Monthly Archives: October 2013

Lessons Learned from Getting Floxed

1980-08 #15 - Version 2

I’m going to start this post with a disclaimer – when I say I “asked for” this, I don’t mean that I deserved to get sick.  It is not my fault that I got sick.  I have made plenty of mistakes in my life, and plenty of the mistakes that I’ve made have to do with taking those Cipro pills.  But still, the bomb that went off in my body as a result of taking Cipro was not my fault.  Those of you who are sick from fluoroquinolones or other Rx drugs, it is not your fault.  The disproportionately horrifying adverse reaction that you are going through makes any responsibility that you have in creating the problem miniscule in comparison to the responsibility of those who are at fault.  There are people who are to blame for your illness, but you are not one of them.  You are a victim.  So, when I say that I “asked for” the things that have come into my life after getting Floxed, I mean those words literally – I asked for them.

I’ve always wanted:

  1. Purpose
  2. Direction
  3. Passion
  4. Righteousness
  5. Something to say that was important/interesting
  6. To be heard/validated
  7. A spiritual outlet
  8. An identity
  9. To be a fighter – to be strong
  10. To lose 10 pounds

I asked for those things.  I sent those desires out into the universe in whatever form I sent them – vague thoughts, wishes, desires, prayers, etc.  If you had asked me at any point in my adult life if I wanted any of those things, I would have said yes.  There would have been no hesitation.  Without a doubt, I wanted each of those things to come into my life.  I didn’t have a plan of action for how I was going to obtain any of them, other than the most trivial of them – to lose 10 pounds – I always had a theory on how to do that.  I wanted all of the more important things too, but I had no idea how to get them.

I vaguely looked for purpose, direction, passion, righteousness and an identity through my education and career choices.  I got a Masters in Public Administration with the hope of finding a way to make the world a better place through public policy.  I had every intention of finding my purpose and passion through my Master’s program but when the program ended it was a struggle to pick a topic for my thesis because I hadn’t discovered anything that I really cared about.

I work for a non-profit.  The non-profit that is my employer does good work in the community by lending money to developers of affordable housing.  I like that I do something that is generally helpful, but I don’t feel passionate about what I do.  I admire the people who feel passionately about their careers and their lives.  I wished to live like them, to have something that got me riled up, something that I really cared about, something that made a difference in the world and that made me someone important.

I never thought that I was particularly tough or strong.  I have always been strong physically, but emotionally and mentally, I was sensitive and (I hate to admit it) weak.  I would sacrifice myself so that others could win, or not feel bad.  I needed validation and was torn down easily.  I never had much will-power, thus the fairly constant unfulfilled wish to lose ten pounds.

Despite not having passion, direction, etc. my life wasn’t bad.  In fact, it was quite good.  I had my health.  I had a family and friends who loved me immensely.  I had enough money (everyone wants more, of course, but I had enough to get by).  I had a job.  I owned a home.  Life was good, it just didn’t have the “oomph” that I wanted it to.  I wanted more “oomph” and, over time, never specifically consciously, I wished for the things listed above.  I wanted them.  I asked for them.

I got all of those things.  I survived getting poisoned by Cipro and in doing so I learned that I’m not only a survivor, I’m a fighter.  I gained passion, direction, righteousness, etc. through screaming that it is NOT OKAY for people to be poisoned by prescription antibiotics.  I found that I have something to say and a surprising number of people are listening to me.  I found spiritual outlets (you can read about that here http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/09/14/a-journey-through-pharmaceutical-induced-illness/) and I found my soul.  I found my purpose.

I got exactly what I wanted.  Through getting sick.  Through recovering.  Through Cipro.  Out of all the things in the world, fucking Cipro, brought me those gifts.

I asked for them.  I asked and I received.  They just didn’t come in the packaging that I was looking for.

It’s kind of funny, isn’t it?  In a shoot-me, horrifying kind of way, it’s funny.  Be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it.

There are some other things that I gained from getting sick.  If I had been a more wise person, I probably would have wished for them ahead of time.  They are:

  1. Empathy
  2. Compassion
  3. Patience
  4. Tolerance

I gained those things from being knocked down, from being sick.  When I was healthy, I didn’t even realize that I was lacking those things for those who are not healthy.  I now see the world in a way that enables me to have empathy, compassion, patience and tolerance for those who are struggling and sick.  In gaining those things, I have become a better person.

To wonder if it was the right thing, to wonder if my health and longevity should have been sacrificed so that I can have a purposeful and passionate life, is futile.  That choice, if it was a choice, was not made on a conscious level.  I certainly know that I will never sign up to get poisoned again and that I will do everything in my power to keep others from going through what I went through.  But the experience of getting sick, the experience of recovering, and now the experience of fighting, have made me a better person.  It’s good to be empathetic, compassionate, patient, tolerant, passionate, determined, righteous and even skinny*.  These are not bad cards to be dealt.

