Is It Possible to Have Fun When You’re in Pain?

Kim Tocker avatar

by Kim Tocker |

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Scleroderma and the Ordinary Girl

Electric scooters have come to Christchurch! For the cost of a few dollars, you can ride around town on these zippy wee numbers to see the sights, get to where you’re going without walking, and best of all, have some fun.

My husband loved scootering through Hagley Park and wanted to share the experience with me.  

We talked about whether I could manage the handlebar controls (especially the brakes). We knew my scleroderma hands would struggle and that it would be painful. I faced other challenges: whether I would have enough puff to stand up on the scooter to ride and how my energy levels would cope. We weren’t sure whether my tight ligaments would cause too much discomfort to enjoy the experience.

I was under no illusion about the side effects I would suffer if I chose to participate in such an escapade. The stakes were high. In the past, I have avoided such adventures because I knew my scleroderma body would give me grief.

It had been a long time since I was brave enough to even try something like this. I have remained safe at home, determined to minimize my pain and stay as comfortable as possible. Avoiding complications and flare-ups that often resulted from such shenanigans has been the order of the day.  

However, over the last couple of years, a change has taken place. I’ve grown thirsty for the kind of adventures I used to have: active fun, enjoying the outdoors, feeling the breeze in my hair, seeing the sites, and wandering the city. Before scleroderma, I had been an active and fit person, and I have been longing to get a taste of my previous life again. This desire has tipped the balance for me, and now my thirst for experiencing my kind of fun has become more powerful than my fear of increased pain and discomfort.  

So, I wonder if it is possible to have fun while in pain?

I’m two days post-scooter ride, and the answer is yes. But it is different, and I have had to change the way I think about it.

Effective damage control was a priority, so planning was necessary. I took my pain relief medication just before riding, carried extras, and planned regular stops along the way. I also had to adapt how I handled and worked the accelerator, using my whole hand rather than a couple of fingers.  

I knew it would be uncomfortable, so I was mentally prepared, which helped me to focus on the fun part of the ride. Acknowledging the pain as it occurred rather than using up energy trying to ignore it seemed to be more effective.

Yes, it was challenging and painful, but the feeling of the breeze in my hair and the euphoria after I’d finished helped to numb some of the post-ride discomforts.

As my scleroderma progresses, I am becoming more and more determined not to allow the disease to be a buzzkill. Watch this space for further adventures!


Note: Scleroderma News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Scleroderma News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to scleroderma.


anne avatar


Yo go girl!!! So much fun!


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