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I need some advice...

Posted by Aly R. on 6/23/03 at 10:34 (122671)

My apologies in advance for the long post! I hope someone out there can offer some good advice...

Firstly, how do all of you deal with those 'special' people (note sarcasm) in your lives who seem to look down on you due to your PF, or treat you like you're a hypochondriac? I am trying to figure out how to handle the incredibly insensitive comments I get sometimes. Like many of you I've been suffering with this condition for over a year, so I've been through all the standard tests they run. When all my blood tests came back negative, my boss said to me 'Well perhaps it's time to see a psychiatrist.' My sister tells me dismissively that I'm just 'weak boned' - whatever that means! I feel that if I tried to explain everything in detail, it would just come out sounding like I'm a complainer and that I'm exaggerating, and make myself look worse in their eyes.

Related to the above, I'm trying to figure out how to deal with my future in-laws. I've down-played my PF as much as possible with them, because they tend to overreact to medical issues and have that same attitude described above. Next weekend is the christening of my boyfriend's nephew. I fear if I just go and keep quiet, I will spend a lot of time on my feet in church and will seriously regret it. On most of my outings now, I use a wheelchair - I've gotten to that point from ignoring my pain in exactly these types of situations. I could sit through everything, but feel I would stand out like a sore thumb... I usually feign illness (better the flu than a chronic condition) or say I have something else planned that I can't get out of, to avoid this family's events; but this event is very important to them, and I feel I may harm my future relationship with them if bail on this one. I'd appreciate hearing from people who've dealt with similar situations, and how they would handle this one...

Re: I need some advice...

dave r on 6/23/03 at 10:50 (122675)

Aly, i would bet that alot of people will respond to your post! I personally know how you feel and i went through and am still going through the same challenges. My first two years with pf was difficult. Most people dont understand. I just learned to ignore them and i went on with my life. Most of my old friends no longer call and i have to wonder what is going on in their lives.
I avoid family events when my pain levels are high. If mary wants me to go then we will drive seperately. that way i can leave when i want. It seems to work for us.

Re: I need some advice...

BevN. on 6/23/03 at 11:29 (122679)

Aly R,

Wow, I really do feel for you to be so young to be having to deal with this. You are just getting married and having to deal with PF :( How do you deal at work? I had a terrible time at work, all kinds of nasty remarks x-( . I finally had to stop working due to the chronic pain as I was a nurse and on my feet 24/7 . It is hard when everyone says 'you look great, you don't look like there is anything wrong with you', and you are limping around using a cane or a w/c. It is so sad that people can be so very cruel, we just have to learn to ignore them , even the doctors ( they just poo-poo us away) do not understand our pain so I guess we can't expect the public to understand it either I guess. We are :(( on the inside but we have to put on a B-) to the public on the outside , right :-/ Hang in there Aly and I hope all goes well for you . Just sit down as much as possible at the outings you need to attend , pretend you twisted your ankle or something ( headache only works so many times as does the flu :) ) Here is a %%- for good luck .. Bev

Re: I need some advice...

BrianG on 6/23/03 at 11:39 (122681)

Hi Aly,

As someone with chronic PF pain for over 9 years, I have had my share of insensitive people. What I tell them now is that everyone has different a different tollerance to pain, and that I have had a lower tollerance all my life. It is true, and doctors and researchers are now working to find out why people percieve pain differently. If you use a search engine, you can easily find some info about these studies.

Good luck, people will always be insensitive, try not to let it get to you. Also, chronic pain leads to depression in many cases. See your doc, if you think it's happening to you.

BrianG

Re: I need some advice...

Richard, C.Ped on 6/23/03 at 11:48 (122682)

Make sure you read the PF book so you can learn as much as possible about PF. This way, you can actually explain what is going on with your foot when they ask about it. Tell them about this web site. If they still do not believe you, have them call me. haha
Richard

Re: I need some advice...

john h-moderator on 6/23/03 at 12:20 (122688)

Brain I have found with age that my tollerance to pain has increasd for what ever reason. I have had so many needles into my spine,feet,etc that it just does not seem to hurt as much as it once did. I would guess that chronic pain would almost always lead to some form of depression and depending on the level of pain could make the depression mild or severe. I was watching tv last night and I think the news noted there were probably 37 million people with depression and not being treated.

Re: I need some advice...

Carole C in NOLA on 6/23/03 at 12:22 (122690)

People are so insensitive when it comes to PF. It's not YOU... it's the fact that most people don't really understand anything about it. I would have probably been just as (unintentionally) insensitive about it, before I got PF for the first time and learned better!