* Do NOT even think about taking a fluoroquinolone for weight loss.  I could list the ways that that’s a stupid idea, but I’ll just leave it at – don’t be an idiot.

 

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Legal Compensation for Fluoroquinolone Toxicity

Law Picture

I was floxed in the last months of 2011.  (I took the Cipro in November but didn’t react until December so my flox-iversary is debatable.)  For most of the time that I have been a “Floxie” the general word among fellow Floxies was that lawyers weren’t accepting fluoroquinolone toxicity cases.  It was only after the August, 2013 adjustment to the FDA warning label accompanying fluoroquinolones, that added the warning of permanent peripheral neuropathy, that I even heard of lawyers accepting fluoroquinolone toxicity cases.  Now there are at least 2 law firms that are taking fluoroquinolone toxicity cases.  I appreciate them both so I’m going to plug them:

Red Law, LLP

(310) 917-1070

http://www.redlawllp.com/

and

Nidel Law

(202) 558-2030

http://www.nidellaw.com/

There are a million personal reasons why you may or may not want to pursue legal recourse and I respect all of them.  It’s a very personal decision and I am not trying to pressure you in any way.  I do want to make sure that you know that the option is available though.  Both of the firms listed above are taking cases.

I have no reason to think that either firm is better than the other.  I have been in contact with both the Red Law attorneys and Chris Nidel, the principal at Nidel Law.  They all seem competent and professional.

Legal pursuits are probably the only way that the system is going to change; that people are going to stop being needlessly poisoned by fluoroquinolone antibiotics.  It’s not your responsibility to be part of the change in the world that keeps others from getting hurt, but it may be some consolation as you go through the pain of a lawsuit.

I could complain ad nauseam about how the legal system isn’t set up to compensate victims of fluoroquinolone toxicity, but I’ll refrain because it’s pointless.  We have to start with where we are, with the system as it is.  I wish you all the best of luck in getting your cases accepted, getting the compensation that you deserve, and changing the world for the better.

 

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Genetically Modifying Humans Via Antibiotics? Something You Need To Know

Collective Evolution Logo

I originally posted this in Collective Evolution –

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/10/23/genetically-modifying-humans-via-antibiotics-something-you-need-to-know/

It got picked up by a few other sites 🙂

http://www.activistpost.com/2013/10/genetically-modifying-humans-via.html

http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2013/10/genetically-modifying-humans-via-antibiotics-something-you-need-to-know-2802010.html

http://www.thedailysheeple.com/genetically-modifying-humans-via-antibiotics-something-you-need-to-know_102013

http://southweb.org/lifewise/genetically-modifying-humans-via-antibiotics-something-you-need-to-know/

http://www.riseearth.com/2013/10/genetically-modifying-humans-via.html

http://www.thesleuthjournal.com/using-antibiotics-genetically-modify-humans/

Translated to Dutch – http://www.wijwordenwakker.org/content.asp?m=M4&s=M111&ss=P2273&l=NL

Translated to Spanish – http://bwnargentina.blogspot.com.ar/2013/10/modificando-geneticamente-humanos-via.html

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Who Reads Drug Warning Labels?

Hormones Matter Logo

Here is a post that I wrote for Hormones Matter.

http://www.hormonesmatter.com/read-drug-warning-labels/

The information on the warning label for fluoroquinolones is woefully inadequate.  It’s sad how inadequate it is.

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The Silence Around Fluoroquinolone Toxicity

silence2

I posted this – http://www.hormonesmatter.com/epidemic-silence-adverse-drug-reactions/ on Hormones Matter on October 17, 2013.  It was originally similar to the post below but I changed and edited it until it became what I submitted to Hormones Matter.  I still like the earlier draft and since it’s more Flox focused, I thought I’d share it on here.  As always, thanks for reading!

The Silence Around Fluoroquinolone Toxicity

One of the more bothersome feedback loops that keeps the dangers of fluoroquinolones from being recognized is that people stay silent about their pain and suffering, and therefore their pain and suffering is not recognized or appreciated, and everyone in the medical field gets to continue to think that these drugs are safe and that adverse reactions are rare. Seeing is believing and they don’t see it, in part because people aren’t screaming. Of course, there are people who are screaming at the top of their lungs about the pain and suffering caused by fluoroquinolone antibiotics who are systematically disregarded, and that’s a problem that has bothersome consequences and feedback loops as well, but it’s a topic for another post. This post is about people suffering in silence about the pain that Cipro, Levoquin, Avelox or Floxin has caused them.

