Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I made good on my exercise commitment last week—I got to the fitness center twice, once for my barre class and once to ride the stationary bike for 25 minutes, plus I took half-hour walks on two other days.

Then I developed an ulcer in the nail bed of my left big toe. It’s infected. I have no idea how this happened. I am meticulous with skin care. It might have been as simple as picking up bacteria while walking around in sandals. Or just bad karma.

So, I’m back on antibiotics, limping a bit, carefully testing pressure on my left foot. I was able to walk around the block on Monday and get through most of the exercises in my barre class last night.

This is the minutiae of living with scleroderma. Just when you think you have everything in balance, something kicks it out of whack and you have to recalibrate.

But there are much more important issues in the world than an infection in my big toe.

On Sunday, at Al’s initiative, I joined my husband, our rabbi and cantor, and about a dozen other members of our synagogue at morning services at the local A.M.E. congregation. We came to show solidarity over the tragic shootings at the historic Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., last week.

Al had called ahead, the previous Friday, to ask if it would be okay with the pastor if we came. We were welcomed with thanks and gracious hospitality. Other members of the community came as well, in a spontaneous show of support. It was heartening to be part of a mixed sea of faces, all gathered to assert that what happened in Charleston was terribly wrong, that we care, that we must pull together as a society to end the violence and bridge the widening racial divide in this country.

Will any lasting good come of all those people, from different backgrounds, gathered together in prayer on a Sunday morning? I cannot say. But I know we helped to comfort our neighbors and sent good will out into the universe, and that must count for something.

After the service, we went out with friends for a Father’s Day brunch, then to the art museum, then home. Al mowed the lawn. I lay down and rested my sore foot.

My toe will heal, albeit slower than I want it to, with a combination of medication and careful tending. I will get back to my exercise plan. There will undoubtedly be other physical setbacks, but I’ll deal with those, too.

Would that our nation’s ills could heal as readily.

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.

Photo Credit: Stròlic Furlàn – Davide Gabino

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