I recently switched rheumatologists – not because of my doctor, but because of his staff getting in the way of my care and my son’s care. When I called the scheduling department, the soonest appointment I could get was three months out, which actually would have been my 41st birthday. I was so excited when I received a call asking to reschedule and that they could get me in the next day. I know breaks like this rarely happen.
After talking a bit and getting my history, my new doctor asked me to undress and put on a paper shirt and wrap a paper blanket around my lower half. When he returned to the room, he examined my fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, neck, knees, and ankles. He tested for pain and for range of motion. Aside from my right ankle being hot to touch and my left shoulder being in pain, my joints were pretty good.
But then it happened. My doctor asked me to stand. This was odd to me since no other doctor had ever asked me to do that while he looked at my stance. Immediately he said, “You’re losing your arches,” and pointed to my feet.
I must have looked very perplexed. He said that could be why I am having more pain that usual in my ankles, knees, and hips. He said that while losing the arches in my feet were probably not a direct result of my psoriatic arthritis, it was most definitely contributing to it.
I told him that no doctor has ever examined my feet like that before. I’ll never forget what he said: “I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t look at your feet.”
That made me feel very at ease knowing he was so thorough. However, what he said next made me very sad.
Upon doctor’s orders, I was only allowed to wear shoes with good arch support. Great. No only were heeled shoes out – those have always aggravated my psoriatic arthritis – but now, flat shoes were also a no-go:
- No flip-flops
- No ballet slippers
- No cute summer flats.
I don’t fit into the stereotype of a woman with a closet full of shoes to match every outfit and every purse. I’m definitely low-key in the maintenance department. But when I realized that I’d also have to retire my favorite Converse shoes, I did have a few tears.
My favorite sneakers
My Converse and I have a history. We’re good friends, and the dirt and wear on the shoes definitely show. I bought them specifically for when my husband and I renewed our vows in Las Vegas five years ago. I wore a cute polka-dot sundress and he wore his T-shirt with screen printed tuxedo on the front. We both wore Converse shoes. Elvis married us for the second time.
My sneakers are a reminder of persevering through the pain. When I bought them, I was in a major disease flare – both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. These red shoes symbolized steps I took to fight back and live my life to the fullest. As time passed, when I was having a bad day, I would throw on these shoes as a reminder that I am stronger than my disease.
Even with dirt and scuff marks, I still get compliments on them. I really didn’t think a person could get so attached to a pair of shoes. It will be hard to say goodbye, but the pain I will endure wearing them with no arch support will outweigh the good times we shared.
Goodbye, reds. You will be missed.