Monthly Archives: October 2018

Remote Work After Fluoroquinolone Toxicity

This is a guest post written by Michelle P. You can learn more about Michelle’s experience with fluoroquinolone toxicity on her episode of The Floxie Hope Podcast – https://floxiehope.com/2017/07/17/floxie-hope-podcast-episode-22-michelle/. You can also read about her fluoroquinolone toxicity journey on her web site, https://barefootaya.com/. 

 

When I was floxed in July 2016, I was working a very high stress, physical job in Los Angeles. I worked on film sets for over 12 hours a day, usually 6 days a week. It was an excruciating position as a healthy person, but as a floxed person, it was much worse.

For the first month I was floxed, I only had fatigue for the month of July (I had taken Cipro in late June), so I didn’t know anything was wrong and I had continued working, trying to get extra sleep by going to bed earlier and earlier. I usually went to work around 6AM or 7AM and came home around 7PM-9PM. By earlier and earlier, I mean that at one point I went to bed at 8PM to wake up for a 7AM call and I still felt exhausted. “This job is killing me!” I thought… but it was the Cipro.

Anyway, about a month into it, my arm went numb, then the rest of my body, yada yada. The fatigue was so bad that I could barely stand at work and I started becoming super anxious, partially from the raging neurotoxicity I didn’t yet know about and partially from a very understandable reaction to feeling your entire body slowly become numb. I wasn’t sure what was happening to me, so for the first few days, I continued to work and refused to drive. What if I would become paralyzed, like with Guillain Barré, or something? I didn’t know.

Fast forward to being bed bound at my parents’ house with tendon damage, panic attacks, and the ability to stick a needle in my arm only to feel nothing (this helped for the hundreds of blood tests I received – no exaggeration.) My parents lived in rural Upstate New York, a much different place from the Californian city I called home.

I was nervous, not just for my health, but for my finances. I had done enough research on Fluoroquinolone Toxicity at this point that I was confident in my ability to heal… or at least that I was trying my best. We would see about the outcome. As for my finances, I had just spent $1000 to ship my car across the country (I still couldn’t drive) along with flight tickets and thousands of dollars in medical bills, waiting for a collection agency to pick them up. Oh, and I had 5 figures worth of student loans due in a week with my bank account in the red. Film set work, contrary to popular belief, isn’t so glamorous and it doesn’t pay well.

The YouTube videos I watched and the stories I read from other floxies were from people who were married to a partner with health insurance, from people who were already retired, from those who had savings accounts with more than a couple thousand dollars, or from people who were ‘so grateful’ that they had the ability to work from home.

I couldn’t work from home at all for my job at the time. My job was all in person: moving set pieces, walking cast to the stage, coordinating meals for the crew, organizing paperwork, etc., so I lost my job and I was left with nothing income-wise.

After posting on Facebook updating my extended network about my health status, my words reeked of anxiety. I received a private message from an old college friend that went something like this: “Hey, I’m guessing you need a job that you can work from home right now.”

He was reading my mind. “I’m not sure if my current job is hiring, but they will be. I’m quitting next week. I can refer you.”

My friend hooked me up with a job writing video scripts and editing video for newspaper articles. It paid $15/hr, which wasn’t great, but it was something to hold me over. I could make my own hours and I had to work a minimum of 20 hours. It was perfect. I took the job.

Unfortunately for floxies, covering the news isn’t really great for chemically-induced anxiety. I wrote scripts for news articles about deaths, politics, makeup routines (why), and unnecessary celebrities like The Kardashians. It was soul-sucking and once I started healing, I would notice that it induced my anxiety, my hands and feet would go numb again, and I would have panic attacks later that day. Thanks, Cipro! I quit the job.

Months later, I needed a new job and I wanted something that gave me as much freedom as this job had. Another friend of mine who was traveling in South America told me that she was teaching English as a Second Language to Chinese kids online. That seemed interesting, so I asked her for more information and she ended up referring me for the position.

