*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.
I am floxed. For those of you unfamiliar with that term, I am referring to my use of Cipro, an antibiotic that is in the fluoroquinolone family (names of those most commonly prescribed are Cipro, Levaquin and Avelox). Essentially, I have been poisoned.
Fluoroquinolones are chemotherapy drugs. Meaning they destroy the DNA of the bacterial infection that is within your body. But they do not discriminate, they destroy your healthy DNA as well. They contain fluoride which is a known neurotoxin. They penetrate sensitive tissues and the blood/brain barrier.
The potential side effects are severe and numerous. They may harm your central nervous system, musculoskeletal, visual and renal systems. This can result in tendon rupture, retinal detachment, hallucinations, personality changes, kidney failure, brain fog, psychosis and loss of memory. The list does not stop there though.
Different people have very different reactions. Some cannot walk after taking just one pill, some take the prescription with no side effects. Some victims heal within months of taking one of these antibiotics while others spend the rest of their lives in pain, with side effect after side effect compromising their quality of life. Go to your computer, and type “fluoroquinolone victims” into the search engine, and you will find horror story after horror story.
I had one 400mg IV, followed by ten 500mg pills of Ciproflaxin. It started on a Sunday afternoon in an ER. I had a very high fever, and a suspected kidney infection. They gave me an IV of Cipro, and sent me home with a 10-day prescription. I did not read the insert provided by the pharmacy, like I normally do. I never thought much harm could come from an antibiotic, plus I was too sick to bother. On Tuesday morning, I woke up with severe tooth pain, neck pain and wrist pain. On Wednesday I went back to the doctor as this pain persisted and moved to every joint in my body. The doctor did not have a clue. He mentioned rheumatoid arthritis as a possibility, which seemed insane to me. Thursday was much of the same, as I took Advil for the pain and inflammation I was experiencing in my joints.
Friday I woke up angry. Instinctually, I grabbed my RX bottle and googled “cipro and joint pain.” Immediately, pages upon pages of horror stories flooded my computer screen. These side effects were not “rare” nor were they exclusive to the elderly with health problems. There were all types of people, who had taken different amounts of the antibiotic, and all had different reactions. No flox victim was the same. The one common theme seemed to be that whatever side effects these people had they were long term, if not permanent. Worse than that, many people only experienced these side effects weeks and months after they finished the antibiotic. These people would visit doctors and specialists, only to be prescribed MORE drugs, often the ones like NSAIDS and steroids that exacerbated the symptoms, and helped with the absorption of the antibiotic into the tissues of the body. Conversely, minerals like magnesium, iron, and zinc interfere with absorption, and would have been a much better option for many people. For the people with the delayed reaction, it often took months if not years to trace the problems back to the antibiotic. I am sure there are many out there, diagnosed with auto-immune diseases like Fibromyalgia or Rheumatoid Arthritis, who never make the connection back to Cipro, Levaquin, or Avelox.
I took myself off of this antibiotic. I took 5 days of the ten day prescription, to be exact a 400 mg IV, and 5,000 mg of pills flooded my body. Had the doctor been aware of the side effects, I would have been off of it 2 days in. Thanks to my knowledge of food, health and disease in America, I know that I am in charge of my health. I know that I cannot count on the medical community, the pharmaceutical community or the food industry, to have my best interests at heart. I wish the doctor or nurse in the ER had told me about the black box label on this antibiotic. I wish they had told me to be very aware of possible side effects. I wish the doctor I visited on day 3, who I explained my strange pain to, had known more about the side effects of these drugs.
It was a Friday when I stopped taking the Cipro. That evening I went to a friends’ house with my 13-year-old son. My right wrist became swollen and painful beyond belief. I could not use it. I could not drive my car properly. My son had to put the car in reverse and help with the steering wheel to drive the few miles back to our home. The next day, I spent hours on the internet reading the stories, visiting websites, and Facebook pages of fluoroquinolone victims. All to my detriment, as there was not ONE happy ending. Seriously, one part of the body would improve, and another would worsen. Months and years later people were in wheel chairs. That day, I had the first panic attack of my life.
Within a week, my right wrist improved enough that I could use it. Both wrists looked frail, and felt “crunchy” like bone on bone. This continues but has vastly improved. Luckily, I steered clear of the internet and went back to my normal mind set. I believe that the body is incredible, and has an innate ability to heal. I preach that chronic disease can be reversed with food, mostly plants, exercise, water, and rest. I believe stress exacerbates symptoms, and the mind can aid our healing. The basics of life, the body needs us to provide a healthy internal environment so that it can do it’s job. I did find a great ebook that gave me hope (The Levaquin Tendonitis Solution – Lisa’s note – If you would like to purchase The Levaquin Tendonitis Solution, if you do so through THIS LINK I will get an affiliate commission – thanks for your support!!), and was right up my alley. It explained that the body needed to heal with food and increased supplements. I ordered a whole foods multi-vitamin, magnesium, krill oil, and chlorella. I continued to drink my probiotic, kombucha, to replace the healthy bacteria in my stomach which would help me properly absorb the nutrients. I went out in the sun to get the most bio-available form of vitamin D to strengthen my immunity, and support my bones. I took a sauna as many days as I could to flush out toxins. And I went against all floxy advice, I did light exercise to strengthen my body.
