Five years ago this month, I walked into the offices of The Zephyr to place an ad for my new business. Little did I know that I would walk out writing a weekly column with this growing paper. I remember that day well. I gave Norm my business card, and being the friendly curious newspaper person that he is, he had several questions for me. After some discussion with Norm about my new business, my education, and my background he asked me if I would write a column for his paper. Without hesitation I answered yes. As I turned to leave, obviously something told Norm I hadn't fully understood what he was asking of me, ''I don't mean just one article,'' he said, ''I mean a weekly column.'' Hence, the birth of my column, ''TO YOUR HEALTH,'' which was picked up a couple of years later by The Monmouth Review-Atlas.

As I ponder my overstuffed file of five years of hard copy, I smile and feel I've accomplished something good, something useful. Over the years I've had a very small but growing readership that has been more than generous with words of encouragement. Of course, not everyone has always agreed and at times violently -- even violently -- disagreed. Only a few weeks ago, one woman from Avon wrote to point out my misuse of the word ''cooped.'' In text it was used as cooped up. She reminded me that a coup (I don't recall seeing it in print that way, but) was a two seated buggy or carriage and it reminded her of her younger days of dating. Thanks, I smiled.

The issue of burning, well it was exactly that, a ''burning issue'' to say the least! I still believe it's the right thing for the community and I wish to thank the Mayor for his decision to veto the proposal to resume burning. If you are planning a reelection campaign, I'll be happy to help.

The four-part articles on fibromyalgia caused my phone to ring frequently. This disease is such a mystery illness, as are so many of the newer chronic degenerative illnesses that are related to our overly modernized, mechanized, processed world of foods, pollutions and drugs. (Hint, hint.)

I received some very heartfelt, compassionate e-mails for the articles I did called ''Dying In America.'' Norm liked them, too.

A couple of years ago I did an article about crossing the border into Mexico to purchase cheaper prescription drugs. This brought me endless e-mail. I did not reply to many of the letters, as so many people were looking for ways to buy narcotics, Valium and other street-valuable drugs. I wrote the article to help my fellow Lyme disease sufferers obtain the antibiotic therapy they are so many times denied. I was in Arizona over the holidays where I visited the border town of Nogales. The pharmacies are all still there and ready to do business. If you choose to do that my advise to you is KNOW THE LAW!

My hope is that as we begin the new millennium, my column will continue to be a possible source of help and comfort to you. There are always new topics and new advances in medicine to write about. The traditional medical doctors have yet another new term for those of us who practice this kinda new, kinda old brand of medicine. They call it CAM, or complimentary/alternative medicine. I still like the term holistic, but whatever, I've learned to work within the system I've been given.

Anyway, I think I'm exactly where I want to be at the dawn of this new century, practicing the ancient art of healing through touch. The more things change, the more they stay the same!

I have one piece of news I think might be noteworthy to my readers. My column has been picked up by The Sentinel News of Lodi, California, circulation l6,000. So, thanks to you, your encouragement and your support, I will now be boring a whole new audience- for another five years? Who knows?

Till next time, Rebecca.

Uploaded to The Zephyr website January 4, 2000

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