What’s great about this job is that it has even more flexibility since it has no minimum or maximum amount of hours you can work. There are incentives for just about everything and the company cares a lot about their employees. Although you work from home as your own boss with no other coworkers, there are teacher groups within the company website and on social media that can answer your questions, commiserate with you, and give you a community to fall back on.

You don’t make a curriculum, you don’t need to buy anything, and you don’t need to sell anything, either. The only requirements are that you have a working computer with a webcam, a stable internet connection, a Bachelor’s degree, at least a year of teaching experience (could be anything from tutoring to being a ski instructor), and experience working with children. That’s it. How much you want to put into the job is up to you.

I currently work at three different online ESL companies:

VIPKID : Teach kids for around $20/hr on average, Bachelor’s degree and native English speaking required. Growing rapidly, largest online ESL company. Ref code: MICHE0384

gogokid : Teach kids for around $22/hr on average, Bachelor’s degree, online teaching experience, and native English speaking required, must teach at least one class a week. Brand new company. Ref code: YH2HDTPA

Cambly : Speak with advanced English speaking adults for $10/hr. This is mostly conversation practice, no curriculum required. No qualifications. Ref code: mischa5

I am so grateful for these companies for keeping me afloat during hard times and allowing me to work for myself in the best way possible. Now I’m mostly recovered, but I plan on sticking with them for the long haul. I had a flare up a few weeks ago and I didn’t have to call in sick. I didn’t have to lose money. I could just sit in a chair and teach English from my home, even with inflamed, damaged tendons.

I wish I had known about this opportunity when I first got floxed because it is such a low-stress job and it pays decently, unlike some of the other work-from-home options out there.

If you want to learn more, and/or you’re interested in applying, please feel free to email me at barefootaya@gmail.com. I can give you tips on your application and walk you through the process.

 

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EMA Recommends Restriction of Fluoroquinolones in Europe

The EMA (European Medicines Agency) just released a statement regarding fluoroquinolone use. It can be found through THIS LINK. The press release states:

Fluoroquinolone and quinolone antibiotics: PRAC recommends restrictions on use

Press release 05/10/2018

New restrictions follow review of disabling and potentially long-lasting side effects

EMA’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) has recommended restricting the use of fluoroquinolone and quinolone antibiotics (used by mouth, injection or inhalation) following a review of disabling and potentially long-lasting side effects reported with these medicines. The review incorporated the views of patients, healthcare professionals and academics presented at EMA’s public hearing on fluoroquinolone and quinolone antibiotics in June 2018.

Very rarely, patients treated with fluoroquinolone or quinolone antibiotics have suffered long-lasting and disabling side effects, mainly involving muscles, tendons and bones and the nervous system.

Following its evaluation of these side effects, the PRAC has recommended that some medicines, including all those that contain a quinolone antibiotic, should be removed from the market. This is because they are authorised only for infections that should no longer be treated with this class of antibiotics.

The PRAC recommended that the remaining fluoroquinolone antibiotics should:

  • not be used
    • to treat infections that might get better without treatment or are not severe (such as throat infections);
    • for preventing traveller’s diarrhoea or recurring lower urinary tract infections (urine infections that do not extend beyond the bladder);
    • to treat patients who have previously had serious side effects with a fluoroquinolone or quinolone antibiotic;
    • to treat mild or moderately severe infections unless other antibacterial medicines commonly recommended for these infections cannot be used;
  • be used with caution especially for the elderly, patients with kidney problems, patients who have had an organ transplantation or those who are being treated with a systemic corticosteroid. These patients are at higher risk of tendon injury caused by fluoroquinolone and quinolone antibiotics.

The PRAC also recommended that healthcare professionals should advise patients to stop treatment with a fluoroquinolone antibiotic at the first sign of a side effect involving muscles, tendons or bones (such as inflamed or torn tendon, muscle pain or weakness, and joint pain or swelling) or the nervous system (such as feeling pins and needles, tiredness, depression, confusion, suicidal thoughts, sleep disorders, vision and hearing problems, and altered taste and smell).

Prescribing information of individual fluoroquinolone antibiotics will be updated to reflect the restricted use.

