Around the year 1995, in my late thirties, I started to experience various aches and twinges around my feet. On reflection, I experienced quite a lot of tingling "pins and needles," but put this down to restricted leg movement, approaching middle-age, and too much entertainment.
One day, my ankle became so swollen I could hardly walk, so I consulted my family doctor. He said,
"It looks a bit like gout, but it can't be because your big toe is fine. Go for x-rays, and we'll take it from there."
And so it came to pass, in the Emergency Room, the finest medical brains were at a loss, and I was admitted to hospital for tests to rule out infection etc.
Four days later, a rheumatologist performed a fluid test on my swollen joint, and the results soon came back. Gout.
On return to my family doctor, I got an ibuprofen prescription, a recommendation to try to control the gout through diet changes instead of daily allopurinol, and a food list calling for an end to all high-purine foods and restriction of many other medium purine foods, including spinach and mushrooms.
To be fair, this was prior to the research that shows that vegetable purines have little or no impact on gout, but I began to feel like the world as I know it had ended.
I spent many years researching gout to try to understand it. All I really did was convince myself that nobody understands gout.
I found that the science I was following was not reflected in most health sites, and gout sites were all about selling herbal nonsense. So, I decided to start GoutPal both as a way to focus my learning, and as a haven for other gout sufferers.
There have been many changes since I started. I've learned a lot, and I know that I will learn more. Along the way it has been refreshing to hear that several gout patients now understand what their doctors are saying, and know what questions to ask them as a result of my work here.
That, my friends, is all I ever want.
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