In the Valley of the Shadow of Death…

monty a black cat

There is nothing so pleasant as living with a cat and having him near you while busy and at rest. There is also nothing so motivating to get well during a serious health scare as the desire to not be separated from your furry friend. I know this from experience, because I recently took the drug Cipro for a minor but persistent sinus infection in my right maxillary sinus and all hell broke loose in my body.

Ciproflaxin has two FDA Black Box warnings on it—the strongest measure the FDA takes before finally just pulling the drug off the market. Several other drugs in the flouroquinolone and quinolone families have been pulled already. The reason Cipro causes so much damage begins with the fact that it can push the magnesium out of your cells, causing calcium to come rushing in. Your body undergoes stress losing such an important element, so after awhile Cipro also strips you of your antioxidants, causing severe oxidative distress and damage to cells. The science behind all of this is available online, in medical research journals, research studies written by doctors for other doctors to read.

All I knew at the time is that I was having severe panic attacks each time I fell asleep. My brain would yank me out of sleep and throw me right down into hell. That is the only way I can describe it. I knew that I could die.

In the morning I took magnesium and ate an orange and felt a lot better. Research confirmed that I needed to heavily supplement with magnesium and antioxidants. That is what I have been doing, and I think with time I will recover. I will also be seeing a local anti-aging doctor who has had quite a bit of success treating patients harmed by these antibiotics. He gives magnesium and powerful antioxidants intravenously. I wish I could have gotten that immediately, but he is the only doctor around who will do chelating therapy as it is considered very controversial.

I told my doctor about the AMA recommendation to test magnesium levels before giving this drug. She kept insisting, “But nobody does that.” I had to convince her that what I was saying about the mechanism of the drug was true. But because I did the research myself on the Internet, it was suspect and not easily believed. I probably saved myself from a lot of damage to my body by supplementing as soon as possible, once I understood. When I called my doctor and said I was having a reaction she did not tell me to take magnesium and Vitamin C because she didn’t know! I had to find that out on my own.

How does all this relate to cats? I’ll bet some of my anti-declawing friends are already seeing the connection, because they have compiled mountains of evidence that declawing is bad for cats, much of it from vets like Jennifer Conrad and Ron Gaskin and others. They have radiographs that show the damage and they can explain every reason amputating a cat’s toes is bad for the cat from every perspective. But it doesn’t matter. Few people look at the mountain of evidence, or take the time to understand. They, like my doctor, basically say, “But we’ve always done it this way!” The “don’t rock the boat” philosophy is stronger even then the desire to protect people or animals. You can state facts like: Declawing changes a cat’s gait and predisposes him to arthritis– yet be told that yours is the emotional argument because you are cat crazy or against freedom.

It’s a very hard battle to win, as hard as the battle to get the medical community to recognize the risks of drugs like Cipro. If they followed their own guidelines those risks would be mitigated, but they don’t. Hmmm… sounds just like the AVMA’s recommendations concerning declawing. Those aren’t followed either.

This is why we have such a hard road ahead of us trying to change this world and protect people and animals. We are the ones rocking the boat while the rest of the world yells, “But we’ve never done it that way!” I know that since I have told this story my PoC friends will do their own research and fight also to get Cipro off the market, or at least for the members of the AMA to follow their own guidelines for its use!

These quinolone antibiotics are sadly used on livestock who live in crowded filthy conditions. I’m sure at least some of those poor animals go through the hell I went through, but with no help, no supplements, no comfort found, no release given until the day they are slaughtered. These drugs were given to puppies in research studies! The study called them “immature dogs” because I suppose that doesn’t sound so bad. Every puppy went lame from the Cipro. Those poor dogs suffered and died to test this to make it safe for humans—and yet I was given it and am suffering! The dogs died for nothing! While we animal lovers may be accused of not caring enough about people, only for animals, there are obviously many people in the world who care for neither.

