Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain LIFE Sep/Oct 2012, Issue 6 - Page 13

Personal Insights When a Bunny Changes Your Life... W ho knows what makes a particular animal and human “click”? In the middle of the first magical snowstorm of 2001 I rebelliously bought an adorable bunny that ended up being the love of my life. If only I had known at that moment all he would come to mean to me. Bunnyboy taught me that love can be the driving force to overcome almost anything, especially chronic pain. When people say that their pet saved their life, they usually m e a n i t f i g u ra t i v e l y. B u t Bunnyboy saved my life...twice. Literally. volunteerism within the community. Then the rug was ripped out from under me. What should have been a routine viral infection was anything but. I contracted Fifth’s Disease from my two-year-old, and the course of my life changed. I began living with chronic debilitating pain from a mixed connective tissue disease and fibromyalgia. I used to pray that I would wake up from the nightmare, but I never did. The dream just faded into the distance. I H appily settling into my mid thirties, I was pretty sure I had it all. I came from a large, close family and had a wonderful career in executive recruiting. Marri ed with two beautiful children and living in a wooded suburb of New Jersey, I enjoyed being a stay-atmom who was involved with the children’s school activities and t wasn’t bad enough that my whole life had changed, but I also had to change my way of thinking. I could not longer say, “I have to get rid of this pain.” I started telling myself, “I need to learn to manage this pain.” Our reaction to pain is completely up to us. S o I used everything I had to fight back. When one terrifying reaction from a pain medication sent me to the emergency room, I threw the pills into the garbage and stated going to a chiropractor. I scheduled weekly massages for the diffuse muscle pain. At times it felt like a thousand knives were piercing my body. The weight of a light blanket was too painful, and I used to sleep uncovered. I walked on an underwater treadmill at physical therapy to relieve the pressure on my joints and to strengthen my muscles. I slept on a magnetic mattress designed to alleviate pain. I cringed as small jolts of electricity shot through my body at the acupuncturist. I gave up all sweets and ate a much healthier diet. A psychologist said, “You may never be your old self.” His words angered me and made me that much more determined to control my pain, not let the pain control me. “Chronic pain can put the screeching brakes on your life. It can bully with moods, jobs and relationships. Sep/Oct 2012 Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Life 13