I came across a great story I had to share with you. Brandi McAtee has systematic Fibromyalgia. She has also struggled with osteoarthritis and a degenerative disc disease.
Two to three years ago, after back surgery and almost being in a wheelchair, to being crowned Figure B champion at the 2011 Washington Ironman Competition in Bellevue, Wash. It’s an incredible story.
I have included part of the story below, and then you can read the rest of it by clicking on the link below the article. It is an amazing story of triumph and overcoming – one that we don’t hear enough about in the world of fibromyalgia. If she can look that good and do what she has done, maybe I can get off the couch and do a little more than I have been doing.
Here’s the story:
“Brandi McAtee’s health provider calls her the poster child for living with chronic pain from systemic fibromyalgia as well as osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease.
On Sept. 24, McAtee, of Kalispell, was crowned the 2011 Figure B champion at the Washington Ironman Competition in Bellevue, Wash.
“I was thrilled. I’m still thrilled,” she said, her eyes filling with tears. “I get a big rush when I think of how far I’ve come in the last two and a half years.”
Her husband, Jeff, couldn’t be prouder of his wife, who works as bookkeeper and bartender at the Scoreboard. He has witnessed his wife’s struggles firsthand.
“She went from almost in a wheelchair to being in amazing, amazing shape,” he said.
Through diet and rigorous exercise, McAtee reduced her pain and created a competition-grade physique. Her experience has fueled her new passion to inspire other chronic pain sufferers not to give up.
McAtee said she was diagnosed with a hereditary form of early-onset osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease. Now 33, she had back surgery four years ago but did not find relief from her pain.
“I just started going downhill after the surgery with horrible pain,” she said. “I couldn’t believe that was what my life was supposed to be.”
Her continuing pain was diagnosed as systemic fibromyalgia. The National Fibromyalgia Association defines it as a complex chronic pain syndrome with physical, mental and social impacts.
McAtee remembers well the debilitating fatigue and pain before her lifestyle changes. Just to keep mobile, she took a large array of medications including narcotic pain relievers Percocet and morphine.
“When I say I hit rock bottom, I mean rock bottom,” she said.
Her turnaround began when she received a scholarship from The Summit in Kalispell to attend an aquatic class designed for people suffering from arthritis and fibromyalgia. McAtee said the class included stretching and strengthening in the heated therapy pool using thumb weights.
She found herself in the company of much older people who were more flexible and endured longer than she could.
“The 90-year-olds were kicking my butt,” McAtee said. “I was so frustrated and in so much pain that I was leaving everyday in tears.”
At first, she could only endure 20 minutes. But she persisted and in about two weeks, she worked up to a full hour.”
Read the rest of the story by clicking on the link below: