Ruth’s Story – Cipro Toxicity



Ruth asked me (Lisa) to post her most recent update at the beginning of her story because it’s important to have the most recent and relevant information first. Her journey has been long and there have been lots of ups and downs – as you can gather from all the iterations of her story below. Please take the time to read her entire story, as well as her comments below. Ruth has an enormous amount of insight and wisdom, and we both hope that her story will help you. 

August 5, 2019

Flox Healing Story Update

5 ½ Years Later

I realized the other day that I am now about five and half years out from getting floxed by Cipro in 2014. I also realized that my progress at this point has exceeded my expectations at the beginning, even at the time of writing my initial healing story. So I will start out with what is different now from even my latest updates:

  1. My sleep is a lot better and deeper and I stay asleep better. This may even be an improvement from right before I got floxed. I fall asleep faster. I dream more. I awake feeling well and refreshed most of the time.
  2. I am physically stronger. Whatever muscles I focus on in my workouts get significantly stronger in a short time. I mostly did upper body stuff this year, so my upper body is really really strong again. I’m also seeing great results increasing flexibility through lots and lots of stretching, like my body is more responsive to it now.
  3. I have a lot more stamina. I actually really enjoy putting in all nighters working fireworks shows. I love getting home at the time I usually wake up and then resting the next day and feeling myself recover quickly from working hard. If I get sore I don’t stay sore long. If I get tired I don’t stay tired. I not only can do more I can overdo it and bounce back quickly. It’s hard to explain, but feeling tired because of working multiple ten hour days setting up a big fireworks show and in the middle of that pulling two near all nighters for smaller shows actually produced what felt like a good kind of tired. I used to get this weird fatigue out of nowhere that was really debilitating and I hadn’t even been doing anything. When fireworks season finally slowed down after the 4th of July I felt a little lethargic for a few days and I realized that that was completely normal to feel that way and I also realized that that post fireworks season lethargy was still not like the crippling fatigue I had in the beginning after getting floxed. I remember how post flox cleaning one room of my house, just running the vacuum cleaner for a bit, made me feel like I had just hiked all day through the Baraboo bluffs. But this summer I did some much needed housework after fireworks season slowed down and not only did I not get tired doing it, I noticed that you get better results scrubbing stuff when you are really strong. My bathtub has never been so clean.
  4. I can read for pleasure now. I used to get intense anxiety concentrating on the printed page. I could read but it bothered me. It was hard to concentrate when my nervous system just wanted to run away. Reading was not fun. Then I progressed to where sometimes I could read for pleasure, other times I could not. Or I could read for a short time, but would have to stop. Now I can read pretty much all day, book after book, and still feel ok. And I can enjoy those adult coloring books, even the really complex pictures. Again, I can focus on detailed work and I can do it all day long and still feel just fine.
  5. I can type on the computer, surf the Internet on my phone or watch TV to my heart’s content and I don’t get that heart racing feeling, that feeling like I am on a roller coaster and half my face doesn’t go numb. I have a normal response to those things.
  6. I can concentrate on playing organ for a long time and I don’t end up with my skin burning and my face going numb. I can play complex pieces even when I am tired. More on this later.
  7. I can relax anytime I want. Sometimes I would get a paradoxical response that caused my heart to race and other unpleasant symptoms when I tried to relax. I could overcome it and get myself to relax but it would take hours sometimes to calm everything down. I can be totally relaxed within seconds now.
  8. I can have caffeine or alcohol with a completely normal response. I have alcohol twice a year, Christmas and Easter, a tiny bit. I have caffeine in dark chocolate and an occasional caffeinated tea. Just like preflox, having too much caffeine and then dropping it gives me a headache. So I try to avoid overdoing it with caffeine, but I avoided overdoing it with caffeine (and alcohol) prior to getting floxed too.
  9. I don’t get burning sensations on my skin anymore. I used to get burning on my arm after I ate dark chocolate. Then I would get burning on the tops of ears a lot on and off with no cause that I could find or it would happen because I was concentrating a long time on something. During a relapse it would be more intense and widespread or sometimes it would just be diffuse and not as painful but definitely I would feel a burning sensation like a mild sunburn. It was something I just lived with a lot of the time. I don’t notice it anymore.
  10. I can really enjoy life again. Twice recently I have been surprised to notice how much I was enjoying something I was doing. Once it was while doing some coloring in this book I use as a gratitude journal. I realized that I was just having so much fun with it that I felt exactly like I used to feel as a kid playing a game I liked during my summer vacation. I had forgotten what it was like to completely immerse myself in something I enjoyed, to the point of forgetting everything else. I had a similar experience while dropping and wiring shells for a fireworks show on a small lake. I was just really enjoying the process of putting the show together. Then later, when I volunteered to get in the water to help launch the pontoon with the fireworks on it, I realized I was really enjoying the feeling of the warmth of the lake water on my legs. I was the only crew member who went swimming while waiting for the show to go up, and I really thoroughly enjoyed that! I also went to a water park twice this summer and really enjoyed going down the slides that plunge you into deep water.

Really enjoyed” doesn’t even begin to describe or explain what being alive feels like to me today. It’s like I am a child again and experiencing everything for the first time and I am completely open to every new sensation. I had went to a water park the summer after I got floxed, and although I had fun, it simply felt better this summer. I enjoyed it more. That has been the process for me– first a return of the ability to do what I want to do, but it is not exactly the same, then over time a gradual return to how things used to be before this all happened.

When I was first floxed every moment was torture. The whole world was too stimulating and it felt like everything from a car driving by outside to turning on fluorescent lights inside was an actual life threatening attack. My ability to enjoy even nature was curtailed because it was too complex. Anything complex felt like an attack. I sometimes described what I experienced as “anxiety symptoms” but it was not anxiety like, “I’m worried about taking a test tomorrow in school,” it was more like, “I’m worried because I literally feel like I need to be able to crawl out of my own skin right now or I’m not gonna survive and I know that is irrational, but there is no place I can hide and it feels like everything I see, hear or experience is trying to tear me apart right now.”

The amazing thing is that as intense and horrible as being damaged was, healing from the nervous system damage is an equally intense experience. To not only have the energy and strength to pretty much do anything I want, plus the stamina to deal with mentally taxing activities as easily as I deal with physical ones is pretty amazing, but what I am trying to describe is more than that. The actual experience of doing normal things simply feels good and I had forgotten that life feels good. I have been making strides toward this for a long time, but the wonderful thing is every time I think I am all the way there, I get a little better, so I am continually surprised at the progress I am making.

A lot of people have had experiences similar to mine. I believe I had significant damage to my GABA-a receptors. People damaged by Benzodiazepines can relate very well to what I experienced. My heart breaks for them as it does for everyone harmed by fluoroquinolones, but especially for those of us who, for whatever reason, have suffered damage to our GABA system. When bodies cannot respond adequately to their most calming neurotransmitter, gamma amino butyric acid, life can become pretty much unlivable. I know that and every person with damage to their GABA system knows it, whether the damage came from fluorquinolones or Benzos or from traumatic brain injury. It’s so hard because you kind of lose yourself. You don’t have normal emotions, you don’t experience the world in the same way, and no one understands this. You feel like you are in an alien world where nothing feels quite right, but everyone else sees you standing right here, in the normal everyday world and they don’t get it. How can you be somewhere else? How can you be standing in the sunshine looking healthy and fine, but really be held somewhere apart, in a prison from which you can view the normal world but not really participate? How can they see that you are being tortured but you lost your ability to cry? How can they see that when your body appears to be at rest it isn’t because every cell of your being is vibrating and your heart just did that fluttery thing again, but you are good at pretending everything is normal?

I don’t have to pretend anymore. I feel normal again. I hope my story brings hope to those with similar experiences, similar damage. It is worth hanging on for healing, no matter how long it takes, because when it comes, it will take your breath away. If you have had similar horrible experiences as I had when being damaged, why would the healing, when it comes, not be similar? I don’t think my story is unique. There are a lot of people who went through what I did and worse. I don’t think the healing is unique either.

We just don’t hear as much about how amazing it is to come back from this type of damage. Part of it may be that words fail. I feel completely inadequate as a writer attempting to explain what it is like to get better from the brain injury I suffered from Cipro. I don’t really know how to say that parts of my personality have been restored and actually have anyone else really know what that feels like to have lost something you didn’t know you could lose, forget you lost it, and then get it back. It simply may be that few people are writing about recovery beyond to say they feel better because they don’t know how to describe it. Or perhaps they were so traumatized by the experience that they do not want to relive it, and telling in detail how they got better involves reliving a little bit of it. It involves remembering where they came from, and that can be hard.

But I do believe that the recovery I am experiencing is not rare, but probably very common. It may take many many years, but I believe that it’s possible for those experiencing my early symptoms to also experience my recovery symptoms. It gives me joy to think that some reading this may, a year or two down the road, say to themselves, “Well, damned if it isn’t just like she said it would be and I do feel happy just like a little kid again!” Sadly, I think one reason we don’t hear more recovery stories like this is that people give up and commit suicide. It can be so hard to hang on through torture. At first it is all the time torture, then it is torture that keeps coming back. You feel ok, and then another down cycle hits! You worry because you can’t make any plans because you never know when you are going to stop sleeping completely for three days and feel like total hell. I get that. I was there.

But I don’t have those worries now. I sleep well pretty much every night. I feel good pretty much every day. I do everything I did before I got floxed, which I had been doing for quite some time, but it feels completely normal now! I am exactly the person I was before I got floxed, if anything a little healthier because I take better care of myself now and found some anti-aging supplements I really like. I came out on the other side a little better than I was before and had some amazing experiences along the way. It’s not only possible, it is quite probable that the same will be true for others who experienced similar damage to mine. If they can hang on long enough.

The experience of healing is worth the hell of being damaged. That sounds trite and impossible, but for me it was the reality and my brain simply cannot be that unique. If I healed others can too. I know some of the newer SSRI’s are causing some pretty horrible, extended withdrawal symptoms also. I cannot speak from experience there, but I am a strong believer in neural plasticity and I believe our brains and nervous systems want to get back to how they functioned before they were damaged.

Here is my list of things I am still working on and what I am doing to help each one:

  1. When I do need to take antibiotics now I get symptoms I never got before. My teeth get a layer of plaque on them that nothing can remove. I am more prone to vaginosis. When I do get sick it seems like I stay sick longer. For the first one I found some probiotic lozenges from Life Extension that really helped. My naturopath sold me vaginal probiotics. She also told me to take Vitamin A when I get sick. It helped a little but my last upper respiratory illness still lasted three months including a really nasty secondary fungal infection in my sinuses. My best bet appears to be really trying to avoid getting sick in the first place. I work with little kids during the school year, so good luck with that! I’ve been healthy all summer though.
  2. Sometimes I feel like everything is overwhelming and I just want to sit and do nothing. A friend told me that was something she started dealing with while going through menopause so it may not be flox related. Sometimes I think it isn’t chemical and is just related to everything I went through in the past five and half years. I think after that experience wanting to stop the world for awhile and simply get off is a normal response. And whatever menopause is throwing at me it is milder than what a lot of women I know have experienced or are experiencing. I have a theory that menopause symptoms are worse if you are magnesium deficient. It’s only my theory. I just know that even prior to taking Cipro I had every symptom of a severe magnesium deficiency and I felt like crap, but chalked it up to normal aging. As I replaced magnesium lost to Cipro I actually was also addressing a long standing deficiency so part of my early healing journey involved finding out how much better my body works when it has magnesium to work with. I have no research to back this up, only my own experience of super painful periods and frequent night sweats and seeing those end after adding daily magnesium supplementation right after I got floxed.
  3. I can never really know whether or not I am 100% healed or whether I will have another relapse– not just a downturn– a relapse. This is something I guess every floxie lives with and I don’t know how many years out I will have to be before I stop waiting for the other shoe to drop. Right now I think it is unlikely but still possible that I would have another relapse. I could also step out into the street and get hit by a bus, but that knowledge does not keep me from taking walks in my neighborhood so I’m not going to stop living my life over the possibility of another relapse.
  4. I am working with a counselor, Dr. Jenni Swanson, to deal with PTSD over the whole flox experience. I now have the emotional capacity to really work through things and to actually feel much of what was blunted by the damage to my nervous system. Also, it was hard to work through this while I was simply in survival mode. Now that I feel better, I sometimes feel worse when the reality of the situation hits me. Once in awhile I have cried so hard that that brain squeezing feeling came back again, and my face felt kind of numb and droopy but it didn’t stop me from crying and as soon as I quit crying everything went back to normal immediately. Crying hard is part of the process of healing and it does help me feel better. For years I was lucky if I could squeeze out a few tears. My ability to have a good cry was really gone. Once in awhile I could cry pretty well, but not very often. Usually it would feel like someone was squeezing my brain and the tears would just stop. Then I would feel emotionless and numb. I can really cry now, but I also can really feel upset in a way I couldn’t for a long time. I could get angry, yes. But I could not grieve.
  5. I missed out on experiencing grief that should have been mine. In year two my sister’s 17 ½ year old cat died on her lap right in front of me while we were waiting for the vet to show up to euthanize him and I felt pretty much nothing. My father died in year three. We were never close. Did I feel no grief because he and I didn’t get along or because I was floxed? I will never know. Having missed that initial intense grief I seemed to have missed grief altogether in both of those instances. Life events happened around me but I did not fully live them, because of Cipro. In both of those instances a body that was worn out was returned to the earth and the life went back to God Who gave it. That is the normal way of this world, and grief is a normal response. Although grief over the death of a loved pet or a parent should be a normal part of life, too often modern medicine would medicate that away, and I believe that is wrong, that grief is something we have a right to experience as it is a part of living. Somehow, the damage Cipro did to my nervous system prevented me from experiencing normal grief at the normal time and I am rightfully angry about that.
  6. My left Achilles’ tendon gets tighter than my right one and sometimes it gets sore. That is the tendon that was really damaged by the Cipro and I feel like there might be some scar tissue there causing it to be tighter than normal. It does not stop me from doing anything really. It has to be from the Cipro because it is in the exact area where I kept feeling a thin layer of cells tearing when the damage was at its worst. I should probably get out my home ultrasound machine and do that area every day. I could massage the area, try to mobilize the tissues to help break up scar tissue. It’s just annoying to still have any physical reminder so all I really have been doing is to stretch it, which helps somewhat but is probably not enough to return the damaged area to 100%. My right ankle seems to be all the way back to normal though.
  7. My belly is still pretty big. There is a word for the excess cortisol causing a big belly that can happen when GABA receptors get damaged: Benzo Belly. I didn’t take a Benzo but I have the belly. It is getting a little better, but slowly. My face looks more normal now. At first I thought I looked like I had Cushing Disease, so I know my cortisol levels are getting more in line.
  8. I don’t get super brain playing the organ anymore. I used to be able to play like a freaky genius when my symptoms were flaring, especially Bach or anything with counterpoint. I would feel burning on my skin and numbness in my face so I knew something was not right, but it was worth it for the laser beam focus I had. And even better, the more fatigued I got the better I played. If I get really fatigued I play worse now. If I get sleepy I have to work hard to make my sleepy brain focus. I rarely got sleepy for years after I got floxed. Now I can be sleepy on Sunday morning and it can affect my playing. But I think my normal brain is a little sharper than my normal brain was pre-Cipro. Maybe it’s because I am not magnesium deficient now. I’m not really sure, but cognitively I am better than I was before. But that amazing experience of playing when my system was flooded with stress hormones while I was not actually nervous is completely gone, a thing of the past.
  9. Sometimes I feel sort of let down, like my sister describes happening to her after the last performance of a play when she was doing community theatre. For a long time all your energy is put into doing the play and after that last performance you feel a little lost. For so long all my energy was put into dealing with flox symptoms and healing from getting floxed, that now that I have healed I have that let down feeling. Like, “Now what?” I have had amazing experience after amazing experience and enjoyed myself so much this summer and then I get some time to myself when I don’t have a fireworks show and I don’t have any plans with friends and I just feel that let down feeling as if the curtain closed on the play I was in and I sit around asking, “Now what?” I think I expected all my life’s problems to be solved if I could just solve the flox problem. Nope. I still have other problems. No one warned me this would happen, but I think it was inevitable. I think if I ever lose the fifty pounds I really should lose I am going to feel the same way. I’ll be sitting there in my size eight (or ten, ten would be ok) jeans realizing my life is still not perfect and wondering what I should do next.

Here are things I have found out recently or tried recently. This is not medical advice. You would have to pay for medical advice so nothing you are finding on this site is ever medical advice. It’s more like reading an online review of a supplement or medication. You can find out how it worked for someone else, but you still have to go talk with your doctor (or some other qualified medical professional you trust) to determine if it is right for you.

  1. I am using a product called TRS from Coseva. It is a very small and very pure form of zeolite. It is a binder used for detoxing heavy metals and some other things. Any toxin with a positive charge can be bound by it and carried out of your body, according to the company that makes it. I buy it from Lizzy Lymon White on Facebook. She is a former Lyme patient who is doing well today. TRS helped her, but it was not the only thing she did to help herself recover from chronic Lyme Disease. I have known her for awhile on Facebook so I joined her TRS group and tried it. I think it helps me. I have a lot of amalgams. And I figured that since while my body was stuck in fight or flight detoxing was probably not a priority, it might be the right time for me to look into doing some detoxing. I didn’t focus on detox a lot right away, more on building up reserves of things like functional minerals and antioxidants. I was already feeling pretty good at the point I added TRS so I didn’t have too many problems from it. A brief flare of some flox symptoms, but then things calmed down. I have always believed that when our nervous systems heal we feel it. Anything that is good for our bodies can promote healing and can therefore cause a flare or a relapse or a temporary downturn. You have to do your research, talk to your doctor and make as informed a decision as you can, always going very slowly with anything new and starting only one new thing at a time. I just started right out at the suggested five sprays per day, but that is actually not recommended.
  2. Too much bio-identical progesterone can be converted into your body into estrogen or cortisol, so there is definitely the possibility of too much of a good thing. I cut back and actually felt better. Also, although I believe progesterone works great for covering damage to GABA-a receptors, there is no definitive study proving that bio-identical hormones do not cause cancer. Every study looked at a mix of those and the synthetic hormones. So we don’t know if just synthetic hormones cause cancer or if the bio-identical ones also can. I’m weaning off progesterone because I feel like I can and if I don’t need it I should not be on it.
  3. Many floxies deal with excess histamine. Histamine is a neurotransmitter of the sympathetic nervous system. Perhaps we are just making too much of it and/or we are not making enough of the enzyme that breaks it down. Histaminase is an enzyme that breaks down histamine. Many floxies are lacking in this enzyme. Also, histamine can be found in foods, so sometimes what we eat can make the problem worse, especially if we are lacking the enzyme to break down histamine. The symptoms of high histamine are way beyond just a stuffy nose or a rash, although those can happen. A lot of flox symptoms look like symptoms of excess histamine. So am I changing my theory and saying histamine is the problem and not lost GABA-a receptors? No, because in reality both can be happening and most likely are. A body that cannot respond well to gamma amino butyric acid is a body stuck in fight or flight. A body stuck in fight or flight will produce neurotransmitters of the sympathetic nervous system and will find itself in short supply, most likely, of anything designed to break down those neurotransmitters. Anything that helps us get back into rest and digest mode and out of fight or flight mode is ultimately going to help the histamine problem. You can take histaminase as a supplement to try to break down histamine, but it has limited effect outside the gut. Anti-histamines can make problems worse as they block only certain receptors for histamine, but the others take the brunt of the excess. So your stuffy nose gets better, or your rash goes away, but your anxiety goes through the roof and you are left to wonder why an anti-histamine made you anxious. It didn’t but excess histamine can and you only dealt with one or two of the issues that can be caused by excess histamine. So how do we deal with this in the short term, until our nervous systems heal and produce only what histamine they should and break down what is not needed? Avoid leftovers. If you start trying to do a low histamine diet you cut out a lot of healthy foods, so I didn’t go for the low histamine diet. But left overs are super high in histamine and the longer they sit in the fridge the worse they get. So you could start by avoiding eating leftovers. Also, the TRS I mentioned in number one does bind to excess histamine. This may be why TRS has been helping me. It seemed like I was getting a lot of symptoms consistent with excess histamine and some of the foods from the high histamine food list were giving me a weird burning sensation. It was diffuse and far less painful than my usual burning that I attribute to lost GABA receptors, which tends to show up in specific places on my body, happens when I have been concentrating on something for a long time and can really hurt. Learning that histamine can cause burning also helped me understand why I was getting two types of burning, one intense and localized and one more diffuse that happened only after eating high histamine foods. Since starting TRS I have not noticed any symptoms after eating high histamine foods. My seasonal allergies have not really been bad at all and that is without taking Quercetin. Quercetin can also help with excess histamine, but you shouldn’t take it more than a few months without a break from it as some sources say it can slow your thyroid if taken continuously.

I hope some of what I have discovered is helpful to someone, just remember it is not the same as talking to a medical professional. Doing your own research is also necessary as I have barely scraped the surface of everything there is to know about histamine and about binders like zeolite as a method of detoxing.

I think I have to say that time was a big healer for me. It really was not about taking the exact right supplement, although correcting deficiencies definitely was necessary for me. There was no magic combination of herbs or supplements that made it all go away, although I found a few things that, for me, took the edge off for awhile. It was mainly time– just hanging on and surviving until my body and brain could make the necessary repairs. Making sure they had the raw materials to do that was important, but there are different ways to do that and just because I mention a certain supplement does not mean it is the exact one someone else has to take to heal. There are many different paths to healing from this and absolutely no one does everything perfectly. Stressing yourself out trying to do it perfectly is actually very detrimental. Keep researching, keep asking questions, keep seeking medical professionals who will help you– but also take time to just be and to reflect that, as Lisa has said, the fluoroquinolone knocked you down, but it didn’t kill you. So long as we are alive we have the hope of a better day tomorrow: a day in which we heal and a day in which the medical profession comes to its senses and stops doing this to innocent people.


When my doctor prescribed Cipro for a stubborn sinus infection in February of 2014, I thought I had never heard of it, and asked her if that was an antibiotic. The truth was, I had heard of it. I had taken it before and hated the experience so much that I had refused to take it again as a doctor laughed at me, treating me like a stubborn child refusing to take her medicine. Perhaps I had blocked out the experience. Perhaps I doubted my sanity at the time. I remember feeling that I was being tormented by a demon, sleepless night after sleepless night as I lay awake reading the name of the pills on the bottle: Ciprofloxacin. Gradually, the idea dawned on me that the demon was actually in the bottle of pills. I got up and threw them away as a hooded figure standing in the center of my parent’s kitchen watched me.

Until early February of 2014, while on Cipro, I kept noticing this odd, thin yellowish liquid coming out of my nose. It wasn’t infection, but it wasn’t a normal secretion either. Yet, it seemed familiar. This odd drainage had accompanied my experience with Cipro back in the 1980’s.  After the nightmare started again I remembered, but it was too late. From February 6th through the 9th I took seven 500 mg pills in all.  I had read the long list of side effects, but I was not told that these side effects (other than peripheral neuropathy) could become permanent. I was not told that these side effects were evidence of actual damage being done to my body and central nervous system. I was warned about tendonitis, but not told that Cipro actually causes tendonsosis (an abnormal formation of a tendon) and that the damage done by Cipro to connective tissue and cartilage can be irreparable.

I called my doctor with concerns about taking Cipro. She said that not one of her patients had ever had a problem with it in twenty years of her prescribing it. “But I have biceps tendonitis in my right shoulder and I have laterally tracking patellae,” I told her. “The warnings say it is not to be given to people with joint or tendon problems.” Still she persisted, now acting like I was being a big baby. The warning label also said it was not to be given to anyone with a history of mental illness. I did not remind her, but she knew of my bout with depression. She had helped me make the connection between my intractable insomnia years ago and depression as the real cause. She prescribed a drug known to cause depression and insomnia to a person who had experienced a bout of depression that manifested itself mainly as insomnia. I knew she was wrong to do that, but my sinus infection was getting better with just one pill. My “snot plug” was finally going away, and it was such a relief that I chose to believe that I would be ok. I had not yet experienced any side effects.