Although my life is very changed, at least for awhile, I am so glad for the support of our little community here at PoC. Monty has been right by me through it all. Sometimes I think he understands how seriously ill I am, other times he seems unaware. I’m not sure. I know that he is the same and I am different and it is a very sad feeling. I envy him his body that works right. But with time and care, maybe mine can work right again too.

My belief as a Christian is that there can be no poison in the cup that my Father sends me. He will use all things for good for me.

Though visitors to PoC perceive me as someone with a lot of religious faith, in truth, that faith has been at a low ebb lately. I hadn’t prayed in a long, long time. I guess Jesus wanted to talk to me, because in that horrible night of panic attacks and the fear of death or permanent disability He was there, and I prayed. I prayed knowing that even though I was in hell, Jesus was there with me and had been there before, for me, when He died on the cross to take away my sin. I was definitely walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Yet I feared no evil, for my Good Shepherd was with me.

The way I see it, I belong to God. It is He who owns me. People think they own their cats, but it isn’t true. No created being can own another. The one who owns all things is God. I’m just glad God saw fit to bring Monty and I together four years ago and to keep us together for awhile longer yet. I am also thankful that He directed me to PoC and all the friends I have here who have been so supportive. Thank you all for your prayers and words of comfort and support.

Ruth and Monty

(who is doing a good job watching over his mom while she is sick)

Facebook Discussion


In the Valley of the Shadow of Death… — 38 Comments

  1. This is a shocking story. I am very pleased to hear that you appear to be making a full recovery. Drugs can be very dangerous and I always avoid using them if I can.

    It is interesting to note that the only time I have had a bad reaction to a drug was when I talk an antibiotic. This happened about 30 to 40 years ago.

    In my case, I fainted while I was eating dinner. I had no idea that I had fainted or that I was preparing to faint; it just happened, instantly.

    I woke up about 30 minutes later and then developed a severe rash which was about 1000 times worse than the condition for which I took the antibiotic. I had to coat myself in a cream that was meant to be used sparingly. There was a real danger that using this cream excessively could also cause health problems.

    I am allergic to this antibiotic and I’m also allergic to penicillin. I am allergic to penicillin because when I was a child I was given so much of it I developed an allergy.

    I don’t know whether the two are linked.

    I hope you get well soon, Ruth. Please tell us how you get on and in the meantime take care of yourself. My love to Monty.

    • Thanks, Michael!
      I wrote in the article that the Brookfield MD I am seeing does chelation therapy. That isn’t what I have been receiving. Chelation therapy detoxifies your system of heavy metals. I am just receiving supplementation: an IV cocktail of a little magnesium, lots of vitamin C and B vitamins. The B vitamins are supposed to help with nerve damage and I have noticed since the treatment there are fewer funny tingles and odd sensations of hot and cold in my arms.

      That’s the big pitfall of Cipro poisoning. People who think they primarily need to detoxify end up with their bodies falling apart from a simple magnesium/antioxidant deficiency. I lost muscle tone all over my body, my skin sagged and my teeth were loose with gums inflamed before I realized that I needed to take more magnesium and lots of vitamin C.

      • Ruth, I think one of the worst things about this experience is how it affects the way you feel, your mind, your mentality. You thought you were going to die. That is a traumatic thought. I think this memory will stay with you for the rest of your life.

        • Death is always with us, Michael, it dogs our steps all our days. I had an incidence of malignant hypertension Wednesday evening, which could also easily have taken my life.

          Yet that memory, though traumatic, is not as bad as reflecting on the evening of the intense panic attacks after I’d been poisoned by Cipro. That happened after a few days, after I’d had time to read how people are horribly disabled from Cipro. I knew about magnesium, but I wasn’t taking enough. I didn’t know about oxidative distress yet, so I wasn’t taking vitamin C. It seemed that what I’d tried wasn’t working. I feared the horrible disability and changes to my body that could have come more than I feared death. Death was frightening mainly in that I didn’t want to leave Monty.

