Joanne C’s Story
In April 2011, I was poisoned by a prescription antibiotic, the fluoroquinolone Cipro. I was prescribed this “medication” for an uncomplicated, routine Urinary Tract Infection. After only 6 days of 250mg x 2 daily (low dose), I was suddenly hit with a host of symptoms. Within two hours I went from being a healthy, 49 year-old adult to someone mutilated from head to toe, fighting for my life. My life changed irreversibly. I was diagnosed with partial paralysis (Gillian-Barre Syndrome), head to toe tendon damage, hearing loss, heart murmur, kidney and liver damage, Stevens-Johnsons Syndrome, Sjogrens Syndrome, extreme food allergies, uncontrolled insomnia, depression, anxiety…. The list of carnage went on for a mile. I was initially told that these symptoms, especially appearing collectively, was “extremely rare”. While this did little to help me, at least I thought I was just unlucky. Imagine my horror when I found that, even using conservative numbers, hundreds and hundreds of people are poisoned from fluoroquinolones each year with the same devastating, mangling, and multilating result I have endured. Not only did I find countless scores of FaceBook, YouTube, and blogs on the internet from people with crippling stories almost exactly like mine (if not worse), there are many, many people I have met within just my local area that are suffering in this same way. These “medications” are prescribed in a flippantly casual manner by unknowing doctors with only a black box warnings of possible neurological and tendon damage. Possible tendon damage implies a bad case of tennis elbow or, at worst, a rupture of the Achilles tendon. Nothing can explain my terror of suddenly having my body turned inside out and of having every tendon in my body as fragile as wet tissue paper. Nothing can explain the heartache of suddenly having to be fed like a baby by one’s eight year-old child or being unable to use the bathroom without the assistance of others.
I am now 4 years post “floxing”. Little by little I have recuperated to the point where I can live a full and happy life. I would say that I am about 85% healed and continue to improve. I can run several miles everyday now, whereas it used to take me half an hour to crawl to the toilet 5 feet from my bed. I am able to work and care for my family. I am fortunate, and I know it. But, I cannot and will not forget that many of my floxie friends are still in the trenches suffering from the unimaginable torture that floroquinolones produce. I cannot and will not forget that I can help save the suffering and lives of potential victims in the future by sharing my story. I am only one voice, but sometimes, as with other tragic events in history, no one listens until there is a collective cry of many voices. That time is already here in regard to fluoroquinolones. The cost in human capital, in human productivity, in human lives is too high for us to not speak out. For those of you reading this who are not floxed but may be able to effect positive change for those of us who are and protect future tragedies such as mine, please listen.