I began having side effects after my second pill, which included muscle weakness, joint instability, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, tinnitus, brain fog, auditory and visual hallucinations. Despite the side effects, I didn’t want to stop taking an antibiotic too soon. I thought that I would adjust to the medication and the side effects would become less troubling. So I continued to take it even when I couldn’t play the organ on Sunday morning. It felt like my feet were too far from my brain to play the pedals. I managed to play for the service, but it was terribly difficult.

Right then I should have known something was drastically wrong. I’ve been playing the organ for over twenty years, so the ability to play those pedals is stored firmly in my supplementary motor cortex: the same place your brain stores how to walk, ride a bicycle and feed yourself. Forgetting how to play pedals was like forgetting how to walk. But I was already in this weird, detached, emotionless place where nothing seemed real.

I called my doctor after the tinnitus, which was loud and a different pitch than I’d ever had before.  As a musician, I feared for my hearing. She said to stop taking the medication. She seemed at a loss as to what else to prescribe for my sinus infection.  I read online what to take for tinnitus and found magnesium as a suggestion. I immediately took a magnesium pill. Then I read more about Cipro and got the scare of my life. I read about Cipro’s ability to chelate magnesium—basically float it right out of your cells. That was the explanation of the yellow liquid—it was my precious magnesium being taken right out of my brain cells and I was blowing it out my nose and throwing it away in the tissue.

A couple days after stopping the Cipro I experienced terrifying panic attacks every time I fell asleep. It was like being shoved down into hell: a place of loneliness and terror. I had never felt fear and hopelessness like that. It was like being thrust into a horrible place from which there was no escape. It had been a long time since I prayed. That night I prayed a lot, clutching a crucifix in my hand, crying out to Jesus to get me out of there. I wrote about my panic attacks on Facebook and friends immediately responded that I just needed to relax. But I WAS relaxed. They only happened each time I actually fell asleep. I felt ok awake, it was when I slept that all hell broke loose.

In the morning I ate an orange and felt on top of the world. By this time I had read that magnesium healed Cipro damage, but I had just glanced over the information about the role of antioxidants. You hear so much about antioxidants today, I just felt like, “Blah, blah, blah, Vitamin C, whatever…”  But after I had lost so much functional magnesium, my body was experiencing a high level of oxidative stress, and my antioxidants were probably entirely depleted. The terrifying panic attacks were my body’s way of saying, “Something is drastically wrong here. Get up and do something about it or we are in big trouble!” My craving for an orange, and the feeling of euphoria after eating it were also messages of what to do. I then started looking into the role of antioxidants to heal Cipro damage and found out about MitoQ and Idebenone. Both were proven to prevent tendon damage from Cipro. I only hoped I’d found out in time.

My Achilles tendons hurt from being stretched as my constantly tight calf muscles pulled on them. One morning they actually felt brittle, almost crunchy—not normal at all. I could barely get around. I’d read the horror stories. I knew it might only get worse. My body could literally start to fall apart. It had happened to other people. But tendon pain and tight muscles were only the beginning. It became almost impossible to control my blood pressure. I had been mildly hypertensive for years, but now I was having spikes that were actually uncomfortable and really scared me. Concentrating on things made it worse—entering grades into the computer for my music teaching job, playing the organ—these activities caused my blood pressure to go up so high that my head pounded, my ears rang with a pulsing tinnitus and I felt like I was going to black out.  Relaxing, closing my eyes and blocking out all stimulation would bring it back down. After I relaxed and felt better I checked my BP– once it was as high as 184/132.

I contacted a local anti-aging doctor, Dr. Whitcomb, and he gave me IV magnesium, Vitamin C and glutathione. Those treatments made me feel worse initially, but the next day I would feel a lot more like myself. The first one cleared my brain fog, but I had a BP spike that evening. It was like doing good things for my body caused an out of control stress response.

I also had been having trouble with sleep that was not improved until I got some magnesium oil and started taking Epsom salt baths. I would lie and doze in the magnesium bath and see flashes of light and weird images behind my closed eyes. My brain would do this vibrating, pulsing thing, which felt very odd, yet familiar. Perhaps I had experienced it in the 1980’s after taking Cipro. I think it was my brain taking up magnesium again, because after the weird brain pulsing feeling my dreams stopped going by in fast motion. Magnesium helps you relax, and without it, life is torture. I remember looking at my bed and feeling that it was useless to me now, because I could neither relax nor sleep.

Dr. Whitcomb taught me meditation techniques and I spent much of the first two months focusing on learning to relax, to reduce stimulation, to reduce stress. I started playing my Beethoven records again. When I was a kid I loved lying on my bed listening to music and just totally blocking out the world, getting inside the music, to a place where nothing existed but my body and the music. Dr. Whitcomb said that was a form of meditation. He said that during meditation the neurons in our brains shrink and our lymph vessels expand, just as happens while we sleep. Meditation is actually good for our brains!

Sometimes I would find that I just could not relax deeply. Something seemed to be stopping me, a feeling of tightness in my chest. I had days during which my heart would pound all day long at the slightest stimulation. I had nights during which relaxing at all (much less falling asleep) would cause all my muscles to tighten, my skin to burn, my ears to ring, my heart to pound and I would get a feeling of fear. I couldn’t understand why, because this was after my magnesium levels had come up.

I had gone from lacking muscle tone to the point that I looked like an 85 year old woman to being able to perform brief mild to moderate exercise sessions. I’d had one relapse during which my magnesium levels dropped and all of those initial symptoms came back—the dreams racing in fast motion, the loosened, brittle and sensitive teeth, the sagging skin, the reduced muscle tone and unstable joints, the inappropriate sensations of cold in my left arm, the loud tinnitus. But once I realized I needed to keep supplementing magnesium, I was able to heal myself again of all of it. Yet, here I was at 2 1/2 months out and suddenly having intense burning everywhere, even my scalp. What was going on?

My cousin, who works at a pharmacy, told me that my symptoms matched Benzo withdrawal symptoms. That was when I found out that Cipro  downgrades your GABA receptors in a similar way to Benzodiazepines. I was actually going through protracted Benzo withdrawal, without ever having taken a Benzo. This damage to my CNS explained the weird nerve sensations in my face, the way my symptoms cycled allowing relaxation one day but totally preventing it the next, the out of control stress responses to normal stimulation and even my inability to tolerate supplemental magnesium at times. GABA helps you relax. Without enough GABA receptors, life is torture.

One good thing that came of all this is that I googled the symptom of nerve pain and numbness in the face and found a post by a woman who had found relief from all those symptoms by going on Verapamil.  Verapamil is used for treating both hypertension and migraine headaches. My blood pressure is now well controlled and I haven’t had a migraine headache since starting the Verapamil. I can eat dark chocolate or sharp cheese without paying for it with a headache the next day! Yeah!

I am just shy of five months since being floxed by Cipro. I am not perfectly well. However, there has been dramatic improvement, so I chose not to wait for total healing to write my story. Total healing may not come. But I have my life back. I would say that my remaining symptoms are annoying, but not debilitating.  I was probably quite magnesium deficient before taking the Cipro, so I have noticed some improvements since being floxed, like the fact that I’m losing fewer hairs. My hair is growing as thick and fast as it did in my twenties. Too bad I’m still producing so many gray ones!

For a long time after Cipro I couldn’t feel normal emotions, except for fear. I felt detached from my life. I hadn’t even cried, and if I tried to it felt like someone was squeezing my brain. I didn’t really laugh. I would perceive that something was funny, but that didn’t seem to mean anything to me. I was like an outsider watching my own life from a distance. I now feel completely like myself again, able to cry and find release in it, able to feel joy, to appreciate beauty and to laugh.

I have made great gains physically as well. I walk around my yard for exercise. It’s about 80 steps around one time. I started out at ten times around, with difficulty. The first time I made it to 40 times around I could barely do the last three. I needed to stop and spray magnesium oil on my legs to keep the muscles from cramping while I walked. I now can walk 100 times around without too much difficulty, without any topical magnesium. I stop because of boredom, not because I can’t do any more. My ankles still get tight and sore, but again, it’s more annoying than debilitating. I have a home ultrasound machine and that helps. Massage has also always helped with the Cipro tightness.

At one point I was starting to develop Bell’s Palsy on the right side of my face, affecting the muscles that control that side of my mouth. I read that Bell’s Palsy can be caused by stress and can affect just part of the face with weakness, not total paralysis. The website suggested for these cases to do exercises of the facial muscles involved. Gradually I’ve been able to raise the corner of the right side of my mouth more easily, which I could barely do at first.

I have lost some weight and toned up a bit since being floxed and that feels good. As I was walking around my yard one day I realized that my butt just seemed smaller. I reached back there, and sure enough it did feel smaller! At the same time I thought that while walking would be a good time to do my facial exercises. So this is how I came to be walking round and round my back yard making funny faces while feeling up my own butt. Luckily, we have a fenced yard that is not visible from the road.

At about three months out I climbed up and back down the east bluff at Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo, Wisconsin. There are 600 stairs built into the bluff on the trail we took down. I was more stiff and sore from that than I normally would have been, but I still did my walking and went to work the next week without too much trouble. I also have paddled a canoe for about two hours, and though I had more soreness in areas originally affected by the Cipro, that stiffness cleared in about two days and did not interfere with my daily activities.

I used to work a lot in physical therapy, PRN (as needed) as a physical therapist assistant. I’d switched back to teaching before Cipro, because of a lack of work available to me as a PTA. I thought after Cipro that I could never work in physical therapy again. How could I lift and transfer patients with damaged tendons? I had some damage to my left Achilles’ tendon and my ankles would swell if I walked very much. But I have worked a couple of days as a PTA without any problems. I am not quite as strong as I was before Cipro, but I am aware of this and ask for help with a patient when I need it. The walking and pushing people around in wheel chairs does not bother my ankles or my achilles’ too much. I recently was able to work a seven hour day at a really nice long term care facility in Stoughton (an hour and a half commute each way) and I tolerated the work day and long drive quite well.

My husband and I also work as pyrotechnicians for a fireworks company. I thought I could never be able to do the heavy grunt work involved with that job again, or to have the stamina to work into the wee hours of the morning breaking down a show. I certainly didn’t expect to able to hand fire anything with a damaged central nervous system.  We don’t do a lot of hand fire shows anymore, but there are still a few. I didn’t even expect to be able to work an electronically fired show, especially the ones controlled by a computer, because wiring shells into the right cues in the firing modules takes concentration and attention to detail. Initially, that kind of concentration would have caused a blood pressure spike.

But this summer I have worked three shows with my husband and done all of it—lugging racks of mortars around, placing, e-matching, dropping and wiring shells and breaking down shows afterwards. I have more fatigue than I did last summer. It’s been difficult at times. But I’ve still managed to do it. Hand firing was actually easy, because that’s not a time when you’re relaxed. I had a feeling of intense fear in my shower after the show, when I started to feel relaxed. I just ignored it. I even fired a six inch shell this summer, the largest shell we would ever hand fire. That would be an accomplishment for me even before being floxed.

Somehow that flood of what I call “real” adrenaline from shooting a fireworks show eliminates my anxiety symptoms afterwards for at least a couple of hours. While cleaning up after both hand fired shows I felt completely normal, the best I’d felt in ages. I expected a major relapse within the next few days, but it didn’t happen. My symptoms keep cycling, good days and bad days, but no major relapse has come from any of the heavy physical activity or the adrenaline rush of hand firing.

I knew that I was really getting better when at midnight I was dragging a rack of six inch mortars out of the sand trap on the golf course where we shot the show. My husband estimates six inch racks to weigh around 85 pounds. Working fireworks has helped me regain a lot of the muscle I lost from being floxed.  I have always been very strong for a woman and built muscle easily. It felt so horrible to me when I lost so much muscle tone from the Cipro. My body didn’t feel like my body. It didn’t feel solid and strong. I hated that feeling of weakness, having spindly little arms and legs. My body feels solid again, kind of bulky from muscles built up from dragging fireworks equipment around. It feels great, because it feels like me.

I have some difficulty at times doing what I’m doing now—typing on the computer. Reading, watching tv, or playing on my iPhone can flare my anxiety and bring back some of those weird nerve sensations in my face. Sometimes I feel fear looking at the screen of my iPhone. But now I find these symptoms interesting rather than upsetting. They are just part of living with a damaged CNS. I perceive more clearly that in the modern world it’s very hard to relax. Even when we think we’re relaxing, we’re actually being stimulated. Over stimulated. It is not the worst thing if sometimes I have to walk away from electronic forms of entertainment. It is not terrible that being sedentary reading a book makes me feel worse but scrubbing my kitchen floor makes me feel better. My house is getting very clean! I still take time to just sit and relax, either listening to music or just sitting in silence with my kitty, Monty.

These are the main symptoms I had, divided into three stages of my experience with FQ toxicity:


*Brittle, loose, sensitive teeth.

*Sagging skin.

*Loss of muscle tone.

*Weakness and instability in knees, ankles and to a lesser extent wrists.

*Panic attacks while trying to sleep.

*Extremely tight calf muscles, but tightness almost everywhere to some degree. (The tightness was worse in lower body than in upper body. My shoulders and neck did not seem to be affected at all.)

*Feeling that my Achilles’ tendons were brittle, crunchy and completely inflexible.

*Tinnitus (very loud and in a pitch I’d never had it before)

*Inability to stand for more than a few minutes without muscle pain and cramping.

*BP spikes

*Depersonalization: not recognizing myself in a mirror. Feeling like I was sitting next to myself instead of being in my own body.

*Lack of ability to feel emotions, except fear.

*Peripheral neuropathy: sensation of cold in left arm and left side of my neck.

*Sensation of brain squeezing/vibrating.

*Sensation that entire body was vibrating.

*Complete inability to sleep or relax.

*Nerve pain and numbness in right side of face.

*Rapid heart beat.

*Fatigue, but inability to sleep or even relax.

*Feeling like I wanted to crawl out of my own skin.

*Unable to stay in one position very long because it would cut off my circulation or cause my nerves to tingle.

*restless leg syndrome, but sometimes affecting my whole body—a pressing need to keep moving.

*Most of these symptoms were made worse by attempting to sleep or relax.


*BP still an issue, but not spiking as high.

*Peripheral neuropathy involving temperature sensation is gone, but some burning sensations on skin starting in random parts of my body, increasing to intense burning over entire body including scalp, which lasted one day.

*Intense feelings of anxiety.

*Increasing tightness in ankles, but decreasing muscle tightness in calves.

*Profound fatigue that would come on without any warning, as if someone had pulled the plug on me.

*Myalgia while at rest.

*Muscle twitching at times.

*Some muscle pain with standing, but not as intense.

*Increased stiffness and soreness after physical activity.

*Tinnitus was loud at times, but then completely absent at other times.

*Really, really stuffy nose that would last for one day.

*Inability to deeply relax.

*Fast heart beat, but not as bad as initially.

*Killer insomnia: every time I’d try to sleep symptoms would worsen to as bad as initially or worse, but this only happened a couple of times.

*Improving sleep, except for nights of killer insomnia.

*Numbness, nerve pain in face still present, but not as bad.

*Feeling of being completely unable to tolerate watching tv, typing on computer, playing with iPhone.

*Ability to exercise limited by swelling of ankles and increasing tendon pain.

*Very sharp pains in left Achilles’ tendon sometimes followed by a feeling of a thin layer of cells tearing or giving way. The pain would be less after each time I felt like something tore.

*Many symptoms still aggravated by sleep or relaxation.


*BP completely under control, but sometimes systolic will rise to 130. Diastolic is often below 80.

*Windows of complete normalcy followed by return of symptoms.

*Achilles tendon is healing, decreased incidence of ankle swelling noted.

*Soreness/tightness in ankles persists, but is decreasing gradually, unless I overdo it.

*Difficulty tolerating watching tv, typing, playing on iPhone for long periods of time, but can sometimes do it for limited time without symptoms, Usually symptoms are tolerable, but annoying.

*Bells Palsy on right side of face, but appears to be responding to facial exercises.

*Burning sensations and myalgia in right arm at times. Burning along tops of ears once in awhile.

*Feeling of fear at inappropriate times.

*Difficulty falling and staying asleep at times, other nights I get normal sleep.

*Killer insomnia infrequently, not as bad and does not last the whole night.

*Rapid heart beat at times.

*Feelings of anxiety, nerve pressure in my face, tightness in my chest come and go and can leave completely and suddenly, causing me to feel an intense sensation of relief and well being.

*Most symptoms relieved by being physically active, aggravated by sedentary activities, especially those involving concentration such as reading or writing.

*Some flaring of anxiety symptoms from listening to the radio while driving the car.

*I still fatigue more easily than is normal for me, but it’s not like someone pulled the plug on me. I can keep going.

*Not as strong as I was, but I am able to build new muscle as I normally would.

*Tinnitus getting better, but can become quite loud when fatigued. Sometimes it is absent.

*Stuffy nose for one day still happens and my ears can get full of congestion as well. This could be normal allergy stuff or it could be the Cipro—hard to tell.

*Takes a very long time for me to wind down, relax and fall asleep.

All my symptoms have cycled since day one, with good days and bad days. My only major relapse was at about one month out when I quit supplementing magnesium. Here is everything I take, in no particular order:

Magnesium (400-900 mg)

Vitamin C (2,000 – 5,000 mg)

PQQ (10-20 mg)

Idebenone (50 mg 3x a day)

Acetyl L-Carnitine (500 mg once or twice a day)

MitoQ (as recommended on the bottle)

L-Theanine (200 mg 3x a day)

L-Tryptophan (one to three pills at bedtime only)

Selenium  (100 mcg)

Calm PRT (from NeuroScience) (3-6 pills a day)

Alpha lipoic acid (250 mg) and Benfotiamine (150 mg) (for tinnitus)

Methylated B-12 (1mg to 10 mg a day)

Vitamin D3 (get your levels checked)

Vitamin E (400 mg a day is optimal)

Zinc (25 mg when I think of it)

Fish Oil

Progesterone (80 mg for HRT, not to treat the Cipro anxiety)

Zyrtec (allergies)

Verapamil (for hypertension/migraines)

I was taking Milk Thistle to help protect my liver, but discovered I am allergic to it. Also, I’m not such a fan of it after learning that it protects your liver at the expense of the rest of your body. I’d avoid that one. You can’t treat Cipro toxicity with progesterone. I take it for hormone replacement therapy only, after having my hormones tested. I take the very lowest dose possible for me. (Progesterone binds to GABA, so be careful with it.) In addition to the supplements I cleaned up my diet and cut out all processed sugar and alcohol. I eat a lot of fish, berries, veggies, yogurt, mozzarella cheese and nuts.

I bought the e-book “The Levaquin Tendonitis Solution” (Lisa’s affiliate link) by Kerri Knox, RN and Joshua Tucker, BA, MT.  You can find it at and I do feel it is worth the money. You get access to their online forums and it was Kerri who told me about PQQ, which can stimulate the biogenesis of new mitochondria in aging cells. MitoQ and Idebenone are strong antioxidants and very effective against Cipro damage, but they only help your body destroy damaged cells, they don’t stimulate new cells to grow.  The mechanisms by which antibiotics like Cipro and Levaquin damage your body are well explained in that book. There are good suggestions of what supplements to take as well.

I sometimes take a calcium/magnesium supplement, but I usually just get calcium from my diet. I think initially I might have been low on calcium and zinc as well. Cipro can chelate more than just magnesium out of your cells, though it seems to prefer to bond with magnesium. Sometimes taking a calcium/magnesium/zinc combo pill would calm a BP spike, so I’m guessing my blood chemistry was quite messed up initially.

I credit my healing to the fact that I acted fast, saturating myself with magnesium. I did strong magnesium baths and I’ve tried the angstrom magnesium, which is less likely to cause diarrhea. I started with magnesium oxide, but that’s the least absorbed one. Damaged GABA receptors can cause a paradoxical response to magnesium, wherein you feel agitated, get a rapid heartbeat, rising blood pressure, etc… It does the exact opposite of what magnesium usually does, which is relax you. But you still need the magnesium. When I would have that happen, once I realized what was going on and quit running to the ER, I just stopped supplementation for a couple days and went back to it when my damaged CNS could tolerate it again.

The people in the ER are usually just useless when it comes to being floxed. My neighbor was recently floxed and they gave her IV supplemental magnesium and sent her home a few days later, never connecting that her dangerously low blood level of magnesium was from the Cipro she had been taking. Until she talked to me she didn’t know what had happened to her.

I apologize for the length of this article, but I know that there are many people out there just like my neighbor—desperate to find out what has happened to them and hoping to find a cure. That’s why I am listing all my supplements and medications and giving a detailed description of my symptoms. People often ask, “Has this symptom happened to you? Did it go away? What did you take to get better?” I’m hoping that my story answers many of those questions, and I know there will be those motivated to read it all, searching for a reason to hope for a cure.


FQ toxicity can put you in a very dark and terrifying place. I thought in the 1980’s and I believe still that the creation of these drugs was influenced by demons. There can’t be a more horrible experience for the human mind than to be trapped in a body deprived of magnesium, with damaged GABA receptors. And don’t forget the mitochondrial damage going on from severe oxidative stress, damage that can sneak up on you just when you feel like you’re starting to get well. It’s like death, but most people don’t die. They just become trapped in a place from which death looks pretty good, because they know they can’t really live like that. They can exist, but existing is different from living.

I was in that place. Even though I wasn’t floxed as severely as some (I never lost my ability to walk) I certainly experienced a darkness like nothing I’d ever known or imagined. It’s still with me at times, so I continue to call upon the One in Whom there is no darkness at all. I believe demons created Cipro because being poisoned by it puts your mind into a place where you feel completely separated from everyone else, even from God. There is nothing more lonely than listening to your husband snore all night while every time you even relax a little your muscles cramp, your ears ring, your skin burns and your heart pounds and you know there is nothing else you can take, nothing any doctor can do—you are just stuck there.

But I wasn’t stuck there alone. Jesus promised to never leave me nor forsake me. If Cipro is a drug of demons, then it comes from the father of lies, and nothing your heart tells you while you suffer its effects is true. Nothing can keep us from the love of God. Not even FQ toxicity.

I divided my symptoms into acute, subacute and chronic because I think that’s how Cipro toxicity works most of the time. There are people with so much DNA damage that they can’t come back from it, but that is a small minority. I think taking antioxidants like Idebenone and MitoQ can lessen your chances of being in that minority. I think if you give your body what it needs to heal, including time, you will get better. Maybe not 100% better, but to a place from which you can live your life instead of just exist in it.

Mental attitude is key, because your own anxiety can make the Cipro induced anxiety much, much worse. As you move into the subacute and chronic stages you have to force yourself to take your life back. Another floxie on this site put it this way, “Fake it ‘til you make it.” That really helped me. If I can get to 100% healing, I’ll be ecstatic. But I have to live my life regardless—manage symptoms, decrease stress, keep working at anything that will promote healing and throw off anything that hinders it.

Now that I can feel emotions normally again, I am finding that FQ toxicity sometimes provides insights and emotional experiences I otherwise would not have had. One Saturday night I had that killer insomnia most of the night, but I still got up to play organ Sunday morning. I was practicing the hymn “When Peace, like a River” before church. I happen to know that the words to that hymn were penned by Horatio G. Spafford, while the ship he was sailing in approached the spot where another ship carrying his wife and children had recently went down in a storm. After the night I had had I could really feel what he felt as he penned those words. Only Cipro induced insomnia could induce feelings similar in intensity to those experienced at the loss of one’s entire beloved family. Only the horror of my experience of FQ toxicity could have caused me to sing those words with the exact sentiment in which they were originally written:

“Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well with my soul, It is well, it is well with my soul.”

Lutheran Service Book #763 (verse 2)

I am not 100% recovered from Cipro toxicity and I may never be. But it is well with my soul. My life is good and I am more thankful than I have ever been for all I have. My prayers are with all those who are experiencing this horror and it is my hope that we can influence the medical community to stop prescribing these dangerous drugs as first and second line agents.

