Aw, You Guys! (And Some Problems With Shoes)

If I thought the last post was hard to write then this one is even harder. I really don’t know what to say. I was overwhelmed by the comments, messages and emails from the last post, at the kindness, support and understanding from you all. Good job I was at home reading them, you lot getting all soft and making me teary eyed. Thank you. I will reply as soon as I can.
You might regret those words however, when I start ranting on and on, soon you will be begging me to go back to writing about shoes, I am sure 🙂
I will warn you this is a long winded post, you are forgiven for skipping to the bottom and just looking at the pics of Victoria Beckham!
But I feel like I know you all that bit better now, and I guess we all have our demons to face. I also never thought how it may help others talking about these things, but of course if I have these problems I am sure there are others out there facing the same thing. Maybe this can be the first fashion blog to give advise for sick people!

So lets talk about one of the biggest issues, the shoe situation.
First I think I need to give you a quick over view of my situation, basically after being told there was nothing wrong with me and having seen four GP’s I finally got a referral to a specialist. The first 3 specialists thought I had Carpal Tunnel (how I wish that had been right, it can be fixed with an operation). I said till I was blue in the face that whilst my hands hurt the most they were not the only problem, only to be told ‘lets concentrate on one problem first’, ‘that’s probably something different’…until all the nerve testing and what-not came back negative and one consultant said ‘so you have a PhD, what do you think it is?’, I kid you not.
Luckily he agreed to refer me to the rheumatology unit, where I saw a wonderful Dr who diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis (it may still be psoriatic arthritis but that’s another story and its pretty much the same thing). She sent me off for blood test and x-rays to determine the specific strain, so that treatment could begin. She said to come back in 4-6 weeks – me thinking OK maybe it takes that long for the x-ray appointment. I know blood test are done the day they hit the labs. What I later found out was that I should have had the x-rays on the same day, irritating but never mind I had them a couple of weeks after. But then what started to annoy me was why make me wait 6 weeks to come back when the test results would have been received withing the next day or so?
So the 6 weeks later was actually last Friday, I was looking forwards to finally getting somewhere in controlling this disease. I get there and am disappointed to find it is not the same Dr I saw last time, so I have to explain everything all over again. This guy says the blood tests and x-rays are all negative. Then wants to examine my feet, applying pressure to joints asking if it hurts, mostly its Ok, he seems a bit annoyed saying but you told the last Dr certain joints were painful. I explain that no, today is a pretty good day and the pain moves around so its not miraculously gone away, just hiding today.
He then points out I have bunions and starts squeezing my foot there, I say yes I am aware of that but really they are tiny and not at all painful. He is making a bit of a point about the bunions so I demand to see the x-ray (whilst the only x-rays I have studied are from ancient remains, its all pretty much the same, I’m no radiologist but I know a bit). I say yes I agree they are there but again very tiny and not where the pain is. The he starts asking if I have back ache, yes I do, so he ‘examines’ me without wanting me to take my coat of (my huge puffy ski coat!!) gives my lower back a prod, asks me to touch my toes. Then says maybe we should have your lower back x-rayed. This really starts to piss me off, as lower back x-rays can affect fertility and the reproductive organs and are only ever done if absolutely necessary so I refuse point blank. I am seriously about to throttle this guy, trying to fob me off with bunions and my back, were you hoping for a slipped disk??
So he decides I need more blood test, I am an academic so have been hitting up the medical journals to learn about the different test and their accuracy. It is well known that the most common test, Rheumatoid Factor(RF) is not accurate for younger patients and early stage cases. But well lets redo them all again anyway! He also recommends ultrasound scans – these are more accurate for arthritis detection, but I will have to wait 2 months for an appointment. That’s the NHS what can you do. I understand totally that you cannot being to treat arthritis until you identify the exact strain. But I am in F’ing agony and haven’t slept for months, so I tell him I need something to help me, if I have to wait 2 more months. He says he will put me on stronger anti inflammatory – in the arthritis world they are called NSAID’s (non-steroid anti inflammatory drugs). What can I say they don’t seem to be making any difference, will keep you posted. I still cannot fathom why no one gives a toss about my knee and hip!

Anyway back to the shoes.

Whatever part of your body is hurting its going to be uncomfortable, but your feet are the hardest thing because they have to wear shoes. When I wake up in the morning I have to lay for about half an hour until the stiffness eases off from my hands and feet. I got woke up by the postman the other day, and automatically jumped out of bed to race down to answer the door, my feet hand woken up quite as quickly and I fell found myself sprawled on the floor!
It is hard to explain how the pain works, its like all your joints are stiff and also like someone has stuffed cotton wool inside them. Sometimes specific joints throb, pain shoots up them, dull aches. Mostly it feels like I want to stretch out my feet and toes as wide as I can. My toes also crack, like when you crack your knuckles.
So when all you want to do is stretch out your feet having to put them into shoes is really not pleasant! On bad days all I can do is wear Ugg boots, the soft sheep skin really helps as it cushions between every toe, I have an outdoors pair and a pair I wear constantly around the house. Those funny looking socks with individual toe sections really help too. On days which aren’t too bad I prefer to wear shoes with a small heel rather than flats as I find them more supportive as they hug the arch of the foot. My favourites are my Vivienne Westwood low heeled shoes and my Fifi Louboutin’s as they both have a low heel, are well padded inside, support the arch and have a nice wide toe area.
I’ve always had wide feet so I have never been a fan of stuffing my toes into tiny, narrow fitting shoes. In fact I think my expensive shoe habit has stopped my feet being in a worse condition. That said I think my bunions (isn’t that a vile sounding word) are genetic, rather than a course of my own actions. I would never cause myself damage for fashion, and whilst a lover of heels I save the sky-scrapers for sitting in bars!
Victoria Beckhamis probably the most famous person with bunions, they seem really bad, I think she should get herself some lower heels too, though she has been something of a flats convert as late.

No real reason for these two pic other than I think VB look fabulous!

In this pic however it seems her shoes are too big, with a gap at the heel. I often find myself having to compromise on shoe size, my feet are a size 38 in length but for the extra width I need a 38.5 and sometimes a 39. Generally with boots I just get the larger size as you can’t notice but with court’s it is not possible as your foot slips in and out all the time. Luckily Mr Louboutin understands me and his 38.5 fits me perfectly, I hate brands who don’t do half sizesand I wish more would do extra widths. I know Clarks and Duo shoes do but really they aren’t my cup of tea.

As demonstrated so kindly by VB here you can see that many ballet flats don’t actually support your foot well. They are comfy, I love my pair to pieces but I find my foot arch can get a bit achy if I wear them all the time. In winter my riding boots are the flat of choice as they have a small chunky heel so the foot is supported. This does leave me with bit of a summer shoe issue so I will have to try and find a stylish alternative – I guess with UK weather the is no rush!
I used to hate wearing socks in bed but my feet freeze now. I don’t care what that there is no physical proof that cold weather makes arthritis worst, but scientist still don’t know the exact route drugs are Incorporated into the hair – doesn’t matter it still happens! Wearing big socks seems to help the pain a bit, the more ridiculous looking the better!

Next post will be a short post, promise!!
Again HUGE THANK YOU TO YOU ALL!!!!
Pearl

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