Photo Credit: Unsplash – Aleksandr Ledogorov

It happened again. So I stood and focused my weight onto my feet. Still, it won’t stop. So, I walk.

Sometimes it happens overnight and I am catapulted out of bed, out of sleep, not waking until I’m standing with my knees slightly bent, leaning on the wall, catching my breath. Once I feel steady, I walk.

Sometimes I walk for minutes. Sometimes I walk for an hour or two. It is the only solution I have found, throughout my life, that makes it stop or at least become tolerable.

What is it? I don’t really know. It started in childhood. Decades ago I remember seeing a National Geographic article about the ancient Asian practice of binding women’s feet, complete with pictures that looked remarkably like my own feet when ‘it’ happens.

It has always been a struggle to describe it when I am not able to show it to someone. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers who have seen it have labeled them as muscle spasms, cramps, contracture, and ‘unnatural chaos.’

Everyone has a suggestion for something to try, that will prevent it, lessen the severity , or make it stop… Nutritional changes, herbal remedies, oxygen mask, hydration, massage, acupuncture, meditation, special footwear, compression stockings, specific foods, specific drinks, and thousands of other things. Sometimes it seems to help on the first try, only to become ineffective on a second, third…47th, or whatever number try. So I walk.

I don’t know when it will happen. Sometimes I go for weeks without it. I walk anyway. I walk in the hopes that I’m walking away from it. I walk for a change of scenery. I walk to gain the health benefits we hear about so often. I walk to feel my feet in the shape of feet. I walk to feel the strength of my feet. When I walk, I feel connected.

I walk secure in the knowledge that I do not walk alone. Over the years, I’ve compared notes with others who have muscle spasms, foot cramps, contracture and body chaos. We all cope in ways that make sense to us. We all try a variety of things to ease the pain. We fill a toolbox with coping behaviors, knowledge, and experience. Comparing notes with other people who deal with pain, sheds light on the uniqueness of each person’s journey…

Keep moving forward. I walk.

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