HEALTH HISTORY

1960-1970   AGES 1-10

Vaginally  it would seem!  October 18th 1960  Brooklyn NY.   And according to my mother, breast fed for the first two weeks.  Then to hell with that -time for formula!  Mom was just out of nurses training and had to get back to work.  I received all  the required  vaccinations and suffered the typical bruises and cuts most kids do. Not sure I ever had ear infections that required antibiotics.  No one remembers.

I have three sisters born in '61,'62,'66, Janet, Lillian & Jean respectively.

1964   At age 3 I have  inguinal hernia surgery.  Prophylactic antibiotic.

Between 1962-1968 (because Dad worked for GE) we lived in MA, OH, IL, OH and finally settled in Fairfield CT.

Where we adopt stray kittens and enjoy some pretty wonderful cats and one Alaskan Malamute over the years.  

COWS R US

Our Grandfather had a family vacation home in Mount Holly, Vermont, bordered by two dairy farmers who would graze their cows on our land. We LOVED those cows.  We would play with them, pet them, and as you see, sit on them, I even learned to hand milk them.  So oddly enough for suburban kids we had some exposure to dirt, farm animals and plenty of microbes. For a few  summers we had ponies we would pet and ride. No one has allergies at this time. Two of my sisters  hanging with the cows. 

BIG SICILIAN FAMILY

Boisterous family gatherings, tons of great food on my father's side in Bensonhurst Brooklyn and Vermont.  We are encouraged to enjoy food, lots of it...Italian American Diet with a touch of Mediterranean.  Tales of great Aunt Nancy plucking dandelion leaves from the lawn in Mount Holly for sautéing, how one orange would be divided amongst the seven newly arrived siblings from Sicily to the Lower East Side to whom would get the broken bits from the pasta factory to save money.   Though I was not  a big fan of the raisins in the meatballs (Arabic influence )I loved  these stories that dotted my childhood of endless pasta, ravioli, marinara sauce, squab, Amaretto, and  fennel between courses of the 8 hour Sunday meals.  

BIG IRISH CZECH FAMILY

Two of  my Uncles on my mother's side were commercial lobster fisherman, so a few weeks in the Hamptons each summer  included plenty of fresh sea food from them, when we weren't swimming, clamming and catching it ourselves!  We spent most of our time outside, in the water, the muck, catching and cleaning whatever we caught and playing in the dirt, on the beach etc...

AND YET I AM SKINNY

Thank goodness we are not raised in the confines of Old World Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst Brooklyn, but in the suburbs of Fairfield, Connecticut, where we are encouraged to be athletes and to look outward!  In short we are pretty healthy, normal kids, swimming, running, playing, biking, dodge balling, soft balling and tree climbing.  I eat what I want!  There are threats to "fatten" me up with milkshakes. 

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1970-1980   AGES 10-20

FALLS & SPILLS & CHILLS

1972 I take total care of and ride friend's horse while she's away on week-ends and vacations.

1973  I manage to fall off a horse during sleet storm and get a mild concussion.  After getting x-rays I become ill, twice in the space of  4 weeks, from what might have been a chest infection then a virus and I recall never feeling so badly.   One round of  antibiotics.

Healthy more or less with lots of swimming, running, biking.  I weight about 115 lbs  at 5'4" this is just fine.

 

1975 In here somewhere is on bout of strep with round of antibiotics.  

1977-78  Wisdom teeth removed with post procedure infection-antibiotics for certain.

ENTER ASTHMA & ALLERGIES

1977-78 Out of "nowhere" I develop asthma that is triggered by exercise, cats, who knows?  Suddenly I break out in hives around horses, barns, bear skin rugs, my mother's house which is filled with cats.  NO idea what triggers this at the time.

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1980-1990   AGES 20-30

THE COLLEGE YEARS

No health issues save for mild depression after living as indentured nanny to famous actor's chronically spoiled brat and unhinged  wife for first 6 months I attend  NYU.   I get over it and learn to SAY NO next time to 90 hour plus work weeks (on top of attending classes) for $1.50 an hour!  Life teaches.  As far as I can remember I don't have any other health issues.  I travel with our college choir to Europe.  Two years in a row.  The only thing I catch is Wander Lust. 

I START TRAVELING & REJOIN HUMAN RACE

1985  After college I start traveling to Nicaragua. I get Giardia and am treated with Flagyl.

 

1986 Am treated for gyn condition with Azithromycin

1986 Am treated for gyn condition with either Doxycycline or Azithromycin.

1987  I fly down to Mexico City with a mild chest infection which turns into severe asthma attack by the time I reach  remote village of Santiago de Atlitlan in Guatemalan highlands.  I stay up all night barely able to breath, but since there was no doctor or way to travel out  till the a.m. bus I stuck it out.  In Antigua Guatemala, my next stop, I see doctor and am given antibiotics.    Once in Managua I get treated for pneumonia by Che Guevera's nephew, a nice Cuban doctor, with antibiotics  from local military base wrapped in a brown paper cone.  (drugs are scarce thanks to U.S. Contra war blockade).  

AND YET I AM STILL TRIM AND GETTING MORE ATHLETIC

1988 I discover resistance training, tone up, at 127 lbs.  I am still eating whatever the hell I want! I have yearly weight fluctuations between 127 and 136 lbs, seasonal perhaps.  Blood work normal.

