Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The importance of feet...

Ode to my feet.

Oh feet.  You pesky little buggers.  You carry me here.  You carry me there.  You carry me...everywhere.  You hurt like a bitch and piss me off and make me want to cut you off!

You may have heard once or twice that I'm having issues with my feet.  Despite my little poem above, I actually am trying to be kinder to my feet and to my body, and trying not to be hard on myself over issues outside of my control.  If you aren't caught up...I have a bone spur in my right heel that caused me to have plantar fascial release surgery last August.  Just a week ago, I went back to the doctor because the pain in my left foot suddenly became excruciating.  I was worried I had another bone spur.  Although I DO have two tiny bone spurs in my left foot, they are not causing my pain.  It turns out this issue is related to a peroneal tendon strain (this is the tendon that runs up the side of your leg, from the bottom of your foot, over your ankle then up the side of your calf, for lack of a better explanation).  Last April, while practicing for the Lovely Rita Fundraiser, I had stomped down hard and it hurt.  I missed two days of work and couldn't put any weight on that foot.  It was scary.  I did not need TWO feet with issues.  Then it kind of cleared up.  But when the weather turned super cold about six to eight weeks ago, suddenly I was in pain again (I got it...30 degree temperatures in California does not compare to negative temps in the mid-West...but I'm a California girl so yeah, that IS cold for me!!).  Yes, I am THAT person.  The weather changes and my body lets me know by punishing me with extreme amounts of pain.

Ghosty left foot...tiny bone spurs at back and bottom of heel
Anyway...  Since I had gastric bypass, I am technically not supposed to take NSAIDs.  Don't tell anyone but I take a baby aspirin and Aleve almost every day.  I was so good for almost six years...then four years ago, I got a hip injury (now believed to be a psoas strain, thanks for nothing, doctors-who-couldn't-figure-it-out!), and Tylenol just wasn't cutting it.  I started the aspirin more recently when my C-reactive protein was found to be high (that is an indication that inflammation is high in my body).  I don't need ulcers but I do need to live, so I guess I had to make some hard choices.  

So, anyway back to this story.  My doctor thought I need to battle some of the inflammation that appears to be in my body (that right surgery foot is still swollen on the bottom and the now-old injury on my left foot was clearly having new issues), so he prescribed methylprednisolone, which is a steroid.  I picked it up on a Tuesday night.  The medication is set up in kind of a pyramid.  Six pills on day one, down to one pill at day six.  The first day is very clearly laid out.  One or two pills before breakfast, more at lunch, more at dinner, more at bedtime.  But at the bottom, the instructions say, if you receive the medication late in the day, it is safe to take all six pills at once.  Well, okay then, bottoms up!  I took all six pills before bedtime and went to sleep.  Before I had even fallen asleep, I had to get up to pee.  I got up three more times that night.  I had a glass of water before bed (which I do often), but I could not figure out why I was having to pee so much!  Finally in the morning, it occurred to me that the way you get rid of inflammation is to pee it out!  And I certainly did for the next six days.  A couple of nights I was spared (I have no idea why some nights were okay and others weren't), but for the most part, I was otherwise getting up four times each night.  I also had issues sleeping in general, twice waking up for no reason and just laying there for an hour.  My face and chest also got red and I would sweat easier.  But for the most part, I had manageable side effects. 

It certainly seemed worth it.  By day two, I was completely pain free in both feet.  And the swelling in my surgery foot was gone.  I lost five pounds in six days (water weight, I know).  I took my last pill on Sunday and the pain is still gone for the most part (today I returned to work after a three day weekend and my feet feel a tiny bit sore from the commute but I'm not in real pain).  It's crazy.  I really don't know how long the effects will last, but I hope it's for awhile. 

The downside so far has been extreme dehydration.  Thank God I've been making more efforts to drink water, because if I was at my previous level of water-intake and took these pills, I may have injured myself.  (I'm worried I gave myself a hernia recently, and am still debating whether I want to go to the doctor to find out...I have some weird pain when I eat lately.  I just feel like such a hypochondriac sometimes, even though each time I go to the doctor, I do have a legit issue.)  I don't want to be graphic but dehydration causes painful issues I'd rather not discuss here.  And I'm tired of them.

Anyway, I am two days out from finishing the steroid and I am still mostly pain free.  I don't know how long I will get to enjoy this but I am going to appreciate the time I do get!

Have you ever had to use a steroid for something like this?  I'd love to hear how long it worked for you!

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