So, my week 2 of “Opposite December” went as planned with one major exception and that is the focus of this post. Last week I wrote about the positive effects of abstaining from alcohol and they hold true. But, last Monday, just as I was ready to take it up a notch exercise-wise (including the treadmill for cardio) I started getting pain in my feet, specifically in my Achille’s tendons. I chalked it up to my feet adjusting to using my standing desk full-time, but Tuesday, the pain went exclusively to my left foot and Wednesday it transferred to my right foot with a vengeance. My right foot was swollen and purple and it got so bad that I had to work from home Thursday and Friday: I could barely walk. The pain wound up radiating from one focal point below my right outside ankle. This, to me, indicated that I was having another gout flare up even though my uric acid number has fallen significantly since last June when I had my last major flare-up. It is still affecting me today but is subsiding.
The lesson in this is that bad health can ruin everything – health must be your number one priority regardless of what stage of life you are in. I have more energy and focus because of the abstention from alcohol; however, having severe pain saps that energy and my attention very quickly while my brain tries to deal with the pain. In my case, having lower uric acid levels is not the cure for the gout flare-ups and reducing or eliminating alcohol is supposed to be one of the most reliable tactics for battling gout. With those variables controlled for, something else is going on and it is probably the stressors that I have in my life that, unfortunately, cannot be realistically reduced at this time.
I am still trudging forward with my opposite December experiment regardless of the health setback. I am ahead in my post-doc deliverable due by the end of the month and I had two major epiphanies toward that work that helped me to better contextualize the value of the product and knowledge to the field.