That God can use even the horrific experience of FQ toxicity for good is not an excuse for it to continue. That some people gain greater health after being floxed, by switching to healthier habits, does not make it ok that they were poisoned. Some day doctors will wake up to this fact. But in the meantime, if it has happened to you, you do have the support of the floxie community. There are resources available to you, there is help and there is hope.

October, 2014 Update

It has now been eight months since seven Cipro changed my life. I have come a long way since writing the above story, and although I am not 100% healed yet, the continued progress gives me hope. If symptoms are continuing to abate and to appear less frequently, then they are not really permanent!

I began taking magnesium threonate in August and I think it might have been the magic bullet for me. It was after adding this supplement that I noticed some real healing of my damaged CNS. I no longer have the pounding/racing heart beat. I keep expecting that symptom to return, but in over a month it has not. Magnesium threonate targets the mitochondria and crosses the blood brain barrier better than other supplements. That is the claim, anyway. I think it might be truly effective for restoring lost intra cellular magnesium.

However, the metabolite they pair it with is rather stimulating, and not just floxies are saying this in online reviews. Take a small dose and only in the morning! I think at least one of my recent nights of insomnia was mainly due to magnesium threonate keeping me up. I took one before choir practice thinking it would make me mentally sharp to play difficult piano accompaniments. It did! I was still feeling all mentally sharp at midnight, and who needs that?

I had that horrible killer insomnia only once in September and so far once in October, but each time I still got 4-5 hours of sleep. It used to happen three or four times a month, so I’m expecting to be rid of it soon. The drop in progesterone around the time of my monthly cycle seems to trigger it. I am unsure as to whether heavy exercise triggers it or not. It seems that maybe intense cardio can bring it back, but strength training has no negative effect. I will keep track and see if I can find a true connection between exercise and insomnia.

If I have normal for me insomnia (waking up in the middle of the night and thinking about stuff) I am actually better at getting back to sleep than I was before being floxed, due to having learned meditation techniques and being able to take a Theanine. L-Theanine helps my brain to be a less noisy place—it “cuts the chatter” as Dr. Whitcomb says.

I find myself tolerating listening to the radio while driving much better. I have a more normal response to watching tv, typing on the computer, doing paperwork and basically anything that requires a lot of concentration. These things can still flare my symptoms, but if I stop and take a break, I go back to feeling normal in just a few minutes.

My left Achilles tendon seems to be healing well. It didn’t much like when I rode my old bicycle up some big hills in August, but today I can stretch it aggressively without pain and I notice it doesn’t feel as bumpy in that area when I’m doing ultrasound on it. I have to force myself to continue with the stretching and the ultrasound now that I’m feeling more normal. It’s worth it because I had really tight calves, flat feet and bad knees before Cipro. I got custom orthotics finally, which help a lot!

I suppose if I add it all up, I’m better now than before I was floxed. My stamina seems to be very close to normal. Maybe it’s completely normal. I have to remind myself that I got tired sometimes before I took Cipro. I battled depression most of my life, and it is just gone now. I think it’s from the Idebenone, which has a positive effect on brain chemistry. For me it does what Prozac promised to do, without the side effects.

The most annoying remaining symptom is a burning sensation on the tops of my ears that comes and goes. But my left arm used to burn also, and that has stopped except for during a return of the killer insomnia or a really bad downturn. However, I had close to an entire month of symptom free or nearly symptom free days with the most notable symptom being the tops of my ears feeling hot. With the cold weather coming, that could be useful!

I have come to believe that MitoQ, Idebenone and PQQ really saved me, plus magnesium. These supplements target the mitochondria. The worst thing FQ’s can do to you is to damage your mitochondria. Otherwise you are dealing with a loss of functional magnesium (take some magnesium), downgraded GABA receptors similar to the experience of those in protracted Benzodiazepine withdrawal (give it time), a loss of antioxidants (take some good ones), and a loss of good bacteria (fix your micro biome with probiotics or foods like kefir.) Of course, any of these conditions left unrecognized can lead to permanent damage all by themselves. It’s such a shame doctors don’t know what to tell the newly floxed. Magnesium, Vitamin C and a big cup of kefir would go a long way to help people if they started with just those things from day one!

However, if the increased oxidative stress coupled with the loss of things like glutathione and SOD overwhelm a body and there is too much damage to mitochondrial DNA, it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle of damage, leading to more oxidative stress, leading to more damage and on and on. Supplements that target the mitochondria may be our best hope. MitoQ does that, Idebenone is also a very, very good antioxidant and PQQ stimulates the biogenesis of new mitochondria in aging cells. Add to that a magnesium supplement designed to target the mitochondria (magnesium threonate) and I think you have the closest thing to a cure that there is for fluoroquinolone toxicity syndrome.

Will it work for everyone? Absolutely not. FQ’s damage us in so many ways and not everyone has the same level of each type of damage. As cells are damaged the body tries to correct the problems and this can lead to paradoxical responses to supplements and medications, even new food allergies the person did not have before. As one system is affected, others topple as well. It’s very complicated and can turn into a big mess.

But for me, I believe that my mitochondrial DNA is now ok. I believe that after I took the Cipro I lost a lot of functional magnesium and antioxidants and that my body was quickly damaged by increased ROS. I definitely had mitochondrial damage—my damaged tendon was evidence of that. However, I do believe taking MitoQ helped to turn the whole situation around, over time, so that now I am dealing only with a damaged CNS (downgraded GABA receptors) and probably still some intra cellular magnesium deficits. Both my damaged CNS and my intra cellular magnesium levels will probably take a couple of years to be completely back to normal.

What I did may not work for everyone, and my theories could be wrong. But I know that eight months ago I was in the worst, most desperate situation of my life, and now I am mostly restored to normal. I started a new teaching job and am working almost full time. Over the summer I did all the normal summer things: hiked, biked, swam, even went to a water park. There were differences in what my body could do and I got tired, but as I look back I don’t remember the floxie symptoms I had at the time. I just remember having fun, living my life.

October 2015 Update

I’m writing this update because I found out some new things about MitoQ and I want people who have read my page to be able to make a completely informed decision. I found some research that indicates that MitoQ can become an oxidant if the CYP-450 pathway is not working correctly. Many floxies have trouble with this particular liver enzyme. If you find you are reacting to a lot of supplements and medications, don’t try MitoQ. If you have been trying lots of supplements and nothing has caused you a reaction you should still know that MitoQ is one of the many drugs that cannot be taken with grapefruit juice. The furanocoumarins in the grapefruit inhibit the P450 enzyme. Without sufficient amounts of CYP-450 the MitoQ could hurt you rather than help you.

I found out about this because it turns out lemons can contain furanocoumarins and if you drink a lot of lemon water (it’s good for the liver, right?) you can end up inhibiting the CYP-450 pathway. I started getting side effects from Verapamil at the same time I started with the lemon water. Verapamil is one of those drugs you can’t take with grapefruit juice. I also felt really, really horrible. I stopped the Verapamil and my blood pressure was ok without it so I discontinued it with my doctor’s approval. I discontinued the lemon water but kept taking MitoQ and I was fine.

If MitoQ does have a warning somewhere that I am not aware of, then good for them. If not, why not?  A fellow floxie showed MitoQ to a nerve specialist he was seeing and she said some of the additives in MitoQ are not good for promoting healing of nerves, so that is also something to consider. I wasn’t hit hard with neuropathy so I still finished what I had and bought my friend’s remaining supply as well. 

I love the results I got with MitoQ, but I wish they would use more natural alternatives for fillers and do more to warn people about the grapefruit interaction. I definitely had improved exercise tolerance while on MitoQ. I don’t know if MitoQ alone would give the results I got or if it was because I was taking it with Idebenone and PQQ, but I could hike up bluffs like I was in my twenties again without becoming breathless. It was really amazing, especially for a floxie who had been sedentary for awhile. I couldn’t hike as far, but that initial climb up the bluff was easier than I expected. I still would have to rest at the top and keep my day’s total hike a bit shorter than I would have pre-flox.

Despite these concerns about MitoQ, if I had it to do all over again, knowing what I know now, I would still take the MitoQ. It is a targeted antioxidant. It actually gets to the mitochondria. It’s very hard to find anything that can do that. It’s actually hard to hurt our mitochondria. Fluoroquinolones can do it though. So for me, I chose a synthetic drug to undo the damage.

Not every floxie can safely make that choice. That does not mean they won’t heal. I think sometimes I don’t give enough credit to the NAC (N-Aceytl Cystein) which Dr. Whitcomb had me take when I was noticing swelling of my left Achilles’ tendon. NAC is so powerful they can save your life with it if you overdose on Tylenol. If you’re looking for a more natural product, NAC is better than MitoQ, which is a synthetic form of CoQ10.

I am still taking the Idebenone because it treats my pre-existing depression. If I back off on it to one or two doses per day the depression creeps back. I have been trying to wean off what supplements I can. It’s one thing to take something for a few months or even a year because you don’t want your tendon to snap. It’s another to say, “I will be on this for the rest of my life.”

I found a new product I feel very safe about taking for the rest of my life. It’s a micronized purple rice powder. After I started taking it three things happened within two weeks: my left Achilles’ tendon stopped hurting when I ran uphill as part of my workouts, my blood pressure dropped to normal and my blood sugar levels came down to normal instead of pre-diabetic. Then I had a couple pretty severe relapses of CNS symptoms such as the Cipro insomnia, having difficulty relaxing, nerve pain/pressure sensations and numbness in my face, inability to look at the tv screen, the feeling that life was just way too stimulating and my heartbeat would race occasionally. I still believe when our nervous system makes repairs we feel it.

Soon after those relapses I had a normal window that was more normal than anything I had experienced to date. I thought I had been back to normal, but I was actually tolerating a lot of hyperactivity of my central nervous system. Though highly productive, I wasn’t exactly comfortable. I started to feel really, really relaxed. I also felt happier. And my sleep got a lot better. I sleep through the night a lot more often now, and that was not a common occurrence for me even pre-flox. This doesn’t happen every night, and I still can get that Cipro insomnia now and then, but it is often fleeting and the symptoms are a shadow of what they once were. I started the purple rice in March and I would say, other than a really bad relapse in April, my life has been a lot easier, a lot more pleasant and a lot more normal since then. I’m slightly less productive. Now that I feel good I would rather do something fun than just work all the time.

I also have noticed that I am cognitively quite sharp. I don’t know if that’s the rice, the Idebenone or actually a symptom of my autonomic dysfunction, but I have days when I can play counterpoint on the organ like nobody’s business. I can perceive multiple melodies at the same time while I’m playing. I never did that before. I usually hear the top line as a melody and I struggle along to fit everything else in under it, and although the separate melodies are there I can’t usually perceive each of them while playing. Only if I’m sitting back and listening. I can not only play Bach now, I can analyze it while I’m playing and at the same time be thinking about what I’m going to have for lunch. It’s like this super brain. So if you have cognitive issues, don’t be afraid. I had them too. Terrible brain fog. Now I get super brain. Go figure.

I buy the purple rice from Kare Possick. Her number is 727-798-8764. She knows a lot more about it than I do, but I will say that it has every amino acid, lots of antioxidants and many, many nutrients. Some floxies get a rapid detox from it. I did not. I prefer the powder to the capsules. I put a small teaspoon into a bottle of Dasani a couple times a day and just shake it before I take a drink. If you order it and go on autoship I will get a free bottle if you say I referred you. I’m disclosing that, so that you have the choice not to use my name if you wish. Or use Lisa Bloomquist’s name, creator of floxiehope, and tell them to send her a bottle. She certainly deserves it and would probably enjoy it.

I like that it is just food. There aren’t additives, it’s not a synthetic. It’s just a highly nutritious, bio available food. I found out about it by reading one of Kare’s advertisements for it on Facebook. The person who wrote about how the rice helped them sounded like a floxie to me. She had this mystery illness of sudden onset, lasting for months. She claimed the purple rice gave her complete healing in about six months. That got my attention.

I also have found that uridine works really well when I get that horrible insomnia and nothing else is helping. Uridine has it’s own receptors in the brain, so maybe it is a way floxies can bypass GABA receptor damage. I cannot prevent a relapse with it. I take it after the relapse starts, 500-750 mg with a fish oil capsule to help it work better. It’s something to have in reserve for those times you just want to crawl out of your own skin and you need to get some rest. Taking it every day did nothing for me. It has to be timed just right, at the moment that every time I’m starting to fall asleep symptoms are getting more intense and now I’m standing there by my bed with my skin just burning, knowing I am not going to sleep. A couple uridine and I’m out within thirty minutes.

I am much, much better than last year at this time. I worked so hard to learn to relax again, to learn to appreciate beauty again, that as my nervous system heals and I still have those skills I find myself feeling better than I ever thought possible. I feel physically stronger than I did last year by quite a lot. I do a lot of walking and some strength training every week. I think my magnesium levels are coming up. My standing and walking tolerance is excellent. There are times my stamina will just fail me and that may be due to mitochondrial damage. I absolutely listen to my body and rest when I get that feeling that my batteries have suddenly become depleted, even though I could push through it. I don’t. I rest when I need to. I stop when something isn’t feeling right. But most of the time, for what I want to do, I have the physical capacity to do it without pain and without fatigue.  I worked a six week cleaning job this summer and although I got sore at first, my body adapted to it quite well. 

At the start of my reaction to Cipro I could barely vacuum one room of my house without feeling completely exhausted and sore. It felt good to be able to work a cleaning job. “Take that, Cipro! Ha!” I always feel triumphant when I get a little more of my life back.

In some ways I had a very rough summer. I caught bronchitis in May and didn’t get well again until September. I got a sinus infection. I had plugged ears. Very few flox symptoms, but I could tell I was fighting an infection. Taking conventional antibiotics gave short term relief but then made the situation worse in the long run. I ended up with tubes in both ears like they often have to do for kids! Ugh.

Things didn’t turn around until I started really pushing probiotics, both foods and supplements. I take Floragen. In addition to drinking kefir I started eating raw sauerkraut. It actually says “Probiotic” on the bag, it’s refrigerated and you have to eat it cold. The brand I buy is Saverne. I hate eating sauerkraut. Blech. But my new motto is, “If it is good for me, I will choke it down.”

I think I underestimated the importance of probiotics after fluoroquinolone exposure. Back in the late 1980’s, after having Cipro the first time, I remember being constantly sick for awhile. I found out that 70% of our immune systems are our healthy bacteria. The more I add probiotic foods the better I feel. When I eat wheat or processed sugars I don’t feel as good. I also have been eating a lot of kale. Turns out it’s really packed with nutrients and has a lower oxalate content than spinach. Good foods really help me feel good. If I get all stressed from reading about FQ toxicity online, I switch to researching foods I’ve been eating and read all the good things they are doing for my body. My anxiety evaporates and I feel happier.

I did do some things to relieve worries about the future, and that was to get an Advance Directive in place stating absolutely no fluoroquinolones, even in a life or death situation and I made sure that my doctor changed it in my chart so that all drugs in that class are contraindicated for me. Luckily, his computer system allowed him to select the entire quinolone/fluoroquinolone family. Some facilities don’t have that, so you need to have the doctor put every single quinolone/fluoroquinolone into your chart individually. If you were given Cipro they can’t just say no Cipro, because then you might be given Levaquin.

I spoke with a lawyer and he said a Living Will (Advance Directive) is a good way to go, because even though it may still be ignored it gives you better grounds from which to build a legal case if you are given an FQ and need to sue somebody. My doctor also felt it was a good idea to have it spelled out that I don’t want FQ’s in any situation. I told him that even if withholding an FQ would mean certain death for me, he would need to let me go and know that my soul is at peace. Sometimes the price of prolonging life on this earth is just too great. Other floxies may make a different choice, but that is mine—to face death before being floxed again.

The biggest danger we face as floxies, other than giving into despair, is the chance that we might be floxed again.  Things like an allergy bracelet and getting “no FQ’s” in your chart are good, but possibly not enough. I used Legal Zoom online, but you can get the forms for an Advance Directive (or Living Will) for free. I wanted to make completely sure all my ducks were in a row, so I paid for some extra help with it. You don’t have to, but I would suggest making your wishes known. If you would rather not receive FQ’s even in a life and death situation, you need to make that known, because even a very good, compassionate doctor might decide that you’d rather be floxed and alive than dead from an infection.  When making this decision remember that every subsequent time you are given an FQ your reaction will be worse. This is pretty well documented and many floxies who suffer long term or permanent disability have been floxed multiple times. I don’t want it to seem like I’m saying that death is a good thing. Death is our enemy. But I think that for me, if FQ’s are the only option, then there really is no option and if the Lord wants me, He’s going to take me home, and if it isn’t my time He will preserve my life without them.

This has been a very great worry for me, yet it wasn’t the Advance Directive that finally gave me peace of mind. It was remembering that the One who created me is still in charge. He is greater than anything in this world and my life is in His hands. Even were I to be floxed again and survive (I’m honestly not sure if I would survive given how very sensitive my GABA-a receptors are to these meds) God would get me through it. Even if I lived in torment for years before succumbing to FQ toxicity, it really wouldn’t matter, because the heaven Jesus won for me at the cross would still be mine. In the words of Luther’s famous hymn: “And take they our life; goods, fame, child and wife. Let these all be gone. They yet have nothing won. The victory ours remaineth.” Nothing, not even a life completely devastated by FQ toxicity, can take away the victory that is mine in Christ Jesus. That thought gives me the courage to go on, come what may.

I hope everyone reading this is doing well and staying positive. Just because our bodies don’t work the way they used to is no reason to think that we are out of the game of life. I like to think about Beethoven and the fact that he actually was poisoned. He didn’t just deal with deafness—he was severely ill for most of his adult life, probably from lead poisoning. Yet, look what he accomplished. His creative output is astounding and outlives him. Doing something, anything creative is good for us. It reminds us of who we are. If we can’t exactly do the things we used to, then it is good if we can find alternatives that still allow us creative expression.

I embroidered a couple of squares for a quilt my mom made for my sister’s birthday. Sometimes working on it would flare my symptoms. Concentrating on it would make my face go numb. Once after four hours straight even my forehead was numb. It felt weird. But it went away after I rested for a bit. And now my needlepoint work is part of something bigger—a tapestry of memories that can be passed down to others in our family.

I’ve also been using a lot of music I wrote with the kids in my new teaching job. When they respond well to songs I wrote I feel so alive—even if my flox symptoms are flaring it doesn’t matter when I’m watching kids enjoy my music. The most important thing is not whether I heal 100% from being floxed. I really don’t know if that will be possible. Considering the severity of my initial reaction, I’ve got a good chance of this haunting me at some point later in my life. But I’m not paralyzed with fear about it, because the most important thing I can do is to simply be who I was created to be, floxed or not. Thanks be to God that He has preserved my life and my health so that I can do that. I pray that everyone reading this may find health and healing.

March 2017 Update

I have tried a couple more things since I last posted on floxiehope, so I thought I would share them with you here. I suggest, as always, to do your due diligence before trying anything new.

You may want to look into Frequency Specific Microcurrent or FSM. I found out about it while taking a continuing education class for my physical therapist assistant license. The class was about increasing parasympathetic nervous system function in order to treat chronic pain. After sharing my story with the instructor she suggested I try FSM. She said that it is better than acupuncture while being less invasive and that it can help your body replace lost GABA receptors. It also increases ATP production by 500%. I don’t know about the validity of those claims, but FSM is approved by the FDA for treating chronic pain. Maybe it does so by increasing parasympathetic nervous system function.

One word of caution for floxies: FSM also causes the body to detox rapidly. If your detox pathways are compromised this may not be a safe therapy for you. Also, I suspect it really does help to upgrade GABA receptors because every time I get FSM I experience an uptick in symptoms such as anxiety and burning sensations on my skin followed by improvement in my overall condition after these symptoms subside. I am at three years out, though, so even the uptick in symptoms is barely noticeable. For someone in the early stages there is a strong possibility that their symptoms could temporarily be made much, much more intense by FSM before feeling any benefit. It is my theory, based on stories of people going through Benzodiazepine withdrawal (which is known to be caused by downgraded GABA-a receptors) that when our autonomic nervous system is repairing itself we get an increase in symptoms of dysautonomia and when it is taking a break from healing we get the normal windows that are a hallmark of Benzodiazepine withdrawal. I think this is one possible reason many floxies feel worse before they feel better. If you were not hit hard by the psychological symptoms you will probably not experience that uptick in symptoms from FSM. Supposedly, FSM can help with tendon healing and can be used to treat peripheral neuropathy. My main improvements from it have been with the psych symptoms. There is a protocol for adrenal health, which I tried during my latest relapse with good results.

I also added colostrum from Sovereign Laboratories. Theirs seems to be well absorbed because of the liposomal delivery. Many floxies react to things with a liposomal delivery– some even react to fish oil. If that is you, do not get your colostrum from Sovereign Laboratories. For me, the colostrum stopped me from constantly being sick from kid germs. Colostrum is the first milk baby cows get so it contains antibodies from the mother cow, helps seal a leaky gut and is very nice if you want to work out and build some muscle. If you are lactose intolerant this is not for you, obviously.

I also wanted to honestly report that I did have a very severe relapse lasting about a month in November and December of 2016. My teaching job this year is very stressful and teaching music to elementary students is going to tax anyone’s nervous system. It is loud, stimulating and keeping track of those wiggly little bodies is a lot for even someone with a normal autonomic nervous system. I also was sick with a sinus infection, but chose to ride it out instead of taking antibiotics again. I think it was just a lot for my system to handle.

I had been feeling for awhile (even during the summer) that I just did not have the stamina I needed. Physically yes, but mentally and psychologically I did not. It seemed like stimulation would just build up on me and I would need to go home and rest long before I felt like my body needed rest. I couldn’t work out after school because being in the gym was too stimulating an environment after a day of teaching. After the bad relapse I had (which took me from 98% resolution of symptoms to about 30%) I have noticed an increase in stamina. I now am able to go to the gym after work. I feel like I am handling the stress of teaching a lot more normally. Since the beginning of 2017 I would say I am 99.9999% healed.

I do not work out as hard as I used to. My cardio sessions are short, with only brief bouts of intensity. I do a lot more weights and stretching than I used to do, but I am tolerating both very well. I am gaining strength normally– not to preflox strength yet, but I will get there. I was pretty strong, so it will take time. I work out now because it feels good instead of to punish my body for being fat. Sad that it took getting floxed to make me able to accept my body as it is and treat it well. Crash dieting and marathon exercise sessions at high intensity set me up to get floxed and the crazy thing is– they did not even make me thin! I am losing weight now, but I think it is mainly from pushing probiotics. There is some evidence that obesity can be caused by an imbalance of gut flora. There might be something to that.

I hesitated in providing this update as I have been contemplating taking my story down and distancing myself from the floxie community. I have been under pressure to do this and accused of harming people. Certainly it was never my intent to harm anyone. I believed that it was my responsibility, after getting knocked down, to turn and help others who had been knocked down in the same way. I believed that I could and should attempt to save lives by saying that it is possible to get up again after a quinolone knocks you down. The intense suffering caused by floxing and the fact that suicide ideation is actually a symptom make FQAD a life and death issue. And more are being affected every day.

I spend a lot of my free time trying to talk fellow floxies out of killing themselves. As I do this, I also fend off fellow floxies telling me to shut up and go away. They tell me I am giving false hope. They tell me that treatments that helped me are harming other people. They tell me I am guilty of practicing medicine without a license and harm incurred by anyone trying something I tried is on my hands alone. They say that we must stick to what the FDA recommends and what medical professionals would tell us and that sites like floxie hope are dangerous and full of quackery.

Well, here is the reality my friends. Every single one of us who have been floxed are now part of a medical research study. Even if you opt out of trying anything suggested on floxiehope, you are still part of this clinical research, because you are testing if time alone can heal us. Everything we do or do not do, every symptom we experience, every theory we put together as to what happened to us based on that experience is part of this new body of medical research into how we get floxed and whether floxed bodies can heal.

