Tag Archives: mysterious illness

Fluoroquinolone Toxicity is a SYNDROME

may-cause-death

First, a caveat–I realize that allergic reactions can be serious, severe, and deadly. There is nothing minimal about anaphylaxis, and not all allergic reactions to pharmaceuticals are as simple as hives that go away as soon as one stops taking the drug. If someone has an acute allergic reaction to a pharmaceutical they deserve care and recognition of their reaction as serious.

With that said, I’m sick of pharmaceutical-induced SYNDROMES being ignored because they don’t fit into the standard allergy model. Drug toxicity SYNDROMES are just as serious, devastating, and severe as allergic reactions. In my case, fluoroquinolone toxicity SYNDROME was significantly more serious, devastating, and severe than my sulfa antibiotic allergy.

Fluoroquinolone toxicity SYNDROME looks and feels a lot like various autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, M.S., etc.), mysterious diseases (fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, POTS), psychiatric illnesses (depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, etc.), and recognized drug toxicity syndromes (like benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome). These symptoms, and the connections between these serious diseases and fluoroquinolones, should be recognized.

Here’s a post I wrote for Hormones Matter about the various drugs that are causing SYNDROMES of multi-symptom, chronic illness. Please read and share it:

Allergic Reactions or Iatrogenic Illness?

Thanks!

 

flu tox get help you need banner click lisa

 

fluoroquinolone-lawsuit-trulaw

Happy Holidays 2015

Happy Holidays, friends!

For those who celebrate Chanukkah, HAPPY CHANUKKAH!

For those who celebrate Christmas, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

And for those who just want to celebrate the solstice, HAPPY SOLSTICE!

I hope that each of you has a lovely holiday season, filled with love and joy! I hope that any pain you’re experiencing because of FQ toxicity is lessened by the warmth and love of family and friends.

Though I sincerely hope that your holidays are filled with joy and love, I know that the holidays can be difficult for many people–especially those dealing with mysterious, chronic illness (like fluoroquinolone toxicity).

It’s difficult enough to feel like your body is falling apart–it’s even rougher when you’re expected to decorate the house.

It’s difficult enough to have a mysterious illness that most medical professionals don’t understand–it’s even rougher when family members don’t understand.

It’s difficult enough to have lost your job and income because of your illness–it’s even rougher when you feel guilty about not being able to afford presents for your loved ones.

It’s difficult enough to deal with horrible food sensitivities–it’s even rougher when everyone thinks that your food sensitivities are made up and that you should just have a cookie.

It’s difficult enough to deal with fatigue and exhaustion–it’s even rougher when kids need your time, attention and energy.

The holidays can, without a doubt, be a time of struggle for those dealing with multi-symptom, mysterious illnesses like fluoroquinolone toxicity.

I hope that those who are dealing with pain, exhaustion, lack of acknowledgement, financial troubles, grief, loneliness, etc. this holiday season are able to find support, love and healing. If those aren’t possible, I hope that you just are able to get through the season not too terribly scathed.

I hope that the traditions of the season give you comfort and joy. I hope that sitting by a fire warms your bones, and that hot apple cider warms your tummy. I hope that you get and give presents that show you and your loved ones that you are, indeed, loved. I hope that you enjoy some delicious food. I hope that you feel loved and appreciated and that both lessen the pain that you’re experiencing. I hope that you feel grateful for the gifts that remain in your life, because cultivating a feeling of gratitude is healing and good for the soul. I hope that this is a time of healing for your body, mind and spirit.

I truly wish you Happy Holidays, friends!

Huge hugs,

Lisa

Post Script – Tragically, several people have lost their battles with fluoroquinolone toxicity recently. My heart aches for their loved ones. I’m sure that this holiday season will be especially difficult for them, and I am so, so, so sorry for their losses! I hope that they are able to find some hope and healing even though the holidays will, undoubtedly, be difficult. Huge hugs to each of you!

