My Story

How The Root Cause Tracker™ Came To Be.

So, there I was… Isn’t that how every great story starts? At least the good ones? Truthfully though, there I was, in the fall of 2006, a few weeks after having taken the antibiotic, Cipro (short for Ciprofloxacin) for a bladder infection when the bottoms of my feet started to hurt.

Note: Now what you need to understand before I go on is that I was the picture of health. I have eaten super healthy all of my life, gotten plenty of exercise and sleep, little alcohol and no drugs (recreational or otherwise) and in general, taken great care of this container I experience life through called My Body. And by hurt, I mean that everything I stepped on (I am almost always barefoot) felt sharp and was painful.

I knew something was wrong but what was causing this weird pain? I wrackied my brain trying to figure out what was going on. How can I be perfectly healthy one for decades and then all of a sudden, have pain in the bottom of my feet that is so painful I hardly wanted to walk…and I LOVE walking?

I had a strong gut feeling it was the antibiotic, but three different doctors I consulted said it couldn’t possibly be the antibiotic. While I didn’t believe any of them (I am a go by my gut girl and I am rarely wrong), I kept searching.

The cool part of this story is that without the internet, I never would have been able to solve this mystery. The sad part is that I was right…it WAS the Cipro. It took me three months of scouring the web to learn the terrible truth about Cipro. 

The Discovery Process – Slow But Sure

The discovery was a two-step process. First, I discovered that what I was experiencing was called Peripheral Neuropathy in the medical field. This is when, literally, the peripheral nerves in the body (skin, feet, hands, etc.) are inflamed and hurt. If you want to learn more, go here:

At this point — about three months after taking that awful drug, it wasn’t just my feet that hurt. My low back and sides were tender, to the point that if I banged into something or leaned against a wall or anything with a corner, my skin and body would feel like I was leaning against a knife. I was uncomfortable to say the least.

Keep in mind that I was still eating super healthy, still exercising, still getting enough sleep. I hadn’t changed anything about my lifestyle.

A few days after discovering the label ‘peripheral neuropathy’, I typed into Google the combination of “peripheral neuropathy” and “cipro”, and low and behold, my screen lit up like a Christmas tree. I sat there in my office and sobbed. Finally, I had proof that what I suspected was correct. Damn Bayer to hell! (More on this later if you want more information.)

At that point, I KNEW I was right that the antibiotic had somehow caused the shift in my health…I just didn’t have any idea how to reverse the damage and I wouldn’t understand for quite some time.

Truth be told, I still don’t understand HOW it messes us up… One of the most memorable phone calls I had during this time was to The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy. A lady answered and after talking with her for a few minutes, she told me there was no cure.

Well, just suffice it to say I told her where she would stick her opinion and hung up…even more determined to find a way to heal my body.

My First Sign of Relief

Now one of the beliefs that drives me is that, whatever I need shows up at the perfect time. The next few months serves to back up that belief, over and over again.

It just happened that in 2005, I had started attending a slew of personal develop seminars. Since I taught financial education camps for kids and teens, some of the seminars were teaching related, some financial related, and other were a mix of random topics on business, marketing, personal development, etc.

One of the those seminars, however, held the key to the beginning of many years of healing. The particular seminar was a multi-speaker event with dozens of speakers on different aspect of health.

One the last day, I discovered the incredible power of hyperbaric oxygen chambers to heal the body. I couldn’t wait to get home, and as the universe had it (which it always does), I was talking to a friend back in Santa Barbara about what I had learned and he told me he had just seen an ad for a seriously discounted special on ten hyperbaric sessions at one of the only places in the area who had chambers.

By the time I got home, without my asking, this sweet friend had called the company and had them hold the last remaining package for me! I started the sessions right away, and within two sessions I started noticing a difference. By the time I finished the tenth session, I was a new person. Not totally healed, but soooo much better.

A Long Story on Fast Forward

The next few years are a jumble…one thing leading to the next…it all led to what I would call, 90% healed with a few issues still to resolve.

I often refer to this period as a “series of unfortunate choices”. Here’s the quick and dirty version if you want to follow along.

Since I was already in menopause in 2006 when I started experiencing the peripheral neuropathy, I was doing quite a lot of reading about what happens to our bodies when our hormones start decreasing. What I learned was that estrogen is one of the many compounds that is responsible for maintaining our nerves’ myelin sheaths, i.e., keeping our neurons firing correctly. My logical mind figured, OK, then let’s add some bioidentical estrogen and see if that also helps the nerves.

That lead to my going on a hormone protocol called the Wiley Protocol which I later learned, from an endocrinologist, that provided excessive amounts of both estrogen and progesterone and she said part of why I wasn’t feeling well was that the levels were too high. Ho hum. This part of the journey, and I continue to be on it, I have dubbed the Great American Hormones Beta Test! Every doctor who deals with hormones has a different idea of what works. It’s frustrating to say the least.

