A Tale Of 10 Toes

I, like most people, assume have 10 toes.

I, however, don’t know I have 10 toes unless I’m looking at them.

This is for two reasons; I have horrible Peripheral vision and low depth perception. I literally cannot see my feet in front of my face. I’ve also had a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) from L1-S2, so I do not have full sensation and/or movement from L1-S2.

At one point I was able to move my toes at will, or as much as possible as someone with CP can. However it was so long ago I have no memory of ever being able to do so.

I few weeks ago (or maybe it’s a month by now) my PT wanted me to try doing Monster Walks. I thought he was insane for suggesting it but I relented and demanded that the exercise be modified.

Placing the band above my knees gave me a fighting chance of not falling on my face after two seconds. In fact I made it one lap around the gym, with support (aka fall prevention) from my PT (and no I have not walked backward, nor do I ever plan to, ever).

I left PT shocked that I was able to do the same exercise I’ve seen countless others do over the past year with practically no difficultly (considering how things could’ve gone).

And then I went to bed, and tried to sleep.

Nerve pain kept me awake for hours.

You know that buzzing noise that comes from the lights in old school gyms? That’s what my legs felt like; a constant flow of electricity running through my legs.

It’s happened before due to different reasons but it’s never fun. Also it always seems to happen after midnight and last for hours (aka prime sleeping time).

It’s painful, although not as painful as spasms, but mostly it’s annoying because I just have to wait for it to go away.

I realized I had two choices: 1) Battle through the nerve pain hoping for some sort of breakthrough or 2) Quit.

The later was really tempting, but given that I wasn’t having spasms and nerve pain simultaneously I went for the 1st option (with the support of my PT).

After a few sessions of monster walks I realized I could feel my 1st & 5th (the big toe & little toe) toes on each foot.

Then I could feel the 1st, 2nd, 4th & 5th toes on one foot and the 1st, 3rd & 5th toes on the other foot. It seems unbelievable and in a way it is, but it’s also annoying.

I didn’t realize how often a bang my toes into things and drop things on my feet without a second thought. Nor did I realize how often I trip over my own toes by rolling them under my foot and then taking a step.

I know what you’re thinking (probably), how is it possible for someone to regain sensation after almost 30 years? I don’t know.

I’m not sure anyone knows (but if you know please tell me).

Will I regain sensation in my remaining toes? I don’t know.

Will I be able to move any or all of my toes at will at some point? I don’t know that either.

At this point I’d settle for not walking into things, or over my own toes, dropping things on them, or scrapping them up (which has happened a lot lately).

I have 10 toes (well 7 confirmed); now I actually know it.


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