Like many people, when I got PF I got a little more than PF. In my case, I got Achilles tendonitis as well. I quickly learned not to tell people that I have PF (with typical insensitivity my brother told me that if I lost 15-20 pounds my PF would disappear). I found that what worked really well for me was to tell people that I have an athletic injury. Then they'd say, 'What kind of injury?' and I'd tell them it was a repetitive motion injury and that I had injured my Achilles tendon.

Since runners and athletes injure their Achilles tendon sometimes, I found that amazingly, I got sympathy and a reasonably respectful response from people when I told them this. They'd never question any further, because they already had asked one question about what kind of athletic injury. If they did question, I'd just smile and say 'Wow, you're right, it's SO painful!' and leave it at that. And I didn't feel that I had lied, because I DO have an Achilles tendon injury. It's just that my PF is worse. (grin)

It might be too late for you to use this 'dodge' since your friends and relatives probably already know that you have PF too. But it might work for strangers. You're right that nobody wants to listen to PF stories (except here on these message boards!)

Also, don't forget that you can come to these message boards to talk to people that really do understand more or less what you're going through.

Concerning the christening... well, I went to my brother's wedding last August. My feet were completely better at the time, though; it had been 11 months. I was afraid I'd re-injure them, so I wore my Birkenstock sandals. It turned out that I didn't have to stand as much as I thought. If you really need another excuse, 'female problems' (cramps) comes to mind as one that doesn't involve sickness and that nobody will ask about.

Carole C

Re: I need some advice...

Aly R. on 6/23/03 at 12:30 (122692)

I imagine depression is pretty wide-spread with this kind of condition. I gave in and went on anti-depressants about 3 months ago and I'm so glad I did. It's made SUCH a difference.

If there's someone reading this who's become really depressed due to the effect PF has had on their life, I hope they'll take my advice and tell their doctor they want to try anti-depressants, and why. Depression is probably the one of the few PF symptoms that can be easily treated!

Re: pain leading to depression in PF

Carole C in NOLA on 6/23/03 at 12:30 (122693)

John, when my PF was acute (back in late 2001), I was in severe pain. My tolerance for pain is pretty good, but I had continued the activity that caused my PF for several months, out of ignorance, so I had it and I had it good.

I am a person whose usual ups and downs are on the strong side of normal. Although I like that because I feel that I really experience life, I found that my response to that pain was to become very depressed and the ups just vanished into misery and despair.

If my depression hadn't diminished when my feet improved, I would have gone to a doctor to get meds, for sure! These days, there's no reason for people to have to suffer with depression like they did fifty years ago.

Carole C

Re: I need some advice...

Suzanne D on 6/23/03 at 14:04 (122701)

Aly, like Bev, I sure am sorry that you are dealing with PF at your young age. You've been given a lot of good advice already. Carole made an excellent point about explaining that you have an 'injury' (which it is) or describing the tendonitis part. People's eyes seem to glaze over fairly quickly when you try to explain about plantar fasciitis. At least almost everyone I tried to explain it to seemed bored in about 30 seconds. So I quit trying to explain.

I would suggest when you want/have to attend some function that you sit down as much as possible. I did that at church a lot. Afterwards when people were standing around the pews talking, I'd just smile and sit down and keep talking. Sometimes I'd murmur something about my feet hurting; sometimes I'd just sit down and continue the conversation without giving any explanation. I've found that as long as you keep showing an interest in the other person and act basically confident in sitting while talking to them, they don't seem to react too much. Sometimes I would sit quickly after the last song at church and pick up my purse off the floor and sort of shuffle through some papers in it. That would give me a 'reason' to sit, and then I would just keep sitting.

Most of all, if you can, just don't let it bother you when people make insensitive remarks. (I know that's easier said than done.) I found that my first graders I teach are the most sympathetic and understanding -certainly more so than adults!

What shoes do you wear? Try to wear the best possible shoes to such events which will give you the most support and relief.

Best wishes to you, Aly! We DO understand!
Suzanne :)

Re: I need some advice...

Aly R. on 6/23/03 at 14:36 (122708)

Yeah, I'm losing some friends too. Sometimes I wish I could move to a new state, and just start out there in a wheelchair, where no one knows me (I'm too self-conscious to use it around people I know). I think if I spent 6 months in a wheelchair, (but did floor exercises to maintain some muscle) my feet would finally heal.

You know, considering the impact PF has on what appears to be quite a lot of people, I'm surprised so few people have heard of it!

