Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain LIFE Sep/Oct 2012, Issue 6 - Page 15

Bunnyboy helped remind me that it was ok not to be able to do everything like I used to. Bunnyboy needed me as much as I needed him. C aring for a loved one is something that I learned growing up when my baby brother was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of four, and my father had his first massive heart attack when I was only thirteen. Illness in a family may involve adjustment on everyone’s part but can sometimes bring families closer. In our case, Bunnyboy and I grew closer in sickness and in health. perched on my chest, and the phone was nearby. When I tried to get up to go to the bathroom, it was as if my body didn’t receive the message. I panicked and asked Bunnyboy to nudge the phone over to me so that I could call for help, and he did. Bunnyboy on his lap. Ultimately, whenever we went to leave the center, someone asked us to come back. P B S everal years after Bunnyboy’s miraculous surgery, I developed a bone infection that the doctors initially thought was cancer. The surgeon implanted antibiotic beads into my jawbone to save my life. At the time I was on Enbrel (a strong immunosuppressant) and without the beads, the outcome might have been much different. The doctor had just started using the beads on his patients. It was a triumphant moment for Bunnyboy and me. unnyboy helped save my life a second t ime. In the middle of a serious flare up of my mixed connective tissue disease, I experienced my first episode of paralyzing fatigue, which is different from profound fatigue. Thankfully Bunnyboy was unnyboy and I were inseparable. He became the third child that I never had, a special needs child. Neither one of us were strangers to pain. His steadfast companionship and love helped me triumph over chronic pain. I was also so busy caring for him that I had very little time to focus on myself. His “never give up or don’t sweat the small stuff” attitude was infectious. Sadly, Bunnyboy went into cardiac arrest from a routine penicillin injection that went to his heart. My brother who runs a surgical unit in Estes Park Hospital, Colorado, was visiting and performed rescue breathing on Bunnyboy with the help of my husband. At that moment I thought I might lose him, and I couldn’t imagine my life without Bunnyboy. He meant so much to me and to my entire family. he dozens of patients at the rehabilitation center where he was a therapy rabbit also loved him. Tears rolled down my cheeks when a man with Alzheimer’s’ who had not spoken in months strung together four words, “I pet the bunny,” as I placed lease don’t be afraid to get a pet because of the extra work involved in caring for them. When you have a pet, you are actually on the receiving end of pet therapy. Perhaps they make us walk down a flight of stairs to let them out or take them for a walk, or in my case to chase them around the house like a Nascar driver. They make us stretch to clean their litter pan, brush their silky fur, or to snuggle. They stand at our feet and wiggle their little noses or binky across the carpet looking to play, requiring exercise and stretching on our part. What perfect therapy for fibromyalgia? The warmth of a furry pet radiating across your lap can melt away your pain. Pets also teach us about the importance of love and affection. Unconditional love heals. It prolongs and improves the quality of our lives. B T t nine years old Bunnyboy died in my arms peacefully. He more than earned his nickname “Iron Bunny” among the veterinarian community. His records are used worldwide for research purposes. A • Nancy Laracy with Muffin. Sep/Oct 2012 Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Life 15