Just call me Grannie

Grannie Clampett, that is. Oh. You don’t know who that is? Says something about my age, I guess. Oh well, never mind.

If you’ve been here for a while, you know me. You know that I live in the GWN (that would be, Great White North). You know that I’m a wine lover. You know that the epicenter of my PsA is in my feet. You know that since starting Enbrel I’m feeling better than I have in at least fifteen years. And you probably also know that PsA has gifted me with two titanium knees, and one hip. You’re also most likely aware that if my ultra-conservative rheumy had picked up the pace of my treatment, I might not have the extensive erosive damage in both my feet which makes my mobility scooter my best PsA friend (not counting all of you, of course).

Whine alert: stop reading right now, Seenie’s in a really really bad woe-is-me mood.

What you don’t know is that I’m a plain dresser. Some would politely call my boring style “classic”: black or dark navy mix-and-match separates, with a punch of colourful accessories. And shoes. Oh my, how I love shoes. For some women, it’s purses, for others, it’s jewelry. For me, it’s a pair of burgundy red shoes. Or turquoise. Or deep green. When I shop, I put my nose marks on shoe store windows. Or rather, I used to. And while I’m no Imelda (I’m too, shall we say, “thrifty”) my closet used to be stocked with a cosmopolitan selection of good-quality shoe classics in well-chosen colours. When PsA took possession of my feet, I faced the reality, and sent them all to Goodwill. I’m still not over that, but such is life. With great regret, Seenie moved into ugly comfort shoes, which, as time went on, were becoming less and less comfortable. But still I hoped that, eventually, I’d find comfortable and fun shoes that would make my feet and me happy.

It was a shock when the foot surgeon said that with my degree of PsA damage, there was nothing that he could do except recommend a good orthotist. So off I went, I had my feet casted, and last week I went to have my new orthotics fitted. I brought along the buttugly comfort shoes and my Timberland hiking boots. And that’s when I hit bottom. Right there in the podiatrist’s chair.

These orthotics are thick. Heavy. Padded. Half an inch thick in some places. Forget the ugly comfort shoes. The only footwear that she could fit them into was my hiking boots. And then the podiatrist (who is very sweet, I might add) brought out her catalogue of footwear for feet like mine. Seenie’s choice is: extra-depth boots, or extra-depth shoes. If you want a preview, google those. No, better not, it’s not a pretty sight. They all make my buttugly comfort shoes look like ballroom slippers. And that is it. Period. Full stop. I won’t even tell you the price of these footwear horrors. Let’s just say that they cost way more than my Amalfi pumps did. Except that my Amalfi pumps were beautiful.

I guess I should look on the bright side. With these in my hiking boots, I can stand and walk better than I have for quite a while. But at the moment, I have but one (1) pair of shoes. I wear them as slippers. I wear them in the kitchen. I wear them out to dinner. I look like Grannie Clampett. While you’re googling, you may as well look her up. You’ll get the idea.

I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to say what my husband and what my rational mind has been saying for a long time. Comfort and being able to walk trumps all other considerations. And some people don’t even have feet. I know. Still, I am crushed and devastated. Vain and superficial as it is, that’s where I am right now.

You know how we all say that, outside of the PsA club, nobody “gets it”. Well, my husband and my podiatrist and even my own rational mind don’t get how I’m feeling now. You do, though, don’t you?

Oh I do Seenie and I am so sorry. There is no telling what will be the blow that hurts. My father had a massive anterior infarct when I was a young nurse. He was only 48. It isn't called the widow maker for nothing! He had to give up his large animal practice. Lots of changes to his lifestyle but it didn't seem to faze him. About 10 years later he had to have all his teeth pulled and was given dentures. He went to bed for more than a week and just wanted to die. That was his Achilles tendon. You never know. Some patients took losing their hair in stride, others losing their breast. This was your Achilles tendon and I am so sorry. How about if we decorate your scooter with beautiful shoes! Then you won't even see the ones you are wearing! Say the word and I am on my way up with shoe boxes of beauties! Until then I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Awww, Michael, you are so sweet and understanding. Thanks. I have to say that writing the blog has made me feel a bit better, and your kind words were soothing as well. I have visions of shoes being dragged along behind my scooter, kind of like the “just married” tin cans! Too funny.
You’re so right about our Achilles heels. I guess I found one of mine. Thanks for listening.

Ah Seenie, If you had said Beverly Hill Billy's I would have known straightaway who Grannie Clampett was. My kids and I used to love that program. We'd sit and watch it after school when I should have been getting tea ready. All you need is the rocking chair and a shotgun and no one will notice your feet.