Re: I need some advice...

dave r on 6/23/03 at 14:48 (122713)

Aly, my boss has pf, one of the vp's at my company has pf(bad).He is the one that offered me a sit down job. One of my 'cube mates' here at work has pf. One of my coworkers wifes had it bad. My twin brother had if for three years but was able to shake it by wearing cowboy boots. my mom just went to the doctor and found out that she has it. there are alot of people that have it that i know. they just dont have it as bad as you and I. My father told me yesterday that my mom has pf. He was wondering how long it was going to be before she had to quit her job. I told him that 80 to 90% of people get rid of this in a year or two. With most people getting rid of it in 6 months. He was so relieved. He still doesnt understand why i have suffered for so long. But at least he is very nice to me and helps me if i need it. I have found that its easier for people to understand the longer that you have it.

Re: I need some advice...

Aly R. on 6/23/03 at 14:50 (122715)

Well, I'm not *too* young (I'm 35, I just met Mr. Right late!) but I think it's terrible at any age. I'm lucky to have a desk job, (honestly I would not be able to work a job that required my feet!!) but the parking lot and bathroom are far enough away to aggravate my feet daily! I think it's sad that even within the medical community no one understood what you were going through. I'm not sure what it is about people that they can be so nasty to someone in pain. (Why the heck would you make something like that up?!) In any case, I never would have forseen the day when I would look at peoples' feet with longing and envy (ha ha)

Anyway, thanks for your support...

Re: I need some advice...

Aly R. on 6/23/03 at 14:54 (122716)

Wow! I'd never heard of it when I got it, nor had anyone in my family / friends. Your experience sounds like there's an epidemic! My boss had it, but she had the kind that goes away after a few weeks, which probably adds to her thinking I'm just being a spaz. Oh well, I think I have to learn how not to care so much what people think.

Re: I need some advice...

Aly R. on 6/23/03 at 15:04 (122718)

I wish I'd thought of the athletic injury idea...I will definitely use it in the future!

Re: I need some advice...

Aly R. on 6/23/03 at 15:49 (122727)

Ha, you sure are right about people zoning out when you try to explain PF to them.

I wear Ambulator shoes, which are super cushiony and supportive(they're made for diabetics with major foot problems.)They cured me of my metatarsal pain, but my heel pain has not shown any improvement in the past 5 months so I am getting ancy. Am thinking of trying softbed Birks, or Dansko shoes next...

I wish I'd found this board months ago. It means a lot to be able to talk with people who really understand what it means to have PF. Thanks!

Re: The best folks in the universe are right here.

marie on 6/23/03 at 15:50 (122728)

Aly,

I was right were you are about 10 mos ago. I quit going to church because someone seated behind me made a very rude comment about me not standing. It is very hard to face people who have no empathy for the pain you are in. After a year of enduring negative comments from both family and friends i made up my mind that I was going to have to find the strength within myself to be willing too do what I NEEDED TO DO GET WELL. Just like you I came to this board for advice and boy did I get it.

There was a poster here that told me I needed to get tough and get well. I will always be grateful to her because with that I did it.
These are the best people in the world.....maybe the universe.

marie

Re: The best folks in the universe are right here.

Kathy G on 6/23/03 at 16:33 (122742)

Aly,

Go to the Christening and just sit down, with no explanation, when necessary. I find that no one says much and if they ask, I tell them I have Achilles Tendonitis and PF. Carole's right. They've all heard of the former but never heard of the latter. Don't make excuses; you didn't cause this and surely no one would wish this on themselves.
For many of us, PF has been a totally life-altering experience. You were smart to go on an antidepressant. My doctor prescribed one for me to see if the increase in my Seratonin level would help me with the chronic pain, and also because I'm 53 and trying to go off hormone replacement and it's supposed to help with hot flashes. I didn't become depressed but since it is in my family, I was very vigilant to make sure that I didn't. I did become discouraged and I still do.

Your fiance's family will have to accept that you have a chronic foot problem that may or may not become better with time. (It probably will. For most people, it does.) You shouldn't feel defensive about it. Whoever posted that you should read the heel pain book had a good idea. Then you can blow them away with a technical explanation of what it is.

I never look for sympathy and that way, if someone is sympathetic, I'm pleasantly surprised. I figure PF is like a bad back. You've got it; you do your best to live with it and if it flares up, you just shut up and live with it. It works for me. Although I must sound cynical, I do believe that most people are basically good. They are just self-absorbed and don't really have time for others. And the general populace is extremely ignorant about physical madadies.

As to the number of people who have PF, it's amazing and most of us have commented as you did on the fact that if so many people have it, why don't more people know about it? It's a very good question! My son, who's 29 now, developed it last year. He's a tennis pro at a country club and between lessons, he'd ice his feet. He said it was extraordinary how many people in the club told him, when they saw him icing, that they, too, had it or had had it in the past. I found out that at least four teachers in my small town have it.

