Faith helped pianist cope with injury

Amy Poppinga

Amy Poppinga

“A lot of people live in constant pain. I now know what a blessing it is to have health,” said Brigitte Cyr, a junior pre-nursing major and music minor.

Cyr, who recently overcame a severe case of tennis and golfer’s elbow in both her arms, is certainly a thankful person.

“I’m very grateful, I’m still grateful. For the rest of my life, I will be grateful,” said Cyr.

The main reason Cyr is thankful is that she was able to resume playing piano-one of her greatest passions as a former piano major-this past August after her injury prevented her from playing for almost a year.

This was certainly a change for Cyr, who had formerly played piano for about four hours a day. She said, “It was really different. My whole life I had dreamed of being a music major.”

Cyr’s problems all began after she injured herself while playing the crash symbols for The Pride. She began to have pain while playing piano, typing and writing, and she had to sleep with towels on her elbows to keep her arms straight.

Soon she was diagnosed with tennis and golfer’s elbow, which are forms of tendonitis, in both her arms. Cyr immediately sought treatment, but nothing seemed to work.

Finally, a deep tissue massage approach that worked out the scar tissue helped Cyr’s arms to heal properly. This therapy, though, was extremely painful and left Cyr’s arms full of bruises.

In addition to her therapy, she had to change her diet. Cyr could not consume caffeine, including chocolate and pop, too much sodium, MSG or processed meats.

At first, Cyr had a hard time not going crazy or being angry during this time that she could not play piano. “It sounds silly, but it was a big deal. My life was music,” she said. After overcoming the initial moment of being upset and disbelieving, Cyr adopted a new outlook on the situation.

“After being angry, I prayed, and God showed me that there is a reason for everything,” she said. “He had a beautiful reason for doing this, and I’m grateful that it happened now because it really caused me to reflect.”

Faith was very important to Cyr during this time as she said that God was “the only thing that got me through.”

Elisabeth Hunstad, a junior music merchandising major, was impressed with how Cyr maintained a positive attitude during that very tough time.

“It didn’t matter what disappointments she had,” Hunstad said. “She kept on going, kept her faith strong ? and somehow she fought through. I really admire how strong she was.”

John Walker, the director of keyboard studies, also felt that Cyr handled herself well. “She really loves playing piano,” he said. “Anybody would take that hard, but she did it.”

Now, a year later, Cyr has begun to play again, but she is not completely healed. Since it takes years for tendons to heal, she still has to ice and massage her arms every day, she can no longer play for four hours a day and she has to be careful in even the most common activities. Last week she injured her arms again while carrying jugs of milk up to her apartment.

Despite these continuing difficulties, Cyr is just grateful to be able to play again, and because she has resumed playing the piano, Walker says that Cyr’s therapy can be considered a “success.”

“I’m pleased to see a talented student do what she loves to do,” he said.

#1.883111:371964252.jpg:brigittecyrJNweb.jpg:Brigitte Cyr overcame severe tennis and golfer’s elbow.: