On Oct. 26, 2009 Yahoo will be shutting down the Geocities branch of their various available applications (which was free, but new services for $60.+ a yr. are available), so for those of us that would like to reference the material we posted, we have to save it to our system or post it elsewhere before the cut-off date. Therefore, I'm attempting to preserve my writings here. This page was my first attempt to creat a webpage, while applied to the Radiography Program of Santa Fe College in Gainesville, FL, back in 2005. Have fun rereading the archives!
MY INRODUCTION PAGE AND VARIOUS AFFILIATED LINKS
Career Web Project
Teacher: Donna Musselman
Radiologic Technologists and Technicians
American Society of Radiologic Technologist
American College of Veterinary Radiology
Schools, Colleges, or Universities:
University of Pennsylvania: School of Veterinary Medicine
Santa Fe Community College, Radiography Program - [dead link now]
ACVR-Veterinary Radiology - [dead link now]
Peterson & Smith Equine Hospital, Radiologic Technicians
North Florida Regional Medical Center
Merrill's Atlas of Radiographic Positions & Radiologic Procedures
Principles of Radiographic Imaging
Radiation Protection in Medical Radiography
A very special thank you to Jimmy Yawn of SFCC's Career Resource Center for all his help in creating this webpage. Without his instruction this project would not have happened. Bless you Jimmy!
rev. June 24, 2006
web hosting 174 viewers as of Aug. 6, 2009
My name is Sandra Koster and I've applied to the Radiography Program at SFCC. SFCC stands for Santa Fe Community College, of which there are currently 2 in the United States. While I transferred from SFCC located in Santa Fe, NM, I am now attending SFCC in Gainesville, FL, where I reside. There is no affiliation between the two schools aside from their name.
This Website is my attempt to share with you the direction and progress of my life while remaining a source of encouragement to those of you, who like me, have found yourselves "starting over" with a new career midway through your life.
After extensive investigation and much thought, I have chosen to present a number of sources directly associated with Radiology which are distinctly different from one another, yet still part of the same medical discipline.
I hope that these links will help to stimulate your mind to "think outside the box," so to speak, whether choosing a new career or starting over, and regardless of the direction in which your life seems to be going, remember that it's important to retain a good attitude.
To begin with, the photographs that you viewed on the opening page of this website are of me just after a serious racehorse riding accident involving a speed of 44 mph., and my being catapulted into a very large and firm 3/4's pole much like an Oak tree. The collision left me with a broken ankle, a broken tibia, a huge lateral femoral lesion, 2 torn ligaments (MLC & PCL), a huge hematoma on my thigh that I was told I'd have died from had it have ruptured, a concussion, a sprained neck, brain trauma, brain stem injury, migraines, 7 broken teeth, TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome), vertigo, numbness and paralysis due to 2 herniated disks in my neck, 2 herniated disks in my lower lumbar, and stammering and stuttering where I used to be very articulate in my speech.
Three surgeries later, and a full month spent in the VAX-D Lumbar traction program, I am now enrolled as a full time student at the Santa Fe Community College and have applied to their Radiography Program in hopes that I will be selected as one of 30 students to participate in the program, out of approximately 300 students to have applied. Coming from a racing background, while these odds sound horrible, one time I did win on a 125/1 shot at Atlantic City Race Couse in NJ, so remaining optimistic about 10/1 odds now is no problem.
Sometimes these career changes in our life come of our own selection, and other times, like mine, we're thrust into them. Whatever the reason, I've come to learn that there is truth to the saying, "blessed are the flexible for they will not be broken." While I sustained lots of "physical" breaks, humans are basically fragile and we are susceptible to lots of other types of breaks and fragmentation as well. For instance, psychologically it is very hard for most of us to adjust to the reality that our entire life has been uprooted in an instance and now we must attempt to pickup the pieces of our shattered existence and start afresh, and typically this requires re-education, as in returning to college. In mid-life, this can be very scary.
What I have found to be essential in such circumstances is "full surrender". A complete acceptance of the need to totally reformat your life. It requires that you abandon yourself to God, and trust that he will provide your "daily bread" so to speak, both literally and figuratively. For me, faith and trust in the Lord is what sustained me throughout this entire horrific ordeal, and continues to equip me to "keep on keepin on". It's been 15 months now since the date of my injury, which was March 13, 2005, and the uncertainties of my future continue to haunt me being as I don't yet have solid footing on my future. Humans are creatures of habit, we like the security that comes with routine and to date, that security still eludes me.
