Emergency Report- You can save a life!

Hey guys,
Before one of my lectures at vet school, a professor came in looking a bit saddened about something.  Before he presented his material with us, he reached out to us for help for a friend’s son who lives in Marietta.
He said Lake, when he was 5 years old in 2012, was diagnosed with AML, a rare and aggressive type of Leukemia. Recently, after a couple months in remission, Leukemia came back, and his family are trying their best to get the right donors to help them.  Since he’s biracial, they’re saying it’s been difficulty to find a donor, but they are specifically looking for African Americans to help donate bone marrow.  Since this form is aggressive, they need help as soon as possible. Below is a flyer with information to see if you can learn more about donating your bone marrow or donate money for medical assistance:

team lake
If you guys can lift him up in prayer or may be even send this to more people, that would be great.
Thank you,
2 Corinthians 5:7
“For we walk by faith, not by sight”

Week that Flew By (Week 3)

Week’s Itinerary= Radiology Exam 1

Because Monday classes were cancelled  due to Labor Day, this week flew by.  The only agonizing task to defeat was our 1st Radiology Exam on Wednesday.   As you’ll soon discover, this  was a very stressful experience.

When we came in early that morning to take the test, one of the radiology professors told us that he took the test on a lark and got a D on it . . . WHAT!?  That was the most discouraging thing to hear right before an exam.  He said that what messed him up was “over-reading” the questions, so he was actually trying to help us not psych ourselves out by trying to make the questions more complicated than they are. Knowing this really freaked me out because I over-analyze everything.

Like other quizzes after radiology lab, this one was given online.  But this time there were 40 multiple- choice questions Instead of 10.  Answering the questions also called on knowledge beyond the straight-forward interpretation of  x-rays.  Despite all my worries, I managed to get a B+ on the exam.  I did not complain after seeing that grade.  I just wanted to get out of there.

Over the weekend, I went to my karate dojo back in Marietta, my hometown.  We did a 3-hour seminar on special techniques within four empty-hand kata (choreographed patterns of movements).  It was a great escape from school.  If you want to stay sane and healthy during professional school, I highly recommend maintaining hobbies that bring joy to your heart .


Here’s my group from UGA (Budokai) coming to Kennesaw to work Shorinjyru Karatedo with Yamakan Club

Next week is going to be crazy, so I can’t wait to let you know how it goes.


Through Him,


Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”


Another Unexpected Loss (Week 2)

Week’s Itinerary: LA Digestive Exam 1, Radiology Quiz # 2 & 3, Surgery and Quiz #2 regarding Feline Neutering

As you may remember, back in January we lost a vet student by the name of Zachary Cowart from Class of 2017.  On Wednesday of this week, we sadly lost another student from Class of 2018.  Here is a message from the Dean:

It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that we have lost a treasured member of our CVM community.  Sina Shayegan, class of 2018, passed away Wednesday August 27 of unknown cause.  Sina is from Cumming Georgia.  His family is understandably in shock from this tragic loss.  I ask that you keep Sina and his family in your thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time. 


Here is the Dean and Sina Shayegan during Class of 2018 White Coat Ceremony in August

He will be greatly missed by all his classmates here at the vet school.  I pray that his family will receive comfort during their time of grief.

On the academic front, professors bombarded 3rd years with quizzes and exams this week.  The first quiz was on radiology, which focused on bone diseases that affect young, large-breed dogs.  For example,  Panosteitis is a common cause of lameness, mostly in young  German shepherds. Fortunately, it usually goes away when they mature. We also were tested on Osteochondrosis (OC) and Osteochondritis dessicans (OCD), conditions that cause pain in the shoulders, elbows, tarsus (heel area), and stifle (knee area) of large and giant breeds. We had to identify X-rays for other diseases as well.

The second quiz focused on diseases of the axial skeleton, which consists of the skull and spine of an animal.  So far, the format for all the radiology quizzes has been the same: we’re shown 10 X-rays we have already seen and discussed during lab and asked multiple-choice questions about them. I managed to do very well in both quizzes this week, so I am very thankful.

Neutering my cat for surgery class was a fun experience.  Here are the surgical procedures:

A closed castration was performed on the right testicle.  The right testicle was incised ventrodorsally and the spermatic cord was tied off with a single throw.  The scrotum was left open.