Sure, there are some people who act as though I'm a wimp because I was forced to give up my job on account of it. I know I'm not and that's good enough for me. If you're not thick-skinned when you develop it; you need to become that way because you don't need emotional pain to go with your physical pain.

Hang in there. You'll see improvement sooner of later. Keep on coming back because as Marie says, there are some really neat people here!

Re: The best folks in the universe are right here.

Pam S. on 6/23/03 at 23:10 (122774)

Aly:

Yes, there are wonderful folks here on these boards and it has really helped me with a number of issues.

Many of us deal with foot pain and other pain on a daily basis. It really helps so much to have someone supportive you can confide in so I hope you have a few of those people in your life. Now you have these boards and you will learn alot here and get great support. My advice would be to work as hard as you can to get better. Try anything you can and learn all you can learn. It takes alot of time but it will pay off and you WILL get better.

I know you are young but someday you will look back on all of this and realize you learned alot through your struggles. Someone recently said to me the 'Pain is a journey'. And what a journey it can be. What have I learned.....alot about people, alot about myself, patience patience patience patience, how to self advocate, how not to worry so much about what other people think. These are all great lessons you will learn.

I am so proud of you for going on an anti-depressant. I did the same last year and it helped me so much. I just would not give into that at all and I was just being silly and stubborn. I thought I should 'tough it out' Another lesson I learned NOT to do.

When people have foot pain it just does not seem as important as say back pain or headaches does it. When any person - any total stranger in a store mentions their disability or problem I always lend a sympathetic ear---hey, something else valuable to learn, empathy.

See, we are all better people because we are in pain. I am trying to be funny but I am truly sincere when I wish you all the best in your healing. Also, and do not laugh at me you all, but you can talk to you feet (maybe in private HA ) and just tell them to shape up now you are tired of this pain. Also visualize your healed feet. Try to relax and believe this too will pass. Warmly, pam

Re: And one more point, Aly.

Pam S. on 6/23/03 at 23:45 (122777)

Maybe someone already said this so sorry if I am repeating you but you know what...people are often so worried about themselves and what they look like or what so and so is wearing or what so and so said etc etc they really do not notice you as much as you think.

I sit down, for many reasons at most all social situations. At my husbands company xmas party (a very long night for me) I go into the bathroom lounge and just sit there for a while. I have been married for almost 25 years so he does not even know I am missing. HA I promise I will stop now. pam

Re: The best folks in the universe are right here.

John Holt on 6/24/03 at 08:31 (122794)

Excellent post Pam S.

Re: The best folks in the universe are right here.

Sandra D on 6/24/03 at 12:13 (122812)

I thank God I found this site. All the advice I read here has helped me more than any doctor. I helped me be armed when I went back to the doctor. I go to this site daily. Good Luck Aly

Re: The best folks in the universe are right here.

Aly R. on 6/26/03 at 11:50 (122993)

I forgot to reply to you Pam! I don't know if you'll see this, but thanks for such a nice post and the great support. I do believe we learn something from these experiences - and yes I am learning a lot! About other people and myself. The info & the people on this site have really helped me deal with everything in a more proactive way.

Again, thanks for taking the time to write such a nice note!

Re: The best folks in the universe are right here.

Aly R. on 6/26/03 at 11:55 (122994)

Hi Sandra. I pretty much live here on this site now! It frustrates me to know that we have to research our own condition because we can't get the info we need from our own doctors. Imagine having PF back when the internet wasn't available...

Re: The best folks in the universe are right here.

Aly R. on 6/26/03 at 12:07 (122995)

Kathy - you are so right! I do need to develop a thicker skin and there's no reason for me to feel defensive about it. I'm getting tired of worrying about what other people think or say anyway. I'm going to go to the Christening and sit on my butt!

Re: The best folks in the universe are right here.

BevN. on 6/26/03 at 13:35 (123001)

Aly R.,

I know just what you mean about living on this internet. I to did the same as I was homebound , off work, with severe pain of PF and had nowhere to turn . I received a tremendous amount of help from everyone on this board :) Without it , heaven only knows where I would be today. Everyone gave me an enormous amount of insight, information, comfort , compassion (oh, how I needed compassion) , and caring, and more information every day . I don't know when we will ever be over these hurdles, but it is so very nice to have all of these wonderful, kind , helpful , caring friends here on this board always here to help us and to pick us up when we are down and to give us advice as we need it . You surely came to the right place, Aly , and best of Gods healing . :) Bev