While I have a "game plan" outlined, only the Lord knows what will truly come to pass. So, until such a time as when I know more, I shall just press forward with the course of action laid out before me, taking each thing that comes into my life on a moment by moment basis but remaining optimistic regardless. This brings us to the present--my being a college student in my 40's.
There are many thoughts that come into a person's mind when they re-enter the world of higher education and they are out of a job, lacking the freedoms and liberties that a stable income provides (and what we "had" been accustom to), all the while being under the gun, so to speak, in meeting the financial obligations that one is already committed to. Weeding out the new career possibilities and weighing out the benefits of those selections to determine a final course of action becomes paramount.
As I was putting this web page together, which is an assignment for a class I'm taking this summer semester in hopes of gaining the points that come with obtaining an "A", (the Radiography Program offers approximately 9 additional courses that students can take as extras in order to accrue points to become more competitive in the selection process for the program), I came upon an interesting link which I'd like to share with you. Regardless of whether or not you're selecting a new career or perhaps looking for the "greener pastures" that come with a career change, it does demand reflection so I encourage you to check out the thoughts of another total stranger who has also contemplated the positive and negative aspects associated with such a change. Because in my perception this guy appears to be smart, makes sense, is accomplished, is going places, and is subject to all the variables of uncertainty like all the rest of us are, I recommend that you check out what he has to say. The following link which will take you to an article written by graphic designer Jonathan Gayman, based out of New York city, titled "Designing Greener Pastures" contains his thoughts on this subject.
Now, having cleared up my background information, let's get back to the positive aspects of my bright and brilliant future yet to be, in the field of Radiography. Coming to the realization that Radiography was to be the field of study that I needed to apply myself to was actually very simple. First off, I made a list of those areas of study that I know that I'm gifted in. I then researched what vocational programs were being offered by all the schools within a 60 mile radius of my home. Then I counted the costs of my monthly overhead and sought out "financial aid" for students in my bracket as well as applied for retraining through the Dept. of Ed, Worker's Compensation division. Following that, I considered what types of environments I function best in, for instance, I'm an outdoors kind of person that is allergic to cigarette smoke and am chemically sensitive as well. Therefore, working in closed-in environments subject to a lot of artificial smells and synthetic heat doesn't work well with my "system". Keeping that in mind, I also considered the fact that like all things living, I'm too am still aging.
As we get older, we need to have a realistic view of what we plan on doing for work during our "golden years," and we also become fixed on obtaining a job with good healthcare benefits. Then, there is the very real acceptance of the new physical limitations I have after coming close to death from getting all broken up like I did. After weighing my options carefully and praying about it, I based my decision on all the above criteria and reviewed the median salary ranges for a Radiographer (as well as a Paralegal should "Plan A" fall through). I concluded that if I was to apply my skills in the clinical setting of a hospital for humans, then the sterile aspects and temperature control of that environment would work well for me. Especially since I've already worked in such an environment for 15 years in Santa Fe, NM as a Cytogenetic Technician. But if I'd like to apply my skills to helping Thoroughbred racehorses, like Barbaro, then that would be like icing on the cake since I'd be both inside and outside, with people and with animals, especially large horses with a temperament that I can relate to and love.
So, thinking outside of the box, despite the limitations that I've been restricted to now by my Neurosurgeon, meaning "no more riding racehorses as a profession", I'm still able-bodied enough to help others, and helping others is what it's all about anyway. What I've learned from the multitude of injuries I've sustained, and all the many tests I've had to undergo, namely: Radiographs, MRI's (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), CT-Scans (Computed Tomography), brain scans, electrophoresis, nerve conduction studies, learning how to walk all over again, aqua-therapy, physio-therapy, deep massage therapy, aptitude tests etc., that there is a great big need out there in our little tiny world for healthcare workers who are empathetic to the patients in their sufferings and life disruptions that real life presents. And once again, that need transcends the human element to include all life. Animals can't communicate with a language that we are most familiar with therefore, we must be tuned-in to being able to hear their heart's cry and know what they need and what would bring them comfort. Unfortunately, Thoroughbred Race Horses have been falsely labeled as being "unruly, fractious, psycho, nuts, crazy, etc.," and nothing could be further from the truth. They are an elegant, majestic creature of the finest caliber that closed-minded people don't bother to take the time to understand. I've spent about 15 years working with racehorses and own one myself. They will be your best friend, and play with you much like a big dog if you let them. Well, the lack of vested interest in communications is how it is to a great degree within the hospital settings too, among healthcare workers. Because they for the most part, don't feel the pain and suffering of the injured party, or because the injured party may happen to be of a different culture and adhere to different societal norms, unfortunately, the "supposedly educated" healthcare worker chooses to ignore the pain, suffering and need of the patient rather then taking the time to dig deep inside of themselves and apply themselves to understanding what is trying to be conveyed. And I know this is true first hand, and not just in Florida, but all over the world.