 

flu tox get help you need banner click lisa

Acknowledgment is Healing

We all want our life to matter—to have a purpose. We all want to be valued. We all want to be seen and acknowledged. We all want to be believed. We all want our ideas to matter. We want to be listened to and heard. We all want to be respected. We all want reassurance that we matter, that we are okay and, most of all, that we are loved—unconditionally.

All of these are human desires. Everyone wants these things.

Some people are particularly good at getting these things. They are famous. They are artists—even the ones that don’t call themselves artists.

Even people who aren’t influential to thousands of other people want to be seen, acknowledged and unconditionally loved though. It’s part of being human.

People with mysterious, invisible, poorly-understood diseases often struggle with being seen and acknowledged. They are told that their disease isn’t real. They are told that they should feel fine. They are told that they are lazy or unwilling to help themselves. They are told that doctors know more about their body than they do. They are told that they are choosing to be sick. They are told that their illness is all in their head. They are told that if they only tried ___ (a new drug, diet, exercise, belief, etc.) they would be okay, and if they’re not okay after trying those things, they must not be trying hard enough.

It is mean, and cruel, to steal acknowledgement and validation from someone. It is particularly cruel to say horrible, hurtful, unacknowledging things to someone who is sick.

Who is anyone else, even a doctor, to say that your pain isn’t real? That your suffering isn’t warranted? That, because no one knows what to do to fix you, you aren’t worth fixing? That your problems and struggles are made-up choices, as opposed to “legitimate” physical health problems?

The person who is living in their body every day is more of an expert on their pain, suffering, and their disease, than ANYONE else, no matter how much schooling that person has had.

Doctors can offer insight, advice, diagnostic tools and diagnoses; they can fix many health problems, and if they’re really good a their job, they can heal people. But it really, really, really pisses me off when doctors make people who are sick and scared feel small and unworthy by not acknowledging their pain or illness.

It makes people feel small and unloved when they hear a trusted authority figure (or anyone else) says that their symptoms are imagined, or that their disease doesn’t exist.

fluoroquinolone-lawsuit-banner-trulaw

Doctors aren’t the only people who fail to acknowledge the pain and suffering that is involved in mysterious, invisible illnesses. (Doctors are actually better, on average, about acknowledging pain and suffering than most people. It just happens to be more painful and damaging when they don’t acknowledge mysterious diseases because if they can’t even acknowledge the disease, then they can’t fix it, and if they can’t fix it, what is the sick person supposed to do??) There are a lot of people who seem to think that they’re experts on whether or not fibromyalgia, CFS/ME, fluoroquinolone toxicity, chemical sensitivities, mycotoxin/mold illness, vaccine injuries, chronic Lyme Disease, ADHD, benzodiazepine withdrawal, depression, anxiety, Morgellon’s, mitochondrial dysfunction, and other multi-symptom, mysterious, invisible, illnesses exist.

To anyone who would be so callous as to say to someone who is suffering that their disease doesn’t exist – Who are you to say, or even think, that? Who died and made you the expert on anyone else’s body? Who are you to say that you know ENOUGH about the intricacies of another person’s body to determine that YOU know what is going wrong with it?

It is ass-hole-ish and cruel dismiss people—to make them feel diminished and small. Don’t do that. It is the opposite of unconditional love. Acknowledge pain, suffering and mysterious illnesses. Acknowledge those who are going through enough crap without your judgement. It’s the right thing to do. Failing to do so makes you a jerk. Don’t be a jerk.

 

flu tox get help you need banner click lisa

They Don’t Understand

It may be impossible for anyone who has not experienced fluoroquinolone toxicity to understand what it’s like.

It’s difficult for the person who is going through fluoroquinolone toxicity to explain that EVERYTHING is going wrong; and it is even more difficult for those around them to understand.