People stay silent for a variety of reasons. There is a lot of shame associated with getting sick. People feel bad about what they can no longer do. They feel responsible for the role that they played in taking those pills, or insisting on them from their doctor, or administering them to their child, and they hide in shame. Also, a lot of the adverse effects of fluoroquinolones are CNS related, meaning that they can adversely effect many areas of mental health. People are notoriously ashamed and silent about mental health issues. It is easier to deal with anxiety, memory loss, depression, panic, etc. alone, in silence, than it is to speak up about what happened. After all, if you speak out about experiencing mental health issues, you run the risk of being labeled as crazy. Additionally, Fluoroquinolone toxicity takes its toll on every system in the body and therefore it is difficult to describe what is going wrong. How does one explain, to anyone, that EVERYTHING is going wrong? It’s too difficult and people sound and feel crazy, so they stay silent. When people ask their doctor about the possibility that the drug that they took caused the myriad of symptoms that they now experience, and the doctor denies that it’s possible that the drug that they prescribed could do what it has done, people assume that their doctor is right, or that they at least aren’t entitled to question their doctor’s expertise. After all, their doctor went to school for a long time and knows what they’re talking about… right? So people assume that they are wrong, their doctor is right, and they stay silent. There are a variety of other reasons why people stay silent about the travesty that is Fluoroquinolone Toxicity. All of them feed into the real risks of these drugs being under-recognized. The silence is, sadly, as much of an epidemic as the pain.

A friend of mine went to a Psychologist to help her to get through the mental and emotional trauma of being Floxed and she told me that, as she was telling the Psychologist her story, the Psychologist started to cry because a few years ago her (the Psychologist) knee swelled up and she experienced over-all tendon inflammation after taking Levoquin. When she asked her Doctor about it, her Doctor told her that the Levoquin couldn’t possibly be the cause of her pain. She knew differently but didn’t say anything. She recovered and didn’t think much of the period that she went through with painful, inflamed tendons much again. My friend’s experience and story validated the Psychologist’s pain, suffering and notion that Levoquin was the cause of her tendinitis, and it freed her to be able to acknowledge that she too was a victim of fluoroquinolone antibiotics. Before my friend visited her, the Psychologist thought that she was wrong, or the only one, or that her Doctor must know better, or that her story didn’t matter enough to scream about it – after all, she did recover – and she suffered in silence. She didn’t get the support that she deserved. She didn’t get the acknowledgment that she deserved. No one saw her pain and suffering because no one, including her, acknowledged that it existed.

I went out on a date a few months ago with a guy who was clearly Floxed but he didn’t know it until I told him my story. He had been treated with multiple types of antibiotics for a “chest infection” that was really acid reflux that was making him cough incessantly. He kept going back to his doctor for more and more powerful antibiotics because the mild antibiotics that he was given didn’t get rid of his cough – of course, because it wasn’t from an infection. His doctor eventually prescribed him Cipro and he had an adverse reaction to it. Most of his adverse reaction was mental (but he also lost his endurance and had an increased heart rate that he struggled to get down). He had a severe anxiety/panic attack and he thought that he was about to die. His sister flew to the U.S. from Sweden to be at his side because he thought he was dying. He lost his memory. He lost his composure and was barely able to do his job in software sales. He was clearly sick. But he stayed silent because he was ashamed of having mental issues. He never connected his sudden onset of mental health issues and the antibiotics that he took, and thus his doctor got to continue to think that he was a healthier than average person and that Cipro was a perfectly safe drug.

I have always talked about what was going on in my body and mind. Silence is not something that I have ever been afflicted with. I have always felt the need to be understood, to be recognized and for my pain to be acknowledged. I am lucky enough to have friends and family members who listen to me. Despite being a talker, I still felt like I lost my voice for a while. I felt like I couldn’t really explain what was going on. I felt like there was a wall between myself and those that I was trying to talk to. I think that feeling socially isolated is a symptom of being Floxed and that it’s really difficult to explain something like Floxing to people. It is ABSURD that a prescription antibiotic that is used all the time could cause my body and mind to explode like it did. I knew that what I was saying sounded absurd, and that people didn’t understand what was going on, so there was that barrier to my voice being heard. It didn’t stop me from yapping though. 🙂

I hope that all of you who are afflicted with silence start screaming about your reaction soon. It’s not okay that you were hurt by a prescription antibiotic. It’s not okay for these drugs to take away your ability to walk, your ability to think, your ability to speak, etc. I hope that you all gain your voice back, that we are all heard, and that this absurd situation starts to change.

 

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Letter to Phil Blake, CEO of Bayer

Phil Blake

The picture above was posted by Jeff of www.ciproispoison.com on some of the Fluoroquinolone Toxicity facebook groups.  It got me thinking, if I got on the phone with Phil Blake, CEO of Bayer, what would I say?  I know that I wouldn’t say the “right” things and that I would kick myself for everything that I did say, so I thought that I’d write him a letter.  I didn’t want the letter to be too angry, crazy or irrational so I wrote a letter that tried to appeal to his humanity.  I wrote another letter in which I tried to shame him into using the massive resources that Bayer has to fix the problems that they created.  Neither of the letters really worked.  I didn’t like them.  They just didn’t seem appropriate.  They either erred on the side of being too angry or too nice.  They’re sitting on my computer, not on this blog, because I didn’t want to share them.

