>These Boots Were Made For….


…. walking. Dancing would also be nice. But even wearing would be good. My cowboy boots, pictured here. The ones I got in Santa Fe a few years ago. The ones that I can’t wear because of the bunion on my right foot. And the arthritis that’s causing my big toe extreme pain and curvature… it’s starting to turn under the toe next to it.

You can see it here… with my feet coming up out of the waters of the Aegean Sea in October… when I was swimming on a beach on the island of Patmos. And here…. just standing here doing nothing. Or so it would seem.

If boots were the only issue, I wouldn’t mind so much. I can still wear my Crocs. And my Uggs. I do miss my running shoes though… and serious exercise. Well, I don’t really miss the exercise, but my body does… and I’m putting on weight and my arthritis is getting worse because of the lack of exercise. Because the running shoes hurt the bunion.

When did I get so old? My best friend from elementary school, who was Maid of Honor in my wedding (in 1970) is having a bunionectomy this month. Yes. Another good friend is considering surgery for foot problems. My housekeeper called in sick this week because of—you guessed it—foot surgery. What’s a girl to do?

I thought about moving to the beach, where I wouldn’t have to ever wear anything but flip-flops. On my feet, that is.

The problem is, the pain is there even when I’m not wearing shoes. Like someone pushing a nail through my foot. Just any time, unexpectedly. A normal toe looks like the drawing on the left. Mine looks like the one on the right.

So on January 8 I’m doing it. I’m going under the knife. I’m having surgery for hallux rigidus. A form of degenrative arthritis. That’s what’s happening to my big toe. But guess what? The smart folks at Campbell Clinic are going to fix it. If I like the results, I’m thinking I’ll get the right foot done next. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

This series of illustrations shows the problem caused by the bunion, how they’re going to fix it. They said I’d be in a cast for a month, then a “soft shoe” for a month, and then, get this, “by the third month you can wear two-inch heels if you want to.”

My cowboy boots are only 1 ½ inches, so that’ll work.

Of course I did some reading about the surgery and recovery. Here.

And then friends are so helpful. Like the one who told me about her friend who had foot surgery and was in more pain afterwards than before.

And another friend who said she went to visit her aunt, who had had the surgery, and when she walked into the room she saw this metal pin sticking out of her aunt’s big toe and she fainted. It’s enought to make me cancel my subscription to AARP the Magazine.

I’m really a wimp and these stories would usually be enough to make me chicken out. But I remember my grandmother’s feet. My father’s mother. Her big toes turned completely under the toes next to them. Her bunions were huge and ugly and she could only wear bedroom slippers during her last years of life.

Genetics are interesting. My father, the son of the grandmother with the bad feet, had perfect feet . He ran marathons until he was 68, with no pain in his feet. Ever. New York. Boston. Trained hundreds of runners at the business he and my mother owned in Jackson, Mississippi, from 1982-1997, Bill Johnson’s Phidippides Sports. No bunions. No arthritis. But he didn’t wear pointy-toed shoes in junior high school. And he go didn’t go dancing in high heels like these… ever. I guess we reap what we sow. And I can’t help but notice yet another generation of girls and young women out there looking great in those high heels (with their blue jeans, even) and thinking if I was in med school, I’d go into orthopedics and specialize in bunionectomies….

But hey! I’m going to put a big happy face on my calendar on the square for March 8, 2008. Three reasons:

(1) On March 8, 2008 I’ll celebrate seven years free of cancer. Yep. I had surgery for endometrial cancer on that date in 2001.

(2) And on March 8, 2008, I’ll be two months post-op foot surgery. It will be the day I should be able to wear my cowboy boots again. And go dancing. Oooh! That was scary. Let’s try this one. Okay… maybe I’ll just celebrate by wearing my boots to the movies….

(3) March 8, 2008 will be my 57th birthday…. sigh.
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