Sunday, July 15, 2007

We Shall Overcome

It is time that someone broke the silence. I have lived with my condition in shame for far too long, as have, I fear, countless others.

“Give it to me straight, doc.” That was me, trying to be tough.

“I don’t want to alarm you…” These words, these terrible words, “I don’t want to alarm you,” have never, in the history of humanity, been followed by anything other than the most alarming of news. “… but you have it.”

“Are you sure?”

“The symptoms you describe, the observations I’ve made… they point definitively to this diagnosis.”

“Could it be anything else?”

“I’m afraid that would be… highly unlikely.”

Plantar fasciitis.

Painful soles. Flat feet. I’ve got it. For a few days, I did nothing but wallow in self-pity. I didn’t shower. I didn’t shave. I didn’t say much. (I did, of course, eat like normal, if not a little extra in the time I would otherwise have spent showering, shaving, and talking). I feared that what I had come to expect from a normal life would be stolen from me, as my condition declined until I was no longer able to walk without searing, shooting pain.

And then came the epiphany. Here I am, a person of above average celebrity, with this instrument, this portal to the masses. Maybe I have been given this affliction, this thorn in my flesh for a reason.

Yes, I do have plantar fasciitis. And since I have it, I’m going to make the most of whatever time I have left with it. I’ve decided to use the notoriety I’ve achieved with this blog to be a voice in the wilderness, telling the world that you can have plantar fasciitis and lead a relatively normal life. Through this blog and (for-pay) speaking engagements, I will raise awareness of this silent epidemic.

Listen. If you suffer with the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, you need to get tested. If you experience pain while walking, pain while running, pain while sitting, you need to get help. There is no need for you to live with this debilitating condition without professional podiatric assistance. Anonymous podiatrists in anonymous podiatric clinics are available to give help and advice. While a complete cure is not yet commercially available (and may still be years or even decades away—biomedical researchers won’t even touch it until they’ve got the trendier AIDS, cancer, and diabetes figured out), there are treatment options that can help you maintain an acceptable quality of life. Rigid shoe inserts, high-power painkillers administered orally or by injection, electrostimulation, painful foot stretches are all available to make life more livable.

Think not only of yourself. Think of your loved ones, those tireless caregivers who have sacrificed years of their lives, carrying things (like television remotes or video game controllers) to you because you were too pained to walk to get them yourself. They have walked by your side, supported your weight on long walks from the front door to the car in the driveway, listened to your yelps of discomfort. If you don’t get help for your own sake, do it for them.

Look. You are not alone. Plenty of high-profile celebrities suffer with plantar fasciitis. Professional basketball greats Tim Duncan, Larry Hughes, and Kobe Bryant. Jason Giambi of New York Yankee steroid controversy fame. Your humble narrator. Noted stage and screen actor Gary Grubbs (http://www.tv.com/gary-grubbs/person/1220/summary.html). Plantar fasciitis is not a death sentence. Alone, we may limp, but together, fellow sufferers, we will walk proudly.

3 comments:

Mark said...

Former Twins MVP candidate Shannon Stewart suffers from Plantar Fasciitis...If he can endure it and hit at an above .300 clip, then you, VJ, can lead a roughly normal life despite your ailment.

SPEAK OUT!

Russ Parker said...

way to go.

Lisa said...

Perhaps you can even bat .100. Good luck chap.