"Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone's hand is the beginning of a journey.
At other times, it is allowing another to take yours." Vera Nazarian

Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 24

Hopping Forward

March 14, 2017

 

Muffin and I have so much information to catch everyone up on. 2016 was a banner year! As a board member of the Memorial Day Nursery in Paterson for my second year, I was proud to be part of a ceremony where Memorial Day Nursery became a NJ State Historical Site. The school was established in 1887 by Vice President Hobart's wife in honor of the vice president and their daughter Fannie who died at 17 of Diphtheria. The school served the women who returned to work to help the men of Paterson meet the demanding silk orders from all over the United States. Muffin has visited the school on numerous occasions, bringing joy and comfort to the children of economically challenged inner city families.  

 

Muffin and I also attended the annual Teddy Bear Festival for the Butterflies Hospice program of Valley Hospital in March, visited the Resiliency Camp in Sandy Hook, Newtown, Ct, attended the Malibu Dude Ranch bereavement Camp in June for Cancercare, along with their annual Christmas Party in December.
 

We spent a warm sunny day with the children of Camp Dreamstreet in Tenably in early August and joined in bringing holiday cheer to disabled children through our newest partner - The Spring Lake Toy Foundation. I hope you enjoy some of these endearing photos!  

 

We are gearing up for our 2017 activities at most of the same venues. I just purchased my costume for the Medieval Times theme for the 18th annual Teddy Bear Festival on March 24, 2017. We purchased and autographed and bunny stamped 150 books called "When I Feel Sad" , an amazing book narrated by a bunny that deals with sadness and teaches the children how to cope with those important emotions,  I am also humbled and honored to announce that Muffin and I were chosen to receive the Help and Hope Volunteer Award for Cancercare, a national organization that we have been proud to be part of for almost four years. I will be speaking at their annual gala in May.  

 

Today in the midst of a blizzard of profound proportions in the northeast, I wish you an upcoming HAPPY SPRING.  Remember, 'BUNNIES ARE THE SYMBOL OF REBIRTH. LIKE THE ARRIVAL OF SPRING!'

 

Bunny Hugs,  

 

Nancy & Muffin the Bunny

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Hoppy New Year!

January 31, 2015

 

Christmas and the New Year came and went and the highlight for me was the CancerCare Christmas party at Eisai Pharmaceutical in Woodcliff Lake NJ. Not only did the children enjoy Muffin, but so did  the volunteers and the parents.  The snow bunnies on sleds which everyone made were extremely creative.  Yes, the adults made them as 
well!

Muffin and I are off to a busy start for the new year.  We will visit the beautiful children of Sandy Hook, Newtown Ct and be guests at the Teddy Bear Festival again in March. We are gearing up and looking for lots of donations for those events as well as the Healing Hearts Dude Ranch Weekend in June sponsored by Cancer Care. Busy of good! I am also working along with a few other women to plan the first national 
walk for Fibromyalgia in New York sometime in May.  Details will soon follow. 

 

Hop back soon!

 

Nancy & Muffin

Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 22

Bunnies for Friendship & Against Pain

November 4, 2014

 

I just returned from the Leaders Against Pain conference in Salt

Lake City sponsored by the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain

Association.  It was a fascinating and educating experience.

Researchers, advocates, legislators and people from top pain

organizations were there and spoke to help raise awareness and teach us

all how to become national advocates for Chronic Pain. While we spend

600 billion a year treating chronic pain (more than heart disease,

cancer and diabetes together) we spend only a fraction of dollars on

research.  That hopefully is about to change.  A critical IOM report

comes out this month for patient and practitioner input and the bill

will be voted on by the senate and congress in March.  A special 80

person panel made of us doctors, researchers, government legislators

and head of the top chronic pain organizations have been working on

this bill for 18 months.  It will revolutionize the way we treat

chronic pain in our country.  I very much want to be a national

advocate for this very important initiative.

 

Muffin and I also spent the afternoon today at the Friendship Circle of

Bergen County, an organization for disabled children and as always it

was heart warming to see the response from the children to Muffin.  She

invokes such emotion.  "I just loooove this bunny" said one girl as she

cuddled her against her chest.  "Can I just keep kissing her?" asked a

delightful little boy.  On a day like today where I wake up in so much

pain, these events too are therapy for me.  

 

Happy Fall to all. 

 

Nancy

Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 21

Busy Bunnies

June 10, 2014

 

Muffin and I have been very busy this spring between all of our nursing home visits and planning our next trip to Sandy Hook, Newtown Ct. as  well as our trip to a dude ranch in Milford Pennsylvania for an event.


