Pain’s absence

When constant or chronic pain goes away suddenly it feels weird.

Sometime in 2004 I started having a problem with the right edge of my right foot a few inches from my toe. I’d step on something and hit that spot and have to stop and let the pain subside. It was so bad I went to a podiatrist. He diagnosed something he called a bone prominence and suggested opening my foot and shaving down the bone. I was apprehensive about that because there’s no undo for things like that. Then my mother suggested seeing another podiatrist she had worked with for a second opinion. So I booked an appointment. She made X-Ray slides of the foot, something the other doctor hadn’t done. Then examining it she said she wasn’t convinced of the other diagnosis and that it looked like a clogged sweat duct.

Because of the way my feet hit the ground when I walk and the fact that I hadn’t been using any lotion or oils on them, bits of skin filled one of the sweat ducts on that foot and started pressing against the bone. Whenever I stepped in such a way that pressure got applied to that spot, I felt pain. After having her scrape it with a scalpel over a couple of appointments and applying lubricants to my feet, the problem cleared up…until earlier this year.

A few months ago I had another flare-up in the same spot. These start with friction in shoes. I have had a habit of wearing shoes far past their usefulness. I wasn’t in a position to start replacing shoes when this occurred. So I put up with it…for months. Then at some point a spot developed on my left foot in a different location. In June I began the process of selling my house. So that had me in a hurry…in and out of the car…stepping up on things…carrying things while walking.

It was hard.

And it ended August 3rd.

Well I replaced the shoes and I went back to the podiatrist. She took care of the problem on my right foot but the one on my left was problematic. It took a few more visits and my putting Shea butter on my feet to finally get that cleared up. Until about 3 weeks ago I was experiencing pain nearly every time I moved my foot. Even though my shoes were new, my foot hurt more in a couple of pairs than in others.

Now that the duct seems to be clear, I’m no longer feeling the pain. But it feels weird. The memory of it and the apprehensiveness to put weight on it, anticipating the pain is still with me. Hopefully that will fade. The plan is to replace my shoes every year to 18 months and keep applying the Shea butter to my feet.

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Staying ahead of the drought

This is my skin most of the time, and especially in the winter. Many people have conditions that heighten during major weather changes. For some it’s joint problems, for me it’s my skin.

I never bothered much with lotions and oils growing up. I guess I had a not exactly rational idea that my skin should just repair itself. I’m sure it was one of those ‘I don’ wannas’ of childhood. The thing is, I’m in my mid fifties and have only recently started working on my skin and trying to stay ahead of the dry. It’s taken a few visits to the podiatrist to get me to see that my skin is always drying out and I have to keep applying lubricants to it to keep it healthy. I don’t know if it’s something that a proper diet and taking in enough fluids can moderate. But given the varieties of lotions, oils, cremes, and balms in stores, I doubt anyone is able to eat right and have healthy, properly moisturized skin.

The cheaper lotions don’t do the job well enough for my taste. I have a jar of shea butter that I use. It absorbs easily and doesn’t leave your skin with a greasy feel, like you need to keep wiping your hands to get rid of it. This is a form of thirst, just like needing to take in fluids to stay hydrated. And failing to do that can lead to problems requiring medical treatment. Think of it as a supplement. Instead of the easy to swallow pill you massage it in.

Find a good plant-based lotion. Lanolin works, but some people are allergic to it, and we’re not sheep.

Nicole Arbour's attempt at fat shaming

WHATEVVS

dear-fat-people-video-you-tube-nicole-arbour

This was one of the internet’s shiny objects a little while ago and I didn’t hear about it until massive loads of construct outrage and yelling had been dumped on Ms. Arbour. I don’t know how many people blocked her, reported the video for spam, or as “offensive” to the PC guardians of social media. Doesn’t matter.

I watched about 20sec. of it when it was on the retweet and share radar. I didn’t watch the whole thing because I wasn’t impressed. I’ve been dealing with weight and weight-related issues for longer than Nicole has been alive. I put up with it as a child, and children are evil little shits to each other a lot of the time. I put up with it from arrogant, idiot coworkers who thought they were clever. I’ve put up with Bible shamers quoting verses and telling me about the Seven Deadly Sins. I’ve even put up with it from waiters overseas. I’ve heard it all, and from all. So an entertainer being blunt on the Yube isn’t going to make me throw away my fries.

With all that said, I agree with the substance. She’s right.

Nicole’s bedside manner sucks. But she’s right. America’s too large. It means lots of money for Big Pharma, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, specialty clothing stores, and your undertaker. I’m one of those people who’s too big, so that’s how I dare say what I say here.

Nobody starts out fat, or obese. It’s a process…a process in how we got that way…a process in how we undo the damage. Our bodies and situations are all different. “Stop eating” isn’t useful as a method of ending obesity and returning to health. There’s a way to go about it and again, we’re not the same. So I want to encourage everyone to calm TF down and listen to what she has to say, and stop turning people in with little to no thought. Your solution is unique to you and you have to become motivated to work towards it.