 An open castration was performed on the left testicle.  Using the blade, the testicle was incised ventrodorsally.  The testicle was pushed through the opening.  Then another ventrodorsal incision was made through the parietal tunic covering the testicle and the testicle was pushed through the incision.  After the testicle was free from the scrotum and the tunic, a hemostat was used to pull the ligament of the tail of the epididymis from the epididymis.  A hemostat was used to pull the epididymis away from the testicle and remaining spermatic cord.  Two square knots were created by tying the epididymis to the remaining spermatic cord.  After ligation was complete, the spermatic cord was incised at its distal end and the stub was placed back within the scrotum.  Excess tunic was also transected and removed.  The surgical opening in the skin was left open.

The LA (large animal) Digestive Exam 1 was challenging, but I was ready to conquer it.  The test consisted of 20 multiple-choice questions, 10 written by each of our two professors. One professor’s section much harder than the other’s, but I still managed to get an A.  I was so excited that I called my parents to let them know how well I am doing so far.

Now, I promised I would share with you how Dragon Con went this weekend.  I had a BLAST.  It was a huge costume party of nerds — plus people-watchers like me who’d come to observe tens of thousands of people dressed up like characters from science fiction and fantasy. It was hard to move around sometimes because the five hotels hosting the conference were so crowded.  My friend (who goes every year) said this was the largest, most crowded Dragon Con ever held.  It was a very enjoyable experience regardless. It was funny to be waiting in line for food between a centurion from the movie “300” and some strange alien from Star Wars.





It felt so surreal walking past costumes like this


I got the wonderful opportunity of taking a picture with a character from my favorite childhood movie, (Rufio in ”Hook”).  RIP Robin Williams.






Through Him,


 1 Samuel 16:7

“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'”




Starting off Strong (Week 1)

Week’s Itinerary: Radiology Quiz #1 and Surgery Quiz #1

During a typical new semester, I am already feeling behind on my class work after two days.

But not this time when I felt very organized and efficient during the first week.  I was able to look at the lecture notes before hearing the professor teach, and I am soaking up new information.  I’m not sure how long this will last but I like it.

Demand peaked on Wednesday when we had two quizzes.  The first radiology quiz for the semester was not difficult at all.  It was based on our first three lectures and on the lab assignment we worked on as teams (we were allowed to choose our own groups).  We were shown 10 X-rays we had already seen and discussed during lab and asked multiple-choice questions about them.  I got an A, which is a fantastic way to begin a new school year.  Here’ a goofy cartoon:



The second quiz for the week was for surgery.  This turned out to not to be hard, even though we weren’t entirely sure what the first quiz of the semester would cover.  The professor wanted us to review old information related to surgeries we performed on piglets last spring semester.  So we were asked about proper hygiene and etiquette techniques, when to change our anesthetic equipment, what is wrong with a surgical site projected on screen, and so forth.  We wrote short answers individually and then answered the questions again with our group members. The professor surprised us by saying that she would use higher of the two.  This an unexpected bonus was a treasure to my eyes.

I promise you the weeks will get more exciting as the semester continues.  Next weekend, after my first surgery and large animal digestive exam, I will be going with a friend to “DragonCon” in Downtown Atlanta. If you don’t already know, this is a conference that celebrates the fantasy worlds of video games, sci-fi movies, and anime.  Stay tuned for pictures.


Through Him,


Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”


The Worst of Summer 2014

Highlight: Surviving a Pit Bull Attack

In late July of this year, I took a few days off to visit my parents in the Marietta neighborhood where I grew up.  One Sunday afternoon, I was looking forward to my familiar, neighborhood jogging routine when all of a sudden I saw a loose and huge white Pit Bull running towards me.  There was no fence – visible or invisible – between us as he was barreling straight for me.


This is not the dog that attacked me, but it is a friendlier-looking version of him

I didn’t run because I knew that would provoke him more, and he was way too fast to even try, so I just stood my ground.   When he got closer, I could see that his ears were cropped, and I later found out that he had spent his earlier years in a dog-fighting kennel.

I was able to dodge his first lunge, and he lost his balance for a few seconds. But he righted himself and lunged a second time, hitting me full in the chest.  When the weight of the dog hit and his teeth pierced my skin, the fact that I’m a veterinarian in training made no difference. I was as terrified as anyone else.

Fortunately, his owners saw everything, ran to me, and thrust themselves between me and the dog.  If the owners weren’t there, it could have turned out WAY worse, but I truly feel so blessed that God protected me during that scary experience.  The owners were horrified and they paid for everything.  They paid for my visit to a nearby urgent care center and bought me a new phone, because my old one shattered during the attack.  As parents of a one-year old child, they also made the painful decision to put the dog down, and the last I heard he was impounded.  I was only at the urgent care center for a couple of hours just to clean up my minor injuries and check for any possible infection.  So I am just fine, no worries :)  Now, 4 weeks later, I’m almost healed.

