I Have Seven Toes

I took the Iowa Basics Skills Test for the first time in third grade. Contrary to most, I love standardized tests–the neat bubbles, the quiet for concentration, the random mix of questions, the triumph of being able to read the book of my choice when I finished early (and I always finished early, being mildly precocious).

But there was one question that stopped me in my tracks.

You have how many toes?

A) 10
B) 7
C) 5

A. A is the correct answer; everybody has 10 toes, I told myself. But this test has my name on it…will they know I’m lying? Will I get it wrong?

The stakes were not high in that moment, but later they would be. Anonymous cyber bullying, though just one incident. Shoe shopping that made me feel like I’d never be “normal” and left my mother and I both in tears. Worrying that maybe no boy would ever love me because of my foot.

I was born with a normal right foot and a left foot that was smaller and lacked three toes. With time, it didn’t grow at the same rate and the toes became useless.

My poor mom was peppered with questions about her habits and what she had done; her biggest vice in pregnancy was her nightly bowl of ice cream. Sometimes, these things just happen.

I could go on for a good while on the ways God has used my foot as a grace and a teaching tool, but tonight, I simply want to praise him for a coming deliverance: after a six-month saga of trying to adult my way into a new prosthetic, two are headed my way within the next few weeks.

About six months ago, my prosthetic–the pretty one with painted-on skin and toenails I could polish and everything–developed a hole in the heel. I had been putting off doing anything about it because, despite moving states twice and having three babies and buying a car on my own and doing all the paperwork that comes with these things and more, I had never had to be the grown-up when it came to my foot.

And with these things, waiting is a very bad idea. I had to figure out how to get a prescription, where was “in network,” and then spent six months waiting on a company that, in the end, couldn’t do what I wanted and I wasted a lot of their time.

Somehow, Canada got involved and we were waiting an awfully long time on a lady who was on maternity leave to do a job that nobody else could do. And then they told me that my insurance wouldn’t cover any of it, so I could pay about $20,000 out of pocket or have a large metal contraption velcroed around my leg.

I had to put on my big girl panties and find a second opinion.

At the next clinic, the man with the thick Arkansan accent asked me questions, searched Google images with me, took some measurements, and sent off some paperwork. On Monday, he took more measurements, made a plaster cast of my foot, and sent off the order.

And that’s it.

And it’ll cost less than our tax return, because God is nothing if not a planner.

After six months of growing pain because my right side is making up for the left’s slack and worry that no one makes what I need anymore, it is coming.

Relief is coming.

The ability to move freely is coming.

The endorphins of a long walk is coming–without pain that leaves me in agony.

Praise God.

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