On June 14 she and I will run a program for our first National Organization--Cancer Care.  I have met with the Ridgewood New Jersey director numerous times and we have planned a lovely program. These beautiful children have lost parents to cancer and the weekend is designed as a healing event and to help them process their anger or sadness over their loss.  I found a wonderful book called "When I Feel Angry" and a BUNNY narrates it!  It is all about emotion and how to channel that emotion.  Each child will receive an autographed copy with a darling stamp and of course, Muffin's name.  They will also all get a stuffed bunny and make an adorable bunny craft with the theme of Butterflies, which is the weekend theme, incorporated into the craft.  
 

They will also receive a chocolate bunny and mesh butterfly wings. At the end of the weekend the children will write a note about their feelings to Muffin on adorable MUFFIN cards that I had made and they will mail them to me.  Children quite often are more likely to express their feelings to their favorite stuffed animal or pet or blanky and I thought this was a great way for them to wrap up their healing weekend.

It has been fun and inspiring planning this event and I hope the weather is beautiful and Muffin can help the children heal. Of course I will post pictures of our visit when we return.

We will also be visiting the children at The Children's Adventure 
Center on June 25.  We miss the children of Sandy Hook, Newtown Ct.  
Happy Summer! 

 

Nancy

Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 20

Teddy Bear Fesitval

April 19, 2014

 

Well, the seventeenth annual Teddy Bear Festival sponsored by the Valley Hospital of Ridgewood for disabled children, children with cancer and their siblings was a huge success and I am so grateful to have been a part of it this year. Our Disney theme was carried out superbly. The gymnasium walls were covered with bigger than life size of the disney characters while the Bippity Boppity Room was decorated beautifully for the girls to step through the curtain into girl paradise where they could have their hair and nails done! The craft room was busy non-stop with so many creative darlings doing their best artwork and making their own special teddy bear hugging a bunny - designed by my right arm in some of these projects, Allyssa Martin from the Franklin Lakes Library and I. I want to thank the many volunteers who tirelessly cut out 125 of each colorful components. I had the easy part of just going to the dollar store for colorful cotton balls for tails and wiggly eyes and decorations of sorts.

 

Maria Salerno, who ran the entire event is an inspiration to us all and made an adorable minnie mouse in her polka dot blouse and minnie ears.The DJ had the children and parents, up dancing along with Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh! As the oldest Snow White on record, I made the rounds through the crowds all night with Muffin her basket, pretending she was Thumper. The children simply could not get enough of her, nor could the parents! Alyssa tirelessly autographed the books donated by the Franklin Lakes Auxilliary for each child t obring home. When I had a chance, I signed a few myself. In advance,we autographed all of the "Bunny's Spring Adventure's" by Muffin, and had an adorable brown paw print next to the signature. One of our local markets, Corrado's donated 125 chocolate bunny lollipops that were tucked into the goody bags that the children picked up on the wayout when they picked up their free stuffed teddy bear. Food and drinks were available all night and there was not a single detail overlooked in this fantastic event. Over 85 volunteers worked tirelessly to make sure everything went off without a glitch. I felt honored to be part of such a memorable night!

 

Love,

Nancy and Muffin

 

Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 19

Exciting New Events & RIP Tutti

February 26, 2014

 

Muffin and I are busy preparing for our two upcoming charitable events. On March 21 I will be dressing as Snow White and Muffin will be Thumper when we make a guest appearance at the Teddy Bear Festival sponsored by Valley Hospital in Ridgewood NJ. The annualevent is for children with cancer and their siblings. The theme is Disney, hence the Snow White costume!

 

The Franklin Lakes Branch auxiliary of the hospital has been generous enough to donate 100 bunny books entitled "Rabbit's Spring Adventure" which Muffin and I will happily bring to the children. The Corrado family of Corrado's in Wayne NJ has generously donated chocolate bunny lollipops for each child and Alyssa, my helper at the Franklin Lakes Library, and I have come up with an adorable craft for the children to make - a teddybear holding a bunny!

 

On June 14, Muffin and I will be working with children at a dude ranch weekend sponsored by Cancer Care in Ridgewood, NJ. The wonderful event is for children who have lost a loved one to cancer and their entire family. Muffin and I will be bringing oodles of bunny books, bunny cupcakes,bunny lollipops and a bunny craft for the children to make as part of our usual fun filled program. So as you can see, I am busy as a bunny, to say the least. If you or anyone know of a family that is suffering, please contact me for information. The weekend is free and should be loads of fun.

