Therapy and chronic pain/illnesses go hand in hand. There is no way to go through life living in pain and not need some type of therapy. We need physical therapy to give our bodies the strength to fight the pain and illness. We need some sort of emotional therapy to keep from going mad from the pain that consumes us. There are times when we need professional therapists and times when we are able to find ways to cope on our own. I want to be straight forward by stating that I have nothing against professional therapists. There have been times in my life when I needed a professional’s help (physical and emotional) and am so happy that I took it. The purpose of this post is not to talk you out of seeking professional help if needed but instead to show that there are things you can do to help your emotional or physical situation before reaching that point as well as during therapy.
So what is my favorite type of therapy??? Why Disney Therapy of course!!!!! On an emotional level, Disneyland and Disney movies have always brought joy to my heart. Even when I am stressed out or feeling sad and over whelmed, there is something about Disney that makes me feel better. A bad day at Disneyland (like that is possible), is better than a good day at home. When I am in the park I feel like all my worries and troubles are gone. It is as though I left them at home. In the park I feel free as a bird, even though I am forced to face my limitations. Disney also brings me peace when I am at home. I love watching Disney movies new and old. There isn’t a Disney movie that I won’t sing along with. I have touches of Disney throughout my home. I have Mickey Mouse dishes, bowls, and cups. I have Mickey Mouse shaped ice cubes and a Mickey ice tong to place them in my cup. I have Disney cookie cutters, jewelry, and clothing. I challenge anyone to find an area of my house that doesn’t have a touch of Disney. I don’t care if anyone thinks my décor is childish, it brings me joy, and since I have to live with it, isn’t that most important? There is only one other place that brings me the peace that Disneyland does and that is the beach. But unlike Disneyland I can only handle being in the sand and sun for so many hours. No matter how hot it gets at Disneyland, I am able to seek refuge in an air-conditioned attraction or find a shaded area to cool off when needed.
What surprised me since becoming an annual passholder was discovering that Disneyland was also providing me with physical therapy. What??? How does one get physical therapy when they are spending their day in a wheelchair???!! I admit I lack the physical strength to get myself around the park. But occasionally I have a day when I am able to wheel myself around a “land”. This helps to build my upper body strength and helps me to recognize my limits. I have a set of different exercises that I do, when I can, at home, but those alone or any physical therapy that my doctor has prescribed has never helped me with one of my more serious issues. That issue is adhesions. I never suffered from abdominal adhesions until after my first laparoscopic surgery. From that point on the adhesions and pain would return in as short as three weeks or as long as three months after surgery. Until last fall I had been overly cautious about which rides I rode. It was after letting go of my fears that I started going on the faster and wilder rides with each visit to the park. During this time my doctors and I were stumped by my GI issues. Test after test showed nothing wrong. Then one day in early December upon exiting a jerky ride I felt a ripping sensation in my left side . Because I have been dealing with abdominal adhesions for 12 years I knew what that sensation meant. It meant that adhesions were ripping from my sidewall. I have had GI issues in the past because adhesions were strangling my bowels. Sure enough this was once again the case. Within days my nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting stopped.
Going to Disneyland and riding a minimum of four fast rides every two weeks is now part of my physical therapy. Surgery is out of the question, since the adhesions will just return. Having my adhesions ripped from my sidewall while riding fast rides is the best way to keep my internal organs and myself happy. The pain from the ripping is minimal compared to recovering from surgery. Sometimes it lasts only for a few minutes, and occasionally a few hours. This is why my Disney therapy has become such an important part of my healthcare. It is just as important as my massage therapy and my medicinal plan. The best part is that it is also something that brings me joy.
What is your favorite type of therapy?
The Disabled Diva
Tagged: abdominal, adhesions, arthritis, California, California Adventure, chronic illness, chronic pain, degenerative disc disease, Disney, Disneyland, emotional, fibro, fibromyalgia, handicapped accessible, health, invisible disabilities, mental-health, MS, pain, pain pals, physical, psoriatic arthritis, rides, spoonie, therapy, thrill rides, wheelchair