The PRAC recommendations will now be sent to EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use(CHMP), which will adopt the Agency’s final opinion.

This outcome from the PRAC of the EMA is due to the advocacy work of many European victims of fluoroquinolones, and especially the brave people who testified before the EMA on June 13, 2018. Here is a video that shows the hearing, and all the moving testimonials:

There is so much more work that needs to be done for those who have been floxed. We need remedies for fluoroquinolone toxicity, and more needs to be done to prevent people from being victimized by these drugs.

Still, the acknowledgement from the EMA, and the recommendations that they have given, are greatly appreciated, and I hope that they will prevent many unnecessary fluoroquinolone prescriptions.

 

 

Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Films

I have come to the conclusion that being a film-maker is a risk factor for having an adverse reaction to fluoroquinolones. I have been emailed by no less than a dozen people in the film industry, mainly independent documentarians, who have been floxed and who express desire to make a film about fluoroquinolone toxicity. I haven’t been approached by authors, or people who are on the radio, or any other type of media personnel – only film-makers. Film-makers beware – DO NOT TAKE FLUOROQUINOLONE ANTIBIOTICS.

Of course, I’m joking. It is illogical, and impossible, for film-makers to be at higher risk of fluoroquinolone toxicity than anyone else. Film-makers shouldn’t take fluoroquinolones because no one should take fluoroquinolones, but I see no reason that they would be at higher risk of fluoroquinolone toxicity than anyone else.

Still…. I have gotten several, maybe dozens, of emails from floxed film-makers who have expressed interest in making a film (or documentary, sorry, I don’t know the difference) about fluoroquinolone toxicity. I applaud their initiative and I encourage anyone/everyone who is interested in making a film about fluoroquinolone toxicity to do so.

The more the merrier, and if there were 20 films about fluoroquinolone toxicity, that would be awesome. However, maybe it would be good for the many film-makers who are interested in fluoroquinolone toxicity to join together and combine their talents, efforts, finances, and resources – just a suggestion.

Over the years, I have lost track of most of the emails from floxed film-makers. On the off chance that some of the floxed film-makers follow this blog, and are interested in collaborating, I would like to offer to connect you. Please contact me using the following form if you want me to connect you with others who are interested in creating a film about fluoroquinolone toxicity:

Though many film-makers have noted their interest in creating a film about fluoroquinolone toxicity, I only know of one who is currently in the process of making one. Michelle P is currently working on “Floxed”. Please “like” her page on facebook and support her efforts. There is a “send message” button on the Floxed documentary facebook page, and that’s probably a better way to reach Michelle than the contact form above, but I’m still happy to facilitate connections.  https://www.facebook.com/floxeddoc/

There are a couple of finished films about fluoroquinolone toxicity that I recommend. The first is Certain Adverse Events, by Nancy Edwards. You can purchase Certain Adverse Events on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Certain-Adverse-Events-Nancy-Edwards/dp/B0076D0B2G.

One of the 5-star reviewers of Certain Adverse Events states:

“I will never forget the date of 3-1-10. That’s the day I took a week long course of Cipro and went from being a very athletic and healthy 42 year old professional to a disabled cripple in one short week. That’s how devastating the side effects from these drugs are. Two years have passed since then and I am still in chronic pain with major nerve, tendon and cartilage damage throughout my body. This film does a great job of showing how many people are affected by this class of antibiotics and why the US regulatory system has thus far failed to properly regulate these drugs. It interviews victims, doctors, pharmacists and lawyers to help you make an informed decision on your own health. I wish I’d seen this film before it was too late for me.”

Here is an excerpt of the film on youtube too (but please buy it on Amazon – support independent film-makers who are drawing attention to an important issue – thank you):

Another film that features fluoroquinolone toxicity is a fiction (or whatever the equivalent word about films is) film called The East. I wrote about The East in the post, “Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Featured in the Movie ‘The East'”. Here is a trailer:

Please watch, and share, these films, and support the people who are making new films about (or featuring) fluoroquinolone toxicity – thank you!

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