A sky of gray today. A swollen foot keeps me mostly indoors, nursing it as best I know how. Keeping off of it is perhaps the best strategy. I can’t see stepping on it when it hurts to do so. I have been propping it up during the day. I soak it in warm water with Epsom salts mixed into the water. I take a few Ibuprofen every few hours, though the plastic jar is running low, and I will have to fumble around in the kitchen cupboards to find some more.
I just woke up one morning about a week ago with both feet severely swollen. For several days I had wandered from my diet of fresh fruits and vegetables into a pleasant interlude of pancakes and syrup, pizza and potato chips, and most of the other things I know I should not eat. I’m thinking my body is fighting back at me and telling me I can no longer eat this kind of food. I can’t think of any other reason why my feet would become so drastically swollen over night.
Today they look and feel much better, although the left one still has some puffiness and redness. I drank a ton of water to flush my system of all the fat, oil, salt, and sugar that has pooled up inside of me. Friends and family have been telling me to go see a doctor, but I don’t really want myself pumped full of medication and have to go through an interrogation, when I’m pretty sure it is related to my detour from good eating habits.
I’ve had these episodes two or three times a year for several years now, but this one is the most severe. Usually the feet will swell and become unwalkable for only a day or two. This one has been a little more intense and longer lasting.
I’m back to making breakfast smoothies in my Vitamix blender: greens, berries, lemon, chia, banana, and water. For lunch or early dinner it’s greens, onions, mushrooms, beans, sunflower seeds, and balsamic vinegar. I had been eating this way, more or less, for a couple of years, but slowly got off track, to the point where I had forgotten that there even was a track.
I learned, while sitting around close to my computer this week, which foods aggravate peripheral neuropathy. Sure enough, those are the ones I had been indulging in. I knew better when eating them, but had never had such a reaction before. I’m amazed how things become more clear to me as I age. When younger I could get away with so much. My body was enriched with forgiveness, or at least I thought it was. Maybe now it is paying me back for all the lack of proper attention that I did not give to it.
Sitting in pain for a few days caused me to withdraw into a tight little world inside of myself, the place within where I might hide from very much outside stimulation, so that I could focus on fighting off the pain. It is such a raw, but common and human experience, to face pain and suffering. I don’t do a very heroic job of it. Rather than pull inside of myself, I would like to be able to step outside of myself, and look at myself from a removed location, as though I am seeing someone who can never feel any pain.
Stillness and quietude seem to be my best coping tools. In my better moments of each day this past week, when the pain was not so intense, or when I was able to forget about it for awhile, I would read, and sketch with my Tablet PC. Flowers, ocean, trees, clouds, rain drops–some of the beautiful forms in nature that I wanted to bring inside of me, to make me feel more alive, and less aware of my own predicament.