Resist taking new drugs until they are on market for five to seven years

  • Written by Dee Woods


I’m going to give you some information that America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not given American patients as yet, according to the authors of Best Pills/Worst Pills Newsletter. This is an issue I can totally relate to regarding drugs and interactions and contraindications. The article appeared in the January 2016 issue of Worst Pills/Best Pills, a public citizen newsletter regarding various drugs.

The Canadian counterpart of the FDA did something that none of the American agencies have done, according to WP/BP. It seems that back in July of 2015, Health Canada issued a serious warning about mixing certain drugs. Health Canada warned of the risk of extremely dangerously low levels of blood sugar when repaglinide and clopidogrel are taken together.

Repaglinide (PRANDIN) is a drug for Type 2 diabetes and Clopidogrel (PLAVIX) is a drug to prevent blood clots. They additionally listed PRANDIMET, (another combination drug for type 2 diabetes) also containing METFORMIN, as causing the serious drop in blood sugar. Dangerously low so as to lead to death or coma. So far, according to the publication, the FDA has not warned the American public of this danger.

One of our experiences with drug interactions occurred when my husband was given Plavix after his stroke in 2002. Plavix was to prevent blood clots. Because doctors had given him too much Coumadin and other anticoagulants, he ended up with a bleeding ulcer and other internal bleeding.

Because of his bleeding ulcer, (that he never had prior to the overuse of blood thinners), he was also prescribed a proton pump inhibitor (PPI’s) such as Prevacid, Prilosec, Nexium and other acid preventing drugs.

But, in a shocking turn, he was rushed to the hospital, at which point he was found to have two blood clots in the lungs. They called them “saddle” blood clots (embolism) because they appeared as a saddle on the X-rays. It’s rare to survive such conditions. But, how could he have sustained blood clots when he had been taking Plavix?

Well, turns out proton pump inhibitors completely obliterate the anti-blood-clotting function of Plavix. No one had been aware of the fact that these drugs could not be taken together. It was only after people like my husband showed up with blood clots that it was finally realized the two drugs didn’t mix.

This is the reason the authors of Worst Pills/Best Pills suggest we never try new drugs. Unless there is absolutely no alternative and the condition is so serious, that there is no hope otherwise, we really should stand back and allow the drugs to be on the market at least five to seven years before tying them. Basically, the problems with new drugs aren’t seen until after they’ve been on the market for a while. You might want to ask your physician about the warning the Canadian government is giving to their citizens if you are on Plavix or one of the type 2 diabetes drugs to assure you have no dangerous drops in blood pressure.

Dee Woods can be reached at


Rising above being vindictive puts you in a better place

  • Written by Claudia Parker


 Workplace betrayal!

I liken it to the corpse of a rat, rotting between the office walls where your desk sits. Since that stench can’t be masked, you’re forced to tolerate an uncomfortable environment until it fully decomposes. Pending that occurrence, you avoid deep inhalations of the contaminated atmosphere.  

Haven’t we all been there, at least metaphorically? As my grandma used to say, “Honey child, let me tell you…”

Here are a few scoops of dirt from back-in-the-day. My first corporate job was in the mortgage division of a bank. The mortgage industry was just as volatile as some of the people in the office. Depending on the day, you never knew w-h-a-t to expect.

I could only put my confidence in one person, my supervisor. She had a razor-sharp mind and a supersize personality. She wore a moderate aroma of arrogance with an extra wit for humor. We became friends fast, she had my back. The women were few around the place. She looked after those of us who felt vulnerable to “boys behaving badly.” It was a rowdy atmosphere of profanity-laced conversations, tight deadlines and unpaid overtime.

Not my cup of tea. I sent several S.O.S prayers up to God. “Get me out of this place,” I pleaded. Just pulling into the parking lot sent me into an anxiety attack. I felt like I needed to breathe into a brown paper bag a couple times to calm my nerves. To my delight, God intervened. On my voicemail one afternoon was a male voice asking if I’d like to work for his organization. “If you’re interested in an interview, call me at…” said the caller. A promotion. Sweet!