 

With Easter just around the corner, I was easily able to replenish my inventory of bunny items. I just purchased 150 adorable stuffed bunnies to bring to the various venues that come up down the road and lots of cute notions for bunny crafts!

 

Our regular visits to nursing homes have been a little sparse between all of the crazy snow and the numerous flus going throughout our house and the facilities, but we keep "hopping" as one would say. Although, I will admit, my fibromyalgia pain is almost unbearable this winter. A trip to some warm and sunny placewould sure help me, but there is just too much bunny business to tend to right now- which by the way, helps take my mind off of my pain.

 

Muffin and I were just featured in the Valley Hospital Branch Newsletter, Branch Buzz. Check the media page for the narrative.

 

And finally, I would like to pay tribute to Tutti, one of our "Buns of Love" as she has passed over the Rainbow Bridge last month. Tutti brought so much love to her owner Justin and his family, the wonderful gentlemen who so graciously helps mekeep up my site.

 

Regards,

Nancy

Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 18

Thanksgiving Wishes

November 29, 2013

 

I hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving and didn't put on too 
much "Stuffing" so the pants no longer fit.  I know I ate my fair share 
of just about everything on the table that I had prepared painstakingly 
for days prior!  In keeping with one of our family traditions, the day 
after Thanksgiving we went to our favorite tree farm and cut down two 
spectacular ten foot trees!  On Saturday we decorated the beasts while 
imbibing hot chocolate with peppermint schnappes (to keep everybody 
chill). Muffin had the time of her life getting tangled in the lights 
and pummeling some of the ornaments but just days later I came home to 
find one of the trees had fallen. Before I could burst into tears, I 
spotted Muffin sitting on the trunk as it hung out of the stand and she 
was staring intently at the heap of lights and ornaments as if to say 
"what the heck happened here?"  I scooped her up and gave her a big 
raspberry on her cute belly and had to laugh.  WHat else could I do? 
Welcome to the holiday season!

In the upcoming weeks Muffin and I will return to many of our favorite 
facilities to bring the residents some holiday cheer.  We will also be 
going to Grover Cleveland Elementary School in North Philadelphia 
Pennsylvania to throw the children a pizza party and bring them each a 
Christmas cupcake. These poor children barely have the necessary 
essentials and we hope to bring a smile to their darling faces.  At 
this special time of year, I think fondly of my dear Bunnyboy who died 
four years ago November 18th.  Our family still misses him so much.  
Tis the season for giving!  Let's all keep in the spirit of Christmas.  
 

Nancy

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Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 17

Bunny Gifts

November 14, 2013

 

While Muffin and I thoroughly enjoy bringing comfort so many, our visits are also therapy for me. Living with chronic pain is extremely difficult and giving to others helps take me away from my pain. I feel especially grateful for all of the wonderful people I have met during my journey either via my therapy assignments or through my website and the many chronic pain support groups that I am a part of.  I am thankful for your support, your knowledge, your comments and just YOU!
 

While I have not mentioned this previously, my 21 year old son has been experiencing unrelenting pain in his right arm for almost three years despite two surgeries and lengthy physical surgery.  That pain has spread to his left arm, and we of course, feared the worst. RSD.  While two doctors mentioned the possibility, the newest doctor at the Hospital for Special Surgeries will not confirm that diagnosis yet, which has given us a reprieve, at least for now.  Hearing "Mom, I cannot accept that I could possibly have a pain syndrome worse than yours," was almost more than I could bear.

Anyway, after coming home from a rough day in NY at the Hospital for Special Surgeries, here are a few pictures of things that had come in the mail that day. The timing was incredible.

1. An absolutely beautiful handmade signed origami type bunny from the children and staff at the Children's Adventure Center in Sandy Hook, Newtown CT thanking Muffin and I for our visit on September 17.  I simply adore the children, the staff and the director of the school Judy Sims!

2. A magnificent handmade bunny bag from Meg Gibbs, my new friend via Chronic Pain and Illness support group and a devoted reader of my website.  Meg, you made me cry when you said you were sending me this for all the wonderful things Muffin and I have done for others.  How incredibly kind and thoughtful you were to bring me happiness, especially after such a tough day.  You are an angel from down under!

What a wonderful way to end a difficult day!  Thank you everyone."
Nancy

Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 16

HOPPY FALL EVERYONE!