It’s funny how being in vet school has changed my perceptions of human medicine. The procedures used to clean my wound made me wish I was being treated by a veterinarian instead of a human doctor.  Usually when an animal comes in with a bite wound, the veterinarian squirts a syringe of sterile saline solution into the lesion to clean it out thoroughly.   Punctures are usually left open to allow drainage.  The emergency doctor who worked on me did not clean my wound that way.  She wiped the skin surface off, put it in a few stitches and covered it with a loose dressing.  I was a little skeptical with her methods, but they must have been sufficient because I don’t have an infection.  I’m grateful for that.

In the future, I will be carrying a pocket knife and pepper spray whenever I run, walk to my car, skip and whistle to my next class . . .  I want to be protected at all times.  Another friend who is a runner gave me a tip that is supposed to defuse a dog attack.  If a dog is coming at you, try to run backwards while still facing it.  This supposedly confuses the dog and causes it to stop.  Weird, I know.  And not tested by me (fortunately).

After hearing how traumatized I was by this experience, people have asked me if I think pit bulls should be kept as pets.  The owners of the dog that mauled me did the best they could to rehabilitate an animal who had spent his first two years in a violent situation that rewards aggression.  I don’t rule out pit bulls as being pets, but it can be very difficult to revive the gentle side of a dog who has survived such an environment.  Just know that they are very territorial animals, that fences are a good thing, and that owners need to have fool-proof commands for stopping chases before they start.  Right now, my feeling is that I will handle pit bulls in clinical situations only if they are muzzled.  After what I experienced, I am not playing around with that breed.

Through Him,


Romans 1:17

“For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

The Best of Summer

For what may be the last time in my working life, I could have chosen to do absolutely nothing this past summer. For those of us studying to be doctors, whether our patients will be human or animal, the summer after our second year of school is famous as the last unstructured summer for the foreseeable future. Maybe ever.  But instead of sleeping in and playing video games, I took advantage of my free summer in a different way. I signed up for the Georgia Veterinary Scholars Program (GVSP), an amazing program that provides an introduction to the high-energy space where veterinary and human medicine intersect in biomedical research. From May until August, I was part of a group of 15 vet students, two from Tuskegee, one from Grenada, and the rest from UGA .  We were assigned to work with top scientists in their labs, we visited other labs and research facilities, and at the end of the summer, we all traveled to Cornell University to present the results of our research project.  Here is the website for GVSP:

My project focused on using stem cells to regenerate bone after a fracture. We were trying to find out what is really going on in the “Fracture Putty” (an experimented gel containing the stem cells) that we use to heal weight and non-weight bearing fractures in mice, sheep, and hopefully humans in the future.  We know the putty helps heal broken bones, but we are not sure exactly how it works.  We also know the stem cells secrete bone morphogenetic proteins, which we call BMP-2 in the lab. And we know that this protein is an osteoinducer, a signal that recruits some of the patients own stem cells to the fracture site and turns them into bone cells.  But we were not sure whether the stem cells in the gel itself were also turning into bone cells.

Below is a picture taken by researchers in the “Regeneration Bioscience Center” here at UGA before I arrived this summer.  The red circle marks where the “Fracture Putty” was injected into a mouse’s thigh muscle 14 days before the image was made.  Clearly some bone is forming, which a fascinating discovery to me.

fracture putty

Figure 1 : 2.6 x 10^6 human umbilical MSC were transduced with 10 MOI of BMP2 lentivirus and injected into the left leg of NOD/SCID female immunocompromised mice. Right leg was used as a non-injected control and mouse was x-rayed after 14 days. (January 2014)

At the end of the summer, the results I hoped to see came up inconclusive.  But it is perfectly fine because I do not feel upset or have any feeling of worrying, which is what I struggle with during school time.  The truth about research is that most experiments don’t work, and people who choose a life of biomedical research must deal with disappointment over and over again.  This summer, God is blessing me right now because I am seeing myself slowly conquering the feeling of worrying.  So, although my results came out inconclusive, I still feel like I have just been through a victory.

The big finale for the GVSP is a trip to Cornell University to present our posters at a national research symposium hosted by Merial, a major veterinary drug maker, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  Over 200 research students from across the country presented for 4 days at Cornell.

