*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 writing this to give hope to those who have had an adverse reaction to fluoroquinolone antibiotics, as I did just over 2 years ago. During my battle and recovery with the effects of my adverse reaction, I found this website to be one of the (few) sources of hope to hang on to. At the time I didn’t know if I would recover. As I’m feeling so much better now, I thought I should take the time to pay it forward and pass along the hope to others that was so important in me getting through my adversity.
As with most people in this situation, I was given a prescription for these antibiotics not being aware of any significant risks. I ended up taking 8 doses of 500mg of Cipro. During the course of taking Cipro I began to realize I was suffering some unexpected side effects of general pain and tightness in my legs, popping in my knee and ankle joints, and overall not feeling well. I called my doctor and we agreed to end the doses of Cipro.
Unfortunately with this adversity things got worse before they got better. For the next 4 months I would deal with some pretty awful symptoms (just like most of those you’d read in the other stories on this site), with no silver bullets as to how to recover. Looking back, here are the things I learned were helpful in my recovery:
Meditation – I’ve been meditating for over 8 years, but if there was ever a time I needed it, it was now. Science has uncovered numerous benefits of meditation, and this really helped me get through the mental side of the recovery.
Exercise – There is a trick to this, pushing myself to progress, very slowly and steadily, in my exercise to help my body heal along, while at the same time not overdoing it. I got really good at listening to my body, and progressing in small increments. After Cipro I could barely lift 25% of what I was prior to taking it, I couldn’t run, and even walks I couldn’t go too long. However, day by day, week by week, I got better. It was all about the small victories, and not beating myself up too badly if there was a small setback. Today I can lift more than I did prior to my adverse reaction, I run, and my fitness level is awesome.
Magnesium – I tried a few supplements over the course of my recovery, and this is the only one I can honestly say had a positive effect for me. At first I was using magnesium oxide pills and they weren’t doing anything. It was only after I switched to a different form of magnesium (gluconate and citrate, it is a liquid that comes in a bottle), that I noticed a positive improvement. I still regularly take this, but not too much – around 100mg per day. I eat a pretty balanced diet and I try to get the majority of my vitamins through natural fruits & veggies.
Superbetter – I’m a huge fan of TED Talks and found one by Jane McGonigal, who researches the effects of games on the brain. She talked about having to go through her adversity, a horrible concussion, and how hard it was mentally, physically and spiritually recovering from that. Listening to her talk I was struck by how similar it all sounded to what I was going through. She wrote a book called Superbetter, there is also a website for it, and the premise is using the methodology of a game to help recover, and move past the adversity to a post-traumatic growth. I found this system really helpful and I wish I knew about it sooner, every day I would focus on doing things good for my recovery (power ups) and recruiting friends/family (allies) to aid me in my goal of getting better (my epic win). I liked being able to track my progress and it showed me just how far I was coming in getting better.
Time – This one was the hardest for me, I’m a fairly impatient person (when I used to get colds I would count down the hours until I would get better) so it was difficult to take a longer view of my recovery. I think there is a grief I went through with having this happen to me, and I had to get to a point of acceptance before I could face the fact it would take me a bit to recover, to be gentle with myself about that reality and give myself the time to heal. For me the first 4 months were the hardest, after that I started feeling exponentially better with each passing month. I was regularly working out again by the 5th month, and found myself increasingly rediscovering hobbies, things to do with friends, and becoming more self-sufficient again in the months that followed.
Forgiveness – What happened to me was a rare, horrifying event. Deep down I found I was blaming myself for not being aware of the risks, or being too trusting of the medical system, or examining all the life events that led to me taking this antibiotic. Ultimately I had to come to a point of accepting that sometimes really bad things happen, that I couldn’t blame myself for it, as this adverse reaction was something outside of my control. We spend so much of our lives trying to control our worlds, it’s a harsh reality to find ourselves trapped under the weight of a reaction happening in our bodies we don’t understand and feeling so little control over it. I had to forgive myself, the situation, in order to move on with compassion and truly heal.
What was particularly challenging for me is that my recovery wasn’t a linear progression. I found things happened in cycles, I would be feeling a bit better one week, then have a setback the next. Early on I was blaming myself for causing these, thinking it was something I had to be doing. However I got wiser as time went on, beginning to realize this is just the process my body needed to heal and to be okay with that. It’s hard when things are unpredictable, but I think it is important to be gentle on oneself, on the body, to allow for compassionate healing of both body and mind.
Loved Ones – I was truly blessed to have understanding family and friends, who were there for me in my time of need. This is the time to reach out to others for help, friends/family can give you strength and courage on those days when you’re feeling defeated.
My message, to those of you going through this horrible thing that I went through – don’t give up. You’ll discover an inner strength and ability to overcome adversity that you didn’t know you had. I know it seems unrealistic right now (trust me I was skeptical when it was me) but you will come out stronger for it, with a deeper appreciation for health and for life.
I had some dark days when I didn’t think I would ever get better. Today I’m leading a better life than I did before my episode and am more determined than ever before to keep growing, learning and prevailing. I’ve never met you before but I know you have it in you. It’s going to be hard, but you can do this. When you do, you can pass along the positivity and strength you gained to others, as I’m hoping to do by writing this post.
All my best wishes go out to those of you reading this, and the Floxie Hope community for bringing hope and inspiration to those healing from taking fluoroquinolones.
** 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, affect 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.