          “Eye has not seen and ear has not heard what God has prepared for those who love Him.” If my earthly tent is destroyed I have an eternal dwelling from God, better than what I have known here. So much better that St. Paul calls our troubles here “light and momentary” and not worth comparing to heaven.

          But could I deal with the rest of my life in a body that would never work quite right again? Anything could happen from Cipro– changes to cognitive function, destruction of tendons, joint cartilage, ligaments. Some victims end up deafened or with permanent double vision.

          My teeth were very loose on the left side of my mouth and my gums inflamed. To me it seemed impossible to escape my body falling apart, so I prayed for a miracle. I actually worked the next day because I feared the day was coming soon when I would not be able to work again. Also, I felt so much better after eating an orange. But I wasn’t well, that was just my body telling me to go get some more vitamin C. I shouldn’t have went to work… But the prayers and support there were also needed, better than being alone with my fears.

          I would say the worst, the most traumatic thing about that night was facing a lifetime ahead not really being me– not able to walk or run or hear or see right or even think clearly.

          That’s why I still insist that it is kinder to kill a cat than to declaw him. Because once declawed he has to live his whole life not being able to be who he was meant to be. People are so cavalier about disabling the cat in this way. How would they feel if they were facing such disability in their own lives?

      • Ruth I also had an allergic reaction to ciprofloxacin and then they gave me quicin and the reaction went on until they worked out what was going on. I was in India on a 4 day train journey, couldn’t bend my legs and fell off the top bunk, it was a disaster, ulcers in my throat, hands turned to leather the street children were scared of me and abpove all I was psychotic. I czn’t tell you. I literally only read the first para and just had to say that – I usually dont do PoC on weekends for the cats – but I saw that I couldn’t help myself. I’ll read it all properly and respond on monday.

        • I doubt it was an allergic reaction, Marc. You were floxed by the drug too. I had hallucinations (visual and auditory) and could barely play the organ. Before service I was warming up, unable to make my legs work the pedals properly, and I was smacking myself in the head in frustration, I guess, but it felt like someone else was hitting me. I still took one more dose after that!

  2. I’m so happy to read that you are doing well, Ruth MM.
    Thought about you every day.
    Responded to a couple of your comments on different articles, asking.
    Our cats are really such a salvation for us.
    We’re going to have to live forever, you know.

    • Maybe not “well” but on the road to recovery.
      This whole ordeal that you are going through is mind boggling, especially when I think that simple precautions could have been taken to prevent it. It’s so horrible.
      Muscle mass and tone are hard to reclaim, but proper diet and supplements can help.
      Take care.

      • I have the muscle tone/mass back already, at least pretty close. It had to be a nerve conduction problem that caused the sudden and dramatic wasting. I build muscle really fast though, always have. My knees were so unstable I could barely walk initially. Replacing the magnesium and antioxidants reversed the problems quite quickly. However, anxiety has been an issue, and it never used to be for me. I think my body went through so much that it is still throwing up alarm bells with anxiety, weird nerve sensations and skyrocketing BP. But the ER has ruled out any current problems, I’m healthy, and the BP meds are starting to work, plus I’m taking astragalus, an herb which, if you read about all it does, is tailor made for my situation. I couldn’t take it right away, since it is a mild diuretic, and would have worked against my efforts to restore magnesium to my cells. You have to initially supplement magnesium only, no calcium supplements, but still push dietary calcium. It was all a big learning curve and I made mistakes along the way. Now I could write the book on exactly what to do and what not to do if you get “floxed” by one of those horrible drugs.

        • I don’t think anybody could work any harder than you are for a comeback.
          Going through something this horrible is life changing. It changes who we are. But, it can be very positive if we gain a whole new appreciation for life.

          • I am feeling grateful for all I have. It is a blessing to still be here with Monty and my hubby, Jeff and to be able to pretty much do what I need to do, so long as I take time to rest as needed and keep pushing the healthy foods.