Seenie, I now have a vision in my head of you on your scooter decorated with lovely shoes, hefting a shotgun …I too remember Grannie Clampitt lol.

So sorry this emotionally hurts so much, its true we all have a point where a loss of something which we feel is part of our “self” floors us.

sending a hug xx

I'd like to take your boots and give them the craziest, craziest makeover so that you have the prettiest, most bright, colourful, decorated sparkly hiking boots on the planet ....... sending a big hug.

Thanks guys. You’ve nailed it … sometimes our emotional Achilles heels take us by surprise. Joint replacements I simply take in my stride (go figure!) so it just seems so crazy that I’d be floored by something stupid like ugly shoes.
Jules, be careful what you offer! Louise and Ali, didn’t Grannie have some hooch hidden away for “special occasions”?
Anyway, thanks for your kind messages. I’ll get over it, just takes a bit of time.

Seenie, I like to think I know you fairly well and I don't think its so much about the inserts and new boots as it about a side of you that has been stolen by the culprit PsA. Your shoes were the icing on a cake, it was the finishing touch of your ensemble and it made you feel good about how you looked. That isn't vanity its integrity. At your appointment with the podiatrist it hit home that you will no longer be able to wear those pretty shoes again. I understand you had already given them to goodwill, but I think emotionally you still carried them around with you and that's why it hit you so hard. Its a loss and one you need to grieve for in your own way. I am not going to tell you how much better your feet will feel with these new inserts and shoes because you already know that, all I am going to say is you are entitled to feel as you do and you need to allow yourself the time grieve. Hopefully as some time goes by you will get used to your buttugly boots and find another way to add your Seenie flare to your outfits. Grannie had hooch hidden all over the house and in her BUTUGLY BOOTS lol. Hoping you feel better soon

Yup…I gave up cute shoes back in college bc of the orthotics. On a bad/worse day it pisses me off that even buttugly shoes aren’t comfortable! And winter boots are almost impossible. I have found that some New Balance shoes have a larger and deeper “toe box” to fit my ever enlarging feet. They also come in very wide widths.

Butt(ugly), your point is…none of the shoes that orthotics fit into are cute. At one of my schools, a kid described me to another adult as, Lethe teacher that wears hiking boots". (And they weren’t even boots)

Loved watching Beverly Hillbillies. Granny Clampet rocked! You’ll need a shotgun to add to the ensemble! :slight_smile:

Thanks for sharing Seenie! Keep on keepin on!

Wow, those extra depth shoe choices are, ummm, (trying to think of something nice to say).....unique?

I'm SO sorry Seenie. I get it somewhat. I've had PsA so long I could never wear anything "fun", but I really did feel classy in my Dansko's. Then a couple years ago I started getting tendon inflammation on the top of my feet every time I wore them :( Now I'm down to one style of shoe, in two colors: tan, and a deep red. Boring! Still, I didn't realize there was even a step down from these to the horror of extra depth footwear. Yikes. I feel for you. Gentle hugs, if you'd like them.

I’d love a gentle hug, Marietta! Unique … now that’s a euphemism for sure. And I’m regaining my sense of humour and perspective about it all. So next time your shoes seem boring, just think of me. LOL

Seenie, I like the suggestion others had of decorating your shoes. I searched online "how to decorate shoes" and "how to decorate leather shoes", and there were all sorts of links and videos on how to paint them, attach rhinestones, draw, add duct tape designs, etc.

Because honestly, those extra depth shoes are just crying out for enhancement. :)

hi Seenie ohI get it. long time no chat. sorry about the feet and shoes.I know exactly how you feel. I am getting that ganglion in my ankle removed. Aspiration not surgery. Prolly be back for surgery but hey! Worth a try. Keep on walkin girl,if they are lookin at you feet shoot em with your granny gun . lets chat soon

Oh my dear, you sound so sweet and yet so torn. Don't we all want to just yell at something after that. I'm new here but very old adversaries with Psa. I sympathize with your plight of foot wear. That's a quiet battle some of us rage. I went to a wedding knowing I'd have to break out the fancy shoes only to pay the price for it later. However its lovely to hear your resolve regarding ways to compensate. Keep it up!

