Judith T’s Story
I was 58 years old in 2004, enjoying a vacation trip in Upper Michigan, when I developed a urinary tract infection. I was lucky, or unlucky, to find a physician to treat me and was prescribed a round of Cipro. After returning home, about 2 weeks later, I suddenly developed uncontrolled diarrhea. Every time I ate anything, I needed to locate a bathroom fast! I consulted with my primary care physician and was asked to submit a stool sample for testing purposes. Long story short, after no positive diagnosis, I pulled a book off my bookcase at home, “Spontaneous Healing,” by Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. In his book, he identified my problem, antibiotic diarrhea. He provided a course of treatment, which I followed, and I healed myself. Dr. Weil introduced me to the world of probiotics. Unbeknownst to him, he literally saved my life.
Fast forward to 2011. I am a breast cancer survivor, first diagnosed in 1985 at the young age of 39 years old. In the Fall of 2010 at the age of 64, I was once again staring breast cancer in the face. It was recommended that I undergo a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction using Mentor smooth saline implants. (The male doctors I was seeing at the time – my general surgeon and the plastic surgeon that I chose for the reconstruction – all encouraged me to get implants or have some other form of reconstruction in order that my sense of self would remain intact.) I chose saline implants since I felt they were the safest. I declined and was not a candidate for any other type of reconstruction.
Surgery was scheduled, and on March 21, 2011 I had a bilateral mastectomy followed by expanders in preparation for the placement of saline implants in July of that year. My surgery went well. I headed home after 2 nites in the hospital.
My first post-op appointment was scheduled on March 28, 2011 with my plastic surgeon, a well respected and skilled doctor. He checked my drains and the incisions and sent me home.
On April 1, 2011, I returned to my plastic surgeon’s office for a 2nd post-op appointment. Little did I know that this appointment would seal my fate for the rest of my life.
The plastic surgeon looked at the skin on my chest and immediately barked orders to his staff that I needed to be on a round of Cipro, STAT! The skin on the left side of my chest was reddish/pink in color. (That side had been radiated in 1985 as the adjunct therapy I received after my first diagnosis of Stage I breast cancer following a lumpectomy.) I did not have a fever, I did not have chills. I had no other typical symptoms of a raging infection post surgery. Blood work was not ordered to confirm his suspicion.
I told my plastic surgeon that I could not take Cipro. I had a bad reaction from using it once before. I had indicated on the forms filled out prior to my surgery that I was allergic to Cipro. He paid no attention to me and demanded I immediately start on this drug along with a round of Doxycycline at the same time. I trusted the doctor and didn’t stand my ground.
Consequently, I started a round of 1,000mg of Cipro along with a round of 200mg of Doxycycline for seven days.
Shortly after I started the round of antibiotics, I developed Thrush, a sure sign of an overgrowth of yeast in my system. Then, I began to feel a tingling/burning sensation in my legs and swelling around my ankles. I thought it was a reaction to the Doxycycline, since swelling ankles was one of the listed side effects on the drug information from the pharmacy.
On April 9, 2011, I stopped taking Cipro and Doxycycline. I was on Cipro for 8 days. Interestingly enough, I never had an infection. One of the doctors working with my plastic surgeon said to me that he didn’t believe I had one. He also said that radiated skin typically takes longer to heal after a surgery. Now why didn’t my plastic surgeon know that?! My surgeon basically over-reacted. He did not have my best interests in mind when prescribing such a powerful antibiotic against my protestations. He was more concerned about himself. (I later learned that he ignored the pleadings of one of his patients, who is a friend of mine,who knew she had an infection after she had a similar surgery as mine. She finally had to appear in his office, without an appointment, to insist she be seen. She did have an infection. She landed in the hospital on IV antibiotics.)