There had been rumors of a reorganization of our department so my supervisor, whom I confided in about the message, was eager to help. “I say go for it,” she urged. “I’ll even write you a letter of recommendation.”

The rumors turned out to be true. Within a couple of weeks, we all received our walking papers. I was the only one optimistic because I had already interviewed for a new job. Come to find out, my supervisor, the one person I thought I could trust, tried to snatch the opportunity. The letter of recommendation (LOR) she said she was writing on my behalf turned out to be her cover letter and resume. I suppose I was naïve. I didn’t question her insistent request to send the LOR to them directly. “Give me their contact info, I’ll send it for you, it’s the least I could do,” she said.

She had my back all right, with a sharp-edged knife to it!

I felt like trail blazing over to her with a few choice words but I refrained. Betrayal can only occur where trust is established. She hurt me, but I didn’t give her the satisfaction of knowing I knew what she’d done. It took a few weeks for the perspective employer to decide, but I was the candidate they selected.

So what became of the “other” candidate and my relationship? Well, she made attempts to connect with me in the weeks that followed. My response was always polite, yet fleeting. Eventually, she recognized I wasn’t interested in entertaining a friendship that was a facade.

That experience forged a self-control I’ve honed over the years. A wise man once said, “It is impossible for offenses not to come but woe unto him through whom they come.” Allowing myself to become bitter, angry and vindictive toward people who wrong me doesn’t align with the way I desire to live. And it certainly doesn’t provide the example I wish to set for my children.

Light illuminates darkness. When given the choice, chose to be light. Not every betrayal needs to be dignified with a response. True strength is proven with restraint.

Claudia Parker is an Evergreen Park mother, author and runner whose columns appear in The Reporter the second and fourth Thursdays of each month.  


Marveling at the revolving door of life

  • Written by Joe Boyle

I met a group of friends from my grammar school days last Friday for lunch. We had a great meal and had a lot of laughs. It made for an enjoyable afternoon.

But it occurred to me how life is so cyclical. I graduated from St. Margaret of Scotland, which was located at 99th and Throop in Chicago’s Washington Heights neighborhood. Our family had moved to the community when I was in the fourth grade.

We moved to Washington Heights from Roseland. I was actually excited about the move. St. Margaret’s was only two blocks away. The previous school I went to -- St. John De La Salle -- was over a mile. That was a long walk.

The only awkward moment was that my first day of class at St. Margaret’s was in October. I was led in by my new teacher, Sister Sulpice, and I felt every eye on me. That was my introduction to St. Margaret’s. After being initially apprehensive and nervous, I began to get used to going to the school and made some friends. I made more friends over the next couple of years playing baseball and football.

When you are a kid, your world often revolves around you. I recall going to an open house for Mendel High School when I was in eighth grade. I noticed two familiar looking guys my age looking over some trophies. They then left the room and it occurred to me that one of them was named Mickey Mahlum. He lived a block away from me in Roseland, near 100th and Michigan.

I walked home from school often with Mickey Mahlum and would go to St. John’s for weekend activities, like watching movies. We weren’t close friends but we got along. We would laugh and tease each other, like most kids would.

But seeing him that day reminded me that life goes on beyond your neighborhood borders. We visited our Roseland block once after we moved but never returned after that. I now lived in Washington Heights and was entrenched in the neighborhood. It’s as if when I moved, life stopped in my Roseland neighborhood. After seeing Mickey Mahlum, I realized it didn’t.

I recall my graduation from St. Margaret’s. While I had fun there, it was time to move on. We were all little restless at that point. My job, along with many of my friends, was to drive the nuns crazy. We did a good job of that. But I also have some fond memories of the Sisters of Notre Dame. It was another time and a different era. At Catholic schools today, there are few if any nuns teaching or residing at the parishes.

Many of us went on to different high schools. I kept in contact with my close friends and we still hung out. But the neighborhoods surrounding St. Margaret’s was in transition. The once predominately Irish Catholic neighborhood became mostly African American. Many of my friends had moved and casual acquaintances left. I stayed in contact with many friends, but life begins to tug you in different directions.

