My Story: Cathy Addison

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I began experiencing never-ending intense physical pain and fatigue. My pain was all over my body, but the intensity of that pain moved to different areas.

I felt like I had rubber bands wrapped around my legs and concrete poured in my upper back and shoulder area.

I sought massage therapy and chiropractic treatment for months, thinking it would go away. During one of my chiropractic visits my chiropractor said, "Your fibro is acting up."

I didn't know what fibro was. I replied, “I don't have fibro." He said, "You do, but just don't know it."

In other conversations fibromyalgia kept coming up, along with other ailments like RA and lupus. Finally, my primary care physician referred me to a rheumatologist, who diagnosed me in 2005 at the age of 44. I believe that years of dealing with great stress brought on my illness.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I had to give up working out. I had been very active since the age of 23, when I joined my first gym.

You name it, I probably did it when it came to being active. Hiking, horseback riding, kickboxing, high-impact aerobics, step aerobics, low-impact aerobics, weight training — you get the idea.

I continued to work as a hairstylist with great difficulty. I lost a lot of my clientele due to my personality change. I wasn't the upbeat, smiling hairstylist they knew.

I tried my best to be that way, but I was in so much pain I couldn't mask it. I worked and came home.

I did other things but with great effort. Anything and everything was a task. I did only what I had to do.

I attended family functions and so forth, but it was all a great task. My housework and more suffered. I didn't go grocery shopping or do my normal things.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I am grateful that I didn't give up. Three different doctors told me that I would most likely end up bedridden.

I researched fibromyalgia and things that might help. I began with yoga — my first yoga class was in 2007.

I was desperate and had to try. I could tell the stretching was beneficial.

I sought alternative treatment. I found that traditional medicine couldn't offer me much help outside prescribing pain meds, which have their place. I did take them for eight or nine years and they were a stepping-stone to my road of improvement.

As I began to finally feel less pain, I gradually took myself off each one of them. I've been off all of them since Sept. 6, 2015.

During my road to recovery I took I.V. treatments called Meyers Magic once a week for three years. The main ingredients are B vitamins, vitamin C, and magnesium.

I also did chelation, received chiropractic treatment, took lots of supplements, used essential oils, began to eat organic, and clean eating. I relied on my faith and meditated regularly.

I became a certified yoga instructor in 2011, receiving my 200-hour certification. I have also attended two other yoga trainings and, Lord willing, in April this year will go to Costa Rica to receive my 500-hour certification.

All of this has literally been a one-day-at-a-time mindset. The things I sought to bring relief helped. None of it was a fast fix.

I am beyond grateful every day for the improvement that the Lord has given me. I do know it is a gift that I don't take for granted.

I became a certified yoga instructor in 2011, receiving my 200-hour certification.

Who has been there for you? How?

My husband — he was always understanding and supportive. He married one girl and saw me change in a very short time.

As I sought ways to get better he did everything he could to help and encourage me. He drove me to my first yoga class, and then did so weekly for a year. He understood if I didn't feel up to going out to eat or to a movie.

Also one of my long-term girlfriends who saw me go from being the upbeat, vibrate person to one who struggled to function. Most of all, my Lord and Savior, who was my ultimate guide and strength.

Who has been there for you? How?

My husband — he was always understanding and supportive. He married one girl and saw me change in a very short time.

As I sought ways to get better he did everything he could to help and encourage me. He drove me to my first yoga class, and then did so weekly for a year. He understood if I didn't feel up to going out to eat or to a movie.

Also one of my long-term girlfriends who saw me go from being the upbeat, vibrate person to one who struggled to function. Most of all, my Lord and Savior, who was my ultimate guide and strength.

What's your advice to someone else living with Fibromyalgia?

Don't give up! Today I am pain-free and don't experience the horrible fatigue and other ailments that the illness caused me for over 10 years of my life.

I had shingles 32 times, Epstein-Barr, walking pneumonia, HHV6, just to name a few. Today I have mild fibro symptoms from time to time, but none of these other ailments.

My immune system continues to grow stronger. I have mild pain from time to time, but it doesn't last.

I teach and practice yoga daily. My desire was for relief from this illness and to not be bedridden. The outcome has surpassed all my expectations. I don't dread activities.

My desire was for relief from this illness and to not be bedridden.

Is there anything else we should know?

My desire is to inspire others who are experiencing this and similar illnesses by sharing my story, and helping them find a way to their road to relief.

When I sought my first yoga training, I did so at the recommendation of my rheumatologist. He saw how it had helped me.

As I prayed about pursuing this, I didn't know if I could handle it physically. It was a once a month weekend training for nine months.

I stepped out with the support of my husband and, most importantly, the guidance from my faith. I prayed that if I did accomplish this I could be an instrument to help others with this or like illnesses. That is still my biggest desire.

About Cathy Addison

My Story: Cathy Addison

I'm am a hairstylist and yoga instructor. I've been married to my wonderful husband for 14 years. I have two wonderful stepchildren and four precious grandchildren.

My story is one of hope, as I never knew if the day would arrive when I could function again and be close to pain-free. I feel that I have my life back.

I lost the person I was. I assumed that was just the new me, never knowing if I could or would get better.

I want people to know that I understand when they can't function. I've been there — I experienced the fatigue and more. I believe it's important to find a way to combat the symptoms. For me it was yoga and the other options I've mentioned.

Because I was gifted with improvement from my fibro symptoms I am able to give back. I take dolls to women in a local nursing home, cut hair for our local homeless, and spend time with and help take care of my 83-year-old mother, who was diagnosed with stage I lung cancer this past summer.

I am glad I can be there for her and others. That is one of my greatest blessings — to be able to help others.

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