Rachel’s Story – Levaquin Poisoning

Rachel B FQWall

 I was given Cipro for chronic kidney infections, and Levaquin for chronic bronchitis and sinus infections. In 2006, I took Levaquin as a precautionary measure for a cough I was developing. It turned out that I didn’t even have an infection that time.

The side effects from the Cipro were mostly CNS related. Dizziness, body-wide jerking and twitching, body wide pain in my joints and muscles, muscle weakness, bilateral nerve damage, mostly in my arms. Nerve conduction tests showed extensive nerve damage. My body temperature drops and I often cannot get warm. The list of side effects is too long to type all of them out, but the ones I just listed were the main ones.

In late 2006, I ruptured my Achilles tendon in my right ankle, which required surgery. The rehab took a long time and along the way, I was having pain in my left ankle/heel. The surgeon who operated on me said that he thought it was just tendonitis because I was shifting my weight to my other foot while recovering from surgery. I complained several times to him about it, but always got the same answer. I felt like something was really wrong in my other ankle. I turned out to be right.

In late 2007, my Achilles tendon ruptured in my left ankle, and again, it required surgery. While that was going on, I learned I had degenerative disk disease and in early 2008, while still rehabbing from ankle surgery, my spinal disk herniated at C5-6. I needed a spinal fusion and I now have metal plates and screws in my neck. My spinal surgeon said that the degenerative disk disease will probably result in other spinal fusions from my C2 down.

In early 2009, my Achilles tendon in my left ankle ruptured again; this time above the previous surgical site. This time I needed a reconstruction that included an FHL tendon transfer. The FHL tendon runs along the side of your foot and controls your big toe. The FHL tendon in my left foot was taken out and was placed where the Achilles should be. It was then anchored into my heel bone using screws. Because I no longer have an FHL tendon, I lost use of my big toe. It might not sound like a big deal but it is if you know that your big toe is an important part of balance. Three years later, I still have numbness in two of my toes, alongside my foot, and pain on the bottom of my foot. It didn’t heal right.

My ankle surgeon was the one who connected my tendon issues and CNS issues to the FQs. He called my primary doctor and told her to not prescribe this class of antibiotics when I am sick. To cut down on sinus infections, I had sinus surgery. I was averaging 4 to 5 sinus infections a year. My surgery was in late 2008 and I can honestly say that I have not had any sinus infections and it cuts down on needing antibiotics to treat that.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the end of the tendon issues. In 2010, I had surgery to repair a torn tendon in my wrist, and in 2011, I had surgery to repair a ruptured tendon in my elbow. Several of my doctors told me that they are worried about future ruptures. As it turns out, delayed reactions are common.

In 2012 and 2013, I ruptured my left thumb tendon and left ring finger tendon.

In 2014, my left knee tendon ruptured too.
I had to leave a career that I loved with immeasurable passion because I have become disabled by the fluoroquinolones. It affects my home life when I can’t do something for myself or when I’m balled up on the couch under a heating pad in hellacious pain. Some days my muscle weakness is so bad that I can’t squeeze a shampoo bottle.

All of this due to medications that are designed to help someone. I was never told of the side effects. I took these medicines before the “black box” warnings were issued and I still continue to develop symptoms now that I am eight years out.

In 2012, I became President/Executive Director of Quinolone Vigilance Foundation where we stimulate, foster, initiate, and fund vital research on fluoroquinolone toxicity in the hopes of saving others from this kind of life. www.SaferPills.org

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