The Mayo PPRC program isn’t designed to be a “cure” for the underlying illnesses, but rather a program to teach kids how to get back to a fully-functioning life despite chronic pain or symptoms. The techniques & tools that they teach here are FANTASTIC LIFE SKILLS that would benefit everyone (not just sick people). In fact, my 2 goals for writing this blog are (1) to get the PPRC information out to the general public and (2) to raise awareness about Dysautonomia.
On my mom’s first day at Parent Group, one of the head doctors had them go around the table and list (1) all of their child’s pain/symptoms, (2) what they had been through to try to fix the pain or symptoms (none of which worked for anyone), and (3) all the things in life that their kids were missing out on due to their pain/symptoms. The primary goal of the PPRC is to get list #3 back – all the things their kids have missed out on in life. Idea is that if your child is going to have a chronic illness anyway, do you want them to do it in bed/alone/isolated/depressed or do you want them out living a normal life and happy? The amazing thing is … by refocusing the kids away from their pain/symptoms and focusing them on living a functional life, their symptoms and pain decrease over time and may disappear all together. Concept here: neuroplasticity – our brains can be “re-wired” by ignoring the pain/symptom neuropathways & creating new healthy neuropathways by living a fully functioning life (despite the pain or symptoms). This is what the kids are learning how to do here at the PPRC. The program teaches the kids how to shift their focus away from “How I feel?” to “How well do I function?”. Much more on this in a later blog.
The BUS ANALOGY (thank you nurse Dan!) – The bus analogy is an easy way of explaining the goals of the program. When kids come into the PPRC, their disease is driving the bus and they are riding in the back. The program teaches the kids how to switch places with the driver and drive their own bus. The program also teaches them not to look at the review mirror and to ignore the passenger/disease. The less they look in the mirror, the smaller the passenger/disease will get. When the child becomes the driver, now they have to make all the choices instead of sitting back and being along for the ride. The PPRC gives us the confidence to succeed in this by giving us the opportunity to do so. By driving our own buses, we get our lives back and take the very important developmental steps toward independence and self-sufficiency that are essential for a healthy adulthood (no more helicopter moms for us!).