In the Summer of 2012, right after my first FMT but before I realized the Microbiome was a "thing", my eye caught an article linking Type 2 diabetes and obesity to differences in gut flora in mice. It was one of many mini epiphanies that had been popping into view since the Lyme treatment had spun out of control. The previous year’s roiling health calamities from which I was just beginning to recover, hadn't given me much time to even consider what, exactly had happened, let alone why. The thought of using FMTs to treat anything but a C. Diff infection was, well, kinda out there and frankly terrifying. Luckily, my drive to know whether there was a link between my "mysterious" health issues (now complicated by Lyme) and my antibiotic use slowly evolved into: "Well, if an FMT could cure my C.Diff in one day, why not more FMTs to deal with all that "other stuff?""
Microbiome science is young, expanding exponentially, with staggering health implications that are changing the very nature of what we consider to be, well, our very nature and how to restore it. Thus it’s taken me years of research-in between bouts of fatigue and self-doubt that I could even finish-to present this DIY medical experiment in its current form. My work rests on the shoulders of countless scientists, researchers, doctors, journalists, all seekers of potential in a universe we can't even see but that has sculpted us into what we are and by its absence what we are not. I am hoping, thanks to the insights and the relentless curiosity of these "Microbioneers", to restore some normalcy to my bodily systems that have been starving for microbial relationships, isolated from their genetic communicators and partners much as my social life languished when I literally went missing.
I will be forever grateful to Rebecca "Rain" Rodriguez who, upon seeing my stack of papers two years ago, agreed to embark into unchartered waters of a nascent science and early days of clinical trials for this procedure. Her patience, ability to analyze, put order into chaos, adopt the subject matter and hang in there while I slipped in and out of crushing fatigues that doubled the length of the project, deserves nothing less than a recommendation for Sainthood. Having an historic and sweeping grasp of how the internet actually functions in real life, Rebecca helped me transform my ideas into a 3-D DIY medical experiment. She suffered through my mastering of web design, endless computer/social media annoyances and my aggravating talent for going off on tangents. Without her this could never have happened. She taught me to spin straw into gold!
I am most grateful to:
Dr. Lawrence Brandt, a trail-blazer of FMT use in hospitals, for taking me on short notice for my first FMT and opening the door to the possibilities of replenishing my depleted microbiome.
Dr. Maura Henninger, whom I first spied on a Huntington Post interview panel, readily encouraged me to design an FMT protocol and has been instrumental in making sure the medical screening criteria were up to date and medically sound.
Dr. Alber Ftiha, my GP, has been nothing but a quiet inspiration in a world where most old fashioned doctors who LISTEN and spend quality time with their patients, have gone on the endangered species list. He respected my dogged "gut" instincts that the solution to my mounting health woes was not "in my head" but in fact in my gut. (or not in my gut as it turned out). Marianne Cruz and Hope Hortaleza, his amazing assistants, who gave in to every request regarding medical records, appointments, faxes, references and insurance minutia deserve medals!
Dr. Martin O'Malley (my foot surgeon) and his staff who seem to know more about FMTs than my (ex)gastroenterologist, as well as Dr. Schifter, my enlightened cardiologist, both of whom have been nothing but optimistic about my efforts.
Judy Alvarez for her unwavering faith, from the beginning, that this was a GOOD idea and for having room in her gracious and very oversubscribed heart to push me forward!!!
Friends of the pool: Lois Ellison, Sue Metz, Myra Hauben, Judy Jackson, Sonita Singwi, Judith Luongo, Lizanne Merril and Mandy Mxyzhange for their unflagging confidence I could complete this.
Jim Comny for early editing help. Warren Berke who luckily didn’t give a crap!
Tess Kulstad, Mathew Kaye and Ana Soto who understand full well what struggling through illness means while still having to function and give.
Steve Maslow for respecting my ideas. Judy Janda for keeping me accountable.
To Kim Stevensen and Jon Naar for their undying friendship, no matter the time or distance.
Kim and Doug Blodgett whose love of all creatures great and small moved me to deal with the wee beasties in our midst with great care and respect!
The board of Crown Heights South Association for their forbearance during my “sabbatical”, especially Dwayne Nicolson, Juan Blanco, Valerie Flemming, Rosemarie Perry, Richard Walkes, Sharon Wedderburn and Suzanne Spellen.
Eric Smith for giving me the initial “get this on a blog/website” push. Joan Kruckewitt for her fun filled travelers imprimatur!
To my Mom, who once she finally understood what I was up to, has been wholeheartedly cheering me on to the finish line.
To my cousins, Trinity, Tony, Elise and Nancy for quietly supporting my "crazy" ideas, even at Thanksgiving!
To Pat Locke, my best garden design client, who allows me to bring flowers and beauty into her home and Gilda Parente for making that happen!
Many agradecimientos to my good friend Maureen Meehan who not only shared a part of her microbial destiny with me (with tangible results), but has steadfastly stuck by me during these past eight years of living without most of my microbial self.
Finally to Edgar, my long-suffering husband, who has watched, from the beginning, my slipping away from the life we could have led. He has encouraged, cajoled, implored and supported every effort to “get the Poopy Project FINISHED” so we could get our lives back. For him I thank the universe for his undying support, love and faith that I could create this protocol and actually implement it!
Evelyn Tully Costa