1988 -127 lbs

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1990-2000   AGES 30-40

THE RADIO & GARDEN DESIGN YEARS MORE TRAVEL BUT NO BUGS

 Am running full service Garden Design business off of bicycle in Brownstone Brooklyn & Townhouse Manhattan, so am getting PLENTY of exercise in addition to the swimming, hiking, weight lifting, ballroom dancing etc...

I also become radio features reporter for public radio outlets, and produce live radio for WBAI/Pacifica.  So I am VERY busy and full of energy, traveling etc. My weight remains steady at 127 lbs with mild seasonal fluctuations upwards.

At the end of this decade I start putting on weight after taking antibiotics, "carbing up" and eating wonderful Dominican food!!!

SHANGRI-LA HIDDEN IN FOOTHILLS OF DOMINICAN ALPS

1997 San Jose de Ocoa, Dominican Republic, development Shangri-La.  I'm on assignment for NPR and Christian Science Monitor Radio and end up getting married and living in this mountainous paradise on and off for the next 10 years.  It becomes my second home. 

 

I also end up with various tropical ailments, pneumonia, intestinal parasites, the usual.  All treated successfully. 

TREMORS

Trouble in Paradise Begins

 

1998 July - Ear infection turns into nasty pneumonia   I am treated with Cipro

1998 September - Infection remains once I return to Brooklyn. Am treated again with Cipro

I start putting on weight-No doubt aided by Oneda's  wonderful cooking (rice ,beans bonuelos, batidos, dulce de higo etc..) in San Jose de Ocoa. The Carb Up Low Fat baloney everyone is following doesn't help either. 

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2000-2010   AGES 40-50

LOVE IN THE TIME OF TANGO & ATKINS

I find Tango, Travel and Antibiotics...

This decade opens with  me living happily half the year in San Jose de Ocoa, in the foothills of the Dominican Alps volunteering for a local, well regarded development organization I had reported on for public radio.  I start putting on weight  as the conventional  eating "wisdom" at this time is to "carb up" which was NOT good advise for me. Despite volumes of excercise, I plump up to 157  lbs by 2003. 

THEN I easily lose lbs by switching to low carb, high fiber/fat diet. Weight melts off and stays that way for years, effortlessly, til antibiotics start to erode my metabolism and all hell breaks loose even before I get zapped with Lyme...

As the decade wears on no one is linking the ensuing health issues to my antibiotic use.  I am highly athletic and enjoying more and more sports mainly Argentine Tango. But in my early 40's things start to go haywire and no one can explain it.  I make heroic efforts to increase exercise (ok, maybe not heroic I LOVE exercise and especially Tango but I am trying to out exercise and eat healthily not realizing my metabolism was being depleted putting me unknowingly on a dysbiosis hamster wheel with no relief). 

TROUBLE & ANTIBIOTICS IN PARADISE

2000 March - Treated for intestinal parasite with Albenza.

2000 June - 140 lbs

2001 February - Tropical infection treated with Flaygl

2001 June - 150 lbs

2002 June - 155 lbs

2002 April - 157 lbs

2003 April - I switch to modified Atkins eating regime and lose, easily, around 30  lbs.  My diet consists of protein, vegetables, nuts, seeds and high fat dairy.  Cholesterol goes up, weight goes down.  Effortlessly.  Just stopped eating garbage refined carbs.  This lasts for YEARS. I maintain 127 lbs (remember I am athletic with plenty of muscle) for years without even thinking about it.  Am never hungry.  (Was not eating organic or grass fed or wild catch in those days btw.) 

2003 May - 136 lbs

2003 July - 127 lbs

2004 January - Gyn - Flagyl

2004 July - Treated for UTI  with Doxycycline 

2004 July - 127 lbs

2004 August - Treated for UTI with Ampicillin

2004 November - For Surgery - Doxycycline

2004  November - Post Surgery - Flagyl

2005 July - 127 lbs

2005 October - Clindamycin

2005 October - UTI - Flagyl

MORE ANTIBIOTICS

2006 May - UTI -Cipro

2006 May - UTI - Azithromycin 

2006 May - 136 lbs

2006 May - I register formal complaints with my doctors which I always documented  for exams since I could not remember off hand): "Loss of muscle tone, general weakness, more tired than usual, slow weight gain over previous year and dramatic weight gain (10 lbs) in April. "(Pattern). "No change in diet but am eating more fish.  Dry skin, stomach bloating, gas, yeast infections for no apparent reason." (unless you're looking at antibiotic use, which apparently no one is).  Other symptoms are normal for age, sharp pains in vaginal and ovarian area.  Pelvic and abdominal MRI's, colonoscopy, nutritional, adrenal testing and blood work all return normal. 

2006 July - 127 lbs

2007 March - Doxycycline

2007 May - Removal of Lipoma - Ciprofloxacin

2007 June - Kidney Stone Hell - I end up in hospital- it passes in a few days  - Ciprofloxacin

2007 June - 136 lbs

2007 November - December - Strange bouts of what feels like food poisoning, but isn't quite.  Nausea, bloating, diarrhea rare vomiting, but mostly GI issues. Doctors have no idea what is causing this. Dry patchy skin in neck/shoulder area.