Our family eventually moved but I did not spend much time at our new home. I went away to college and made some more friends. One day stood out in my mind. I was attending summer school during the summer of 1976 at Western Illinois University in Macomb. Walking through an area called the Union in the middle of the campus that featured fast food restaurants and offices, I saw a familiar face walking towards me. It was none other than Mickey Mahlum. I talked to him briefly wondering why he was there. He was visiting an old friend from the old Roseland neighborhood who was attending WIU.

After saying our goodbyes, I shook my head. What were the chances of seeing this person from my distant past walking through a student lounge in Macomb?

But I guess when you are around long enough, it’s like going through a revolving door. People from our distant past come back into your lives. I got married after college and we had two kids. Most of the mid-1990s into the mid-2000s was spent helping to coach my son’s baseball teams and my daughter’s basketball squad.

I kept up with some friends from St. Margaret’s but not everyone. A recent St. Margaret’s reunion brought a lot of us together again. We can’t bring back the past but it was fun looking at pictures from our lunch outing. And why not have fun at this stage. That’s what it is all about.

And who knows? Maybe I will see Mickey Mahlum again.

Joe Boyle is the editor of The Reporter. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

How a mother’s unfulfilling career led her through a new door

  • Written by Claudia Parker


Learning how certain folks came to discover their occupation continues to intrigue me.

“How’d you get into this?” I’ve been known to ask.  

Frequent unintentional assemblies in my neighborhood park with an unknown mom and her sons has blossomed a friendship and enlightened me to learn about Feng Shui.

“I began studying Feng Shui about 10 years ago after stumbling upon the subject in a design book,” said Elizabeth “Liz” Camacho, of Evergreen Park.

She and Frank, her husband of 12 years, have lived in EP for six years with their two sons, Lucas, 6, and Levi, 3.

Feng Shui, in short, is a Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing each person with the surrounding environment.

“I found it fascinating and the principles deeply resonated with me, yet I didn’t dream of making it a career until more than a decade later,” said Liz.

Prior to starting her family, Liz said she worked in corporate food service management as director of catering and special events for Boeing.

“I’d built a successful career in hospitality and was generously compensated,” Boeing is known to many as the world’s largest aerospace company,” said Liz. “Yet, as the years passed, I became increasingly dissatisfied and found myself totally stressed and often fatigued, wondering, ‘what am I doing? And why?’”

Starting a family provided her a way of escape.

“I took some much needed time off to enjoy being a wife and mother. It allowed me to take inventory of my life and figure out what really mattered,” she explained.

That proved to be a difficult decision for her.

Liz reflected back, “Leaving my career brought judgment of peers and family. I also faced fears of financial insecurity.”

I don’t believe following one’s true calling is easy for any of us. It requires grit and perseverance. But, oh what joy your life can experience once you’ve pushed passed the pain.  

Liz said the fuel she needed to keep driving came through a weekend Feng Shui retreat. “During that retreat I felt an awakening. I quickly realized the Feng Shui I was implementing in my own home was really changing my life. I was happier, healthier, and more inspired than ever. It was like unlocking a secret. I was driven to share the opportunity with anyone who would listen.”

From there Liz said she went on to immerse herself in the subject and began consulting for family and friends.

“It was through their positive experiences that I felt a sense of validation and knew I had to use the knowledge to help others.”

Liz became a certified consultant and started a business called, “Front Door Feng Shui.”

“I created Front Door Feng Shui to help people love their spaces and pursue their best life. Words cannot describe how truly grateful I feel to be on this path and how honored I am to share my passion with others.” She expounded, “I really enjoy creating living and work spaces that are happy, healthy and motivating.”

Liz said she feels called to do what she’s doing. “It’s led me to an active practice of meditation,” she said.

Another approach to her holistic health and wellness life is exercise. She’s also a Pilate’s instructor at Core on 95th and Francisco three days per week. “I practice living a centered life, strengthening the core of your body and practicing Feng Shui can bring about balance, harmony and flow.”

