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 and that is experienced by thousands of people, 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 caused a mitochondrial dysfunction/disease 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 as a blog in 2009. This blog is the second oldest surviving and thriving website dedicated to Fluoroquinolone Toxicity second only to John Fratti’s “Hurt By Levaquin.” It is a true grass root’s project unique from all other Fluoroquinolone Blog’s or websites (you will see why as you read through it), designed to advocate, educate, inform and be the inspiration for further research and engage in sponsoring research. It’s impetus was the 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. This site is mainly here for the enlightenment and education of others, to provide information so that people can make an informed choices and hopefully not have the same fate befall them that befell me and many, many others.
Although there are other websites that deal with Fluoroquinolone Toxicity and some of them are good, some just exist as a keyword magnets to attract internet traffic in order to sell services or ebooks. They try to separate already victimized people from their money. Although I do write about technical stuff, 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 should dumb it down to about a sixth grade level. Seriously!
Initially, this site was created as cathartic therapy for myself, but has blossomed beyond that when others who had this same tragedy befall them, reached out to me. I write about things that have helped me and, more importantly, things that others say have helped them, to document research, and to express true frustration with the medical system and their ignorance to this problem. I often speak with candor, sometime a bit snarky, and occasionally a bit petulant, about the whole Fluoroquinolone situation which is usually 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 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 (secondary mito disease) – confirmed by muscle biopsy & ETC analysis (ICD-10-CM-Code E88.40)
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – based on mito dysfunction (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)
- A Novel Cerebral Spinal Fluid Leak (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 an eclectic person. Yes, I did obtain a doctorate through the help of a generous employer, 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. Personally, I am an eclectic individual with many interests, and believe me the fluoroquinolones were not among them. Although I was blessed to obtain a myriad of higher education due to a generous employer, by certain medical standards, I’m not all 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.
Also keep in mind, 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. 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 FQ toxicity or FQAD and its associated symptoms. So you never know, and 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, 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 are experiencing delayed onset and chronic long lasting adverse events from this class of medication. Many times those experiencing an adverse events to the Fluoroquinolones heal up and move on with their lives but unfortunately many go on to develop chronic long lasting problems. Many people in the Fluoroquinolone community, whether their adverse event is acute, delayed, or chronic, often experience alienation, discrimination and marginalization from the medical community, and unfortunately sometimes, from family and friends as well.
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 (mostly thanks to a generous employer), culminating in an honorary ThD.
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 help author or participated in the publication of:
In the last thirteen years I have contributed to case studies and published papers on the FQ’s in the BMJ, European Journal of Medicine, The Journal of Community and Supportive Oncology, Oxford Academic Clinical infectious Diseases, and contributed to many more. To see what academic research that I am currently working on check out Surveys, Studies, and Research.
Personally, I have had partial genome sequencing (23andMe), mtDNA sequencing and analysis, whole exome and entire genome sequencing and analysis, Mitoswab, and electron chain analysis. Along with nerve biopsy and muscle biopsy, and a various smorgasbord of metabolic testing procedures. I now have a pretty good idea (not complete) about what the Fluoroquinolones did in my body.
Wow, that is enough self-aggrandizement…
Why Trust Me?
This is where I am a bit unique as a member of the Fluoroquinolone community, citizen scientist and researcher. I am the only one, that I am aware of, that has actually works with with several academic based researchers. I am not talking about obscure alternative health practitioners but U.S. based academic medical researchers. I collect data that they have 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, I have been criticized and deemed by some to be irrelevant by entities on different sides of the issue (both allopathic and alternative) because I am not a true ‘credentialed’ medical expert that follows only a certain path. So why trust me?
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 life more than a few pounds (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 and help others, so keeping that in mind, I do collect donations for FQ research, sell items whose proceeds are donated to research, and I have added some affiliate links & ads which, if they provide any compensation, I will apply them for Fluoroquinolone research. 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… myself. 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 to me 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.