Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Vibram Five Fingers at Work

Yesterday morning I planned to wear my Vibram Five Fingers while driving to class and then change into my Dansko clogs before heading into the building.  But when I got to school, I couldn't make the change.  My feet have been so sore lately that I just couldn't bring myself to put on shoes that I knew were going to create more pain when I didn't really need to.  So, I kept the VFFs on and made my way to my classroom.

At first it appeared that nobody noticed my brown ape like feet gloves.  Then, in the middle of presenting a lesson I heard, "Teacher, I LOVE your shoes."  Of course, all 20 sets of eyes moved down to my feet.  I blushed.  One student immediately recognized how comfortable they must feel and wanted to know where she could buy a pair for herself.  Another student said, "Teacher, I thought you forgot to put your shoes on today." 

I admitted that I was a little embarrassed wearing my VFF to school and shared how the pain in my feet has been pretty extreme lately and these shoes were about the only thing I could wear for a long period of time.  My students were very sympathic, "Teacher, don't worry."

Now that the initial embarrassment of everyone recognizing my "weird" shoes is over, I will not hesitate to wear them to this class the rest of this semester. (Too bad I can't wear them to all my classes.) My feet are just happier in them. 

*I mentioned that my right VFF has a hole in it that can't be repaired.  It is getting worse, but for now I taped the inside of the shoe with duct tape and it seems to be doing the trick.  Also, according to Weather.com, the last few mornings it has "felt like" 25 F outside when I head out for my walk.  I have been surprised that my feet are handling the cold in these very light shoes.  When I get home, my feet are about as cold as my hands with gloves, which have also improved.  Not bad.  My Raynaud's syndrome has definitely improved over the last few years.  Perhaps this improvement comes from diet, contrast showers, or possibly from the medications.  Whatever it is, I like it!!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Quiet Thanksgiving Weekend - Just What This Introvert Craves

Long ago I came to the happy realization that I am an introvert.  Once I accepted this about myself, I started respecting the needs that come with being an introvert.  Although I love people, they exhaust me.  I find that I get my energy from being at home reading, taking walks, or hanging out with my family.  This weekend provided exactly what this introvert needed.  I am now revived and ready to tackle a busy week full of people.  
A delicious grain free meal prepared by the three of us.

Steve doing his manly job of slicing the turkey. 

Alexander has helped Steve put up the tree since he could stand.  It is so fun to see him now.
Sophia's ornament for this year is a s'mores inside a sleeping bag to represent her week long camping trip.

Alexander received a license plate with his name since this was the year of learning to drive.
Enjoyed some time alone with Sophia decorating for Christmas.

Alexander putting up his collection of ornaments.  Great memories.

On Friday night we went to our town's Christmas tree lighting.

The big guy that makes all these wonderful memories possible!
It feels good to be me!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Returning to the Family Table

Eating together at the kitchen table is something that has always been important to me.  It was the way I was raised and the way I wanted to raise my kids.  When the kids were very little, I often sat one or the other on my lap as Steve and I ate so they could be included in this daily routine together.  As they were able to sit alone comfortably, I sat them in the highchair and scooted it to the table where they could sit with us, even if it meant they were playing with toys while we ate.  Enjoying a meal together each day at the table continued to be a routine of my family.  It brought us together each and every day when my husband got home from work so that we could share our stories.   

When my rheumatoid arthritis got really bad starting in 2008, eating at the table stopped.  During that time from 2008-2010 when the pain was extreme, I admit that I often just wanted to "check-out".  After making dinner for my family, I didn't have the energy to make conversation or even to listen attentively.  Sitting in front of the TV was easier for me and became our new routine.  It didn't help that I was gone four evenings out of the week working and generally ate alone before heading out, something I don't really enjoy.

This week I am on break from work which means I am home with everyone in the evenings.  This also means dinner at the table.  I found myself getting quite excited about dinner and the holidays last night as I placed the flowering plant that Alexander and I picked out yesterday while grocery shopping on the table. I felt ready for everyone to come eat the meal I had prepared as I sat out Thanksgiving napkins sewn by the kids many years ago and arranged the Pilgrims my mom painted for me before I even had kids, but that have become a tradition of Thanksgiving at our house.  I even went as far as to put out candles and put on music.  It was nice having each of us together listening and talking.  This week will be the beginnings of something wonderful that was set in place years and years ago.  I am happy to return to the family table.      

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Reflecting on Our Individual Gifts - Health Central

Deepak Chopra says in his book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, "You have a unique talent and a unique way of expressing it. There is something that you can do better than anyone else in the whole world." I think often when disease becomes a part of our lives and puts limits on us that we have never experienced, we think that we no longer have gifts or unique talents to share with this world any longer. I think this may come from our bodies suddenly changing in ways that scare us and limiting us from continuing down a path that is familiar. However, I firmly believe that despite of, and often because of disease, the gifts that we have to give this world are quite amazing.   To read the rest of this post, please check me out at MyRACentral.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Foot Pain Blame: Rheumatoid Arthritis or Shoes?

Rheumatoid arthritis gets blamed for a lot of my aches and pains and although I know that it plays a huge part in this recent round of foot pain, I have decided to give RA a break from the constant blame and instead put the blame of my foot pain on my SHOES.  To read more, visit my contributing post at MyRaCentral.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Vibram Five Fingers VS Merrell Barefoot Shoe

Throughout the summer months I was mostly barefoot or wearing my Vibram Five Fingers.  The results of wearing little to no shoes have been amazing.  My feet not only look stronger but my not so cute hammertoes actually look as if they are straightening out.  (This observation came unsolicited from my husband and I totally agree.)  The greatest result - little to no pain in my feet, ankles, and legs over the summer months.

Along comes September and I am out of shorts and back to business casual clothing.  This also means I am back to wearing shoes.  My feet aren't happy.  In fact, they have been protesting loudly.  When I slip my feet into my supportive Dansko sandals or clogs, my toes begin to scream within the first hour.  I can feel my hammertoes trying to curl up even more than they are already.  I feel bad for the little things.  I try to give them as much relief as possible by wearing sandals rather than the clogs so that they can wiggle around throughout the day, but they still aren't happy.  

I decided last week to break down and buy another pair of shoes.  Although I most likely won't be able to get away with wearing my Vibram Five Fingers to work, I might be able to get away with wearing Merrell's Mary Jane barefoot shoe to work.  My son Alexander owns a pair of the Merrell barefoot shoes and really likes them.  I felt hopeful.

I ordered the shoes and wore them out the first day feeling optimistic.  My daughter was happy that I was out of the VFF when we went shopping as they are a little embarrassing to her.  They felt light weight like the VFF and I could right away tell that my hips and knees were going to like them.  However, after shopping with Sophia, I got into the car and immediately took the shoes off.  I couldn't keep them on my feet one more minute.  My toes hurt and the rest of my foot felt numb.  I had such hope that these minimalist shoes would feel as good on my feet as my VFF, but in the end, the results were the same as with my supportive Danskos.  So, they are being returned.  

By the way, I took my VFF to a shoe repair store and they can't fix the hole.   I am sad but determined to keep wearing them until they can't be worn any longer.