I’m writing this from my couch, where I’ve been lying for the last hour with my feet up, waiting for the pain to go away. There is something wrong with my left foot, a sharp pain on the left side that comes and goes, but mostly comes. Sometimes faint enough that I can still walk on it, sometimes, like now, so painful I can’t bear for anything to even brush up against it.
I don’t know what I did do it. I don’t recall an injury or event. One day it was irritating me, and like I always do, I ignored it for weeks until it became so painful I couldn’t walk. Give me a paper cut or stub my toe, and I holler profanities like a truck driver while dancing around shaking the appendage. But a pain in my foot gets ignored until it seems too late, like a frog sitting in a stove top pot.
I went to the chiropractor – the Greatest Chiropractor In the World. He adjusted it, massaged it, poked around a bit, and said it felt stiff, but that it didn’t appear to be greatly misaligned or fractured. I went to my naturopathic doctor, who sent me home with x-ray papers. X-rays revealed I have a Plantar Spur and a Sesamoid Bone, which make sense to other symptoms I’ve experienced, but my heal or my toe is not where I’m feeling this current sharp pain.
Last Sunday a guest to our weekly House of Barbecue asked if I thought I might have nerve damage. Nerve damage, I repeated. Yeah, he said, like when you step hard onto a shovel when digging, he said. Did you do something like that? he asked.
I think I have, though I can’t recall anything specifically. I have a shovel. I dig in my garden. It’s very likely I recently hurt my foot doing this, but it’s not like I get to report work-related injuries to OSCA. Anyway, I don’t remember hurting it so bad I couldn’t walk on it.
This week my doctor and I have been playing phone tag. She’s been treating the injury like a sprain, but I don’t want it to be a sprain, so I don’t do what she tells me to do even though she’s the best ND in the universe. I like this nerve damage idea, and want to explore that angle. I never quite felt like my pain was a sprain pain, but I didn’t have any other context for it. But nerve damage. That seems to fit how it feels – a combination of numbness and a sharp piercing.
Through most of this experience the pain in my foot feels incidental compared with the restlessness I feel at not being able to run. Other runners will get me when I say running is necessary for my mental well being. I am grouchy when I cannot run. The rhythmic breathing, the pounding of my feet, the music in my ears, the sweating, the endorphins – sometimes when I complete a good, hard run on the treadmill I start laughing. I laugh, and I can’t stop, and people at the gym glance sideways at me nervously.
Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry. The same thing happens if I stretch when my entire body is stiff and won’t let go, or when I get a full body adjustment at the chiropractor after a stressful week. I laugh or I cry.
I haven’t run in six weeks, and I mourn this. People say I should use the elliptical, or swim, that there’s other ways to exercise. I know this. Of course I know this. But running, she’s my thing. She’s what brings it all together for me – the spiritual, the emotional, the physical. Nothing else is quite the same.
Though admittedly, I have not tried these other things. I am still in mourning over losing my best girl, my run.