To tell other floxies to shut up because their theories do not agree with your own is to limit and taint this medical study. We should not stop this study because it is about the only research going on into what causes floxing and what will help us. The medical community is not doing it. They don’t even believe in FQAD and even if they do, where will they get the money to study floxing? From the drug companies? We are it. What we try or do not try and every time we describe what happened to us we contribute. Someday somebody is going to look at the research we collected and it might just lead to a cure. This makes site like floxiehope invaluable.

On the flip side, yes, there is risk. But the fact that we are put in a position of risk is not the fault of fellow floxies who say “such and such helped me” but rather the fault of greedy pharmaceutical companies combined with a corrupt or maybe just inept FDA, plus doctors with woefully inadequate training in pharmacology. The professionals charged with helping and protecting us let us down. Let’s not forget that.

I was told I should warn people about the dangers of taking glutathione if they have amalgam fillings. I am going to do my due diligence and tell you that glutathione is risky, but not just for people with amalgams. I suspect mobilization of mercury is not even the reason people react to glutathione. I have recently found some information pointing to certain gene SNP’s causing issues for people when they take glutathione. The problems are further exacerbated when they try to fix the problem with such simple things as B and C vitamins. The genetics of what is going on there is way beyond what I have time to learn about with my current work schedule, and since it does not affect me, I am just not that interested. But I share it here because I refuse to promote the junk science that says things like NAC (which increases glutathione) and glutathione injections are dangerous for people with amalgam fillings. I have eleven amalgams. I’ve taken NAC and had a glutathione IV. I have read cases of people severely messed up from glutathione who did not have amalgams. There is something else going on there, and being free from amalgam fillings is no guarantee you can tolerate glutathione. (I am quoting Dr. Whitcomb on the junk science thing, so if you disagree with me, take it up with him.)

I also repeat my warning that anything that causes a heavy detox is going to give floxies problems. Our detox pathways are almost always affected, often simply because of decreased parasympathetic nervous system activation. If you were about to be eaten by a bear your body would not be too concerned about detoxing: the bear would get you before the toxins. Go slowly with detoxing. Herx reactions are not fun.

I think if you are desperate enough to try a therapy that has proven to have severe side effects for a large subset of floxies then you need to also get genetic testing and find a doctor who does not have his head up his butt to interpret it for you. The first is expensive and the second is hard to find, but that is the reality.

Although there certainly can be underlying issues complicating a person’s floxing, I do not agree with those who say that FQ toxicity is really heavy metal toxicity, or really this or that virus or genetic condition. I think jumping in trying to treat other things while still in the acute stage of floxing can be dangerous. When a floxie finds out he or she may or may not have another underlying medical issue complicating things it is a difficult situation. But it is not a situation all floxies share. Misdiagnosis of floxies is common, since our symptoms mimic other things. And keeping a level head is imperative!

Many of us are dealing with parasympathetic nervous system dysfunction. If we start to panic we will get worse. A lot worse. I found out, due to my high stress job, that our own stress is way more toxic than any toxin we might be exposed to and is actually harder on our bodies than the most distressing symptoms we go through as our GABA receptors repair themselves. Stressing ourselves out is a sure way to overtax our adrenals, and no one wants adrenal fatigue.

The road to panic can also take us right down the path to suicide. When floxing becomes not just floxing but mercury toxicity, and diseases like MS and Lyme, and toxins everywhere that could prevent healing suddenly it is just too much! The most important thing you can do as a floxie going through the acute stage is to just hang on, just keep breathing for one more minute and one more minute after that. Do everything you can to promote relaxation, a feeling of calm and a belief that you will heal.

Now I will be accused of giving false hope, but I have an answer as to why this is not false hope. Dr. Jay Cohen MD put the rates of severe ADR’s to Cipro much much higher than the 1% or whatever number is listed on the package insert. If he is right, and if every floxie did not heal, then this scourge would have stopped a long time ago. There are literally millions of prescriptions for quinolones written every year. If everyone who suffered an ADR were permanently harmed the FQ’s would all have been pulled from the market a long time ago. If more of us who healed came back and spoke out maybe this would stop. I am at a loss to explain the urging from those in the floxie community that I just shut up and go away. Is that not exactly what the drug companies want us to do?

I have never and never will take a penny for helping other floxies, so I also deny the charge that I am practicing medicine without a license. I will continue to promote a message of hope, because even if a person does have a concurrent medical condition that will have to be dealt with at some point, that can never happen if suicide becomes their answer first. I do maintain that people should find a doctor they can work with. I have three. Dr. Glenn Toth in Waukesha, Dr. John Whitcomb in Brookfield and my GP, Dr. Adam Holt in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. All three are excellent doctors who understand the dangers of quinolones, who stay up to date on modern pharmacology but also study alternative methods and the latest research into the real causes of disease and dysfunction. All three are proof that the medical community can do a lot better than to keep creating more floxies while denying FQAD exists.

I maintain that fluoroquinolones can downgrade GABA-a receptors in patients who are sensitive to quinolones, even though I have been told “my theory” about GABA receptor damage is false and has been causing people harm. It is not just my theory. The fact that quinolones can harm GABA receptors is well documented, because in studies it is always stated that the NSAID in combination with the quinolone increases the quinolone’s effect on GABA receptors by such and such percent. The effect had to be there in the first place for the studies to note that it is increased by NSAID’s.

To experience extensive damage to GABA receptors from a quinolone alone is probably rare. I still maintain it is what happened to me. However, it is not rare to experience this damage from taking Cipro and an NSAID or from being dependent on Benzodiazepines and then taking a fluoroquinolone antibiotic. Just because the way I was damaged is uncommon does not mean that I am not able to help people with similar damage that happened through the unfortunately quite common but very dangerous drug interactions of FQ’s with NSAID’s and/or Benzodiazepines.

Dr. Toth pointed out to me that some people have a genetic make up that allows them to take Cipro with an NSAID without harm to their GABA-a receptors and some, like me, can suffer significant harm to them by taking an FQ alone. Not every floxie has damage to GABA receptors. I know that I did, based on the research showing that FQ’s can cause that type of damage and from the similarity of my symptoms to those taking other drugs known to downgrade GABA receptors. My recovery has followed an almost exact parallel to Benzodiazepine withdrawal, except for the addition of some tendon damage and slightly longer course of healing. Thanks to neural plasticity (the ability of our nervous system to remake itself, to adapt) the prognosis is very good for anyone with downgraded GABA receptors.

However, at Dr. Toth’s urging I have also focused my attention on probiotics and have found improvement in my mood since doing so. Loss of healthy flora can have a negative effect on mental health. So drink your kefir and try to believe that everything is going to be ok! I have been trying kombucha as well with good results. I enjoy this kombucha soda called “Live!” Every time I drink one I feel really happy the next day. It has happened often enough that it cannot be a coincidence. Look for it in the refrigerated section. Keep in mind that increasing probiotics suddenly can cause a die off of unhealthy bacteria resulting in a release of toxins, so start slowly. Your doctor (if he or she is really good) may have recommendations of specific strains of probiotics to treat your specific symptoms. Life Extension offers some probiotic supplements designed to support specific areas of health based on current research with specific types and strains of bacteria.

The psychological symptoms of drugs like Cipro are the most terrifying of all flox symptoms, I think. I am not saying it isn’t terrifying to lose muscle tone overnight and have your tendons start tearing, but the psych symptoms are even worse. You lose yourself. It is like death– as close as you can be to death and still actually be alive. I know what it is like to live with a nervous system no longer equipped to deal with interacting with its environment. I know what it is to lose cognitive function, to lose aspects of your personality, to lose the ability to feel emotions normally, and to lose any ability to relax, to feel joy or to truly live in this world. I went through that. I just existed for awhile.

But I survived and I got back literally everything I lost. I am completely myself again. I did it in my late forties, on the cusp of menopause with eleven amalgam fillings still in my mouth, eating more junk food than is prudent, not eating organic all the time, pushing myself harder physically in the early stages than was probably a good idea and having a very stressful job. Oh, and I also had a significant, long term exposure to lead in my childhood when I helped my family renovate our old house. We lived in a haze of lead paint dust for years. I found out lead can get stored in your bones and cause problems later if you get osteoporosis. Do you see me panicking? No! I am ok. I am living my life and it is wonderful. I am joyful, I laugh a lot, I have a good life. Is my body perfect? No. Is my health perfect? No. Because life on this earth is not perfect!

Life on this earth is like tent camping. When you go tent camping, even if it is really fun, it is always somewhat uncomfortable. It is just not the same as being comfy in your own bed at home. Getting floxed is like that moment tent camping when the lightning is flashing, water is pouring into your tent while the wind threatens to take it down, you are worried a tree could fall on your tent at any moment and you just discovered that a snake had crawled into your sleeping bag with you to keep warm. But it is ok because you never intended to live in a tent forever. You have a warm comfortable home ready for you and one day Jesus will take you there to be with Him forever. Until then, just remember, earthly life is like tent camping and tent camping always sucks at least a little bit! But sometimes it is kind of fun.

If you are still lost and in that hellish post flox place, see my hand reaching to you and hear my voice saying that it will be all right. Don’t give up. You can live again. Your ability to handle stress will return, your ability to sleep normally and to think will return and when it does you will be able to focus on healing whatever else is still going on as a result of getting floxed and it will be ok. Maybe not perfect, but it will be ok.

** 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.

1,760 thoughts on “Ruth’s Story – Cipro Toxicity

  1. Mark S November 9, 2015 at 11:02 am Reply

    I just started taking a high does of Vitamin C recommended by Keri in the e-book. Bio En’R-G’y C. You can take mega doses using this supplement without the nasty stomach side effects that comes in normal tablet form. Very excited to see if it has a benefit to help rebuild collagen quickly. If I notice a difference after finishing this bottle, I will follow up and continue to use.

    • Mark S November 9, 2015 at 11:05 am Reply

      *dose, excuse me

  2. Mark S November 14, 2015 at 5:26 pm Reply


    What’s your thought on starting PT for my left Achilles tendonosis? I want to be in the hands of a professional in terms of stretching and strengthening exercises but I’m scared that they won’t have experience with cipro induced problems and will think I’m crazy. Do you think it will be beneficial?

    • Ruth Young November 20, 2015 at 8:58 am Reply

      Sorry for the late answer. I think PT can be beneficial but they have to understand that FQ induced tendonitis is really tendonosis. Ultrasound is beneficial. Manual therapy is beneficial– loosening tight muscles, relieving points of myofascial adhesions (seems like I get those a lot since being floxed– around my heel and my hips and my IT band.) Some exercise, like range of motion and gentle stretching is ok. If they start making you do eccentric contractions, like they would normally do for tendonitis, it is going to do more harm than good though. The PT has to be willing to get educated on FQ tendonosis. If not, no dice.

      • Mark S November 20, 2015 at 9:20 am Reply

        The PT I talked to last night seemed to be educated on or at least has heard of Cipro induced tendon issues. I explained to her everything that has happened and she seemed very understanding of it. She could definitely tell the muscles in my left leg have atrophied compared to the right.

      • Mark S November 22, 2015 at 11:30 am Reply

        Around when would you say you started building muscle back in your calf? Did this simply happen on its own or did you do any sort of exercise to help aid it?

  3. Ruth Young November 22, 2015 at 1:00 pm Reply

    My muscle tone just returned on its own, slowly over time. I gradually worked exercise back into my life as I felt up to it. It took over year before I really felt like I had my normal strength back.

  4. Tami November 25, 2015 at 10:03 pm Reply


    Its been six weeks with tinnitus from cipro. How long did you have tinnitus.What do you think helped to remedy the tinnitus.

    • Ruth Young November 26, 2015 at 5:04 am Reply

      It took several months for the Cipro tinnitus to die down. It comes back in the morning sometimes but not as loud as initially. There is nothing that will stop tinnitus caused by downgraded GABA-a receptors. Only time.

      For tinnitus from other causes benfotiamine, alpha lipoic acid, magnesium, and methyl B-12 can help. Some people have success with lipo flavonoids. I didn’t try them but a fellow Floxie recommended them for my husband’s tinnitus. Didn’t help him. He did get some decrease in his from magnesium supplementation.

      Magnesium deficiency alone can cause tinnitus. Or nerve damage– and the supplements I listed work really well for nerve healing.

      Lots of floxies have damage to GABA receptors and there is evidence that low levels of GABA cause tinnitus. Don’t supplement GABA. It is not very bio available and you probably are not low in it but rather are lacking receptors for it. Dr. Whitcomb told me taking precursors to it– things your body makes GABA from– is ok. You could look up what those are and add them in to your supplement regimen and it may help a little. With all the stress we are under after being floxed we could be low on GABA. But the main problem is still lack of receptors for GABA. Time will heal those so hang in there.

      In studies with mice they found that sedentary mice have fewer GABA receptors and are less able to block glutamate than mice who exercise. So be active if you can, but don’t go crazy with it as being floxed is hard on all of our connective tissue and pushing too hard with exercise can also flare CNS symptoms. Listen to your body but move if you can.

      There is also some evidence Bacopa Monnieri helps upgrade GABA receptors. Be careful if you decide to take it. That one has a lot of contraindications– it doesn’t play well with other meds and supplements, basically. Do your research first. I personally am not convinced it actually helps upgrade those receptors, but maybe it does.

      Hope you find something that works. Time is probably your friend and it will just go away in time.

  5. Tami November 25, 2015 at 10:05 pm Reply

    In addition, how much Magnesium did you take.

    • Ruth Young November 26, 2015 at 5:28 am Reply

      The daily safe upper limit for magnesium is 1,000 mg per day. Dr. Whitcomb told me you can go higher but if I do I get diarrhea.

      If your kidneys are not healthy you cannot supplement magnesium in any amount. If you suspect kidney problems get that checked out before taking magnesium.

      A damaged CNS can give you a paradoxical response to magnesium. Initially, instead of relaxing me and lowering my blood pressure, magnesium increased my agitation and made my blood pressure spike really high. Some days I could not tolerate it at all.

      I kept trying to get as much into me as possible. Initially, the most I could tolerate was 600 mg a day plus a mild Epsom salt bath. Now I take 800-1,000 mg a day plus an Epsom salt bath or application of magnesium oil or lotion every day. I use mostly magnesium malate, but sometimes I take a little magnesium threonate. That one is paired with a stimulating metabolite, so only take it in the morning. It is very well absorbed though so it’s an excellent form for floxies to try.

      I also take angstrom magnesium sometimes. It’s a very absorbable type and not likely to cause diarrhea. If you are very deficient in magnesium even tiny amounts will give you diarrhea. Avoid magnesium oxide. It’s basically a laxative. Pretty much any form but mag oxide is going to work. People like different ones. Some supplements contain a blend of different types. You’ll have to experiment and see what you like. Take small amounts spread out through the day. Shoot for as close to that safe upper limit as you can get.

      That e-book on FQ toxicity that’s available on this site– the one by Josh Tucker and Kerri Knox– recommends 900 mg a day for at least a year. I’m at nearly two years out and less than 800 mg per day and my standing tolerance diminishes to ten minutes at best and I get muscle cramping and twitching and my teeth start shifting around and will actually be loose. Even at a gram a day I have one tooth in front that will loosen up at times. Loose and shifting teeth are a sign of magnesium deficiency.

      A lot of flox symptoms are simply symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Replacing lost intracellular magnesium is not easy. But Dr. Whitcomb told me it is possible with time because our cells want to be healthy and filled with magnesium. That is their natural state. We just have to consistently give our bodies what they need and they will heal– at least the magnesium deficiency part. Most Americans are very deficient in that mineral to begin with. We supplement more calcium than any nation on earth but have the hugged rates of osteoporosis. Dr. Whitcomb recommends not supplementing calcium but getting it from diet alone. Initially, I absolutely needed to supplement it and zinc too.

      Though it’s not in any of the literature, I think FQ’s chelate calcium and zinc too. If you find taking all three helps you definitely do it, but look into K2 and Vitamin D3. You can’t supplement K2 if you are on blood thinners. Life Extension makes a pill that combines calcium, magnesium, K2 and D3 in just the right proportions for our bodies. Might be something worth looking into. I currently take K2 once in awhile, D3 5,000 IU every day and 800-1,000 mg magnesium every day.

  6. Mark S November 29, 2015 at 7:08 am Reply


    I stupidly took a pre-workout supplement with a bunch of stimulants in it on Saturday. Since then I’ve been having panic attacks with shortness of breath, palpitations, etc. I’ve already thrown it in the garbage but is there anything you can recommend? I still don’t feel quite right and was wondering if it’s still from the stimulants or if it’s now anxiety induced.

    • Ruth Young December 6, 2015 at 6:23 am Reply

      Sorry it took so long to get back to you. I have been busy with work. Stimulants make us uncomfortable, but so long as you aren’t constantly taking them they won’t actually do you any harm. While it is not good for us to be flooded with stress hormones dealing with the stimulants, one time is no big deal. Probably better to stay away from them, but you did not hamper your long term recovery in any way. I believe stimulants actually push our nervous system to recover. That being said, taking them is a very horrible way to push more healing. The treatment does not need to be worse than the disease and time will heal us. But if along the way you accidentally take a stimulant or drink some coffee I think you probably actually helped your recovery.

      Taking things that bind to GABA receptors makes us feel better but may slow our healing. Once in awhile though, those things are ok too, because sometimes we just need a break from the stress we are going through and those things can help us rest and sleep– so long as we aren’t constantly flooding our systems with them.

      I know others disagree with me on this and maybe I’m over applying the principals behind Wolf’s Law of Bone to other body systems, but I think the body responds to stresses placed on it. We can avoid osteoporosis by weight bearing exercise because the stress on the bone tells the body to strengthen it. Our cardiovascular systems get strengthened through a good workout. Doctors sometimes actually treat protracted Benzo withdrawal by administering a stimulant (in a hospital setting) so there is a very direct precedence to what I am saying. I think floxies who try as much as possible to live a normal life and keep moving their bodies as they can often stimulate healing by those choices over deciding to rest and remain inactive until they feel better. The stress of activity and the normal stimulation of daily life can stimulate healing. Taking a stimulant is just part of that. Though it made you feel bad it probably was helpful and not harmful.

      That being said, too much of anything is not good. Even Wolf’s Law of Bone has a limit– too much stress and instead of strengthening bones they start to weaken. Too much cardio and muscles (including the muscle that is our heart) break down and can’t repair themselves adequately. We get weaker instead of stronger by overdoing it with any type of exercise. Too much stress and stimulation and you get adrenal fatigue. What will stimulate healing and strengthening in small amounts can be destructive if you overdo it.

      I would say don’t worry about the occasional thing that flares your symptoms. Sometimes a flare means our bodies are doing the work of healing. But constantly induce flare ups through too much exercise and stimulants and you will not be healing at all, but rather doing harm to yourself.

  7. Dani December 1, 2015 at 3:59 pm Reply

    Hello all, 6 months out from Cipro. My anxiety is out of this world. Looking into the mirror sometimes I don’t recognize myself. I’m tired all the time. And now my shoulder will start to spasm randomly. My hands when I hold them up and try to keep still are extremely shaky! Its almost like a weird vibrating sensation. My hands and legs go tingly or numb very easily. I’m trying not to eat gluten as I hear this could make anxiety worse. If anyone has any supplement recommendations for anxiety and the shakiness I’d appreciate it

    • Mark S December 2, 2015 at 3:21 pm Reply


      I am the same way. Terrible daily panic attacks and anxiety. Magnesium is suppose to help with anxiety but ultimately I think the CNS just needs to repair itself which just takes time. A lot of time. Hang in there.


    • Ruth Young December 6, 2015 at 6:01 am Reply

      There is a product from a company called Neuroscience called CalmPRT. It is as effective as a Benzo for anxiety, according to user reviews. It’s pricey, but it’s powerful and does not seem to be habit forming. I still take it once in awhile. It blocks adrenaline and cortisol. You may feel a little stoned on it but for me it helps me feel relaxed. Can’t get anything done while taking it and I definitely can’t play the organ at church if I’ve taken it, but it helps when my anxiety is ramping up from too much stimulation teaching four and five year olds all day and I just need to be able to calm down and rest. The dose is three pills and you need to take all three. Rhodiola rosea is the main ingredient and in small doses that is stimulating. You need the full dose to get a calming effect. It also contains some precursors to GABA. The stress we are under can lower our reserves of GABA, but supplementing GABA directly can be problematic if you get too much. Taking the things your body needs to make GABA is more helpful with less risk of getting too much. Hope that helps!

  8. Eddie December 4, 2015 at 11:28 pm Reply

    Hi Ruth
    A question that bothers me often these days is how to figure what drugs are safe for us to take post floxing and which arent. I used to take a herbal mixture and ozone therapy to keep my lyme in remission. Not sure whether its safe to take now and if it will ever be safe. Is there a time after which other meds would act like they would in someone who isnt floxed?

    • Ruth Young December 6, 2015 at 5:51 am Reply

      I think your herbal remedies would be fine. The danger lies in steroids and NSAID’s. No one knows for sure, of course, and floxies can react to things they never reacted to before. But it is also important to let go of fear and just live. If it’s something that was helping you it may be even more important post flox.

      • Marc Thavenot December 12, 2015 at 12:56 am Reply

        Hi Ruth and also hi to everyone else here. I’m Marc and I was floxed about 2 month. I’m so glad I found this site as its been the most positive thing so far in my journey. Ruth I really gravitated to you as I am a musician as well, I play keys and guitar and I am also a studio engineer and producer. I have cerebral palsy in my lower body so already had some challenges and this has only showed me I am stronger than I realize. I would like some advice on what are the best antioxidants to take. I’m on vitamin C couple times a day, mag glycinate 200mg 3 times a day and also Natural Calm mag drink at night (got on Amazon and it’s a great mag supplement) I’m also trying coQ10 as Ibequinol. I have 4 amalgam fillings and was told I shouldn’t take NAC or ALA or anything that chelates metals. Is this true? I’ll also like to offer any support and advice I can as I know we all need more positivity going through this. One thing I have done and has helped due to the advice from a great naturopath I found recently is getting your body more alkaline. Your body can heal faster this way apparently and cutting out animal products and sticking to plenty fresh veggies and fruits and salads seems to have helped reduce my symptoms a bit so maybe that can help others I’m not sure. I’m still getting anxiety, insomnia, muscle aches, joint pain, blurry vision and some tinnitus but most of them cycle a bit coming back worse at points but I think are starting to diminish. I hope I can lend and borrow some support as I know we all need it.
        Wish speedy recovery to all of you


        • Ruth Young December 12, 2015 at 4:42 pm

          I have way more fillings than you and I take NAC and have taken ALA with no issues. I have heard that if you take things that will chelate the mercury but then don’t take enough of them all that happens is you move the mercury, but don’t remove it completely from the body, and depending on where it moves to you may be worse than before. That being said, maybe you don’t even have a toxic load of mercury in your body. Maybe your body was handling the mercury that was there before you got floxed. Now that you have been floxed your body’s ability to detox has been compromised. You lost glutathione and a lot of it. You need to get it back. I say take the NAC. I’m not sure on the ALA. It seemed to help my pre-existing tinnitus. Now that I don’t take ALA anymore it came back. But otherwise I’m still healing great without ALA. I really believe in NAC though. I read that we should take zinc with it. The safe upper limit for zinc is 24 mg a day. You should take double the amount of vitamin C as you take of NAC. Dr. Whitcomb suggested NAC to me and he knows I have a head full of those nasty fillings. So my thought is go with the NAC but if you are at all concerned about the ALA skip it.

          I think MitoQ and Idebenone (targeted antioxidants) really helped me. They actually can effect the mitochondria. Vitamin C doesn’t. It’s hard to hurt or help our mitochondria. They are sort of protected. But FQ’s can hurt them. So I take supplements targeted to help them. At this point I still take Idebenone, PQQ and magnesium threonate. All are said to be able to target the mitochondria. I feel they help me. All can cause their own issues though. MitoQ will harm you if your CYP450 pathway is compromised. Make sure your liver is healthy before starting that one. Avoid grapefruit and even too much lemon water while taking it. Idebenone has some effects on brain chemistry. For me they are helpful but I have underlying clinical depression and at this time am using Idebenone to treat it instead of Prozac. It may increase anxiety and insomnia for you if you don’t have the need for a serotonin boost. Mag threonate is great, but it is paired with a stimulating metabolite so don’t take it before bed. Or even after two p.m. It will keep you up.

