*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. 

Following is Keri’s story, written by Keri –

I started the month of October, 2010 as a 38 yr. old woman who was loving life.  I was happily married and the mother of two incredible children, aged 12 and 8.  I worked as a preschool teacher and thrived on the chaos of being a young family.  I walked daily, cheered on my son at his football games, my daughter at her ballet recitals and attended all school functions.  I loved anything that allowed me to be creative and took great pride in my home and family.  Life was so good.

On the morning of October 4th, I woke with symptoms of a UTI.  Being no stranger to this, I called my boss to tell her I was going to run by the minor emergency clinic and would be a few minutes late to work.  There was blood and protein in my urine, and the doctor gave me a prescription for Levaquin.  I was to take one 750 mg pill each day for five days, and was never told of any possible side effects.  I ran by the pharmacy, had the prescription filled and headed on to work.  Once there, I took my first and last pill.  Within an hour, I was laying on the bathroom floor listening to my boss calling my husband.  I was obviously having an allergic reaction to the Levaquin.  The left side of my face was swollen, my breathing was labored, I was chilled to the bone and shaking, nauseous and my heart was racing.  I took a Benadryl, called the doctor and was assured that the worst would be over.  It was just the beginning.

My health began to deteriorate immediately.  It was as if a bomb went off in my body, and I didn’t understand what was happening.  Nobody did.  I had a hysterectomy to get rid of the large fibroid tumors that appeared overnight.  I had to leave my job and lay on the couch for a year as I suffered with:  abdominal cramping, headaches, shakiness, dizziness, loss of appetite and weight, nausea, hot and cold flashes, bouts of constipation and diarrhea, weakness, achiness, tinnitus, brain fog, sight problems, tremors, electrical zaps through my body, memory loss, heartburn, muscle wasting, strange rashes, back pain, tachycardia, fatigue, insomnia, joint and muscle pain, neuropathy, low blood pressure, food and chemical sensitivities, teeth breaking and more.

The doctors were able to find plenty of things wrong with me, but nobody could put it together for a long time.  Instead, they found:  gastritis, hiatal hernia, reflux, white matter lesions on my brain, hypothyroidism, thyroid autoimmune issues (testing positive on the ANA and very high thyroid antibody count), lesions on my liver, granulomas in my spleen, kidney cysts, sclerosis in my spine and hip, reactive arthritis and finally…FLUOROQUINOLONE TOXICITY!  I was lost for the first six months.  I told every doctor that all I knew is that I’d been sick ever since an allergic reaction to Levaquin.  And then I’d believe them when they said it couldn’t be related.  I never pushed it.  It wasn’t until my mom had a friend pass away from taking a round of Levaquin and Cipro that we decided to look up the drug I had reacted to.  Suddenly, everything I had gone through was there in so many stories!  I finally knew what had plagued my body.  Now, it was a matter of what to do about it….

Clean Diet—This was one of the top things that I noticed a difference with.  I was barely able to eat at first, so it wasn’t a problem to give up certain foods.  Anything I put into my body was a conscious decision…I learned to eat according to what a food can offer me.  Liver pain?  Eat plenty of beets, asparagus and kale.  Kidney pain?  Up the lemon water.  Anxiety?  Freshly squeezed limes are nature’s Xanax, filled with inositol.  I found that gluten and sugar are two foods that offered me nothing except inflammation, so they were blacklisted.  Become a snob…foods have to offer something worthwhile to be consumed!

Heal Your Gut—Fluoroquinolones are like napalm in your gut.  It destroys everything, which is why it leaves so many of us with terrible GI issues.  This was one of my worst areas hit.  I lost 20 lbs in the first month, and kept a permanent “bed” on my bathroom floor for the first seven months.  Along with the clean diet, I started a good probiotic and began noticing a change for the better.  Some people use kefir or raw sauerkraut.  Some go on the candida or SCD diet.  However you choose to do it, heal that gut!

Time—This is by far the hardest thing to give into, but the truth is you will not wake up tomorrow to find there is some new, magic remedy.  Big Pharma is not furiously working up an anecdote to the poison they put out there.  HEALING TAKES TIME.  This is a process.  Give yourself permission to use each day as a stepping stone towards good health, instead of expecting an overnight miracle.

De-Stress—I know, I know.  You’re in the middle of the hardest, scariest thing you’ve ever gone through.  You had to leave your job and the medical bills are piling up.  It has affected your relationship with everyone around you.  Every minute of every day is stressful!  But, one thing I learned was that each time I faced something very stressful, my health suffered.  I would run on adrenaline for a day or two, then bam!  It would catch up to me and I felt sicker. Once my husband started rubbing my back each night, I noticed I was feeling better overall.  Surround yourself with people who bring you happiness. Massage, meditation, yoga, counseling…do whatever you need to center yourself and calm down.

Don’t Be A Victim—This is just a mindset I wouldn’t allow myself to get into.  Someone will always have it better, and someone will always have it worse.  I get it…yesterday you had an infected tooth that landed you in the ER when you reacted to the antibiotics, today your biggest supporter passed away and now the depression is overwhelming, tomorrow you will be back at the ER with renal failure.  I’ve been there; we’ve all been there.  Some are convinced that nobody else understands, and that they’re the worst case out there.  I figured I wasn’t that special, and that there is nothing I’d go through that another floxie hadn’t gone through and survived.  You can’t win this battle if you’ve already decided that you’ve been defeated.

Vitamin D—This was a necessity to me.  A doctor once told me that every time she sees someone with cancer, she knows they will be low in vitamin D.  At least half the floxies I’ve met have been deficient in this.  My GP gave me some vitamin D drops to take, but with all my sensitivities, I reacted to them.  So, I started using a D-lamp through the winter, and on nice days I try to get at least 20 minutes of sunshine.  This really helped change the game for me.  I’m much less sore with my D, and I’m much more sane too!

Quit Smoking—I know, this is a no-brainer, but an addiction is an addiction.  When I was really sick, I wouldn’t smoke at all.  Then, on my better days I’d have a couple “smoky treats”.  It came to an end when I had vasculitis in my legs.  I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer and quit.  The health benefits were huge…I could breathe again, I didn’t cough up phlegm anymore, my chest pains stopped and best of all, my veins worked again!  The petechiae are gone.  The “cement” feeling in my veins is gone.  My vascular system was hit hard from the toxicity, and quitting smoking helped that the most.

I am now 2 ½ years out since this nightmare began, and I am doing much better.  There have been days where the only thing keeping me alive was my sheer stubbornness.  There have been days where I’ve celebrated the tiniest achievements, like carrying the laundry basket across the house or cleaning the fishbowl.  I remember a time when my leg was too weak to drive, shaking when I’d pick it up from the brake pedal to the gas.  Now, my legs are strong enough to go on evening walks with my husband.  I remember a time when my mother stood over me with tears and a can of Ensure because I couldn’t make myself eat.  Now, I stand in the kitchen over a pot of homemade, organic, chicken soup that I can’t wait to dig into.  I am not 100% healed, but my family and friends are amazed with how far I’ve come.  More than that, I’M amazed.  I’ve learned a lot about myself and the people around me.  I am stronger.  I am wiser.  And every time I wish it wouldn’t have happened, I remember that it happened to me so that it will never happen to my children, for they too are stronger and wiser and will never take a fluoroquinolone.

** 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.