I heard the voice from behind me, as I was walking, coffee cup in hand, toward the office kitchen.
"That's a noisy shoe," the colleague said, "sounds like the sole is coming unglued."
"That's not my shoe," I said, without looking back. "That's my foot. And yes, something's coming unglued."
It was a hollow click, as bone was grinding on bone, the joint steadily deteriorating.
"Does it hurt sometimes?" another co-worker asked, when we were discussing the problem that I'm having with my left foot, the condition made known to me less than a week ago: Mueller-Weiss Syndrome.
"It hurts all the time," I said. When I get out of bed, in the morning, and put my weight on my feet for the first time. I've lost more than 10 pounds over the past six weeks or so, thanks to my training for the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour. Ten pounds lighter, but still too heavy to comfortably support my weight.
The first few steps, when I've been stationary for any amount of time, are stiff and slow. The limp that I always have when I walk is much more pronounced. I'm a wounded bird, handicapped.
"How long have you felt the pain?" I'm asked.
I stop. I think. My eyes go wide.
"For as long as I can remember."
I like to think of myself as an easy-going, mild-mannered person, but I'm not. Not really. I'm grumpy, cynical, and have chalked myself up as a bit of a curmudgeon. I don't like to think of myself as this kind of person, but there's no denying it.
What if my grumpiness is the result of years of pain? I've had serious issues with my osteoarthritis for decades—for more than 30 years. What if this negativity is a result of me coping with persistent pain?
There's no guarantee that the coming surgery to correct my foot condition will solve my pain issues. After all, my osteoarthritis won't go away. But it would be nice if, every time I take a step, the pain doesn't make me cringe.
Time will tell. Fingers are crossed. But, while I want the pain to go away, and if it does, my typical mood improves, I don't want to change too much. Some of my character fuels my creativity, and I've already been struggling with maintaining that.
Time will tell.