Sheila K’s Story
In May of 2010, Dr.H became our family GP. When we went to our “intake” appointment I told him I was having problems with; lower abdominal pain, night sweats, nausea and vomiting. I told him that many of my issues were longstanding problems.
In September of 2011, after Dr. H had run many test, and come up with nothing, he diagnosed me with pyelonephritis. He said because of the nausea, the night sweats and the pain in the right side (though the pain was not in the correct place). We were confused. Previously he had thought the night sweats were menopause, and he had put me on BIHRT. I’ve suffered from the nausea and vomiting since 1997. My husband asked Dr. H, if he should do a culture, to be sure that I had pyelonephritis. Dr. H said that it’s not uncommon for it to not appear on a lab test. But he was sure that it was what I had.
He told me, and my husband, that he had seen 2 cases of this in the States. So he had worked out a regimen to cure it. He prescribed me 83 tablets of Levaquin (Fluoroquinolone antibiotic). To be taken once a day. And, if that didn’t cure it, he would put me on another round of levaquin. I took the first pill on the 9th of September, 2011. That was to be the last day of my life; my healthy life.
Within the first week to week and a half I started having pain in my feet, elbows and legs, foggy brain, headaches and fatigue. I didn’t realize until later, but during that time, I had made a rookie mistake at a new job, and got myself fired. I started another job the following week.
I had started the new job, in mid September (A dream job for me), so I decided to power through the pain. I went back in to see Dr. H, in late October, after many frantic phone calls to him. I told him again, I was having so much pain. My fingers, my hands, feet, heels, legs, etc. And, the fatigue was terrible. I told him I was worried about losing my new job. I was unable to do my work properly, I was so weak and seemed to being losing my upper body strength. I believe that is when he started giving me pain medication (Percocet). I was also taking Naproxan for the abdominal pain. At first, he said that was ok, then decided it was too hard on my liver, after I had been taking up to 4000mg a day, for months.
I started looking online to see what this Levaquin was all about…and I was shocked, saddened, and horrified by what I found out. I was in awful shape, but I was actually one of the lucky ones…judging by what I was reading. I was alive, I could use my legs, and I didn’t have liver disease!!
I saw Dr. H shortly after that and told him I had researched Levaquin, and felt that I was having an adverse reaction to it.…all of my symptoms seemed to indicate that. He said maybe I had eaten too many carbs over the holidays, that carb loading could do that, cause muscle pain. He then prescribed me Avelox, because I refused any more Levaquin. There was no change after a week of Avelox, so I stopped taking that as well. As we found out, weeks later, Avelox is Levaquins’ sister; He had put me on another fluoroquinolone, even after me reporting an adverse reaction to Fluoroquinolone antibiotics to him!!
I had another appointment with Dr. H. before Christmas. I told him again of the pain, fatigue, brain fog, etc. that I had been experiencing, since taking the Levaquin. It seemed that he finally got it!! He could see the side effects; he knew I was in horrible pain. He wrote a prescription for Celebrex and said that he would write up referrals for a Neurologist, and Rheumatologist after the holidays were over. I decided then, that I had to find another Dr. to treat me. I no longer had faith in Dr. H. Why didn’t he know this was a third line antibiotic that could cause so much damage? Why was I, telling HIM? And why would he wait another day, to get me into people who might be able to help??
Dr. H called me, at home. after I had cancelled my last appointment with him. I explained to him that he had over-dosed me with the Levaquin, and it had cost me my health and my job. I ended up losing my job because I was not able to perform my duties. I am a Graphic Designer, and I also did Sign Production. I have been in the sign industry for over 20 years. He apologized and said “Well, I guess we didn’t get you fixed up quick enough, eh”?
Now I am seeing Dr. R. I believe Dr. R understands what has happened. He is my Savior at this time. But the symptoms and side effects from the Levaquin still remain. I suffer every day. My family takes on the weight of my disabilities…and that is so unfair. All of this, over an infection that I didn’t even have?. I was in such bad shape I called the doctors office for Dr. H, but he was away but they told me to come in to be seen. That was in October. another Dr. saw me and she did a culture…it was negative for pyelonephritis.
I had to claim CPP for Disabled, but was initially rejected. I had to Appeal their decision. I had no income, for a full year. After I received a new diagnosis of leukemia, in 2013, I was approved for CPPD. My monthly income now, is less than half of what I used to earn.
I filed a complaint with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, against Dr. H. After him trying to delay the process, several times, the College found that he was indeed negligent, in his method of diagnosis and not doing a culture. They also mentioned that there was no need for me to be on such a strong medication, for no reason at all. Unfortunately, because he had brought this case so close to the two year statute of limitations, for medical malpractice, I was unable to find a lawyer that could take the case, do their research, and be in court, with such limited time.
He took my health, and what are supposed to be, the best years of my life and I have no recourse. Not financially anyway. So, I’m doing what I can to educate others, about Fluoroquinolone toxicity. I’m on several support groups on Facebook, and I am a founding member of the Canadian FluoroQuinolone Foundation. I know that FQ’s are useful, in life and death circumstances…but they are a third line antibiotic, and I don’t know if the doctors are being properly informed about the possible irreversible side effects. Dr.’s are using them as first line defense for minor infections, sinus infections, UTI’S etc. They need to be stopped, and these drugs need to be restricted. They need to only use Fluoroquinolones for what they are intended for.
Since being floxed, I have been diagnosed with the following;
Insomnia, chronic fatigue, tinnitus, migraines with aura, seizures, constipation, muscle cramps, muscle spasms, joint pain and swelling, brain fog, digestive issues. I had peripheral neuropathy in my hands and legs, for 2 and one half years. It seems to be more intermittent now, not constant tingling and burning. Bursitis (hip), Plantar Fasciitis (feet). Interstitial Cystitis (bladder), fibromyalgia. I have tendonitis, in my shoulders and Rh arthritis, in my toes. Osteo Arthritis, in my fingers. And more recently, Leukemia, hypothyroid, and kyphosis of my neck.
My husband has had to take on much of the household work, himself. He takes care of me and our children. I was unable to walk or stand, for any length of time, for the first 8 months, because of the pain in my feet, heels and legs. He is amazing, for all he has to do as a caregiver. I have chronic fatigue, and insomnia, which, leads to a whole gambit of problems. I’m so blessed to have this family. Though loosing my independence has been a major transition for all of us, we remain hopeful that once research has been done, they may be able to help me and all the tens of thousands of people who have had their lives either disrupted or ruined by Cipro, Levaquin or Avelox. I could never have gotten through all of this, without their love and support.
Regards, Sheila K