The thought entered my mind today that what I want to say to Mr. Blake is pretty simple.  Here it is:

Dear Mr. Blake,

When the people of the world discover that your drugs, Cipro and Avelox, have permanently and irreversibly altered their DNA (or possibly just their mitochondrial DNA, but does it really make a difference?), that a sick and cruel experiment involving genetically modifying humans for corporate profit has been conducted, you, your board, your top executives and your top scientists will be tried for crimes against humanity.  You will be found guilty, because you are.  I can only hope that both you and I live long enough to see the day that you are sent to prison for your crimes.

Sincerely,

Lisa Bloomquist

One long sentence and two short ones.  Is it angry, bitter, delusional, crazy, ill-advised (from a legal standpoint), etc.?  Yeah, it’s probably all of those things.  Oh well.  It’s better than the sugar coated ones.

It’s not exactly hopeful, and I apologize for that.

I hope that I am delusional and just simply wrong.  After all, I’m not a scientist.  Lisa being wrong would be best for the world.  You should probably believe that I’m wrong.  In case you want to consider the possibility of me being right, here are the articles that I’m basing this post on:

http://www.jbc.org/content/273/42/27668.full

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v501/n7465/full/nature12504.html

http://www.nmcth.edu/images/gallery/Editorial/xRZVmps_ambulkar.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkKZ_gxAOXI

More can be found on https://floxiehope.com/links-resources/ and, of course, the rest of the internet (or the library).

Back to the hope thing, I am fine.  Other people have healed too.  Most people get better with time, not worse.  The body has amazing healing capabilities.  You are not screwed.  You are not doomed.  You will be okay.

Mr. Blake, on the other hand, is screwed if people start paying attention.  I can only hope – and write.

 

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fluoroquinolone-lawsuit-banner-trulaw

 

Email to the FDA

warning-fda-approved

For the record, this email was sent to stephen.king@fda.hhs.gov on 10/11/2013.

Dear Mr. King,
When is it going to be recognized that fluoroquinolones are dangerous enough to severely restrict their use?  How many people have to suffer from permanent disability before their use is restricted to life-or-death situations in which there is no safer alternative treatment?
I thank you and the FDA for finally, after 30 years of complaints, updating the warning label for fluoroquinolones to include the risk of permanent peripheral neuropathy.  As someone who was severely adversely effected by Cipro in 2011, at the age of 32, who had extreme pain in my hands and feet, though I probably didn’t categorize them as “peripheral neuropathy” because I didn’t know the term until recently so my report to the FDA didn’t include that symptom, I found the label update to be somewhat vindicating.  However, it does not go near far enough.
Please consider the following:
  1. This article in Nature (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v501/n7465/full/nature12504.html) links topoisomerase inhibitors to the expression of Autism related genes.  As I’m sure you know, fluoroquinolones are topoisomerase inhibitors.
  2. Fluoroquinolones adduct to bacterial DNA, as described in this article – http://www.jbc.org/content/273/42/27668.full.  Please see the attached note from a retired toxicologist who was severely adversely effected by a fluoroquinolone, for a description of how fluoroquinolones adversely effect human DNA.  These drugs adduct to DNA, just like Agent Orange, and they are given out like candy.
  3. Recent media articles about how people have suffered severe CNS damage after being in the ICU.  Fluoroquinolones are utilized commonly in the ICU.  Perhaps it would behoove you to make the connection between the NEJM article noting that people stop being able to think after a visit to the ICU and the severe CNS effects of fluoroquinolones.  https://www.google.com/#q=nejm+patient+in+intensive+care+lose+memory  Also, Lynn Spalding, the patient who was being treated for a urinary tract infection whose body was found in the hospital stairwell was more than likely given fluoroquinolones to treat her UTI.  A severe adverse reaction could have caused the events that led to her death – http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/09/justice/body-in-hospital-stairwell/
  4. Please read the comments under the NYT article about the dangers of fluoroquinolones.  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/10/popular-antibiotics-may-carry-serious-side-effects/?_r=1  NONE of these people are lying or exaggerating.  In fact, many have reactions that are more severe than they describe because it is quite difficult to verbalize your problems when EVERYTHING is going wrong in your body and mind.
If you have any desire to read my story, it can be found at www.floxiehope.com.  I have recovered, but my recovery does not make the fact that I was hurt (possibly on a DNA level) justified.  My urinary tract infection could have, and should have, been treated with a milder antibiotic.
The FDA is supposed to be protecting and informing patients.  Please move in that direction.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
Thank you,
Lisa Bloomquist
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