Some lessons are harder for me than others…
Seriously. Foot pain.
Just saying it makes me feel about 100 years old.
Foot pain isn’t funny. And I hadn’t learned a lesson from it. Which is why I haven’t written about it–until today.
So, here it is: I’ve been struggling with aching and burning in my right foot since October. First, I thought it was plantar fasciitis. So, I did exercises to strengthen my feet. I stretched. And it, mostly, went away. Until around Thanksgiving, when it came raging back. My mom suggested it might be a bone spur (she’s capable of going form zero to bubonic plague in 3 seconds or less). I shrugged it off and kept running. Because, the honest to God truth was that it hurt whether I ran or not. And sometimes it felt better when I ran. I certainly wasn’t going to give up running without evidence of direct causation. And I had none.
Then, 3 days ago, I was standing in mountain pose, and I swear to the sweet baby Jesus that it felt like my foot was on fire. ON FIRE.
It couldn’t possibly have hurt worse if I was actually walking over hot coals. (Okay, it could have hurt a little worse, but who’s story is this anyway??) That was the moment when I began to believe this might be an actual problem.
Then, that night, the pain. in. my. foot... it woke me up THREE separate times. The next morning, my first sensations were pain and a little bit of desperation. (I need a lot of sleep to be a regular human. Now, my foot pain was interfering with that. Not today, Satan)
So, I surrendered. (Things always work so much better when I surrender, but I’m a slow learner of that particular lesson) I started googling folks I could see about this pain.
Part of my reluctance to have anyone look at my foot wasn’t just pigheadedness. It was flat out fear. My arch collapsed when I was 12 or 13. I’d been running in shitty shoes because I didn’t know any better. I saw a podiatrist who created orthotics for my shoes. Swell. I wore them. But that same podiatrists wanted to do surgery on both my feet when I was in college. He wanted to rebuild my arches. Each surgery would have meant I was non-weight-bearing on that foot for 6-8 weeks. So, basically, he wanted to take an otherwise healthy college kid in her early 20s out of commission for about 4 months–even though I wasn’t in any pain.
You can guess the profanity I let fly in the general direction of that idea.
Add to that experience that my arches have been wildly sensitive ever since then (I don’t like foot massages because I’m afraid someone will touch my arches), and I had a real recipe for avoidance.
But, in my google search, I ran across a foot massage practice right in my neighborhood. In fact, I’d noticed it several times as I drove by. I’m pretty into supporting our local businesses, so I booked an appointment.
That’s right: I booked an appointment, the sole purpose of which was to have someone massage my feet.
But I was surrendering, you see.
When I got to the place, it looked a little haphazardly cobbled together (which isn’t too out of character for the neighborhood). The massage place was housed in a side building attached to a larger building (our neighborhood gym). The entrance was kind of hidden. And I knocked and didn’t get an immediate answer (it didn’t look like a place you just wander in). I almost left.
But, then, someone opened the door and invited me in.
And I surrendered.
I went in and sat down in a recliner. I soaked my feet in warm water with Epsom salts, apple cider vinegar, and essential oils. Already my foot felt better than it had in months. So, when they took out the massage cream and a scraper to break up the fascia in my arches, I took a deep breath–and surrendered to the process. I hated the scraping. It tickle/hurt, I almost flew out of the damn chair. But I did as I was told–I breathed deeply and let it pass.
My foot got massaged, pulled on, popped, shaken, and scraped. I probably smell like essential oils and fear. Or maybe relief. Because it’s not all better. But I can see, from here, a time when it will be better. And I am very grateful for that.
And all I had to do was surrender.