But I digress… This new doctor, the endocrinologist, put me on different types of estrogen and progesterone, while focusing on balancing all of my hormones. I started to feel a little better and then she refused to work with me anymore because I was also asking for second opinions from another doctor.

Turns out this endocrinologist had lost her license years prior for incorrect hormone levels and well, it was probably a good thing I wasn’t working with her anymore.

I kept learning and testing myself and changing my diet and trying new things and slowly but surely, I’d figure things out. There were food sensitivities I wasn’t aware of. There were molds and parasites (and treatments for each).

There was the stress of barely having enough money to live while spending thousands on alternative therapies, like lymphatic massage, acupuncture, a slew of different types of supplements and herbs, vitamin b12 shots, infrared sauna, UV therapy for an active Epstein Barr virus and more. Even with all of these roads into new therapies and ideas of why I didn’t feel well, I knew I was missing something.

Some of the lingering symptoms were lack of sleep, leg cramps, low back pain, stomach issues, inability to balance my hormone levels, lack of focus and concentration and even more stress because I was just tired of feeling terrible.

Even the stress of having my partner help support me, while I continue the search for answers was weighing on my being.

The Final Answer…Sort Of

I have a dear chiropractor friend named Peter who kept suggesting that I go see Dr. Bernhoft in Ojai, CA, about 30 minutes away. I knew he’d be expensive so kept putting it off.

Finally, after about the third pushy suggestion, I went and OMG, do I wish I had gone two years prior when he first suggested it.

Dr. Bernhoft is an environmental doctor. He deals with heavy metals, molds, parasites, all of the toxic chemicals in our environments and more.

After thousands in tests, he showed me why I was still sick. I had so many heavy metals and toxic chemicals in my system. I was ill when I read the report. I also had parasites (that I’m still dealing with) and had continuing symptoms of mold exposure from a couple of living environments.

Dr. Bernhoft put me on weekly blood chelations to remove mercury, and other metals and chemicals, as well as gave special supplements to help clean and nourish my system. Within a few months, I really started to notice a difference.

Since I started the therapy with him two years ago, I would say that I’m mostly better.

Lingering Symptoms and Sketchy Ideas

It’s now fall of 2018, 12 years after first taking Cipro and experiencing the decline in what I once would call Perfect Health, and I’m convinced there are still a couple of things I haven’t figured out.

And here’s where the Root Cause Tracker comes in.

All along my journey back to health, doctors have suggested that I keep track of what I’m eating, doing, levels of hormones, exercise, sleep, etc. to see if I can figure out why some of my symptoms flare up off and on.

Every time ‘keeping a journal’ was suggested. I’d get a new notebook and start writing things down, but this lasted only a few days before life just got too complicated and even writing down ‘banana’ every morning got to be too much.

With the advent of smart phones, I started downloading apps to see if there was a solution that was easy and convenient, to track what I was doing and correlate it to my symptoms.

No such luck. Every app I tried failed miserably and I just got more and more disillusioned by the idea of being able to easily figure out what the heck was causing my flareups.

Sooo, I’m of the opinion that if you can’t find what you’re looking for, CREATE IT YOURSELF!

I started talking about making my own app and my partner, Steve, kept telling me to “Go for it!”

I wanted to create a symptom app that would be easy to use…just click on the foods you eat, click the amount of sleep, click the time of month. Click. Click. Click.

An app I could customize so if I was allergic to pineapple (which I am), I didn’t need to have pineapple on the list of fruits. Actually, I wanted categories and lists that only reflected MY life, not have to sift through a ton of options to find what I ate, etc.

I wanted an app that would remind me to open it and just click. Did I mention it’s all about just clicking? Once it’s set up of course.

And it can be changed…things are easily added, easily deleted, easily altered.

But here’s the BIG part…

I wanted an app that could use programming to TRACK common foods, times of months, places, exposures, etc. to the symptoms I was having to help me find the Root Cause of those symptoms. No app in the world did this but the Root Cause Tracker does!


So, since nothing like what I needed existed, I choose to create it myself.

Welcome to the Root Cause Tracker – the easy way to figure out why you feel so sick so you can feel great again!

Much gratitude for you on your healing journey…

Elisabeth Donati

This is me with Jasmine, my dog, my love, my everything.

Jasmine has been my sidekick, my cuddle bunny, my live stuffed animal for going on three years now. I am eternally grateful for her and treasure every moment I get to spend with her. 

This is my partner, Steve Gordon, posing with Jasmine on our move from Santa Barbara to Whitefish, MT. Without his help and support and encouragement, the Root Cause Tracker wouldn’t be able to help people solve their health issue riddles. 

Thank you Steve! I love you.