Therefore, when one does come across that certain healthcare worker that truly cares about your wellbeing and opts to go out of their way to accommodate you, they touch your life so deeply that you'll never forget the love that was conveyed. For instance, there was a time that I was injured in a race at the Fairgrounds Race Track in New Orleans, LA. I was on the X-Ray table and extremely nauseous and very upset because I'd left my dog in my car (not thinking that a routine exam was going to get me admitted in the hospital), in some parking lot, with a hand gun in the glovebox, and my dog needed to go to the bathroom.
Well, my anxiety over these matters was making me even more ill and febrile, so, the Radiography technologist assured me that she'd take care of matters. And she did. She went out in search of my car on her lunch break, found it, approached my car with a Dobbie Shepard mix in it, made friends with him (Astro), took him for a walk, hid my handgun, called my brother to come get my dog, and then brought me an apple, being as I'm a vegetarian and she thought that it would make me feel better. Well let me tell you, this girl so touched my life that now, some 24 years later, I've applied to take up the cause of helping others through Radiography that she began all those years ago. I don't know where she is these days, or what her name was, as over the years I'd lost touch with her, but nonetheless, her choice of actions in caring for a total stranger, in a big and out of the ordinary way, touched my life forever and made all the difference.
Moving on up to the more recent present, it was this past Christmas that I had to have my neck fused. I had that work done at North Florida Regional Medical Center, in Gainesville. I will tell you, the day of my surgery was December 14th, 2005, and the shift of nurses that worked the operating room for neck and spinal injuries, and then those that worked the floor that night in the neck and spinal ward, were the most loving and compassionate group of ladies and men, that I've ever experienced aside from that Radiography Tech. There is nothing like waking up in pain, feeling like hell, and having somebody come to your aid who really cares about you and your needs, no matter how small they may be perceived to be.
Those particular folks at NFRMC that day and night, were so genuine. I've never met a group of people so called to their profession as those nurses. They sincerely have servant's hearts and that makes all the difference in the world to a patient.
If I am selected into the Radiography Program, I will be looking to sign-on to working in the Radiology department of North Florida Regional Medical Center first and foremost. After that, I'll be considering my options working with my former employer, Adena Springs South, a Racing Thoroughbred Farm in Ocala, in their yet to be developed Equine Medical Center. God bless you all and stay positive in your career search, and do remember that being "healthy" is about wholeness in mind, body, and spirit. Bye you, and have a great day!
UPDATE: As of Aug. 2006, (one month after my Mother passed on) I was notified by SFCC that I did not draw into their Radiography Program. While my dear friend in Santa Fe, Tom Reed had committed to sponsoring my education to continue in the healthcare programs, he unfortunately underwent a brain aneurism which rendered him unable to fulfill his financial committment to me. Therefore, it was imperative that I follow the second career choice outlined as per Workers' Comp., and that was the vocation of a Paralegal.
I sucessfully completed the Paralegal Program and graduated with high honors as such. Unfortunately, with both the US economy taking such a downward spiral, and the school not involving itself in student placement after graduation, I am now working as a waitress.
While all education is good education, and I am thankful for what all I've learned thus far, "Medical" truly is my passion in life. One day, God willing, I'll continue my education to obtain a BS in Biology in order to qualify to do what I previously won awards in, given my God-gifted ability to detect subtle microscopic rearrangements, or leave the state of Florida (where their backwards statutes prevent me from continuing in the field I was proficient in for over 15 yrs.), so that I can once again re-enter the world of Cytogenetics.
Photo Gallery of Skeletal Bodies
- Sandra Koster
- Over the years, I've grown to learn that I'm thankful for all things the Lord has bestowed upon me, both in plenty and in want, as I know that even "times of testing" are tools He uses to refine our character and put us in position to better receive and appreciate Him and the good and abundant things He has for us, pressed down, shaken together, and over-flowing. It’s now 2012, a lot has transpired in the last 4 yrs., and I've developed my own photography business that stands on "Quality without Compromise." It's called Sandra Koster Photography, and you can find me at my website, and on Facebook, where I have both a Page and a Group by the same name. My Mission Statement: To bring to you and your families the essence of the moment, those treasures in time that are memorialized by the awesome invention of the camera. There is no part of God's creation, from the moon to the molecule, on land or under the sea, no animal, plant or bug too big or too small for my attentions. From inland, to the slopes of the Rocky Mountains, to the country, to the jungle, to the shores of the tropical seas I pledge quality work, without compromise.