Shoes! And other things

I wrote this post on my blog collegeveganista but thought I'd share it here as well: 

Shoes! D for Dummies and Faltering Vegan Morals

First off, I have a bit of small news I’d like to share. I entered a Diabetes Hands Foundation poetry contest and won the first round of the competition (there are 3 rounds so you can still enter up to the 27th if you want!). I submitted myWeekly Poem from last week, “Job Posting.” I’ve never won a poetry contest so I’m particularly excited. I have a dream of someday publishing a book of diabetes poems so now I feel inspired to keep writing.

Other than that win, this week has felt kind of blah, hence the lack of posting for a few days. I’m trying to focus on finding a job, which meant I needed to buy a suit and shoes and shirt and bag, which forced me to spend hours upon hours at the mall. As a kid, I loved shopping, probably because I wasn’t spending my own money. Also, clothes just seemed to fit better. Now, I hate shopping, especially when I can’t find whatever it is I’m looking for.

Luckily I found everything I needed for my new professional outfit just in time for a career fair and interview yesterday. Surprisingly, the hardest item to find turned out to be the shoes. I spent 2 days and a total of 6 hours looking for shoes at 2 different malls and several other stores around Boston. I wanted to find just the right pair to work with my suit, not too tall or shiny or pointy, and unfortunately my height requires that I wear a size 10! If you aren’t familiar with how tough it is to find a size 10, let me assure you, it’s exhausting, like searching for the back of an earring in a sandbox.

I felt relieved when I finally found a pair at Aldo, even though I admit, I had to stoop to buying leather. I know, gross! But I needed the shoes and my vegan morals had to step aside for the sake of my future career and my desire to finish shopping. Nobody’s perfect. I never ever buy leather because of the mistreatment and suffering of animals associated with it (watch the movie Earthlings).

The day after I bought my shoes, I had an unfortunate incident with one of the pairs I already own (karma?). I guess I was being punished for supporting the leather industry and I accept my punishment with full responsibility. I wore a pair of flats to go with a dress that suited the 90 degree weather. Every time I wear flats, I get blisters. But still, I think, it won’t happen this time. Of course, after walking all around campus, I felt that terrible rubbing on the back of my heel as if a grater were scraping at my skin. I only made it through half my classes before I caved and bought a pair of flip flops at the university bookstore. There’s $2o I will never get back. 

Long story short, all this shoe nonsense this week reminded me about one of the diabetes rules I learned at summer camp. Always wear shoes to protect your feet. I imagine that many non-diabetics aren’t aware of this rule (probably because us diabetics like to break it so often) and so I’d like to dedicate this week’s D for Dummies segment to this very topic.

Diabetics Should Always Wear Shoes

cartoon credit: http://www.diabeteshealth.com/cartoons

Due to higher levels of glucose in our bodies, we tend to have poorer circulation and also heal slower than others. Thus, the decision to not wear shoes is risky if we were to step on a piece of glass or scrape our foot on the concrete, etc. I guess there’s an added risk of infection the longer the injury would take to heal.

Also, diabetics are at risk for a condition known as neuropathy, a.k.a nerve damage to the feet. This causes loss of sensation, which means we might not notice a scrape or wound until it’s already infected. The infection could spread, which is why some diabetics eventually must have their feet amputated.
Not all diabetics develop neuropathy and the better control one has of one’s blood sugars, the less of a likelihood of suffering from this complication. I haven’t noticed any symptoms of neuropathy (knock on wood) and a pretty good rule of thumb is that if you take care of yourself, then you will never need to have your feet amputated. Plus, regular doctor’s visits help double check that neuropathy isn’t starting to develop.

Neuropathy or not, it’s smart for diabetics to wear shoes at all times to protect their feet from possible scrapes or cuts. Does that mean I need to wear shoes to bed or in the shower or all the time in my house? No, but definitely while outdoors. I’m guilty of breaking this rule often though.

While at summer camp they actually used to require that we wear flip flops even while in the cabins. Crazy right? I guess but maybe they were trying to teach us that sage old lesson, “better to be safe than sorry.” Sometimes no matter how careful I think I’m being, injury sneaks up on me. Once I cut my foot during a yoga class from a teeny tiny piece of plastic that was stuck to my mat. I definitely didn’t see that coming.

Just to clarify, getting a tiny cut on my foot doesn’t automatically mean that it’s going to take weeks to heal or that it will get infected and I’ll need antibiotics to clear it up. My tiny cut from yoga healed in a pretty normal amount of time (a couple days). But down the road, as I have this disease for more and more years, eventually I might need to pay more and more attention to these little silly diabetic rules: wear your shoes all the time.

On the plus side, I’m pretty sure this gives me an awesome excuse to always want new shoes! I’d like to keep my feet for the rest of my life!

What “silly” rules in your life do you like to ignore?

**I am not a medical professional and do not intend any information I write to serve as medical advice or absolute truth. My knowledge is based on a decade of life with diabetes but I have not studied any related sciences. In fact, I’m an English major. Also, please don’t take offence to the name “D for Dummies.” I’m sure you are very smart.