Making sure I get out and walk. The more I walk, the better off I am..
Living With Gout
Posted by Scott T, June 20, 2011
I’ve had gout for six years. My first gout attack started in the bottom joint of the big toe of my right foot. It was the middle of summer, I’d been out working and I was definitely dehydrated. The attack came out of nowhere, and it was the most painful thing I’d ever experienced. I’ve had three knee operations and I used to play football and wrestle. I’ve been hit pretty bad in my life, but this was by far the worst pain I’d ever had.
The gout attack was a surprise to me, because it was something I’d never had before, but I knew right away what it was because my dad had gout for 20 years. I tried taking ibuprofen, but that didn’t do anything for the pain, so after a couple of days of pain, I went to the doctor. Basically I described what happened, the doctor looked at my foot, told me I had gout and prescribed some pain medicine. That was about it. The pain medicine didn’t do much though. I stopped taking it after a few days and tried to manage around the pain. As long as I could wear a shoe I could get around. The pain was the worst for the first three days and then after that it was more intermittent.
Once I had a diagnosis I went online and learned everything I could about gout. I read about what causes gout and how uric acid crystals form in the joints. One thing I found, however, is that a lot of web sites offer confusing (and often conflicting) opinions on gout and gout treatment. But once I learned that gout is actually a form of arthritis, I went to the Arthritis Foundation website, and that’s where things started to clear up for me. The Arthritis Foundation information made sense to me and I could relate to it. It’s also made me more aware of arthritis.
Since my diagnosis I’ve started taking a medicine that lowers my uric acid levels and that helps a lot. I’ve also eliminated certain foods and beverages, like shellfish and beer, and that makes a big difference. Along the way my wife has been incredibly supportive, helping me with research and lifestyle recommendations. There’s definitely been a learning curve—one doctor prescribed an anti-inflammatory for me once that contained shellfish and it immediately caused an attack, so I had to get rid of that stuff. I also thought fake crab meat would be OK, and discovered (the hard way) that it’s not for me.
I do my best to manage gout on a day-to-day basis, and to struggle through it when I’m having an attack. I’ve never lost any time from work because of gout. I do everything that I can to take care of myself, and I refuse to lose time from work because of gout. It helps that I work with a couple of guys who have gout too, because we trade war stories about gout all the time.
My advice for anyone with gout is to go to your doctor and talk about it. Find a doctor who can help you with it and offer good recommendations, because you can really save yourself a lot of pain and trouble. You have to be up front and say, “this is what’s hurting, and this is what I think it is,” and a decent doctor will help you with it.