Recovering from toxicity has led me down many paths that I could not have ever imagined. After a life-long battle with invisible illness, a brush with death opened up my eyes and altered my life permanently.
I began to seek answers to the debilitated condition my body was in after having a catastrophic side effect to the antibiotic, Levaquin, in my mid- thirties. The long journey to my awakening had begun long before, I had been on this collision course since birth.
I was born a child of biochemical warfare, the daughter, of an Army veteran exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. I had been born with a birth defect of the brain (Arnold Chiari), and a malformation of the urinary tract and genitalia that required emergency surgery at the age of five. Having a life threatening reaction to penicillin as a child, I began being administered fluoroquinolone and sulfa-based antibiotics, for chronic urinary tract infections.
Up to that point I had many unexplained medical issues, and felt unwell a majority of the time. I had allergic and hyper sensitive reactions to many foods, and medications. I remember spending countless days and nights in doctors’ offices and hospitals. I was constantly being examined and tested for unusual symptoms, and injuries that perplexed the professionals.
My parents began to be treated with suspicion due to my odd nature and symptoms. I would be questioned often, by social workers and mental health practitioners. By early middle school I was being taken to psychologists and neurologists. I complained to my parents and the doctors that I was experiencing extreme pain.
The physical pain and confusion were compounded with the numerous doctor visits, and painful procedures. I suffered and was given many OTC and pharmaceutical medications as treatment, but nothing seemed to help. Though I drank antacids in great quantities, I continued to suffer from horrible digestive issues that continued for decades.
I was becoming more mentally unstable, there was no doubt that something was off, though no one was able to say just what and more importantly why. Most tests and labs were relatively normal and I began hearing the long time mantra, “You are just making this up for attention and need mental health intervention.” After meeting with a psychologist in the middle school, I attempted to commit suicide for the first time. I lived in a constant state of pain, fear, and the mental anguish of suicidal ideation.
I was evaluated by a neurologist, and was diagnosed as serotonin deficiency. As my high school years began I was placed on what would be the first of many different antidepressants. I began being switched to various medications, dosages constantly being adjusted. I continued to decline both mentally and physically, though no one seemed to be able to figure out “why”. At the age of 15, no longer able to deal with my behavioral issues, I was sent me away to live with a family friend.
At the age of 17, my family and I tried to reintegrate, but it was short-lived, and I was sent to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Baltimore, Maryland. Upon discharge, I stayed with friends but continued to struggle, I have lost count of how many times I have been rushed to the hospital via ambulance. With little support I began to wander from one bad situation to the next, beginning a legacy of homelessness and domestic violence.
After giving birth at the age of 21, I had a nervous breakdown, and was prescribed a benzodiazepine/anxiety medication called Klonopin. I took 2mg daily for several years. After reaching tolerance was switched to higher dosages of other benzodiazepines.
Over the following near two decades I was given countless anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, digestive, migraine, anti-fungal, and pain medications. The decline of my physical and mental health continued to decline, and the list of symptoms seemed to grow over time:
-Mild Anaphylaxis/throat and nasal passages (difficulty breathing)
-Warm flushing sensation throughout entire body (times with heat rash and profuse sweating)
-Extreme Vertigo/ dizziness when standing
-Racing Irregular Heartbeat
-Abdominal Swelling (like a basketball in abdomen)
-Rapid decline/increase in blood pressure/convulsions
-Seizure/ Movement Activity (dystonic in description)
-Tremors (usually in left hand)
-Neuropathy type pain in left side of back (burning and stinging)
-Extreme neurological pain and pressure (especially in back of head)
-Extreme tendon pain/swelling/spasms
-Intense fatigue (feeling of limbs being weighed down by concrete)
-Low grade fever
-Blurry Vision/ Watering Eyes
-Disorientation/ Intense Confusion
-Diarrhea (can last for a week bowel movements have solid food undigested in stool)
-Extreme Constipation (can last up to two weeks needing ER intervention)
-Vomiting (at times with undigested food)
-Difficulty Swallowing/choking on food or liquids (it can take me an hour to eat a small meal)
-High pitch ringing in ears/Tinnitus
-Electrical/Burning Pain in spine and legs
-Extreme bone pain
-Extreme tendon rigidity and pain
-Heartburn/from esophagus to stomach throbbing with burning pain
-Wheezing (heavy feeling in lungs)
-Extreme mood swings
-Migraines or Intermittent Headaches
-Extreme Gas and Belching (Extreme belch that is painful and involuntary spasms)
-Skin breakouts of acne/hives/rashes/boils
-Insomnia or Difficulty Sleeping
-Swelling of internal organs and blood vessels (heart, pancreas, spleen, gallbladder)
-Dental isuues/bone density loss
-Debilitating menstrual cycles/endometriosis
I had chronic bouts of psychosis, UTI, bladder, respiratory and fungal/yeast infections along with Bartonella, Epstein-Barr Virus and Babesia. I began taking opiate pain medication in my mid to late 20s due to high levels of unexplainable pain. I was given numerous CAT/MRI scans, and X-rays. I often had accidents where I would fall, being unable to use my legs.