          So those are my two cents worth. I think NAC has been proven very safe over the years and though it can have its downsides, 500 mg a day would probably be fine for you and not cause any problems. There are never guarantees, but NAC has been around a long time and most people, even people with mercury fillings, tolerate it well. The synthetic antioxidants are another story. They have not been around as long. Idebenone is considered safe for long term use because of a year long study. One year. I’ve been on it longer than that already. I don’t know what the ramifications of that are, but it treats my depression so I am seeing a favorable risk benefit to taking it. If you are having trouble tolerating supplements, foods or chemicals I would not take synthetics as your body is probably going to have trouble with them. If you seem to be doing ok and your liver and kidneys are healthy you may want to take them short term just to really get the oxidative stress under control and support your mitochondria.

          I’d say the veggies are a great idea. The more vegetables I eat the better I feel. There may be a lot of healing to be gained just through eating more vegetables. Who knew? Maybe doctors should be trying that approach rather than just throwing strong pills at us for every little sniffle.

          Good luck to you. I hope you continue to make excellent progress and make a complete recovery soon.

  9. tarkonis December 12, 2015 at 3:28 pm Reply

    Hello all,

    I just wanted to write some more here in order to ask for your help. I just need someone to relate to the experiences im having so I know im not losing it. I feel like im slowly going insane. I have extreme visual disturbances whereby everything in my peripheral vision is flexing or looks surreal. This has been with me since day one of the flox. The brain fog is getting worse and I am struggling to think at all or to take in things people say. I have been hit with a wall of terrible depression, whereby the only emotion I can experience is one of complete hopelessness. I am being robbed of any joy. I went to my daughters nativity the other day and I have been robbed of all enjoyment. I lost my job but found another but am scared I cannot do it.

    I have restless leg type sensations in my entire body most notably in my legs. My anxiety has lessened a lot but has been replaced by all the aforementioned symptoms. I have been for a Glutathione IV and it helped with the pain but the neurological symptoms are destroying me, This thing is beating me. I hear my own thoughts turning against me, every day they feed me images of negativity and doubt, so much so I screamed “get out of my head” in my car on the drive home today.

    If anyone can relate to these experiences please chime in and tell me I’ve not gone completely mad, and that they went away. I need some hope for me and my family.

    Thank you and god bless.

    • Ruth Young December 12, 2015 at 4:25 pm Reply

      I had almost all the experiences you describe. It would look like stationary objects were moving or everything would look blue or there would be blue orbs in my visual field. Hard to describe, so I don’t know if I have that exactly described. Sometimes we lack words for this.

      I felt robbed of joy also. The only emotions I had for ages were fear and later hostility. That was it. Fear and anger and occasionally the crushing depression you described. I felt acutely that there was a knot of darkness inside me. It was like a demon tormenting me, dogging all my steps but I could not escape it because it was inside me. I felt like it had a life of its own and I would win a small victory like recapturing the tiniest inkling of happiness and then BAM! I’d have terrible symptoms and be rushing to the ER and I felt like the demon had punished me. Even after I had healed quite a bit I still fought that darkness. It was still with me when I wrote my initial healing story– not all the time, but it would keep cropping up. Sometimes it would be like someone yelling insults at me in my head every time I tried to relax.

      I will say that the emotions, thoughts and experiences I had after being floxed were darker and more terrifying than anything I ever encountered in my life. I grew up in what some people would call a “haunted house” and there have been times I have felt an intense and malevolent hostility directed at me in that place. I’ve seen stuff (my mom saw more and had things actually fly at her) and I’ve definitely heard weird things in that house. It’s not like I should have been a stranger to the sensations floxing would evoke, but I’m telling you it was worse and way more intense than anything I’d ever experienced before. It felt paranormal, completely out of this world and impossible in its intensity and worst of all it was in my own head, my own heart– I couldn’t just leave and go somewhere else that felt safer and less scary. It was 24/7 terror, fear, loneliness and sadness.

      So you are absolutely NOT going insane or crazy. This is what FQ damage looks like. YOU are completely normal. A world that would prescribe drugs that can do this to you to treat a minor problem is what is completely insane. You are ok. You are going to be ok.

      I used to think I was back to normal because I wasn’t going through the fear, darkness and hostile feelings anymore, I wasn’t agitated, I could usually rest, what symptoms I had were annoying but tolerable. But then, starting at about 18 months I got a lot better. I got windows that were really completely normal, all the way back, and it felt wonderful. After that I started to really get my joy back. It had started to come back, but now it is fully renewed.

      I am like a kid again in my excitement and happiness over every little thing. We drove to Chicago over Thanksgiving and I was so excited to stop in one of those Oasis places that goes over the highway. I was standing there looking at the traffic moving right under me as I looked out the window and I was like a five year old kid. Seeing the tall buildings driving through Chicago thrilled me. I look outside my window and the beauty of a sunset is like I’m seeing my first one. The decorations in the stores are so incredibly wonderful that I just stand there like a little kid staring in wonder at the pretty lights.

      This isn’t a big change in my personality– this is who I really am. The cares of middle age and the fact that I wasn’t taking good care of myself decreased my joy and then floxing completely destroyed it. But as it comes back I have to say I have not felt this amazing since I was five years old. Everything brings me joy. It’s all new and amazing and wonderful and most of the time I feel completely normal. I have some symptoms of anxiety if I overdo it, but if I rest, like at the end of the school day, I feel refreshed and can do some more work in the evening before bed.

      I think it would help to pray. I know that trusting in a higher power helped me through floxing. I wasn’t alone. There were moments all I could do was sit there holding a crucifix in my hand and trying to hang on one more minute. I think floxing is a spiritual battle as much as a physical and emotional one.

      Then remember that you are going to heal. These psychological symptoms are not going to be permanent. You just have to hang on. They are rough but they do end. They will end for you too. People often have permanent damage of some type or another from being floxed, but these really intense pysch symptoms are from downgraded GABA receptors and there is plenty of evidence that they do heal. Check out Benzo buddies for more support from people going through these types of experiences.

      • tarkonis December 13, 2015 at 1:54 am Reply

        Hi Ruth,

        God bless you again for all your words. I have put my faith in god like you have said and I do pray, I find myself asking him why did this happen to me and what is the plan? 😦 I’m hoping to wake up one day and the fog has lifted. I’m going for another Glut IV before Christmas this time with triple the dose, hopefully it will help.

        I noticed you posted your healing story about 5 months out. Im just on four months out now and the depression didn’t really kick in until 3 1/2 months out. I’ve never been depressed before so this is a brave new world for me. 😦

        I was hoping to be better or at least on the mend by 5 months like you Ruth.. I’ve held on to that goal for the entirety of my flox/ Fake it til you make it you said. It’s just very hard.

        • Ruth Young December 13, 2015 at 4:35 am

          I’m glad you are trusting in God through this. He does have a reason and a plan and He means to help, not harm you. Through this experience he will draw you closer to Him. Later you will look back and see His guiding hand through the whole ordeal.

          As you go through it it is tough. We walk by faith, not by sight. Faith is confidence in objective truth, not a feeling. In the end of all this you will say with Job, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” You may also, like Job, find that God has restored to you much more than He has now taken away. But the point of Job’s story, the real point, is that he saw his Savior. His experience of suffering brought Him to see Christ quite clearly thousands of years before His incarnation. Like Job, your Redeemer lives and has gone to prepare a place for you. Before He left He told us that in this world we would have trouble, but not to be afraid because He had overcome the world. He did it by enduring suffering beyond our comprehension, though floxies get a pretty good glimpse of what it was like. He is our head and we are the members of His body. What happened to Him will happen to us. This world hates Christians, the demons hate us and we suffer because our Savior suffered in this world. And every time we do the demons crow in triumph and try to drive us to despair as if our suffering means they have won. They have won nothing. The victory is still ours. We are going to be with Christ forever in the place He prepared for us. Until then anything and everything that happens to you will work out for your good. He will bless you through all of it, even this tragedy that has befallen you. I know it is true because I have seen it in my life. I was widowed at age 25, so I’m no stranger to suffering, long before getting floxed. I have suffered intense bouts of clinical depression throughout my life, it once causing me not to sleep a wink for nearly a month. I don’t know how I lived through that, but I did. Every time I go through a tragedy or another bout of depression I find my Heavenly Father’s guiding hand was there all along and I realize I am truly blessed. Yes, I experience the trouble Jesus warned us about. But I also came to better know His love.

          Look up George Herbert. He was an English poet of the Reformation. His writing is really, really comforting. He focuses on God’s love but also tackles issues like being angry with God, being exhausted, feeling unworthy and fear of death. Any issue common to the human experience is in his poetry somewhere, and the answer to every hard question, for him, is that God loves us.

          I did not get any depression right away after I was floxed. That symptom came later. When it would come it was more intense than any depression I’d had before. It was a shock each time it hit because the Idebenone completely takes away my pre-existing depression, but it didn’t even touch the flox depression. But it was a later symptom so you may be farther along than you think. The feeling that someone was yelling at me inside my head happened later too. You may not have to fake it much longer. Symptoms always seem permanent but they can go away in the blink of an eye. You may be much closer than you realize to feeling much better. You will start to get normal times during which you feel like your old self. Symptoms cycle so the bad stuff will come back at intervals. Hang in there, it just means you are healing. This psychological stuff tends to go away or at least become manageable. You are not crazy. You will not be like this forever. It will end and probably soon. Just don’t let go.

          Remember the One who hung on for you on the cross so that you might never be separated from Him. When the dark thoughts come just think, “These thoughts are not from Jesus Christ” and go on with your day. It helped me to picture the light of Christ filling every dark spot in my body and soul, flooding me with light. You may find using that image to guide your meditation is helpful.

          You will be ok. You will emerge from this stronger than before. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  10. Marc Thavenot December 12, 2015 at 5:18 pm Reply

    Hey Ruth

    Thanks so much for your words of advice 🙂
    I will try out the NAC for a while along with VC and Zinc and see how that goes.
    Any suggestions for blurry vision?

    How do I test to see if my CYP450 pathway is compromised and is there anything i can do to help it if it is? I have Access to MitoQ so i would like to try it along with the Magnesium Theorate.

    Its been almost 3 months do you think i still have alot worse to get before i get better slowly?

    Thanks so much for your responses its really helping me deal with things as everyone thought i was going crazy even my doctors so you and this site has instilled so much hope within the last couple days. I hope we can keep in touch 🙂


    • Ruth Young December 12, 2015 at 5:41 pm Reply

      Although doctors are useless on FQ toxicity they can at least assure us our organs, especially liver and kidneys, are functioning properly. Very important as if they are not even supplements meant to help could harm us.

      I really liked MitoQ while I was on it. I’m middle aged. If you are younger your cardiovascular system is already working pretty well so you may notice as much of a difference. My exercise capacity improved– I was not short of breath climbing stairs. It was quite amazing at only a few months post flox.

      I don’t think you will necessarily get worse. You may just keep getting better from here on in. I had a rough week at 2 1/2 months out. By 3 1/2 months out I was hiking again. By four months my symptoms were annoying but not debilitating. I’ve had a few bad days since, but they were isolated. I didn’t take a single sick day all last school year. I’ve been able to do everything I did pre-flox. I feel pretty normal most of the time. I don’t have the mental stamina I had. Stimulation can get to me by the end of a long day. I can tell my nervous system isn’t 100% of the way back to normal. But it is improving. I’m getting there slowly over time and even at less than 100% healed I’m just living a normal life.

      I’m on Facebook if you want to look me up there. My profile pic is of a black cat laying on a brick patio.

  11. tcreech December 12, 2015 at 7:16 pm Reply

    What type of damage does mitoQ do if you have that particular liver issue and is this tested for through your family doctor? All my liver enzymes have always been fine but don’t know if this particular CYP450 was tested for.

  12. Ruth Young December 12, 2015 at 9:07 pm Reply

    MitoQ because an oxidant in the absence of the CYP450 enzyme.

  13. kris t December 13, 2015 at 7:37 am Reply

    Hey all, I have not been on in awhile. Just wanted everyone to know that I tried this cream for pain and it works pretty well. I cannot use the Magnesium oil as it makes my skin itch. The cream is called Australian Dream and you can get it at a drugstore. It is very expensive but they have a smaller jar you can buy, just to try before you invest in the larger one. I put it on my back at night, before I go to sleep. It takes a good 30-40 minutes to kick in. Ruth your comments on this? I agree with you on the PT. I am on my second PT and third chiropractor. PT said ultrasound would not help me. I found a NASID that works, and did not kick up the Cipro symptoms but it is only available through your doctor and it makes you very sleepy. How is Dave Tarkonis doing? And Irin with his brain fog and depersonalization? Kris T

  14. gayle December 13, 2015 at 9:05 am Reply

    What is the nsaid you found Kris??

  15. Marc Thavenot December 13, 2015 at 10:27 am Reply

    Hey Ruth
    Thanks so much again for your advice. 🙂 I will look you up on facebook


  16. Marc Thavenot December 13, 2015 at 10:45 am Reply

    Hey Ruth or anyone else on here.
    Whats your thoughts on using a bentonite or magnetic clay bath for helping detox?
    would this lead to any complications?


  17. Ruth Young December 13, 2015 at 11:05 am Reply

    I have used bentonite clay both externally and internally with no problems.

  18. Marc Thavenot December 13, 2015 at 1:47 pm Reply

    Hey Ruth, I tried the NAC also accompanied with the Vitamin C. but i am experiencing increased preassure behind my eyes in my head and some increased brain fog, what should i do? is this a sign that my cyp450 is compromised?

  19. Ruth Young December 13, 2015 at 1:59 pm Reply

    No, I don’t think it means your liver is not working properly. I don’t think NAC is even processed via that pathway. In fact, both Vitamin C and NAC, far from stressing your liver, will help it. They give NAC to save the liver after a Tylenol overdose.

    My guess is that there is no connection. Symptoms cycle. A downturn at this particular time is likely a coincidence. Another possibility is that you were anxious about taking NAC so your own anxiety flared your symptoms. A third possibility is that you are detoxing and it is making you uncomfortable. That’s why I think 500 mg of NAC is plenty at first. Dr. Whitcomb had me take quite a large dose and my muscles ached and after two weeks I got a rash. I think it detoxed me too much and too fast. I’ve been taking 600-1,200 mg of NAC a day for a couple weeks now with no issues, but I’m a lot farther out now.

    If I were you I’d take a warm, mild magnesium bath in Epsom Salts and just try to relax as much as possible. Control your stress as much as you can, remember that you are healing and sometimes part of that process is just feeling crummy. It is my belief that when our nervous systems heal through upgrading of GABA receptors we actually feel worse when we are healing. Normal moments are nice but they are not where the real work if healing is happening. Maybe your body is actually healing at the moment. Don’t panic.

    I hope you feel better soon!

  20. Marc Thavenot December 14, 2015 at 6:31 am Reply

    Always fantastic to read your responses, your so informative thanks so much Ruth, I did some magnesium baths and tried to just relax as much as i can.
    How can I find you on facebook?
    You can find me at


  21. kris t December 15, 2015 at 10:53 am Reply

    Gayle, The NASID is the generic form of Voltarin. But I would only have the dr prescribe a few to see how you do. You don’t want to get the Cipro symptoms again. What gave me the setback was getting the flu shot! I felt like I had poison in me for four days after and for two weeks, I got a few of the old symptoms back. Now I am better, just tired. I think Ruth told me not to get the shot, but if I get the flu, I know I will be in the hospital because I also have that chronic fatigue syndrome. Last year I was in the ER three times for just a UTI! But after this year, I will not get the flu shot again. Kris T

  22. Mark S December 23, 2015 at 10:52 am Reply

    I notice that my ankles definitely feel worse when I’m sedentary at my desk as opposed to moving around. Do you think this is due to the hamstrings and calves being tighter when they’re not being used?

    • Ruth Young December 23, 2015 at 1:54 pm Reply

      That’s exactly what happened to me, Mark. It was well over a year before sitting at a desk became comfortable again, due to my ankles getting very tight when I was sitting. They are a lot better now. The tightness does return now and then, but rarely and it is not as intense as it used to be.

  23. Ann December 24, 2015 at 5:06 am Reply

    Hi there
    Sorry for my english, im a Woman from sweden.
    I took flagyl 7 weeks ago , and im still so sick. The most terrifying in my life.
    I have so much side effects, fatigue, tingling and numbness all over my body, dizzieness all Day, burning all over my body, severe insomnia, stomach pain, vision problems like my head cant take in what im seeing, ear pressure and tinnitus and The sound in my ears are so high, severe depression and anxiety, muscle cramps.And i can go on and on. So scared this will be permanent. Im so glad That i found This website, have been reading so much horror stories before i found This website. Do This ever get better?

    • Ruth Young December 25, 2015 at 11:57 am Reply

      I believe most people do get better, but it can take awhile. These aren’t normal side effects. Our bodies have taken a big hit. But recovery is not only possible, it is likely, I believe. There are lots of ideas on this site to help you out. Even if you can’t tolerate supplements time, a healthy diet and controlling stress seem to help most people.

      • Ann December 27, 2015 at 4:46 am Reply

        Hi Again Ruth!
        Thanks so much for responding to me. Sorry for my bad english, but i hope you understand. As you say, maybe this will take time, a very long time. Im so stressed, and have panic attacks all the time, and so depressed. Maybe i should get some antidepressants? Or is that a big no no when you are floxed?
        I was taking magnesium, but my stomach couldnt take it. I have a magnesium oil now, and will try it. i have aslo started a probiotic last week, dont know if it will help or not? I will try supplements again, when my stomach are a little better. And i gonna try acupunctur. Do you have any suggesstions with depression, anxiethy, and vision problems and dizziness all day long? Is this normal to feel this, all day? I have been reading a lot, and many seems to have the vision problem and the dizziness at times, i i have it all day and night. So afraid something is wrong with the brain or my ears, because i hear everything very loud. Have you heard other people that experienced this? Greetings Ann

  24. Mark December 25, 2015 at 8:49 am Reply


    My main symptoms right now are terrible stamina from standing too long (my knees feel weak after a couple minutes), and my Achilles tends to get sore (and also just feels weak). I just ordered MitoQ hoping that will be the magic bullet for me. I’m almost positive I’m having mitochondrial issues because I’m only 24 and shouldn’t be having any stamina issues like these. Does this sound right?

    • Ruth Young December 25, 2015 at 12:07 pm Reply

      Don’t panic. The biggest thing that helped my standing tolerance and decreased pain in my leg muscles was taking magnesium. Even now if I back off on magnesium my legs hurt a bit and I get some discomfort with prolonged standing. If you can safely push the magnesium keep doing so. It doesn’t hurt to take a targeted antioxidant, so long as you can tolerate it all right. I certainly felt like I wanted to cover all my bases! The doctor who treated me post flox said that mitochondrial damage usually can heal. So even if you suffered some mito damage you are not necessarily past the point of no return. When I got floxed in the late 1980’s I remember feeling very old– that my body was too young to be functioning the way it was. I got better– so much so that I forgot all about the whole experience and took Cipro again.

      • Mark December 25, 2015 at 12:13 pm Reply

        That’s good news. I’m going to keep on the magnesium no matter what, both oral and topical. Like yourself I definitely want to cover all the bases to ensure my body has the best chance to heal. I’m a bit over five months out. I know that’s a relatively short amount of time for a floxed body but when I read stories like yours and Brett’s, I think a targeted antioxidant could be a little extra push I need to kickstart this recovery. I long for the days where I can stand in church for as long as I want without feeling fatigued in the knees.

        • Ruth Young December 25, 2015 at 1:30 pm

          For me it was the calves– I had to sit to teach because of the intense pain.

          MitoQ, Idebenone and NAC have all been shown to prevent tendon damage from Cipro is research studies if the cells were pretreated. Zinc was shown to help not only prevent but reverse some FQ damage. It is recommended in Dr. Cohen’s book. Vitamin E had some positive effects also.

          I think if you do the things shown by research to help then you have a fighting chance. I still think the magnesium will give you the best chance of regaining standing tolerance. I know it helps me a lot.

  25. tarkonis December 26, 2015 at 1:22 pm Reply

    Hi Ruth, its me again. I’m still here. It’s a living hell, but by the grace of god and my family im still here. I hope you had a great Christmas.

    Thank you for all your support in your last message, it got me through some tough times just reading it and re reading it over and over.

    I was blessed to have reduced symptoms on Christmas day. I enjoyed the evening very much.

    Today though, I think I am experiencing the following symptom as you describe in your story.

    *restless leg syndrome, but sometimes affecting my whole body—a pressing need to keep moving.

    I have terrible restless legs in my entire body! This sensation is not new but is getting increasingly worse. I apply magnesium oil to my legs for what its worth. Not sure if it helps.

    I had my magnesium red cell count checked, B12 and vit D 25 oh.

    I had the following results:

    2.7 mmol/ml which is 4.8mg/DL (american units) and im told the reference range upper limit is 2.6 mmol/ml which would make me very much not deficient in Magnesium.. Im not sure if you can chime in with an opinion on this?

    I had the MMA test for b12 and there is virtually no detectable trace of MMA in my blood which would indicate I am not b12 deficient.

    My vit D levels are also ‘normal’.

    So, im at a loss. I’ve been going for glut IV’s. First was 600mg second was 1g and im going for a third in jan with 2.4g of glut in the IV. They do seem to make my flu like pain subside for a week or so, which is great.

    I would like to ask you though how you dealt with the restless leg type pain in your body, did you take anything that seemed to specifically address this symptom?

    Thanks very much.


    • Ruth Young December 26, 2015 at 3:21 pm Reply

      Only 1% of our magnesium is floating around in our bloodstream at any given time. The blood level can be high but we still don’t have enough. Drugs that chelate it can bind to it and float it out of cells in a way nature never would have taken it even if we were starving to death. However, our cells want to be filled with magnesium so if you keep giving your body just a little more magnesium than it needs each day to function it will eventually put it back. Magnesium threonate seems to be very good for replacing lost intra cellular magnesium. I’ve heard that keeping the blood level of magnesium high for about a year is what is commonly required to replace lost magnesium for floxies.

      It was actually magnesium that most helped my restless leg/body syndrome. But the worst of it was that no matter how much I took the restlessness got worse when I would try to sleep. I slept in another room so I would not wake Jeff. I wish I had a better solution for you– but that’s it. Don’t give up on magnesium and do what you have to do not to wake your spouse. Just remember that it ends. It does end. Your autonomic nervous system wants to get back in balance so it will. Keep hanging on. When you get to the end of your rope tie a knot and hang on. I had to do that a few times. But I got through it and you will too. That you are having normal times is a good thing. They will start to come more frequently and last longer. When you feel the worst your body is actually doing the work of healing. When it makes repairs you feel it, but eventually your nervous system will function as it once did and this will all be a memory.

      One thing that helped me during one bad relapse was petting my uncle’s sister’s cat Zero. After an hour of stroking his fur I felt pretty good– still sensitive to stimulation but able to find peace at least for awhile and to relax and lie still. So that would be my suggestion– find an animal willing to let you stroke him in a quiet environment for about an hour. My cat Monyy would never stand for attention for that long– he’s too independent. You need a needy cat or dog, no one else around to disturb you– just silence and petting that animal while focusing on your breathing and his as you sit together.

      • tarkonis December 26, 2015 at 3:45 pm Reply

        Hi Ruth,

        Thanks for you reply. My sister has a cat I will try what you said and see if it helps. The brain is so powerful I never understood how powerful it can be. I’ve definitely been at the end of my rope!

        I do notice magnesium sprays tend to help with my legs, but the tingling is so bad that I have to wash it off after 30 mins or so.

        With regards to my test, I got the red cell magnesium test done which measures the level of magnesium in my cells, not in the serum. The doctor recons that my level is high which is why I am baffled. I’m going to continue supplementation though as the reference ranges might be wrong or there is not enough research in this context to support them.

