*The following is an individual’s story of surviving fluoroquinolone toxicity. It is not medical advice. Please see the disclaimer at the bottom of the story. Thank you, and please be cautious with all treatments. 

Briean’s Story

Briean was floxed by Levaquin in October of 2010.  She told me her story on May 28, 2013.

Briean was 27 years old when she was floxed.  Like most Floxies, she was very active before she was knocked down by Levaquin.  She was in a band.  She stayed up late at night playing music, drinking, dancing, partying and living the lifestyle that any fun-loving 27 year old would lead.  She was living with her mother, taking care of her 2 year old son in the day and playing with the band at night.

Briean got sick with a throat infection, self-diagnosed as strep based on her past experiences, and went to a walk-in clinic for a diagnosis/treatment.  The doctors/nurses at the clinic did not perform a throat culture to see whether or not she actually had strep or another kind of infection.  She was given a Z-pack (Azithromycin – not a fluoroquinolone antibiotic) to treat the infection.  The Z-pack didn’t alleviate her symptoms so she went back to the clinic and asked for another, stronger, course of antibiotics.  They prescribed Levaquin and her floxing symptoms began immediately.

The night that Briean started taking Levaquin she played a show with her band.  As usual, she wore high heels during and after her show.  When she got home she noticed that her feet hurt significantly more than normal.  For the next several days, a different part of her body hurt every day.  Within a few days she was bedridden and in severe pain.

She went to the doctor and they ran tests for everything possible.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a test for fluoroquinolone toxicity.  All the tests were coming back saying that she was fine.  She was clearly not fine but didn’t know why she suddenly was unable to move until a nurse casually mentioned that her problems may be due to Levaquin.  Briean researched Levaquin, connected all of her symptoms to it and entered the scary world of being a Floxie.

Briean’s symptoms included the following:

  1. Torn tendons.  MRI scans were performed on all of Briean’s major joints.  Torn tendons were discovered in all of them, the worst being the tendons in her shoulders, hands and feet.  She suffered from a partially ruptured tendon in her shoulder.
  2. Inability to live life.  Briean was bedridden for about a month and a half.  She was unable to play in her band and, worse, she was unable to care for her toddler son.  She was forced to put him into day care because she was unable to get out of bed to care for him.
  3. Exhaustion.  Briean slept a lot when she first got floxed.  She was unable to get out of bed because of the loss of use of her muscles and tendons.  Her body was drained of all energy and she was too exhausted to function for a few months.
  4. Pain.  Briean had pain all over but it was worst in her feet and shoulders.
  5. Sensitivity to the sun.  Briean used to be able to sit in the sun for hours, getting tan and feeling good doing it.  After being floxed, she gets sunburned easily.  She has even gotten sunburned through clothes.
  6. Cold all the time.  Briean was chilled to the bone and couldn’t feel warm, even when the temperature was high.  She kept her room at a temperature of 90 degrees and still struggled to stay warm.
  7. Celiac Disease.  Though Briean suspects that she had Celiac Disease before she was floxed, it was exacerbated by the fluoroquinolone toxicity.  She became extremely sensitive to gluten and any gluten that entered her system caused a severe reaction.

After about two months of being bedridden, Briean was able to get out of bed and begin to recover.  Her recovery process included the following:

Physical Therapy.  Briean described her Physical Therapy as “instrumental” to her healing. 

  1. Supplements.  Glucosamine supplementation helped her significantly.  She takes other supplements as well but doesn’t notice as much of a difference.
  2. Changed diet.  Briean cut gluten, dairy, alcohol, junk food and meat out of her diet.  Because she has Celiac Disease, cutting gluten out of her diet was crucial for her healing.
  3. Lots of rest.  Briean slept a lot.  Her body was able to recover while she was sleeping.
  4. Moving as much as possible.  Briean tried to be as active as possible.  Her ability to be active improved as she continually tried.
  5. Sunshine.  Briean tried to sit outside whenever possible.  Though her skin was very sensitive to the sun, being outside in fresh air and sunshine was therapeutic.

Though her recovery process began about two months after her initial floxing, it took about a year for Briean to feel well.  She still (May, 2013) has some residual health issues, her feet still hurt when she gets up in the morning and her skin is still sensitive to the sun.  Those residual issues are resolving themselves though.  She continues to get better.

Briean’s tips

  1.  Be positive.  Don’t get into a gloom and doom mindset.  Don’t talk to people who can/will drag you down.  Have hope.  Tell yourself that you will get better.
  2. Focus on your reasons to get better.  For Briean, she had a 2 year-old son to take care of.  He was her inspiration to get out of bed and work on getting better.
  3. Try to be as active as possible.
  4. Rest.  Your body needs rest in order to recuperate.
  5. Change your diet.  Briean realized that she has Celiac Disease and that gluten makes her ill.  Cutting gluten from her diet improved her health significantly.

Briean’s Life Now

Since being floxed in 2010, Briean has gotten married, had a healthy baby boy and has a baby girl due in the next couple of months.  She said that most of the Floxies who contact her are women who are wondering if they’ll be able to have children post-floxing.  Briean has had two successful pregnancies post-floxing and both babies are happy and healthy.  She reported that pregnancy was difficult post-floxing, but that her pre-floxing pregnancy was difficult too.  She is able to keep up with her kids and step-kids and to be a positive and engaged mother.

Her lifestyle has changed significantly since she got floxed, but not in altogether bad ways.  She changed her diet significantly – cutting out gluten and junk food.  She doesn’t drink like she did before she was floxed.  She’s not in a band any more.  She lives with her husband and children, not her mom.  She is busy keeping up with her

Just from reading her facebook posts, I can tell you that Briean is focused on living her life, not on her sickness.  She appears to have a good and full life, not one that is consumed by sickness, fear or bitterness.

She has healed.

2017 update from Briean:

After reading that again, I wanted to follow up a little more, actually:

My feet still hurt. I was diagnosed with permanent neuropathy due to Levaquin a couple of years ago. There are a few things that help that I would be willing to discuss privately with anyone interested.

I also still sunburn like crazy. I put on sunscreen to run errands. It’s ridiculous.

My pregnancies have all been rough, but not necessarily due to anything related to being floxed. My two post flox babies are 5 and 4 now. Crazy healthy, active, smart, beautiful little bundles of energy.

When I first joined the flox communities in 2010, there wasn’t a lot of info about pregnancy after Levaquin or Cipro, but I’ve known quite a few women now that have gone on to have healthy pregnancies. Don’t get discouraged, ladies!

** The story above is truthful, accurate and told to the best of the ability of the writer. The story above is truthful, accurate and told to the best of the ability of the writer. It is not intended as medical advice. No person who submits his or her story, nor the people associated with Floxie Hope, diagnoses or treats any illness. The story above should not be substituted for professionally provided medical advice. Please consult your doctor before trying anything that has been mentioned in this story, or in any other story on this site. Please also note that people have varying responses to the treatments mentioned in each story. What helps one person may not help, and may even hurt, another person. It is important that you understand that supplements, IVs, essential oils, and all other treatments, effect people differently depending on the millions of variables that make each of us unique. Please use appropriate caution and prudence, and get professional medical advice.