I used to be fit and healthy. Then I got sick…


In February of 2016, I had a serious adverse drug reaction to Cipro, which is a very powerful, mitochondria-destroying, failed chemotherapy drug that was later turned into a popularly-dispensed antibiotic.

In short, it decimated my gut, wreaked havoc on my mental and physical health, destroyed my muscles and tendons, and left me in constant chronic pain. I was unable to do many of the things I once loved.

I started the carnivore diet in May 2020 as a last-ditch attempt for relief. The results so far have been amazing! I am healing my body, regaining my strength, and getting fit again. I hope to one day be able to physically do most of the things I used to and completely heal myself.

Fit Carnivore - Wendy Neal - Certified Holistic Health Coach

Here's the longer version of my story…

I had always been very active and fit growing up. I played football and basketball with the neighborhood kids as a child. I played all the sports in high school, and volleyball in college. In my twenties I played rec league sports and later on came to enjoy lifting weights as a way to stay in shape.

But at age 44 my way of life as I knew it was about to change.

February 10, 2016 is when my nightmare began. I was prescribed a popular antibiotic called Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) for a suspected urinary tract infection (my labs came back negative after I had already finished the entire course of the medicine).

Immediately after taking that first pill, I started to experience strange symptoms…

Shortly after taking my first dose, my Achilles tendons and my knees started to ache. A few hours later, I couldn't walk. I called my doctor and she said to continue taking the pills. It was a 3-day course, so I just stayed off my feet and nursed my Achilles for the next few days. Within a week the pain had gone away and I thought everything was back to normal.

Fit Carnivore - Achilles Tendinitis

A couple weeks later, I got an excruciatingly painful burning skin rash that took weeks to heal completely.

Meanwhile that summer, I started to notice some weird symptoms off and on that I didn't think much about. I'd get dizzy and lightheaded first thing in the morning when taking my daughter's dog outside. I just attributed it to the high heat and humidity. I also noticed swelling in my ankles and a sharp pain in my right shoulder. I figured it was just from the weather changing.

Later in the summer I started having burning stomach pain and other digestive discomfort. By late August my belly was protruding and in constant pain. It felt like my entire insides from my stomach all the way to the other end were on fire.

Fit Carnivore - Stomach Pain

I fired my doctor and turned to Functional Medicine


About this time I started seeing a functional medicine doctor to try to figure out what was going on. I no longer trusted the doctor who prescribed me the antibiotics.

He ran lab tests and prescribed some supplements and a treatment plan based on my lab results.

I remember in those first few months not being able to sit for very long because my belly was in so much pain. I tried to alternate between sitting and standing to do my work (I worked from home as a web developer and was on the computer all day). But I couldn't stand very long either because my feet hurt after a few minutes of being on my feet. It was horrible.

Over the next months and years, the Cipro side effects just kept on coming…

Despite being under the care of a functional medicine doctor, I kept getting more and more symptoms over the next months and years.

In addition to the other symptoms I already mentioned, in those first few months I also developed the following:

Extreme nausea that lasted for months, I literally felt sick all the time
Incredibly painful stomach ulcer and pain throughout my digestive tract – my intestines felt "raw" or "burnt", also very painful spasms, cramps, etc.
Painful gas and bloating
Debilitating shoulder and back pain
Very painful and heavy periods and I felt like I had the flu the first two days of my cycle every month
Compromised immune system; that first winter I was sick probably 10 times (I hadn't had even a common cold in about 7 years prior to that)
Mental symptoms – extreme anxiety and panic attacks that would last for hours at a time
Cognitive issues – I had trouble remembering simple things, brain fog, and general confusion
Unbelievable fatigue (the kind where you have to prop your head up with your hands while sitting because you're so tired)

Over the next couple years, I started developing even more symptoms:

In November 2018 I got a very bad case of peroneal tendinosis on my left foot (without doing anything I might add; it wasn't an injury, it was spontaneous)
My liver wasn't optimal for a time
I had frequent bladder pain but no infection
My thyroid was acting up and we really had quite a time getting it under control
I had severe deficiencies in many nutrients because my gut was so badly damaged that I wasn't able to absorb them
My eyesight and hearing were affected
I had extreme muscle wasting and unwanted weight loss
I experienced more cognitive decline
My hormones were a mess; I'd cry at the drop of a hat, and I almost NEVER cry normally
Extreme irritability (who could blame me, I was a mess!)

