Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Cancel Christmas, just give me new feet.

So. There's five weeks to go now. Somehow it feels both a long way way and scarily around the corner.

I'm trying to get my head round what I need to do before I have the surgery and I'm struggling to know if I've covered everything.

I have managed to arrange for my husband and my parents to look after me for the first four weeks. This period includes Christmas itself, and of course any looking after also has to mean looking after the Little Lady who at three is energetic and quite demanding!

I'm a little worried about her jumping all over my legs and feet while I'm recovering, especially when I'm bedridden. She usually manages to stand on my feet at least once a day as it is!

Apart from people to look after me, I know I ought to be sorting out some batch cooking and freezing meals but the freezer is a) not that big and b) full of stuff. I don't really fancy trying to organise myself enough to not only empty the freezer but also to refill it with meals, so I'll probably bury my head in the sand on that one. After all, Cook is just down the road!

Vain things have been crossing my mind. How will I do my hair? Who will shave my legs? But I think I'll have to cross those bridges when I get to them. As my hair usually has to be blow-dried and then straightened in order to look okay, tomorrow night I'm going to a friend's and she is going to chemically straighten my hair using stuff she's bought off t'internet. Sounds dodgy but she does it all the time and it's a fraction of the cost of having it done in a salon. Hopefully that will mean I can wash and leave my hair to dry naturally, so I can at least be clean.

Other than that, I've kinda cancelled Christmas. I won't be able to go to any parties or gatherings, and it looks like it will just be me, hubby and the Little Lady on the day itself so it's not worth a turkey. I wonder if OH will even bother with decorations? Maybe I'll glue some tinsel to my sexy velcro shoes for the occasion.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Shoes off? I'm off!

The thing about bunions is that, generally, it's possible to hide them from people. It might limit your shoe choices a bit, but I've found I can buy even strappy shoes and sandals and, with careful attention to where straps fall or how wide they are, I can still hide the fact that my feet are fugly. And no, I don't mean that in a 'fashion ugly' way.

So the relatively new phenomenon of insisting that your visitors remove their shoes on entry strikes fear into my heart.

Just last night I went to a house party. Actually, party might be too strong a word, but it was to celebrate a friend's 40th by giving her a suprise get-together, so there was general glamming-up and much drinking of Prosecco.

I decided to go for a glamorous Mummy kind of look (we all know each other because we have children) and wear a simple fitted top with a sequinned skirt, opaques, and some nude strappies*. So far so good.

Except that when I arrived, I was told by another friend "I think it's shoes off."

Instantly, my heart sank. Shoes off? With no warning? That meant I either had to go home and get some slippers or socks to wear, or I had to spend the evening trying to sit on both my feet or tuck them under the sofa.

In the past, I've done that. Literally sat on my feet all night while they went numb,then risked the pins and needles (or 'razy feet' as I have for some reason always called them)at the end of the night as the blood flowed painfully back in.

But that was before the bunions had got so bad that someone even glimpsing my feet wasn't something I wanted to risk.

Luckily, our hostess took it in her stride when I cornered her in the kitchen and explained my dilemma and asked to borrow some socks or slippers.

"Oh just keep them on" she said. So I did, very gratefully.

You see, it's not all about the pain, this surgery. It's also about the vanity.

*Yes, heels. The pain is now so bad it doesn't matter what I wear. The bunions hurt in slippers. Which in a funny way is freeing, because I may as well wear heels, so all my semi-retired shoes are getting a last-minute reprieve before surgery banishes them again for a while.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

This blog ain't no use without pictures

It's encouraging to see I'm getting some views. Thanks for reading! But I know what you're all thinking. "This blog ain't no use without pictures."

So, yeah, I've taken some. I'm trying to be really honest, so I took them after I'd done the preschool run, when my feet were scrunched and unhappy.

Please excuse the pedicure. It needs doing. My mani looks great though! Perhaps I should post a picture of that? (Turquoise with gold glitter tips, if anyone's interested.)

Ah, I'm procrastinating. You want to see the pictures. Brace yourselves. Here we go.


As you can see, I overpronate (roll my ankles in) due to my flat feet. Yeah, I know, so many issues! Anyway, I actually never stand like this but if I just let my body do what it wants, then this is what it looks like. You can see that my right big toe is beginning to overlap the one next to it. Left uncorrected, this is what leads to problems with the other toes.

This picture shows me correcting the roll. I do this all the time. It requires active thinking but as it reduces the pain a little I do remember to do it.

Here I am doing doing 'yoga toes', stretching my toes as far apart as possible; I have also started with my big toe and kind of used the carpet friction to hold them as near to straight as I can get. Yes, this really is as good as it gets. I know, it's pathetic. My feet are proper deformed.

