Furry Friends and Fibro Flares
Some of you may remember a SharePost I wrote a couple of months ago called "The Therapeutic Power of Pets" where I introduced you to the four furry friends, who have made me feel a little better and a lot happier for many years. It breaks my heart to have to tell you that I lost two of those furry friends this past week.
My oldest kitty, Slippers (pictured on the right), was almost 19. She passed away the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Slippers and I had a very special and unique connection - unlike anything I’ve experienced with any other pet. Because of her age, I knew I probably wouldn’t have her here much longer. I had been praying that when it was time, God would take her quickly so she wouldn’t suffer and I wouldn’t have to make the decision. Thankfully, that was what happened. I was with her, stroking and comforting her at the end.
I had always thought that when Slippers went, it probably wouldn’t be long before Jake followed, but I hadn’t expected it quite so soon. Jake was almost 17. He passed away in his sleep this past Sunday. Jake was my clown and Slippers’ protector. The two had been together since Jake was six months old and he was very attached to her. I think he sensed what was coming because for the past few months, he had been bathing her and doting on her even more than usual.
Needless to say, I have been heartbroken and miss them terribly. I’m thankful, though, for the many years of joy they brought me. And I’m grateful that I still have my kitty Annie and my Shih Tzu Becca to comfort me. Becca has not left my side this past week. The minute I sit down, she insists on being on my lap. As I sit here at my desk writing, she is asleep on my lap. She seems to sense that I need her company now more than ever.
You may be wondering why I titled this post "Furry Friends and Fibro Flares." This experience has reminded me of just how much of an impact emotional stress can have on fibromyalgia. The stress of losing my beloved kitties has triggered a major fibro flare. My body feels like I’ve been beaten and I’m so tired, all I want to do is sleep.
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what brings on a flare and generally try to be careful to avoid those activities or circumstances. But there are things in life we can’t control and sometimes a flare just jumps up and bites us. From past experience I’ve found that the best way to get past a flare is to allow my body to rest and sleep as much as possible. Unfortunately, this time of year I don’t know how well I’ll be able to follow that plan - but I’ll do the best I can. I know eventually I’ll start feeling better.
Karen is the Co-Founder of the National Fibromyalgia Association. She wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Pain Management.