Monthly Archives: May 2015

Taking Career Opportunities

Switching Jobs after Fluoroquinolone Toxicity

People who read and follow Floxie Hope are often surprised to hear that I have a day job.  Yes, I spend a lot of time on Fluoroquinolone Toxicity advocacy.  No, it does not pay the bills.  So, I have one of those job things.

Today, May 27, 2015, is my last day at the job I’ve had since March 1, 2011.  I’m moving on to a similar organization (I’m leaving the names of both my current and future employer out of this… just ‘cause) where I’ll be doing the same line of work, but the new job will give me more responsibility, opportunities, and money.  It’s a step up in my career and I’m excited for the future.

All change is bitter-sweet though….. and a little scary.

I got floxed in December, 2011 and there was a time when I thought that I wouldn’t be able to do my current job, much less move on to a job that required more of me – more work, more intellect, more problem-solving, more travel, more energy, etc.  My reading comprehension, concentration, memory and ability to relate to others were horrible after I got floxed.  I didn’t feel capable of doing my job for months after the flox-bomb went off in me.  Things that I did with ease before I got floxed suddenly became difficult.  I had trouble doing the most basic tasks.  I was scared that I no longer had the mental capacity to do the tasks that were required for the job, and that I was going to get fired.

My fears were largely unfounded, because my employer was incredibly patient with me.  My boss and co-workers saw me go from being strong and athletic to barely being able to walk a block, and they were concerned.  They let me take time off of work to go to appointments as necessary.  They saw that my mobility was hindered and did thoughtful things for me – like getting my print-outs from the copier and bringing them to me.  They believed me, and told their loved ones to stay away from the drugs that hurt me.  I am forever grateful to them for their support, sympathy and kindness.  They are wonderful people and it’s a good organization.

Around one year post-flox I had an annual performance review with my boss.  I thanked him profusely for putting up with my loss of mental capacity.  He seemed perplexed by my assertion that my brain had been fried for the last year.  As far as he was concerned, I was doing fine.  I’m glad that my memory loss and other cognitive deficits weren’t as apparent to him as they were to me.  (Floxie friends – know that you may perceive your cognitive issues to be worse than others see them.  I know what it’s like to feel stupid, but you’re not stupid, and other people will be more forgiving of any mental lapses that you have than you will be toward yourself – so try to be kind to yourself.)

I will always feel grateful for my employer for standing by me while I was sick.  They may not see it as a big burden, but I see it as a great blessing that I am thankful for.

It is time for me to move on from a very good organization though.  I have opportunities to pursue, and I’m hopeful that my new employer will be as good to me as my last employer.

There was a long period of time – years – when I truly didn’t think that I would be capable of furthering my career and taking a job that required more of me.  I was grateful for my position, but I was trying my hardest not to lose what I had, and moving onward and upward weren’t possibilities that I could even consider.  Now those possibilities are a reality, and I have the capacity to take new opportunities.  It’s nice, and I’m thankful for the support in my past that has allowed me to get to these opportunities to better my future.

I hope that all my Floxie friends recover.  May you all be blessed with opportunities and improving health.  Both happened for me, and I am hopeful that they will happen for you too!  Hang in there – it gets better.

Hugs,

Lisa

 

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FQ Toxicity Awareness Wall of Fame

Thank you for acknowledging fluoroquinolone toxicity

 

Some very influential medical professionals (doctors, scientists, pharmacists) have been speaking out about fluoroquinolone toxicity.  This post is to thank them and let them know that they are greatly appreciated!

Dr. Charles Bennett, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.P.

Dr. Bennett has filed two petitions with the FDA to get them to change the warning labels for fluoroquinolones.  One of the petitions is to get the FDA to add Psychiatric Adverse Events to the Levaquin/levofloxacin warning labelThe other is to have the FDA add “Possible Mitochondrial Toxicity” to the Levaquin Label.  The petitions have increased the credibility of “floxies” and have been featured in many of the news stories about fluoroquinolones.  If the FDA responds to the petitions by changing the warning labels for fluoroquinolones, it will be a huge “win” for those who have been hurt by fluoroquinolones.

Dr. Bennett has spoken out about the dangers of fluoroquinolones on many of the recent news stories about fluoroquinolone toxicity.  Here is one news story that Dr. Bennett was interviewed for:

Many others can be found on https://floxiehope.com/fluoroquinolones-links-resources/

THANK YOU DR. BENNETT!

Dr. David Perlmutter, M.D.