With a degree in hospitality and culinary management, Liz said she’s in her “other” element when she’s cooking.

I’d say that makes her a triple threat!

Liz is available for consultations and can be reached at

She specializes in space clearing, de-cluttering and organizing as well as design, art and décor.

Claudia Parker is an Evergreen Park mother, author and runner whose columns appear in The Reporter the second and fourth Thursdays of each month.

Darkness lurks beneath some clean-cut images

  • Written by Joe Boyle

Looking back at 2015, we know about the violence, random shootings, reports of excessive force by police and chaotic weather. But some of the stories from the past year are just bizarre.

Veteran actor and comedian Bill Cosby is one example. I heard about Cosby’s alleged indiscretions with women dating back to the 1980s. But you always heard these rumors about celebrities. Sometimes you hear rumors about a person that would not be associated with such behavior. Our first thought is to dismiss these rumors.

Cosby was a funny comedian whose star began to shine after appearances on variety shows in the early 1960s. He unique humor was not In jokes. He was funny because he told stories that many people could relate to. The stories were filled with humor based on his childhood growing up in Philadelphia.

He subsequently recorded well-received comedy albums and starred in the TV show I Spy and later the first version of the Bill Cosby Show in which he played a physical education teacher. The Bill Cosby Show of the 1980s is what most people remember. He played a doctor raising an affluent African-American family.

The show was successful because it did not depend on the typical stereotypes of blacks. The stories were about an American family who happened to be black. The humorous and poignant storylines anyone could relate to. Cosby was viewed as a role model for portraying blacks as more than thugs or junkies.

He continued to do standup with frequent appearances on David Letterman. Even when some women went public about Cosby allegedly assaulting them after he gave them drugs, most people did not want to believe it. Many blacks initially went to his defense, implying racism in that some people want to tear down the image of a black American icon.

While some reports about Cosby continued, it was not until a comedy routine by emerging comic Hannibal Buress in 2014 began appearing on YouTube and went viral. Buress essentially was satirizing the reports surrounding Cosby. Little did he know that it would create a movement. Women who did not know each other began speaking out about being drugged by Cosby and later assaulted. Some of them did not remember the alleged assault but knew something was wrong when they finally awakened. Other women said they remembered being assaulted but they could not physically prevent it due to the drugs.

Now Cosby has been charged with criminal sexual assault on Dec. 30 from a woman who worked with the Temple University men’s basketball team and looked at Cosby, who graduated from Temple, as a mentor. Andrea Constand said she was assaulted in 2004 at Cosby’s suburban Philadelphia home. Cosby was charged because time was almost up to arraign him for this particular alleged assault.

Cosby has been charged and will have his day in court. You want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt but when close to 60 women have reported similar incidents happening to them by Cosby, what other conclusion can you come up with? One thing is for certain is the career of Cosby, 78, is over.

Then we have the strange case of Joe Gliniewicz. This is the police officer from Fox Lake who was revered in the community. The 52-year-old officer called police after he said he saw three suspicious male individuals – two white and one black – and he was going to check on it. Minutes later after hearing gunshots, police found the body of Gliniewicz.

Recent reports have indicated that one of the police officers even suggested that it looked like Gliniewicz committed suicide. Another officer on the scene ruled that out immediately, stating there was no way Gliniewicz would commit suicide.

Giniewicz was buried with honors as first responders arrived from across the country for the funeral. The man known as “GI Joe” was later found to be looting his voyagers program that taught youngsters about police work. Gliniewicz reportedly knew that a new administrator was aware that he was taking cash from the program. Gliniewicz reportedly staged his own death to make it looked like he was murdered.

But the rumors began to start circulating a month after his death. The local police, after a long delay, finally admitted what we all know now. Gliniewicz was far from being a hero. He was also accused of sexual assault and drinking on duty.

The cases of Cosby and Gliniewicz highlighted a strange year. The lesson here is not to assume anything. The image we see on the surface may be covering up some dark secrets.

Joe Boyle is the editor of The Reporter. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .