Saturday, June 8, 2013

Toe Wars

Or, My Left Foot (the Horror Story)

Last summer, I made the mistake of taking a discount cruise on the Walmart of the Seas. Well, okay, the ship was actually named the Explorer of the Seas, but when we got aboard we were horrified to see that it was populated by the People of Walmart. Unfortunately, the most lasting souvenir I picked up on that tropical cruise was a foot rash.

My unsuspecting toes enjoying a relaxing moment by the pool.
I've never had a foot rash before, so I guess I just assumed, like most rashes, it would eventually fade away. Several months later, it was still camped out on the toes of my left foot. So in the early fall, I dragged myself in to see the doctor, who gave me a prescription for MUPIROCIN 2%. This was an antibacterial cream. There was only one problem with that. I did not have foot bacteria; I had a foot fungus. So after a month of using this cream with no results, disgusted, I called my homeopath. By now, the rash was such a familiar feature on my left foot that I named it Melvin. It was a dysfunctional relationship; I wanted Melvin out of my life.

I'd never had a rash last so long, so it made me feel old and depressed. Why was Melvin making my life so miserable? What did I ever do to deserve this scourge on my left foot?

Winter was closing in as I spoke with my homeopath of 25-plus years. She is perhaps one of the most brilliant human beings on this planet and has never let me down, regardless of my niddling complaints. We spoke by Skype and she said the cause of any continuous rash was twofold. My body was not fighting it well and the topical eruption also needed to be addressed. It had to be battled inside and out. She gave me a constitutional remedy to bolster my immune system and diminish any tendencies toward yeast and other internal infections. Then she recommended I use Dr. Hauschka's organic Neem oil on the rash.
This ship's painting turned out to be a depiction of my foot rash.

In Chinese medicine, the belief is that the longer a cure takes, the better it is. So I try to be patient when using natural remedies. A few months later, I observed that the natural remedies shrank the rash considerably, but did not get rid of it. Instead of applying Neem oil once a day, I decided to apply it morning and evening and the rash actually disappeared. Unfortunately, thrilled it was gone, I stopped treating it with Neem oil and a week later Melvin was back.

As winter turned to spring, I decided to do some research of my own to see if there was something I could do in addition to my current Neem oil regimen that would tip the scales and chase Melvin out of town.

First the inside: To further boost my immune system, I began juicing vegetables every morning. This had the added benefit of making me feel more energetic. Next, the rash: I tried a variation of a remedy that appeared over and over in my research. People with skin problems often convalesced near the ocean to bathe in seawater with very positive effects. However, I could not afford to spend a month by the sea. Instead, I reasoned, why not soak my left foot for a half hour every morning in Epsom salts? It was also recommended that after your foot was soaked that you dry it with a hair dryer to make sure the skin was not damp. After that, I added the Neem oil.

So I did this for one week. Something I didn't realizealthough I should have since it is clearly stated on all packages of Epsom saltsis that it is a natural laxative. After one very uncomfortable week, I had to stop soaking my foot. However, during that unpleasant period, something magical happened. My foot rash disappeared!

That was two weeks ago. I am still coating my toes every morning and evening in Neem oil, but have not seen a sign of Melvin since then and I believe he finally hit the road.

Thus, ends my cautionary tale of Walmart cruises, bare feet and fungal co-dependence. May you never suffer the same.


  1. Bye bye, Melvin! You will NOT be missed!!!

  2. Now wasn't Epsom salts the go-to rash remedy of our parents' childhoods?