Footwear and Loss

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,

Laura

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (26)
  • Lifeisnotfair
    4 months ago

    I guess I’m long past the mourning stage of wishing I could wear sexy shoes, haha! I’ve always opted for comfort anyway, but when I’ve had to where nice heels, I did so with pride…. I have foot drop and really stiff and spastic leg muscles with a left leg limp, so I know how important it is for me to have a good shoe. I always choose something that is very light weight, with a mesh upper sole, so as not to pull my foot and the shoe itself down as I take a step. The bottom of the shoe must be non-skid and non-stick…. by that I mean, if it’s a rubber-type sole, then it can’t stick to the floor because this is a fall hazard. My last couple of shoe purchases have been Skechers flex knit and they have worked great! They have everything I need in a shoe, although the ones I have aren’t sexy, they’re definitely practical!

  • KDaniels72
    6 months ago

    Does the term “foot drop” relate to dragging a foot when you walk? Sorry my husband has gone semi undiagnosed/diagnosed for going on 3 years now. So I am researching as much as I can to try and understand as much as I can how he feels.

  • Yoshitail9
    11 months ago

    I’m a little late to this conversation but couldn’t stop thinking about this. Remember when we had our baby shoes bronzed ? Wouldn’t it be great to have a pair of those shoes bronzed and displayed in your favorite place in your home. They will always be a part of you !

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    11 months ago

    Yes, I DO remember the bronzed shoes – my mom had my older sister’s shoes done but not mine and my baby sister (but who’s bitter? LOL). These are too pretty to bronze but perhaps a polyurethane dip?

  • TREE4
    11 months ago

    Love the shoes. They are my size. If you still have them I could use them. If not, where did you get them

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    11 months ago

    Send me a message to friend with your addres and I’ll send a pair to you to try …. seriously. – Laura

  • Hershey21
    11 months ago

    What brand are the shoes you referred to that were made for foot drop? I’ve often thought surely someone w\ MS would design a shoe line especially for MSers. I’ve thought of it but it got lost in the fog. This is a very sensitive subject for me as well!! It’s very difficult to look sexy in flats w/ a cane and a limp. Sorry if I sound vain. Yes I know their are far more important issues but as wrong as it may be, much of my self esteem comes from feeling sexy and feminine. Glad to know others have the same issue. Seeing women wearing beautiful heels sometimes evokes a pity party. I’m just being honest. I’ve always tried to keep a sense of humor about it to keep myself from crying. From the beginning I’ve said “ if I ever end up in a wheelchair, I’ll be wearing VERY beautiful high heeled shoes!!!

  • rayche
    12 months ago

    O.K-P.P.S. from shoe obsessed woman. You may be on a different track by now, but Im not! Idea-O.T./physio or getting in touch with the nearest shoe design college and get a decent insole made for your foot which you can take to shop/slip in to your next proposed shoe purchase.You might need half a size bigger or something. Take the woolly socks. Be prepared! Birkenstock really started the ‘footbed’ thing (amazing!) but that is general and dont know if its appropriate. Best! Last postscript!

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    11 months ago

    Those are great tips and yes, these shoes have ‘footbeds’ that can be purchased separately. The wool socks is a great idea. And I did take a pair to my orthotic people for them to keep and see how well they work with their inserts.

  • rayche
    12 months ago

    P.S. Try Camper if youre into it Laura.

  • rayche
    12 months ago

    Hi,I read this a while back,but not again yet,as I have to eat breakfast (. at 7.20pm U.K. time) I have a shoe fetish and foot drop too..moan,moan, but have arranged my beautiful shoe buys -slip on,light,flat,on my shoe stand and I havent worn some onf them out. Well, I guess itsheartening to hear weird stories (this one is from The Old Woman who lived ina Shoe ((except its not big enough and I dont have kids) Thankyou! (British)

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    11 months ago

    thanks for sharing with me – I can picture having tea with you in that big shoe!

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    12 months ago

    Thank you to everyone for the comments.. it helps me know I’m not alone with the shoe problem. -laura, author

  • clsuhre
    12 months ago

    #MeToo! I was fortunate to find a knowledgeable, competent, funny saleslady at the local old-lady shoe store, who understood foot drop and my other issues, and let me try on literally dozens of pairs of shoes as we winnowed down to the ones that would work. The brands that work for me include Vionic, Taos, and Dansko. They’re expensive, but “cute AND supportive” is still achievable.

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    12 months ago

    Mine are all Algeria …. similar to Dansko.

  • Julie
    12 months ago

    Is this a strict female thing? Because this drove me crazy too. I can no longer tie my shoes. Well maybe I can but it takes forever and lots of frustration. So I started searching out shoes that I can just slip my feet into. Of course, they have to be cute as well as comfortable. My search landed me with some Sketchers that were so comfortable to walk in and that people comment on anytime I am out. Who knew so many women look at other women’s shoes? I guess I do too because I catch myself doing it all the time. Now there is no frustration, just slip my feet into them and go!

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    12 months ago

    I have some Skechers that I love but they don’t offer as much support for my feet.

  • joannmaxwell
    12 months ago

    I agree. Giving up all my shoes was tough. But being as stable as I can wins out!!

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    12 months ago

    Not falling over is more important than style.

  • Karen M.
    1 year ago

    So what size shoes *do* you wear? I have just started to experience foot drop, and those are GORGEOUS! I know it would pain you to get rid of them, but I assure you that they would be going to a good home! I was just told by my neuro that I need to wear shoes with straps, and I have a bit of a Mary Jane shoe fetish. 😉 Let me know what size they are? 🙂

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    1 year ago

    Euro Size 40 – which is about a 9.5-10 size. Let me know if that would fit – I’m happy to share! – Laura

  • Karen M.
    1 year ago

    I am usually a Euro 39, so they *could * work. I am usually a US 9 or so. How does fhe sizing run? Are they true to size, or do they run a little bit bigger or smaller? – Karen

  • quillmama
    1 year ago

    The last time I wore slip-on shoes was the day I drove myself to hospital – and came out a week later with a diagnosis of ms and a walking frame. That was nearly two years ago, and yet I still haven’t fully reconciled myself to the situation. I wear two pair of shoes now – my boots and a pair of velcroed mary-jane style canvas casuals. My feet have always been hard to fit, but now my balance and altered sensation have rendered almost all of my hoard unwearable. I haven’t given them away yet, but the time is coming – and it will be soon.

    I think I understand. I hope you and I both can find new pretties for our feet soon!

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    11 months ago

    Almost all of my shoes are Mary Jane style – my mom (who is 95) always says ‘I love my Mary Janes!’ which makes me feel better and worse at the same time. 🙂 But at least I don’t walk out of them.

  • TracyH
    1 year ago

    I totally get it & I don’t think you (or I) need counseling

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    11 months ago

    thanks for letting me know I am not alone in this feeling of loss.

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