The Ankle Story about My Foot

Okay. So. I’m not dead. And I’ve been told I have to quit my fucked up emotional/mental block, stop stalling and fucking write for fuck’s sake. I promised I’d do so today. I swore when I came back, there would be this long explanation and apology and replies to all of you kind and beautiful people…but that’s part of what has kept me away. The anxiety ratchets up higher and higher the more I think about it. And the thing is, I don’t really even have much of an excuse except that I’m kind of a fucking headcase sometimes (which most of you already know).

So. Ahem. Part of my promise is that I wouldn’t delve into the whole thing right now (okay, okay, I’m getting to it). Instead, I’m supposed to copy and paste VERFUCKINGBATIM a rambly, typo-ridden tale that I rattled off to Ezekiel months ago to explain my whole broken foot thingy. Which for some reason he kept calling a broken ankle. Hence the title. Apparently, I’m not allowed to edit this rambly stream-of-consciousness mess. (Thanks, Ezekiel.)  So, without further ado, here’s The Ankle Story about My Foot.  (Brace yourselves. It’s messy as fuck.)

~

On the way to Glacier, I spent a day and a half at Badlands National Park. I did a trail called The Notch. My Fat Ass climbed the notch. I had CROSSED IT OFF my list of doable trails. But then I FORGOT the name of the trail, yeah?

So I’m walking along, see a trailhead.

The Notch?

I wanted to do that one, right?

Yeah! The Notch! Sounds cool!

I walk along for a while.

Then BAM. These steep, nearly vertical wooden steps held up on steel cables.

My heart was in my throat.

I nearly turned around.

You can’t do this, Stephanie. You’re too fat. Your arthritis is all hurty. You have GNP to look forward to. You can’t do this. YOU CANNOT. YOU ARE INCAPABLE. YOU’RE WEAK. YOU’RE FAT. YOU. CAN. NOT. DO. THIS.

And then I quite literally charged the motherfucker.

The self-hatred talking somehow lit a fire that had the opposite affect.

And I charged that motherfucking ladder.

And about 2/3 up, I froze. I froze.

And I started crying.

Shaking.

Realizing how afraid I was of the vertical climb at this point.

Realizing how weak my legs already were. (It’s not that high of a climb.)

And I started saying, out loud: I can’t do this. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.

Then I’d haul myself up to the next step. All the while afraid I was gonna fall and break my neck.

I can’t do this. I can’t. Ohmygod. What do I do now?

And then I snapped.

Again.

And said out loud.

FUCK YOU I CAN’T. FUCK YOU. YES I CAN!

And I finished it.

There were these hugely muscular dudes at the top waiting to go down (if I’d known this, I wouldn’t have climbed…good thing I didn’t know). I waited for ridicule, instead…they both high-fived me and were all “FUCK YEAH! YOU DID IT!”

I knew I’d have to go back down later, and that scared me, too.

But I focused on the trail ahead.

I nearly fell a couple times.

Had some scary moments of “I can’t” again. But I kept pushing forward.

Got lost at one point.

Found my way back.

I was so proud.

I climbed The Notch!

Me!

Sure, other people were running up and down the fucker. Could do it in their sleep.

But me?

Yeah…my body wasn’t up for it.

BUT MY MIND WAS.

And I did it.

So.

GNP a couple days later.

My thighs were still PISSED.

But no way was that going to stop me from exploring heaven on earth.

One night, about halfway through, I knew I had a big hike ahead of me the next day. 12 miles in the mountains.

So I’m stretching at my campsite.

I know there’s a word for it.

But I’m kinda dim. So let’s see.

You know the stretch where you’re standing on one foot and you reach behind yourself and grab your other foot and pull it up to your ass? That stretch?

I was going for that one because it feels sooo good. And I needed it.

I grabbed for my foot.

Got my ankle instead.

Hand slipped.

BAM. My big toe flew straight down to the picnic table. Straight. Down. With all that force.

I clamped my hand over my mouth, screaming into my palm, and fell to the ground.

Blood was everywhere. I lay there for probably fifteen minutes.

Finally got up, limped to my first aid stash, cleaned it up.

Saw that I had split the nail in two.

Couldn’t move the toe without crying.

