*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.
So, 4 months after my terrible reaction to Cipro, I can honestly say that I’m recovered. It’s pretty amazing because I didn’t know if I’d ever feel normal again. I’m aware that I’m very lucky, and I feel for anyone still suffering, but wanted to share that there is hope for us all.
As I said, I’m very lucky, very blessed, and healed faster than most. I thought it would be important to share a recovery story with Lisa that might give hope to those that are newly floxed – Healing can happen quickly, too! Not everyone suffers for years!
It’s hard to gauge how hard I was hit, because there are a number of those on the facebook groups who seem to be much worse off than I was. However, for some perspective, here are some factors that played a major role in how bad I was.
- When I was floxed, I was only one month out from quitting a very high dose of benzodiazepines cold turkey. Benzos and FQ’s are contraindicated because of the GABA-A receptor displacement.
- I was also on heart medication (and still am, though a lower dose), which is also contraindicated with FQ’s.
- I took a lot of NSAIDs (Aleve) while also taking Cipro, unknowing that they shouldn’t be combined.
So, I got hit with a trifecta basically.
I was prescribed 500 mg twice daily of Cipro for a “suspected UTI,” on April 2nd, 2013. Turns out I never had an infection in the first place. My reaction was immediate; within 24 hours I had a heart rate of 120 that wouldn’t go down for about 8 weeks. My symptoms were as follows:
- Hallucinations, both visual and aural
- Partial tendon tear in my achilles
- Tendon and muscle pain that traveled randomly
- Hair loss
- Weakness and fatigue
- Confusion and brain fog
- Joint pain
- Depersonalization and derealization
- Gastro-intestinal distress – alternating diarrhea and constipation
- Memory loss
- Tremors and shaking
- Terrifying nightmares
- A crazy itchy rash that developed just under my belly button
- Significant weight loss
For any doubters of how bad it was, I was suicidal. Suicidal enough that 2 weeks after my floxing, I was locked up in a mental institution for 5 days, where they tried any number of different psych drugs on me. The whole experience was surreal. Upon my release, I spent the next 6 – 8 weeks or so searching desperately for some kind of relief to my condition. Admittedly, I tried a number of things that really did not provide any resolution, and probably made me feel worse in the long run.
This is the section of my story that some may find unappealing, and I don’t want anyone to take it as bragging or boasting. If something works for someone else, stick with it.
I tried a million supplements. I don’t think I noticed any difference from pretty much any of them. Seeing as I spent the money on them, I certainly kept taking them until they were gone. Magnesium didn’t seem to make a difference. Fish oil didn’t seem to make a difference. COQ10 didn’t seem to do anything. Milk Thistle didn’t do anything. Condroitin/MSM didn’t make a difference. Probiotics didn’t seem to make much difference.
Nowadays, I take some Vitamin C, a B-Complex, extra B12 and Vitamin D. That’s it.
I tried the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, and it unfortunately wasn’t right for me. I know it’s gotten great results for others, but I was already drastically underweight, and I continued to lose weight on it and got even more depressed. I gave it a solid month of dedicated effort. My wallet, my spare time and my BMI all took a pretty bad hit from it.
Believe it or not, smoking cigarettes helped immensely. It gave me something to do to break the monotony. It helped ground me in reality. I’m down to about 1-2 smokes a day, but was at a point at a full pack a day.
A few other things that helped were: An absolute resolve never to give up, even when I was hospitalized. I also refused to stop working, to stop driving, even when I messed up my ankle. I limped around my warehouse like a gimp for weeks. I used cruise control on my car to avoid having to press the pedals too much. But I absolutely refused to let this thing ruin me. I woke up at 5 a.m. and put in 12 hour days at work. Fake it til you make it. I made it. An important decision I made was also to stop blaming FQ’s for everything wrong in my life. Yes, they screwed me up majorly, but I had to stop living in fear of everyday life, of antibiotics in food, of fluoride in water, of chemicals in shampoo, etc…
Nowadays, things are as they were before. I have a lingering floater in my left eye, but then again, I would occasionally get floaters before I was ever floxed. They always went away, and I have faith that this one will too. I have a little lingering tinnitus, only noticeable before I fall asleep. Same story though, I had tinnitus before this whole mess as well.
Physically, I can do whatever I want. Endurance has been regained. Aside from all the weight I’ve lost, no one has any reason to question my health. I’ve also put back on about 15 lbs, and am back to my target weight. I was overweight before anyhow.
All of this happened in the span of 4 months. It’s hard to believe. The real turning point for me came about a month ago, but I wanted to wait at last an extra month to ensure that I was really making progress, and I have.
My heart goes out to the still-suffering. I truly believe that a positive mind-set can make a world of difference. I hope everyone makes a full recovery!
December, 2015 update – “Hi Lisa, I’m one of the first people to have a story posted on Floxie Hope, nearly 3 years now. (James’ story). It’s been a long time since I thought about my floxing experience (I try to avoid thinking about it too much, since it was the worst experience of my life…) But recently a friend was prescribed Cipro for colitis and with my help was able to ask his doctor for Zithro instead, and that reminded me to check on the floxie community. Just wanted to update everybody that I’m doing better than ever nowadays. In my story, I think I said I was 100% after 4 months, but it was actually more like 8 – 9 months before most everything with me got back to normal. Now at nearly 3 years out, I’m in the best shape of my life. Running Spartan Races and triathlons and such. My heart goes out to anyone who’s still suffering! Keep fighting the good fight!”
** 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.