Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Who's gonna shoe your pretty little feet?

16 weeks and two days...

I had been lazy. There was little to report. Bumping along quite nicely. Doing the therapies, living life...

Then I was visited by an old acquaintence. Two old acquaintences. Like Ebeneezer, I tried to blame it on the cheese, but no, I was visited by ghosts of colitis-past.

First. I have mentioned before I play football on Sundays throughout the winter. This is as unseemly as it sounds - 36 year old man racing round a lumpy field chasing a ball and falling over alot. However, I am among equals upon those elysian fields, and it is but a brief moment in which to clutch at some glory before the darkness of the working week. And to get muddy, which is always liberating.

This season my usual rapier speed has been blunted by persistent problems in my knees. I have moaned about this previously. Essentially I am suffering fairly constant pain within the bottom part of the back of my knee. it is at its worst when the knee is bent and then the leg turned laterally - e.g. if I were to sit cross-legged, foot of one leg balanced on the knee of t'other, as it were. Strapped up I can play (with reduced speed), but post game it is agony, diminishing across the week until the following sunday by which time of course I am able to convince myself all is well enough to play again!

However, the key point here is that there is no inflammation. I have always suffered from associated arthritis. And in the past this has manifested most frequently in my legs below the knee (although I have had it in both arms seperately - hilarious days in school when your arm has swelled from the elbow to the fingers to close to double its normal size. I kid you not. Every lesson is spent answering the same questions, a mixture of awe, embarassment, nervous laughter and all out amusement. And that's just the kids), usually following a trauma-related trigger (e.g. a kick from a footbal boot), but sometimes just alongside bowel UC symptoms, and occasionally on its own. But the knee-thing? No inflammation. Cool.

This is my feet in mid 2008, the last time I had an arthritic episode (my feet and ankles are normally lovely and slender... honest).

Three weeks ago I played a game that began a two-week run of stupendous form (6 goals in two games! are you watching Fabio?). Unfortunately it also included that kind of crunching tackle that even Ron 'Chopper' Harris might have baulked at. Much as I'd like to suggest that I was the elegant attacker brought to earth by some agricultural defender, I can't. It was my tackle. And it was painful. When I got home and removed my socks, tubular bandages and shin-pads there was some swelling on the inside of my right leg, where calf and shin meet. I spent the rest of the day repeating behaviour I haven't seen for quite some time: constantly touching my leg, pulling up my trousers, pressing, prodding, poking, measuring extent of swelling - is it growing? Where's it going? There was an old familiar pain - increasing when standing (like the blood is rushing back in to it). The following day it was no bigger, good, but still sore. After two or three days the pain had eased considerably but there was still swelling and it showed some tell-tale signs: you could press the swollen area and make a depression that would remain, as though there was clay under the skin... Weird and kind of compelling. And typical of the old days.

However, the feet above and the other occasions of swelling would last for two to three weeks without steroids and at least a week with the aid of preds. But this time (with determined use of hypnotherapy and NLP) it was gone within four days. Interesting.

Having dealt with this UC ghost, I had a weeks respite before I nonchalantly strolled around a corner smack-bang into a second blast from my UC past...

8 comments:

Martin said...

They're not feet! They're a couple of inflated Marigolds.

Rich said...

Hey Martin - I feel I know what it is to have been the Michelin Man...

How are you doing?

Charlie said...

Wow man! Look at those feet! So how long does this usually last? When I was in the hospital with my UC, the closest thing I got to your experience was severe arthiritis pains from the excurciatingly large amounts of prednisone I was taking. Had a small amoutn of swelling around my ankles, but not too bad. Could barely sleep they hurt so much.

Anyways, love the blog, glad I found it. Will keep chekcing back!

Rich said...

Hello Charlie, glad you've found the blog - there is a very supportive community of UC bloggers out there, as I'm sure you realise, so welcome.

Yeah, this (apparently) arthritic effect of my UC has been pretty awesome at times - believe it or not, that foot picture is not the worst its been! I say apparently because its always affected large areas of muscle rather than just joints, but despite many arguments with the docs they continue to insist that is what it is. Anyway, it's been a while since I suffered really badly with it - and that's the way I'm planning to keep it.

Glad to read all comments, so keep dropping by. I'm just off to have a look at your blog now...

Cheers.

Candice C said...

I have to ask what NLP is? I looked up Guy Cohen and was wondering if you had to purchase something from him or if you use the free download? I would love to find out more information.
Thanks!

Rich said...

Hi Candice

NLP is Neuro-Linguistic Programming, which is as bonkers as it sounds... but has been proving quite useful for me. I won't try to explain it to you (I think you'd find better explanations online) but basically it's about retraining your brain to deal with stress/anxiety/worry in a different way. I have always felt that my state of mind had a part to play in my UC (if you peruse some of my older posts you can find evidence of this) so when conventional medicine failed me the NLP seemed worth a try.

As for Guy Cohen... well, he has been very helpful to me - I reasearched him and communicated with him before I did anything. But I strongly urge you to make upyour own mind before spending any money. There are thousands of shysters online waiting to take advantage of people with chronic illness. I decided Guy was genuine. i was also in a place where I had nothing to lose - so I thought: 'What the hell...'

I started off with the free relaxation download, which I found very useful. I then started to use the 'rewind technique' which you have to pay for. I have found this difficult to master, but have got much better over time. It is interesting. It is a pretty well known method of NLP and I have read many subtley different versions of it since I started using Guy's.

Do they work? I've no idea. But I have been drug and symptom free for nearly 4 months...

Hope that helps! Leave another comment or email me if you have any other questions.

Candice C said...

Thank you so much for the information. I too feel like my UC is very emotional, triggered by stress. I did download the free one, and I think I'll start using it. And progress to buy one if need be. I do believe the mind is a very powerful tool that can be used greatly in healing. I am glad to hear you are doing so well..BRAVO! BTW..I love your blog, it's a bright spot in my day.

Rich said...

Thankyou so much Candice - it's great to know when people are reading. I will be dropping by your blog from now on - great to read about others fighting the evil IBD with alternatives to the standard meds.