Zoe’s Story – FQAD at Age 16


Zoe made this beautiful, poignant, amazing video about her journey through FQAD brought on by Cipro/ciprofloxacin, and when she posted it, she said:

“Dear 16-Year-Old-Me,
I promise you will be okay.
Love, 18-Year-Old-You.”

Beautiful, isn’t it? Please share it. Zoe is an amazing woman, and her video illustrates her story so thoughtfully and perfectly.


Zoe’s story of fluoroquinolone toxicity can be found here – http://www.fluoroquinolonestories.com/2015/10/11/zoe-cs-story/


A year earlier, at the November 5, 2015 FDA Antimicrobial Drugs Advisory Committee meeting to discuss fluoroquinolone safety and warning label changes, Zoe provided the following testimony that further describes her journey through FQAD:

My name is Zoe Chapman, and I am not representing any organization. I am a 17-year-old high school senior from Olympia, Washington. I traveled 2,811 miles yesterday to tell my story.

February 16th, about nine months ago, my life was wonderful. I had just earned 100 percent on my AP calculus midterm, performed cello in my high school’s production of The Sound of Music, qualified for state with my percussion ensemble, and began my third job as an after-school caregiver and tutor. I was happy, healthy, and making the most of my time in high school.

February 17th, I was prescribed ciprofloxacin for an uncomplicated UTI. Five days later, I was in the hospital. CAT scans, ultrasounds, MRIs, EMGs, spinal taps, urine samples, blood draws, and no answers, just the repetitive mantra, “Finish the cipro.”

No one ever checked the side effects to see if they matched up with my problems, numbness in my arms, legs, and face, then extreme pain, first in my abdomen, then everywhere. I couldn’t sit up or feed myself, let alone walk.

I began showing behavioral changes and then full-on hallucinations. Even when, two weeks later, I broke free from that mental regression, I could no longer attend school, play my cello, hang out with my friends, or do anything because of the debilitating pain and exhaustion.

The physical pain was ghastly, but the emotional pain was murderous. Depression and anxiety cruelly convinced me that I had lost everything that made my life wonderful. Now my life is a nasty mess of appointments and pain and absences and exhaustion, and I am a long way from where I was physically and emotionally before I took cipro. However, I have come miraculously far compared to most people. I sent back my wheelchair a month ago, and I’ve returned to school almost full-time.

My heart goes out to everyone who has had a much longer and harder timeline, and that is an unacceptable amount of people. Within my sphere of life alone, my acupuncturist, my physical therapist’s wife, my 15-year-old friend Caroline, my mom’s coworker, and the thousands of people that I have met online through support groups all have FQAD.

I understand fluoroquinolones’ usefulness. They can save people’s lives. But they can also destroy them. I plead with you, please find a way to limit them to the last resort.

I tell my story today because I cannot bear the thought of other kids going through what I am. I tell my story today to turn this horrible part of my life into protection for others. I am a reminder that fluoroquinolones don’t discriminate by age. I am a reminder that your children’s lives could be destroyed by these drugs.

A three-minute speech requires everything to be concise. However, my past nine months have not been concise. They have stretched out for what seems to be an eternity. The many facets of suffering that fluoroquinolones cause are long and drawn-out tortures that myself and so many others have had to, and continue to, endure.

Please fight for stories like mine to stop becoming people’s realities. Thank you.

** The story above is truthful, accurate and told to the best of the ability of the writer. It is not intended as medical advice. No person who submits his or her story, nor the people associated with Floxie Hope, diagnoses or treats any illness. The story above should not be substituted for professionally provided medical advice. Please consult your doctor before trying anything that has been mentioned in this story, or in any other story on this site. Please also note that people have varying responses to the treatments mentioned in each story. What helps one person may not help, and may even hurt, another person. It is important that you understand that supplements, IVs, essential oils, and all other treatments, affect people differently depending on the millions of variables that make each of us unique. Please use appropriate caution and prudence, and get professional medical advice.

9 thoughts on “Zoe’s Story – FQAD at Age 16

  1. charlottejacobs February 22, 2017 at 1:23 pm Reply

    How did you recover ? You are a credit to the Human Race and deserve to succeed.

  2. Lukasz February 23, 2017 at 11:11 am Reply

    Just wanted to let you know that your video left a deep mark on me. It’s a captivating work of art and you are the true definition of heroism. I’m sorry that you have to deal with this at such a young age. Your bravery and courage is clearly exhibited in this video.

    I’m just past the 2 year mark and things are slowly improving. I believe there’s a silver lining to all that happens in life and that we can all take something away from even the worst of experiences that life throws at us.

    Thanks again for sharing such an inspiring message and for being the voice of reason and advocacy on this important issue.

  3. Von Von March 25, 2017 at 6:10 am Reply

    So beautiful! Well done young lady! I pray a full recovery for you…..

  4. Delilah Victory May 8, 2017 at 4:11 am Reply

    just love how you deal with it at such a young age, i am a young active woman, a pro dancer and lost my life bedridden 14 months to a spinal tap that caused me csf leak and CNS dysfunction, i am still struggling to be up and start dancing again sometimes medicine its drugs and ignorant Drs shatter our lives so easily…hugs to you

  5. Abigail S. February 1, 2019 at 8:49 am Reply

    Hi zoe! I am 20 years old. Not as young as you, but more or less in the same boat. I took two cipro 500mg pills last week before stopping due to 1) fainting and 2) reading about the side effects and losing my goddam mind. I am still not sure what symptoms that i am experiencing are in my head/caused by my anxiety, and which ones may be the beginnings of a long, excruciating journey that I can only hope ends in recovery. In any case, watching your video and reading your story, as well as reading the other stories on this website, have given me hope that no matter what happens I will not give in. It’s amazing to see how you managed to keep your spirit despite this horrible condition. Thank you.

  6. Dan Jervis March 2, 2019 at 11:57 am Reply

    Dearest Zoe, Please consider sharing your story to CBS 60 Minutes. 60m@cbs.news.com

  7. Marco December 7, 2019 at 11:13 am Reply

    Moved to tears. Everytime I watch it. Hope you are perfectly well Zoe, you deserve it.

  8. filmingshakespeare December 30, 2019 at 6:51 am Reply

    Amazing video, moved me to tears

  9. Chris S November 15, 2020 at 3:38 am Reply

    Zoe, Reading this again and receiving the post of Lisa Blomquist Palmer retirement prompts me to try ad make the effort to write up my story. Thank you for sharing a very poignant story.

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