October 15, 2013

 

Muffin and I have been very busy this fall.  Our third trip to Sandy Hook, Newtown was special as always.  We brought each child a bunny 
book, foil wrapped bunnies, pumpkin cookies and halloween pencils this  time.  It was a beautiful sunny day and the children were delightful. Judy Sims and her staff were very welcoming and seem to be recovering  slowly. 

A slight detour took us on a scenic drive through most of  Sandy Hook which is beautiful.

Representing the Butterflies Hospice Program for Valley Hospital,  Muffin was a big hit.  For the hour and a half that she was there our booth was standing room only and donations spilled in.  When she left,  it became a ghost town.  They begged me to bring her back in the 
afternoon!

On October 4, the Feast of St. Francis, Muffin and I spent the  afternoon with the lovely nuns at St. Catherine of Sienna Nursing home in Caldwell NJ.  The director saw us on channel 12 and contacted the station and Dr. Voynick and tracked us down.  Muffin had a special blessing by one of the priest on site and she seemed truly enamored by the nuns who were extremely friendly and kind.  Having grown up going to catholic school and truly loving it, the visit brought back a rush of warm memories!  We look forward to returning.

Muffin will be going on the 21rst of October for her official hospice photo and to provide some much needed cheer for the employees at the health office who will have to endure the pressure of a new computer system. She will be parked out front in the hallway with me to greet the employees and literally "soften" the blow.

Happy Fall,

 

Nancy & Muffin

Click On Image to View Slideshow!

Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 15

Muffin is Newtown Bound... AGAIN!

September 8, 2013

Muffin and I will be returning to Sandy Hook, Newtown CT on September 24  to visit the beautiful children at

the Children's Adventure Center.
 

We will be bring an adorable bunny book this time for each child, another unique craft, bunny cupcakes and

oreo and creme foiled wrapped bunnies!  There's still more time for me to come up with something else--you

know me.  Summer has been a time of healing for the residents of Sandy Hook Newtown but a new school year

surely will stir some upsetting memories for all so please keep them all in your prayers.

 

September is National Pain Awareness Month.  Every year over 2,000 practitioners from all over the country meet in Las Vegas to share old and new innovative ways to treat chronic pain and to learn more about this epidemic that is plaguing our country and the world.  Bunnyboy and I will be on the cover and the feature article in Pain View Magazine regarding the therapeutic benefits of animal therapy, which I wrote.  Pain View Magazine is published for the American Society of Pain Educators.  It will be distributed to everyone at the forum!  Here's to Bunnyboy and Muffin, the two most amazing bunnies! 

 

Take Care,

 

Nancy

Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 14

Muffin Goes to Camp

August 25, 2013

Muffin and I spent a fantastic day at Camp Dreamstreet in Tenafly, NJ on August 20. 

The director, Lisa Robbins, does a knock dead job at creating a nurturing, loving, enriching

experience for all of the darling children who have cancer or a blood disease.  Muffin was

particularly animated, in response to the endearing, outgoing children.
 

We read a few bunny books, each with a lesson.  Betty Bunny Love Chocolate Cake was their

favorite.  They all got to make an adorable bunny craft to remember Muffin and they also got

their own autographed Bunny Golden Book.  One sweet six year old girl squealed "Can Muffin

sign my book," so I plopped Muffin on my lap and the line formed and we signed all of the

books.  I heard adorable things like "Let me see now those tall ears feel", or "I kissed her nose",

then six other children kissed her nose.  "She's sooooo soft," remarked one girl,  "How can you find her tail?" said another little boy.  It was a delightful sunny day and the children were such an inspiration to me.  You would have never known they were fighting disease from their demeanor.  Lisa Robbinscalled me the next day to say that the children and counselors were so animated when they told her about the program.  She was extremely grateful and said that she had never seen a program quite like ours and that the effect upon the children and counselors was exceptional. 

 

I am truly grateful that Muffin and I can provide some comfort to these beautiful, cherubs and we will return next summer as well as possibly start visiting the pediatric therapeutic division of the center year round. 

 

Hugs and bunny kisses,

 

Nancy and Muffin

Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 13

Back To Newtown!

May 22, 2013

Summer is quickly passing and hopefully, with some additional time off and vacations, we will build some memories that we can carry through our lifetime. Muffin and I have busier than ever comforting those in need and look forward to our newest venue which will include a  visit to Camp Dreamstreet in Tenafly New Jersey which is a fantastic camp run by Lisa Robbins that is open to children with cancer or blood disorders. We will also return to The Children's Adventure Center inmSandy Hook, Newtown Ct. and hope to bring each child a bunny book this time and our usual oodles of treats!