It’s beyond most people’s comprehension that a commonly prescribed antibiotic, maybe one that they themselves have taken, can cause debilitating pain, exhaustion, loss of mental capacity, inability to move, etc. in their formerly healthy loved one.  Most people think that antibiotics are benign, so they are unable to understand that an antibiotic destroyed the health of their spouse, friend, child, parent, etc.  They think, “it must be something else,” or “the drug should be out of your system by now,” or, simply, “what are you talking about?!” when you tell them that all of your health problems can be traced back to the antibiotic that you took to treat a urinary tract, or sinus, or prostate, or respiratory infection.

They don’t understand that the loss of health is real, that it is severe, and that it may last a while.

They trust doctors.  They trust the system.  They trust that the FDA is properly regulating drugs and protecting people from dangerous drugs.

They may not understand exactly how drugs work, but they think that someone does.  They believe that if a drug wasn’t safe, it wouldn’t be on the market.  They think that it wouldn’t have made it through the testing process if it wasn’t safe and better than drugs that are already available.  They think that the FDA has done a thorough and complete evaluation of all drugs that are on the market, and that if fluoroquinolones caused horrible adverse reactions in most people, they wouldn’t continue to be on the market.

They think that all drugs have side-effects, but those side-effects are rare.

They think that adverse drug reactions look like allergic reactions, and they think that you should immediately recover when the drug is “out of your system.”  They don’t understand that adverse drug reactions can manifest as multi-symptom chronic illness.

They don’t understand how you could suddenly be unable to walk, or think, or do the things that you used to be able to do with ease.

The fact that Floxies “look fine” makes it even more difficult to understand what a floxed loved one is going through.

They don’t understand how the tests could show that you’re “fine” when you say that you feel anything but “fine.”

They think that you’re a bit crazy, and probably a conspiracy theorist, when you wonder if other people who are suffering from mysterious, chronic illness may be suffering from fluoroquinolone toxicity too.  You see Floxies everywhere.  They don’t understand that.

They don’t understand the ups and downs, the relapses and the bad days following good days.

They don’t “get it” because they haven’t experienced it.  They don’t understand because they haven’t had to.  Their perception of the competence of the FDA and the medical system hasn’t been shaped by getting poisoned by an antibiotic that is assumed to have “an excellent record of safety and efficacy.”

I didn’t understand anything to do with fluoroquinolone toxicity before it happened to me.  If it had happened to a friend, family member or lover, I wouldn’t have understood.  I wouldn’t have “gotten it.”  I would have believed everything that I wrote above about belief, faith really, in the system that is supposed to make and keep us healthy.  I did believe everything that I wrote above.  And if a loved one had come down with fluoroquinolone toxicity, I probably would have continued to believe those things.  I would not have understood.  It took getting knocked down myself to understand – to really see and comprehend what a mysterious, pharmaceutical induced illness was like.

Many try to understand.  There are some loved ones of Floxies who work very hard to understand and support their sick loved ones.  They research and advocate for their spouse, child, parent or friend.  They listen with caring, compassion and kindness.  They do their best to be supportive and understanding.  They are wonderful, and greatly appreciated.

Most people, even really good people, don’t understand though.

On some level, it has to be okay.  It’s perfectly possible for them to still love and support you, without really “getting it,” without really understanding.

In order to maintain the relationships in your life, I think that it’s necessary to forgive them for not understanding.

They can’t understand.  It’s too bizarre.  It’s too foreign.  It’s too strange.  It’s too upsetting.

They still love you.  And you still love them.  So forgive them for not understanding.  Forgive them for not understanding your pain, or anxiety, or immobility.  Forgive them for not sharing your feelings of anger toward the system that allowed you to be poisoned.  Forgive them for not understanding how a drug could cause long-term damage to you.

Forgive them because you love them, and they love you.

They probably miss the old you – just like you miss the old you – and it’s probably hard for them to deal with the sick you – just like it’s hard for you to deal with the sick you.

