*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.
On July 28, 2014 I was given a round of Cipro for a stomach infection at a local hospital. I only took 2 of the 6 pills that I was prescribed because within 24 hours after taking the pills I developed the following symptoms: severe pain in my joints; psychotic episodes that left me feeling like ripping off my skin and difficulty breathing. It literally happened in an instant, like a bomb went off in me. I called the hospital where they prescribed me the Cipro and they told me to ‘finish it’ and that what I was feeling was ‘a normal reaction’. I decided not to finish the medication and despite only taking two pills, the symptoms continued to get worse over the next 2 months. Within one week, the joint pain got worse, feelings of madness and depression, twitching, numbness in my legs and insomnia increased. Within 2 weeks, my joints began popping, my legs and arms would go numb; severe pain in my leg muscles and achilles tendons and severe insomnia set in. My finger joints began swelling and my skin burned as if it were on fire. Within 4 weeks I developed severe neuropathy all over my body; I could not walk, sleep, my legs would twitch and ached as if they were to explode and the numbness in my face caused occasional slurred speech. These symptoms lasted for months and as of today, March 10, 2015, most of the nightmare is gone, except for occasional hip pain, inability to stand for too long, popping bones and an twitch in my legs and arms. As of today, I cannot run and still have a hard time climbing stairs. I am overcoming this but I’m not out of the water yet, I still have lots more healing to do.
During my illness, there were weeks when I was unable to drive, weeks when I could not walk, weeks when I could not work and the fear was exhausting. Eventually I used a cane to get around, stayed at motels to avoid commuting and even lived at work. I had to get a new automatic car because I could no longer drive my stick shift. Somehow I managed to keep my job. I fought everyday and still do, but it’s getting easier. I was in so much pain but I refused to give up. This journey compelled me to dig deep into my soul for the answers; never before had I been disabled and I was determined to find a way to heal.
What did I do to heal? Note that I am not a doctor and my method of healing is not meant to diagnose or treat any disease. I’m not sure what healed me: time or not listening to the doctors who prescribe Cipro when they offered more pills and drugs to combat the toxicity. Maybe it was my naturopathic approach to healing with foods and homeopathic remedies; my mind; my spirit; God; who knows. Nonetheless, I am getting better with each passing day.
Here’s what I’ve done over the last 7 months to survive this tragedy: there are three areas of healing that I considered: my physical body, my mind, and my spirit:
Trust your intuition. The first step to healing is understanding that you know your body best. Don’t let anyone tell you that this [your symptoms] are in your head; what you are experiencing is real and if you think it was the fluoroquinolones (Cipro) that caused this to you, then you are probably correct. The many doctors I saw went to great lengths trying to convince me that it wasn’t the Cipro that caused my disability; they seem to defend their pills like a religion. The doctor that prescribed me the Cipro immediately dismissed my claim that it was the medication and told me not to conduct medical research on the internet. A secondary doctor was more supportive but insisted that he had never heard of fluoroquinolone toxicity. Both doctors, oblivious to the effects of the medication they so confidently prescribe, never did any research on Cipro, otherwise, they would have found what we’ve all found. Instead they opted to remove a bullet with another bullet – they offered me painkillers and one even offered anti-depressants, claiming that I was exhibiting ‘psychotic’ episodes due to a false ‘self-diagnosis’. I realized they were wrong and I refused all synthetic drugs. I was on my own, or at least that’s how it felt.
During my illness, I’ve been to over 8 ‘FDA approved’ doctors, from neurologists, orthopedics, osteopaths, internists and general practioners – all of them were left scratching their heads. All they could do was to offer me synthetic drugs, from painkillers, anti-depressants, steroids, you name it. I was terrified to take any pills, even Advil. Not one doctor ever mentioned eating healthy, drinking water, naturopathic remedies or even positive thinking – for them, it was all about pills, pills, pills. I lost all trust for ‘mainstream’ doctors and our medical system. As my symptoms got worse, I grew even more desperate, so I reached out to the Quinolone Vigilance Foundation (www.saferpills.org) to find some answers. Through the foundation I met a new friend, he was a recovering Floxie, who would inspire me to take a natural approach to healing. To me, at the time, he was the expert. He knew so much about the drug and the research that I followed his every directive: juicing, raw foods, magnesium, potassium, iron, glutathione treatments, saunas, rest, rest, rest.
Empower your mind. You will heal! You must be headstrong. To do this I began listening to online meditations, self-empowerment tapes, doing mantras, prayer, positive self-talk and creative visualization. I tried everything. The websites on Cipro can be helpful, but limit the fearful posts about Cipro – reading all the horror stories can scare anyone. Remember, everyone is different, you will heal! My mantra(s): “I am strong and healthy; my bones are strong and healthy; my muscles are healing; I am feeling better and better every day; I am loved; I deserve a healthy, vibrant life; I am full of energy; my body is intelligent; I am healing and attract all things that will heal me; I love myself… you get the picture. Say it over and over in your head, out loud, scream it, feel it, believe it!
Your food is your medicine! Detox, detox, detox! I did my research and tried different naturopathic remedies. I still eat only ate only raw, organic, non-gmo foods; tons of fresh juices such as beat juice with cilantro, oranges, carrots, apples, wheatgrass, etc. I eat as purely as possible which means no processed foods, meats (organic meats may be ok), corn syrup, refined sugars or alcohol. I have used medical grade cannabis as an approach to healing with great results; research shows that CBD cannabinoids, (medical marijuana oils low in THC) can help with neuropathy, pain, repair cells, and assist with sleep, which is fundamental to healing (these oils are not legal in most states, but fortunately where I live, I can legally posses the plant oils). The CBD has helped me to sleep again and has helped with energy and decreased my neuropathy greatly. I eat tons of sardines (rich in omega oils), green foods, and of course supplements as follows: 2 or more liters of water everyday, preferably 8ph balanced or higher; food-based multi-vitamins, Angstrom quality magnesium, zeolite, ProImmune to increase glutathione levels, glutathione IV treatments, magnesium IV treatments, acupuncture and Chinese herbs. I also would take magnesium baths and I applied magnesium to my legs for pain. I went to healers of all kinds from hypnotherapists, reiki healers, and many more – anything I could do to create a sense of peace and vision for a better life. Yes, it was expensive and yes, all of my money went to healing… but not even the best health insurance could have saved me, that’s the sad part. Most of us have to rely on each other and the power of natural remedies to heal our condition.
Each week that passes, I feel better and better, although, some days, the pain comes back, but it goes away much faster now. I’ve learned a lot from this condition but the one lesson that keeps me grounded is that my health (your health) is our greatest gift and asset; if you have your health, you are the richest person in the world! I’m grateful to be walking (almost normal), driving, and eating healthier than I ever have in my life. It brings me great joy when people see me now and say, ‘wow, you look great, you look healthy and stronger’. I learned that so many people care for me. I am so grateful.
You are healing; you are strong; you can overcome this. It will take time. Remember, everyone is different.
If you need to talk or need someone to listen, I’m here. Many former Floxies were there for me during my disability and I hope I can help you; feel free to email me at email@example.com and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Remember: I am healing everyday; I am strong and healthy!
** 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.