 

We were just on Channel 12 News Petstop on July 6 and July 13 discussing our local and not so local endeavors and, of course, the therapeutic benefits of pet therapy for anyone suffering from chronic disease of chronic pain. Although I must also mention that Muffin's visits also seem to provide happiness and emotional support to the staff and caregivers at all of our venues.
 

Following this blog will be two letters--one from from the Assistant Therapeutic Director of the Christian Healthcare Center in Wyckoff New Jersey and one from Judy Sims, the director of the Children's Adventure Center in Sandy Hook. Animals bring comfort to most people and have an important role in healing and maintaining good health which you can read about on my therapy page on the site if you haven't already. And they come in all species--even bunnies!

 

Stay cool,

 

Nancy

 

Here are some kind words...

 

Dear Nancy,


On behalf of the entire staff, parents and the children of CAC, we would like to thank you so much for bringing Muffin to see us at a time
when we so needed comfort. Your generosity and sensitivity to all of us was so greatly appreciated. Muffin was simply astounding.

Your personal experience with these wonderful creatures affirms our awareness that animals like Muffin have a special way of giving us that unconditional love that can help us in our healing process. I know the children, parents, and al of the staff appreciated your visit and
benefited deeply because of it.

Thank you so much for bringing Muffin to us. We are deeply grateful.
 

Warmly,

 

Judy Sims, Director


`Since last fall Nancy and Muffin have been visiting and bringing joy to the Christian Healthcare Center. I have had the pleasure of working
with Nancy since about February and have noticed a significant change in both staff and residents mood/attitude when Muffin is around.
Recently Muffin has not only been visiting our residents on our long term care unit but also our dementia unit. I have personally seen low
functioning residents who are non verbal simply light up when Muffin visits. You can see it in their eyes and facial expressions what joy
such a small creature brings them. Muffin will even sit on the the residents laps and cuddle up next to them. We have many pet therapy
dogs but something is different when the residents see Muffin.
 

Muffin's one hour visits at the Christian Healthcare Center usually go over time because every staff member that sees her in the hallway has to stop and say hello. We are so hapy that Muffin has become a "regular" at our facility and even happier to see the residents respond
so well.

Vanessa Frega,

Assistant Activity Director of
Heritage Manor & Southgate

Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 12

Back To Newtown!

May 22, 2013

Muffin and I returned to the Children's Adventure Center on Thursday to find the children more animated and light hearted than at our last visit on January 17, 2013, just a month after the devastating events at Sandy Hook Elementary.  They along with the staff seem to be healing slowly.  With the generosity of some local establishments and friends and family we went up with a car load.  Each child received their own stuffed rabbit to remember Muffin and a bunny goody bag filled with a chocolate bunny lollipop, huge heart shaped cookie and a craft to make.  A brightly colored foam muffin, like Muffin.  It was a beautiful sunny spring day with all the flowers in bloom and the children brought a huge smile to my face. Muffin enjoyed the attention and returned the children's affection in kind--many of whom made Muffin darling pictures which I will cherish.  We look forward to returning late summer.  Thank you Sandy Hook for sharing your children with us and we hope that we were able to bring some comfort to you during these difficult times.

Regards,

Nancy & Muffin

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Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 11

Muffin is Becoming a Busy Bunny!

April 27, 2013

I completed my hospice training at Valley Hospital and now have to have my TB shots and some additional medical clearance and then Muffin and I will be ready to start making home visits to children with Cancer.  We are also returning to Sandy Hook, Newtown on May 16 which I mentioned and the stuffed bunnies that I requested are filtering in but I still need more.  My goal is to bring each child their own stuffed bunny to remember Muffin's visit. During our last visit the children all made an adorable bunny craft.  Muffin will also be making a guest appearance at our town library for their "Reading and Paws." program on April 29. She is indeed a busy bunny.

I wanted to share with you this outstanding article about treating musculoskeletal issues and pain in rabbits, so here is the link but it will also be posted on the news page.

View Article Here

 

I found it remarkable and so relevant.

Regards,

Nancy & Muffin

Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 10

Muffin Joins Ridgewood Hospital's Butterflies Program!