This whole mess of fluoroquinolone toxicity is hard.  It’s hard for everyone involved.  It’s hardest for the people who have to deal first-hand with the pain and suffering that comes with getting poisoned.  It’s also hard for those who love Floxies to deal with.

Forgive them for not dealing with your sickness perfectly.  I’m guessing that you haven’t dealt with it perfectly either.  I know I didn’t.

We all want understanding.  We all want empathy and sympathy and compassion from those whom we are closest to.

Even if you can’t get that empathy from those whom you are closest to, because they just don’t understand, it is healing to forgive them.  They can’t understand because they haven’t been through it.  But you can give them understanding and compassion, because you understand their perspective.  After all, their perspective used to be your perspective.  You can forgive them for not understanding.  They may never understand how you are feeling and what you are experiencing, and that’s okay.  It must be okay.  Because you love them, and they love you, and they just want you to get better.

We grow when we forgive.  We heal when we forgive.  Forgiving is probably even necessary for healing and growth… and love.  Love is healing and it is necessary.  Forgiveness of those who don’t understand, who can’t understand, helps you to keep your heart open to love.

flu tox get help you need banner click lisa

 

What Getting Poisoned Looks Like

People think that getting poisoned looks like this:

But in the real world, it looks like this:

People whose cells are being destroyed from the inside out, often look fine.  Looks can be deceiving.

Everyone with an invisible or mysterious illness should ask the question – Were you poisoned?

Something that everyone who suspects that they may have been poisoned should note is that much of the damage, the poisoning, is indirect.  Pharmaceuticals (fluoroquinolones included) and environmental toxins damage mitochondria and, after reaching their tolerance threshold for damage, the mitochondria respond by producing poisonous reactive oxygen species (also known as oxidative stress).  Those reactive oxygen species (peroxynitrite is a particularly toxic one) that result from mitochondrial damage cause multi-symptom chronic illnesses.  It should be noted by people with chronic fatigue / M.E., that mitochondria are the energy centers of our cells and that damage to them can result in debilitating fatigue.  It should be noted by people with fibromyalgia that mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress have been shown to damage nerves and cause body-wide pain.  Autoimmune diseases have also been linked to poisoning, and also to mitochondrial damage.

Mitochondrial damage is tricky in that the tests to show it are woefully new and under-utilized.  Muscle biopsies can show mitochondrial damage, but they’re invasive and not very reliable.  Lactate doublets are a sign of mitochondrial damage, but the research behind them is new and utilization of MRIs to test for lactate doublets are rarely used.

The fact that the tests don’t show anything means that the tests are inadequate (and that they don’t show mitochondrial damage / oxidative stress), not that the problem is “in your head” or that it’s not chemical, or that you haven’t been poisoned.

People who are poisoned are in pain, they are fatigued, they can’t think straight, they are unable to function at the level that they used to.  That should sound familiar to everyone with fibromyalgia, CFS/ME and even autoimmune diseases.  Were you poisoned?  When?  By what?  And by whom?

If doctors looked at the mitochondria, they would see the destruction of the poison.  But they don’t look at mitochondria.  As long as they don’t look at mitochondria, they can tell themselves that their drugs are safe; that they’re not poison.  Ignorance is bliss for the entire medical profession and the FDA.  Too bad their ignorant bliss isn’t reality.

Look around you.  The chronically ill people around you are telling you something.  This is what the poisoning of America looks like.