Dr. Perlmutter spoke out about the dangerous effects of fluoroquinolones in the NBC 2 Fort Myers, Florida report, “NBC2 Investigators: Thousands call for stronger antibiotic warning.”  Dr. Perlmutter noted in his interview that fluoroquinolones are drastically overprescribed, and, “I’d say there’s very little doubt it was directly related to taking those medications” when asked about his patient Jamie Laura’s debilitating symptoms.

Additionally, Dr. Perlmutter made this video about fluoroquinolones and peripheral neuropathy:

Dr. Perlmutter has more than 325,000 facebook “likes.”  He is a very influential neurologist who has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Mercola’s web site (and books), and other highly visible places.  He is the author of Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers and Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life.  For someone of Dr. Perlmutter’s status to be acknowledging fluoroquinolone toxicity is HUGE!

THANK YOU DR. PERLMUTTER!

Dr. Jay S. Cohen, M.D.

Dr. Cohen has been tirelessly studying fluoroquinolone toxicity, and writing articles about the myriad of adverse effects of fluoroquinolones, for more than a decade.  He is the author of the following articles:

Dr. Cohen recently said, “In my 40+ years in pharmacovigilance, FQs (fluoroquinolones) surpass Vioxx and Thalidomide in the degree of permanent harm done.”  If that’s not screaming from the rooftops, I don’t know what is.

THANK YOU DR. COHEN!

Dr. David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP

Dr. Katz is a specialist in Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine/Public Health, and the author of a textbook on evidence-based clinical decisions.  He noted in his Huffington Post article, “Your Doctor’s Knee-Jerk Reflex: How Not to Get Kicked” that:

“I recently saw and began treating a patient for the fluoroquinolone syndrome. Within just a couple of weeks, I heard from a friend who had classic symptoms of it as well, following treatment with Levaquin. In both cases, there was a valid indication for antibiotic use. But there was also good reason to doubt the need for such a high-powered, broad-spectrum antibiotic in both cases. Often, the easiest way for a busy clinician to be sure to “cover the bases” with an antibiotic is to go after a fly with an elephant gun. The collateral damage can, predictably, be considerable; a consequence of knee-jerk prescribing.”

That is very nice acknowledgement of fluoroquinolone syndrome and noting of the over-use of these consequential drugs.

THANK YOU DR. KATZ!

Suzy Cohen, RPh

According to her bio on Amazon, “Suzy Cohen, America’s Pharmacist is the author of 8 books. She is the co-host of a free worldwide event which you can watch from home called The Thyroid Summit.com.  Suzy has been a licensed pharmacist for more than 24 years, and she is a Functional Medicine practitioner. In addition to writing a syndicated health column, Dear Pharmacist, for the last 16 years, which circulates to millions of readers each week, Suzy hosts a medical minute on Know the Cause television. She has a Huffington Post blog. You may have seen her on the The Dr. Oz Show, The View, The Doctors, The 700 Club and Good Morning America Health. She has appeared in hundreds of magazines and television shows nationwide. Her books are translated into various languages. Memberships include: The American College for Advancement in Medicine, The Institute of Functional Medicine, The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine American Pharmacist’s Association, International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society.”

In her November, 2014 post, “I’m Going to Ruffle Feathers but I’ll Tell You Anyway” she noted:

“A few popular antibiotics affect DNA similar to some chemotherapy agents. If you’re sensitive to them, you could pay a neurological price that causes sudden and serious neuropathy and degrees of brain damage. The drugs that the FDA is concerned about belong to the fluoroquinolone class, and already have a black box warning for increasing the risk of tendon ruptures. But I’m telling you that more reports have come in with accusations of neurological damage. Personally, I would only use these for life-threatening infections that were unresponsive to older regular antibiotics. I wouldn’t take them if I had a regular old urinary tract or sinus infection.”

It is awesome that someone as influential as Suzy Cohen acknowledges the dangerous effects of fluoroquinolones!

THANK YOU SUZY COHEN!

Dr. Beatrice Alexandra Golomb, MD, PhD

Dr. Golomb’s C.V./resume lists her many accomplishments – http://www.fqstudy.info/Fluoroquinolone_Effects_Study/About_Dr._Golomb.html

Dr. Golomb is conducting the Fluoroquinolone Effects Study through the UC San Diego School of Medicine.

A description of Dr. Golomb’s involvement with the “floxie” community can be found on www.myquinstory.info, “Fluoroquinolone Academic Research Update – Dr. Beatrice Golomb UCSD.

Dr. Golomb’s work brings an enormous amount of credibility to those who are floxed.

THANK YOU DR. GOLOMB!

Dr. Joseph Mercola, M.D.

