The sharp pain slapped my right achilles with no warning, grabbed my attention and demanded an immediate adjustment of my running gait. I was 1.5 miles into an easy run. So much for easy! The pain was so severe, I hobbled, rather inched my way back to my car. It was not pretty. The grimace on my face coupled with no extension of my right foot, made for an interesting (read survival) mode of exercise that was cut short.
It all began with trust. Trust of the system that has in the past yielded positive results for simple health problems. I trusted the prescription. I trusted the medical professionals. And the pain is what grabbed my attention.
My racing calendar was set for a series of summer races culminating in a grueling 20+ mile unsupported technical mountain run that I have run twice before. Plus a bucket list of running The Beaten Path, a tough 27 mile mountain run beginning just outside Yellowstone National Park and meandering through the Absarooka Beartooth Wilderness with the majority run above treeline.
It was mid March and the ramp up in mileage and conditioning was beginning to come together. Winter 2019 was a rough one with consistent cold and snow that surpressed any ambition to train too early. I was eager to get to the roads which would lead to the trails as the snow cleared. Finally we were beginning to see snow melt that allowed me to train again. But not so fast!
The pain I experienced on that training run fueled my desire to learn what was going on? As I sat in front of my laptop, the missing puzzle pieces started to come together. I found; countless case studies and problems of; tendon ruptures, joint ache, brain fog, peripheral and central nervous system issues, musculoskeletal, special senses (visual, olfactory, auditory), cardiovascular, skin and gastrointestinal problems. I now have a filter to begin evaluating my condition (worsening), to what I am reading in the literature and being reported by others. The black box warning from the FDA came too late. While in Portland in early May I visited with a lady who lost her husband to a cascading sequence of events that lead to his death. All started with a fluoroquinolone poisoning.
My quest to answer the health issues I was dealing with lead back to a pharmacy prescription from licensed medical professional to treat an infection. 10 days of 500mg of LevoFLOXacin. 4 days into taking this prescription my symptoms hit. The message of how serious this is, hit hard. I have never had any allergic reactions to medications at any point in my life. And thus the trust. With no previous issues with any antibiotic prescription I blindly accepted the safeguards.
As l left the pharmacy that day with my prescription in hand, the pharmacist told me “be careful with your physical activity. I have known others who have had problems with their tendons while on this medication.” “Problems with what I asked?” “Tendons. I even know of one case where a woman was walking her dog and her achilles ruptured months after taking this medication.” “But I am a runner” I responded. “Just don’t go run any marathons and you should be ok.” I felt like it was reading the fine print on a liability disclosure buried deep on page 67, paragraph 4, line 17A of a business contract.
What have I learned? I have learned to never take a prescription without first doing due diligence regarding the side effects. I have learned how much I value being physically active and sharing that time with others. I have learned how much I have to be grateful for. I have learned to mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually embrace this road I am on (don’t I wish! LOL). My symptoms experienced thus far include; severe tendon pain (achilles, and shoulder), brain fog, extreme fatigue and what I refer to as ghost pain that comes without warning and races up and down my lower extremities.
What I don’t know includes any long term, life long damage that will impact my level of physical activity. Will I ever be able to run again? Train again? Hike again? Only time will tell.
What am I doing to assist my body in the repair of the damage to being “floxed”? I am taking a complex of magnesium, eating select fermented foods, drinking a high quality bone broth, using essential oils, taking essential oil supplements (which I do everyday), and will begin a 30 day detox directed at liver function. These fluoroquinolone drugs are nasty drugs that alter / impact the DNA found in each cell with damage to the mitochondria as a target. I am now 10 weeks post prescription. Case studies report time being a valuable asset in returning to life pre-floxing. But I will never return to pre-floxing. I don’t want to. I want to spread this warning to others around me including family, friends and any who will listen. I won’t play your doctor here, but rather encourage you, no challenge you, to exhaust every other means of treatment before taking any drugs in this family of medications.
For now, I am choosing to be intentional with my repair activities, accepting a lifestyle of altered physical activity, and hoping and yes praying for a complete healing and return to the trail running I so love.
Sign me, #noflouroquinolonedrugseveragain, #spreadtheword, #stopthedamage
Until next time, enjoy your run!