  3. The main problem with health care, as I see it, is lack of organizational communication between the Primary Care provider, insurance companies, pharmacy, pharmaceutical companies/corporations, specialists, government, HIPAA, regarding “signed consent” and/or “authorization” for outside individuals. What a mess.
    It seems to me, that it begins with the lack of communication btwn doctors and PhD,d. nutritionists. Whether we are talking about a human client/patient or a “smaller” member of the family.

    • That said, Ruth, you have gone through hell because of a lack of communication between the doctor and the pahramaceutical company, resulting in ignorance/time constraints/money/efficiency on your doctor’s part, and being unwilling to look at the full spectrum of issues in your individual case. Is my understanding correct, so far?

      • Pretty much right on the money, Caroline. But my doctor has a responsibility to research any drug she prescribes and she did not do that in this case. She has now. But will she do her homework in the future?

        • If you dangle a carrot in front of her face, you mean? I don’t know, but I’m willing to bet two horses that if you make a point of reminding her of her obligations to you, as a patient, she will. <3

        • It is up to Ruth, to be your own best advocate. You and your husband. AND your Monty, for he may be the most important advocate you have, beside yourSELF! 🙂 xOxO

      • The pharmaceutical company lied. The side effect listed is Tendonitis. But it isn’t Tendonitis it’s tendonosis that occurs– an abnormal formation of a tendon. After oxidative stress the tendon cells are damaged at the mitochondrial level and then they go on to replicate more damaged cells. Had the materials I read that came with the drug listed tendonosis as the side effect I never would have taken it. Had the materials described that the medication is a chelating molecule that can deplete you of magnesium leading to oxidative stress I would not have taken it. Why the big secret? Why not tell the exact mechanism of the drug, in simple terms, why it can cause side effects, and what you can do to lessen your risk? Because fewer people would take the drug. Only those in life or death situations such as exposure to anthrax. That’s what that drug is for. But if they don’t really tell the whole story people will take it for minor conditions and the drug company can sell a lot more of it.
        It’s like declawing. If vets really told the whole story very few people would do it and they would lose money.

  4. sounds scarey ruth hope your ok. im struggling abit today been crying abit too much. Been way too hot and humid here laterly. So trying to do something to take my mind off things.

    • Kylee, try eating some healthy food! I used to think I was losing my mind when I was younger– I’d get soooo sad, with the world just closing in on me. I actually was really low on calcium and magnesium because I had a terrible diet and drank a lot of soda with caffeine. Too often we separate mind and body, but if we are not well in body we cannot be well in our minds. Sadness for no reason has a reason, and you’re not crazy. But you might be low on certain vitamins and minerals. Be careful with supplements– they are not food, they are drugs. They can be useful if you are careful and also eat a healthy diet. After what happened to me I’m more perceptive of what my body is telling me and I feel so much better when I do the right things.

      • thanks for that Ruth i just cant believe how much crying ive done over the last two days. My body feels depleted. Thanks for that advice its so true, as i felt like sandpaper in my mouth. My friend made me a nice healthy meal of snitizel and vegies.

  5. Ruth I’m so glad you are recovering, albeit with setbacks, you need to take good care of yourself because doctors certainly don’t!
    Just like vets they sometimes prescribe medication with dangerous side effects to some, it’s very worrying!
    It’s frightening to think of the people who just blindly trust their doctors and if they complain get told ‘It’s all in your head’
    Let Jeff and Monty look after you now, rest and get well soon.

    • But in the end I blame the drug company much more. I read the same info my doctor had on the drug and thought I would be ok. I had to go find a bunch of medical research online to learn what the drug really did to me and how I could reverse it. Possibly. I still could have tendon damage that’s occurring right now. But I’m doing all I can.

