Brandi McAtee is Beating Fibromyalgia

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:



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2 Comments to “Brandi McAtee is Beating Fibromyalgia”

  1. Brandi McAtee says:

    Hi. For some reason, my husband Google’d my name today and this story came up. This is the first I’ve seen of it! Thank you so much! I’m honored! Things are still going well. I’m currently trying to build some muscle for the 2012 Emerald Cup in Seattle in April. I’ve put on 3 lbs of muscle since this story came out, and am feeling better than ever! I still have a couple bad days here and there, and I still have to take my meds every day, but overall, I’m feeling great! I hope you and your readers can find the same strength and motivation that I did. Fibro is a horrible disease. There are worse ones out there too. Take baby steps, but make sure they’re always forward. Take care and thank you again!

    Brandi McAtee

  2. admin says:


    Thank you VERY much for taking the time to write. Wow, I really appreciate it. I was doing a Google search myself in early October for some Fibromyalgia news when your story came up. It was so different than any of the other stories out there.

    It was a great encouragement to me as I read of your story and saw how you had been fighting this, overcoming, managing the rough days, and still moving toward your dreams.

    I wish you the very best in 2012 in the Emerald Cup! Keep moving forward yourself!


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