Newlywed’s illness on Dominican Republic honeymoon ‘spiraled’ into years-long ordeal
A Virginia woman who fell sick on her honeymoon to the Dominican Republic says the undiagnosable illness upended her life for years — leading to nonstop vomiting episodes, countless hospital stays and the loss of her job.
For more than three years, Carrie Clark never went more than a couple of weeks without being hospitalized following her return from the Excellence Resort in Punta Cana, she told The Post.
Clark, then 31, checked into the all-inclusive resort in October 2011 with her husband, Tom, for a 10-day vacation.
During the trip, the couple enjoyed drinks from the resort’s poolside bar and went on various off-site excursions, such as snorkeling and zip lining, where alcohol was also available.
“Everything was great,” Clark told The Post in a Tuesday interview. “On my second to last day, I started to feel sick. I couldn’t eat, anything I tried to eat would make me throw up. I would get uncomfortable stomach pains.”
Clark said she assumed she “ate something weird” or came down with a virus. But after she flew home, the illness “spiraled” into a nightmare that wreaked havoc on her newlywed bliss.
“It progressively got worse within a week of returning,” Clark said. “I couldn’t stop throwing up. The episodes got increasingly worse and the vomiting wouldn’t stop.”
The stomach pain was “indescribable” and like nothing she’s ever experienced.
“It was a pain that was gutwrenching,” Clark said. “I would always try to explain it to the doctors.”
Doctors ran countless tests on the newlywed but couldn’t get to the bottom of the mystery ailment. They pursued several possible diagnoses, including removing her gallbladder, but the symptoms would always return.
“The doctors at one point were baffled,” Clark said. “They couldn’t figure out what was going on.”
Clark, who was then living in Pennsylvania, would spend long stints in the hospital because she wouldn’t be able to get her vomiting under control. On some occasions, she would be discharged for an hour before the vomiting would return.
“It would be this ongoing cycle,” she said. “I would go away and get it under control and then I’d end up in the hospital.”
Meanwhile, Clark was still trying to navigate her new marriage. “We had just gotten married and it was a really hard way to start off a marriage,” she said. “We were both scared.”
For the first seven months, Clark also tried to maintain her job at a nonprofit for autism services. “I was in and out of the hospital. I eventually lost my job because I couldn’t work,” she said.
Her health hadn’t improved by the fall of 2013 when she decided to relocate with her husband to her parent’s home in Virginia. Their medical bills had mounted despite them still having “no definite answers.”
It wasn’t until more than three years after that her health took a positive turn. In February 2015, Clark decided she no longer wanted to continue her medications or the endless cycle of hospital visits.
“It was gone as quickly as it had come,” Clark said. “For many months, we had lived in fear of it returning at any time.”
Her “dark years” were over when reports began coming out of the Dominican Republic of tourists suffering bizarre — and sometimes fatal — illnesses at various inclusive resorts.
There have been at least 12 American tourist deaths in recent months on the Caribbean island, including a Staten Island mom at the same resort. Leyla Cox, 53, succumbed to a heart attack on June 10 at the Excellence Resort in Punta Cana.
“I wasn’t at first sure it could be associated but the more things started coming out … I was like well maybe I need to wrap my head around what is going on there,” she said.
A rep for the hotel didn’t immediately respond to comment on Clark’s stay.
Clark said she always felt that her illness was linked to her honeymoon — and now seeing the reports, she says she wished she would’ve pressed the resort for more information.
“It makes me feel almost not as crazy as I did during that period of time,” she said. “It almost helps in a way. It brings a little closure.”
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