Dr. Joseph Mercola  is a “family physician and founder of www.mercola.com with more than thirty million monthly views that help people find safe and inexpensive nutritional, lifestyle and exercise options to dangerous drugs and surgeries.” (per his bio on Amazon).  He has over ONE MILLION facebook “likes” and is highly influential.

The following articles about FQ toxicity were published on www.mercola.com:

Dr. Mercola has been instrumental in getting the word out about the dangers of fluoroquinolones.

THANK YOU DR. MERCOLA!

The medical professionals mentioned above are very influential (and even famous).  There are many other physicians who are speaking out about the dangers of fluoroquinolones, but who don’t quite have the reach that fame gives those mentioned above.  Their voices are important too though, and I encourage everyone to click on the following document that describes fluoroquinolone toxicity in the words of the doctors affected by it:

http://fluoroquinolonethyroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/FQ-Adverse-Effects-In-Their-Own-Words-from-Physicians.pdf

There are many other doctors (and other medical professionals) who have spoken out about the dangers of fluoroquinolones and I, as well as others in the “floxie” community, appreciate each and every one of them!  There is no way I could possibly include them all in this post and I will likely do a follow-up post featuring others who are speaking out about the dangerous effects of fluoroquinolones.  For now, a huge THANK YOU goes out to Dr. Bennett, Dr. Perlmutter, Dr. Cohen, Dr. Katz, Dr. Golomb, Dr. Mercola and Suzy Cohen.  You are all appreciated!

A list of doctors who have been favorably reviewed by fellow floxies can be found HERE.

We’re getting to the tipping point of awareness about fluoroquinolone toxicity.  Soon, it will only be the willfully ignorant doctors who don’t read warning labels or research articles, who don’t watch the news (story 1, story 2, story 3, story 4), and who don’t listen to their peers or their patients, that claim that fluoroquinolones are “safe and effective” drugs.  They may be effective, but they’re far from safe.  The doctors listed above know it, patients know it, all physicians should know it.

 

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What is Fluoroquinolone Toxicity? (Part 2)

What is Fluoroquinolone Toxicity?

 

The first post I wrote on Floxie Hope was a post entitled, What is Fluoroquinolone Toxicity???  It went over some theories that I had heard about FQ toxicity, and, more importantly, what FQ toxicity felt like.  It was a good start.

Since I wrote that post, I have done hundreds of hours of research on fluoroquinolones.  The research has resulted in this, updated post –

WHAT IS FLUOROQUINOLONE TOXICITY? on Hormones Matter.

It goes over some theories about the damage that fluoroquinolones do to the body.  It’s clear that fluoroquinolones do a lot of damage.  I wish that there were more researchers putting all the pieces together.

Luckily, understanding exactly what fluoroquinolone toxicity IS, isn’t required for healing.

 

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Letter to Congress Re the 21st Century Cures Act

21st Century Cures Act

The 21st Century Cures Act is going through the Energy & Commerce Committee now. You can read more about the Act here – http://energycommerce.house.gov/cures. The 21st Century Cures Act is a thinly veiled corporate give-away for the pharmaceutical companies. There are many things that I object to in the Act, but I think that its momentum is unstoppable so I’m recommending changes to it, rather than killing it. I am going to send the following letter to the bill’s sponsors, Fred Upton and Diana DeGette. I will also send this letter to my Congressional representatives. I encourage everyone reading this to send a letter to Congressman Upton, Congresswoman DeGette and other Congressional representatives. Please feel free to use my letter as a template, or to customize it as you see fit.

Also, please “tweet” your letters, stories, and anything else that you want to say about the 21st Century Cures Act to the Energy & Commerce Committee @HouseCommerce, Representative Upton @RepFredUpton, Representative DeGette @RepDianaDeGette and use the hashtags #Cures2015 and #Path2Cures. Thanks!

May 16, 2015

Re: Inclusion of Consumer Protection against Adverse Drug Reactions in the 21st Century Cures Act

Dear Chairman Upton and Representative DeGette:

I am writing because I have suffered from an adverse reaction to a popular pharmaceutical, and I would like to see more consumer protection and safety measures added to the 21st Century Cures Act.

At the age of 32, I went from doing crossfit regularly to barely being able to walk because I suffered from an adverse reaction to ciprofloxacin, a powerful fluoroquinolone antibiotic that can permanently damage all the nerves and connective tissues in one’s body. In addition to loss of mobility, I suffered from memory loss, loss of reading comprehension, loss of energy, and pain. There are many people who have significantly worse reactions than I did.