I had to skip the next day’s hike. I was supremely upset.

This was going to be an epic hike.

And I had to skip.

So instead of wallowing around in the tent all day, I wrapped my toe up all crazy padded and drove to some of the more lookout kinda sites.

The next (last) day, I scrapped the plans I’d made for it and did the hike I’d missed instead.

Fucking. Epic. Shit.

But at the very beginning/very end, there are these really high steps cut into the mountain.

I should have sat on my butt on the way back and eased myself down.

Because fat.

Because knees.

But I didn’t.

I practically flew down those steps.

Got a super happy pic at the end of the trail. People high-fiving me because I was so excited and pumped and like fist-pumping the air. I did it!

By the time I made it back to the car, I was limping.

By the time I got my boot off, my foot  was so swollen I couldn’t articulate my foot/ankle.

I had broken my left foot.

And they only discovered it was broken in January. Because the breaks never showed on X-Rays.

Finally had an MRI in January, and two breaks in that foot.

After doctors had implied it was all in my head.

~

So. Uhm. Yeah. Ezekiel was right. (Yeah, yeah. Piss off.) If I even started trying to edit that, I’d never post it. (Which would defeat the whole purpose – to get my ass back to Stephellaneous and my dear Peopleaneous.) Look at that mess. Holy twatmonkeys. FYI: That’s a glimpse of what rambly conversations look like with The Stephanie.

P.S. Sneak Preview: I’m in Oregon. More to come.

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How’s this for a Headline: Today Sucks Ass.

Today sucks ass. Seriously. In other news, it also blows.

I have a headache from hell. And I’ve also crashed hard from whatever high I was on last week. I’m back to hating the world and, more specifically, myself.

It’s a combination of things, I’m sure. For once, I felt dread building as the weekend drew to a close. That’s simultaneously a good thing and a bad thing. Good because it means I was dreading the right thing – work – instead of how I usually dread being alone with myself on the weekends. Bad because there’s nothing I can do about it. At least not so long as I need to work in hell. I mean Corporate America.

But it’s not only work. I can also feel the onset of holiday blues. Like what seems to be the majority of people, this used to be my favorite time of year.

Not so anymore. No.

What used to be my favorite holiday and day of the year – Thanksgiving – is now a day to dread. Spending Thanksgiving alone is not something to envy, peoplleaneous. No matter how hectic or stressful your holiday with family and friends may be, please…I implore you…please never tell one of us who spends it alone that we’re lucky. Please don’t do that. Because the last thing in the world that it feels like is a stroke of good fortune.

Last year, I cooked. For the first time in a while, I did it up. Big ass turkey, cornbread dressing, pecan pies…the works. It was a great diversion while the preparations lasted, which I managed to drag out for a few days. But it was bittersweet, of course. Things like that are meant to be shared. And though I have much to be thankful for, it’s difficult to dredge those reasons up during the ultimate season of family and togetherness.

Christmas was never great for me. It was usually a time spent in stark reminder of our poverty, as children. Mother’s palpable depression and feelings of failure, vociferously lamented. Sister whining and begging for things. Brother stealing any things he wanted but didn’t receive. Me in the middle trying to soothe broken spirits and remind them of what the holiday is supposed to be about. It never worked. I can only remember two Christmases that weren’t like that, but it was still there. In the background. Until everyone just say fuckitall and stopped getting together.

And now. Years later. They’re getting together, alright. Only…I’m no longer invited. In fact, I was informed that I’m specifically uninvited. Because I won’t can’t seem to forgive him. The one I’m supposed to call father.

November has arrived, and it’s all anyone wants to talk about today. At the office. November. Thanksgiving preparations. Gift buying. Black Friday plans. Pinterest recipes.

Yeah. It’s official. I’m back on the downswing, and I’m sad. I mean, really fucking sad. Wishing I hadn’t woken up this morning sad. Angry and Anxious and Depressed and Aching from arthritis and fibro (I mean what the fuck is that, anyway). Woo. I need to shut the fuck up with this whining and find something to do.

I’m gonna write about anime later, I think. Because it’s slow at work, and my brain desperately needs diversion.

Doctor! Doctor! Give me the news!