*******************************************************

Peer Reviewed Sources:

Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, “Medication Induced Mitochondrial Damage and Disease

Toxicological Sciences, “Mitochondria as a Target of Environmental Toxicants

Molecular Interventions, “Mechanisms of Pathogenesis in Drug Hepatoxicity Putting the Stress on Mitochondria

Biochemical Society Transactions, “Mitochondrial Matirix Reactive Oxygen Species Production is Very Sensitive to Mild Uncoupling

Science Translational Medicine, “Bactericidal Antibiotics Induce Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Oxidative Damage in Mammalian Cells

Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, “Mitochondrial cytopathy in adults: What we know so far

Current Pharmaceutical Design, “Nitric Oxide-Derived Oxidants with a Focus on Peroxynitrite: Molecular Targets,Cellular Responses and Therapeutic Implications

Journal of Internal Medicine, “Chronic fatigue syndrome: assessment of increased oxidative stress and altered muscle excitability in response to incremental exercise

Biomed Central, “Central role of nitric oxide in the pathogenesis  of rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus

JAMA Psychiatry, “Mitochondrial Dysfunction as a Neurobiological Subtype of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets, “The role of mitochondrial dysfunctions due to oxidative and nitrosative stress in the chronic pain or chronic fatigue syndromes and fibromyalgia patients: peripheral and central mechanisms as therapeutic targets?

***********************************************************

 

flu tox get help you need banner click lisa

 

What’s Poisoning You?

The following post is a bit of a rant. It’s inflammatory and is likely to annoy or offend many of you. I apologize for the offense in advance.

Though, as you will see in the following post, I get annoyed when people look exclusively at diet when looking for causes of mysterious diseases, I don’t think that nutrition is unimportant. It is very important. Food is fuel for our bodies, and putting lousy fuel into our engines will lead us to feeling sick and looking sickly.

But fluoroquinolones, and other damaging pharmaceuticals, are like putting sand in the engine. They thoroughly mess up one’s body and mind – suddenly, severely and systemically. Yet the severe cellular damage done by fluoroquinolones is ignored by many physicians providing explanations to their patients as to why their body is going hay-wire. It annoys me to the point that I rant about it on the internet.

Blaming the Standard American Diet (SAD – very sad) for multi-symptom, chronic, mysterious diseases is far better than the alternative of telling people that their disease is all in their head. However, it’s not the full picture and it has problems as well (that I rant about below).

(Relevance of this below) – I totally think that Glenn Beck is floxed. Just sayin’.

What’s Poisoning You?

The American diet is difficult to defend. The typical American meal contains high-fructose corn syrup from genetically modified corn, sugar in amounts that are multiple times higher than those found in any fruit in nature, partially hydrogenated fats, MSG, preservative chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, etc. Additionally, the typical American meal is devoid of vegetables, sprouted grains, fermented foods, fiber, minerals, vitamins, nutrients, etc. This combination has, undoubtedly, contributed to all sorts of chronic diseases – from obesity to cancer.

However, I think that, collectively, we are taking the “what you eat determines your health” paradigm too far.

Blaming a poor diet for a person’s illness reeks of victim-blaming. It says to the person who is ill, you wouldn’t be sick if you ate differently. You wouldn’t be sick if you ate more vegetables, or fewer desserts, or more or less carbohydrates, or more or less protein, or more or less fat. In telling a person who is sick that he or she wouldn’t be sick if he or she had eaten differently, you are telling that person that it is his or her fault that he or she is sick.

Is that fair? And, more importantly, is it true?

Health is determined by many factors, not just diet. Genetics, of course, also play a role in health. Exercise, stress, time in the sun, social connections, etc. also contribute to health – and disease. Exposure to toxins also has a huge effect on health. Toxins in our environment – from pollution and from them being intentionally added to our food and water – affect our health – and being poisoned by them, either slowly or suddenly, can cause illness. Pharmaceuticals are also an under-recognized source of toxins that adversely affects the health of many (though it takes a paradigm shift to realize how much harm prescription drugs do because we all think that drugs should be helping us, not hurting us).

