Life After Levaquin or My Quin(olone) Story
(…aka… A Little Bit About Me and this Website)
Hello, my name is David and this is somewhat of a sad story, not intended to depress or garner pity, but to warn and inform the reader.
In 2007 I was your normal 46 year old middle age man in excellent health. I exercised daily and ate healthy and had a rewarding career in law enforcement. I was a avid bicyclist, often biking 10 miles a day or more. I was robust at 6’4″ tall, 240 lbs, and had a resting heart rate of 49 beats per minute and could bench press 300 lbs and, in a brouhaha, could hold my own with the best of them.
I developed a case of epididymitis from bicycling. An infection was suspected by my urologist but never confirmed for which he prescribed a large dose of the antibiotic Levaquin. Trusting him, I took 750 mgs of Levaquin for 21 days. My urologist told me Levaquin was safe and well tolerated. Like most, I implicitly trusted the doctor and took the medication.
It turned out for me the Levaquin was not safe and in the long run, I did not tolerate it well. Only after I started having unusual medical problems did my detective work lead me to find that this class of antibiotics have a very, very dark side. A dark side side that I was not told about by my doctor. It is dark side that is experienced by thousands of people yearly, some like me figuring it out while many others remain clueless to what has befallen them. I had a delayed adverse event to the fluoroquinolone antibiotic which initiated a mitochondrial dysfunction/disease that I had NO genetic predispositions for that continues to this present day and unfortunately it’s ripple effects will probably cause my demise one day.
These adverse events are considered statistically insignificant by drug companies and the FDA.
Bottom line: I was healthy before I took the Levaquin.
Levaquin WAS the “terminus ad quo,” or the instigator, the finger that pulled the trigger on disease processes in my body by damaging my mitochondria.
I started this website (blog) in 2009 as a cathartic outlet just to vent my frustrations with the dismissive and non-curious attitude in our medical system. What happened however, shocked me. I was totally unprepared for the amount of people who would contact me claiming to be harmed from Fluoroquinolone antibiosis. Since then, this blog has become the oldest surviving website dedicated to Fluoroquinolone Toxicity. It is a true grass root’s project unique from all other “professional” or “sponsored” fluoroquinolone blog’s or websites. It is designed to advocate, educate, inform, be the inspiration for further research, and to share the large amount information I, and others, have learned in dealing with the aftermath of what is assumed, by the public and policy makers, to be a safe drug. Hopefully this information will help people can make an informed choices and hopefully avoid the same fate befall them that befell me and many, many others.
There are other websites that deal with Fluoroquinolone Toxicity, and a few of them are good, however some of them just exist as a keyword magnets to attract internet traffic in order to sell sketchy medical services or eBooks.
I do write about technical stuff but I try to do it in a way to appeal to all audiences to make it relevant and practical, which can be hard to do, as Google constantly rates my Fleisch reading score low; meaning I write too complex and need to dumb it down. Good recommends a sixth grade level, however, I believe my readers are smarter than that so that is not going to happen anytime soon.
I often express a true frustration with the current dysfunctional state of our medical system and their blatant ignorance to this and many other problem. I often speak with candor, sometime a bit snarky, and occasionally a bit petulant, about the whole fluoroquinolone situation, which is greater than anyone can imagine, so use caution if you are in a delicate mental state while traversing this little slice of the Internet, of which I am its benevolent dictator.
More About Me
Me Before Levaquin
- Strong, Athletic, Active
- Intellectually higher functioning
- I would get the occasional GERD (usually from too much coffee), besides law enforcement is a pretty stressful job.
My Diagnoses After Levaquin
- Heart Attack (2 STEMI’s) – with no previous risk factors noted (ICD-10-CM Code I21. 3)
- Mitochondrial Dysfunction – confirmed by muscle biopsy & ETC analysis (ICD-10-CM-Code E88.40)
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – based on a mitochondrial pathology (ICD-10-CM-Code R53.82)
- Tendinosis – (ICD-10-CM-Code M77. 9)
- Polyneuropathy – (ICD-10-CM-Code G62.9)
- Gastroparesis – (ICD-10-CM-Code K31.84)
- Necrotizing Pancreatitis – (this one nearly killed me) (ICD-10-CM-Code K85.92)
- Intracranial hypotension – (ICD-10-CM-Code G96.0)
- Mitochondrial Depletion Syndrome with no genetic predispositions – Acquired (Diagnosed by Mayo Clinic)
Obviously Levaquin is the gift that keeps on giving.