March 21, 2013

Thankfully spring is in the air.  With the added daylight and intermittent warmer temperatures I cannot help but be happier and more optimistic. While those of us who suffer with fibromyalgia must endure the added pain from the dramatic temperature swings that are typical in the spring and fall, we know what will follow.  Summer!  Warmth, sunshine and lots of flowers!  Muffin and I spent the morning at ECLC, a school for autistic and handicapped children that is in Chatham NJ. The children and staff were delightful and the theme of my bunny books that I read to the children were spring and flowers, of course!  Muffin was dolled up in her spring basket and a charming and endearing as usual.  She is turning into a wonderful therapy bunny.
 

I am proud to say that we will be joining the animal therapy team at the Valley Hospital in Ridgewood NJ as part of their Butterflies Program which will involve home visits to sick children.  It is a perfect calling for Muffin.  Their therapy and bereavement coordinator jumped through hoops to break through the bureaucracy to get the first BUNNY on board.  We will also be pioneering a team here in the East for Bunnies in Baskets.  So many exciting things happening.  Happy Easter and happy spring to you all.

Regards,

Nancy & Muffin

Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 4

Personal Reflections

December 31, 2012

I received my copy of Pain Pathways Edition Winter 2012 in the mail today and was inspired and amazed as to the amount and depth of information that was packed into 80 or so pages.  I must also be honest and say that I smiled when I saw on page 82, “Reflections, Inspiring Pathways” the short story of BunnyBoy and I with regard to the role of animal assisted therapy in the management of chronic pain.


The personal story about pediatric brain cancer, struck home, as I have been involved over the years with a charity here in Franklin Lakes called the Matthew Larsen foundation.  Young Matthew died of brain cancer at the age of seven and his legacy lives on through this terrific foundation.  I also enjoyed the article on CAM, Complementary Alternative Medicine that discussed the boundaries of mainstream medicine and alternative medicine for the treatment of chronic pain.  Much of this information is on my website www.nancy laracy.com


With so many alternative therapies and mind/body treatment available, I have found after suffering with chronic pain for almost twenty years that chiropractic, massage therapy and gentle exercise combined with a healthy diet low in carbohydrates have all improved my pain dramatically.  That is not to say that I did not try other treatments.  In the beginning I tried everything.  I stuck needles into my head and extremities, forced my poor husband to sleep on a magnetic mattress, and did aggressive yoga, which I quickly learned worsened my pain.  With fibromyalgia, gentle exercise is important along with learning just how much you can handle.  As far as my connective tissue, disease, the key to survival there is to keep from getting an infection, which indirectly can be linked to running down your immune system with too much exercise and not enough rest.  So in the end, moderation in everything is the key.  Grab a copy of Pain Pathways if you can and you will not be disappointed.

 

Happy Holidays,  Nancy Laracy

Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 9

Early Easter Muffin Visits!

March 10, 2013

It has a been a busy week on the animal therapy scene here in Bergen County NJ.  Muffin made all her Easter visits in her white wicker basket lined with a pink blanket and donned with a large lavender bow. She is becoming an amazing therapy animal--all four and half pounds of fluffy love-- with her endearing personality and keen sense of what the patients need and want.  Joan at the Oakland Rehabilitation Center enjoyed the warmth of Muffin's soft body to distract her from her pain while a lovely woman from Christian Healthcare Center in Wyckoff rubbed Muffin's belly and Muffin melted into her sweater.
I am not sure who seemed more delighted, the woman or Muffin.

As one of the newest members of Bunnies in Baskets, Muffin is making a big splash. The director of ECLC, a large school for handicapped children in Chatham NJ called yesterday to say that the staff felt Muffin's positive effect on the children was nothing short of dramatic and asked how quickly Muffin could make a return visit.  Of course we will be going back on Wednesday of next week!  I begin my training mid April to become the first bunny therapy team for Valley Hospital in Ridgewood's Butterflies Program, which will involve home visits to children with cancer and I have no doubt that Muffin will radiate love with her little wiggly nose, tall ears and huuuuge heart.  May you all have a blessed Easter.

 

Regards,

Nancy & Muffin

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Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 8

The Power of the Pig

February 15, 2013

"Therapy animals come in all shapes and sizes.  Here is an inspiration video of a Juliana pig who was the perfect therapy animal for a darling boy from Coral Springs Florida who has Down's Syndrome. Even the legislation made an exception for this exceptional pig."  


