This is my story of fluoroquinolone toxicity:
In July 2014, I was prescribed a ten day course Cipro for a urinary tract infection. I didn’t think much of it since I had taken this class of drugs in the past with no reaction. This time was different than before as I experienced a serious adverse reaction. I took Cipro for 7.5 days, and then discontinued taking the medication since my symptoms were becoming progressively worse.
The pain in my legs was so bad, I could barely walk. It was a pain that is hard to describe, but it felt like I was very stiff, and the pain was spreading. The stiffness in my legs turned to numbness, and my legs would tingle when touched. I felt like my legs were dying. I also had headaches, nausea, dizziness, sensitivity to light and pain in both Achilles. The doctors dismissed my issues and I was released and sent home with my parents. For the next 48 days I wasn’t sure if I was going to live. Within the first 24 hrs of leaving the hospital the numbness and tingling I felt begin to spread up to my legs to my hips, and then to my back and eventually spreading over my entire body. I experienced excruciating body-wide tendonitis and nerve pain – in my toes, feet, ankles, shooting up calves, lower back, ears, wrists, elbows, and hands. Everything felt like it was ripping and pulling. My entire body was swollen and stiff; my toes were so swollen that they curved downwards and would not return to a resting position. I was in severe pain, more pain than I could imagine was possible. Just to sit up in bed was difficult and agonizing. I was so weak I couldn’t lift a normal cup without feeling a strain on my wrist. On top of the pain I was dizzy, nauseated, light headed, feverish, and could feel every beat of my racing heart. I had burning sensations that felt as if a baseball on fire had landed on my legs, random twitching, extreme sensitivity to light (my family had to black out my windows), new floaters in my eyes, my ears were constantly ringing, my body would crack whenever I moved, and other symptoms. I lay in bed and cried as my body was unbearable to live in. I wasn’t even sure that I could make it. The only minimal relief I would get was when my family would lightly rub my body where I was hurting or just hold the area. My whole body was wrapped in ace bandages.
During these initial few months, my family and I did everything possible to detox my body. I went on an all organic diet and only ate food that decreased inflammation. I would also do contrast bathing, which was recommended by a podiatrist, to increase the blood flow in my tendons and ligaments.
In September 2014, two months after my ordeal began; the pain finally began to decrease. However, I would still experience random pains daily, including constant Achilles stiffness, and intractable exhaustion that made life difficult. The pain decreased enough that I thought I was going to be ok. I could live with the pain I was in.
For a few weeks I was actually able to see my friends, go to the store, and get a job. I was in the middle of a career transition when I got sick, and I had just received my Real Estate License. After starting my new job I had a relapse and went backwards. The pain increased and the fatigue became debilitating.
What I experienced is not normal fatigue. My fatigue feels like the energy is sucked right out of my body. I didn’t even know what fatigue was until this happened. I couldn’t even take a shower and blow-dry my hair without taking a nap in between. The daily low grade fevers, nausea, dizziness, exhaustion, weakness, and pains have left me totally disabled. I have not had a normal life for the past year. My mother has to be my full-time care taker. I am unable to cook for myself, go grocery shopping, drive to the doctors, do laundry, clean the house, or any normal activities. I used to love going to dinner with my friends, shopping, walking and hiking outdoors, working out, boating with my family; but Cipro has left me housebound. Without a full-time care-taker I would not be able to survive since I am unable to do the necessities to survive on my own.
My life consists of going to doctors, and trying to find something that will make me feel better. The Mayo Clinic diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (recently renamed to Systematic Exertion Intolerance Disease), Fibromyalgia and Central Sensitization Syndrome. The Mayo Clinic had nothing that could assist me, and they suggested that I look into alternative medical treatments. I have tried all alternative medicine to get better including: acupuncture, infrared saunas, hyperbaric oxygen chambers, energy healing, neural therapy, electromagnetic beds, essential oils, a plethora of vitamins, and IV therapy including IV vitamins, IV ozone, IV H2O2. I have spent thousands of dollars with the hope of recovering from Cipro toxicity, but have not seen much relief at this point. The only items that I have noticed help my symptoms are IV therapies. All I can do is warn everyone I know about the dangers of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics. Please do not take these drugs unless it is a last resort. Inform yourself, read the side effects, and ask for safer medications.