Read these updates and bios from the people interviewed in Homesick.


Susan Abod
SusanSusan Abod (Director, Writer, Narrator) is an award-winning filmmaker, professional singer, songwriter, and recording artist.  Her first film, Funny You Don’t Look Sick: An Autobiography of an Illness (64 min), is an intimate portrait of her life after developing chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivities in 1986.  It premiered at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 1995. Despite her chronic illness, Susan released her first full-length music CD “In the Moment” in 2001.  She released an original 2-song CD,  ‘Under Santa Fe Skies’ in 2009 and she  composed the songs for Homesick.


Paula Baker-Laporte
PattySince 1992, Paula has dedicated her architectural practice to the precepts of environmentally sound and health enhancing architecture. She was selected as one of the top 10 green architects in the United States by Natural Home Magazine (July/August 2005 edition).

In 2007, Paula was elected into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in recognition of her Architectural and Educational work in the arena of Natural Healthy Building.

After leading her award winning architectural firm, Baker Laporte & Assoc. based in Santa Fe, New Mexico from 1986-2009, she moved to Ashland, Oregon where she is currently the president of EcoNest Architecture Inc.

Together with her husband Robert Laporte she co-directs the EcoNest Co. Natural Building Seminars and Workshops.


Bonnie&DanielleBonnie Berkowitz
Bonnie is a part-time (hippy) photographer.

Danielle Berkowitz
Danielle is 17 and pretty ill. She is studying for her GED at home because high school is out of the question. She has terrific friends who love and support her.


SusanClarkSusan Clark
Susan sang the harmonies on the ‘Homesong’ recording. She is a wonderful songwriter and singer.



EricaErica Elliot
“After some near disastrous health challenges, I would say that I am thriving. I travel, hike, bike, swim, cross country ski, go to movies, garden, and hang out with friends. My private medical practice is busier than it has ever been. I enjoy being alive.”


JulieJulie Friess
Julie Friess, SRA is now in Delray Beach, Florida working in Real Estate and Appraisals.


ZachZachary Freiss
(pictured in 2007) Julie reports, that Zach is now attending the U of Arizona in Tucson and “he’s doing well”!


Still owns property in Texas and is looking for a buyer to sell off parts of it to.




PATRICIAPatrice Kerr
“I live indoors in my safer home some of the time, but need to sleep outdoors sometimes when I am ill. I sold the tipi when I couldn’t get into it after a broken hip, and now just use tents, which continue to wear out every few years.”

“It is frustrating and exhausting, after all these years, to struggle with the same things! Still, I have continued to try to work. I am back in school, working on my MS in nursing, so I can be a online nursing instructor. I work as a part-time nursing instructor for Central New Mexico Community College, have a tie dye business, and teach water aerobics so I can stay mobile.”

“I am EXHAUSTED from years of struggling, and am just barely hanging on. I have chronic pain from old injuries, chronic fatigue, and allergies. I would like some ease and relief, and there seems to be very little.”


Sue Pitman
SuePitman“I largely credit our recovery to (essentially) living outdoors year around in clean air on a screened-in porch in a hot climate with no air conditioning, wrapped in the arms of nature. I also trained in Esogetic Colorpuncture — a system of healing developed by German Naturopath, Peter Mandel — and applied the lessons to myself, my family, and other chemically sensitive people. This system is designed to re-establish smooth intercellular communication so that a body can function properly. It is my opinion that chemical poisoning can cause, in addition to other things, chaos in the human intercellular communication system.”

“Today my children are well, successfully living in urban areas, with only minor efforts to avoid the most easily avoided environmental toxins. We have two beautiful and healthy grandchildren. My son completed two tours of duty in Iraq with distinction in the US Marine Corps and continues his work with wounded warriors.”

“My husband and I retired to rural Colorado, high in the mountains and relatively far from cities, where the air is still fresh and clean. We built a beautiful non-toxic home and are very active in our small community where few people consider wearing fragrance and or using pesticides.”

“Tired of my 20 years of environmental activism – trying to help people and the nation to understand the consequence of their “toxic” lifestyle choices, and to change laws in a way that would enable people to be healthy – I discovered an international movement of people who choose to live in concert with nature instead of working against nature. I studied and became certified in Permaculture Design, a system which I have worked to bring to my community through a local non-profit called Sustainable Ways.”

“My body still has a somewhat compromised detoxification system but I can live a good “normal” life, symptom free, in my “clean” home in clean air. I can successfully go out into the normal “toxic-to-me” world for up to a week at a time without becoming ill, and only experience minor symptoms so long as I can return home to detox. I still use colorpuncture treatments on myself when I feel like my system is out of wack. It pulls me right back into health. My husband — who did not experience MCS himself — and I are far healthier than most of our peers who never had the opportunity to learn to live a chemical free life. What a gift MCS was to us!”


John Shapiro
John Shapiro is the regional director of the non-profit environmental group PACE (Protect All Children’s Environment). He has also testified in the New Mexico senate on Gulf War Illness; its causes and possible treatment, as well as worked successfully to assist the City of Santa Fe New Mexico to transition to the least toxic pest control throughout the city, its parks, and golf course.


Rhonda Zwillinger
Rhonda is in her home and doing her art!


(Martha was one of the women interviewed at Reinhart’s Ranch in Texas)

I have had no significant change in my health over the past 20 years or more. However, I am so grateful that I can function well enough to take care of myself (i.e., grocery shopping, general errands, some socializing. I am also able to help others occasionally, – like take them to medical appointments; do a little shopping for them.

I owe this stability primarily to avoidance of chemicals and to living in a chemically safe house that my family purchased from another chemically sensitive person. This previous owner built it safely and never used pesticides. (I am disabled from pesticides.)

I have had problems with a neighbor spraying pesticides a few times because they did not give me advance notification. I got quick sick. Also a year ago I got a new metal roof. I am still, one year later, having reactions to the synthetic underlayment under the roof in the afternoons when the sun hits the roof the strongest. I get sick from that or I leave the house at that time.

Currently, I am happy to report I am holding my own and am grateful for this.

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