikipedia does a great job covering central pattern generators. Check it out:


Humans have too much control of movement by the brain in order to be able to design an experiment to get the same results. The human brain controls a lot more variables that are necessary for movement in walking bipedally (such as balance and coordination) than a cat who is quadrapedal. However, you do see evidence of central pattern generators in individuals who have partial paralysis of the extremities. See this link for more fascinating explanation:


**Pictures in this post are borrowed from a presentation by Marianne Beninato, DPT, PhD

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Proposition 8

Prop 8 is the proposition that will be voted on in California deciding whether or not homosexuals should be able to marry in California. In case you haven't heard, just recently, the state jury overturned the last proposition dealing with this matter (Proposition 22 in 2000) ruling it unconstitutional and same-sex marriage legal.

Matters are getting a lot worse. According to an email by Merrilee Boyack:

"The California Supreme Court has ruled that doctors in a private clinic, based on their religious beliefs, cannot withhold unnecessary medical care to homosexuals and lesbians. A San Diego area lesbian claimed that a private fertility clinic refused to inseminate her because of her sexual orientation. The Court's decision means that California's civil rights law barring sexual orientation discrimination trumps religious freedom laws."

Let's hope that the people of California have not become too liberal in the last 8 years and that the proposition passes (everyone vote YES), defining marriage as only existing legally between a man and a woman.

For your continued reading, read the commentaries on the newsroom website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' on the proposition, and please, please, please get involved however you can!


Monday, August 18, 2008

It's been a month...

...since my last post. Sorry about that!

I finished up my first semester of school and came back to San Diego for a few weeks. This last week has been quite eventful at home for our family!

1. I have a beautiful new nephew! Congratulations to Evan and Hannah and new baby Oliver! He is the cutest, most amazing new boy.

2. I have to get ACL/meniscus surgery again... I just found out this morning when I went in to the doctor's office to see what the MRI said. My meniscus is torn in the same place it was before December, and my ACL looks like a noodle it is stretched so badly. According to the doctor, it won't actually tear in such a state because there is not enough tension, but nonetheless is nonfunctional. I will probably put off the surgery until December, thus prolonging my bum knee condition for at least another year.

3. My parent's 27th anniversary

4. Evan's birthday

I love California and I love being with my family! I am heading out to Utah today and will be there for a week to see some old friends and play. Then back to San Diego August 25-31 before I go back to Boston for school!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Went on a run tonight... Took a couple of pictures! Very cool lighting on the Charles River, just in front of the downtown buildings.

It's been amazing weather lately, very humid, but no rain and beautiful skies. Here are a couple of other cool pictures from my phone.

Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown

Check out the clouds over the quad at Harvard Medical!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Growing up in a Modern World

I got 17 emails today...

They were all fairly important!

I wish I weren't an adult.

Sometimes I am tempted to throw my iPhone into the river to be disconnected. But then I remember I should check the bus schedule online. On my iPhone.

Modern technology runs my life.

I have caught myself thinking about things and conversing with others by using anatomical names instead of common names of body parts. I told a friend my IT band/fascia lata was sore up close by its origin from the ilium, sacrum and a ligament of the pelvis (sacrotuberous ligament that closes off the lesser sciatic foramen), and they kind of looked at me funny.

I have been enjoying some of the ironic names of muscles, ligaments, and body parts way too much. For example, the pes anserinus on the medial knee means "goose's foot" because "they" thought it looked like that. There are many nerves and muscles that make no sense if you are trying to make a connection between what their names are and their origins or destinations, but then you are helped out a little when you learn they (the infamous "they") decided to name a nerve the nerve to the obturator internus and superior gemellus or the nerve to subclavius. These nerves actually do exactly what you think they would... innervate the muscles that are part of their name.

Thank goodness for the infamous "they". They motivate us to make our lives as automated and electronic as possible, and they name things after geese.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

First Grad School Tests

I bet you aren't shocked that graduate school tests are way more intense than anything I've ever experienced before. However, because you know they are going to be hard and you can't slack off, you come into the test feeling more prepared than usual in undergraduate testing situations. I actually have to study every day to be able to memorize the volume of material that we cover. I can remember at BYU studying an hour or so before a test and going in and doing just fine.

So, I feel really good about my first round of tests! I know I got a 95 on my first anatomy test and I just finished up my other anatomy test today. I think I did fairly well on this one also. I am so happy that I didn't fail like I was scared I would. I am starting to enjoy the challenges of this intensive anatomy course. Even if it is EXTREMELY INTENSIVE!!

So, I kind of have a 4 day weekend! The written test for Gross Anatomy took an hour and a half this morning, and so I have the rest of today off, then tomorrow (the Fourth of July), and Saturday and Sunday! I almost don't know what to do with myself with all this free time. Key word "almost". I'm sure I will figure it out... Here is a list of things I know will be priorities of the weekend:

1. SLEEP (I didn't get much this week)
2. Rascal Flatts/Boston Pops dress rehearsal concert tonight for FREE!
(I don't know what I am more excited for, rascal flatts for free or the 1812 overture performed by the Boston pops...)
3. BBQs and pie parties and fireworks galore tomorrow!
4. Taking advantage of the beautiful weather (it has been raining all week, and today is absolutely gorgeous)
5. Going on a really long run this afternoon
6. Going hiking in New Hampshire with some people from my ward on Saturday
7. Seeing Guin and Clark and Ben and Lady Carma, if possible!

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but I am super busy, super happy, and having lots of super fun in this new life of mine! Happy Fourth of July to everyone!

(Mom and Dad, I am really sad I am not at home for the Thomas July 4th extravaganza! Can we do a reenactment when I come home in August?)

Link to the Boston Pops July 4th Fireworks Spectacular

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all you fathers out there! And potential fathers... And sons and daughters of fathers, which is all of you! I would be willing to take on anyone in a competition for the best father in the world... I love you Dad!

Some updates:

I got my loan money. It's a bittersweet feeling. I am happy because I don't need to worry quite so much about where I am going to get the money to buy groceries and pay rent, but at the same time, a new chapter of my life has begun, one of having debt and no or little income for many years!

I survived orientation without falling asleep once! A feat in and of itself... As a bonding activity on Tuesday, we did a crazy 2.5-hour Amazing Race around Boston, and I was put in a group with a couple of hardcore runners, so it was pretty intense! Here is a picture of the group after we came in second! Notice that we are drenched in sweat?!

I met my cadaver! A very tall (probably over 6'3''), very built male (still has ripped arm muscles) who was not too old when he died (probably around 65-75). I am anxious to begin the dissection course that will consume my life for the next 2 months!

I have an official Harvard Medical School Identification Card! Every day that I go to school, I feel like I don't belong, the campus is so incredibly beautiful and the entire experience is just so surreal. I really feel like a foreigner! I guess when I put on my scrubs and lab coat I will feel a little bit more comfortable.

I have been exploring the Charlestown Navy Yard (of which my Institute is a part of) quite a bit more! It is so cool!

I am getting to know a lot of people out here. This ward is very social, with multiple activities most days of the week. I will have to cut back on the number of activities I go to and start really focusing on my schoolwork. But, I have a good little structure of friends that are fun to hang out with!

I love Boston! I just found out Harvard Medical School is right by the Museum of Fine Arts! It is just one stop on the T. I hope to be able to go right over to the MFA on Wednesdays this summer, since Wednesdays are free after a certain time in the evenings. That will be so much fun! I also found out that the beach is just 30-40 minutes away by T, so I am hoping to head out the beach this weekend! Hopefully the weather will be nice.

Till next time! Hope all are well.