Health And Wellness

I Was Bedridden For Months Due To A Devastating Reaction To Antibiotics

Photo: Courtesy of the Author
photo of author brooke st. james

It was early May 2015 when my husband, children, and I headed out on our annual trip to Florida to visit family. Everything started as planned, but a day into the trip I noticed a peculiar bump inside my mouth. I felt fine but decided to go see a dentist just to play it safe. I was looking forward to some quality beach time after all and didn't want anything to interfere with that.

I was prescribed a routine course of antibiotics and took my first dose that evening. I thought nothing of it because I had taken antibiotics plenty of times in the past without any issues.

But, when I awoke the following morning, I felt worse than I had ever felt in my life. My skin appeared to be grey, my lips were pale, my insides were on fire, my heart was racing, and cold sweat flowed from my pores. My husband rushed me to the ER where we were told this was a normal reaction and to just keep taking the medication. However, what was happening to me was far from normal and things only got worse.

RELATED: The Day I Almost Died Taught Me I Wanted To Live

Before I go any further, let me express that I ultimately came to the realization there was a reason for all of this happening to me.

From 2011 to 2015 I had been building a successful career as an indie romance author (under another pen name). Earlier in 2015, I felt le to begin writing clean, Christian romance under a new pen name (Brooke St. James) and had released two novellas as a way to test the waters.

When I had this reaction to the antibiotics, everything ground to a halt. I returned home from Florida in a stupor. As if the physical symptoms weren't bad enough, suddenly my cognitive abilities were devastated. I couldn't think straight, struggled to communicate, constantly felt confused, and lost track of time. For the next three months, I was bedridden and in and out of the hospital.

Physicians had no answers. A family friend, who was also a surgeon, could only offer Google as the best solution to solve this mystery.

Ultimately, that's what my husband turned to as a last-ditch effort to help me heal. What we discovered was that hundreds of thousands of people had been affected the same way and taken anywhere from a few months to several years to heal. Through trial and error, we slowly figured out what was going on and how to best help me heal.

By mid-August 2015 the pain, suffering, and brain fog were beginning to lift and I slowly began to write again.

However, during those months of anguish, I drew closer to God than I had ever been. I began to realize that He was refining me and preparing me for the next chapter in my life. When I returned to writing, it was exclusively as Brooke St. James. As part of my commitment to God and this new phase of my career, I unpublished every book I had written under my previous pen name.

This was a leap of faith. But I felt called to glorify God in the best way I knew how; writing feel-good romance stories with happy endings.

I will admit that, at first, I was afraid that I had endured so much neurological damage from this incident that I would be unable to write again.

RELATED: I Almost Died While Having Sex On A First Date

Those first couple of books I wrote in the fall of 2015 helped me recover. It was almost like spring training for a professional baseball player.

I was able to get back in a rhythm and also use them as a vehicle to express what I had just gone through. And amazingly enough, many of my readers have reached out over the years to say that those stories helped them, a family member or a friend get through the same reaction to antibiotics.

Though I was able to begin writing again in August 2015, the recovery process ultimately took years.

The reaction left me with long-term nerve damage, intermittent anxiety, and a host of other physical issues that seemed to linger forever. In addition to that, the symptoms can return with more intensity in what I can only describe as a flare-up.

To be perfectly honest, as I'm writing this, I'm going through one of the worst flares I've experienced in some time. In these moments, when I wonder why this is happening to me and how long it will last, I ultimately draw closer to God. I return to several scriptural passages, including 2 Timothy 1:7 'For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.'

I am thankful for the life given to me and know that, ultimately, there is divine purpose in these experiences.

RELATED: My Baby Almost Died Because I Believed Bottle-Feeding Would Harm Her

Brooke St. James was born to write a love story. A USA Today bestselling author and Amazon Kindle All-Star with 2 million copies sold, Brooke writes contemporary romance novels with Christian and inspirational themes and happy endings.