        Just out of interest, how long did your restless legs keep up for? When did they start to go? When did your vision problems start to go and how did you notice them returning to normal? Did you just wake up one day and your vision was normal or was it a slow process?



        • Tricia December 26, 2015 at 4:12 pm

          Hi Ruth….I was having a great month, feeling back to normal w just some minor back pain. last week , however, I took a couple bites of my daughter’s non organic pork sandwich. since then, I have experienced lots of PN symptoms and tingling sensations. Is it possible to get refloxed by meat? It’s not like I took an actual pill, maybe some residual effects of antibiotics in the meat im hoping… :/

        • Ruth Young December 26, 2015 at 5:31 pm

          I do not believe we can be floxed by eating non-organic meat. I know others disagree but these are my thoughts:
          1) Antibiotics cost money. Why pump an animal full of them right before going to slaughter? Places that use them are all about cutting costs.
          2) Sending animals to slaughter with antibiotics in their system is illegal.
          3) Pharmaceuticals tend to be sensitive to temperature and have quidelines for storing them between certain temperatures. Antibiotics in meat are exposed to refrigeration and/or freezing and cooking, temperatures well beyond what they are supposed to be kept at.
          4) Symtoms of floxing tend to be delayed. Symptoms of a damaged nervous system from floxing tend to show up later. Delayed reactions are common. The delay is not always months, it can be merely days, but very few people have immediate symptoms after just one pill. So immediate symptoms from trace amounts seems unlikely.

          I think symptoms cycle and can come back later even after long periods of being symptom free. This is consistent with a damaged nervous system healing.

          Also, if any meat pork is the absolute worst for us. It is very hard to digest– gives your liver quite a work out just trying to process it. I stay away from it. My guess is that it was not so much non-organic pork as just pork in general that could have been an issue.

          I have eaten any meat I wanted since I got floxed and not once have I had a flare afterwards that I felt was in any way connected to the meat. I take magnesium with my meals. If there were traces of antibiotic in the meat the magnesium would deactivate it.

          I spent the whole summer fighting a sinus infection that affected my ears. If the meat I was eating was contaminated with the most powerful antibiotics we have, wouldn’t the infection I was dealing with have been impossible?

          Those are just my thoughts. Don’t beat yourself up about the pork. We have to live as normally as possible.

        • Ruth Young December 26, 2015 at 5:19 pm

          I had that blood cell test for magnesium too. So that covers blood cells, but what about brain cells, muscle cells, tendon and cartilage cells, bone cells and nerve cells and basically every other type of cell that makes up the human body and should be healthy and full of magnesium but is not because the FQ bound with it and floated it away? Even the best tests are inadequate. That is my two cents worth.

        • tarkonis December 28, 2015 at 1:51 pm

          Thanks Ruth,

          Now ive gone and contracted a virus, great… funnily enough i’m in less pain now fighting this virus than I was when I was well.

          Ruth, would you be able to tell me how and when you vision problems abated? I’m wondering about going to see an ophthalmologist but I just wanted to hear from you on how your vision problems went away in the end.

          Im still having problems when I wear my contacts or proper glasses, everything is still swimming and looks weird. If I put my old glasses on I cant see enough to notice, but then, I cant see!

          Thanks Ruth god bless.

  26. Tricia December 27, 2015 at 10:04 am Reply

    thanks Ruth!
    Even if there were residual traces of antibiotics I ingested from the pork, I still don’t think it’s enough to cause damage as if from an actual pill. My anxiety of course is making this worse, especially because I was back to running and walking a couple miles a day:( hope this is short lived!
    I agree about the pork being harmful to the human body, we just happened to eat at one of the best barbecue places right here in Madison lol:) i couldnt resist !

    • Ruth Young December 27, 2015 at 10:57 am Reply

      Madison, Wisconsin?

      • Tricia December 27, 2015 at 11:09 am Reply

        Yes of course 🙂

        • Ruth Young December 27, 2015 at 1:17 pm

          We’re practically neighbors! My husband and my sister and I had supper at Outback Steakhouse by East Town Mall in Madison last night.

  27. Tyler December 27, 2015 at 12:38 pm Reply

    Hi Ruth,

    Firstly, I just wanted to say thank you so, so much for sharing all of your research and information here as well as staying active in this thread to answer questions and help others out. You’re a saint. I’m just about a month out from the onset of my own initial Cipro toxicity symptoms, and on a site full of insight from so many, your story (& podcast appearance) have maybe proven to be the most invaluable thanks to the thoroughness of your supplement research.

    I do have one specific question for you – based on your experience, would you recommend additional Magnesium supplementation alongside Magnesium L-Threonate (Magtein)? I’m still waiting for the Magtein to arrive, in the mean time I’ve been on about 800mg/day of both Citrate as well as an Oxide/Malate/Glycerophosphate blend. I know the intracellular absorption of these forms is going to be much lower than the Magtein, so maybe there would be no point, as its recommended dosage is huge, over 2 grams. Just curious as to how you personally balanced that out or if you just stuck with one form at a time?

  28. Tricia December 27, 2015 at 5:10 pm Reply

    yes we are practically neighbors! let me know if you ever come to madison again or devil’s lake in the spring time. Devil’s Lake is our home away from home in the spring and summer 🙂

  29. tarkonis December 28, 2015 at 1:52 pm Reply

    Thats great that you guys are neighbors small world!

    • Tricia December 31, 2015 at 5:35 am Reply

      I have not slept in four days….my central nervous system is so off b alance. is it safe to take Ativan or an Otc sleep aid?

  30. Ruth Young December 31, 2015 at 10:53 am Reply

    I would definitely not take a prescription sleep aid and the over the counter ones could be risky too. Sometimes they put an NSAID in there with it for pain, which is a nice idea unless your nervous system has been damaged by an FQ.

    I think try Theanine first. It’s in green tea if you don’t have any of the pills on hand. I’ve known other floxies who said green tea helped them sleep. The Theanine in the green tea counters the caffeine in the tea, according to Dr. Whitcomb of Brookfield Longevity. If you don’t want to risk the caffeine in the tea take the pills, but I find green tea does make me sleepy. Cheap tea contains a lot of fluoride so if you go the tea route a better tea is just better all the way around.

    I take uridine when I am at my wit’s end and nothing will make me sleep. I take 500-750 mg at the point where my symptoms are flaring so bad that I know I will not sleep that night. Within thirty minutes of taking uridine (with a fish oil capsule) I’m out like a light. Uridine has its own receptors in the brain so my body seems to be able to use it for sleep and bypass the GABA receptors that are not working. It will not make you drowsy, but will help you sleep when every time you start to fall
    asleep your brain pops you awake.

    You could take a large dose of tryptophan before bed. Make sure you are in a darkened room– no tv or electronic devices. Your brain will convert the tryptophan to serotonin and then to melatonin if you are in the dark. This is a very safe way to take melatonin as you can’t take too much. Your brain makes what it needs. Suoplementing melatonin can raise blood pressure if you take too much. Don’t exceed dosing recommendations on the tryptophan because if your body makes a lot of serotonin it could increase gastric motility for you. Great if you were constipated, but otherwise, not so much.

    You could try natural things that have an affinity for GABA receptors, like valerian. That comes as a tea as well, but I’ve seen the capsules for sale at CVS. (The CVS pharmacies seem to have a pretty wide variety of supplements, some that I was ordering online. They actually carry methyl B-12.) You may be able to find Theanine and valerian at a CVS pharmacy if you have one near you. They also carry rhodiola rosea. That one is tricky because in small doses it is stimulating, but in large doses it has a calming effect. I have no idea what to tell you for dosing as Rhodiola is just one ingredient in CalmPRT. I take the full recommended dose of CalmPRT and sometimes it will relax me so I can sleep. It’s pricey, but Rhodiola is cheap. You may need to research a little to find the right dose for anxiety.

    Some people take rhodiola to help them adapt to hard workouts. It will do that, but they would be taking a lower dose. At higher doses you would never do the workout, but you would feel very calm and relaxed about missing it.

    Rhodiola does not affect GABA receptors as far as I can tell. Theanine may have a weak affinity but its main mechanism is to block glutamate so it seems to be fine for those of us with downgraded GABA receptors. Valerian has a stronger affinity for GABA receptors so I would use that only in an emergency, like you are experiencing now. If you use too much or use it too often you could become dependent on it. It’s not a Benzo though and I think it would be ok for short term use.

    As GABA receptors upgrade we feel it, so you are healing now. I think our bodies puts GABA receptor damage low on the list of repairs –once enough are upgraded to get you out of imminent danger of a seizure then your body gets busy attending to other FQ damage. So your body probably is feeling well enough now to take on some more repairs to GABA receptors. Sleep is so important that your body will take a break from making repairs soon and give you a break so you can rest.

    I think most Floxies would be leery of prescription medications and even many over the counter remedies with good reason. The things I use to help with sleep have been safe for me, but that doesn’t mean they will safe or effective for you. You just have to do your research and use your best judgement.

    I am allergic to milk thistle and valerian is in the same plant family, according to my neighbor, who is a biologist. So I am nervous about valerian for myself in case I would have an allergy. If you get hay fever, you may want to spot test that on your skin somehow to make sure you don’t have an allergy. My sister got me bath salts with valerian in them for Christmas and I rubbed a pinch of them against my skin and left it alone for a couple hours and have yet to see any reaction, so maybe valerian and milk thistle are different enough that it will be fine.

    Even herbal remedies carry risks so you have to be careful, but I still trust that stuff so much more than Big Pharma’s poison.

    Diego keeps sending me recordings of healing music– binaural beats or something like that. They are all over YouTube– this healing music for meditation. Maybe you can find one for insomnia. They have different frequencies for different ailments. Diego says they help. I tried one once and my cat Monty was very interested in it. He definitely had a reaction to that weird music. It sounds weird. But maybe listening to it and meditating will help and there are no side effects to listening to weird music other than your family and pets thinking you have flipped your lid.

    I hope you get some relief soon!

  31. jwinn January 5, 2016 at 9:28 am Reply

    Dear Ruth, Thank you so much for sharing your story and your faith. I am 5 years into being floxed, and had considered myself to be a very spiritual person prior to this event in my life. I found that I lost my hope…and I lost my faith. I questioned why God left me….some days, I still do. I relate so well to your words,…. “For a long time after Cipro I couldn’t feel normal emotions, except for fear. I felt detached from my life. I hadn’t even cried, and if I tried to it felt like someone was squeezing my brain. I didn’t really laugh. I would perceive that something was funny, but that didn’t seem to mean anything to me. I was like an outsider watching my own life from a distance. I now feel completely like myself again, able to cry and find release in it, able to feel joy, to appreciate beauty and to laugh.” …. The problem is, I have not gotten to the point of being able to have emotion or laugh again. I feel numb…if anything, I feel a heaviness down deep in my soul: a deepness that I know Satan has put firmly there. I am trying so hard to fight my way out of this hole. My friends and my co-workers don’t understand what has happened to me….they often look at me and ask me where “I” went…..I have lost myself. I want myself back, but have very little strength to fight. Please remember me, and ask God to help me with my fight. I used to be able to feel God’s loving arms around me. It seems like I haven’t felt them in a long time. I am going to check on the purple rice powder. Thank you for the information. I am also going to check into the Idebenone. Thank you also for sharing your story…I feel God led me to your story today. Blessings, and Happy New Year.

    • Ruth Young January 6, 2016 at 7:42 am Reply

      My friend,
      After reading your post I am motivated to ask whether you are taking a benzodiazepine. Those drugs can cause that lack of emotion, loss of self, zombie feeling while people are still on them taking them as prescribed. It’s a common symptom of withdrawal, but not limited to people going through withdrawal. If you are benzodiazepine dependent it would help to get off those medications, but this must be done very slowly and carefully. Your doctor will probably advise a very fast taper. I suggest you check out the benzo buddies website and look for the Ashton Manual for instructions for withdrawing safely. If your doctor won’t cooperate and help you through a safe taper get a new one.

      If you are not on a benzodiazepine then I do not know why your normal emotions have not returned yet. It is not because God does not love you, has abandoned you or is punishing you. Jesus says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” He would not lie. He cannot. Whether you feel God’s loving arms around you or not does not mean they are not there. He is there.

      We walk by faith, not by sight. Perhaps that was never more true than for floxies. We definitely get a little field trip to hell itself. We may not really be there, but we are definitely peeking in the door, standing on the front porch, and even that glimpse is terrifying.

      I know that deep darkness and the feeling that Satan himself placed it in you. It feels horrible. But no feeling can take away the objective truth that God so loved the world that He gave His Son to redeem it. He loved you and gave His Son to redeem you. I don’t know if you have been baptized, but Luther often would return to his baptism when he felt the devil pressing hard against him. He took great comfort in his baptism, and the meaning of it– that he was joined with Christ. He saw it as an objective fact that the devil could neither change nor destroy. You may want to look into the hymns of Martin Luther even if you aren’t Lutheran. He believed very strongly in the objective truth of the Gospel– that no matter how we feel about it we are still saved and nothing can change that fact. Our sinful hearts, the devil and this world will lie to us all day long, but God calls them all liars and His voice not only speaks only truth, it spoke the very universe into being.

      We all lose ourselves eventually, whether through dementia, severe illness or simply death itself. The God who called the universe into being holds our very dust in His power to call it back into life one day. So even though you feel lost, you are not. Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is ours in Christ Jesus. Nothing. Not even FQ toxicity.

      Some of the heaviness you feel may not be a symptom of a damaged nervous system but simply a normal response to an absolutely horrifying experience. Many floxies experience PTSD. You might be one of them. Mental health professionals can help, once you get them to stop just pushing a pill at you. Talk therapy absolutely can help if the issue is simply that you have to deal with what happened to you in order to feel good again. If it is still an issue of downgraded GABA receptors the talk therapy will have not be able to resolve everything on its own, but it still may help some.

      Idebenone may help. I don’t know where I’d be without it. It definitely gave me back the ability to function when I was in the acute stage and my continuing, though mild, symptoms, are mostly alleviated with Idebenone. If I miss a dose during a flare up I can tell right away I need to take it. It also treats the depression I had long before Cipro.

      The purple rice also definitely did something. First there was a relapse, then there was this feeling like I had dropped back down into this world again, so that I was fully living in it. Before I felt like I was a square peg above a round hole– not able to fit. I was being held just outside the world as I knew it, able to observe it, but not fully being part of it– sometimes it felt like I was being tortured while I observed it. After the purple rice I felt like I had dropped into that round hole where I belonged and everything was just back to normal. I still get flare ups, I’m not in that normal state 24/7, but I’m there more than I’m not. The normal emotions are very nearly 24/7 so that even if I am having a physical symptom like burning sensations it doesn’t bother me much because my mood is one of happiness and contentment.

      I will pray for you. I’m sure it will take time, but you will get there. A renewed focus on God’s Word, some counseling, some new supplements– all those things hold the promise of a resolution to all your symptoms. Don’t lose hope. Sometimes it just takes a little longer to heal. But these psychological symptoms do seem to resolve eventually for most people, especially if they are not on any other medications that can cause similar issues.

    • irin February 22, 2016 at 7:00 am Reply

      heeeeey heeeey

    • irin February 22, 2016 at 7:20 am Reply

      hey babe please please please share ur way out with me please i have same symptoms as u please help please email me please at

  32. Mark S January 6, 2016 at 6:52 am Reply


    I seem to react badly to Vitamin D3. It flares up my tinnitus as well as much Achilles symptoms. However I am deficient at a level 24 and need to stay on it to get into optimal range. Should I just ride it out for now to increase my levels? It’s a major catch 22 for now.

    • Ruth Young January 6, 2016 at 7:17 am Reply

      You are having trouble with Vitamin D3 because you are low on magnesium. Vitamin D3 needs magnesium to work. It will actually contribute to your magnesium deficiency if you are very low on magnesium. Try focusing on just getting your magnesium levels up. Do not pay attention to blood tests. One percent of your magnesium is circulating in your blood. They tell you nothing. Even the Spectra Cell I had was not accurate. If I had enough magnesium two years ago why do I still need nearly a gram a day? I’m only just now getting there with my magnesium. I can miss a dose and not have my legs cramp up. My teeth don’t wiggle around. Loosening teeth is a sign of magnesium deficiency. My teeth are finally normal. It took two years at a gram a day to get my teeth to stay firmly in place 24/7! I was deficient before Cipro and you may have been too.

      Mag threonate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium taurate, magnesium malate– these are all good for getting your levels. Dr. Mercola’s magnesium threonate is very good– no harmful additives or fillers. The packaging is misleading. It lists how much of the metabolite is in there on the front of the bottle. If you look at the back you’ll see there is only about 144 mg of magnesium in a full dose. It looks like he’s giving you twice the safe upper limit of magnesium, which would be crazy and dangerous. It’s not. But you don’t need much as threonate targets your mitochondria. It goes where you need it to go. It’s a bit stimulating– only take it in the morning. Glycinate and taurate are good before bed. Malate is a little more energizing.

      I would get more magnesium in you and then start slowly with Vitamin D. I can take 10,000 IU of Vitamin D now with no problems. You may want to research K2. If you are lacking in Vitamin K2 that can be problematic as Vitamin D cannot work without it. Almost all cases of Vit D toxicity also had a K2 deficiency. So K2 can make it safer to take Vitamin D. You can’t take it if you are on blood thinners. Mine is the Life Extension brand. Dr. Whitcomb said to take one every other day. I do every three or four days since I eat a lot of foods very high in K2. (Kefir, kale)

      I hop that helps.

      • Mark S January 6, 2016 at 7:35 am Reply

        I’be been taking around 600mg in small doses throughout the day plus Ancient Mineral spray. Maybe it’s time I bump it to 1,000mg now that I’m taking D3. I also did just start on K2. The K2 is supposed to move the calcium out of the blood and soft tissue and into the bones and teeth. So do you think the K2 would help the Achilles?

  33. kris t January 12, 2016 at 4:21 pm Reply

    Ruth, I too still have vision problems but I am not sure if it was the Cipro or from the anesthesia they gave me during my surgery. If it doesn’t go away, I will have to have eye surgery. Just wondered if Tarkonis is seeing double or just blurrieness. T, you might have to see an eye specialist which is what I did. Also Ruth, I had to take an Advil for a toothache, but so far, have not seen any worsening of symptoms. I will be almost a year post flox for me, so I am wondering if you have to stay off of NASIDS just for the first few months or the rest of your life? Kris T

    • tarkonis January 13, 2016 at 6:06 am Reply

      Hi Kris,

      Good to hear from you. I’m still around but its been hell. My eyesight is not affected in terms of clarity, its just that everything looks weird, like the walls are closing in.. everything is moving and I see visual snow.

      Looking at this horror show flares my anxiety so its a vicious circle. I manage it by wearing my old glasses which are the wrong prescription, which blurs my vision to the point where the horror show is only just noticeable. I’m waiting for a referral to an ophthalmologist.

      I very nearly gave up over Christmas. It was a very tough time. I’m still very much in the middle of this thing. Two tablets.. 😦

    • tarkonis January 13, 2016 at 6:07 am Reply

      Hows your other symptoms kris at 1 yr out, like anxiety mobility etc?

      • Mark S January 14, 2016 at 11:35 am Reply

        Have you tried Astaxanthin?

  34. kris t January 14, 2016 at 3:51 pm Reply

    Tarkonis, I am much better with most things. The brain fog cleared up around October and that was the worst thing for me. I hated noise, couldn’t wear perfume, and my favorite necklace just sat in the drawer. I took down most of my pictures. I thought I was going insane. I still have the awful back pain and now on my second round of PT. Chriopractic did not help at all, in fact I think it made it worse. They are going about it differently now trying to strengthen my core and then we go from there. Ruth, I asked about ultrasound and she said it would not help me. So far I have not had any ill effects from the Advil, but I am not going to take it unless my tooth starts acting up again. Tarkonis, you must see an opthamalagist right away. You could have a detached retina. You have to see some asap because you could go blind in that eye. Did you have any flashing lights and then see a dark veil? Kris T

  35. kris t January 14, 2016 at 4:11 pm Reply

    Also T, You must hang in there! You told me that months ago and I heeded your advice. You have a family who is counting on you to get through this. I am not sure if Iris made it, as I have not seen his posts in a long time. I do not have as much anxiety since I changed a few things in my life. I found a craft I could do that “pays it forward” so to speak and I am seeing a therapist which has helped a lot. For anxiety, I took PassionFloiwer extract, just one drop. It was recommended by Dr Oz here in the states. Could you take any of the supplements that Ruth Recommended? I could take none of them. I might try the MitoQ again as I have been so tired. But I got that virus that was going around and that did not help either. Kris T PS send me your e-mail address and I will write to you daily if it will help. I know Phillipe helped me a lot back in the dark dark days.

    • tarkonis January 24, 2016 at 3:19 pm Reply

      Hi Kris, Thanks for your words of kindness. Honesty I just don’t know how to carry on. My eyes are so bad now its like a really bad trip into hell. Everything moves and morphs about and flashes. I feel like a prisoner inside my own body. The anxiety and the nerve pain. I’ve got weird urological and stomach issues that are not resolving. We’re struggling a bit financially at the moment and honestly that’s the only thing keeping me here. I don’t want to leave that to my family. I just want to end it. its too much. Why did this have to happen to me. What did I ever do?

      • Mary January 24, 2016 at 4:24 pm Reply

        Hi Dave,
        I have been following your story for awhile here on Ruth’s page. I had some vision problems for the first few months, mainly blurriness of vision and pain and pressure behind my eyes. It has mostly resolved over time but can still flare up if i read a lot or am real tired or if my sinuses are bothering me.( I am almost 1 year out from being floxed) By the time I read here and in other places that floxies should not take benzodiazapines I had already been taking them for a few weeks. It is was what saved me initially. I had extreme tinnitus,anxiety and I physically shook all over and could not stop. I also had a lot of mental fog. The Xanax I was prescribed helped with the physical shaking and the anxiety. Once I had the physical shaking under control, and the anxiety partially controlled, I was able to concentrate enough to focus on other things to help me heal. Magnesium was probably the most important thing for me. I took a very low dose of Xanax and began tapering off as soon as I could decrease the dose without the shaking coming back which I believe was about 3 months out. I was totally off after 6 months and never had any withdrawal symptoms or issues with it. If you can make it without the help of drugs like this I am sure it is better for you but if you are having extreme anxiety and nothing else works, do not be afraid to try these prescription drugs. Just start at a low dose and follow correct protocol for decreasing the dose slowly as soon as you can. Yes they block gaba receptors but so do many of the “natural” cures recommended on many floxie boards. Unless you have an extremely addictive type personality or have had trouble with drugs in the past there is no reason to fear addiction. I do not mean to disrespect Ruth or Lisa by saying this. Without these wonderful ladies and the stories of many other on this website I don’t think I would be as healthy or sane as I am today. Both urological and stomach problems as well as many other things can be caused by anxiety so you need to get that under control and perhaps other things will start to heal.
        Also, please continue to turn to God for help. When I had insomnia so bad I could not sleep I spent a lot of time reading the Bible, mainly the Psalms. They were my prayers when my brain was too incoherent to formulate my own. Psalm 77 in particular resonated with me one night. The person who wrote that Psalm felt just like you do right now. He asked, where are you God? Have you forgotten me? Are you no longer merciful? Then he starts to remember all the good things that God had done for him and provided for him in the past and he begins to trust God that he will do the same again in the future. I began to do as he did. When what I was going through felt unbearable I began to recount to myself all the blessings God had bestowed on me in the past. I purposely focused on family friends and events that had been good things in my life and thanked God for them. This helped my depression immensely. I did this over and over many nights and this gave me hope that God would once again bless me. A little hope can go a long way when one is depressed.
        Keep praying and seek out others who will pray for you, on the spot, out loud. To have someone audibly pray for you is in itself a blessing and always has a calming effect on me. Please know that I am praying for you!!! Hang in there, it will get better!!!

      • mary hop February 15, 2016 at 11:01 am Reply

        Dave, Really wondering how you re doing. It has been awhile since you posted.

