Dear Senator Bernie Sanders, Please Step Down

Dear Senator Sanders,

Just after Super Tuesday in February of 2008 the writing was on the wall for Secretary Hillary Clinton. Despite a strong showing, it was obvious she wasn’t going to win enough delegates to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for President and I politely asked her to step aside.

Flash forward over seven years and here we are again. Democrats are arguing with Democrats. Blue voters getting testy against their own blue voters as you and Secretary Clinton battle it out. The party splitting, severing itself with many refusing to support the eventual nominee and nastiness all around.

You talk of revolution. You talk of changing the system. You talk a lot like someone wanting to shake up Washington despite you being part of the Washington machine nearly your entire career. Which is why I’m asking you to do something revolutionary. Giving you the opportunity to show the world just what a maverick you really are.

While this primary has been all well and good and you have my utmost respect for pushing progressive policy, our party is suffering and people are becoming more heated by the minute. For that reason, and many more, I ask you concede the nomination and allow the Democratic party to heal.

I know you have said you are sticking it out until the end. I know you said you are not going anywhere, but please understand your continued campaigning only serves to tear us further apart and to give further ammunition to the whack-a-doodle crop of Republicans looking to win the White House.

Statically speaking it’s all but over. You have pushed Secretary Clinton further to the Left, and for that I thank you. However every minute you stay on the trail is another minute I hear “if Bernie doesn’t win I’m writing him in,” all but assuring the very scary realization we could be looking at a President Trump or a President Cruz. This can not happen, and you need to make sure it doesn’t. Senator I need you to throw your support behind Secretary Clinton and tell your “Berners” to vote for her in November.

In fact, it’s not enough you simply ask your supporters to vote for her, you must make an impassioned plea they cast their ballot for the former Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady. You and I both know she is more than qualified. You and I both know she will continue the great work done by President Obama.

Seven years ago I thought Secretary Clinton was too divisive for our country. Her name still seems to bring a gut reaction from voters. However after the last “revolution” of Hope and Change, we now need someone who plays hardball in DC. We need someone who has spent a lifetime taking these men down.

I don’t mean to imply you can not play hardball, but let’s face it…when it comes to the candidate that is tough as nails, handles the GOP fake scandals like a pro, kick’s ass and takes names Secretary Clinton comes to mind quickly, while you might be a forceful nudge.

Everyone seems to think you have zero intention of stepping down, regardless of the delegate math, because you have the money to back you until November. But I am asking you show your supporters you truly are a Democrat and do what is best for the party, nay the country, and step down while leaving the millions left for Democrats all over the nation to win back Congress and the White House.

I realize this is a shot in the dark. But I’m hoping you are that “non” politician you claim to be and you do the “non” politician thing. Step aside, endorse Secretary Clinton, and throw your weight behind every Democrat running. We need time to come back together before November and not only would you be a team player by stepping down, but you would also be the one who unites the party in one of the most critical elections of our time.


Erin Kotecki Vest
mother, activist, lifelong Democrat

CDiff: The SuperBug Being Defeated By Poop


Clostridium difficile commonly known as “C. diff,” is a germ usually occurring in people taking antibiotics that can cause diarrhea and death. However there is an experimental treatment raising eyebrows and the hopes of those suffering from the disease.


Fecal transplants* (yes, fecal) are being used more and more with an astounding success rate to eradicate the very stubborn germ. According to the Mayo Clinic, fecal transplants boast a 90% cure rate.


While the Mayo Clinic’s fecal transplant program has patients use family as donors, UCLA’s program uses a donor bank on the East Coast in which the fecal matter is carefully screened before being implanted in the patient via colonoscopy.


With a success rate of over 90% fecal transplants are being recommended by many gastroenterologists across the country, however they are having trouble billing insurance companies and creating nationwide protocol for the procedure. Currently the transplant is being billed as a colonoscopy including a ‘biologic,’ however doctors and administrators are working on a better way to provide the lifesaving procedure to patients across the nation without the hassle of red-tape.