Because adverse reactions to fluoroquinolone antibiotics (and other pharmaceuticals) can be delayed, they are bizarre in nature (who would think that a prescription antibiotic could cause multi-symptom, chronic illness that resembles an autoimmune disease?), and adverse reactions can occur after previously tolerating the drug well, they are thought to be “rare.” I would argue that they are actually under-recognized.

However, since The 21st Century Cures Act focuses on “rare” conditions, I encourage you to focus some attention in the bill to “rare” adverse reactions to prescription drugs.

When people are hurt by a prescription drug they are often unable to gain help from the medical establishment (doctors can’t put your cells back together – the tv ads are misleading), and they are often unable to gain justice through the legal system (if a devastating adverse effect is listed on the warning label, you cannot sue because “you were warned”).

The pharmaceutical companies need to take more responsibility for the damage that the drugs that they create and manufacture do. Warning labels are not enough. They simply shift the blame from the maker of the drug to the victim of the drug. Enclosed is a plan to make pharmaceutical companies take responsibility for the harm done by the drugs that they discover, produce and put into the market.

The 21st Century Cures Act is proposing to get rid of many safeguards that are currently in place that keep dangerous drugs from entering the market. This is the wrong thing to do. More consumer safeguards need to be put in place, not fewer. If you are going to get rid of phase III clinical trials for potentially dangerous drugs, there MUST be systems in place to gather information about adverse reactions that occur in the general public that is consuming the drugs. I encourage you to put systems in place that require long-term and intergenerational studies to be performed on all drugs that are on the market.

The 21st Century Cures Act has a section that focuses on encouraging the development of new antibiotics. While it should be acknowledged that antibiotic resistance is a problem, the solution should be focused on prudent use of antibiotics, not the development of stronger antibiotics. Antibiotic drugs are not benign. I was hurt by an antibiotic drug—ciprofloxacin. It caused a multi-symptom syndrome that looked and felt like an autoimmune disease. Fluoroquinolone antibiotics have been found to have deleterious effects on mitochondria, neurotransmitters, the microbiome, the endocrine system, and more. Long-term studies to see if they are causally related to the many chronic diseases of modernity that are affected by mitochondria, neurotransmitter, microbiome and hormonal health, have not been conducted. Long-term studies on dangerous drugs like fluoroquinolones, that work by disrupting the DNA and RNA replication process for bacteria and mitochondria, should be conducted before the production of more drugs in their class is encouraged.

More attention should be paid to causes of the chronic diseases that plague our society. A major cause of chronic disease is ongoing cellular damage caused by pharmaceuticals.

Please balance out the 21st Century Cures Initiative so that it takes into consideration that pharmaceuticals are inherently dangerous and have multiple, often unacceptable, adverse effects. Moves toward greater drug safety are necessary and appropriate.

Thank you,

Lisa Bloomquist

Lakewood, Colorado

Enclosed: “A Public Policy Plan to utilize the Pharmaceutical Industry and Pharmacogenomics to reduce serious Adverse Drug Reactions, develop Personalized and Individualized Therapy, and provide a Functional Map of the Human Genome” by JMR on http://fluoroquinolonethyroid.com/

 

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Meditation and Mindfulness to get through FQ Toxicity

Meditation and mindfulness were incredibly helpful in my journey through fluoroquinolone toxicity.

The benefits of mindfulness and meditation are often downplayed in recovery stories–and supplements, diet and exercise are focused on instead.  Supplements, diet and exercise certainly helped me, and many others, to get through fluoroquinolone toxicity.  But meditation helped me too, and I think that the roles of spiritual and emotional health in physical health and healing are under-recognized in our society; and that is reflected in many of the recovery stories.  Or… maybe I’m projecting and meditation and spirituality were important to me but they aren’t to everyone… that’s totally possible.  Still, I want to focus this post on the role that meditation and mindfulness played in getting me through fluoroquinolone toxicity because they were important parts of my journey.

Early in my floxing I took a class called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction through my health insurer, Kaiser Permanente.  Kaiser Permanente wouldn’t offer a class like this unless it had health benefits, and meditation and mindfulness have been found to have amazing, unexpected, physical health benefits (including increased immunity – isn’t that crazy/interesting?).

