A.S. Face 0045 : Cathy Cole

I can’t ever remember not having low back pain & pain above my hips.  I thought everyone did!  Talking to my best friend one day, I found out differently and was shocked!  Being pregnant was pretty bad, and with my last and second son, I had to get some sort of injection in my back, probably steroid.  That was back in 1980.  Yes, I am old, 51 to be exact, and it gets worse each year!  At 21, I went through a windshield, broke my back and my pelvis in 4 places, did a degloving injury on my right arm, I was left with a mangled mess from the elbow to wrist, a head injury also at that time.  I never expected to fully recuperate from that accident in 1981, and I figured I would have pain for the rest of my life.  I was right, but struggled to regain some sort of independence and means to make a living since I was in a bad marriage.  I worked so many pain causing jobs, sometimes more than 1 at the same time.  I carried a contract mail route, convenience store, nursing homes, restaurants, apartment manager, hospital admissions, and last corrections and juvenile corrections, 12 hour shifts, on my feet, sometimes carrying a heavy rifle on my back, climbing in towers… NONE of this easy.  No doctor could tell me why I hurt, other than trauma I had in the past and osteoarthritis.  They would prescribe naprosyn,ibuprofen,tramadol,darvocet, every muscle relaxer made I think, ice,heat,exercise,bed rest, nothing seemed to help!Finally in 2007, I was hurt at work restraining a youth.  Couldn’t seem to get over it.  My doctor had recently moved and had set some of his patients up with doctors he thought would best meet their needs.  The doctor I was lucky enough to get, did a lot of tests and came up with the tentative diagnosis of AS, he referred me to a rheumatologist and someone for my liver, that I had damaged from all the meds.  In Texas, all this takes a while, and my insurance was balking about remicade infusions, so we started trying to get me Humira or Enbrel, My husband dies at age 51.  We didn’t have wills, so here I am, no insurance, mortgage of 1100, I am drawing 825 per month at the time.  I definitely had to make some changes in my life!One of those changes was moving from Texas to eastern Oregon.  Health wise, it has been one of my best decisions.  My income finally got straightened out, I have insurance now,Medicare, and an inexpensive supplement that pays excellent, doctors here don’t want you to be in pain and seem to be much freer with pain medications.  It doesn’t take nearly as long to get in to see specialist and get tests done, so I would say my quality of life is better, but definitely still have many painful days and lot’s of obstacles to overcome.  The smallest things can sometimes be mountains for me.  I broke my shoulder back in March, so now I also have a new fear of falling.Fear… as we age I think our fears increase, but when you have a debilitating disease, those “normal” fears are compounded so much more.  I had a doctor tell me that AS doesn’t kill you, but of course something that it has caused will!
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
Cathy
Texas United States of America

One Response to “A.S. Face 0045 : Cathy Cole”

  1. Dear Cathy,
    What a courageous woman you are. The strength you have showed is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, it means the world to me.
    Sincerely Cookie

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