*author Erin Kotecki Vest has undergone three fecal transplants, performed by UCLA doctors in their experimental program after battling CDiff for several months in the summer of 2015. Her 3rd transplant was a success and she is currently CDiff free.

California’s Drought Makes Summer Vacation Dry

California is facing a drought of historic proportions, changing the typical summer vacation for kids state-wide.

With the help of their parents, many children are learning to cope with the state’s changing water restrictions and coming up with their own ways to conserve water.

All I Want is a Garden

Denial, anger, … acceptance? Or is there one between there?

Meh. I’m somewhere between denial and anger as my CDiff has returned despite the over 90% success rate of the transplant I underwent before the 4th of July. We will try another tried a second one, upping my chances to 98%, but that one failed as well. Leaving me in this hospital for 17 days and counting.

17 days of wondering why me.

17 days of worrying.

17 days of continued bad news and frustration and stress.

Here is the thing…all I want to do is plant my tomatoes and veggies. This has been the first summer in 10 years of living in this home I haven’t gotten my garden in on time. While planting now wouldn’t be ideal, it’s also not bad considering our climate has been entirely messed up.

Yes, in this epic, multi-year battle which now includes a fight for my life with a super bug, I just want my garden in place.

My garden in place = normalcy.

My garden in place = hope.

My garden in place simply soothes me and makes me feel as though it’s all going to be ok.

For the first time in all of this I’m honestly not sure how everything is going to turn out. I’ve been sure, over and over again it was going to be ok. But right now there are so many other things going on and so many lives hurting and just so MUCH for the first time in my life, I’m not sure even my superwoman abilities are grand enough to make all of this ok.

So yeah, I sent myself some flowers at the hospital because I deserve them. I remain grateful for family that will show up in 24 hours to help when things go south. But I need to find a solution that doesn’t disrupt everyone’s lives except mine.

I’m still searching.

I don’t know if my garden will be planted. I don’t know if my search will lead to anything I can control. But I am still here. And I guess that will have to do for now.

Final Project Journalism 203

Enjoy my story on the California drought!

Dealing With a Load of Crap

Humiliation is laying in a hospital bed, after 10 days of nothing but towel baths, your hair unwashed and crumpled in a bun, your back sweating against the plastic under the sheets…and opening your eyes to feel yourself covered in shit. Someone else’s shit.

The nurses are kind and wonderful. They clean you up and pad you with towels and an adult diaper, reminding you to not get up and to just ‘let it out’ while laying flat.

Cdiff is no joking matter, as much as I’ve been trying to laugh about all of this. It kills tens of thousands of  Americans per year and after two rounds of failed antibiotics I was beginning to worry I’d be a statistic.

My UCLA gastroenterologist Dr. J. had offered an experimental treatment to rid me of my now 2nd bout with CDiff, one I may or may not be open to because of it’s unusual nature.

Erin, I think we should consider a fecal transplant. We get our frozen specimens from the East Coast, they are screened just like any blood or tissue or organ you would receive, and we place the fecal matter into your intestines and allow the new and good bacteria/flora to combat the disease. 

Yes. I had someone else’s poop placed way up into me. Apparently this isn’t anything new. It dates back several hundreds of years in China. But more importantly it has an over 90% success rate and all signs indicate I’m one of those successes.

This could change everything. My entire immune make up.

I want to have hope and frankly, I have very high hopes.

This could change my life.

I’m scared. I’m tired of getting my hopes up and becoming ill over and over again. But this is different. This is huge.

I should keep myself cautiously optimistic. But instead I have huge hopes.

Have them with me…because it’s all I have right now.

The Most Magical Thing Happened to ME

It wasn’t a dream.

I woke up on Mother’s Day inside of this castle:


I am not kidding. Read the full story over at As Dreamers Do.




…in continuing my teary tributes, I must now brag about my daughter, the child who has had her own hashtag since I can remember…

#AllHailHala is no joke.

The hashtag may have started out that way, due to her demanding nature and poise that can be described as nothing short as that of a blue blood…but it and she have become so much more over this decade of her existence.