Thanks, Kirby! Don’t be fooled … I sound sweet, but I’m a tough old buzzard most of the time. LOL But really, shoes are my Achilles heel. Yesterday I bit the bullet and placed an order of almost $500 for a new shoe wardrobe. And that was only three pairs: a pair of walking boots, a pair of casuals, and some sandals that will (I hope) accept orthotics. Three pairs! Three pairs of the most expensive shoes I’ve ever bought. And they are UGLY. Oh well, such is life. I’m moving on, and hoping that I will be able to walk modest distances with my feet shod in these monstrosities.

Grannie here, reporting back!
Well, the shoes arrived. I ordered a few extra pairs, different sizes, to make sure I get the right size. So far, so good.

This is what I got –
Comfy and not too ugly slip-ons for indoor wear:
Fairly neutral all-purpose black walking boots:
The size I ordered is wrong, but when I get the right one they will be excellent. Not attractive, but supportive and comfortable.
The extra sizes will be returned, and my stressed credit card refunded asap, I hope.

I’m still looking for a pair of cool, ventilated sneakers for the summer. Sneakers are so not me: me wearing athletic footwear is like me donning a Lady Gaga t-shirt. Just don’t get me going. Anyway, the New Balance, which the podiatrist recommended, were the right size but weren’t deep enough (and that was a men’s size!). That is what PsA has done to my feet. Anyway, the search continues.

That’s all for now. Time for Grannie’s special remedy.

Seenie, I think those slip on's are screaming for a clip on shoe decoration of some kind! You can also use something like Sugru (sugru.com.... my husband uses it on his biking shoes all the time) to add color or design. The Sugru holds up to ANYTHING.

You guys crack me up! I will check sugru out for sure, Marietta! And yes, Sybil, I used to have several pairs of very cool Vans, but my podiatrist nixed 'em because they didn’t have rigid sole. sigh Oh how I miss my red hi-top Vans!
BUT … I didn’t tell you the most important part of all. The orthotics are fabulous! I can stand long enough to make dinner, and walk further than I have in years. Quite a miracle! The one still needs adjustment, but when we get it right, they are going to be the bees knees. I hate the restrictions that they put on my footwear, but I have to admit that they are good. Very good.

OK, just when you thought Seenie had shut up about shoes, I have NEWS. The foot surgeon (who told me that my feet are hopeless candidates for surgical repair, not in those words) suggested that I try rocker soles. So I had rockers added to my buttugly black boots. Indeed, they helped. Then somebody told me about MTB shoes, which are rocker-soled. I should have taken a blue pill before looking at the price tag. Nope, a no go at well over $300. Then I discovered Sketchers Shape Ups. I bought a pair and they were pretty good, and only (!!!) about $100. Over the winter, I wore them out.

The online shopping continued and then … then I found Ryn rocker bottoms. They were $244 a pair, less than MTB but way more than Sketchers. As desperate as I was, I restrained myself. Then, for some reason, one day I looked again, and they were on a great sale! I ordered a pair.

Red! Rad! Cool! Make me smile! Retro! (Like the saddle shoes my Mother refused to buy me in the 50s! I was scarred for life.) And even better, they are the most comfortable shoes I own. OK, I’ll admit it, they are GAUDY, and Jimmy Choo’s they ain’t, but I do get the odd compliment on them. I was a happy old girl with my red rockets. So I ordered the silver as well.

And then – who knows why – I went online to look at them again a couple of weeks ago, and they were drastically marked down again, all at $40. I ordered another pair of red and silver, and a pair of bright blue. ROFL!!!

Granny Seenie now has enough rocker bottoms to keep herself gaudily shod until she croaks. And if she pops her clogs before the shoes wear out, the executor will be able to sell them on eBay.

Seenie, If you ever want to open an online store for people with ‘special needs’ in the shoe department, I shall be queuing up to buy from you :))

My first orthotics didn’t fit into ANY shoes at all. Take already wide feet (from birth) + minor PsA swelling + HUGE orthotics = no chance. The helpful list of suggested brands I was given read like the stuff of nightmares, the ones that send out glossy leaflets with impossibly young beautiful models wearing incredibly unattractive shoes. I think I cried too…

I eveutually asked for another podiatry appointment, explained the problem, and was fitted for a new pair - hurrah! Half the size of the others…

I still struggle with footwear but since I’ve swapped the desk job for an outdoor job, I can legitimately slob around in walking boots all day. Keen and Merrell fit me best, as they are a bit wider and Keen have more toe wriggle room. My ‘best’ shoes are Think! as they have removable insoles, and otherwise it’s Birkenstocks or similar. I have spent ages in shoe shops trying to pull the insoles out of ‘nice’ shoes only to find them very firmly stuck down… Damn…