The Devil, in lab and boardroom

PRESCRIPTIONS ARE LIKE A RESIDUAL POISON

For those of you less nerdy types, that’s a reference to Frank Herbert’s Dune, specifically the part after the Harkonnen sneak attack and the death of Duke Leto Atreides 08.dune_where the Harkonnens have captured Thufir Hawat and introduced a self-reconstituting poison which requires a daily antidote. In the 1984 movie they take us to the Harkonnen home planet Geidi Prime and show Feyd Rautha walking down stairs carrying a cage and the Baron floats alongside. Then when they get to Hawat’s cell the Baron informs him that a poison has been introduced to his body. There is a cat in the cage hoisted up so she cannot move. And to add some sort of twisted dramatic effect they’ve strapped a rat next to her. The antidote requires Thufir to milk the cat daily.

Chronic conditions are addictions which require periodic infusions of certain compounds to control them. We’re junkies needing a fix! The pharmacy provides us with the antidote, without which many eventually die. It’s when we start looking at alternative methods of treatment and care that we become a problem for some. Improving your condition to a point where medications are no longer needed is discouraged to some extent by doctors, nurses, friends, the media, even clergy. I am a member of the Antiochian Orthodox church, and I learned recently that certain bishops consider the practice of yoga to be “sinful.” Such attitudes are not limited to Orthodox Christianity, however. Something similar was said to me years ago at a Foursquare church I was attending. I bought into that and stopped actively meditating for a long time. You could say I no longer believe what I used to believe.

One could make a hair-splitting argument for taking advantage of the physical benefits of yoga while distancing oneself from the philosophy. I haven’t yet studied yogic philosophy, but I never adopt all of anything. I disagree with the bishops’ position, and that of evangelical clergy on these topics because I believe that the creator put everything here and what’s sinful is not taking advantage of it. Instead of stretching, breathing, and quieting your mind before you go to sleep, we’re told to “have faith.” Faith in God, in allopathic medicine, and in prescription sleep potions, some of which have strange effects, and could have you sleepwalking nude at 3am. And that’s just one of many things that happen to people depending on both them and the drug they’re using.

For some people when you step outside Western paradigms everything is OTD (of the Devil). By that thinking, we’re wrong to seek to improve our condition through anything that doesn’t come in some sort of pill bottle from a “generally accepted” manufacturer. The eastern perspective which sees energy all around us and includes energy centers in the body, and views improvements to those centers as making improvements to the conditions of the body as evil. They propose to claim faith in the creator while holding the laboratory in higher esteem than creation, then they lash out in knee-jerk fashion against any way of looking at life which takes one away from the pharmacy counter. So I ask you, exactly who is it that is worshiping idols? You see “the devil” sits at the head of a very long table made of cherrywood smoking Cuban cigars that were smuggled past Customs. He decides the fate of the world. Then he goes down stairs, takes off his suit coat and puts on a lab coat and works out the science of the problem and its “solution.” He screws up the environment so that you get sick in the first place simply by living and eating, then has you spending the rest of your life with an acquired, manipulated addiction to a manufactured, usually very costly substance that you can only get from one place. When you get tired of that and want to find a way to restore health without “treatment” he whispers in the ears of people around you so you become guilted into coming back to his control.

To Hell with that.

I’ll take my prescriptions but I will also do things to try to make them less necessary. I’m going to meditate and I’ll try Tai Chi, yoga and other practices along with essential oils, supplements, organic food and whatever I deem to be the best of what the world has to offer. I won’t allow doctrines and opinions to deter me from that task. I’ll just have to take my chances with eternity. I don’t know what happens after we die. No one does, really. So to paraphrase Thomas Paine in Age of Reason, “…I hope for happiness beyond this life.”

Well that got my attention

chest-painMade my second trip to ER Sunday at 04:30 with chest pains only to find that it was something other than my heart. My heart had been racing and I was in recurring pain all night Saturday. The first time I went to ER for something like this was five years ago and ended up being gas. I’m glad it wasn’t my heart but now I have to seek out the proverbial “ounce of prevention.” You can do some cosmetic maintenance to a building but if the problem is a shifting foundation, that sheet rock you just nailed up is going to crack, and soon. With the exception of colds, all of my health problems are direct and indirect results of my weight. There is no getting away from that. I could go have several thousand more dollars in tests run, my gall bladder removed, a hiatal (assuming I have this) hernia repaired yadda yadda. If I don’t get rid of the weight, I’ll just be back with something simulating a heart attack or an actual attack sometime in the next few years. Maybe sooner.

Rushing to specialists, testing, and prescriptions is not the way to go with this. Instead I am focusing on the food, the exercise, and rest.