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If you want to travel across the United States today or even the world, the trip can be done in as little as four or sixteen hours respectively. That wasn’t always the case. The Oregon Trail, which stretched from Independence, Missouri to the west coast around the border of Washington and Oregon states, took between four and five months to traverse and wasn’t even across the whole country!

The trip was dangerous and unpredictable. Each one came with its own unique set of trials and tribulations. Bandits might attack. You could get caught in storms or catch an illness that would spread across your caravan. Embarking on the journey required lots of preparation and many supplies. And, even well-traveled and self-reliant individuals - if they were savvy - traveled in a group and WITH a guide.

Here’s the analogy. We see ourselves like guides on the Oregon Trail. The trail is life itself, and reaching the end represents dying peacefully and fulfilled. Each patient is a new journey. Their starting point will be different, the group they’re traveling with will be different, the supplies they’ll be bringing will be different - and the obstacles the trip throws at them will be different. But we aren’t vendors selling butter or extra wheels or woolen blankets that you’ll never see again. We’re the guide. We go on the journey for better or worse. We’ll be there to enjoy the morning sunshine and beautiful mountain landscapes but also to help fight off a cougar attack, hunt buffalo or care for someone who catches cholera. We’re all-in.

This blog will focus on a broad variety of topics that are all connected in some way to aging successfully. Posts might be written by one of the three following individuals (the Aging Successfully team):

Dr. Matthew Calkins, Dr. Laura Buchanan (Matt’s wife), and Ben Buchanan (Laura’s brother):

Laura and Ben enjoying the great outdoors:

Matt is a third year family medicine resident at Wake Forest. Laura is a board certified family medicine doctor and will be taking her obesity medicine board exams later this year. She also sits on the board of the Society of Metabolic Health Practitioners (SMHP).

Laura and Matt wanted to find a practice that was as passionate as they were about using lifestyle modification as a first line treatment and giving patients their all.

Ben is a lifestyle modification enthusiast who got inspired by Matt and Laura to start tracking his stats (blood, sleep, heart rate, etc) and got hooked. Professionally he’s a finance guy.

Dr. Tro’s Medical Weight Loss & Direct Primary Care was a perfect fit. Before making the decision to join the practice Laura spent time shadowing Dr. Tro, spending time with his staff, and observing interactions with patients. Hearing the unprompted adulations of patients and feeling the camaraderie of the team let Laura know she had found the right place. Matt will be joining the practice after graduating in 2023.

Matt and Laura’s maternal grandmother - a woman who has been the inspiration for too many things to list.

The low-carb diet Halloween costumes:

Laura and Matt’s favorite pose again:

Matt, Laura and Ben’s Dad, & Ben wearing their kilts in Scotland:

Brother’s Wedding Day:

Getting the White Coat:

Best Friend’s Wedding:

(Mostly) Wake Forest Family Medicine Class of 2022:

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We are family medicine physicians dedicated to helping people figure out how to age successfully. Everyone can improve their physical and mental health, the trick to doing it sustainably is using the right tools!