Wes's Story

In 2001 I was informed that I needed a liver transplant due to a disease called alpha-1 antitrypsin. In November of 2002 I was transplanted and shortly after, (perhaps 12 hours), developed a severe abdominal and chest infection. I was transferred to ICU and put on intravenous Levaquin therapy. Almost immediately I started feeling extremely hot. My right arm started to tingle and get real hot in the area of the wrist joint. A large red raised area developed and began to itch.

None of this seemed to bother the doctors. I was sent home weeks later and put on Cipro while surgical wounds healed. I thought nothing of this. If I had the information this site provides I probably would have refused the Levaquin and asked for another antibiotic.

As time progressed after transplant I began to have severe joint and muscle pain. At this point in my life it is impossible for me to make a clenched fist. Likewise, I cannot fully clench my toes. I have lost several degrees of angle in motion of my joints. My gate has changed. I use to walk normally, now one only has to see me move a few steps to tell something is wrong. I can no longer play the sports I use to enjoy.

My skin has dramatically changed. The skin located around all joints has thickened and become very stiff. This also hinders joint movement and adds to the pain. I am now told I have a disease called scheleromyxedema (spelling may be incorrect). I wonder now if this whole situation was not triggered by the antibiotics as I never had any problems with my skin before the transplant. I have severe itching at times, especially where it has thickened. My skin now has an orange/tan hue to it. It regularly feels as if I am receiving bee stings or needle pricks in the areas of afflicted skin.

I am currently on full disability and probably will be for the rest of my life. The financial impact has been great. I had a great tech job and I had to give it up. I have a great respect now for others whom are disabled. I use to take for granted the ability to traverse stairs or walk up steep inclines. Both activities require an inordinate amount of time and cause a great deal of pain now. Because of joint pain it hurts to even put shoes on my feet.

I acknowledge the fact that I would not be alive today without these drugs but I wonder if other drug therapies might have been just as effective.

Last Updated 12/15/04