Wentzville, Missouri (right outside of St. Louis)
The pain, Charlie horses, muscles popping, deep muscle spasms, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, severe gastroenteritis, IBS, sores on my mouth, swollen tongue, insomnia, heart palpations, sore throats, confusion, memory loss, dyslexia, visions problems, hallucinations, thoughts of suicide and murder, vivid haunting dreams, extreme fatigue, my immune system shot. I remember when this all started. It started January 2005 I began to feel sick. My doctor insisted that whatever was wrong was viral. Finally the doctor did blood work and I had a bacterial infection. I remember it so well because it was around my 45th birthday and I was so sick.
March 15, 2005 this was the day I was given Levaquin. I remember it to be like any other doctor appointment. The doctor handed me a prescription and told me to take it. The doctor told me to check back with him in several weeks for more blood work. I went back and the infection was gone. I ask him why my arm hurt so badly. He asked me, “Why didn’t you mention this sooner?” All I could tell him was that I was so sick, and everything hurt. He sent me to physical therapy without any test or explanation. I thought he knew what he was doing. I had to quit physical therapy in several weeks because the pain proved unbearable. I was missing too much work.
Never blindly trust a doctor even if he says it is only antibiotic. These drugs are not your average antibiotics. Always ask, “What are the risk?” Don’t let them put these drugs in your IV as a first line of defense and they will I promise. These drugs are chemotherapeutic antibiotics. If these drugs don’t work what is next for you?
I kept going to doctors for one test after another every test showed that I was fine. Since I already suffered from depression, anxiety and sleep issues, it obviously something must have been making these conditions worse. Heaven forbid I burden a health care professional enough to inspire a thorough investigation of my numerous symptoms. My depression, anxiety and sleep issues started in mid 90’s after many surgeries. It makes me now wonder if I have been floxed the first time then.
First the most obvious to hit me was the pain in my right arm and right foot. According to the Levaquin warning, “stop all exercise.” Why was I sent to physical therapy? I was told I was being a big baby. I stopped physical therapy and convinced my doctor to finally do an MRI on my arm, which showed tendonitis but no rupture. Later I found I did have a tear that did not show on the first MRI in May 2005. The tear was under the bone and misdiagnosed, which I was told after having my rotator cuff surgery October 2009.
When I was at the doctor office as he read the MRI results he said I have tendonitis and I would have to learn how to live with it. Somewhere between 2005-2009 my rotator cuff ruptured. I just thought it was tendonitis and learned to live with the pain. I went through four year of hellish pain in my dominant arm.
My muscles tighten up and popped so hard I would bruise several days later, of course, “it is all in my head.
My orthopedic surgeon did not believe Levaquin ruptured my rotator cuff either. He said he never heard of such a thing he said Levaquin only ruptures the Achilles tendon per the manufacturers information. He tried his best, but I still do not have full use of my dominant arm.
I was told to see a podiatrist. Have not done that yet. I had to address the other issues first with no clue what was happening to me. I have received one cortisone shot and given a diagnoses of tendonitis in my foot by my primary doctor in 2008. I had a MRI on my foot in 2009 by then the diagnoses was degenerative. I wonder what the MRI would have shown in 2005 on my right foot.
Next was severe confusion. Holding a thought became difficult, and I felt as though I could sit in one spot for days and stare at the wall. My job suffered so badly, words came out of my mouth that did not make any sense. I felt like I was becoming dyslectic. I would cry all the time with the meds I was on, which was strange, considering I am usually quite tough.
My sister went with me to my doctor and told the Dr. “Something is wrong with my sister.” I could not speak for myself or express myself in any satisfactory way. Of course, I felt belittled by the doctor again with a teleprompter answer of, “It takes time to get over infections.” Someone had to know what was happening to me. I asked the doctor about the source of the infection. Either he did not know, or he simply did not care.
People could tell by looking at me that something was wrong, which probably did me no favors in the work environment. Finally I lost my job. The young man sitting next to me would ask, “Lucas, are you on the dark side again today?” People would ask me all the time, “what is wrong?” I could only say I didn’t know. I am going to give credit to my employer Charter Communications. They were very good to me, but when the down sizing came (Go Economy!), I was first in line for lays offs. I could not even fight for my job I was so sick.
I looked like I had a stroke my face was numb and sagged. My eyes twitched. I looked insane. I hated to talk to anyone I had to look at I could see it in their eyes.
I have gone through many jobs since 2005 since I was sick all the time I would always get fired. I found a job I can do in July 2010. I have been able to hold this job. My current employer GC Services and outsourcing company for Verzion were very understanding and helpful when I told them what happened to me. It takes me a long time to learn new things and remember them. They took extra time to work with me. I am making tens of thousand dollars less a year and with poor medical benefits, which is better than nothing. I enjoy this job and physically can do with my arm pain. I don’t have to stand on my feet and the have flexible schedules for when I am sick. I was very lucky to have found this job.