Throughtout 2011, I continued to experience burning legs, especially at night in bed. These symptoms continued in 2012 and began to get worse. I developed excessive pain around my ankles as if they were being squeezed by a vise. I developed joint pain. The burning pain also began to spread to my arms. I also experienced anxiety and panic attacks. I consulted with a physiologist in late 2012. He suggested a tox screen for silicone (breast implant toxicity) and that I consult with a rheumatologist. I also consulted with my primary care physician concerning the burning pain in my legs. He was of no help. (Two rheumatologists refused to see me because blood work test results didn’t fit their criteria that I be seen.)
Finally, after my leg pain became constant, my physiologist performed a nerve test on my legs in March 2013. I was diagnosed with sensorimotor polyneuropathy. I consulted with a neurologist who ruled out anything having to do with cancer, but he was unable to give me a definitive diagnosis regarding the cause of my neuropaty. He labeled it idiopathic – no known cause. I declined treatment with meds to reduce pain symptoms.
In the meantime, upon much research, I felt that perhaps my breast implants were the cause of my neuropathy and joint pain. I consulted with numerous medical professionals, experts in their fields – several plastic surgeons known for their expertise with explant surgery, an immunologist, again with my neurologist, and other medical people who understood the dangers of breast implants. Based on my symptoms, I was more convinced my unexplained health issues were from my implants.
In 2013, I began to consult with an integrative medical practioner. She felt that perhaps my implants were the cause of my health issues. I began a “clean” diet, eliminating dairy, sugar, gluten. I also started a series of Specially Sequenced Amino Acids – one injection a month for 12 months. Surprisingly, my joint pain was relieved and some of the burning pain in my legs subsided. Other protocols were recommended along with new supplements. However, symptoms continued.
I found a natural health practitioner in Branson, Missouri that I began to consult with in 2014. She, too, felt my implants were the cause of my health issues. All of my symptoms reflected that I had silicone toxicity in my body based on the research done by a plastic surgeon in Atlanta. I then decided to have my implants removed.
July 28, 2014 was the date of my explant. I was really looking forward to an improvement in my health. Some of my symptoms did improve, in fact the burning in my legs subsided for a bit. However, starting in 2015, my symptoms roared back with a vengeance.
I began to have severe burning in my legs, arms, feet. My ankles felt like they were again being squeezed in a vise. I developed elbow and knee pain. If I stood for long periods of time, my ankles hurt to the point that I would have to sit down to rest them. I also was diagnosed with an irregular heart rhythm, no known cause. Fatigue was my friend until I started on a new regimen of supplements. I was also diagnosed with venous insufficiency. My new plastic surgeon remarked upon hearing this news that I was too fit to have this type of a problem.
Finally, just a few months ago, while consulting with my naturopathic practitioner in Missouri, she brought up the idea that perhaps I had been “floxed” by the Cipro that I took in 2011. Upon further research and consultations, I have come to the conclusion that the reason for all of my unexplained health issues since 2011 were not due to my breast implants, although they created a different toxic problem, but the Cipro my plastic surgeon insisted I take for an infection I never had with a drug that I was allergic to.
I continue to search for a treatment protocol to repair my damaged mitochondria. I am now working with a local naturopathic doctor in Grand Rapids, MI to come up with a protocol that will work for me. She is consulting with a colleague in Arizona who has come up with a preliminary protocol to treat fluoroquinolone toxicity. I hope his protocol will be of some help. I have also had my DNA tested by 23andMe. The test results are helping to determine what treatment protocol works best for me.
My story just skims the surface of the pain, suffering, and medical expenses I have endured since 2011, all on account of a doctor who “knee-jerk” reacted to a perceived infection that he didn’t test for and that I never had. He prescribed a medication that I never should have been given, and that never should have been approved by the FDA to be sold on the open market. I just wonder what new complication I will experience as the toxic chemicals still invade my once healthy cells. I was successful in facing down Cancer. Not so much with the effects of Cipro. I am not giving up the fight for a cure and will continue to spread the word about the dangers of fluoroquinolones. Doctors need to be educated. The FDA needs to be more vigilant and responsive. Big Pharma needs to understand that dollars can never be a replacement for good health.