I Am Not a Medical Doctor
You will find I am a very eclectic person. Yes, I did obtain a two undergraduate degrees and a doctorate in disparate fields through the help of a generous employer who paid for my higher education, but no, I’m not a medical doctor. Repeat, I am not a medical doctor, and I certainly don’t try to pass myself off as one on the Internet. I am just trying my best to figure out the nuts and bolts of FQAD, since most doctors and researchers won’t touch fluoroquinolone toxicity with a 10 foot pole. In my life I had many interests, from theology, to computers, to gardening, but believe me, the fluoroquinolones were not among them.
As your peruse this blog keep in mind that by certain medical standards, I’m not that well-educated. So, keeping that in mind, please note that nothing published here is to be considered medical fact or medical advice; it’s all just opinion, which is known to be wrong from time to time.
I once had a dog who outsmarted me almost every time I tried to feed my cat and by-gosh if that dog didn’t always get some of the cat food despite my efforts to thwart him. I do believe that most, well at least some, doctors are smarter than me when it comes to medical knowledge. But, on the other hand, some doctors are flat out dumber than me or that dog, especially when it comes to issues dealing with Fluoroquinolone toxicity or FQAD and its associated symptoms. So you never know…you should probably just judge information found on this site by its own merits, regardless of credentials, and if there’s any real risk involved then employ the help of a doctor.
When it comes to Fluoroquinolone toxicity I avoid the right/left political and cultural bias that infiltrates so many sources. I form opinions based on the current set of facts and the overwhelming anecdotal evidence that exists. Facts can and do change with this toxicity, and sometimes my opinions on fluoroquinolones change based on changing facts and anecdotal information.
I tend to avoid people who have incorporated flawed information into their belief system (which is much different than being mistaken) as it usually leads to conflict akin to fighting over philosophical issues, as seen throughout our entire social media construct.
I am naturally curious and, like the fictional character Sherlock Holmes, I like facts and I do like to collect data which is used to update my website and other resources. I also try, it gets harder has my reader base increases, to keep track of those who contact me and that have experiences that are similar to mine.
A bit more about me….Curriculum vitae
- The normal elementary education, followed by a short stint in the United States Air Force.
- Retired Law Enforcement (2 years local police then 28 years state police) 30 years total (still I had to retire early, thanks to Levaquin).
- I have an very eclectic mix of post secondary education in Electronics, Psychology, and Computer Science, and Theology culminating in a Th.D.
- Former Director and Founding Member of the now what I believe to be defunct Quinolone Vigilance Foundation (QVF) (Unfortunately, I do not support the QVF, for more information read here. The whole experience was like herding cats and made me realize that I am not cut out to run an organization that is not para-military in its structure.)
- Fluoroquinolone research and case study participant (UOFR, UCSD ,SC School of Medicine, & Mayo Clinic )
- Fluoroquinolone article consultant for Mercola.com
- Fluoroquinolone amateur researcher, author and commentator
- Academic papers I helped author or participated in the publication of:
In the last fifteen years I have contributed to case studies and published papers on the Fluoroquinolones in the BMJ, European Journal of Medicine, The Journal of Community and Supportive Oncology, Oxford Academic Clinical infectious Diseases, and contributed data to many more. To see what academic research that I am currently working on check out Surveys, Studies, and Research.
Genetics are an important part in all fluoroquinolone adverse vents. Personally, I have had:
- Gene DX – Whole exome sequence analysis (Mito Genome Plus Mito Nuclear Gene Panel/Sequencing and Deletion Analysis of the Mito Genome/ Duplication Analysis of 319 Nuclear Genes).
- GeneDX a one-year re-analysis in 2019
- Whole genome sequencing and Mito Sequencing including a rare disease and syndrome screen.