I’ve got a bad case of lovin’ misdiagnosin’ you.

~

Stephanie: My foot is hurting so much more than usual.
Rheumatologist: Let’s up your meds and throw a new one into the mix.
Stephanie: This feels different, though. Could we maybe do an x-ray?
Rheumatologist: No need for an x-ray. Increase the usual meds and start taking this new one, too. But stop by the lab on the way out so I can check your vitamin B-12 level.
Stephanie: What are you looking for with that test?
Rheumatologist: Your B-12 levels.
Stephanie: …
Rheumatologist: …
Stephanie: Could I get an x-ray, just in case?
Rheumatologist: No need. Stop by the labs on the way out. *squeezes shoulder* It’s not like you’re dying, honey.
Stephanie mumbles to self: Dickhead. Dickhead. I fucking hate you.

~

Stephanie: I am experiencing severe pain in my left foot.
Urgent Care Doctor: Are you currently under the care of any other doctors?
Stephanie: Just a general practitioner and…and…*drops head and mumbles* a rheumatologist.
Urgent Care Doctor: You’ll need to see your rheumatologist.
Stephanie: *actually started crying here…silently* please help me. Please.
Urgent Care Doctor: *squeezes the shit out of foot and pokes around* You just have a deep callus in this foot, and it’s pushing on your bone.
Stephanie: Really? I haven’t felt anything! But this is great news! What do I do?
Urgent Care Doctor: Soak in epsom salt and grind it with pumice.
Stephanie: Could we please take an x-ray? Just in case?
Urgent Care Doctor: It’s a callus.

~

Stephanie: I have severe pain in my left foot. I need an x-ray.
Podiatrist: *pokes around* Does that hurt?
Stephanie: Yes. Yes, it hurts. And I’m having difficulties walking. I’m limping at work, and I need help. Can you do an x-ray?
Podiatrist: You don’t need an x-ray. It isn’t that swollen. Besides, you probably just have a pulled tendon. That won’t show on an x-ray.
Stephanie: Okay. I understand soft tissue problems won’t show…and maybe it’s my tendon. But can we please do an x-ray? I do pay my doctor bills. (Yeah, I was pretty upset and insistent this time. I must have said “I’ll pay whatever. Please. Please x-ray my foot” three or four times.)
Podiatrist: Nah. *runs his mouth incessantly talking about what a wonderful next-coming-of-Christ president Trump would be while trying to find the codes to fill out on my forms* I’m gonna give you this magic pill. (I swear to peanuts he said, “MAGIC.”)
Stephanie: *sighs and wipes tear off of face* What’s this magic pill?
Podiatrist: Oh it’s a prescription strength NSAID.
Stephanie: What for? I should tell you I take enough NSAID every day to kill entire villages.
Podiatrist: No problem. This is going to dissolve your problem.
Stephanie: It’s gonna dissolve my tendon??!?!!
Podiatrist: Just take this as prescribed and you’ll be kicking a football by tomorrow.
Stephanie: *whispers* I don’t think you understand how bad this is.
Podiatrist: There’s nothing wrong with your foot. (Yes, he said that.) Oh, hey! Don’t forget to support Trump! (That, too.)
Stephanie mumbles to self: Dickhead. Dickhead. I fucking hate you.
Stephanie: Do I need a follow-up for once the scrip is finished?
Podiatrist: Nope. I’m telling you, this pill is magic.
Stephanie rages in her head: I hope your clothes fall off and you trip, naked, and land dick-first in an ant bed. Filled with bullet ants. Douchepickle Asscanoe.

~

Stephanie: I have severe pain in my left foot. I’ve been to three doctors and have been unsatisfied with all of them. Can you help me? (I finally took ownership of my healthcare. Finally.)
Podiatrist #2: Tell me all of the details, start to finish.
Stephanie: *tells him all of the details, start to finish* I also added: Please do whatever you need to do and take whatever tests need to be taken. This pain has gotten unbearable, and nobody believes me.

Lots of poking and prodding commences. Bending my foot. Jabbing my foot. Scrunching my toes. All the while gauging the level of discomfort in my reactions.

