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The Rest of the Story

Hope you are having a terrific Thursday! This past week has been a whirlwind for me, and if you have called the office this week, you know I have been out more than in. So, I wanted to fill you in on where I have been and share some of the highlights with you.

SWVS logo

This past weekend I traveled to San Antonio, one of my most favorite places, for the annual Southwest Veterinary Symposium (SWVS). In case you didn’t know, I serve on the Board of Managers, representing Oklahoma. SWVS is really a cool organization that was founded to serve its 5 partner states by providing quality continuing education in our region. The partnership states include Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and New Mexico in addition to Oklahoma. We had over 1,500 veterinarians attend the meeting in addition to veterinary technicians, veterinary students, practice managers, and office staff. A design conference is held during the meeting as well so that attendees can learn how to remodel their existing clinic or build a new one. In total, conference attendees numbered almost 2,700.

Not only do I get to see my friends who serve on the Board of Managers and the Continuing Education (CE) Committee while at the meeting, I also run into friends from home. Here I am meeting friends in the exhibit hall to eat dinner on the Riverwalk. Pictured from left to right is Dr. Kristi Scroggins from Moore, Dr. Roger Johnson from Nichols Hills, and Dr. Ginger Jennings from Choctaw. We had some fantastic Mexican food, and we fed the ducks on the Riverwalk.


Here is my friend, Dr. Mark Ferrell from McAlister. He is the immediate past president of SWVS.

Dr. Mark Ferrell

Here is Amanda Meeks, who is the executive director for the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association.

Amanda Meeks

When I first joined SWVS, I came on to help with a women’s program, addressing the issues of juggling work and life. Dr. Lyndon Graf from Marlow, OK is the veterinarian who had the foresight to see this needed niche in our profession. The women’s program very quickly morphed into a Wellness Track as we realized how hard it is for all veterinarians to juggle life and work effectively. This part of the CE program continues to grow, and SWVS continues to be a leader in offering this support to our members.

Obviously, I still am really passionate about the Wellness Track even though I have served my time on CE and rotated over to the Board of Managers. I wanted to share with you some of the highlights of that track this year. We had Jan Tilley come speak again. She is a registered dietician with a practice in San Antonio who helps people develop practical lifestyle changes that promote good health. Jan’s premise is that a healthy, balanced lifestyle is like a four-legged stool with food, exercise, sleep, and stress management as the key components to keeping that lifestyle in balance.

Here are some highlights from Jan’s talks for you. She recommends that you eat something every 3

Jan's Healthy Trail Mix

hours so that you don’t become ravenously hungry and overeat. We actually made a great snack in the lecture that you can easily throw in a purse or computer bag.

Jan’s Healthy Trail Mix

1 cup Cheerios

¼ cup almonds

¼ cup cashews

¼ cup sunflower seeds

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

½ cup dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, or dried apricots )

¼ cup toasted coconut

¼ cup dark chocolate M&Ms

Mix well, and put ¼ cup in a snack bag for a healthy, balanced snack

Oranges, spinach, salmon, black tea, pistachios, avocados, crunchy vegetables, and milk (2% or higher milk fat) are great stress-busting foods. Cottage cheese at ¼ cup is a great bedtime snack, especially for diabetics.


Ask yourself these questions:

1. Does a warm meeting room, boring meeting, or heavy meal make you drowsy?

2. Do you fall asleep within 5 minutes of getting into bed?

3. Do you need an alarm clock to wake up?

4. Do you hit the snooze button repeatedly?

5. Do you sleep extra hours on the weekend?

If you answered yes to more than 2 of these questions (I answered yes to all 5), you are sleep deprived!

Kiwis, raspberries, and cherries are naturally high in melatonin if you have trouble falling asleep, and the worst foods for sleep are alcohol, coffee (or any caffeinated beverage), dark chocolate, spicy foods, or greasy foods. We really need to sleep well because sleep has the power to transform you from average to EXCELLENT! She told us a story about Sarah Hughes, the Olympic gold medal skater, who was struggling with landing her jumps. She started seeing Dr. James Maas, a sleep specialist who changed her sleep habits, and she gave up a 4:30 am practice not long before the Olympics. She then improved so drastically because her body was rested enough for her muscle memory to learn effectively that she beat Michelle Kwan quite surprisingly.

For more information, you can go to Jan’s website (, and you can sign up for her newsletter, which includes weekly recipes.

Another highlight of the meeting was a talk on the use of medical marijuana. I was going to summarize the talk for you, but in all honesty, there is enough information and interest on this subject that I will write a whole blog on this in 2 weeks. So, please stay tuned.

Now, the other event of my week was much more somber. My husband’s grandfather, Emory Sweiger, passed away on Friday at the age of 103, and we went to Missouri for his funeral on Tuesday. Grandpa was such an incredible man, and he left an awesome legacy. He is survived by 3 sons, 8 grandchildren, 36 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren.

Grandpa always had a smile on his face, and he had an infectious laugh, which was heard frequently. He had a way of teaching you life lessons that was always helpful and never offensive. We heard story after story about his lessons at his funeral. He was always willing to lend a hand, and he sang in over 500 weddings and funerals during his lifetime.

Grandpa with Great-Grandchildren

Grandpa did everything well and to the best of his ability. When he was 96, he forgot to renew his driver’s license, and he decided that he needed to be able to take himself to town without imposing on family. So, he took the oral and written test (he never had to do that when he originally got his license as a young man), and he made a 94 on the test. Incredible, huh?!

Grandpa Emory

So, in all honesty, the funeral was a celebration of a life well-lived. I recently heard something that I think sums it up with Grandpa – Love is universally attractive! He loved deeply, and he was loved by all who knew him.

Grandpa and his beautiful bride, Lucille

Well, next week shouldn’t be as eventful, and I hope it goes well for everyone. Thank you for letting me share this with you.

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