I honestly felt a little nervous presenting my work.  Guys, as a singer, I have performed in front of thousands of people at concerts- and I admit I still get nervous to this day.   But this was different, standing before an audience as a scientist, not a singer.  Now I’ve experienced two different species of stage fright, thanks to GVSP. And I can tell you that Ithaca, New York, home of Cornell University, lives up to its bumper sticker: “Ithaca is Gorges.”


Cornell’s beautiful gorges


Here’s me in front of my poster

Through Him,


Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

End of 2nd year!!

Hey guys!

It felt like a very LONG year for me, but I made it!  I’m sure you all are itching to know how electives went.   I have asked my lovely classmates to assist me again in “Rate my Electives”, and they really offered helpful feedback.  Here we go then:

Electives (alphabetical order) Honest Feedback Overall Rating (1=NOT WORTH YOUR TIME!!! 5=Highly recommend it!)
Forensic Pathology
Wonderful class! Lecture slides showed very interesting cases as it related to animal cruelty. Final was not stressful at all. The class honestly made me interested in pursuing this career! 5 out of 5
Great class. Not a lot of work, great necropsy labs, low stress class, great teacher! 5/5/2014
The material is interesting and something we do not have a lot of exposure to. The laboratories are fun: necropsies, looking at evidence, and blood spatter (like Dexter). The lectures, I gotta be honest, were kind of boring at times, mostly because I find it hard to take notes during the lectures and I do not know how to preoccupy my time. One groupwork outside class where you write a necropsy report, but it did not take long to do. The final IS the pre-test, so easy A but you learn a lot. 4 out of 5
The lectures are super boring but the labs are fun. Low stress and good information. 4
great class… a few of the lectures could have been shorter/ more to the point but its overall low stress and very informative 4
Lab Animal Lab
If you’re interested in lab animal medicine and you enjoyed the prerequisite elective, then I would definitely recommend it. The labs cover handling, tissue collection, blood collection, and injection sites for mice, rats, and rabbits. It’s great hands-on experience and really easy. Plus, it’s a graded class that you pretty much can’t get any lower than an A in if you show up to lab! 5
LA Anesthesia
Great professor, fun labs 5
Lots of repetition from the core anesthesia course, but it was pretty easy and the professor is very nice and friendly. Good review. The labs are very practical and fun. 4
Its a great class. I struggled in general anesthesia and this class just put everything into perspective.
Great class. Required for the clinical rotation, so take this. Dr Barletta is awesome! 5
LA Medicine
GREAT class. Well taught, tests are pretty straight forward. Very glad I took this class! 5/5/2014
The professors are great. 5
Awesome professors, good material. Some repetition from previous core courses, but all good review and more targeted to LA. 5
Great class! 4.5
LA Parasitology
no comments :(
Poultry Disease
For someone who has ZERO background in chickens, this was a difficult class, but I learned a TON and am very glad I took it. 7AM is tough, but it is worth it. 4 out of 5
Public Health
This class is pretty cool- we met maybe 5 or 6 times for 1 or 2 hours each and just talked about social justice, poverty, service learning, and how all of that applies to vet med. We also did a vaccine clinic as part of the course so that was a good learning experience. You just have to show up and then write a 3-5 page reflection paper at the end and you’re golden grade-wise 5
SA Endocrinolgy
I honestly struggle with this material, but it is always good to get taught on it again for repetition and reinforcement. The professor does discuss rare and uncommon diseases too, but what was taught was the usual thyroid, adrenal gland, and diabetes diseases. Don’t blow off the quizzes. They help to boost your grade before the final. 4 out of 5
Most of the material you already have exposure to and have learned before. If you are interested in other classes, you can skip this one. This is a good review of Polysystemic Diseases, and I feel that this class truly helped solidifed these endo disease in my brain. Questions are not difficult if you pay attention in class (which is not hard because Dr. Ward is an amazing lecturer), a do-able A and low stress. 5 out of 5
Honestly I didn’t get much out of it because 90% of the things we cover in the class are things we went over multiple times from freshman year to to this semester in polysystemic. Easy A. 4 out of 5
Awesome class. More case/discussion based on diseases that you are already familiar with. Never hurts to do that in a more clinical way. Low stress. Dr. Ward is amazing. 5
Dr. Ward is amazing, as always, and you learn about very important diseases. If you are SA or mixed, you should definitely take this. 5
Dr Ward makes this class great 5
Laid back class. Lots of cases. Very helpful review of the core class. 5
Must take for SA emphasis 5
SA Infectious Diseases
Awesome class!!! It’s fast paced, but well taught. Tests are reasonable as long as you study hard. 5 out of 5
