Ok friends, I have a confession:

I love shoes!

High heels, low heels, boots, flats, sling backs, or mules; the style doesn’t matter, and the more colorful or unique the better. My very favorite pair are a circa Leave it to Beaver; June Cleaver reproduction cream colored, satin peep-toed pump! They pair perfectly with blue jeans, skirts, dresses or gowns and they are this girl’s go to accessory.

Alas, after my first back surgery, the doctors told me to get rid of all of my impractical footwear. (GASP!) However, considering impractical a relative term; I surreptitiously declined, putting my entire Imelda Marcos sized collection in the witness relocation program. I also made my husband Tom promise, pinkie swear, that no matter what happened to my ability to ambulate, he’d keep my tootsies shod in Zsa Zsa Gabor style satin slippers! My rationale was that each day I live with things I didn’t choose, so at least allow me to accentuate my feet however I want; because really, even on my worst pain day, cute shoes help put a smile on my face. Some people didn’t understand and questioned my logic. They had a lot to say. Thanks for the

S.U.P.P.O.R.T.

When the physiatrists at John’s Hopkins University Pain Clinic decided to put me on a low dose of Prozac for chronic pain, people told me that they heard this medication makes one go crazy and commit suicide. Thanks, that’s

C.O.M.F.O.R.T.I.N.G.

Fortunate for you dear ones, Prozac did not make me suicidal, it only made me jump out of my knock-off Jimmy Choo’s and lose a lot of weight. Then the aforementioned people accused me of being anorexic. Thanks, that’s

U.P.L.I.F.T.I.N.G.

When the JHU pain clinic decided Methadone was the choice of medications for chronic pain patients like Moi’ who failed to achieve positive results from nearly a dozen other medicinal options, said people asked me if I was a heroin addict. Are you kidding me?

N.O.

People asked me why I changed medications like toilet paper rolls or subjected myself to continued treatments and injections; before I could explain; they would tell me about their cousin’s uncle’s barber’s sister-in-law’s son’s baby-sitter who had that same thing, well, maybe not EXACTLY, the same thing I did but they tried _________ and it worked! Oh, really? Thanks for listening, that’s

E.N.C.O.U.R.A.G.I.N.G.

At this point, some of you may be wondering why I chose to disclose so much personal information to said people. I may have neglected to mention these were family members, friends, folks we attended church with; those people with whom we shared our lives and expressed concern for my health and well-being. I am not ashamed of my conditions or treatments and don’t mind sharing; I want to find a better way to manage pain and this takes time; they call it practicing medicine for a reason. I never thought I’d hear

J.U.D.G.M.E.N.T.

I want you to remember that didn’t choose to have Spina Bifida Occulta, Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia or to be in chronic pain. I was born this way; fearfully and wonderfully made! I know that I can never be what everyone expects me to be. I cannot change my structure, my biochemistry or my genetic makeup; I just want to find a way to live in harmony with my

U.N.I.Q.U.E.N.E.S.S.

Dear ones, before you say something in judgment, gossip to others, end a friendship or new relationship because of a diagnosis; please take a few minutes to educate yourself about what your friend or loved one is going through. Perhaps that means searching the World Wide Web for information and making a list of questions to ask them, or maybe you can arrange to go with them to a doctor’s appointment or a therapy session. Trust me, you may not be able to walk in their Steve Madden’s, but taking a step in this direction will not only enlighten you, it will help take a load off their feet!