A decade. An entire decade of our ‘lil Princess Peanut Punk as…well…she knows the rest. And she has lived up to every inch of her name, with several surprises thrown in for good measure.

She would rather watch cat videos than princess videos. In fact, she has never been into that whole princess thing. Animals? Sure. Princesses? Not so much. Personally I think it has something to do with the fluffy dresses. Because I wanted nothing more than a daughter who would wear fluffy, too much tutu type dresses  so, sensing this, she’s in nothing but leggings and t-shirts day in and day out.


And nothing can ever, ever be pink. Well, that’s not exactly true. She’ll wear pink when matched with black. Throw in some skulls and you’ve got a true #AllHailHala outfit.

That’s the great thing about her…she is her own woman. She knows it would please me greatly to see her try out ballet (again) or ask to be Cinderella for Halloween, but she also knows I’m even more proud when she asks to dye her hair rainbow and when asked what she wants to wear to school in the morning waves her hand as if it’s quite possibly the stupidest question EVER asked and dismisses me with an ‘I don’t care…clothes…’

Peer pressure means nothing to her. School is for socializing with her friends but also for making sure she learns everything required of her so she can move on and see the world. Experience the world. Rule the world.

Sometimes I feel as if we’re all just standing in the way of her war path to greatness and if I would just step aside an inch she’d graduate six years early and immediately begin making a difference in any field she chooses.

Unlike her brother, who knows his specific passion in science, #AllHailHala deems the entire world worthy of her passion and she’ll conquer every business, subject, person, and animal world with strength and confidence.

Currently I am her only fear, and not in a discipline sort of way, but because we have plans and she worries about my health. Like her brother, her compassion and her heart run circles around the universe and I watch her wrestle with her bravery and her deep worry.

When she was just eight-years old she became mesmerized with Morocco at Disney’s EPCOT. She asked if we could visit the real Morocco someday. Of course I said yes. Somewhere between high school graduation and college we’d go- but she needed to learn of the culture. How women are treated. We discussed human rights.

That trip remains planned, but I’m fairly certain she will lead an army to free the oppressed while she shops for a beaded pair of slippers along the way. That’s just her. Fierce. Bold. Yet still glued to my side with snuggles and love after a hospital stay in which she cried on Skype for me to come home.

A decade of her on this earth and she has already committed herself to helping animals (she finds many people just plain stupid and not worth her time) and comforting her brother and any others who may need extra attention, regardless if she is the one worrying.

Only the chosen see the child still inside. The one who will pretend she’s a cat and crawl with the dog and cat throughout the house. I’m thankful she still ‘plays’ as many of her classmates are already talking boyfriends and boy bands.

Not our girl. Music is a passion but her father took her to see Lorde, not One Direction, this past summer. She belts out anything but top 40 in the shower and just doesn’t care what the other girls are doing. She truly doesn’t. Like her brother she has no problem telling her peers if they are being mean, rude, or exclusionary and catches herself should she press her own personality too far and inadvertently leave out anyone.

I feel as though she shouldn’t be so self-aware at 10 but am proud just the same. I know she has so much more to discover about herself and I’m awaiting the tween years to hit, but I have confidence I will underestimate her, as I tend to do, and she will blow me away with her insight and maturity.

I’d never admit this to her outloud, and will deny this sentence when she reads it, but she always seems two steps ahead of me. Always ready with the right answer and with nothing for me to be angry over, she’s what I want to be when I grow up and how I want to act when confronted with a differing view. She’s teaching the teacher how to remain calm yet still defeat the enemy. All while not seeming to give a damn.

It’s a minor inconvenience to her to change the world. She’ll do it with a wave of her hand and a few orders.

There is simply no one else like her on this earth and she’s made sure of it-carving out her own path despite her father and I pushing for this or that.

If this continues, everyone who doesn’t know #AllHailHala will- and they will witness her drive, strength, and humanity.  Her mark on this world will not be a small one, that I can promise.

Happy Birthday baby girl.