Regards,

Nancy

Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 7

Chilled to the Bone

January 24, 2013

For those of us who suffer with fibromyalgia or any form of arthritis, this cold prevents such a challenge. The sudden change in temperatures from frigid to manageable just make matters worse, as the barometric pressure is surely our nemesis. I find myself reaching for carbs or sweets and a cup of hot coffee or tea to feed my mood over the weather and my pain but carbs and sweets are not recommended for fibromyalgia as almost eight five percent of people with fibromyalgia are also hypoglycemic. Sugar is the last thing we should be eating as it exacerbates our pain. But somehow by around four o'clock when my pain has increased along with my hunger, a hunk of cheese just doesn't cut it. But I need to remind myself that protein is so important to prevent those sugar swings that come from eating too many carbs and will also decrease my pain.


Pets also should not be eating too many carbohydrates. It seems that all we hear these days is how cats and dogs are suffering with diabetes! Muffin, my bunny girl, on the other hand lives on hay and pellets made from hay. She also gets small treats very infrequently that include apples or bananas but overall, those types of sugar can cause a host of problems with rabbits, including Pasteurella, a very resistant form of bacteria which can cause "Snuffles", an upper respiratory or abscesses that can crop up anywhere on their body, but usually in the jaw.



The oldest domestic rabbit that just got into the Guiness Book of records lives in Atlantic Highlands NJ and is a Jersey Woolie just like Muffin. She has never had a single treat to eat--just hay for almost seventeen years. OOps, so if I want Muffin to be in the Guiness Book of records, I might have to ditch the apples and bananas for the next twelve years. She turned two just a few weeks ago.

Here's to surviving this cold!


Regards,

Nancy

Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 6

Muffin's Trip To Newtown

January 24, 2013

On Thursday Muffin and I spent the day at the Children's Adventure

Center/Pre-school in Sandy Hook, Newtown Connecticut. The preschool

shares the same driveway as Sandy Hook Elementary School and they

were all in lockdown as well on that horrible day. My brother Jack

accompanied me for the long ride. Judy Sims, the director of the center

should be an inspiration for all of us. She greeted us with love and a huge

smile despite losing two of her close friends who were teachers at Sandy

Hook Elementary as well as seven of her alumni students.
 

The children fell in love with Muffin and she them. They all got to pet her and pick her up. Some of them whisked

Muffin up to their neck and squealed with delight "she's so soft." They sat glued to the edge of their colorful mats

as I read them some cute bunny books, each with a lesson and I taught them a few important bunny facts. Then

they all got to make their own "Muffin" craft, compliments of the Franklin Lakes Library and a quick trip to the

dollar store. Muffin brought along a basket of valentines day cookies, heart shaped candies and other treats to

show the children how much the world loves them. The visit was supposed to be a little over an hour and turned

into over three and a half as the little angels responded to Muffin so wonderfully. Judy was thrilled to see her

children smile again.
 

Judy herself suffers from fibromyalgia which is an added challenge but when we went to leave, as we hugged we

both agreed that the day was just as much good therapy for us as it was for the beautiful children of Sandy Hook.

Here are some pics. Thank you Sandy Hook. Our prayers are with you all.


Regards,

Nancy

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Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 5

Muffin's Coming To Newtown!

January 14, 2013

I am honored to say that Muffin and I have been asked to come up to the Children's Adventure Center/Day care Center in Newtown Ct/Sandy Hook for some much needed bunny therapy. The center is right next door to Sandy Hook Elementary School and they too were in lock down that dreadful day. Many of the students come to the center before and after attending Sandy Hook Elementary. Some have lost siblings and many are still very traumatized. I hope that Muffin will work some of her magic and I hope to read the children a few bunny books and other books that relate to grieving and feeling safe. Amazingly, one of the many people that I have spoken up there over the past weeks, suffers from fibromyalgia and no surprise, she is in a very bad flare up from the trauma. I wish her and all the people of Newtown my best and look forward to helping provide some comfort on this Thursday.


Regards,

Nancy

Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 3

When You Know the End Is Near

November 30, 2012

It was a beautiful, radiant, crisp sunny day here in New Jersey, although snow is on its way. 
I wrapped Muffin up in her Christmas themed basket and ventured off to the Christian Healthcare
Center in Wyckoff where we go periodically go to visit and cheer up the elderly patients.  If only I
had known how special today would be.  Muffin and I made our usual rounds through the common
areas and then started down the hallway to visit the individual patients in their rooms.  The
recreation director brought us first into Helen Northrop's room.  Helen is in hospice and
apparently she had just vomited from her pain.  "Helen needs a pick me up." said the nurse. 
When we walked in, Helen looked lovely.  Despite her pallor, she looked lovely--beautifully
dressed and propped up in bed talking to her devoted daughter.  I approached her bed with
Muffin in her basket and Helen reached right over and started to stroke Muffin.  Muffin popped
her head forward, lapping up the attention and stared almost eerily into Helen's eyes. She
nuzzled her hands, circled the basket and went back for more.  THey say that animals can sense
when the end is near. Helen was alert, aware and thrilled to see Muffin. She seemed to come alive.  Her response was so dramatic that her daughter remarked, "you should have seen her just minutes ago, vomiting and writhing in pain.  This is a miracle.  The nurse came in to check on Helen at that moment and her daughter remarked with a glimmer in her eyes "This beautiful bunny is as good for my mother as any pain medication."