fluoroquinolone-lawsuit-banner-trulaw

The blaming of diet for diseases has gotten to a point of ridiculousness. In an article published in The Atlantic entitled Living Sick and Dying Young in Rich America, the author asks a doctor if the autoimmune disease that her husband (who is in his 30s) suffers from is the result of growing up eating Spaghetti-O’s and drinking Pepsi. In a round-about way, blaming addiction to junk food, the doctor confirms that her husband’s diet is the culprit. Really??? Does that really seem reasonable to anyone – that Spaghetti-O’s and Pepsi could cause an autoimmune disease? Because I’m pretty sure that autoimmune diseases are caused by malfunctioning immune system cells, and that the doctor should look at things that have been confirmed to damage immune system cells as potential culprits, before blaming Spaghetti-O’s. And yes, there are plenty of environmental toxins and pharmaceuticals that have been shown to adversely affect immune system cells (lymphocytes).*

On March 20, 2014, former Fox News personality Glenn Beck announced that his doctors had determined that the cause of his neuropathy, inflammation and pain was his diet. His doctor told him, “‘Well, basically, you are being poisoned… Food is poisoning you.’” Glenn Beck looks like a pretty typical American so I’m sure that his diet is not perfect. But I’m also pretty sure that he’s eating FOOD, not poison, and that his doctor is simply wrong in telling him that the neuropathic pain that he is experiencing is due to his food poisoning him. Poison, not food, poisons people. Perhaps Mr. Beck should look at what pharmaceutical poisons he has taken in lately – especially fluoroquinolones – because fluoroquinolones can do enough cellular damage to cause neuropathic pain – but Taco Bell burritos can’t.

I’m sure that Mr. Beck will adjust his diet by cutting out the foods that are perceived to be poison, and I truly hope that helps him. Most people who are suffering from diseases that cannot be cured by modern medicine adjust their diet to try to heal themselves. Many people who are struggling with chronic illness stick to a “perfect” diet. For some, “perfect” means the Paleo Diet. For others, “perfect” means the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Some stick to a raw food diet. Some juice. Some avoid gluten, or sugar, or dairy, or meat, or all of those things. Yet, even with a “perfect” diet, they are still sick. They have not been magically cured by adding or subtracting some food source. They are sick – chronically ill – and though adjustments to diet may be helpful, they are not a cure for many (maybe most) people.

An even bigger problem with blaming diseases on diet than the victim blaming and nonsense explanations, is that the real explanation for the disease is not sought. Chef Boyardee, Taco Bell and Pepsi become the scapegoats and the real culprit behind the disease is ignored. Something is really causing autoimmune diseases, neuropathic pain, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and all the other diseases that are striking young Americans. Blaming diet, and thus blaming the victim, may be convenient, but it is not the whole answer (or even part of the answer if you are feeling cynical). The real answers will remain elusive until we demand real, sensible answers to the question of what causes the chronic diseases of modernity.

Sure, a diet full of sugar, hydrogenated-fat and chemicals isn’t good for you, and it is surely contributing to many diseases, but does it really make sense to blame a poor diet on body-wide neuropathic pain, or on a person being so drained of energy that they feel like they have the flu and a bus hit them even after a full night’s sleep? It sure doesn’t make sense to me.

What does make sense to me is iatrogenic mitochondrial dysfunction. Many pharmaceuticals, including fluroquinolone antibiotics, statins, metformin (a diabetes drug), multiple chemotherapy drugs, and others, have been shown to damage mitochondria and lead to oxidative stress. Mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress can lead to multi-symptom chronic illnesses and neuropathic pain. (Source)

Perhaps diet isn’t solely to blame for many of the diseases of modernity. Perhaps pharmaceutical drugs – especially fluoroquinolones, and the medical system, share much of the responsibility for causing many of the chronic, mysterious diseases that plague people today.

It’s time for a paradigm shift. Moving away from victim blaming is a very good place to start.

* Here are some articles about how fluoroquinolones adversely effect lymphocytes (immune system cells) –

Nepal Medical College Journal, Genotoxic and cytotoxic effects of antibacterial drug, ciprofloxacin, on human lymphocytes in vitro”

Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, “Ciprofloxacin Induces an Immunomodulatory Stress Response in Human T Lymphocytes

 

flu tox get help you need banner click lisa