Staying alert when it comes to your body
This saga began when I read the article on health enews on how your nails can be an indicator of your health. I’ve always paid attention to my nails, so I read the short article. That’s when the message turned serious.
The article said, among other things, a persistent dark streak in a nail could be an indicator of melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer. Yikes!
I had a toenail with two dark streaks in it. They had been there for about three years, and I had assumed I had hurt my toe causing the dark streaks (although I didn’t remember any toe injury.) Now I was learning it might be melanoma. Having had breast cancer three times, I was not about to ignore the possibility I had another form of cancer.
A dermatologist and a plastic surgeon both said they could not rule out melanoma without a biopsy. I was scheduled for a biopsy at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Illinois. Dr. Otis Allen, a plastic surgeon removed my great toe nail.
Beyond the visible nail in the nail matrix he found two tiny brown places that he biopsied out. He then grafted normal nail bed tissue into the two “holes” in the matrix so it wouldn’t grow a split nail. Finally, he stitched the old nail back in place as a protective shield.
The pathologist delivered good news that the brown spots were not melanoma. Whew! That was a relief. The plastic surgeon thinks that the brown spots were seborrheic keratosis as I have on the trunk of my body. I despise those brown spots, and now I really despise them in my toenail.
The plastic surgeon removed the stitches a couple of weeks later. I remained very careful about my foot, wearing sensible shoes. It took a few months but I grew a new nail and had no pain, no tenderness, no problems. And at the four month mark, I could to wear high heels again for a special event.
The point of telling this story is to pay attention to signs about your health. I was lucky, but it could have been melanoma.
No melanoma. Back in high heels. Life is good.