This class will make you work, but technically, you have heard it all before. It is a great review of bacteriology and virology and the professors are awesome. 5
If you are like me, all those BacT and Virology stuff from freshmen year are long gone; they were brain-dumped after the exam. This class is VERY useful is reinforcing old mateial in a more relative/ clinical way, not just memorizing stuff from last year. The two exams were fair and were highlighted in class. Take this class, fo real! 5 out of 5
Very useful and well-taught, especially compared to freshman bacteriology/immunology/virology. No BS, just useful information and the tests are moderately hard but fair and you can study for it. 5 out of 5
Great class. Lots of info but everything that is discussed is so important! It weeded out the rare stuff we heard about in BactT and Virology first year and really emphasized the important topics in depth. TAKE THIS CLASS. 5
Dr. Creevy is very helpful and has an awesome style, and this course is a great refresher on all the very important stuff for SA from BacT. Also, very clinically relevant. 5
Super relevant. Take this! 5
Dr. Creevy is a really great teacher. This course was extremely helpful for understanding the major small animal diseases and was a really good review. Great class! 5
Must take for SA emphasis, sad to see Dr. Sum leave though 5
SA Urology
If you hope to be in any kind of clinical field with small animals, this is absoultely the class for you. Blocked cats, renal failures, and urinalysis will be your everyday life. The exams are hard but it is well taught. Don’t let the difficulty steer you away. If you’re going to be working with small animals, take it. 5 out of 5
The information is useful but the exams are rediculous. It’s ok though, you will learn a lot. Just dont be upset if you get a horrible grade (they will curve)
GREAT CLASS. This is the elective I felt like I learned the most in. So useful and you end up feeling really accomplished with how much you learn. The exams are very hard but you can figure them out if you have studied adequately. This class has already helped me a great deal. Clinics will be much easier with this knowledge. 5
Very helpful class, i came out feeling confident I could diagnose and treat a variety of SA diseases… one of the more difficult electives I’ve taken, though, so keep that in mind 5
This class is tough, but highly relevant and extremely important. Grading was very fair. 5
Vital class, learned more than any other class I have taken 5
Shelter Medicine
Not as engaging and enlightening as I hoped it would be. Lectures were long and drawn out. The final is an obnoxiously long take-home examination. The professor is extremely sweet though :) Not hard to get an A in this class. Take final seriously and work on final earlier than you think (trust me, it’s long) 3 out of 5
The review above is very representative of my experience with this class. The laboratory is infomative, especially how to use tools to make it less stressful for both you and animals. The final is VERY long, and tedious, but not difficult. 3 out of 5.
If you’ve worked in a shelter, this is common sense knowledge. The lectures are rather boring. The final is extremely long and tedious; even if you like the subject it beccomes extremely annoying. But I will grant that the instructor may be the nicest person on faculty 3 out of 5
since shelter med program is being shut down, if this class is available, it will be the only way to get knowledge. overall ok class 2.356
Wildlife Diseases
possibly the best class in vet school 5
Really great- all discussion based. All you have to do to pass the class is show up at least 80% of the time (this is straight out of Dr. Stallknecht’s mouth). If you are interested in Wildlife at all you should take it, it really gives you a good background in wildlife management and how things do or don’t get done in wildlife research. 5
Zoo Anesthesia
I struggled with Core Anesthesia, but it was nice to get reinforced but now with MULTIPLE species. The final exam was very difficult and it was worth 50% of the total grade. I enjoyed the material for the different animals taught, and the labs were fantastic!! (anesthetizing fish an darting practice). Just make sure you study your butt off for the final (really understand the different applications with each species PLUS the different drugs used PLUS physiology) 5 out of 5
The final was hard, but I feel like I learned enough from the labs and the lectures to not really care what my actual grade turned out to be. You will never get a chance to have all this information in one place so if you are interested in zoo species I would definitely take it! 5
This is one of the best electives I’ve taken… Dr. Shepard is interesting and helpful and all the guest lecturers (Divers, Mayer, Brainard, etc) really know their stuff. The labs are also amazing… the fish anesthesia lab was very helpful and informative and the dart delivery lab was the most fun I’ve ever had in a vet school class. 5

Well, that’s all I have to share today.  I will see you all again very soon for my 3rd year in vet school!!


Through Him,


Mark 15:39= “And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”