      • Cipro is sometimes prescribed for pets, I think. I came across it online as I was researching. If your pet needs an antibiotic you’ve gotta be vigilant and make sure it’s not in this class. Were a pet poisoned by Cipro the kindest thing would be to euthanize him. The side effects of this drug are worse than death– anxiety amounting to terror when you try to relax or sleep, pain, stiffness, even complete lameness, loss of appetite, ringing in your ears, difficulty focusing your eyes… It just takes everything that could possibly make life good or enjoyable and puts it beyond your reach. The side effects can be permanent if proper action is not taken in time, and every single one of them can happen at once, beyond even those I have mentioned. It’s like the devil designed a drug.

  6. Ruth MM what an awful and frightening time you’ve had, I’m so glad you’re still with us and able to tell us about your horrible experience. It really is a case of your life in their hands with drug companies and GP’s, how awful that something used to treat a relatively minor condition almost cost you your life. Take care, keep safe and let Monty comfort you.

    • Thanks, Barbara. I’m blessed, really. This could have been so much worse. But the God who brought me to it will bring me through it and I will be ok.

  7. That really does sound like hell Ruth and how brave of you to tell us all about it as well as the connection to de-clawing. I find it incredible that this drug hasn’t been properly tested even though so many puppies died horrible deaths 🙁 as for my cats I will certainly be very careful with any drugs that my vet prescribes.

    I wish you a speedy recovery and I’m so pleased you find such support and comfort in God. I’m not religious but I know many good people who are and it must be very reassuring in the face of adversity to put your trust in him.

    Take care and give Monty a kiss from me 🙂 btw we used to have a dog called Monty 🙂

    • Leah, I think Monty is a fine name for any companion animal, dog or cat. I wish I could take credit for coming up with it, but that was my sister!

      I don’t think we really make a choice to put our trust in God, I think He draws us to Himself. He seeks lost sheep. Lost sheep don’t get unlost on their own– they die of starvation, they fall off cliffs, they get devoured by wolves. They don’t decide to return to their shepherd or even know how to do that. They left a verse out of the hymn ” Abide With Me” in our latest hymnal, because it includes the words: “Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee. On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.” Some Christians can’t admit that they leave Christ all the time, are almost constantly on the run from Him even as they claim to follow Him. I’ll admit it. He used this illness to bring me back. Again.

      Through the hardship of this experience, Monty continues to be a reminder of God’s love.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing your story of getting “floxed,” Ruth! It is truly terrifying, isn’t it? To have a bomb go off in your body and mind is something that is difficult to deal with for adult humans – I can only imagine how horrifying it would be for an animal to deal with. Pets and livestock are given fluoroquinolones all the time. Baytril is essentially Cipro under a different name. Neither pets, nor their people, nor veterinarians realize what is going on when an animal is suddenly suffering from multi-symptom, chronic illness after getting treated with a fluoroquinolone. Those of us who have been floxed know though. We see the harm that these drugs can do. We know how wrong it is to give them to people and animals alike. I thank you very much for telling your story and I hope that it helps others to avoid the same pain.

    There are links, resources, information and stories of hope and healing from fluoroquionolone toxicity on

    Best regards,

      • Michael,
        I am trying to send you an article about Lisa and floxiepets, her new website dedicated to protecting companion animals from these horrible drugs. It just came back. It had some pictures in it, so maybe the file was too big. Did your e-mail address change recently? Let me know. It’s a good article. Lisa granted me a phone interview and sent me beautiful pictures of her cat, Rickie, taken by a professional photographer.

  9. Pingback: Posts Written by Floxed Friends | Floxie Hope

  10. Ruth,
    I would love to touch base with you. I’m a floxie but only 3m out. Thank you for this article. I’m a cat lover too. I would be lost going through this without my baby, Monet. I hope to hear from you. Thank you!

    • Hi Tia,
      I hope you are well and hanging in there. How funny that your cat is named Monet and mine is named Monty– such similar sounding names. And a similar problem we share, unfortunately.
      My e-mail is ry92696(at) (substitute @ for at)

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