Catherine is in her mid seventies and is deafened, losing her hearing over a period of years during her 40s; she now wears a cochlear implant and has a Hearing Dog called Beni. She is married to Tom and has twin daughters and three grandchildren.
Whilst at an international conference in November 2003 she caught a severe infection from which she struggled to recover, suppressing the debilitating symptoms for almost a year - during which time her first grandson was born which gave her an incentive to hide the exhaustion she was experiencing on a daily basis. By early 2004 she was unable to fight any further and succumbed to what she now recognises was full-blown Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) which rendered her 90% housebound and of that 60% bedbound, losing more or less total contact friends and colleagues.
She was in the wilderness for nine years with no medical offers of support other than anti-depressants, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and graded exercise therapy (GET) which, after much in-depth study, she realized would harm her even further. In 2012 she started a course of LDN (Low Dose Naltrexone) which she had heard about several years earlier and continued to hear glowing reports of its efficacy for similar conditions.
Taking this step changed her life for the better in a matter of weeks and over time she has returned to almost full health. Indeed, she could not have envisaged taking on Beni her follow-on Hearing Dog without such improvement and now that Tom has become severely sight impaired her domestic and driving duties have increased dramatically, changes which she is able to take in her stride. Catherine finds it difficult to recall the misery that pervaded her existence for almost a decade (for that’s what it was, just an existence!); she is now a very happy woman, enjoying life to the full!