What do Cuba, The Tropicana and medicine have in common? Me!

I just returned from Cuba after being invited to speak at a scientific conference there, and I’m so excited to share this adventure with you!   

So, let’s start with the juicy stuff first. The Tropicana!

Pretty much like any girl, I love dancing and music, and lots of colors and authentic culture. Because of this, the Tropicana was definitely on the top of my list of places to see, even understanding it is a major tourist attraction. But I can see why it is so popular!

There is the fact that it was first opened in 1939 and was in all its glory at that time in history. Yet even after socialism it has maintained its tradition.  

But not only was I at the Tropicana, but I was up on stage at the Tropicana. Really!

You know how at the end of a performance, sometimes they’ll pull up people in the audience to dance? Well, typically, you remain at the end of your table (not up on stage), so I thought, sure, when the dancer came and grabbed my hand.

But wait…I was barefoot! Being the good Georgia girl that I am I had taken my shoes off under the table (I mean, I wasn’t going anywhere, right?)…

But just simply dancing at the table was not the case at the Tropicana... I was pulled right up onto the stage, barefoot and all!

And I had a blast! Yes, the music was fantastic and my entire experience in Cuba was one of true fascination, discovery, and appreciation.

Appreciation for my life in America

I was so thankful to be visiting Cuba, but truthfully…also very appreciative for my life here in America. I saw many things within Cuba, including the degeneration of structures that have been neglected over the years due to lack of money and other priorities for sure. Beautiful structures and buildings that have been left to decay, and many areas really falling apart.

But, yet… you could see the glimmer of the old glory and you can see the pride in the people, as well as the local resources. Additionally, I see a glimmer of rebirth and renewal that is sprouting throughout the city of Old Havana, and that is encouraging.

Hormone therapy, menopause and aging in Cuba…

As a medical professional, one thing I definitely wanted to do was to visit the clinics and to speak to other medical providers and pharmacists. I wanted to see what hormone therapy looked like in Cuba. Well, this is an area that has not improved in many decades. The standard of care here is Premarin and Provera. There is no bioidentical estrogens or progesterone available, at least none that was shown to me. DHEA was also not available.

Additionally, menopause and certainly vaginal and vulvar dryness, as uncomfortable as it may be to talk about in the United States, it’s quite a bit more comfortable than talking about it in Cuba! There’s not the openness that we have here, for sure, but yet there’s certainly not a complete avoidance of the issue either.

I had the pleasure of speaking with the owner of the casa where we stayed, and this woman in her late 60s is running this business on her own and quite independent. There’s no age limit to hard work in Cuba, and I saw many ages, including a very old man on a work cart, pulled by a horse or donkey, transporting goods.

My truly favorite part was seeing the many old cars. I do love old cars. I have a 1966 Delta 88 Oldsmobile convertible that I have babied and loved for years…and here, to see the cars from the 1950s, many in such good shape, was just beautiful.

So hence my quote that, “old things well maintained will turn heads at any age”.

And I believe each of us is a classic in our own right!

If you ever get the chance to visit Cuba I highly recommend it.

If you’ve had the opportunity to visit, let me know your thoughts below…what was your favorite part of your trip?


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4 thoughts on “What do Cuba, The Tropicana and medicine have in common? Me!

  1. Hi Dr Anna, love your posts. My Doctor is actually the person to recommend I get your Juluva cream and as for years so many things have not helped this is. I have a very sensitive system so had to work into it very slowly as had bad cramps and headaches at first. Your team responded and told me what to do, it helped and am so thankful. I try to do everything pure and natural and am having a lot of intestinal issues. I have done the Pura thrive tumeric and the curcumin gold. Are these products that you endorse and believe in? Was not sure which I should continue. I would really just like to know that these are good products as inflammation of the gut is My problem. Thanks so much! I am thankful for Doctors like my Doctor and you!

  2. Dear Dr. Cabeca,

    Cuba is an absolutely brilliant and unique place, where so many cultures meet to nourish what we call Cuban culture. A truly brilliant people. I have taken a number of groups to Cuba. Things were beginning to improve as President Obama loosened travel restrictions and Cuban policy encouraged small businesses. Trump is destroying all this, with current shenanigans and policies to make people afraid to travel there. Which is ridiculous. What our current administration has done has thwarted university groups from going —- and these kinds of groups have been going for decades, and bring in much needed income.
    He is also doing things like pulling the US out of UNESCO, which has recognized, and funded rebuilding of, international heritage sites, as in Old Havana and Trinidad in central Cuba.
    All this when there is more hurricane damage — and most of the deaths from these hurricanes connect to what you’ve pointed out – disintegration of the buildings, as you see in Old Havana, and Centro Havana. The embargo continues — for what purpose???? (What is also true is that other countries come to study risk reduction in Cuba regarding hurricanes, since actually the Cubans are so organized — everybody knowing where to go when a hurricane is expected — that the death rate is very low. They also do things like take down the solar panels before the storm hits so that after it passes, they can get the electricity up and running very quickly. But even the 10 deaths they had this year in the face of, I think it was Irma, pains the Cuban people terribly.)

    And of course what is very difficult to bring from very far away is building materials– shipping such heavy materials from so far away becomes impossibly expensive.
    Another thing which has been very difficult under the absurd US embargo of Cuba is getting such things as asthma medicine, mammogram equipment, etc. (This, while Cuba generously sends its doctors to countries in need. For instance, Cuban doctors were already working in Haiti before the terrible 2010 earthquake that took hundreds of thousands of lives.)

    This embargo, with all its consequences and costs to the Cuban people) is tragic and under trump will again be, more so.

    I thank you so much for going to Cuba and sharing something of your experience there.

    It is a glorious place with such vital and beautiful cultures (I do very multicultural journeys for my travelers, as well as trips for writers, artists, filmmakers, educators), such strong, determined and loving people.

    Please continue to share whatever you can through your platform— you know the Cubans even give free medical education to many people from around the world, including to many US citizens who then practice for a period of time in underserved areas back in the US, their only payment for excellent medical training.

    How the US has treated Cuba is shameful,
    and rolling back the improvements made under Obama makes this administration guilty of causing more suffering and loss for innocent Cubans just trying to live. That glimmer of rebirth and renewal? Trump is doing whatever he can to kill it, when even the majority of Cuban Americans support normalization of relations and trade with Cuba.

    All best, many thanks for your work and your sensitivity.
    Anya Achtenberg

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