Being as supportive of my husband as I can be.
Talking through food decisions proactively.
My Husband’s Diagnosis
Posted by Mira M, June 20, 2011
Early on in our marriage, when we were in our early 20s and living in Pittsburgh, my husband came home from a business trip with a painful toe, and we couldn’t figure it out. It was excruciating to the point that if our small dog brushed past it he’d go into spasms of pain. For someone who was athletic and never had any health problems, it was inexplicable. My husband thought maybe he’d somehow reinjured the toe he broke when he was a competitive swimmer. That first attack lasted about a week, and we were young, so he didn’t go to see a doctor.
A couple of years later, something similar happened. Out of the blue his big toe flared up again, and it was the same thing—it was very tender, couldn’t be touched, and he couldn’t move it. He thought that walking in business shoes might have triggered it, but even though we were suspicious about what it could be, we just let it go.
Shortly thereafter we moved to Atlanta, and in one of his first appointments with his new doctor my husband learned he had hyperuricemia, a high uric acid level. The doctor asked if my husband had any family members with gout, or if he knew anything about gout, and that was when he was diagnosed and it all fell into place for him. My husband was happy he’d found a diagnosis. He basically came home and said, “Honey, I have gout.”
I was relieved as well, because even though it wasn’t a problem solved, at least his mysterious pain was identified and explained, and we could finally understand it. At first all I knew about gout was that it was a sort of medieval malady. My husband is an engineer, so he learned about the scientific aspect of the condition. This was the late 90s, before Google, so together we read all the printed information materials my husband’s doctor had provided.
The information materials were very thorough and my husband began to manage the condition by taking uric acid-lowering medication and by avoiding his trigger foods. He’s responded well to medication over the years, and I’m as supportive as I can be of the decisions he makes. But when you’re young and athletic and first hear a diagnosis, you don’t register that there might be a time when you’re in your 40s or 50s when it will become more of an issue.
As time has gone by, I’ve worried about him a bit more than when we were young and he was first diagnosed, particularly after gout attacks, and when his gout attack pain moved from his big toe into his hand. The concern is always about whether the attacks would become more frequent or get worse. But ultimately, my husband has been very accountable for his gout, with only a handful of attacks over all the years since his diagnosis. We just take it day-by-day and hope for the best.