When Muffin and I finished visiting each room, I was drawn back to Helen just one more time.  I sat on her bed and Muffin hopped right out of her basket and crawled right up Helen's chest with ease and grace.  Helen cupped her face with her frail hands and told Muffin how beautiful she was and how grateful she was for her visit.  Muffin plopped down into her relaxed position on Helen's chest and just stared into her eyes for no less than ten minutes.  It was incredible.  She had never cuddled that way with any other patient to date.  Even at home, Muffin will cuddle but then either burrow in the bed, roam around and then come back for another quick cuddle.  It was is she could sense how much Helen needed her.  It made me recall the night before my beloved mother died which was just two years ago.  Mom's two cats hopped up onto her hospital bed and remained there for thirty six hours until she passed away. I was so proud of Muffin and her uncanny sense of knowing what Helen needed. I gave Helen one final hug, pushing back my tears.  Here is a photo of Muffin with Helen.
 

When I entered the facility carrying Muffin in her cane basket I was aware of the pain in my arms and legs, neck and back. When I left, all I could was think about was Helen and her pain.  The pain from end stage cancer, which temporarily subsided due to the love and warmth of Muffin's furry little body.  Suddenly my pain seemed much less as well.  Helen and her spirit had a profound effect on me.  And I can't help but think she had the same effect on Muffin.  All four and half pounds of Muffin fluff made everyone's day.

Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 2

Family Ties

November 24, 2012

When I woke up this morning, still recovering from cooking Thanksgiving dinner for twenty relatives and eating leftovers all weekend, I reflected upon the last four days.  I couldn’t help but marvel at the role pet therapy plays in so many people’s lives, not just mine.  My sister, who suffers from fibromyalgia as well, was one of the many guests at our home and her tales of her two cats Mama and Peanut (mother and daughter) were both amazing and endearing.  You see Mama and Peanut can always sense when her pain is the worst and each one will snuggle tightly next to her painful hips until some of the pain seemingly subsides.


While visiting friends in New York City yesterday, I ran into a male movie star (I will not mention his name for his privacy) in the elevator who had two dogs and of course, within seconds, I found out that the dogs were therapy animals at a nursing home in the suburbs of Westchester County.  Both Bunnyboy and Muffin became part of the conversation as we settled in the lobby on the eighth floor for just a few minutes to finish our wonderful conversation about our inspirational animals. Have a great day!  Nancy

Nancy Laracy Pain Blog 1

Let The "Hoppy" Holidays Begins!

November 20, 2012

As I woke up this morning ready to start a marathon baking and cooking session, my pain reared its ugly head enough to make the tasks on hand seem daunting.  Thankfully, Muffin’s Thanksgiving bunny therapy visit to the Oakland Rehabilitation Center for this afternoon at three o’clock was posted in brightly colored turkey feathers on the calendar to remind both of us of what is really important about Thanksgiving.  As we made our way through the hallways and then the patient’s rooms, the joy I saw on the patient’s faces as they either held or stroked Muffin, melted away my pain temporarily. 

Propped in her autumn theme basket, Muffin as always was a big hit.  How calm, inquisitive and endearing she was as one patient after another held her, poked her nose, bent her ears, rubbed her chin or simply marveled at how fast her adorable nose was twittering.
As we entered the last room of Anne, the aide asked me to put Muffin on the bed.  Anne suffers from Lou Gehrig’s disease and is essentially trapped inside of her body, unable to move or even respond for the most part to any stimuli.  As muffin nuzzled near her hip, suddenly her eyes started batting back and forth so much that the aid called the nurses in to see Anne’s dramatic response to Muffin.  Needless to say, tears trickled down my face. I was so proud of Muffin and her amazing ability to comfort Anne and all the patients that she saw today. 


As we left the center, like in the past, one of the patients always asked us to come back.


Indeed, what a special this Thanksgiving will be.

© 2012 by NANCY LARACY. This website is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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