  36. Pete January 17, 2016 at 6:23 am Reply

    Hi Ruth
    Thanks for the effort you put into this. I wonder if you could just list out your top 6 supplements at all as I am finding that there is so much information. Can you list where you get them from please? It would be good to know what really helps send you off, relax. Also are idebenone or uridine pharmaceuticals or natural, sorry to be a bit dim. Thanks. P.

    • Ruth Young January 18, 2016 at 4:52 pm Reply

      Hi Pete,
      I would say my number one supplement is magnesium. I like magnesium malate, threonate and taurate. I want to try magnesium glycinate.

      Idebenone is very important to me as it helps with my depression, which I had long before I got floxed. It is a synthetic form of CoQ10. It helps your body use tryptophan to make serotonin. It helps the two hemispheres of your brain communicate. It stimulates nerve growth factor in the brain. But it is not a natural product. It is proven safe for long term use because of a year long study with for Parkinson Disease. It was not effective for PD, but a year long study is supposedly proof it is safe long term. I don’t know what that means for someone taking it for the rest of their life. But I prefer it to Prozac, so that’s the situation for me.

      I think NAC can be very helpful. Like Idebenone it was proven to prevent Cipro tendon damage if cells were pretreated with it. It also breaks up mucus so I have been taking it now because of upper respiratory issues. I think it helped my tendon when it was really bad too.
      It can lower zinc levels and you should take twice as much vitamin C as you are taking of NAC.

      Uridine is a natural supplement. It can mess with your B vitamins. I would not take it every day. I use it for those times when my brain will not let me sleep– when I’m drowsy but every time I get close to sleep I get more agitated and all my symptoms flare. In those cases Uridine helps, I think because it has its own receptors in the brain, so that I can bypass the damaged GABA receptors. I take 500-750 mg of uridine with a fish oil capsule when I can’t sleep.

      Plain old vitamin C and E have been shown to do a lot to help with FQ damage. Same goes for zinc and more so, because zinc has been shown to help reverse connective tissue damage. You don’t see that too often– something that is shown to reverse this. I take 25 mg a day of zinc, which is about as much as you can take safely. You need to break pills in half because every brand seems to sell zinc in 50 mg pills which is twice the daily safe upper limit.

      Vitamin D is also important but you need to get your magnesium levels up to take it safely. Also, taking it with K2 is optimal.

      With all supplements you need to research a few things. Make sure they don’t interact with other supplements or anything you are taking. Find out the safe upper limit. This is different from the recommended daily allowance. If you have a deficiency you can go higher than the RDA, but you should never go higher than the daily safe upper limit.

      Vitamin E they recommend no higher than 400 IU a day for an optimal dose. Vitamin C you can go really high safely, but you will get diarrhea if you overdo it. Magnesium the safe upper limit is a gram a day but you won’t get anywhere close that without diarrhea if you have a deficiency.

      L-Theanine really helps me relax. I take 200 mg on an empty stomach. I used to do that 3x a day. It will mellow you out quite a bit. CalmPRT is a good supplement too, but it is pricey. Online reviews say it is as good as a benzo for anxiety, without being habit forming. It makes me feel a bit stoned, but it does cut the anxiety.

      Some people can’t tolerate any supplements, and if that is the case don’t panic. You can still heal. Just research what foods have what you need in them and go for those foods. Supplements are drugs. We don’t think of it that way, but they really are. I have found a lot of relief from various supplements and herbs, but not everyone does. Some things that really help me, like Idebenone, increase anxiety for others.

      I hope you find what works well for you.

      • Eddie February 14, 2016 at 7:08 am Reply

        Hi Ruth
        I’m 5 months post floxing and my tendons seem to have healed to a great extent. I was never very active physically, but only just have a mild ache in my ankles if i exert more than usual.
        But i am rather disturbed by some eye symptoms i have been having since a week. I see some floaters sometimes during the day but waking up in the morning there are quite a few.

        All kinds of shapes-dots, blobs, small irregular lines and cloudy figures that contract when i blink. They are either dark or a liitle shiny. Sometimes the dark blobs have a shiny outline. The other day i was looking at a red cloth that had blue circles and the blue circles seemed to shine and dart to and fro when i blinked.

        I had my eyes checked yesterday and the eye doc said she thinks my eye retina looks fine. When i told her about the drug reaction she said she could nor rule out that the eye gel may have started degenerating early due to the drug but its not visible on eye exam yet.

        I hope that its not a physical degeneration thing but the gaba damage thats causing it. So i can atleast hope it will subside with time.What do you think it is?
        Did your eye symptoms happen at a particular time of the day?
        Mine become really obvious in the dark when I’ve just woken up after a couple of hours of sleep. Its more when my eyelids are shut than open.

        • Ruth Young February 15, 2016 at 10:14 am

          If the symptoms are happening in the morning they are probably GABA related. It is hard for our bodies to relax and stay relaxed. So when you first come out of sleep you may notice some symptoms are worse. I only get that Cipro tinnitus in the early morning anymore.

          I had floaters before Cipro and they are worse now. They aren’t getting better. I used to be able to take hyaluranic acid and they would get better. That does not seem to help post flox. So long as the retina looks fine I would not worry too much. If your tendons healed then your eyes probably are going to also. It may just take time. I never thought that the floaters could be GABA related. That would explain why supplements that helped eliminate mine in the past don’t seem to be working now.

          The good news is that although detached retina is a symptom of Cipro toxicity, it seems to be one of the more rare ones, usually occurring while the person is still taking the Cipro. That’s what my eye doctor said. It would be very uncommon to have a detached retina months or even years later from taking Cipro. Can we rule out anything with these horrible pills? Probably not. But statistically speaking, time is on your side with that side effect.

          I have had a lot of visual symptoms that I am pretty certain are GABA related. These include flashes of light, blue blobs, an appearance that stationary objects are moving, little moving streaks of light– just crazy stuff. At a fireworks show shortly after being floxed I noticed that I had a lot more of an after image from bright lights, which resulted in my seeing streaks in the sky– like a light trail following things. I knew it was not supposed to look like that. But it looked really cool, so I just enjoyed it as something I would likely never experience again. It made the cakes (multi shot devices) in the show look so different and amazing.

          Try to find the silver lining whenever you can and just hang in there. Our bodies have an amazing capacity to heal and more than one doctor has reminded me that the longer you can go without a major adverse event like a tendon rupture or a detached retina the less likely those things are to happen.

          It sounds like you are very much like me– physically healing quite well, but there is some nervous system damage persisting. Those GABA receptors take awhile to come back online and they cause all kinds of weird things to happen as they are being replaced.

  37. kris t February 2, 2016 at 2:50 pm Reply

    Tarkonis, just wondering how you are doing? Did you ever see an eye specialist for your vision thing? I had a bad thing happen, had a neck epidural for pain, and he hit a nerve in my right arm and now I have some nerve damage. Never did get the steoid injection in, as I yelled for him to stop. Now I am in more neck pain than before, but my main worry is the nerve damage in my arm. Kris T

    • tarkonis February 17, 2016 at 2:09 pm Reply

      Hi Kris,

      I haven’t posted for a while, sorry about that. I’ve been in a bad way. I am still managing to work and while its tough I believe it helps me mentally to get out there and it fights the depression. My symptoms continue, although slightly improved. I have been to see an opthamologist who gave me a clean bill of health on my eyes and my optic nerve. I have been to see a neurologist who is sending me for a brain scan.

      I continue to have peripheral neuropathy in my entire body. Burning sensations and tingling sensantions that consume my every waking thought. I have to pretend every day im not in constant pain. I think the neuropathy is causing my visual snow because it seems to resonate at the same frequency as the pain, if that makes any sense.

      My stomach is up and down, i laxxed on the diet a bit to cheer me up and had a set back today. The depression was creeping in and the brain fog. I started on the Colostrum as recommended by someone here, and it seems to be helping a bit.

      My joints and tendons are pretty bad, my achillies, knees and calves seize up if I don’t move about. My back is in agony and my arms are really sore at the shoulder. Today im getting hot/cold sensations in my legs.

      I had to stop the antioxidants because I ran out of money. I’m going to try and get back on the PQQ and i’m finding mega doses of B12 help the neuropathy a little. I very nearly gave up in December. It’s hard to carry on.

      Ruth did you suffer form neuropathy and how long did it go on for? How did you manage to get your legs and arms from going stiff all the time? Im going to try some light exercise soon, maybe cross trainer or swimming.

      Thanks all hope you are all coping well.

      • Ruth Young February 18, 2016 at 5:46 am Reply

        Sorry to hear things are still so rough. But you have survived. You will make it through this.

        I find the tightness responds to massage and to non-weight bearing exercise. As you’ve found, you have to keep moving– but not in a strenuous way. Think range of motion exercises. Nothing with weights or any type of resistance for now. Many people find relief from swimming– just being in the water seems to relieve pain for a lot of people. But even there your goal is to move in every way possible but do not push too hard.

        I initially had inappropriate sensations of cold in my left arm and the left side of my neck. Supplementing magnesium helped. I got pain in my toes in and off for awhile. This was worse if I ate too much sugar. Seems to be resolving now. Those would probably be my only instances of true neuropathy.

        The intense burning that I still get sometimes is GABA related. I get the occasional tingle here and there, but I do not know if that is GABA related or true neuropathy. Neuropathy would mean the nerve is actually damaged.

        But lots of us do not have that. We have a lack of receptors for the calming neurotransmitter GABA. Our nerves are working just fine, but the mechanism to moderate that input, to calm things down, is not working.

        It sounds to me, based on my own experience, that your visual issues and a lot of your neuropathy may indeed be the result of downgraded GABA receptors. The good news is those heal. The bad news is it can take a long time.

        We are symptomatic when the GABA receptors are upgrading. When we get a normal window it feels good but little healing is taking place. When I get a flare up of symptoms I suspect to be related to damaged GABA receptors I remind myself that my body is just making some more repairs.

        The methyl B-12 is excellent for nerves and with it you may be able to prevent and even heal any actual nerve damage. I suspect though that the body wide burning is GABA related. There is not much you can do to stop that. It is evidence that healing is taking place.

        I think our body will only be able to complete repairs to GABA receptors if everything else is ok– we need to address deficiencies, oxidative stress, gut health– the total picture. When our body feels that other more critical problems are being handled it can take on upgrading GABA receptors. The fact that you are having symptoms consistent with downgraded GABA receptors means your body must feel like it can take on that damage now. This is why reactions sometimes get a lot worse right when you thought you were feeling better. Bodies that are not under a huge load of oxidative stress, that have enough vitamins and functional minerals, that have enough health flora and that have healthy mitochondria are able to take on GABA receptor damage.

        When your body adds GABA receptors because it does not have enough the process is sheer torture. But it is a healing process none the less. You will get there. You may be closer than you think.

        • tarkonis February 26, 2016 at 3:10 am

          Hi Ruth,

          Sorry its took me so long to respond, I have read your message, I read it all the time and it helps my frame of mind. Thanks so much for supporting me during this horrific time.

          My pain is still quite bad, especially in my legs, my arms and behind my eyes. I hope what you say is true that the pain is due to healing, and im not one of those unfortunate people who get permanent pain 😦

  38. joanneg February 4, 2016 at 10:38 am Reply

    Hi, I’m trying to post all over this site to let EVERYONE suffering from this horrific debilitating affliction know that I think I’ve found my CURE!!!!

    Go to homepage (located at top of page) and read my posts starting at Feb. 2nd and the ones following. It’s too much to post here.

    • tarkonis February 17, 2016 at 2:10 pm Reply

      Hi Joanneg,

      I tried the Colostrum as you have recommended, and I believe it helps my gut. It hasn’t been any kind of magic bullet but, I think it helps. So, thanks for the recommend.

  39. Eddie February 15, 2016 at 11:20 am Reply

    Thank you so much Ruth!! I so badly needed to hear that. It has been so frightening seeing those odd floaters thinking my retina will break loose any moment.
    You are such a sweetheart!
    Will try n be more relaxed now!!

  40. Tami February 16, 2016 at 2:50 pm Reply

    Hi Ruth, I am still having problems with this tinnitus after 5 months. Some doctors said it will go away and others say it will never go away deal with it. After Cipro does it go away or am I just going to have to find away to deal with it. i also, still have spasms and fluttering it still concerns me. I do not even want to work out. I am only getting four hours of sleep. After 5 months you would think I would see some kind of improvement. More than anything I am now food sensitive to everything can not eat anything because the tinnitus gets worse. Is there anything you can recommend. I am very tired. Best Always Tami

  41. Ruth Young February 17, 2016 at 3:30 pm Reply

    There are others on this site who dealt with food sensitivity, so you might want to look for their stories. I pretty much have been able to eat anything I want all through this, so I can’t really help you there.

    I think the tinnitus will go away, because it is quite likely from a reduction in GABA receptors. People who have low levels of the neurotransmitter GABA often have difficulty with tinnitus. I guess this is kind of an accepted fact. So if low levels of GABA can cause ringing in the ears, what if you don’t have enough receptors for GABA? Sounds to me like it could do the same thing. Also, the Benzo withdrawal websites are full of people complaining about tinnitus, so it is obviously a symptom that can be caused by downgraded GABA receptors. Benzodiazepines can damage GABA receptors and so can fluoroquinolones.

    The good news is that those receptors do upgrade. It can take a very long time though. Five months out is not enough time. I still had quite a lot of tinnitus, on and off, at five months. But I also had normal windows during which I had zero tinnitus, which I had not had for decades. It is still like that for me. Times with zero tinnitus, times during which it comes back, but it is a lot softer now.

    When our GABA receptors upgrade we feel it. That’s why sometimes we get normal windows. If your tinnitus comes and goes, to me that could suggest it is GABA receptor related, which means it is very likely going to get better.

    Doctors knowledgeable about FQ toxicity generally say a year out is nothing. I know it seems like five months and everything should be better, but I’m at two years and everything is not resolved yet. I’m getting close and I don’t have any symptoms that keep me from living my life.

    I was still getting spasms and heart palpitations at five months out. I think the racing, pounding heart thing stopped completely at eight to nine months out.

    I still will get the occasional muscle spasm. Things get tight for no reason and then suddenly feel fine again. That’s GABA receptor damage too. It is getting better. I still need to stretch! But I would say, considering my return to a sedentary career, I’m not nearly as stiff and sore as I’d expect to be. I think I felt worse in my thirties than I do now. My joints also feel a lot better than they did before getting floxed. So positive changes I made to my health are working.

    My nervous system has a little ways to go. Nerves (and their receptors) heal slowly.

    Give yourself more time. At less than a year, you just can’t make any prognosis and no doctor should be telling you at this early stage that something might be permanent. It is just as likely, probably more likely, not to be. GABA receptors heal. Quite often symptoms lasting longer than a few months are GABA related.

    Sounds like you need to heal your gut too though, and I am not the best person to help with that. My theory is that our body only repairs GABA receptors (beyond keeping us from having a seizure or convulsing and dying) when everything else is ok. If your gut is not healthy, then all your healing is going to be slowed down. There are people who went from 85% to 100% almost overnight by improving their gut health. It is more complicated than just taking some probiotics, that is why I suggest getting help from someone else on this site who healed their gut. Find out how they did it. I think if you get your gut healed then the tinnitus, the insomnia and a lot of other things will start to improve.

    Hang in there! It is very likely none of your symptoms will be permanent and you will come out of this healthier than before. It’s a lot of work, but you can overcome this.

    • Tami February 18, 2016 at 7:10 am Reply

      Thank you Ruth, what a sweetie. I am soo .. not myself and the constant ringing drives me insane. I will definitely talk to someone about the gut,, or if there is anyone on the site that went through this please let me know. Some of the professional have me going in a circle, because they do not even know what to so.

      Thanks again Ruth for your motivational words. I guess it is going to take time.


  42. Amy R February 21, 2016 at 12:47 am Reply

    Hi Ruth,

    It’s been about a week since I believe I’ve been floxed, and I’m writing to you now during a bad bout of insomnia. I’ve been trying epsom salt baths before bed, started taking a magnesium supplement and just got ancient minerals spray from Amazon today and used it. I was falling asleep watching TV a few hours ago but when I actually went to bed, I could not sleep. I also took L-theanine and GABA supplements several hours before laying down, and 5-htp when I was trying to turn in for bed.

    In the days following my floxing, I got a few hours in. But the totally sleepless nights are scaring me and I’m not sure if it’s anxiety that’s fueling them. I have to continue working and I’m afraid about insomnia’s impact on my performance. Please help if you have any advice.


    • Ruth Young February 21, 2016 at 4:53 am Reply

      Through this ordeal I noticed that I got more than one type of insomnia. I deal with different types in different ways.

      If it is just that my brain won’t shut offL-Theanine is excellent. I would not supplement GABA directly. It is not very bio-available so you are probably wasting your money. If it does work you risk flooding your already downgraded receptors with too much GABA causing more of them to pull back.

      If I just can’t get drowsy at all Tryptophan works well– very similar to the 5htp as it allows for melatonin production so long as you are in a dark room.

      However, your nervous system may not allow you to be able to relax as much as these supplements would relax it and you will get a paradoxical response if you take too much. Instead of relaxation and sleep you will get more awake and agitated. I even took minimal or no magnesium before bed. I found it could cause a rapid heart beat every time I dropped into sleep.

      So before bed try to sleep before you take anything to help with sleep. Your damaged nervous system may be more likely to give you some sleep if you don’t try to force it to relax beyond what it is able.

      I found that I needed to very carefully approach sleep– sneaking up on it, not just marching in the front door. I would relax but not too much. Relaxing too deeply would increase all symptoms. You just have to very carefully spend all the time needed to relax a tiny bit at a time until you are asleep. You can’t get upset about how long it is taking. You have to be satisfied with whatever amount you can relax symptom free as providing all the rest you need. Listening to music helped with this. Took my mind off symptoms and allowed me to meditate by focusing only on the music.

      If you can get into that relaxed meditative state you can get some of the benefits of sleep– neurons shrink and lymph vessels expand during meditation just like during sleep.

      Sometimes I get insomnia during which every time I fall asleep or sometimes even get close to sleep I get a variety of intense and unpleasant symptoms. These can include heart palpitations, a pounding racing heart beat, loud tinnitus, muscle cramping, a feeling of fear and intense burning. When I get this type of insomnia uridine helps. I take 750 mg with a fish oil capsule to make it work better. It only works when symptoms are ramping up, getting more intense every time I try to sleep.

      Uridine does not help the insomnia of just not being sleepy. Uridine works when I am sleepy, would have slept, but keep getting jolted painfully out of sleep. There is a theory that it has its own receptors in the brain allowing your brain to bypass the downgraded GABA receptors. For me my brain has to find the GABA pathway completely unavailable in order to utilize the uridine.

      So that is my advice– try to sleep first before taking anything in the evening, even magnesium. Then assess whether the insomnia is caused by a lot of brain chatter (Theanine) or not being drowsy (5htp, tryptophan or melotonin) or from intensified symptoms every time you do fall asleep (uridine.)

      As you can tell by my description of symptoms– my nervous system was VERY heavily damaged by Cipro. Yet I am getting close to 100% healing. I think that last five percent may take as long as the first 95% (sort of like the last five pounds when you are dieting) but I am living a very normal life. I sleep just fine most of the time. My down cycles now are comparable to what I would have called a normal window a year and a half ago.

      I kept having that killer insomnia about every ten days for a good year, but then it started coming less frequently and I discovered uridine so I have been able to stop it most of the time. Uridine usually knocks it out within thirty minutes.

      Very rarely do I have trouble falling asleep now even after a very busy day and a late night. It can happen, but it happened before Cipro too.

      Early in my reaction I needed to be resting quietly by about three p.m. in order to get to sleep at night. You may need to start forgoing any and all activity after work, including watching tv, in order to focus on relaxation and meditation for a few hours in the afternoon. I chafed at the restriction on my ability to live a normal life, but it helped me to get some sleep. Now I can be busy right up until bedtime and still fall asleep.

      It’s not permanent. GABA receptors do repair themselves! In fact, that is exactly what they are doing when you are symptomatic. Don’t panic. It gets better. You are going to be tired sometimes but you will get through it. Eventually sleep will just come naturally again.

      • heyyoshimi February 21, 2016 at 11:30 am Reply

        The insomnia I’m experiencing I think is mostly due to brain chatter. At first I thought I didn’t sleep at all last night, but I remember having a dream, so I must have! There was also some ‘sleep’ in the corner of my eyes, though I wonder if that would just accumulate from laying in the dark all night with my eyes closed. I’ll forgo all the other measures I had been trying for a while to see if it makes a difference. I have woken up with a pounding heart and fear, but I think that’s largely because I haven’t accepted that this could be a long journey ahead of me. I’m 24, I work as a copy editor at a major newspaper in New York City, and I’m very nervous about the toll this will take on my social life.

        How long did it take for you once you turned in very early to relax and kind of unplug from the world, to get your sleep schedule back on track? I ask this because my boyfriend and I have very different schedules, and he comes over often. During the week he’ll come over as late as 9. Having him here is comforting for me, and I’m afraid that if I drop out for a while he’ll grow impatient (but hopefully he won’t leave me). We do have the same weekend (Sundays and Mondays), so I suppose if we have to cut back during the week, temporarily, we can survive.

        I’ve been experiencing cracking joints and mostly sore knees, so I’ve got a magnesium glycinate supplement and a chondroitin with MSA just for that. I need to make sure I don’t have any tendon tears, as my commute to work is mostly walking. I suppose I should only take the magnesium early in the morning, then? My other symptoms are mild tinnitus, which I can only really hear when there’s total silence, and my appetite is way off, though I don’t know if that’s from lack of sleep or from the antibiotic. I have mild peripheral neuropathy, too, it’s a tingling in my fingers and feet. I’ve also had an increase in eye floaters, but I only see them when I’m outside, usually when I look at the sky.

        I’m also nervous about a potential revamping of my diet. How does one know if they’re also suffering the gut issues? I’ve been drinking kefir to start off my morning in case that’s part of my insomnia problem. As far as I can tell, I’m not allergic to gluten, though I’ve been trying to avoid it in case, and that makes me extremely sad. I love bread.

        I took Cipro in December for a UTI that I’m pretty sure wasn’t a UTI. It was a seven-day course that I didn’t end up finishing. Last week I took levaquin (2 500mg doses) for a suspected sinus infection. Augmentin didn’t work when I first took it. The killer sinus headaches I’d had for a month are now gone, but these new problems are way worse. Reading up on floxie hope makes me anxious. When I go outside, or go on Facebook, just seeing people who don’t have to go through this crap makes me launch into a pity party. I don’t know what to do.

        • Ruth Young February 21, 2016 at 3:08 pm

          Theanine will help with the brain chatter. I told my husband it is like a shut up pill for my brain. He asked if I have one for my mouth. No, I do not. Ha!

          Don’t feel like you have to replicate my schedule. Do what works for you. Maybe rest a bit and then have your boyfriend come over. Snuggling is good! Would he be willing to give you a massage? Physical contact will help to push your autonomic nervous system back into balance. Relationships, connections to other people, are helpful for healing from this so do not isolate yourself too much.

          I can’t remember at what point I could suddenly tolerate more activity and stimulation near bed time and still get sleep. Maybe sometime after a year… But it was less time than that before I didn’t need to be resting by three p.m. I needed less and less time to wind down as the months went by. Then suddenly I realized I was pretty much back to normal where sleep is concerned except during the odd relapse.

          Before my period hormonal changes can disrupt my sleep– as happened long before Cipro– but I think due to the supplements I take now and the fact that I spent a lot of time working at learning to relax again after getting floxed, I get better sleep in the days before my period than I ever did in my life.

          It is hard not to throw that pity party. Sometimes you have to. But don’t stay there. So long as you don’t live in self pity land it is ok to visit now and then. Acknowledge the grief and the anger.

          But spend most of your time focused on the positive. That’s what I did. I’d look for anything that felt good at the moment, or anything that would have made me happy before (even if I felt nothing at the moment) and I focused on that. It became a mental habit to always find something good, something positive to focus on, no matter how small.