In my mid thirties I was administered an antibiotic called Levaquin, along with steroids for a suspected infection. After the first dose my entire ride side became paralyzed and I developed even more severe neurological and digestive issues. I was screened for a stroke and then tested for MS and Huntington’s Disease. I looked as if I had Parkinson’s Disease and was then referred to NIH (National Institute of Health) for a movement disorder study.
At this point, I often required the assistance of a wheelchair or cane in walking for longer than a few minutes. I met with a team of neurologists, and again found no answers.
Unable to work and with no stable home, I went into a cold turkey withdrawal from a multitude of pharmaceuticals. The condition that I was in continued to decline into debilitating symptoms of agoraphobia, dystonia and akathisia. I became stuck in an aggressive wasting syndrome, leaving me looking emaciated and anorexic. Ultimately, I became primarily bedridden, and unable to take care of my basic needs. I would spend days unable to leave my home, often unable to get out of bed for food or to take a shower. The life long sensitivities I had experienced became heightened, and I became unable to tolerate many foods or chemicals, I reacted to LITERALLY everything!
After seeing a series of specialists the picture of these chronic health issues began to emerge. What had been written off and dismissed for decades as hypochondria and attention seeking was actually Mastocytosis, Asperger’s Syndrome, Ehler-Danlos, Arnold Chiari, Candidemia/candida,and some seriously messed mitochondrial dysfunction. It became clear that the decades of chronic illness were due fluoroquinolone toxicity, pharmaceutical withdrawal, cardiac, metabolic, and endocrine disorders, along with bacterial/parasitic/fungal infections, and SEVERE food allergies.
After altering many environmental, lifestyle, and eating habits, I began to slowly become more stable. I spent the next three years primarily bedridden with limited function. Many people in my life viewed this as something I made up in an effort to get attention or just be lazy. Some people tried to help me, but just could not understand what was happening or how to help.
After a couple of years on natural treatments, I began to see and feel some hope. I regained use of my legs, the ability to see colors, smell, read, write, and FEEL! Though still with many painful reactions, I could eat, and finally broke 100 lbs. on the scale. I began to be able to sleep, sometimes dream, and for the first time since childhood I felt more calm…I felt like myself! I began to break free from the chemical restraints that had been enslaving my mind and body for decades. I had found an escape from The Black Iron prison, and once out I decided I would not ever go back…I AM FREEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!
I stay dedicated and work hard to educate myself and others on what I am learning about regarding natural healing and toxicity related issues. A warning to those who enter the dark mines of toxicity, a Conscious Canary.
Today’s coal miners must rely on carbon monoxide detectors and monitors to recognize its presence underground. However, before the availability of modern detection devices, miners turned to Mother Nature for assistance. Canaries — and sometimes mice — were used to alert miners to the presence of the poisonous gas. Following a mine fire or explosion, mine rescuers would descend into the mine carrying a canary in a small wooden or metal cage. Any sign of distress from the canary was a clear signal that the conditions underground were unsafe, prompting a hasty return to the surface.