Podiatrist #2: In everything you told me, you never mentioned an x-ray. Has anyone x-rayed this foot?
Stephanie: No one has taken an x-ray of my foot.
Podiatrist #2: *cocks head* Really?
Stephanie: No one.
Podiatrist #2: I want to take an x-ray. I don’t think the bones in your feet are straight.
Stephanie: *blinks. blinks then laughs* Seriously?

X-ray is taken, and I wait a whopping five minutes for him to come in and go over it with me.

Podiatrist #2: You have a stress fracture.
Stephanie: Are you serious?
Podiatrist #2: *points* See? You have what looks like an old break in the same spot. Is that right?
Stephanie: Yeah, but it was about eight years ago.
Podiatrist #2: This break looks like it happened at least several weeks ago and is already working on healing. See? *points and explains his reasoning* Had you recently changed your routines or footwear? Any high intensity workouts or anything that you felt stressed your joints?
Stephanie: You mean…you mean like spin classes where I stand on the pedal with improper footwear, causing my feet to wrap around the pedals?
Podiatrist #2: That’s exactly the kind of thing I mean.
Stephanie: And cardio kickboxing? And mountain hiking? (Y’all, I swear I’m not some superfit person. It’s the opposite – all of that was a brand new effort to get myself fit after a lifetime of living fat and out of shape. My body punished me for it. Bitch.)
Podiatrist #2: *laughs and laughs* Yeah. Okay. So what kind of footwear do you wear to work?
Stephanie: *points at shoes*
Podiatrist #2: That’s not what you’ve been wearing.
Stephanie: …
Podiatrist #2: Those aren’t great, but they’re not bad. And they’re also not old. What did you usually wear prior to these?
Stephanie: Converse. Every day. For years.
Podiatrist #2: They let you wear those? Nevermind. Look, I love Converse. I’d wear them exclusively if I could. But I can’t anymore. And neither can you.
Stephanie: *pouts*
Podiatrist #2: You see the way your metatarsals are deeply curved? *points at x-ray* That’s a birth defect, and it’s likely that your right foot is the same. If it had been caught when you were a baby, it could have possibly been corrected. But now, the best course of action is to wear proper inserts in proper shoes.

He goes through everything with me, in slow and careful detail. He waits patiently as I whip out my phone and make a bunch of notes so I won’t forget anything he’s told me.

Podiatrist #2: Look, I know this is going to be expensive – getting proper footwear and the inserts and the follow-up appointment. I know. But *points at x-ray again and points out all of the inflammation and thinning bones* you’re due for another break at any time. If you can afford it, fixing your footwear needs to take priority to try to prevent this from getting worse.

He talked me into a cortisone shot directly into my foot and OHMYEVERLOVINGFUCKTHATHURT. And he also told me that I may need surgery down the line because of a bonespur happening at that old/new break. But he said, “You do NOT want that surgery. So I’m beseeching you to work on your footwear. That may be all you need.”

He was fucking awesome. I thanked him profusely and was all smiles when I left. Yeah, I didn’t get great news. But you know what? He listened to me. He believed me. He poked and prodded until he had all of the information and answers he needed. And he identified the problem. He also said this could worsen my arthritis and connective tissue disease – and vice versa – but that we need to take one step at a time. (He only told me that because I asked him if and how this current problem could be related to my diagnoses.)

He wants to see me again in two weeks. A follow-up to see how the medicine and shot and shoes help. He also switched my scrip. He said, “I know Podiatrist #1 swears by this…..but (as nicely as possible) I want to give you something that I think is more effective.” He explained why and had me swear I wouldn’t take the two medications simultaneously. Seriously liked this doc.

~

Anyway. I have two main reasons for spilling all of this here:

  1. I needed to rant like a motherfucker
  2. To remind myself – AND you – to NOT give up on your health. Take care of yourself and whenever at all possible, get a second opinion. And a third. And a fourth. And don’t stop until you run out of money. And then, start a GoFundMe page or some shit. You only get one life, Stephanie. And you bloggers. You only get one body, Stephanie. And you bloggers. Take ownership of it.

~

P.S. I’m a fucking badass. Yeah, I said it. No broken foot gonna keep me down. I’ve been hobbling around for a couple months now, but I kept going.

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