          This experience will change you for the better. Doesn’t make it ok that it happened to you. It’ll take all you’ve got to make it through it. But it will make you strong in ways you never knew a human being could be strong.

          You will heal. I think most people do. They just don’t return to write about that! After a hundred posts of negativity about their aches and pains and suffering they maybe post once after they heal. Maybe once. It is a skewed picture. Yes, some don’t heal. But most do, at least to the point that they can live full lives again. You are young enough to reach 100%. Those who healed usually had a belief that they would heal 100%. Try to cultivate that belief.

          You may want to try Great Lakes Gelatin in the green can for your joints. I really like it. My joints are improved from before I got floxed. I’m middle aged and had plenty of aches and pains before getting floxed. If I can get my nervous system to heal that last 5% I am going to be way better than I was before I got floxed. I think I will be much healthier at fifty than I was at forty. If I can get there you can too!

      • Amy February 23, 2016 at 2:09 pm Reply

        Thanks for all your advice. Can the MitoQ help with CNS symptoms, or is that mostly for tendon issues?

        • Ruth Young February 23, 2016 at 2:47 pm

          MitoQ will not calm things down. If anything, as it helps your mitochondria function better it could give you more energy and that could feel stimulating.

          It is going to help your mitochondria and that is good. Perhaps that could give your body what it needs to heal nervous system damage. So in a round about way it could help. But I took it for over a year and my tendons healed but I still have CNS symptoms and occasional insomnia, so it is not a cure for those things.

          What it did do for me was improve cardiac function. That was kind of amazing. Did it do it by itself or because I was taking Idebenone and PQQ with it? I really don’t know. But when I was taking all three I was able to hike up the Baraboo bluffs like it was nothing. I still had to keep my total hike shorter and I got a lot of muscle pain and stiffness. But I didn’t get very short of breath. It felt like I was in my twenties again. If you are already in your twenties you won’t notice anything. But for me, at almost fifty, what it did for my cardiovascular system was pretty amazing.

      • Amy R. February 25, 2016 at 8:33 am Reply

        Tinnitus is one of the first symptoms that presented itself about two weeks ago, the day after my last Levaquin dose. Last night before bed, I listened to a ‘body scan’ meditation and fell asleep during it. I slept uninterrupted for four hours (the most it seems I can get these days) and it seems this morning my tinnitus was a little less pronounced. I have been taking l-theanine, so I wonder if either of these things had an influence?

  43. Ruth Young February 25, 2016 at 3:42 pm Reply

    Possibly, but symptoms will tend to wax and wane. They may come back. Don’t panic. This heals through cycles.

  44. Ruth Young February 26, 2016 at 7:34 am Reply

    You are still in my thoughts and prayers. Although some people do suffer permanent pain from FQ damage, I do believe that that outcome is truly rare. To get floxed? Not rare at all. To recover to 100% like it never even happened? Somewhat rare. To recover enough to live a completely normal, even mostly comfortable life, even if all symptoms don’t resolve 100%? Probably the most common outcome.

    Why would your case NOT resolve in the most likely way? I believe I am in that last group. And I’m fine. Totally fine. Whatever little twinges and annoyances that remain for me are more than off set by the improvements to my health which I never would have achieved had I not been floxed. My blood pressure is normal or very close to normal all the time now, without medication. I am losing weight while gaining muscular strength without really trying that hard to do it.

    I play church organ better than I EVER did in my life. I think that is partly due to increased stress hormones, as my autonomic nervous system is not completely in balance. I can tell when I get a normal window when I have to play because I feel distracted, sleepy and stupid, even though I am playing at the level I did before I got floxed.

    Most of the time now when I play I have a laser beam focus that allows me to play difficult music well even when I am fatigued, even after hours of playing. I can play a long difficult piece as a postlude and make it all the way to the end with clear focus. Before getting floxed my brain would be half way down the hall for a donut a quarter of the way through the piece.

    So a part of me is like, “Who cares that I am not all the way healed?”

    I take CalmPRT when I teach because without it the extra adrenaline is in no way an advantage in a classroom full of kids. I just don’t take it Sunday morning when extra adrenaline is a huge advantage to me.

    I will put up with burning sensations on my skin, occasional muscle pain, some paresthesias, occasionally not sleeping well and anything else that goes along with a damaged nervous system because I’m actually functioning really well, not uncomfortable beyond what I can tolerate, and I’m finding an advantage as a musician that I did not expect.

    I hope that you will find your pain becoming manageable and your life returning to normal soon. I totally believe that it will, because it is the most likely outcome. You may even make it to 100% like it never happened. I might too. Except for my right ankle. But I didn’t plan to run any marathons anyway. I hate running.

    Don’t let your brain make the very desirable outcome of 100% healing be any less likely than a negative disabling outcome. There is no reason that a negative outcome is more likely. Focus on the positive. It’s probably what will happen anyway and you will save yourself a lot of grief and heart ache by not wasting energy worrying about what will happen. I know, easier said than done!

    Most people who healed say they just believed all along that they were going to be ok.

  45. Mark S March 9, 2016 at 4:58 pm Reply

    Hi Ruth,

    Now at two years out, how long would you say it took for your tendons to feel completely healed? I’m coming up on eight months and I have improved but still having trouble with my left Achilles.

    • Mark S March 9, 2016 at 5:15 pm Reply

      Also, when did you start to notice you were regaining wasted muscles in your legs?

      • Ruth Young March 10, 2016 at 4:45 pm Reply

        Some of the muscle wasting reversed immediately when I began supplementing magnesium. Within a couple weeks it was starting to come back. I think some of it was a nerve conduction issue– I lost muscle tone because the nerves could not work properly when my body was that magnesium deficient. As you know your kidneys must be healthy in order to supplement magnesium and you should not exceed the daily safe upper limit of a gram a day. The RDA is lower than that, but it is safe to go higher, assuming your kidneys are healthy. You have to start slowly. Avoid magnesium oxide as it is not very well absorbed.

        To really regain all the lost muscle has been a slow process. This summer I started to feel like I was really getting strong again– stronger than an average middle aged woman. So it was close to two years before I really felt like myself. And I have a ways to go to actually be as strong as I was preflox. But I’m strong enough to again feel like my ten pound bowling ball is too light. A woman I was bowling with recently tried my ball and said it was too heavy. So I feel like I’m back. I could barely have lifted that ball, much less bowled with it immediately after getting floxed.

        I think everything you describe can possibly be reversed but for some people it takes longer. I think I have some pretty good genes. I have watched my dad get up off a couple of times in the last month and today he called asking to borrow some exercise equipment. So it all depends on the person, but just because I healed in two years and you have not healed yet does not mean you won’t heal.

        • Ruth Young March 10, 2016 at 4:47 pm

          Meant to say I have watched my dad get up off his deathbed. They keep saying he is going to die and he keeps getting stronger. So I probably inherited some of that tenacity in my ability to heal.

  46. Mark March 9, 2016 at 9:06 pm Reply

    I’m about 2 years out too now and my tendons hurt like hell when I try to use them for normal walking. Can’t to anything other than stay in bed or make the flat footed walk to the bathroom. Life sucks in comparison to the rather adventurous lifestyle I had before.

    • Mark S March 10, 2016 at 12:09 pm Reply

      I’m so sorry to hear that, Mark. It really is a crime. But better days are on the way. I truly believe that. Some take longer than others to start recovery. How much of the poison did you take?

    • Ruth Young March 10, 2016 at 4:39 pm Reply

      Have you tried ultrasound for your tendons. You can actually buy a machine online. Get one with both 1Mhz and 3 Mhz settings. Let me know if it is something you want to do and I will tell you how to use the machine. It is not hard to do and it’s very safe. I found it to be very effective for promoting tendon healing. My tendons were really bad for awhile, but they did get better. I think ultrasound helped as well as NAC– N-aceytl cycteine (excuse my spelling– tired brain right now.) I think the NAC did a lot. So those are two things you can try that seemed to set me on the right path toward healing. I also have gotten good results from Great Lakes Gelatin, because it contains the things my body needs to repair tendons. Get the green can. It will dissolve in hot or cold beverages.

      My left achilles tendon is not perfect. If I push hard it will hurt a little. But I can do what I want for the most part because my laterally tracking patellae and my flat feet are going to stop me at just about the same point that weak tendon will. My right ankle also gives me trouble, but I am not sure if this is from tendon/cartilage or connective tissue damage or if it is because my ankles still keep tightening up a little bit– that’s a GABA receptor issue that is not 100% resolved. But again, my ankle is going to stop me at almost the same point my flat footed, anterior knee pain prone middle aged body would have stopped me anyway.

      I hope you can get to that point where the limitations you have post flox are not such that they interfere with your life in any significant way. I think if you try the things I tried: ultrasound, NAC and Great Lakes Gelatin, you may find that you can stimulate a little more healing. You’ll have to do your research and decide if those things are right for you. Let me know if there is any guidance I can give you. Remember too that everybody’s body is different and healing tendonosis (FQ damage is not tendonitis) is difficult.

  47. tarkonis March 18, 2016 at 2:29 am Reply

    Hi all,

    Just posting to check in and for some support really.

    I’m about 8 months out now and having ok ish days and really bad days still. Neuropathy is bad today as is my visual disturbances. Burning pain all over my body, in my eyes in my mouth. Gotta keep going for my family. Put my contact lenses in last night to try to watch the football on the TV, big mistake. Could see all the swirling and flashing in full HD. Back to wearing my old glasses today and cant see a thing. Good for my sanity but not good for work. 2 tablets man jeez. 😦

    im taking all the supplements, all though my diet has waned somewhat. Im a busy teacher so i have to just eat whatever to keep my energy levels up throughout the day.

    Just need some motivation guys to keep going. Hope your all ok.

    • tarkonis March 18, 2016 at 3:28 am Reply

      Just writing a follow up as I think of more things.

      The reason my diet has regressed is because I dont seem to react to foods as I did in the past. I was quite strict gluten free dairy free for a while and eat healthy. Added probiotic foods and supps etc. Then my stomach seemed to go ok, not back to what it was but ok. So I resumed my normal diet. Honestly outside of stomach issues I didnt see an improvement in other areas. In fact I would feel worse if I didnt eat normally than if I eat well on my diet. I still cut out all alcohol, coffee, sugar drinks etc.

      I was looking at extreme things like a 4 day broth fast etc. Not sure if that would help or hinder, some people seem to do well on them but others who are unwell seems to make them worse.

      • Mary March 18, 2016 at 8:16 am Reply

        Good to hear from you Dave,
        I am excited for you that at least your stomach is better. From the experience of some others and myself, once the stomach is better, the rest follows with time. I think the gut has to be healthy to be able to process the supplements the rest of our body needs. I hope you keep taking the colostrum. I am a year out and think I am about 90% recovered but still decided to take the colostrum when I heard about it recently. My thymus was radiated when I was a baby which effects your immune system so I figured it couldn’t hurt . I am amazed that within days of taking it the pain I get in the left side of my face and sinuses and that shoots through my eye decreased dramatically. Coincidence? maybe but nothing else had helped so far and I did not change anything else. I don’t know what else you are taking but My Dr. recommended Ocuvite which supplies vitamins and supplements that your eyes need. I had blurry vision initially and a lot of pain in and behind my eyes for a long time. Might be worth a try.
        God bless and hang in there. I hope you get the summer off to heal since you are a teacher.

        • tarkonis March 27, 2016 at 1:48 pm

          8 months now.. still no respite from the burning, from the crazy vision, from the brain vice. It’s hard to go on.

  48. Ruth Young March 27, 2016 at 3:35 pm Reply

    I know how frustrating it can be. But it does end. Maybe quite soon. Don’t give up. Just hang on one more day. And one more day after that. Until you’ve hung on long enough to see an end to the nightmare. Your symptoms are so consistent with damaged GABA receptors. Those heal. There is no evidence that GABA receptors don’t upgrade. But as my husband reminds me, it takes time for nerves to heal. I say that it isn’t nerves it’s my receptors that are the problem. He says it is the same thing basically. Neurological damage takes a long time to repair itself. But it will. We have neural plasticity. Your autonomic nervous system will get back in balance.

    Two things that have helped me recently are colostrum and frequency specific microcurrent. I get my colostrum from sovereign laboratories. I think they are the best. You can google FSM to find out more about it. An instructor at a physical therapy class I was taking said she believes it can help stimulate GABA receptors to upgrade. It is used to treat chronic pain. My instructor said it works because it activates the parasympathetic nervous system. That is exactly what we need! I have had good results, but I do short sessions. Too much will stimulate a lot of healing but can intensify symptoms temporarily. I find the shorter sessions (40 minutes instead of 80) work better for me.

    • tarkonis March 28, 2016 at 5:03 am Reply

      Hi Ruth,

      Thanks again for your words of comfort.

      I cant see a practitioner of FSM in my area. Looks promising though. To be honest ive given up on finding my magic bullet and have settled into a supplement regime that doesn’t seem to be doing anything. Perhaps it is helping but I just don’t realise it.

      I’ve been taking the colostrum for a while and I believe it has helped by gut. I am no longer sensitive to foods. But am still not having normal habits (tmi).

      The brain fog is pretty crippling too. Like my head is stuck in a vice. Does that ever go away? I believe you and Lisa had pretty severe brain fog and comprehension difficulties. Trying to teach classes with my head stuck in a vice is not easy, as you well know.

      Im able to exercise now am doing a hour on the cross trainer every day. I watch some tv and seems to be normal for a while until my legs give out. It helps.

      How are you Ruth, you say you are still seeking treatment for symptoms, sorry to hear that I thought you were over this nightmare now. Oh and I forgot to say Happy Easter, peace be with you. 🙂

      • Ruth Young March 28, 2016 at 6:00 am Reply

        It is good to hear you are having some improvement. I think the rest of it will all go away for you eventually.

        I have had a horrible time with my ears, even needing tubes put in. At first I was reluctant to say it was related to FQ damage but on a hunch I put Eustachian tube and autonomic nervous system into my search engine and got a list of studies as long as your arm testing whether Eustachian tube dysfunction and autonomic nervous system dysfunction are related. I did not even read them. I’m pretty sure there is a correlation. It is like my Eustachian tubes just clamp shut and nothing will open them and at the same time I feel tightness inside and even externally around my ears. Like the muscles around my ears are tightening. Also, it feels like the tensor tympani muscle that tightens up your ear drum in response to loud sounds just gets tight for no reason, even when I am in a quiet environment.

        At the same time all this was happening I was fighting a sinus infection which my body seemed to finally kick but suddenly all this awful stuff started trying to drain out through my ears, but with blocked Eustachian tubes it all got trapped in my ears. My sinuses were getting clearer and clearer and finally, for the first time since last May I actually had resonance in the entire range of my singing voice, but I could barely hear.

        The FSM seems to temporarily restore my Eustachian tube function. I also found that playing the oboe helps get my Eustachian tubes functioning normally. If I’d only known, I would have been doing that sooner! I am a lousy oboe player– it sounds like I am torturing a duck– but I take about ten minutes to torture that duck pretty much every day now and my ears are better for it.

        The colostrum seemed to also help clear up my sinuses and ears.

        I still can sometimes get anxiety, pressure, numbness in my face, a slightly increased heart rate when watching tv– but it is all getting better with time. When I am symptomatic it seems to improve my ability to concentrate and focus when playing piano or organ. But it makes it harder to teach– I find myself blanking out on names and forgetting words to songs, losing my train of thought– I’m sure you can relate. I think musicians need a certain amount of adrenaline– it helps us focus. A little extra when I’m playing is not a bad thing so long as I’m not flaring really bad, and it’s been a year since that happened. But in the classroom– kind of a chaotic environment at times– the extra adrenaline is just too much and it makes me less able to focus.

        So recently I took a picture of the kids in each of my classes and in the quiet environment of my home used the seating chart and looked at their little faces until I really felt like I knew their names well. That helped. I could not acquire the new learning of their names properly until I did it in a quiet, relaxed environment. My coteacher believes I have early onset dementia, I know she does, so I have been trying hard to improve my performance in the classroom. So odd though, that on a day in which I am flaring I will have a lousy time teaching but if I have to play organ at church that night it goes really well.

        I am hoping the FSM and colostrum will help me heal that last bit and even me out a little. I’ll lose super brain when I play but I’ll be better able to handle teaching music to kindergarteners.

        Yesterday, playing two services for Easter, I got to a point in the second service where I just felt that the stimulation was getting to be too much for my damaged nervous system. I was uncomfortable and my face was going numb. But then I caught this second wind and had super brain. I went from my brain being like jelly from fatigue to feeling really sharp. A bit uncomfortable, but playing became easier. But it took a tremendous amount of fatigue to get to that point. I have been feeling better since the FSM– more confident and calm in the classroom but back to my ordinary brain when I play.

        I hope you continue to make progress, Dave. Hang in there!

        • Tricia March 30, 2016 at 9:05 am

          Hi Ruth
          All my symptoms from what I had dealt with since being floxed 15 months ago have almost completely resolved. However, since January all new issues emerged, mostly neurological. My most concerning is I noticed muscle weakness, especially in legs:(
          I’m scared of going to a neurologist and being diagnosed of large motor neurapothy…that wouldn’t do me much good anyhow.
          Last year at this time I had debilitating leg pain, a few months later I had crippling back pain. All these things resolved over time though. As far as neurological issues, do people recover from this??:(

  49. Debbie Haury Snyder April 5, 2016 at 7:35 pm Reply

    Hi Ruth, I was wondering if you’re still having problems with your teeth. Since I was floxed 2 mos. ago, I have had pain and sensitivity in my teeth. I’ve heard a few horror stories about people losing teeth. You stated that some of your teeth loosened, do they ever tighten up? Do you know of anything besides magnesium and calcium supplements that might help teeth? I’ve read that people who are floxed should avoid fluoride as it is an ingredient in the FQ drugs. I have bought some fluoride free toothpaste and am investigating installation of some kind of water filter. I’ve also heard that tea contains a lot of fluoride, so I will limit that. Would appreciate any info you might have. Thanks in advance!

    • Ruth Young April 6, 2016 at 9:32 am Reply

      I had loose and shifting teeth before I took the Cipro. I found out it is a sign of magnesium deficiency. After Cipro most of my teeth were very loose, especially after I would eat something. Otherwise they would loosen and tighten periodically through the day, but always they would be loose after eating, and then would tighten up shortly thereafter.

      Today only one tooth in the front on top loosens periodically, usually after eating. It had stopped doing that completely for a good month, but then I got my period and it started again. I think my body needs more magnesium at that time (taking magnesium does relieve my cramps) so menstruation seems to bring back the loosening of that tooth. But only that one tooth now. And it very rarely happens randomly now. Just if I am very tired or after I eat. Maybe digesting takes extra magnesium, I don’t know the connection.

      The temperature sensitivity seemed to lessen after I was able to supplement vitamin D. Maybe my body was able to put the minerals back into my teeth. They are not brittle anymore. I had some sensitivity in one area a few months ago, but it was determined to be root sensitivity from gums receding a little. This had happened prior to Cipro in another area, so I am not concerned about it. It seems to be returning to normal now.

      Be careful with supplementing calcium. Dr. Whitcomb told me that the problem with doing that is that your body does not put extra calcium into your bones, it puts it into muscle tissue, including your heart. Taking Vitamin K2 with calcium, magnesium and vitamin D is probably the ideal. But he said to limit calcium supplementation or even just get it from diet. That’s what I do.

      However, at first, in order to feel normal, I needed calcium, magnesium and zinc and I did best if I took them together. I took kind of a lot of calcium initially, and it seemed to help so I continued to do it until I could tolerate magnesium alone. I do still take 25 mg of zinc a day. I am at about 600-1,000 mg of magnesium a day, depending on how I am feeling. I don’t go over that safe upper limit of a gram a day as if I do I get diarrhea. Until my tooth stops loosening I’m going to stay at that high level of magnesium supplementation, but when I can I plan to go down to closer to the RDA on that mineral. Other signs of magnesium deficiency have not returned such as the loud tinnitus and pain and cramping in leg muscles limiting my standing tolerance.

      I do think a lot of my tooth issues were loss of functional minerals. I don’t have any proof that Cipro chelates anything other than magnesium (and I guess they have now shown it binds with iron too) but I suspect it does bind with at least calcium if not zinc as well. That or I was just really, really unhealthy before Cipro (I was) and the stress of my ADR burned through all my functional minerals.

      I use fluoride free toothpaste now and I avoid drinking tap water.
      Hope that helps.

      • Debbie Snyder April 7, 2016 at 12:30 pm Reply

        Thank you so much for the answer to my tooth issues. I have been so stressed out over the thought of losing all my teeth. When you read a horror story about one of your symptoms, it is very upsetting. I know we should try and avoid as much stress as possible so our bodies can heal. I do believe that our bodies have amazing healing powers if we take care of them. I’m using fluoride free toothpaste, trying supplements and have just ordered a water distiller for my drinking water. I really believe that some of the info we get on this website is better than we can get from doctors. You are a Godsend! Hearing the positive side of your story is so comforting. Bless you and Lisa for helping others so much.

  50. Ruth Young April 6, 2016 at 9:42 am Reply

    Sorry it took so long to get back to you. I’ve been really busy.
    I don’t think you need to worry. I was at least as far out as you are when I had muscle weakness in my legs. I noticed it at school one day when I was going up to the church balcony to grab some hymnals for one of my classes. My legs were quite wobbly, even a bit shaky coming down the steps and I had not been doing that much walking or climbing to warrant that. It happened a few times since. I even noticed hiking Devil’s Lake a month ago that my legs were shaking more than they should have been coming down. Well, maybe that is just my old age and being a couch potato.

    Our bodies took a huge hit with getting floxed. Even though we feel pretty good I’m sure there are still repairs being made. I think back to where I started and I’m amazed at how I’m doing now. Rather than worry about some fleeting muscle weakness I focus on how many other symptoms have resolved 100% and not returned at all. Our bodies are incredible healing machines. But they had a lot to heal from. Anything less than three years out I think you can still expect stuff to crop up or relapses to happen without concluding that anything is going to be permanent. Up to three years out I think your prognosis is still good even if you are still having a rough time. That does not mean people farther out with lingering symptoms won’t heal. But I would just say that if it’s less than three years you aren’t healed yet no matter now good you feel. I think it takes at least that long to really reverse all the damage at the cellular level.

    I also look at the fact that muscle weakness is something people complain about on the Benzo withdrawal message boards. So it could be from downgraded GABA receptors. Quinolones can downgrade those receptors. But the good news is that GABA related stuff does heal. It just can take a long time. But it does heal.

    So between the fact that you aren’t very far out and that your symptom is also a symptom of Benzo withdrawal, I would save your money on the neurologist at this time. Also, I had the same symptom at around the same time as you, and really, other than that day at the lake, I can’t recall it coming back again. And I can’t even say for sure it happened at the lake or if I was just having a “you’re not 18 anymore” moment.


    • Tricia April 7, 2016 at 8:23 am Reply

      Thanks Ruth!
      Thats intersting about benzo withdrawl and down graded gaba. Can that also cause a feeling of pins and needles (parasthesia) without it being PN??
      It seems so many floxies have these symptoms, but many heal from this also.

      • Ruth Young April 8, 2016 at 8:14 am Reply

        I think that it can. Whenever I want to know if my symptoms could be from downgraded GABA receptors I google the Benzo websites/message boards and see if people going through benzodiazepine withdrawal who are not floxies are complaining of that symptom too. It doesn’t mean 100% it is from that, but at least that it is possible. A damaged autonomic nervous system can throw up all kinds of crazy symptoms, which tend to cycle, and eventually get less intense. It is not a straight line pattern though– there will be ups and downs with old symptoms coming back and new ones appearing at any time during the process. I continue to take supplements that support nerve health, like methyl B-12, but I don’t worry about it overly if I get a little tingling now and then. I do sometimes get some tingling, twitching or even a buzzing feeling in random spots. It is usually easy to tolerate and goes away in a short time. I just think about what I’m dealing with right now, not what it might become in the future. So if right now the tingling or whatever is not really bothering me I don’t fret about whether it might get worse or keep coming back or be permanent. It could just be some healing happening and I’m feeling that.

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