The things that mindfulness and meditation helped me with were:

  1. It helped to get my anxiety under control. I can’t begin to tell you how important this was.  Anxiety can make everything worse and it’s easy to get into a destructive anxiety/stress/tension spiral when a bomb has just gone off in your body.
  2. Meditation helped me to be more kind and patient toward myself.
  3. Meditation helped me to forgive myself for what I was going through. I felt guilt and shame over being sick.  Neither guilt nor shame are useful in the least, and meditation/mindfulness helped me to get rid of both.
  4. Meditating brought home the point that everything passes. Even thoughts and emotions pass.  Pain passes.  Nothing is permanent.
  5. It helped with dysautonomia. My sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous systems were out of balance after I got floxed.  Meditating helped to get my cortisol levels down and my sympathetic nervous system back in line.
  6. I found courage, bravery and strength, which I badly needed, through meditation.
  7. I could see beauty and good in the world when I meditated. I felt like beauty and good in the world were stolen from me when I got floxed – meditation/mindfulness helped me to get them back.

I recently listened to a wonderful talk by Pema Chodron in which she was going over ways to overcome fear.  She noted that being mindful about fear was a way to get past it.  She advised that we examine and look at the things that make us uncomfortable–like fear, pain, and other “negative” feelings.  Even though all of us want to get away from pain, fear, discomfort, distress, etc., running from those things doesn’t seem to be near as effective as facing them, for getting over, through and past them.  In a mindfulness or meditation practice, you can sit with your fears and pain and face them.  Pema Chodron advises that you be kind and patient toward your fear and pain, and that its power will dissipate with the more loving kindness you give it.

It’s a bit hippy-dippy, and even counter-intuitive, I know.  But I love this stuff and it truly helped me immensely.

In her talk, Pema Chodron told a story of when she was going through a tough time and she approached her teacher, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, for advice.  Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche said that her life/problems were like she was standing in the ocean, and a big wave came by and knocked her in the sand.  After some struggling, the wave went back out and she was able to stand again.  Then, another wave came and knocked her down again.  But, the second time, she know that the wave will go back out and that she would be able to stand again.  It keeps happening like that.  Life is a series of waves that will knock your face into the sand.  BUT, after a while, the waves appear to be getting much smaller.

The waves of life–fear, uncertainty, pain, suffering, illness and everything else–will be much easier to overcome if you look at them.  If you face the waves you can decide if you’re going to jump over them, dive under them, plan for a place to land when they push you down, or some other plan of action.  Or, you can just know that waves will hit you and knock you around at times, but they will recede and you’ll be able to stand again.  Just having that realization/mindset is helpful.

I was playing around in a pretty wave-less bay when I got knocked down by Cipro.  I had no idea what hit me.  My face was in the sand and I was convinced that I was choking to death on the sea-water.  Meditating and mindfulness helped me to face the waves, and when I faced them, I could see ways to overcome them.  And, as Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche said they would, the waves got smaller.

I truly think that the shifts in perception that I went through, largely as a result of mindfulness and meditation practices (with some other spiritual and religious things too), helped me to get through fluoroquinolone toxicity as much as anything.

It’s interesting that sitting still, observing your breath and attempting to overcome your ego, can be a tool for wellness.  It’s been a tool for health and wellness for centuries, but it doesn’t fit well within the Western Medicine paradigm for health or healing.  It is helpful though.  It’s a great and powerful tool that helped me immensely.  I hope that it works well for you too!

I took meditation and mindfulness classes which cost a little money, but were worth every penny.  You don’t have to take meditation or mindfulness classes though.  Meditating is FREE.

If you want some guidance, here are some links to guided meditations:

http://beyondmeds.com/2014/10/03/mindfulness-meditation/

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/mindfulness-meditation

And here is Jon Kabat-Zinn discussing mindfulness:

 

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Warning: Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics May Ruin Your Life

Cipro warning label

Here is a new post on Hormones Matter:

WARNING: FLUOROQUINOLONE ANTIBIOTICS MAY RUIN YOUR LIFE

Chandler Marrs, founder of Hormones Matter, wisely asked, “We fight for better labeling, but is that really the right battle? How about safer medications? How about a better understanding of who is at risk and what percentage of people might experience those reactions? How about accountability when reactions occur?”

Indeed.

 

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Post-Ebola Syndrome Emerges In West Africa – Links To Bayer Explored

Post Ebola Syndrome and Cipro

 

Very sadly, “post-Ebola syndrome” looks a lot like fluoroquinolone toxicity syndrome. Bayer pumped 3 million euros of Cipro into West Africa during the crisis. Now people are chronically ill with a “mysterious disease.” It should be noted that Cipro has never been shown to be effective at treating VIRUSES like ebola. It is an unapproved use. Sending millions of euros of Cipro to West Africa was a medical experiment that was, and is, criminal.

A post about this horrible situation is in Collective Evolution.

Post-Ebola Syndrome Emerges In West Africa – Links To Bayer Explored

 

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