This is only the tip of the iceberg. There were literally dozens of symptoms that I dealt with throughout my ordeal.

I did find some healing and relief over the years


  • Time – Healing was extremely s-l-o-w, but I did experience improvement in many of my symptoms with the passing of time, especially the mental and anxiety symptoms, as well as the horrible burning stomach and intestinal pain.
  • Functional Medicine – As mentioned, very early on I sought out a functional medicine doctor who helped me get on a clean eating plan and prescribed supplements to address nutrient deficiencies as shown through lab tests.
  • Neurofeedback – To help even more with my anxiety and panic attacks, I underwent several months of neurofeedback treatments.
  • Physical Therapy – I got PT on my left foot and ankle for four months; it helped for a time but then my healing stagnated.
  • Regenerative therapies – Most recently (winter of 2019/2020) I received regenerative treatments on my ankles, feet, and legs. This included low level laser therapy, neuromuscular reset on my leg muscles, and shockwave therapy. These therapies helped get my muscles to reset and get the blood flowing to my joints and tendons so I could begin to heal.

The regenerative therapies really helped a lot; however, even after all this, I was still in pain daily, and still not able to physically do all the things that I wanted to do. It was depressing, and I thought I’d have to live this way forever; that this was as good as it was going to get.

Then I discovered a major breakthrough


Fit Carnivore - Carnivore Diet

I had been hearing about the carnivore diet and how people were healing from chronic and debilitating health issues.

I was skeptical at first (because I'm skeptical about everything), but I wanted to learn more. I researched meticulously for months before I decided to take the plunge.

You can check out some of the websites and books I read while I was conducting my research on my Resources page, however I want to mention here that the very best resource and one I highly recommend reading is Dr. Paul Saladino’s book The Carnivore Code. It is full of so much science and dispels so many myths about eating meat that it will literally make your head spin.

On May 3, 2020 I stopped eating all plant foods and started the carnivore diet. The results so far have been amazing! I am healing my body, regaining my strength, and getting fit again.

My results so far on the carnivore diet have been life-changing!

After only two days on the carnivore diet, I noticed the following improvements:

My bladder pain was completely gone.
My urine was no longer cloudy.
My bloating disappeared entirely and my tummy got flat.

And over the course of the first month, I noticed more symptoms improvements:

I was much more flexible and my muscles were less "stiff".
My frequent sour stomach went away.
I had significantly less muscle, tendon, and joint pain.
The fungal rash on my skin (that I'd had for over 20 years) was starting to disappear.
I was no longer groggy in the mornings or hitting snooze six times before finally dragging myself out of bed at 8:00 am. Now I was getting up with the sun and full of energy!
My period was normal. Prior to this, I always had very heavy bleeding, intense cramps, and felt like I had the flu the first two days of my cycle every month. This time – no cramps, normal bleeding, and I felt fine.
Fit Carnivore - My Results on the Carnivore Diet

Now I'm so much more mobile and able to be on my feet and do things that I wasn't able to (without significant pain) a few months ago. To say that I am overjoyed by the huge decrease in symptom severity is an understatement. Perhaps even more importantly, for the first time in over 4 years I saw HOPE. Hope that one day I might actually be completely healed.

I started this blog to share my progress on this carnivore journey and to provide hope and assistance for those who may have similar chronic health issues. If my story helps even one person, it will be worth it.

Thanks so much for reading. If you made it this far, then you can probably relate to my story.

Do you have a chronic health condition that isn't getting better no matter how many doctors you've seen or despite what you've tried for relief?

I'd like to help. Sign up for the newsletter to receive information on how to manage chronic issues with the carnivore diet. Or if you'd like one-on-one help, schedule a free discovery call with me to see how we can work together.

"For the first time in over 4 years, I am seeing HOPE. Hope that one day I might be completely healed and able to do all the things I used to."

Wendy Neal

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