When you live with a chronic illness, you seek comfort in any place you can find it. For me, comfort came in the form of a 1,000-pound Thoroughbred mare. Whisper, an ex-racehorse, entered my life while I was in college. I bought her just before my senior year while double majoring in music performance and English and promised her a forever home.
I could never have guessed what an integral part of my life Whisper would become. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was suffering from fibromyalgia and had been for years. My fibromyalgia would go undiagnosed for three more years, but I knew that something was wrong. Chronic pain, fatigue, brain fog…I had all of the symptoms, but no one had been able to put them together.
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As my symptoms worsened and intense back pain was added to my ailments, Whisper became more and more important. I suffered “flare” days when the pain in my hands was so great that I couldn’t saddle Whisper, so I took to hand walking her around the neighborhood and into the wooded trails that stretched for miles beyond the barn. On days when I could mount but suffered from back pain, I climbed into the saddle and let Whisper’s motion and body heat loosen my sore muscles. Often I felt better after a ride than I had all day… Continue reading here.
Source: Cerulli, Paige. “How the Comfort of a Horse Helps Me Deal With Fibromyalgia.” The Mighty. August 25, 2015.
Reprinted in part with permission of The Mighty.