Footwear and Loss

Last updated: May 2018

Is it right to grieve material loss when so many other much more important things are happening to my body with MS? It struck me that slowing down, not doing as much thanks to MS fatigue, and being challenged with the lack of balance comes with the territory of this disease. Of course, I somewhat expected those changes and that kind of loss. As mad as it makes me, it’s what I expected with MS.

What size do you wear?

What I didn’t expect was how hard it is to give up some materials things, in particular…. my shoes. I went through this when I was initially diagnosed – I used to own some really nice clogs. You know, the type of shoe you slip into easily when you run out to get the newspaper out of the driveway or work in your garden? As my walking became a bit more tenuous, I wisely gave those up and gave them away- my clogs went into donation bags that unseen pickup agents for the local Vietnam Vets clothing drives would whisk off my porch.

The clogs were replaced with more sensible shoes – ones that strapped onto my feet or had to be tied on. After a while I discovered a shoe I loved, were fun to wear and kept my feet securely under me. They were designed to keep me from the dreaded foot drop toe drag that often meant I was tripping and stumbling unexpectedly. They also came in wonderful patterns and colors and made me happy and my first pair was aptly named by the manufacturer, Midnight Garden. I was so happy with my shoes once again, that I slowly accumulated a significant collection of this particular brand.

Surgery changed everything

Then came foot surgery to do some corrective work and these shoes no longer fit and had to be replaced by some rather ugly orthopedic ones. The surgeon reassured me my foot might take up to a year to lose all the swelling but it would be better eventually. I’ve waited and waited for that time to come when these ruby slippers would again fit my feet, but had to finally come to the sad conclusion that day would not arrive. It's been two years.

Cleaning out

It’s been a gradual change for me, but slowly I removed those shoes from the closet and under my bed and put them into a separate bin. I’ve asked everyone I know if they could wear this size shoe. I just can’t make myself put them into a plastic bag and set out on the porch for some stranger to cart away, even though I know they would be well received and perhaps even appreciated even more than I have over the years.

Oddly, accepting loss from MS has been easier for me than parting with these shoes. I’m sure there’s something deeply psychological in my need to not relinquish this part of my life/wardrobe and I might even benefit from counseling. I promise myself I will part with them soon, except for perhaps just one or two favorite pairs on the outside chance I might again fit into these magic slippers.

Wishing you well,


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