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A BIT OF KRYPTONITE
3 June 2003
I didn't pay much attention to it several months ago when I had a
problem with my toe. Well, that's not exactly true. As far back as a year ago, I was
talking about my toes giving me problems when I began exercise. At that time I was worried
about gout and thinking it wasn't fair to be dealing with gout at a time when I'd so
drastically improved my eating habits.
The problem with the toes, especially the big toe on the right foot,
came and went.
A couple of months ago, it got bad enough that I actually made an
appointment to see my doctor. It meant taking a couple of hours off work and I wasn't
really eager to do that.
"Well, do you want me to look at it for you?" Dr. G asked.
I had only made the appointment because they drum into you so strongly when you are first
diagnosed with diabetes that if you have any problem with your extremities you
should call immediately. I even had a whole class about care of the feet. I didn't
want to think about amputation, so I've been very good about all the foot care thing.
So I let Dr. G do a toe exam for me and he confirmed what I
suspected--it didn't seem to have any of the conditions that they look for with
diabetics--mainly it wasn't a topical problem. It was in the bone (or so it felt). He said
he might be able to convince himself there was a bit of warmth to the toe, but he didn't
see any reason why I needed to have a foot exam.
And the foot did begin to feel better.
But "intermittent" by its very nature means that something
will recur and the pain in my toe was no exception. I've actually not been to Curves for
about 2 weeks because of it, and walking on a treadmill was unthinkable. I kept assuming
it would get better.
With the advent of the heat, I broke out the good ol' birkinstocks
and discovered I could not wear them. At all. The strap across the top of my foot hit me
at exactly where the pain is.
The past few days it's been getting worse and worse. At some points,
I was taking great pains to make certain that it touched nothing (not fun because
the dog has decided to sleep in my path no matter where I go, so I'm always in danger of
tripping over her).
Finally, after suffering with it all weekend, I made an appointment
to see the doctor today. Fortunately Dr. G had a surgery scheduled so I knew he would be
out of the office and there would be no problem with my being gone either.
"Make sure he checks you for gout," was his last advice to
me as I left the office.
"Dr. G has no business diagnosing anything below the
knees," my doctor said, good naturedly, when I told him of Dr. G's earlier assessment
and his suggestion for my exam today. "Let's have a look," he said, as I removed
my shoe and sock.
He made his diagnosis without even touching the foot. And he
actually used the same thing that I had noticed myself for the first time today...has my
right big toe always curved out like that? I couldn't remember. I even went and got a
photo I'd taken of myself in Houston last month, lying, barefoot, in a hammock. Sure
didn't look like there was as much of a curve to the foot then.
"I'm almost certain that x-rays will show degenerative changes
in the foot," he said, pausing for a moment. "Arthritis." To be on the safe
side, he ordered x-rays, but sent me off with suggestions for how to deal with the pain
and the name of a couple of shoe stores I should go to--also suggested I go back to
wearing the custom orthotics I had made several years ago for plantar fasciitis (painful
flattening of the foot).
I had my x-rays taken and dropped them off at the doctor's office
and then went to work. Within an hour, my doctor had called. "yes, the x-rays show
significant arthritic deposits in the toe," he said.
Me. Arthritis. I guess that settles it: I'm definitely starting to
get old. My bones are degenerating. And I'm short too!
But I took my ibuprofen and within an hour, the toe was feeling
better, so it appears that for the moment this condition is something I can deal with
fairly easily. He warns that sooner or later it will probably require surgery, but that
does not appear to be in the foreseeable future.
I'll be happy if I can get back to the activity level I had before
this all popped up again.
I guess I'm not SuperWoman after all, or at least I seem to have run
into a bit of kryptonite.