This last one is to show what's happening with my big toe on my right foot. Basically, once the toes have bent over as far as they can go, the toe starts to roll over. You can see that my toenail no longer faces the ceiling, but is pointing away from my other toes, as if they've had an argument and are no longer on speaking terms. This is why this one hurts more than the left. Mr Nugent said once this starts happening, you really need surgery.

So those are my feet. In fact, to take the pictures I kind of leant back a bit, so they probably look worse than that when I stand straight and there is more weight on my toes, but it gives you the idea.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Seven weeks to go

This week I had my operation date through, for December 3. That is just seven weeks away. I did know that I'd be given around six weeks' notice, but somehow it is only now that I have a real, tangible date that it feels an incredibly short time.

This afternoon I was reading some other blogs about people's bunion surgery. Most of them seem to peter out quite quickly; the most alarming was the one that stopped after four days, just after an entry about the author having passed out in the bathroom from the pain of having hobbled to the toilet. It didn't say if she'd managed to get to the toilet first, but let's hope for her dignity that she did!

I did find one on Tumblr that was comprehensive, and although they also had surgery on their little toes for something called tailor's bunions, the recovery period seemed to be incredibly long. Even a year after surgery she had pain. Gulp.

So I have seven weeks to adjust to the prospect of constant, debilitating pain for not just weeks but months and possibly longer than a year.

Seven weeks to get used to the idea that I won't be wearing heels for a very, very long time.

Seven weeks to prepare myself for being effectively disabled for months.

Seven weeks.

I guess I'll have to make the most of them by wearing every pair of heels I possess and going out dancing. It's a hard life.

My name is Emma and I am a foot fetishist...

Last Summer, I had a friend round with her children for a playdate. Halfway through a conversation with me she suddenly said, "oh, don't look at my nail varnish, it needs doing."

"Oh!" I said, coming out of my reverie. "I was just thinking what a pretty colour it was."

And the conversation moved on, while I congratulated myself on my quick thinking. Because, actually, I was staring at her toes, not her toenails. And I wasn't sure how weird she'd think I was if I told her that what I was really doing was almost salivating over her beautiful, straight toes.

No, I don't have an odd sexual obsession with feet, although I know some people do. But increasingly, as my feet have got more and more deformed, I have found myself becoming obsessed with looking at other people's feet, and mentally marking them on my own 'bunion scale'.

My friend scores zero, because her toes are super-straight and just what I wish mine looked like.

I have bunions, one on each foot. I seem to have inherited them from my mum, who now also has hammer toes to go with them, as a result of the big toes pushing into the one next door for so long. Her mum had them too. I distinctly remember Nanny's bent feet, but then I just thought it was old age that made them that way.

I've had my bunions for as long as I can remember. I must have been born with straight toes, but I can't recall a time when I didn't look down and see my big toes pointing away from each other. It didn't used to be such a big issue. Although once, when I was at a salsa weekender, another dancer saw me take my shoes off between classes and gasped out loud at 'your old lady feet!' and made me feel like crying.

But then, they were just ugly and freakish, not painful.

Since I had my daughter in 2009, though, they've added pain to the deformity. Maybe it was the pregnancy hormones, maybe the extra weight I was carrying, or maybe even a combination of those coupled with me getting older (I was 34 when I had her and am 37 now), but when it got to the point where even my boxy boots with plenty of toe room made my feet hurt, I decided enough was enough.

Interestingly, my GP didn't think I'd get surgery. "I'll refer you," he said, "but don't expect much." He didn't think they were bad enough for me to get surgery.

However, when I saw Ian Nugent from Reading's Royal Berkshire Hospital, he was very positive and immediately agreed to do them.

"Have both done at once," he said. "People never come back for the second one if they have them done separately."

I blocked out what that meant - it must be incredibly painful - and decided to go for it.

Due to personal reasons, I ended up not being able to follow up for a couple of years after my initial consultation, but earlier this year (2012) I reactivated my referral, and in July went to see Mr Nugent again.

I had both feet X-rayed, then he talked me through what he'd do. As I had my toddler in the room at the time, I must admit I don't know exactly what procedure he will do, but I know it involved shaving off the spur of bone that make the lump of the bunion, plus straightening of the big toes.

I'll find out more at my pre-op assessment on November 16, but I also know the recovery takes six to eight weeks, to get back walking again, and many more months before it is fully healed. I know from previous surgery that internal changes can take up to a year to heal completely, so I'm not expecting much for the first six months or so.

So that's where I am. I hope that this time next year I'll be staring at my own beautiful straight toes, and that my desire to gaze at other people's will have diminished.