Severe stomach, digestive and bowel problems still continue to this day despite all of the exploratory tests being done several times. The test showed nothing but severe reflux. Nexium is the only drug that helps my severe stomach, digestive, bowel problems and that never ending pain up under my right rib. Nexium contains magnesium, which slows down the adverse reactions of Levaquin. Most insurance companies will not cover Nexium. Believe me I fought like I was fighting for my life.
My thyroid went nuts within a month of taking Levaquin. It had gone hyperactive and out of control for one year of an Endocrinologist messing with my medications trying to control my thyroid levels. I just thought I was having a nervous breakdown. It took my doctor months to diagnose my thyroid, despite the rather obvious implications (my hair was falling out in huge clumps and I had dropped 30 pound in several months. Finally they did radioactive iodine 12/01/06 and it took two months to kill my thyroid. I was completely insane. I went from wild out of control, no sleep to not being able to move and sleeping all the time.
My anxiety was unreal and still is to this day. I went my physiatrist now he wanted me to take more drugs an anti-psychotic med. I was already on 200 mg of Zoloft, Cymbalta, Xanax, Abmien. I threw away the anti- psychotic drugs and never went back to the physiatrist again. I have weaned myself off Cymbalta, which was given to me because I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (another common misdiagnosis for people suffering from an adverse reaction to fluoroquinolones.)
I was being passed from doctor to another doctor only to be treated so poorly I called my thyroid doctor one-day begging and crying for help. I told him I was suicidal and homicidal. He told me he was calling the police. I told him good maybe they will help me. The police never came and I did not go back to that doctor. It makes me wonder how many people there are out there like this.
I had crazy thoughts and my husband would not come near me. I told him I would kill him in his sleep. I isolated myself as much as I could. I would snap at anything. How many people in the news have you seen that have just snapped it makes me wonder? The difference in my mood I was a laid back person and very calm could be measured objectively, not to mention how much I have changed in the eyes of others. If I owned a gun I would of done something very stupid.
My primary care doctor had the nerve to send me to gastrologist, who would not touch me because my thyroid levels were so out of control since iodine therapy. “I could hear the doctor in his office chewing my primary doctor out on the phone saying I cannot help her until her thyroid levels are normal and why would you send her to me? She could die if I had treated her!” Thank goodness he asked me questions before he did anything, but he found nothing so I am back to square one now with bad health benefits.
I could not deduce what I need to do because I still could not think straight. Then, I was given Avelox 12/26/06, and I can’t even remember why. My mother was dying during this time. I missed my last Christmas with her. My son went to Iraq. My life was crazy, so I thought I must be nuts.
My sister got me an appointment with her doctor. I was on the verge of giving up. I wanted to die.
He sent me for a Hydro Scan and my gall bladder was working a 23%. I finally had my gallbladder removed May of 2007, two years after taking Levaquin, and two years of hellish pain. I had turned yellow by then and I had a jaundiced color about me for a year afterwards. Funny to think, my mother kept telling me it was my gall bladder. She died worrying about me. The other doctors sent me for ultrasounds, and since there were no gallstones, my gall bladder was fine. “It must be in your head. “Quit whining.”
My immune system since Levaquin is shot. I was tested for all auto immune diseases of course they all showed I was fine.
I remember how I put it all together. I was home sick and in pain with my arm propped up with a pillow and a commercial came on describing my pain. I thought I would check into it what were the odds of Levaquin being the culprit of all this destruction to my body. After I seen Levaquin on my prescription records I starting reading up on it. I could not believe a simple goggle check and I had my answers. I naïve I was. I have been left to suffer without proper medical attention because the drug manufactures refused to educate the doctors properly. To this day they still refuse to educate the doctors. WHY? MONEY?
I was so mad I cried and lied in bed for days having a pity party. How could this happen in America? How could this still be happening in America? I was in shock.
Today I still have permanent damage
I started ‘The Wall of Pain” because all these people were posting about their pain. I knew that pain but I could not remember them. I kept my own records of each person so I could remember what happened to them so I could talk to them and maybe help them anyway I could. I decided everyone should know these stories and remember these faces.
The senseless prescribing of a broad-spectrum antibiotic being used as a first line of defense is immoral and criminal, whom our government stands behind as more and more of us go on disability, welfare and food stamps. I sure hope Big Pharm is paying their share of taxes to take care of us.
These drugs should have a big warning on them, which reads: This drug can cause irreversible damage. A released should be signed after you are aware your whole like could change from one pill. People need to be aware the adverse reaction can happen up to a year later. How many people do you think will make that connection?
Awareness is a must and if Big Pharm won’t do anything about it but we will. We will fight back and find ways to help people. Not to forget to mention the “ Family owned company” who is destroying people lives what a joke hiding behind their lawyers. All the money could help thousands of people lives the have destroyed and prevent more damage which they refuse to do. As my mother would say if she was still here, ‘”Shame on them!” I have much stronger words for them.
We are a family company! We care! The people behind http://www.saferpills.org are amazing. We will make a difference.
Quinolone Vigilance Foundation