Bozeman, Montana

Up before the Sun, when Light breaks

Sunrise over Bozeman
Sunrise over Bozeman

It’s been a while since I was up before the sun.  Hanzi left before dawn this morning for a video/photo shoot in Paradise Valley and between the tantalizing smell of coffee in the percolator and the endearing banging about, I’m definitely awake now.  The sun doesn’t rise for another hour.  So what better thing to do than settle back into my old habits for a morning?  My years in medical school brought new definition to the word “morning.”  I decided that any hour before four AM was still night time, and any time after 4 AM was most certainly morning.  This is how I rationalized spending my evenings in conversation over dinner with Hanzi (instead of with my books), and woke before sunrise several mornings a week to study.  I am a morning thinker.  So here I am again, up before the sun, putting my mind to work because that’s what I do best at this hour, before the rest of the world wakes.

I am well aware that it’s also been a while since I’ve sat down to write.  These past few months have been some of the hardest of my life due to my forced departure from doctoring (I’m lucky, I know it.)  I graduated in April, moved to Montana (as you’ll know), and settled into Bozeman, while also trying to settle into 2 jobs and good study habits as I prepared for boards.  The mountains and the rivers were sufficiently distracting, and so those last couple weeks before the board exams were tortuous as I scrambled to study all the material.  Four days ago I received a letter stating that I passed!!!  Thank the great goddess.  Yesterday, I signed a contract for a year of residency at Spring Integrative Health here in Bozeman.  Today (once the sun rises), I’ll mail off a license application to the state capitol in Helena!  I start life as a resident 5 days from now.

I’m not sure about the future of this little blog, at least for the next year or so.  I suspect I’ll write here and there, but most of my efforts will contractually be directed at and through the clinic hosting me as a resident.  I’ll likely link to them from here.

I hope my readers don’t feel too terribly abandoned.  I just wasn’t up to writing these past few months.  I was trying to escape the narcissism of blogging, while in the midst of a wholly narcissistic experience of settling into a place, trying to remember myself amid all the change, and also working to first, fill my head with information, and second, to let go of the stress of the exams in the weeks of waiting for results.  All that confusing emotion left me lacking for words.

When I signed a contract the other day, I mentioned to Alisun (Dr. Bonville), that she and the other lovely providers working at Spring have seen me at my worst.  My time away from doctoring was really difficult.  As much work as it is, I don’t ever want to have to remove myself from the challenges and experience of doctoring ever again, or at least for a long while.  Here I was, having spent nearly every hour of the past several years dedicated to study and practice of medicine and all of a sudden, I was removed from those patterns at graduation.  Yes, I got to (had to) study, but studying medicine for an exam and practicing it with patients everyday are entirely different experiences.  When I first started my clinical training, I wrote about how a glow was coming alive in me again.  I thought this light had been put out by leaving the mountains, lakes, and beautiful people of Northern California, and perhaps it was in part due to that, but the experience of doctoring patients as an intern cracked me open and let that light shine again.  I notice that light in my heart has dimmed, been shuttered, these past few months.  It is that light that makes me feel so connected to the energies around me, of both nature and of humans.  It’s what makes me feel very connected and grounded in my experience of being human, and in my interactions with others.  All the change that’s happened for me these past few months has been hard on that light, or on my ability to navigate the world as a connected and balanced human.  I am so looking forward to stoking that internal glow with the bellows of naturopathic practice!

Oh!  I could go on!  It’s still dark outside and the words are flowing from my finger tips again.  The coffee has percolated to my brain and all the little stories and thoughts I’ve held inside these past few months are ready to come trickling out.  It’s a creative and freeing thing for me, to write these journal-like posts and share my experiences with anyone who feels like knowing my brain and my life experience a little bit.  So, perhaps there’ll be more posts – likely coming in little spurts as I find time to sit and write – possibly happening mostly in those early mornings when my brain wakes before the sun and the only thing to do (besides fold laundry, a task never finished in this household) is open my laptop and set down the words.  The sky is getting a tiny bit lighter now, and I’m ready for breakfast.  Good morning, dear readers, and until next time – I am Yours in Health – Dr. Mack


Return to Montana

My partner Hanzi and I have arrived in Bozeman!  He looked at me yesterday and said, “it is almost too much for me to grasp how much we’ve been through to get to this point… do you get what I mean?”

