"I kept asking my doctor if the antibiotic—Cipro--could be causing all these problems but he said no," says Mike, "and he asked if I would rather stop taking Cipro and have another prostate infection." In retrospect, Mike would rather have had the infection than suffer now with debilitating joint pain that has almost ruined his life.
"Nobody could figure out what was causing these problems," says Mike. "Over the next few years I had a battery of tests and all they could see was that I might have a 'tortured bowel' and because I had so much weakness in my leg one doctor suggested I might have post-polio syndrome because I had polio as a child. He advised me to slow down or I would be in a wheelchair, soon.
Finally I saw a neurologist who immediately took me off Cipro.
My wife and I were forced to sell the business, we just couldn't run it anymore. I had a kennel business and worked 12-14 hour days. I used to ride horses and couldn't do that anymore either. I took a year off to rest and we moved to Hawaii. Then we came back to Washington and tried to restart dog training (we train them with Tennessee walking horses) but immediately I knew it was a mistake--I popped a tendon in my knee when I tried to ride my horse. I still felt like crap and to make a long story short, I am now on disability.
I went from running this huge kennel, making over $100,000 per year to being on social security disability. I just couldn't work anymore: all I know is this business or construction. Fortunately we are better off than some because we had some savings and the house is paid for but I am going to be crippled for the rest of my life.
They say old guys don't heal. When I was 50 people thought I was 35. Now I am not even 60 and feel decades older. I have never been old before, is this how you feel? I will never be out of pain; I take a lot of painkillers and try not to take sleeping pills but I am still up by about 4am every morning. Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night in agony…
About a month ago I went online and googled 'Cipro problems'. I discovered all these people with similar symptoms. I also found a Cipro chatline where people say their loved ones even committed suicide because they were in so much pain. Thanks to the Internet people are finally connecting the dots with their problems.
I had mixed emotions when I found out: I was angry because this drug has basically taken away my life. At the same time it was a relief because for the past year I thought I couldn't feel this bad without dying. It is like my body is riddled with arthritis and all my joints pop so loud that people nearby can hear them.
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I was having a lot of fun with life but that's over. I now wonder if intolerance to this drug is hereditary so I tell my kids not to take these kinds of drugs unless absolutely necessary—it would have to be a life or death situation. I wasn't ready to retire."