- Prevention Genetics Limb-Girdle Muscular and Mito DNA Depletion Panel.
I took and few undergrad classes in genetics to help understand genetics in general and I have a pretty good idea (not complete) about what the Fluoroquinolones did in my body.
Wow, that is enough self-aggrandizement…
Why Trust What I say?
I consider myself a citizen scientist and researcher. Where possible, I try to work with academic based researchers. I am not talking about obscure alternative health practitioners but U.S. based academic medical researchers. I collect all sorts of data that has used for publication and research, and some have generously allowed me to assist in the publication of academic papers.
In all seriousness, although this page may sound like it, I really am not a narcissist. I did not choose this path in life, as of matter of fact I hate it. I have no desire to use it for any gain, other than to heal myself from this travesty. I stumbled in to this debacle through no fault of my own, and have seen the horror of what it does to other people. Nonetheless, it has not been easy.
I learned one important thing from my time in law enforcement, and that is, if you are in charge, surround yourself with smart people. If you recall from history, Charlemagne, son of Pepin the Short, King of the Franks (742-814 CE) first king of the Carolingian Dynasty, was not considered a well educated man. Nevertheless he accomplished much because he was smart enough to surround himself with the brightest minds of his era. This is what I have done with Fluoroquinolone Toxicity. Through this website, and some fortuitous contacts I made with the right people, and providence, I have been given access to some bright minds in some of the right places. It was not me it was them.
My Current Level of Functioning
People (especially new folks) often ask me, how long did it take you to recover? I did not recover. Today, I am officially functionally disabled due to the Fluoroquinolone and it will eventually kill me. I have chronic fatigue brought about by mitochondrial depletion syndrome, I have to use a wheel chair when I leave the house and have to walk any appreciable distance, I cannot lift more than a few pounds and somedays no more than a bottle of water (despite being able to bench press 300 lbs. in my prime), and have to be helped with many basic chores that require much physical involvement. This is not to be depressing or to make one feel sorry for me. It is to elucidate the reality that these pharmaceuticals are very dangerous and their propensity for damage is underestimated and under-appreciated in the world today.
For all those who think this cannot happen to them, prior to my protracted course of Levaquin, I was in excellent physical shape, able to do high intensity physical athletics. I had a complete nuclear cardiac scan several months prior as a precaution for increasing my physical exercise and was given a clean (excellent) cardiac bill of health. Since my exposure to Levaquin, I have had neurological damage (confirmed by nerve punch biopsy), a mitochondrial disease pathology called mitochondrial depletion syndrome (confirmed by muscle biopsy), two heart attacks (yes, mitochondrial issues can cause these as well), autonomic dysfunction, digestive dysfunction (gastroparesis), necrotizing pancreatitis, vision issues, chronic fatigue, and much more.
At least for me I am still alive and I know what caused my problems.
Monetization & Moral Policy AKA The Fine Print
I abhor victimization or the making of money off of other’s misfortunes, especially health related issues. Oh yes, I know that it is common place on the Internet today and our entire medical industry is based on this, but I still don’t like it. I have seen FQ toxicity destroy lives, ruin marriages, and make people homeless and destitute. Because of this I want you to know that I do not personally make any money through this blog. Having said that, I understand the need to fund research, help others, and to keep the lights on, so keeping that in mind, I do collect donations for FQ research, helping others, and to maintain the website. I do this through direct donations, affiliate links and referrals. I apply specific donations directly to what they are earmarked for. Again, I do not personally monetarily profit, from this blog. My son, who is a web developer and someone I trust explicitly, actually runs the nuts and bolts of the website programming and I pay for the design, web-hosting, etc… out of my pocket and/or from the few donations I receive earmarked for the website. If on the other hand you are in a comfortable financial state, I do accept donations for FQ research, website upkeep, and getting supplements to floxies in need. Please note that anything donated is not tax deductible. If that makes you uncomfortable I also links on the donating directly to FQ research page for organizations are tax deductible.
Any credits accumulated through the iHerb or Swanson Vitamin referral program will be used to purchase supplements for individuals in the FQ community that cannot afford to do so. If you would like to help out with that click this link here.
You may read about my integrity pledge here.