Camping on the Madison River

We left Truckee, CA, a mountain town in Tahoe, 4 years ago when we headed to Chicagoland so that I could start naturopathic medical school.  Once there, we both endured and celebrated life in the big city.  The truly unfathomable part has been these past 4 months or so.

Hanzi and I made it to Bozeman

On February 1st I shifted gears completely by moving to Billings, Montana and Hanzi headed to spend some time with his parents.  We hadn’t been apart for more than 2 weeks in about 7 years.  Two months apart was absolutely, positively enough.  We reunited a month ago in mid-April when Hanzi joined me in Billings to help with the next big step; traveling back to Chicagoland to graduate medical school.

We had an emotional whirlwind of a graduation week with family and friends, and then escaped in the night up to Northern Michigan for a fortnight of recuperation at Hanzi’s parents place.  In Michigan, we fished and went for walks in the woods.  I studied, and Hanzi edited photos.  We tried not to over-think what was going to happen next.

It snowed up high! So we went in search of camping down lower…

Six days ago we hugged and waved goodbye to Hanzi’s parents and set off for Chicagoland again to retrieve all of our things, pack them into a trailer, and trek off to Montana.  Yesterday we chugged up the pass into Bozeman in our heavily loaded cars and headed directly to a storage unit to unload and get that trailer off our truck.  Since then, we’ve eaten cheese and crackers on the tailgate, sipped wine next to a fire, and dozed off next to the rushing waters of the Madison River.  It’s been a really big month.  At this moment, I’m sitting at a comfortable desk in the bright Bozeman Public Library, I turned 29 two days ago, and… I’m just about home!

Morning coffee on the Madison
Morning coffee on the Madison

More thought and less bland update coming soon!

-Dr. Mescon

A Future of Healthy Tips & Tales

And so my little blog over here begins!  I’ll continue sharing stories from my naturopathic world, with a sprinkling of healthy tips thrown in, too.  My vision for this website includes the ability to subscribe to receive updates by email whenever a new post goes up.  I’m starting small, and hope you’ll enjoy following along as my life unfolds!

As for my doctoring career, I’ll be starting as a resident in naturopathic primary care, working under Dr. Alisun Bonville at Spring Integrative Health in Bozeman, Montana in the fall of 2016.  Until then, you’ll find me making the move out to Montana and studying for and taking my NPLEX Part 2 board exams in August.  I aim to keep you posted with stories from our road trip and the ensuing hunt for home in Big Sky Country.  Yeehaw!

-Dr. Mescon

The Moment of Becoming

April 22, 2016 at around 3pm was not the exact hour I became a doctor.  I’d been honored, medaled, robed, and diploma’d at that point; I’d been given my official title and a leather-bound piece of paper to go with it.  But it was sometime in the past month and a half that essence-of-doctor started pumping out of my heart and into all my arteries and veins.  Maybe you could liken it to a dimmer switch, where the light starts out a low glow.  That low glow has been there since I wrote about a little light coming back on in my heart when I started my clinical training a year ago.  But the significant brightening into full illumination took place while I was learning and living in Montana.  I have no doubt it had something to do with living life by myself, and being back in the environment I love.  Regular exposure to the type of clinical practice I seek was also clearly part of the process.  As a definitive creature of the natural world, I thrive when I’m in a place with a wide sky, wind, and the very tangible feel of things, plants and animals living and dying.  That happened when I went to Montana to finish my clinical training, and that crucial heart-opening definitely facilitated the illumination of “doctor” in me.

Now I sit here to write, a week into bearing the official title of Doctor.  Recently, someone suggested that I now have clout because I am a doctor.  I asked for time to grow into that title.  I think what I really meant was that I’ll never have clout unless I earn it.  Some folks place stake in a title and for them, that works.  But in my little life I’ve met too many jerks with great big titles.  So, now that I’m an official doctor on paper and am feeling like one on the inside too, I intend to just continue keepin’ on being me.  At the moment, being me means basking in the great culmination of my recent efforts and spending some time fishing, sleeping, breathing fresh air, and otherwise embracing downtime.

Dr. Mescon 4/28/16