A week later, sure enough, a new symptom developed. I suddenly felt a great pain in my right side, just under my rib cage. It felt like a sharp cramp. I chalked it up to all of my supplements. However, it wasn’t just any cramp, I could not move without pain while lying down, I could not cough, sneeze or laugh. Anything that required me to breath in deeply caused sharp increased pain. This persisted for days. On day 6, my husband was away on business. Again, that day, I had gone online to search my new symptom figuring that this was no ordinary cramp because it has lasted too long, and worsened. The stories made my head spin again. I went to bed, just to awaken at 2 am. And that was the second panic attack of my life. I was alone, I was scared, and everything that I had read that day haunted me. I almost called 911, I almost called my friend to take me to the ER. I practiced my deep breathing (which hurt like hell because of the pain in my side), and I sat petting my dogs. Thank God for those dogs, they really can calm you. I got up, did laundry, made lunches, and cleaned, anything to prove to myself that I was okay, and to take my mind off of my pain and panic. I survived the night but made an appointment to see my doctor the next day.
It was my liver. My poor liver was so inflamed, working overtime trying to rid my body of that poison. Of course I went home to research how the liver functions, I will not bore you with my findings, but it is an amazing organ. Mine was swollen, and the pain with deep breathing was caused from my diaphragm and ribs poking it. That night I made an organic beet, carrot, apple, parsley, and ginger juice. All these vegetables aid the liver in detoxification. I swear to you, the next morning, the inflammation had decreased. There was still pain, but it was better. I have continued this juicing daily, and my liver is nearly 100%.
After 3 weeks of Cipro poisoning, I was able to do a handstand on my damaged wrists. On my one month anniversary, I went for a 5 mile run.
I consider myself lucky because I was fit and extremely healthy going into this nightmare. When I say healthy, I mean that I eat primarily a plant based diet, only organic animal products on occasion, little processed foods and filtered water. I exercise 5 days a week, and I know a lot about nutrition and health. I also know a lot about the American culture around food, pharmaceuticals and medicine. This knowledge has been my savior as well.
You see, I don’t trust any of the information or “science” out there because I know that profits precede health in America. I also know that the medical and pharmaceutical industries don’t value the human body’s ability to heal itself naturally through nutrition. This notion of “food being medicine,” would quite simply put both out of business. Most doctors treat symptoms with pharmaceutical drugs instead of understanding the cause of those symptoms. They compartmentalize the body, instead of looking at it as a whole. A lack of nutrients and minerals in the body will cause disease, pain, and mental illness. We are the sickest nation on the planet, and we spend more on healthcare than many nations combined. Healthcare spending and research does not seem to equate to better health.
The FDA regulates the food and drugs in America and does a very poor job. The food and agricultural sector of our country is ruled by a choice few chemical companies. Yes, chemical companies that poison our food and our planet. This means, they are poisoning us too. We make organic farmers, who produce foods without toxic chemicals, pay more to produce their foods. This cost is passed on to the consumer. While our taxes subsidize junk food, making unhealthy food far less expensive, making it a preferred choice for most. At the same time, they produce easy, and fast foods, all catering to the American culture of, well, fast food.
Most American’s have no idea where their food comes from or how it is produced. Most American parents quite literally feed their children food devoid of any nutrients. Most American’s suffer from one or more chronic disease. One in two American men will get cancer in their lifetime. One in three American women will do the same. Our children are sicker than ever before, many on drugs never tested for long term use within their developing bodies.
But here’s the thing. This is what we, the people, the consumers, dictate. We want easy to eat food to accommodate our hectic lifestyles. And then we want a drug to fix anything that ails us. As a health coach, I can speak to this first hand. No one wants to do the hard work, no one wants to make a salad, no one wants to cook every night. It is easier to pop it in the microwave and take a pill.
How has this knowledge helped me in dealing with my “floxing.” Well, unlike many others, I know that I am responsible for my health. I know that I cannot trust a doctor or a drug to cure me. I know that the body has amazing healing abilities, and I know my lifestyle will dictate my health. I also know that our culture of ignorance has created drugs that poison and doctors who have no clue about their effects. I don’t blame my doctor, like many do. I do not think my doctor meant to harm me. Do I find them negligent, a little, do I despise pharmaceutical companies, absolutely. But, I fully understand that the American culture created this insanity, and most people continue to perpetuate the problem.
I am almost at my 6 week anniversary of my Cipro cocktail, and I am living and feeling like my old self. My wrists definitely flare up after much use and my liver is not perfect, but no other symptoms have become apparent. Maybe I am naïve to think that I am out of the woods, maybe I had a mild reaction, but I don’t think so. Therefore, I continue on my healthy regimen, and I refuse to take any other drug for the pain. I do not care what my fellow floxies say about permanent DNA damage because current, conventional scientific studies refuse to accept that nutrition can change our DNA. Besides, believing I have permanent damage makes me a victim, while believing that I can heal gives me power. Like always, I choose to heal my body the unconventional way, using food as my medicine, and I believe, with all my heart, that it will work.
To be continued….see below.
It has been 5 months since my floxing, and 4 months since I wrote this blog. I have had no more side effects. My wrists act up after much use (for instance a yoga class followed by washing my car), but it is mild pain, and certainly does not stop me in any way. I continue to take my multivitamins and my magnesium. I continue to live a healthy lifestyle, and I have stopped taking part in any floxy websites. I am well, my body is strong, and I learned a powerful lesson. I am grateful for this experience because I now know that my children will be educated, and they will NEVER take a flouroquinolone in their lives. My experience saved them from that.
Health & Lifestyle Coach
** 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.