About a year and a half ago, I noticed a tweak in my heel/ankle area. I thought it was because I wasn’t watching where I was going as I tripped over a divot on the sidelines while taking photos as my son’s football game. Own your klutziness, I say.
Turns out something more sinister was going on. Something I would ignore for the next 19 months. Because as you get older, tweaks, twists, twinges (and, apparently, alliteration) take on greater meaning in terms of what we should pay attention to.
At the beginning of this year, the pain started to be
a little somewhat downright regular and more noticeable. The pain was centered in my heel and achilles. I found myself gimping around like an old woman and at times I would stop walking entirely to “restart” my gait in an attempt to reduce the pain and limping.
And you thought only Justin Timberlake knew how to bring the sexy back.
It was clear that my tweak/twist/twinge was a bit more than I had bargained for. I reluctantly admitted that I was going to have to put out the co-pay to find out what the hell was going on.
On my visit to the podiatrist, I explained my symptoms, and the length of time I had been experiencing them. The podiatrist took an x-ray and while he consulted with another patient in a different exam room, his office manager brought my x-ray into the room and put it on the board.
To give you a baseline, this is what a normal x-ray of a heel should look like (ignore the toes — they look sorta jacked up, don’t they?):
So smooth. So rounded. So NOT ANYTHING LIKE MINE. Because this is my hot mess of an x-ray that went up on the board:
Do you see it? That crescent moon jutting off the back of my heel with a sharp point? Yeah, that’s not supposed to be there:
The doctor came back into the office and looked up at my x-ray. He said “so…yeah. Well, at least we know what’s been causing the pain and difficulty walking. The technical term is bone spurs. In terms of size…well I haven’t seen anything like this…in a very long time. And because you let it go on so long, your achilles is now chronically and severely inflamed. You must have a very high tolerance for pain.”
That’s right, bitches. I don’t do anything half-assed.
We discussed my options. There is the much more appealing non-invasive therapy: tennis shoes all the time, special inserts in my tennis shoes, a sleeping boot at night, calf stretches four times a day, and a strong anti-inflammatory medication.
Unfortunately, that won’t make bone spurs go away. It really only helps with the pain and possible damage I’ve done to my achilles.
So, then there’s the invasive and highly unappealing option of surgery to shave the bone spur off. Shave armpits, bikini line, and legs? Sure. Shave bones? Yikes!
While any surgery that would keep me off my feet and render me unable to work the concession stand at my kids’ football game is so completely appealing I almost immediately demanded that course of action, I picked the less invasion option. For now.
When I posted the photo of my x-ray to Facebook, a friend made a comment that puzzled me:
Both? Both what? Both ends of the crescent moon?
Uh, no genius. Both bone spurs. Because while I had focused on the crescent moon on the back of my heel, I had totally ignored the fact that the doctor said “spurs”. And the spur on the bottom of my heel was the size of something that would have sunk the Titanic:
I head back to the podiatrist next week to see if the medicine and therapies have helped with damage to my achilles. Dealing with the bone spurs is a totally different issue and I’ll need to make a decision about surgery soon.
I know it would make me a total asshat if I decide to schedule surgery at a time that prevents me from working the concession stand. But honestly, it would be
so fucking awesome a real shame to miss out on the character-building concession stand work like making sno-cones, squirting liquid cheese on pretzels and hotdogs, and taking crumpled dollar bills from teens who have just dug the money out of their sweaty, smelly sneakers.
Oh, who am I kidding? I wouldn’t miss working the concession stand one bit.
Which makes me a total heel.